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


summer chicken treats


The girls come running over whenever they see us,
but if they see us carrying food, then they really come flapping like crazy chickens!

One thing they realllllllllllly go gaga over is corn.
Sure, it's in the dry food that we give them... but they agree with me,
there's just nothing like fresh corn on the cob!

When we have some to spare - we'll give them whole ears of sweet corn.
And when we've eaten off ears of sweet corn ourselves,
we'll give them the scrap cobs.
They're able to get in all the little nooks and crannies with their beaks.
 they attack it! 

I try to scatter them around so each hen has some space to eat...
Sometimes the girls go from one to the other, sort of like circuit training. 
The bosses are in charge. 
Once one of the big hens wants to rotate, the others adjust and figure out a new spot to go.
I guess it's more like musical chairs.  Er... corn cobs!
Inevitably they end up with corn pieces on their beaks
and it's just so darn cute...


echinacea anomaly

I found this surprising echinacea anomaly while I was mulching.
(I did a double take because I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me...
I thought it was two flowers close in proximity, but then saw that they're from the same stem.)

It's kind of like an echinacea conjoined twin???

Whatever it is, it makes me smile!


chicken spoon rest

One thing about our chickens is that they love to be around us.
They come running and a'flappin whenever they see us.
And crazy or not, we really love to be around them, too...

They make us smile.  
They make us kick back and just relax.
We sit with them.  They fly up on our laps and want some love, 
so we pet and talk to them.  
When I say talk, I really mean make chicken sounds back at them.
You should really try it some time.

Sometimes we wish we could just bring them in the house with us, 
but we know it would be an awful mess and there's nothing we hate more than messes!
(Never mind the fact that the dogs would definitely eat them!!!)

So we find other ways to bring 'the girls' in the house.
 And here is one way that's both useful and fun. 

You see, Jersey really wanted to come in and perch next to the stove
 and serve as a resting place for all of our spoons - 
whether they're coming from the sauce pot, the stock pot, or the skillet - 
she doesn't care...  
She just likes to keep us company in the kitchen
and to help us out.

She's a little bit of a daredevil (er, darechicken)...

It's as close as she'd like to get to the stove, 
without ever being in it or on it! 

You can get your very own chicken spoon rest on Etsy here.

I love how this hen even has brown eyes, just like our girl Jersey really does.
Aw shucks.


dancing carrots

Even vegetables like to dance sometimes...

I wonder what kind of music this carrot would like the piano to play?
A jig?  Some jazz?  Blues?


advice from the Queen of Hearts

Okay, so this isn't a picture of the Queen of Hearts...
 (Glinda is so much friendlier to look at, and she won't yell for your head to be chopped off, either!)

But this is one of my favorite quotes from Alice in Wonderland...

She may have actually been onto something here
about imagining the impossible,
don't you think?

I try to spend a little time each day letting my mind break free of the limits
of  "possible" or "normal" or "practical" and to just have fun with it, wherever it goes.
Once you start to believe in the impossible, or even just the very difficult,
if you're anything like I am --
you'll start to feel the itch to make it happen. 

Give it a try and see where it takes you...


advice from the dogs

it's really quite simple:

of course, there's a time to bark, as every dog knows...
but knowing when to bark (and for what cause)...
that, my friends, makes all the difference.


shiitake logs

I've wanted to try my hand at growing mushrooms for a couple of years now,
 but I was relatively clueless about how to get started...

Just when I had almost dropped the idea entirely...
the mushroom fairies intervened.

When we were at an open house for Early Morning Farm, our CSA,
Double E Farms happened to be there to walk any interested folks through an inoculation. 

It was really fun and way simpler than I had imagined...!  
Granted they brought the logs, a handy inoculating table (we decided  sawhorses with a notched out piece to cradle the log would work well at home) and they had pre-drilled the logs so the holes were all ready to inoculate.  And inoculate we did!  With shiitake spores.  

The inoculating tools are either palm or thumb style -
depending on whether you'd rather bop the spawn in with your palm or push down with your thumb... 
I preferred the palm style and found it to be fun and rhythmic. 
Once we got going faster, it reminded me of the arcade game whack-a-mole,
instead of moles, we were targeting empty holes.

After you've put your mushroom spores in, then you seal them in with wax.  We used cheese wax.   Sloppy job, but hey, it was our first time and we wanted to make sure they were sealed well! 

Then you keep them in a shady place (they don't like light),
 and make sure they don't get too dry.
Since it's been a very dry summer here,
I simply mist them with the garden hose from time to time.
A mushroom crop is one of those things you have to be patient for. 
Even more patient than garlic.
The colonization periods takes a looong time.  
Then they'll 'fruit' (i.e. make mushrooms) in about a year! 

I'm not sure how many shiitakes we'll get from our two logs,
but I do know one thing for sure that we'll do with them. 
My favorite is just to saute the shiitakes down with butter and shallots and a little thyme. 
 Serve on crostini with the cheese that suits your mood...  chevre, blue, brie...  



Don't forget to take a little time to rest your wings
and enjoy what remains of this sweet and fleeting summer...

common whitetail (male)

This reminder to pause and relax
to reflect and appreciate all that is good...
 is what I see written on the wings of the dragonfly,
or the hummingbird, or in the face of the sunflower,
or shining in the eyes of our old dogs.

Everything around us has some wisdom.
We hear and see what we need to, when we're ready.

Most creatures seem to say the same thing to me,
because I'm a bit thick-headed and forget this lesson. 
I need to learn it over and over.

They all say it to me in their own way:

Oh, dear... 
Stop being such a busybody of a human!
Let those busy thoughts float on like the clouds
and put that neverending to-do list aside.
Even if it's just for a few minutes...
Just feel the love.  Just open up. 
Be free.
Just be.