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


neon bugs

Sometimes all it takes is a brightly colored
unexpected something
to bring a smile...

like this electric blue-purple dragonfly

who apparently enjoys sage

or this neon pink-blue leafhopper (apparently called the candy-striped leafhopper)
(check out those neon-yellow legs!)

who also was visiting our herbs,
as you can see here on our basil...

They're beautiful little bugs!

 But after reading a little about them I guess sometimes they might eat the sap
from leaves we don't want them to eat, which wouldn't bring a smile for sure.

But since this is the only one I've ever seen, I guess we don't have a leafhopper problem.


chicken hide-and-seek

Some days I go out to the chicken yard
and it's like playing Where's Waldo.

I know they're there somewhere!

So, where are those chickens, anyway?

On a hot day they're often gathered under anything shady.

Smart chickens, they are.

If you look carefully you can see several of the girls.
5 to be exact...
(2 were in the coop!)

Some girls aren't predisposed towards hiding or blending in, though.
Like Big Brahma Mamma just sticks right out.
No matter what she tries to do.
But my sweet little Dominique,
she likes to play hide and seek!

Sometimes she thinks if I can't see her face
then I can't really see her!

But she quickly comes out to say Hello
and to see if I have anything for her to eat!


top notch grade A

Now that the girls are a little over a year old,
and have been laying for about 8 months --
their eggs are starting to feel pretty substantial....

Substantial enough to juggle with.
(And it's very tempting to try when you're walking in from the coop with a hand full of eggs...!)

 I don't exactly recommend trying egg juggling at home,
unless you have plenty of eggs to spare and don't mind a mess.

Bootsy is a very good juggler and even she made a big splat!
The dogs always have fun licking up our egg mishaps, though. 

But I digress yet again: 

Curious creatures that we are,
we'd like to know how our girls' eggs hold up to the industry standard.
So I splurged on this Kuhl Jiffy chicken egg scale. 

It looks simple and fun enough.
It lists the actual ounces and then tells you
if your chicken's egg would be considered
S M L or XL

I'm certain that Brahmy's double yolker awhile back
was definitely an XL.

Maybe XXL!  But there's no measurement for sumo eggs,
and eggs that big also won't fit into a carton.

Soon we'll know how our homegrown eggs rank!


I've also been reading a bit about "grades" of eggs.
I thought "grade A" had something to do with size, but it doesn't at all.
It's about the firmness of the white
and the position of the yolk
and the quality of the shell...

Grade AA is the very best
and while I'm definitely biased,
I'm sure our totally spoiled and wonderful chickens produce grade AA.
Though I imagine most Farmer's Market + backyard / homestead chickens
produce grade AA simply because their quality of life
is so far superior to the commercial / factory setting.

Grade A, a notch below AA - is what is typically sold in mainstream supermarkets.

Grade B is generally not sold in supermarkets in the forms of fresh eggs,
but instead they're sold as miscellaneous 'egg products' such as whites in a carton, and in commercial applications (think processed foods), etc.


Just for fun, here's an old swingin' tune that makes me think of the chickens...
You'll figure out why if you take a listen.

 'Top Notch Grade A'
by Al Reed


our felted flock!

Here they are,
felted replicas
of our 7 little hens!

Dominique + Golden Comet, bosom buddies...

Com never pecks on Dom...
Dom is lowest on the chicken totem pole,
so it's nice for her to have a protective friend! 

They perch side by side like this every night...
so sweet!

(thanks to our handy dandy chicken cam, we know these things!)

Elvis lives! 

Just kidding... it's Brahma, but she's definitely ready to bust out
with a microphone and do her best Elvis impersonation.

Then there's Buffy (the queen) and Specky, our Americauna.

Don't they look like they're at a dance party?!

And last but not least, Jersey and Lorpy on the right...
(they're just arriving at the dance party)

They USED to pair up and sleep side by side at night, too, just as shown here.
But alas, Jersey has been the broodiest girl for the loooooongest time
(since almost 6 weeks ago when we got our new dog!)

Silly broody girl.

She hasn't been on the perch since she refuses to leave her little special nest
that is never ever going to hatch any chicks because we don't have a rooster!

