Saturday, March 05, 2016

Just Like Spring

We have been enjoying days that are so much like spring that we even begin to imagine summer. Now, that's really getting ahead of ourselves! Our chickens are laying, and lately, I cannot decide which is prettier... their eggs, or their nest. We aren't buying rice hulls, or straw, or sand, or pine shavings, and instead we are using all of the fallen leaves, pine needles, and garden sweepings. What was once "yard waste" and hauled to the curb is now the ground covering in the run, bedding for goats, and lining for nests. It seems to suit everyone fine. The hens come running when I freshen things up, taking keen interest in the variety and choices that they scratch, and rummage through. The goats nibble, too. We don't spray anything in our yard, so there are no worries about poisons or toxins. The clipped herbs, like rosemary and lavender are natural pesticides, and beneficial to the animals. After a time, when everything is raked out, we have broken down, fertile mulch to return to the garden, or add to the compost. And it makes such a pretty backdrop for those beautiful eggs.

It's looking so much like spring, the barn beckons. Warmer nights, longer days tempt us to sweep and dust our favorite bunkhouse, and sink into a good book, collect more herbs, plan the next adventure. Soon, maybe, there will be bonfires, sleepovers, and CandleLight. It's nice just thinking of such pleasures.

Borage, cosmos, poppies, coriander... Kim's wildflowers gift keep growing, keep making me smile. Our bees and butterflies are happy, the birds, too.

Our chicas have finally settled on one spot for laying their eggs, and have at last given up on laying their eggs in the goats' hay feeder, or the goats' cottage. Instead, all the hens are laying in the old rabbit hutch I dragged home from a neighbor's curb. This creates a bit of a traffic jam, and since the hutch has two sections, I decided to make a curtain, in hopes of making the first room more appealing to the hens. Hens appreciate a little privacy, less light, a hint of secrecy, when laying their eggs.

Fiona was on the nest, and Lady Thompson was in the waiting room, and two more hens were clucking impatiently, waiting in line. Fiona nodded politely, before heading out.

It's a busy morning.

And there's still a line.

Oh, hello!

Sometimes they don't even take turns. Sometimes one hen will just walk over the other, sitting on the nesting hen until she's literally forced out. The solution might seem obvious: We need more nest boxes. There are at least four other places where they could, and have, laid eggs... but when a nest becomes popular, there's no stopping the traffic!

It is indeed just like spring out here.

Talent Show Preview :: Sixty Four

We enjoyed a special treat when Leo was over, and he played In Dreams on his flute, before the school talent show.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Big Fat Hens :: Sixty Two

Pictured: 10 of our 13 big fat hens. It's breakfast time, and the chicas are hungry. What beautiful, silly, feathered, chatty chooks we have.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Because Goat

And if you've decided that a goat's eyes are just too weird, you might appreciate them better when you find out that a goat's horizontal pupils actually enable them with superpowers! I've talked about this before... how their eyes are specialized for seeing with greater peripheral advantage, but National Geographic has a terrific explanation and examples... check this out!

Birthday Outings

It turned out to be a particularly good day for outings, because it was William's birthday, because we met story tellers, artists, interesting sights, darling goats, shy piglets, the rising tide, and treasures in the sand. From Escondido to Cardiff-By-The-Sea, and points between, we were happily connected with experiences, and worthwhile encounters. At home, we shared our gifts with William, like signal flags from ships, and three yards of linen fabric. Alex baked birthday brownies. It was a good day; a good mix of work with play, errands into excursions, detours, side trips, and poetry.

What could have prepared me for this day... for the time when my first baby would be a young man, twenty-five, profoundly gifted, intelligent, gentle, generous, his own self? Even the warnings... 'it will go quickly... before you know it, he'll be all grown up;' even those parenting axioms that we hear over and over again, cannot stop it from happening, or make this moment any less surreal. I can remember holding him in my arms, as though it were only days ago. I can remember the utter joy and confidence I felt in his arrival, knowing that the honor of being his mother was to be one of the greatest experiences of my life, and the feeling has only increased. Our culture values letting go, pushing independence; that has its merits, but the heart knows something too, and that is the gift of relation, the nature of interdependence. I hope we will always feel connected, that we will always enjoy outings, poetry, and celebrating good days, together. Happy birthday, William, and thank you, for the privilege of being your mom.

A Birthday Walk :: Sixty One

Another special day with my beautiful son.

Happy Birthday, William. Life is wonderful, with you to share adventures with.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Illustrated American Revolution :: Sixty

A page from Maria's history notes. I like the part where she explains that she could have drawn more people, but instead saved some time by hiding them in the smoke. Well played. Well played.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Good February, Almost March

When Maria and I brought William to the salvage shop, we knew he had to meet Patina, the macska who lives there. She is very old, and very sweet. It seems to me the best places and shops have a resident cat, or dog, or chickens!

We made a few stops that day.

Meanwhile, back at home, we have been waiting for rain, gazing at blue skies, counting blossoms and eggs, baking bread, mixing chores with fun, and fun with friends...

And when the weekend comes around, eggs + loaves = Dutch Toast. It'd been a long time since we last made this favorite. Maria was eager to learn how to make our French toast recipe, which we call Dutch, when it's made with the Dutch oven bread. I think she's mastered it. We had a wonderful breakfast.

Saturday was the longest day... nicely so. It had the distinction of filling up with good things, but was not rushed, not overwhelming. It had the distinction of Geoff coming home from work before dark. {I like the puzzled way we each felt and looked when we saw him, because it was so surprising to have him home.} So, yes... Saturday was long and good, and full of many things, like cooking, planting, juicing lemons, filming a short movie, having Celine and James around, re-thinking a fix for our dead pool, procuring the last supplies needed to finish the fence, ordering the celebratory Geoff is out of crunch-mode pizza that we've been longing for!

Making, playing, digging, sculpting, planting... until dark, when we settled down with our veggie gourmet pizza, and began watching Cooked, the NetFlix original series based on Michael Pollan's book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation. We watched Fire, then Water. We paused the program whenever we were struck by a concept, or had something to add... which is something I just love about watching movies, and programs at home; the choice to make it an interactive experience. Cooked is worthy of being that... it should be an interactive experience. Let me know if you've seen it, and let's chat, yes? Or cook! I think we all wanted to cook, or eat, more. But even the longest day was drawing to a close.

And this month, too. Funny February, our short, sometimes longer month. It has been good. Now, it's almost March, and that will be good, too.