Friday, April 26, 2013

little peaks of coming warmer weather

All four chickens are laying again! That must mean the warm weather is on the way, finally! This North Texas 'spring' has been strange, to say the least. Its been in the mid-80s just long enough to convince everyone to plant their gardens and flower beds and then we'll have 3 nights of almost freezing temperatures. We actually lost half our first planting due to an unexpected frost. But now, hopefully, with my careful watching on our animals, I believe this last week's near freeze was the last.

See, one of my chickens, Minerva, stopped laying in late October, just as the nights were starting to have a slight chill and the day light dropped below 14-hours a day (fairly standard chicken habit. Its a general rule to expect your girls to go off lay when they are too cold, molting, broody, sick or simply think the days are too short). She has started laying again. For a while, we thought we were going to lose this poor bird. She caught a cold during one of the snow storms and has taken months to recover. (also typical chicken behavior. A chest cold can kill a chicken.) I tried everything! Homeopathic and conventional medicine alike. Nothing seemed to be working. But with the return of the warm weather and a daily dose of oregano, her coughing has ceased, her digestive system is functioning more normally and she has started laying again. Just in time for Fluffy (my smallest girl) to re-start laying after being broody for a bit.

So, I am back to 4 eggs a day. Now we can start trading for the neighbor's lawn mower again!

A few more Summer is Here clues: organic strawberries are on sale for $2.99! Strawberry shortcakes for dinner! And Pete just told me today he received a note from the neighbor lady shoved under the front door while he was taking me to work. As he was reading this note kindly informing him that one of our hens was in the her yard, said hen ran through our front yard.

With eggs boiling, strawberries syruping, restless chickens, and a child sleeping late, Summer must be on the way!


And the lizards are out at night!

happy flowers

The other day I noticed the yellow wood sorrel was blooming. It's a clover relative, edible, favorite snack of the chickens. So naturally its only blooming in the front yard. I pointed it out to emagene told her it makes me happy to see the yellow flowers because that means its warming up, finally! We ate some leaves and went on our way.
We've been watching the wild flowers (or weeds) blooming their different colors for the last few weeks: white, blue, yellow.

Yesterday she came running. "Mom the purple ones that make me happy are here!" A patch of something had all bloomed at once in the center of the yard. And right next to it, she pointed, "And see? The yellow ones that make you happy!"

Monday, April 22, 2013

seeds of thought

I was cleaning out my email inbox and found all these little nuggets of blog seeds that I had sent to myself from the my smart phone over the last year or so.

Emagene hates sweet potatos
Loves music class!
Grocery aisle
Her: 2 generations older than me, picking her trusted brands: 
demonte and huntse 
Me: picking my trusted organic brands: Muir Glen and Eden
Same tomato-y outcome
Birds- rain forest -spring
Dog is antsy I'm antsy
Just sitting and waiting 
'nothing is impossible. The word itself says, 'I'm possible.'"
 -audrey Hepburn
Right now march 26, 2012
I'm watching the washing blow in the wind
Listening to the contented peeping of free ranging chicks
Wearing freshly washed flip flops
Not wearing shoes because they need to be washed again
Amused by the ramblings of my 2-year old
Watching the sun tea turn deep amber
Waiting for news about the man's job
Wondering how how many gallons are being pumped through the 
sprinkler in the name of cooling,learning and over-watering
 June 3, 2012
Look around you and see what excites you; explore that.
What if everything excites me? Gardening, livestock, sustainably 
using the land I live on, animation, theatre, lighting, 
photography, traveling, doing nothing, doing everything, 
dancing, connecting, yoga, sitting under trees, sitting 
in trees, snuggling, painting,  
it seems that my inner mind is distracted refereeing battles. 
My Self now and my Self 10 years ago are constantly waging war 
as to which life style brought me the most fulfillment. 
Nothin highlights inner struggles quite like a seasonal shift 
into winter with its focus on the home hearth and self, the 
passing of loved ones or a meteor shower. And I have all three 
at my disposal tonight! 
Ah! My self of ten years ago would scoff at my self now. Giving 
up a room above a pub in a busy neighborhood of London for a cozy 
house on the outskirts of town surrounded by chickens and my own 
child. The me now wishes I had saved some of that money I spent on 
fun and paid more toward student loan avoidment. The me now giggles 
because it seems fairly standard for women entering their mid-30s 
to write a letter to their 20-year old self.  What would the me now 
tell the me back then? Don't leave London! You'll never make it 
back across the border! You'll get stuck in America!  Maybe. I 
may say smart things like keep up the focus. Give up the awesome 
trip to spain to be the 3rd AD on that low budget film. Maybe. But 
I think I would mostly say: Good job following your heart, living 
your dreams, exploring what you had access to, and keep on going. 
No regrets! Create learning opportunities and your perseption will
keep changing for the positive. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A new play place

I don't know about you guys but every Spring and Fall I systematically go through everything in my house. Clothes and cobwebs are usually first and then the yard and garden work. Once I'm comfortably clothed and the planting is done, I look around the house and try to find a way to be more comfortable indoors once the heat (or cold) sets in. Can we avoid the hottest room of the house in the late afternoon? Where can we hide during that time? This year, I've re-purposed my dining room.