I tell her time and again, but she still thinks
it's going to be an immaculate conception of some sort.

The neighbors across the street have a rooster, but
I haven't seen him sneaking into our chicken yard.

Then again, his name is Tricky Dick,
so I guess you just never know.

(All of their hens are named after first ladies...
There's Eleanor, Nancy, Barbara,
and if I recall -- Martha and Hillary and Lady Bird...

I think they introduced some new hens this year,
so maybe by  now they have Michelle!

Stay tuned for more to come about brooding behavior.

And if you're interested in getting replicas of your own critters,


more summer tunes

this is how i started my morning today
and i couldn't resist sharing some more tunes
related to summer...

i started out mellow with some classical:
 a very fine performance of
grieg's op. 71, no. 2
'sommeraften' (summer evening)

then i moved into smooth jazz:

miles davis

benny carter quartet
'summer serenade'

and then my little bit of coffee kicked in
and i was ready to boogy
with van the man
live at montreaux jazz festival in '80.
'summertime in england'
just makes me want to dance!

playing it on a loop
and dancing makes housework really fly!



Janis Joplin
live in Sweden 1969
best. version. ever.



!   summer   !
!!! you're here !!!

i love you!

i really, really do.

i hope you know
all the things
 i love
about you.

i love your skies.

i love your iced tea
and afternoon sighs.

i love all your places to sit and just be.

i love all of your colors
that make me feel free.

i love to swing and sway

 or lie down and dream for part of the day.

i love the promise of things to come

and i love your straw hats
that protect me from the sun.

i dig your mucky garden boots and gloves

and the hose that goes
to every plant and flower
to give water and love.

i love the alarm clock
that doesn't matter!

and the overflowing bookshelves
with piles that keep getting fatter...

and i love
my picnic backpack.

it's ready to get up and go!

on a stroll or a hike
to somewhere.
just a blanket,  
some light plates, bowls, and cups.

 along with placemats that hold our silverware 
so i can dine real fine
with that lady of mine.

but don't forget 
the bottle opener for bubblies
and the monocular for spotting things
with wings.

(all we need for the perfect afternoon is
a fresh baguette, a bit of cheese
some fresh fruits and greens...)
and summer,
don't you know

that my belly loves your flavors
(almost all the stuff that grows)

but especially
your cream

cream, cream
we like to churn you
and turn you
into the finest
fat with sugar
 that will melt on our tongues
and down our eager throats.

we churn in rhythm and
say to each other

rock salt it, baby!

then crank it!

and crank it good!


oh, summer!
i knew you'd come back.

thank you for visiting us
once again.

oh, summer!

i hope it feels like a good long while
that you're here with us.

but i'll do my part and make sure
i try to enjoy
every passing minute of you.



Aurora shoes

Okay y'all. 
You've got to take care of your feet.

Did you know that each one of your precious feet
has 26 little bones?
They hold the whole weight of you
all day, day after day.

And it's not just "weight."
It's weight with gravity,
and whatever impacts and forces come along
compounding it all.

The moral of the story is
your feet should be treated well for the job they do every day.

I don't like to 'should' on everybody,
but you should really love on your feet.

Soak them.  Rest them.
Massage them.
Anoint them with oil.

Get thyself to the Aurora Shoe Company!

They'll hook you up
with the most comfortable + gorgeous
hand-made goodness that will mold to your feet.

Your feet.  Your shoes. 
Separate, yet one with each other. 
Things just fit together like they were meant to be.
Because they were.

Total sole mates. 
So cliche, but so true. 

Sasha + Misha
getting their shoe groove on.

Look around.
This place is cool. 

It's sort of like an art studio.

Here's a video:

I love supporting them... 
not just because I love my feet and comfortable, beautiful shoes,
but because I believe deeply
in what they're doing.

Keeping the old arts alive while breathing new life into them.

Having a craft rather than a 'job.' 

It feels good to support local people in what they do.
 They do it so well
and it shows. 

You can't use the word  'product'
for something handmade every inch of the way.

These are created,
not made. 

And they are created with tools like this:

Some wicked cool machinery!

Looks like this Singer has seen a lot of days, which is how it should be.

