...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


decompressing, a la doggie

Sometimes you just need to stretch it out.
 Let any stress and tension go...

Breathe out the stress.
Breathe in peace.
Having a furry companion who likes to do the same always helps.
They have no room for things that do not matter. 

Dogs speak the language of deep knowing. 
Enlightened simplicity:

Breathe in. 
Breathe out. 
Eat.  Sleep.  Get fresh air.
Do the things you love whenever possible.
Give kisses. 
Wag your tail.


little garden wreckers

Dag nab it, girls!
This was NOT a good choice!

Okay.  I admit it.
We're discovering that not EVERYTHING about chickens is wonderful.
Getting up earlier and earlier every day is a wee bit of a drag for someone like moi.
(a fix for that is on its way, more to come soon!) 
But this... well, you can see -- is a total bummer. 

Mind you, we still adore the chickens. 
Really, we do.  
We're as neurotic as ever about them.

BUT we can deny the truth no longer. 
We cannot be like those annoying doting parents
who think everything their kids do is miraculous. 

Our sweet little girls are also
lawn-mowing-grass-killing-garden-wrecking tractors in disguise!

Killing off the grass in the chicken yard was one thing. We can live with that. 
(We've got plans to fix it in the works which I'll also share in another post...)

But in all of their scratching at the ground... their attempt to find bugs, gritty rocks,
make little dirt beds to bathe in, or digging simply to cure a case of chicken boredom --
they have actually managed to turn over enough inches of earth to completely excavate bulbs! 
Crocuses and bluebells to be exact. 

(I was thinking that if one living thing was safe from the chickens,
 it would be the bulbs, but alas, I was wrong.)

So much for my deluded vision of the chickens 
clucking merrily about against a backdrop of flowers. 
At the rate these chickens are going, they are going to be clucking
about in a desolate dustbowl of their own making. 

In an effort to rectify some greenery and beauty,
we *might* try planting right outside the fence to see if the chickens
and any living thing can co-exist with the fence as a barrier...
 but I'm still not so sure because the little rascals like to poke their heads through the fence.
In this case, the grass really is always greener on the other side!

Oy vay is all I can say!
I'm starting to get that feeling I get with the squirrels... 
Noticing that I'm spending an inordinate amount of time trying to outsmart creatures
whose brains are the size of pea...


hat habits

My little friend has been knitting up storms lately. 
 Mostly hat storms. 
She's had a hat-a-day habit. 
(Though now she's moving onto knitted chickens!) 

Just like with her cooking and baking, she simply invents things. 
Makes them up.  Apparently out of her wonderful imagination. 
Sprinkle of this, dash of that...
Knit here, purl there. 

Most of the time everything (food and wool) turns out amazingly well.

I ask her to tell me how she does it so I can share it on the blog
and she dismisses me with comments of shapes, graph paper, and just 'winging it.' 

Rolling with the inspiration, taking a risk.
Making adjustments if necessary. 
This is how she does life. 
Just a sprinkle of planning, and the rest is however the wind moves her or her feet take her. 
Thank goodness the wind led her my way!

Without further ado, here are more photos of her spontaneous hats. 
There are no patterns.  But if you really want to know how she did it,
she might have more patience in explaining it to you than to me. 


highlights from the big 3-3

- celebrating, reflecting, soaking it all in -
breathing in. 
breathing out.


sweet mini daffodils from Ms. Molly
- so thoughtful and so full of light -

look at the lovely edging...

A chicken necklace that looks like my favorite little hen, Dominique
long mitered mittens from Sasha!

They remind me of gauntlets -
armor against the cold and the snow...

a little leather pouch
my sweetheart made for me
with a surprise inside...

and a surprise on the bottom, too!
She painted & stitched the phase that the moon was in for my special day
(waning crescent)

the perfect size to fit in my hand
a little larger than an espresso
exactly the amount of coffee I've gotten into the habit
of drinking each morning

love from Misha in Seattle, all those miles away...
I love
how love
can travel
at the speed of thought

 and from my sister
 a book I've wanted for a long time
full of delicious paintings
that I like to imagine myself in...


flaming june

  Anja outdid herself for my birthday request, which was for yet another gorgeous fruit tart.
She made the peaches look like a flower opening...!

home-made chocolate fudge
from our newest baker - thanks, Jules!
My favorite thing about birthdays
is not just everyone being super nice
and getting to do whatever I want
but it's really about all of the big and small reminders
around me all day
of how loved I am, and how special
all of the people in my life truly are.


thinking about good, thinking about peace, thinking about joy

So after my heavy duty Friday night what-is-happening-to-the-world woes,
This morning I'm looking around for good things.
That's what I do.
And the good things are everywhere,
as they always are.

After a wee bit of snow last night, February is feeling a little bit more right. 

Now I'm thinking about peace,
and remembering one of my favorite quotes,
which I keep on our fridge as a reminder: 
"We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy."  (Joseph Campbell)

It's how I try to approach life.   
I don't believe in giving up our efforts to heal the world,
but I also don't believe in allowing that to take over,
to rob us of our capacity for joy, no matter what is happening in the world.