I've been wanting to do this ever since moving our full-sized bed into Emagene's room and noticed how uninviting playtime in there became. She's getting bigger and more complicated play is happening. She needs more space to be creative than her crowded, closet-less room with one too few bookshelves allowed. So I rearranged and created space for dramatic play in a well lit room that also houses the AC unit! Those concrete floors are going to feel so great on bare feet come July! And when this pregnant mama needs a break, the grown-up table is right behind me perfectly situated for painting and Play-Doh time!
Now to make some darker curtains for that south facing window before things really heat up!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Springtime Fun

These are a bit late. But since this happened between our equinox celebration and Easter, I don't feel too guilty. We attended two egg hunt parties this year which meant we had to spend a day hiding and re-hiding eggs for each other in the front lawn. This girl of mine likes finding lost things. Time to start scavenger hunts around the house, perhaps?

I didn't get a great photo of Emagene's turn hiding the eggs. It was pretty priceless though. They were stored in color matching pairs in a circle about 12 inches from the basket. One group did make it under a tree. I did my best to 'search' for all 12 eggs :)

We had a blast and at the end of the day met Oreo, the neighbor's dwarf rabbit. Seemed fitting to me, even though it was a Friday.

Monday, April 1, 2013

the inner workings of my mind, part3

A long time ago Pete and I decided that we didn't want to, and never were going to care about, dieting. We love to eat. We love to listen to our cravings and honor them. We believe in moderation and in the moderation of moderation itself. Sometimes overindulgence is a fabulous idea! Probably why Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday and we always insist on cooking even if we are eating at someone else's on the day. We may have some unknown strain of Italian in our blood for we live as though no one can be having a good time without food or drink in their hand. We eat dishes whose recipes originated all over the world. A few favorites are Pho Tai, Pho Ga, Greek Orzo Salad, Lasagna, Pad Thai, Ginger Green Beans, Bratwursts, BBQ chicken legs, Curried Lentil Soup, Dal, Lemingtons, Scones, Fish n Chips, Popcorn and Kale Chips.

We spend the majority of our money (after rent, utilities and Sallie Mae) on food. Entertainment is really at the bottom of our budget list. We get our rental books and videos from the library and maybe RedBox if we're desperate to catch up on something.

With this love of food comes our theory that Food is Fuel. The higher grade fuel you put into your body, the longer it will run.Why spend a fortune on medical bills when we can avoid them just by eating well? So our family plan of attack: Make as much of what we can from scratch, using organic ingredients whenever possible, avoiding GMOs and High Fructose Corn Syrup. We aim to consume edibles that are as close as is safe to when taken off the plant or away from the animal. We do buy packaged food. We live in a first world nation. Its incredibly hard to avoid all packaged food while living on a tiny budget. We pick and choose which condiments we are going to make, whether we have time this week to make granola or bread, do we feel confident in our hot sauce brewing abilities (the answer: not yet). When we do buy packaged, we aim for the products with the shortest ingredients list, involving words we can pronounce and/or identify their origins. If in doubt, throw it out! (or in this case, don't buy it in the first place). We go back and forth between being able to afford a co-op produce bag and being able to cope with a less then ideal food source. We aim to avoid companies we know have a partnership with Monsanto (which is most major brands, organic and not).

I know food sourcing and waste and all this hippie talk can be a touchy subject for some, so I would like to take a second a clarify that we are not perfect. We have been known to have a box of Oreos in the house, or indulge in some Ben and Jerry's or get take out that is most definitely loaded with MSG. But for 87.26% of the time, we spend a little extra money to get higher quality ingredients and hope to keep our doctor's visits limited to prenatal exams and well-child check ups. We are constantly learning how to combat early cold signals with teas and essential oils. We eat soup weekly and are extremely adamant about spending extra, for what Pete calls The Good Stuff, when it comes to our animal based consumption.

So there it is. My philosophy on food. Food is Fuel. Spend your money on healthy Body Fuel, stay out of the hospital, off meds and live a long, happy life eating!

Anybody want a beer? or tea? or this vegan galette I just made?