Oh how I long for the days when machines were well made,
and meant to last for lifetimes. 

There was no planned obsolescence.
No 'protection plan' sold at the checkout.

But I digress.

Rebel against mediocrity.
And factories.

Visit Aurora Shoes on the web
or in person
open Tues-Fri 12-4 or by appointment

There are so many reasons to GO to them rather than ordering online, if you can.
First of all, the vibe is awesome.  It's such a beautiful thing to see real people keeping real and meaningful skills and traditions alive.

The leather smells great.

Oh yes, and did I mention they're half price at the store???

Such a fun trip.
Do it!!!


p.s.  Photo credits to Dana S.  Thanks!!! xo


dicentra, bleeding heart

dicentra spectabilis

dicentra spectabilis alba

i love the word dicentra.

i also love the word spectabilis.
i think it might be my new substitute for the word 
why say spectacular when you could say

spectabilis also sounds like it could be a spell
they might use at hogwarts
like maybe it would float your eyeglasses over
from wherever you left them,
 and settle them on your face.

but no matter what you say or how you say it,
dicentra, bleeding heart, is
 oh such a romantic perennial.

one of the first flowers my love gave me,
since we met in may... 9 years ago!

these are the two varieties we have in our gardens and they're so sweet.
easy to grow, and the deer don't like to eat them...
two very winning character traits in flowers, if you ask me!

they bloom may-june, so they're on their way out now.

i could get all sad about it, but luckily
as soon as something leaves,
something else beautiful comes...


weekend list

oh, weekend,
let me tell you what i love about thee:

my sweetheart in her muck boots
 hauling fresh bark mulch
with garden tools worn smooth from use
in the trusty old wheelbarrow that has carried
the weight of so many years.

oh how i love
to look all around and see 
the endless possibilities
of what we can create
with soil, sun,
water, and seed.


life just doesn't get any better
than this...

(especially with this face
looking up at me)

old man tucker

our gardening helper, who digs with glee
through our gigantic pile of compost and soil mix.
he loosens and aerates it
and sometimes if i aim the wheelbarrow right beneath him
i can catch it and save myself some shoveling.

my sweet old survivor boy...

i didn't think i'd get another summer with him,
and yet here it is!

full of more chances to roll and scratch
and dig and fetch and
swim and
lie in the mud and
have belly rubs
kisses and love.

oh weekend,
thank you.


the humble chive

I love how the young bud looks almost like an onion skin.

And how it slowly peels back

a little more each day

 until the skin is spread wide open

 and every petal is free.

Chives are such dynamos.
They reseed themselves.  They have a gorgeous little flower.
They're bountiful and lush with absolutely no maintenance.
At least here in Zone 5...

Things to do with chives:
You can pluck the blossoms and peel them apart into little strands.

You can roll a log of chevre in the blossoms,
so beautiful!

Add them to a green salad or an egg salad or any
kind of thing you might want to have a little oniony flavor. 

You can do the same thing with the green stems, of course.
Mince and add to your eggs
or blend into your cream cheese
or your butter.
(so good I could almost eat it by the spoonful,
chive butter is my absolute fave!)

A dallop
and you get a whallop
of great flavor. 

And the best thing of all, they're milder than a green onion
and they don't give me
 heart burn like the latter sometimes do. 

p.s. oh but don't feed chives to your chickens
 unless you want your eggs to taste a little oniony!
it'd be fine for a frittata, but less fine in a cupcake...   :)


singing the praises of dandelions

who could call such a beautiful flower a weed?




Dandelions are nothing short of amazing.
Some people hate them, but I know better.
I have fond memories of harvesting dandelion greens with my grandmother
from her yard for dinner, rinsing them in the collander in her old porcelain sink.

There's so much more you can do with dandelion than just eat the greens, though.
You can dig up the root and use it to make a tincture.
You can pop off the blossoms and make dandelion wine.
You can make dandelion vinegar, dandelion oil.

And there's an amazing tasting drink Sasha introduced me to, called Dandy Blend. 

And dandy it definitely is!
The dandiest.
My favorite new after-dinner drink
and sometimes in the morning, too.
Gotta try it with milk. 

You can get it online, or if you're a local, it's in Greenstar near the coffee.