Friday, November 13, 2015

~This Moment~

~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments, for all to see.
Our Benevolent Order of Makers weekend with Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire was a marvelous success,
full of great STEAM moments, like this one:
Da Vinci, our automaton robot, is drawing a screenshot from Georges Méliès Trip to The Moon!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Egg Greetings & Gratitude

Do you have hens?
Yes, we do. We have thirteen hens.

Are they laying?
They are all layers, but some are in the middle of molting, and production is a bit low.

Are brown eggs, and green eggs, and blue eggs, and speckled eggs different in taste, or nutritional value, than white eggs?
Yes. The brown ones are chocolaty, the blue ones are faintly raspberry flavored, and the speckled ones taste like Thanksgiving dinner, with a pumpkin pie finish. But nutritionally they are the same as the white eggs.

Can you give a straight answer?
No. Well, sometimes, but it's great fun to let my thoughts go to the Land of Whimsy and Whatif.

At last! At last our new Ameraucana are laying, and we have a few more eggs coming in. Theirs are bluer, slightly more saturated, a bit smaller, too. It was only yesterday that I found two, and was I thrilled. Seriously... I get giddy, and not just about new eggs from new hens, but every. single. day. every single time I go out and collect eggs: I am delighted!

I think to myself... ooh! Take a picture

And then I remember that they're eggs, in straw, and that I took that picture yesterday, last week, a month ago, often and frequently since 2002. But I never tire of it. Finding eggs, seeing their colors, noticing the sizes, and shapes, it's always a joy. When they're warm, it feels like a sacred gift. When they're in an odd place, it's funny, puzzling. When there are just as many as I need for a recipe, I feel super lucky. I like the way they feel. Some shells have a smooth sheen, others are bumpy, or slightly rough. I am thankful for our chickens, for the space and means we have so they are safe. I am thankful for the small connection I can make with our food, adding a special heightened sense of appreciation for how we are sustained, and that extends into an appreciation for farmers, for laborers, for cooks, and markets, and trees, and gardens. It reminds me of gardens kept by my mother and grandmothers, of days on ranchos, of my abuelos, my bisabuelos, of home made cheese, milking cows, tortillas de maiz, hechos a mano, of all I've learned, and have been privileged to get my hands on. A hen and an egg, a potted herb, a barrel garden, a community farm... any small connection to the sources, origins, of our sustenance can be so very good.

I found this insightful gem on a friend's FB feed...

Despite all of our accomplishments
We owe our existence to
A six-inch layer of topsoil
And the fact that it rains.

~Farm Equipment Association of Minnesota and South Dakota

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Greetings & Gratitude

Here is the happy sight that met me when I came downstairs last week. Is it art? Yes. Yes, it is art. It's also a fine example of how little it takes to amuse me, and I am thankful for this gift.

William began a Thanksgiving menu; part grocery list, part recipe list, and wholly inspiring. Vegetarian Yorkshire pudding? It's on the list. I think we should schedule a test run for some of these recipes. I am looking forward to trying the pumpkin soup Bambi made for Alex, and I am even considering having a go at that fancy cranberry relish I love so much. One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is hearing people talk about their favorite dishes and traditions. They get so enthused, even defensive, when explaining why it's not official without one particular dish, like dressing, or pecan pie, or never-never-never add marshmallows to the yams, or definitely do! I love these stories, these treasured sentiments. My own Thanksgiving isn't official until someone has shared an impassioned anecdote about their favorite green bean recipe, or the best mashed potatoes!

I love Thanksgiving. I think I immerse myself in it all month long {while I also try to suppress my bursting Christmas enthusiasm.} Today, Veteran's Day, feels like a good time to begin my deeper reflections on gratitude, to highlight some particularly special things that I appreciate... like planning for the holidays with grocery lists, revisiting traditions, and tidying up for guests. There are men and women who have done brave things, made small and great sacrifices, and I wish that they could enjoy our respect and gratitude everyday, but I am happy to pause on this day especially and say, Thank you. You've done so much for our freedoms, for our everyday lives, and ordinary pleasures. I cannot take any of this for granted. I hesitate to single someone out, because he's a modest man, but... Hans, you bring tremendous integrity and honor to everything you do. Thank you.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Home and About

Nothing too surprising, here. Either I am home, and that is good, or I am out and about, and that can be good, too. At home, we are loving flannel, quilts, reading, the change in the weather, silly kitties, MTG games, making our holiday plans, weekends, and home baked bread. Out and about we are loving Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire, baby goats, wee chicks, thrift shops and Jack-a-lopes, dance class, Mom's Night Out and friends, oh, and did I mention those baby goats??

It's already the ninth day of November! And so far, it's been really quite sweet. I love the light, the briskness, the anticipation of more home days, more outings, more visits with friends. How is your November coming along?