Friday, August 31, 2012

Things a day can hold

Someone got a new dress

We're going through the Clothing Optional phase of childhood. Since its over 100 everyday, I don't usually fight it (playdates, company and outings excluded). Then she discovered this dress her auntie made when she was super tiny. She has only taken it off to let me launder it.

I smell love in the air!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Plasma Screens

I have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. I love being able to stream pandora in the backyard, take photos, edit and upload them instantly. The gps, and instant google are also bonuses. But I hate that I'm always staring at this tiny thing.

I noticed recently, that my family tends to rotate which screen we are staring at. Be it the laptop, the iPhone, or the tv with its Netflix, xbox, blueray or Olympic viewing features. We will pleasantly rotate from screen to screen until someone (usually me) suggest we make a meal or go check on the chickens.

Now, don't get me wrong, we learn a lot while using our devices. How to count or swim, names of weeds, awesome homemade recipes for chicken electrolytes, fall gardening tips, what our friends are doing in their spare time, how to make vegetable tarts, etc. But we also have to shift through Justin bieber nonsense, political annoyance, complaining, recipes for everything, pinterest posts, and other peoples religious opinions instead of looking at each other in the face and playing color-coded dominos.

I do acknowledge that my industry wouldn't exist without those who are dialed in, taking photos, posting and reporting about pop culture. So that part of me, the I-need-to-care-to-get-paid part seriously conflicts with my I-know-I'm-staring-at-my-iPhone-because-I'm-trying-to-determine-if-that-plant-is-poisonous-but-my-daughter-only-knows-I'm-staring-at-my-phone-again part and I'm thinking it's time for a shift. I feel less lame if my girl sees me using books to try and answer questions (probably because she can look too without an accidental keystroke messing everything up). We love getting dirty together and are about to enter a new project focused completely on dirt, compost and chicken poop, without technology.

In all this rambling I'm hearing myself say I need to find a way to glean only the knowledge I'm searching for and then put the device down! Find a way to incorporate the girl into the research process, especially since it seems to take twice as long as the projects do. I hate schedules at home (home is for relaxing and being free), but maybe it's time to schedule computer time and unhook my phone from the interwebs ?? IPhone only for photos and music?

For more thoughts on this idea check out Rachel Macy Stafford's writings on this blog:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The day we managed to do it all

I'm never sure if I should love these days because we got it all done, or hate them because they reinforce my belief that I can do it all. 

Not pictured: Mickey's Clubhouse viewings (current favorite), laundry, dishes, cleaning the inside of the coop, Play-Doh fun, frying and eating of the Black-Eyed Pea cakes (recipe in Southern Living's Farmers Market cookbook available here),  bathtime, grilling of chicken for the freezer, and many other things.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hello, Autumn!

The last few days I've been noticing tiny hints of seasonal change in the air. Autumn may not be due for another month but the shift away from summer is upon us. And it couldn't be better timed!

I am not particularly attached to grass and well, honestly, tend to neglect it. My landlord on the other hand feels a green lawn is important. Due to temperatures well over 100, pending draught, and high utility costs, my lawn more closely resembles the color yellow than green. We have watered some part of it everyday, but mostly to benefit the chickens and not enough to breed mosquitos. I bet the grass couldn't be more thankful for this back-to-school storm.

Going into Summer as a new chicken farmer had me more than slightly nervous. Especially with this first summer being in texas! Fortunately, the chickens have made it through the horrid heat with secret tips known only to veteran chicken fanciers. I am thankful to have entered into this realm, armed with blogs, books and google searches full of the helpful hints of seasoned farmers. I will carry on egg collecting armed with this new knowledge and confidence. Oh the unending uses of vinegar, molasses, and baking soda!

The seasonal shift also brings a personal shift, one I've come to recognize and add to my personal Nature versus Nuture debate: I begin to grab at knowledge. I start acquiring reading lists, project ideas, #2 pencils, and creative inspiration. This dip in temperature is like all the ones in years previous: time to harvest the remaining summer experiences and prepare for the future. At the moment, we've hit the pool pretty often, started plans for a fall/winter garden, did repairs to the backyard before knowing a storm was coming, and gathered new cookbooks from the library.

What inspiration is the seasonal shift sending your way? What have you learned from the season left behind?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Today's giggle

key to deciphering "Emagene":

no word is allowed to start with a vowel, therefore the word 'an' is split in two. For example: an owl becomes a nowl; Apple, napple; olive, nahlive; Egg, negg. Etc.

Words ending with the letter p should be recited backwords: help becomes pleh. Up becomes puh.

When convenient, shorten the actual amount of words by combining as many as possible.

Artemis has been renamed 'minar' because Emagene said so. The dog is starting to get the hint.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The aviary

We seem to have created an aviary.

We have the 4th house on the block. From the end of the street one must pass a backyard full of teenagers, a backyard full of boys under 8, and a desolate backyard of a house for sale. Granted, upon reaching our yard one is welcomed by two mature cottonwood trees, a pecan tree and close over the back fence an ancient dessert willow. This yard's primary function is to be a habitat for four free-range naked-neck chickens. Being so means bowls of fresh water, changed daily, are scattered everywhere shade is constant. It also means that shady areas are created, maintained and well supplied with food; each a mini-aviary.

For example:

Two broad leafed shrubs grow on the west side of the deck. They serve as a source of shade for the chickens, a cover for sparrows coming to visit the bird feeder or share the chicken water which is on the deck (out of reach of scratching backsplash and therefore always clean). These shrubs have housed a pair of nesting doves and their two chicks in early spring and currently house a young pair of nesting cardinals and their baby in the same nest. The chickens and sparrows borrow the dirt for baths in exchange for depositing fertilizer.

The bushes seem thankful for their additional job as a water park. We've hung a sheet between the shrubs and the deck to keep the grass-less area cool and inviting. We also spray the dirt, straw and branches down at least three times a day allowing water to pool under and on the bushes.

The chickens are living through the heat wave and so are the wild birds in this area, thanks to these two shrubs. A stopping point on ones way through the neighborhood to the giant bird feeders on the other end.

Our aviary is one of the few plants thriving in my yard right now: These bushes and the basil.