Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Disney movie review by my 2-year-old

My little girl has grown very particular on her viewing selections. We've tried a handful of 'classics' but she tells us to turn them off. She doesn't like them. They are scary. 'Bad guys' really get to her. Especially bad guys with a human form. Animal or Monster bad guys aren't so bad. For example:

Beauty and the Beast: doesn't like Gaston, hates the beast.

Princess and the Frog: must skip any scene with the Shadow Man.

Little Mermaid: let's just not mention Ursula at all.

Tinkerbell and the Lost Treasure: brief chase scene and a troll encounter are a little intense, but we survive it and will agree to watch it again.

Her current favorite movie: Cinderella, totally fine. True, the cat chases mice, but this is normal. Some people can be mean and not outright violent or evil. This is also normal. Perfectly acceptable even. We all have our off days when we're a bit grumpy. Therefore "cinnernella no have bad dyes." and we will gladly replace her other current Disney viewing favorite (Mickey mouse clubhouse) with a Cinderella viewing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why my husband is an excellent father

It's been a turbulent summer in the job/income part of our world. We both have awesome jobs we love! For this, I am so grateful! His had strange and unpredictable hours and mine was 260 miles away. Things are mellowing out. He picked up a ground course (lecture class 5 days a week) and I've got a break from my one crazy 36-hour day each week. That said, the transition into job 'stability' has been rough on emagene.

Her whole life she's been used to seeing daddy during the day and going to sleep while he is at work. Now we wake up and either are taking him to work or he's already gone. He has taken over bedtime to help balance this, but when his day leans toward the 14-hour side, she gets a little ruffled. She needs her daddy. Fortunately, he's aware how important daddy-daughter time is and does his best to take her on the Tarmac when we pick him up, read 2 extra books at bedtime, or take a walk to the playground just the 2 of them no matter how tired, hungry and in need of a shower he is. I really did pick a good guy!

Today is no exception. After 6 10-12-hour days in a row, he has to spend his only day off sitting around a auto mechanic shop while they replace tires and tweak the alignment. Guess who desperately wanted to go? He obliged and loaded a two-year old in a pink princess dress into the car armed with coloring books, an imaginetics set, and fairy castle action figures. Hopefully they can watch the repairs through windows and eat popcorn while they bond. Or hit up the pizza buffet across the street.

Friday, September 21, 2012


For the last week and a bit, emagene has been waking soon after or during the morning "farm" chores. Or rather at dawn.

This is new. We have always been a sleep until 930 or 10 family. We also go to bed around 930, so this works for us. Getting up at dawn does not. Yes, I have to let the chickens out so they have access to food, water, and their personal Favorite nesting box. But after opening the doors, refilling their bowls and a quick glance that no one is injured, I go back to bed for an hour!

I do attribute a few of these morning wakings to my forgetting to close the blinds in emagene's room the previous night. That pesky, and beautiful, morning sun, with it's shifting arc as the seasons change, now shines straight on her tiny sleeping face.

Other mornings, she arrises unsure if we are taking daddy to work or if she should wave at him through the front windows. Either way, it's a guaranteed moment with her father before he starts another 10-14 hour work day so I let it be and get on with breakfast preparations.

More often then not, as the colors fade from the sky and I'm slipping back in bed for a few more blissful moments of sleep, I hear "momma!" coming from across the hall. she'll crawl in with me for a few moments before the hunger sets in, or she'll call out, hear my reply and fall back to sleep. On the nights when she has joined us in the big bed, a reassuring snuggle typically puts her back to sleep. Lately it's been all about snuggling in the overstuffed rocking armchair, with a breakfast smoothie, watching Mickey mouse clubhouse on YouTube.

I know all things change in time. In this moment, in the absence of afternoon naps, I am thoroughly grateful when we go back to sleep for a couple of hours before we start our day of park playdates, chores, or swimming lessons.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grace and Understanding

I remember getting a chain email back in college when email was still new - these are now the infamous copy and paste status updates. The email dealt with friendships. I no longer have the original, but the gist of it was people will move in and out of your life. You may form bonds with these people, but remember these relationships have purpose. Some will come for a season, some with a specific reason and some for a lifetime.

If you choose to believe, and I do, that people come into your life to serve a purpose - to teach you, or help you through something - then i believe you must also accept when that purpose is fulfilled s/he may leave your life. Some leave graciously, as if on the wind and you don't necessarily notice their absence until a chunk of time has passed. Others leave with a flourish, negative or positive, but a flourish, being sure you will never forget their existence.