Life is work, and play.
Life is a gift, and we may as well enjoy it if we can.   

Outer peace begets inner peace, and inner peace will beget outer peace.
We must tend to ourselves as well as the world we inhabit. 

Work for peace.  Work for good.  Work with love.
Find and revel in all the spots of joy to be had along the way.

Enjoy the videos, songs about peace:

Give Peace a Chance

Peace Train

and this footage from an interview: the classic and blues version of Peace Train


oh, Joni...

Oh, Joni.

She gets it so right.
Especially about stuff that is so wrong.

Here are the lyrics to this song 'Bad Dreams' from her Shine album.
The piano pulls at me. 

Recently I read in the paper that this beautiful region here 
has had many milder and milder winters...
enough so that we have officially enterred a new growing-zone.

Some gardeners might be thrilled to be able to grow or hardy over new plants,
but I... 
 I am worried.
I hear some trees are starting to bud downtown, flower bulbs and garlic popping up
from beneath the earth where they should still be resting in dormancy.

And somehow we are all guilty at times
 of not noticing these things --
so clouded is our vision with the circumstances of our own lives,
so busy are we at adapting to this changing world,
the world we are causing to change,
to suit ourselves. 

Living things,
natural cycles that have existed for longer than we can imagine,
are changing in ways they have not ever.
The roots of everything are confused.
We people included.

All I know is that
33 years ago
when I was born this very month, there were feet of snow.  
The temperature was below zero. 
Bulbs and buds
never would have dreamed
of coming up,
even in the warmest part of February.


being in the closet can be a good thing (but only if you're a root vegetable...)

I have dreamt of a root cellar for as long as I can remember.

Unfortunately our abode doesn't bode well for an in-home root cellar. 
(Our basement is cool in the summer and warmish in the winter. 
I guess it's all that geothermal action.) 

Since the old fashioned alternative seems to be digging into a hill,
and anyone who knows me knows I'm not about to go digging into a hill,
I've managed to figure out a system that works fairly well within the limits of our house. 

Behold, the "root closet!" 
(which is in our 'mud room' - we don't heat it above 45).

This is an Elfa storage system and it works great.
The grid-baskets provide good airflow. 
With hindsight, I should have gotten more of the mesh style.
 They still provide some airflow, and they prevent smaller veggies from falling through. 

Most of what we stash in here is local, courtesy of our winter CSA from The Full Plate Collective.   

We find that carrots store really well in our make-shift set-up.
For February, they're looking pretty good. 

A big old beet. 
Probably as big as my head!

a rainbow of potatoes, all local.

Our local squash ended ages ago, but we replenish it with organic from the store
 because squash is simply my favorite winter veg. 
All it needs is a little olive oil and salt, and a place to roast. 

Utility apples are great for getting saucy. 
You can get a gigantic box of local utilities for something like $13.50! 
For awhile Bootsy was making a big pot of applesauce about once a week. 
We eat it for dessert almost every night!

These last two are from our gardens - shallots and garlic are the only things we have had the patience to grow besides herbs and flowers...   they are wonderfully low maintenance. 


chickens, it's cold outside

By now you should know that we're neurotic about the chickens...
their safety, their health, the quality of food we give them, etc.

We're also neurotic about keeping them comfortable.
When we read that during cold weather, a chicken's comb can freeze,
get frost-bite, the tips turn black and possibly even fall off...
well, we nearly lost our cookies!!!

So, naturally, we must prevent that from ever happening to OUR precious girls!

We splurged on the girls and got them some coop-safe heaters to keep them nice and comfy. 
We put a temperature regulator on the outlet so that they only go on when it gets really cold. 
That combined with their low watt usage, and thankfully we haven't seen any big spikes
in our electric bills. 

Above is a Sweeter Heater.
We hung it from the ceiling so that it's right above the girls when they're sleeping at night
on their big perch. They can spread out and not be competing for the warmest spot...  

This is a ceramic wall-mount heater available from Shop the Coop
During the really coldest days (15 or below) the girls don't even leave the coop
(smart girlies!).  They all love to crowd together on these lower perches 
in front of the ceramic heater because it really radiates nicely.

And speaking of cold...
Sometimes I like to sing to the girls...  This winter I've been singing
'Baby, It's Cold Outside,' though I substitute, 'chickens' for 'baby.'
'Chickens, it's cold outside!'
I can't sing to save my life but the girls seem to enjoy even an out-of-tune tune.


ruby slippers

Totally random: my favorite door stop.

I smile every time I walk past it.
We're all about having little things
throughout the house that brighten our days,
and this is one of those things. 

There's something about the magic of the ruby slippers
and the magic of Mary Poppins that are related for me, particularly the
hop-into-the-picture-and-you're-there magic. 

My favorite kind of magic involves teletransportation.
Which, in the magic world, seems to involve wishing and imagining strongly enough.
It's like the ultimate positive visualization.

If you could hop into any painting or picture, where would you want to hop?
If you could click your sparkly heels 3 times, where would you want to go?

Oh, so many choices! 
So many paintings and pictures and places and
yet, there is still no place like home...