I remember reading that email nearly 15 years ago and being distraught because I didn't want to accept that some of my supposed friends would walk out my life. I have since changed my stance. I am thankful for the lessons these people, kind and otherwise, have taught me. I would not be who I am without their involvement. I have also realized that I may be the drifting friend in someone else's life. I hope to fulfill whatever my needed role is with grace and understanding. I hope that I bless those with whom I connect. If not, please know the less than positive interaction was unintentional. I wish for you the best! Please, pass on the blessing to the next teacher who enter your life.

Thank you for coming into my world. Stay as long as you need.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

shift into autumn

Last night I took a moment to really look at what I was cooking for dinner: Grilled chicken breast sandwiches, homemade sweet potato fries and kale chips. A couple days ago it was curry lentil soup, homemade beerbread and ice cream.

I think I may be feeling the seasonal shift with all this comfort food!

We've loaded up on books every time we've walked past the library, have started planning crafts, bought a lot of bulk dry goods and cleaned the bugs out of the closets. Swept out the garden shed, planted root vegetables, and gathered "school" supplies. I guess I could have noticed the change earlier but I wasn't paying attention.

Here's to 'tucking in!' May you have all you need in the coming season!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

hope for the garden

I have mixed emotions when it comes to my garden. It has a chance of survival against the grasshoppers because of the chickens. However, it doesn't have a chance to thrive when paired against the chickens' talons, love for scratching, and curiosity for bugs under the topsoil.


After losing most of our spring garden to chicken raids and pill bugs, we tried this idea: add a chicken wire cage to the top of the existing fence. (More about the fence in this post) We have also treated with a homemade Neem solution and a healthy dusting of Diatomaceous Earth.
The basil is very safe from crawling, chewy bugs thanks to a little girl with a re-purposed garlic powder shaker and a desire to give the plant 'vitamins' until it said it was good.  

   As I was out prepping the soil for root planting when my garden buddy, Ferdy, after being shooed out the gate a few times, tried to hop upon the fence to watch me. She was immediately rejected by the wire! The garden might have a chance for a fall bounty!!

With this bit of hope in my heart I planted a small amount of root crops, mostly to act as a learning crop since I've never grown turnips or radishes before. Following the lunar planting guide in the Farmers Almanac online (here), I've got a plan for getting something out of this plot of dirt before winter. We've got a handful of plants started indoors and ready for hardening. Hoping to get them successfully in the ground next week.

What are you growing right now?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The challenge has started!

As I mentioned. I'm taking part in a read-a-thon sponsored by the Domestic Pagan. This is a week long intensive to see who can read the most pagan themed material. I'm going to keep a reading log on this post, either by updating the post or adding a comment when I start/finish a book.
Here's to reading!

(here's the link to this specific challenge)

Sept 9, 10am-ish ~ Today I'm starting with Steve Zeitlin's The Four Corners of the Sky; creation stories and cosmologies from around the works.

Sept 10 ~ finished! Very awesome beginners (as in middle school) guide to comparative religions. In my pre-schooling mind I'm writing this down as a "textbook" for future use.
Next up ~ the triumph of the moon: a history of modern pagan witchcraft, by Ronald Hutton. But its on the hold shelf at the library. So until i get there tomorrow, I'm gonna read The Book of Guinevere. Does that count toward the read-a-thon?

Sept 11~ the history will not be happening at this point because it is a history book and a bit dry. Instead, Tarot Unveiled; the method to its magic by Laura a clarion.
While waiting for the mister to finish work I stumbled upon Witches 101 on my iBook (all my real books were at home). I wasn't able to put it down! I now must read Witches of East End by Melissa de las Cruz. How did I miss this one?!?! Back to the Tarot book...

the challenge has ended. I did not read much that was not aimed for small children :) The Tarot book was set aside to read Babar, and Mr. Peabody's Apples, and a number of Berenstein Bear classics. We also started swim lessons, transplanted our starts for the fall garden and attended a blues festival. I am in no way disappointed in the amount of reading I got done for me. Today's outcast skies will lend themselves wonderfully to an afternoon under a blanket on the sofa with a book.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Hen House Gets a Face Lift

Our girls have been blissfully enjoying a cozy home in the shade throughout this HOT Texas Summer. With the change in Seasons upon us, it became evident that vegetable oil stain and the bare roof needed a little love if we expected the house to survive the downpours.

 Finding half a package of comp shingles in the garden shed, the roofer reappeared.

When the heat and humidity became close to unbearable (early July), the girls had begun preferring the lower tree branches to the safety of the hen house. So I (sorry Planet!) ran to Wal-Mart and purchased this $7 battery operated fan and installed it with cable ties to the ceiling. It points away from the access door toward the screened, vent windows in the opposite corner. The girls roost bar, barely noticeable behind the fan, is positioned at a angle, to accommodate all of the them, between the fan and the windows. As long as it is on when they head to bed, I don't have to pull chickens out of the tree after dark! 

(That's Fluffy, being all broody and grumpy on the elevated nesting box. She's generally the only one who uses this box. We have 3 'momma approved' nests around the yard.)

Originally, E and I 'painted' the house with a coating of vegetable oil to seal the wood. I was told in Backyard Chicken Class (offered at the Zarrow Regional Library in Tulsa, OK) to be mindful that cooped chickens will peck at the wood enclosing them. Therefore it would be safer to seal the wood with food grade oil instead of staining or painting the interior.

Using leftover paint from various other projects, E and I gave the exterior a little face lift.

That precariously perched board is placed there to ensure the the feeder stays dry and in the shade.  The opening below is covered with chicken wire. The outside of the run is covered with 1/4 inch hardware cloth.

Still to be done: frame the outside of the windows with a matching trim and replace a few grips on the ramp.

Even with the To Do list not thoroughly completed, the ladies seem pleased with the new look of their house.

All photos taken by Sara Dalton-Busch

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

a reading challenge

I was doing a google search for ideas to celebrate the Blue Moon and stumbled across a the Domestic Pagan's blog.She had great ideas for the moon observation and a  Pagan Reading Challenge.

I have been searching for a book list and a challenge to keep me motivated on reading more than Clifford the Big Red Dog (like this one). This challenge seems wonderful, even though I am starting about 9 months late. Oh well, It'll keep me focused until the end of the year.

Visit the link above and join up. She links to a couple other blogs with their own reading challenges and booklists. I'm excited to get started!

what are you reading these days?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chicken frustration

So the girls do, basically, whatever they want. They jump the garden fence, steal each others eggs, and get viciously cranky when broody.

My first broody hen acted exactly like I expected. She stayed in her nest for days squawking at anyone who came within feet of her. We swapped out her real eggs for plastic ones, forced her off the nest to eat, politely gave her space when sweeping up the poop, and looked out for large land mines when she came out for a dust bath. We finally got her off the nest by placing a ceramic pot in there while she was off bathing. She was done with brooding straight away. Thankfully!

The next day another chick showed the beginning signs of broodiness: cranky, egg-stealing, and aggressive.

Thankfully, it only lasted a day.

After the hens go through this they take a little break from laying while their hormones return to normal. They returned to normal in the middle of the night last night.

The girls like to cuddle upon a roost bar over the closed ramp at night. (our coop is small and portable. They don't seem to mind as they are only in there at night and maybe to lay.) Because its a ramp and not an actual floor, there is no padding or nesting material to catch eggs that fall during the night. So they fall, split open, are never snuggled to hardness, and result in a required thorough hen house cleaning. This has happened before when a couple days of dark storm clouds alters someone's schedule. But double eggs with a layer of poo in the middle is not my favorite "good morning" present. I'd rather have scrambled eggs, that have been cooked by a human, while laying in bed.

Plus I'm out two eggs and needed those to pay for my borrowed lawn mower later this afternoon!

This is frustrating, but not as frustrating as the fence jumping.

We have a high fence along the back of our yard. Like 8 feet tall. Yesterday I only saw three chickens in the middle morning hours; the two recovering brooders and Minerva. Ferdy, who got the worst of the pecking and egg stealing, was missing. I quietly check everywhere, trying not to wake the neighbors. But in frustration I started asking the chickens where'd she gone. Had they seen her? I cluck as if I was sharing treats and hear a ruffle of feathers, some scratching and the rustle of some leaves. Ferdy appeared on top of the back fence next to the fruitless pear tree! I quickly grabbed her foot and got her back in my yard. The rest of the day was spent double checking she was still around and trying to be grateful that she was honoring my desire for her to stay out of the garden...

Oh that garden and those chickens don't stand a chance of existing together if the hens can clear 8 foot high fences!