Friday, February 29, 2008

celebratin' wohoo

got my first ny theatre solo design gig today. it's official. agents have been given an offer and the paperwork is in the works. wohoo.

maybe not much to wohoo about but i'm thrilled with the script, it's a juicy not so happy ending but totally realistic, it's a great director, austin pendleton and it's a great collaborative team so far. i don't imagine the money will be huge but it's the group of collective artists and the opportunity that is exciting.

and what a surprise. this is a project that was talked about two years ago. i had let it go recently thinking it was not going to pan out. guess again!

happy days!
i washed the news down with two guinness stouts (my mainstay bevvy of choice) and a 1/2 order of fish and chips from the dog and duck pub in austin texas. mmm mmm, only allowed when something rockin' goes down. this is a rockin' event. go girl, rock nyc.

now i am at home in my pj's chillin' with my man mr. tsupercat. i've got to get some sleep in that i've got to be rested for the work i need to achieve this weekend. celebrating is over. back to reality. cheers.

watch n time

my watch finally kicked it some time yesterday.
it had been showing signs of ware for a while.
i wonder is there a hidden message within it's departure?
einstein, sagan where are you now?
speak to me.

for now i'll allow the garden's growth and compost's process to push me along.
oh if my life could be driven so.

it could.
if i chose so.
careful what you speak.
to the compost pile then to work.

nippy nippy

we had a little dip in the weather. most everyone made it through just fine. some of the potato plants not so fine but not so bad that they'll not make it. tips of their leaves were shocked and lost but i had just hilled them up so a good number of leaf sprouts are available for pick up directly under the soil. we may get one more drop in temp this coming monday. i'll be sure to give them a little extra care with a cover up of hay.

the chicken coop is going to have to wait a week. there is a whole lot of other work needing my attentions. and the interior of the house could use a good cleaning. i'm not a fan of a dusty home so i've got to take care of it before i go nutty.

it's been a tough and steady week. lots of hours of work. lots of brain burning (heavy thinking) and lots of face time in front of large groups of folks. i'm feeling the buzz of exhaustion. good news though, i just need to get through today then i can pack things up and bring them home. it's nice enough now to sit on porch and work. and that's the plan for the weekend. to work out of doors as much as possible.

it will be nice considering i've got the two screened in porches. i'll have a view of the garden and the coop in progress so i won't feel too cooped up myself. i'll take a break here and there and cook up the next week's bread and shop for a few essentials (milk, etc.) but for the most part it will be necessary to keep up the pace.

thinking hard about the pace for next year. at this moment i truly feel like taking on very little in addition to my full time but i know deep down my soul might not like that long term. we'll see, contracts have not filtered in yet, there is yet a little bit of time to ponder.

quality of life... quality of life... quality of life...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

small town


small town no need to grow so fast
small town sit back, take in your own small town view
small town small town a beautiful thing to be
small town go slow grow slow

our little town is in the midst of a growth spurt. many of us residents appreciate the character of our home for it's smallness, for it's ability to disappear to passers by. to be a little bit of quiet less touched by the busyness of the world. our small bit of happiness in the universe. most of us who live here, live here by choice. i hope we town folk have the voice to keep our small town small-ish.

love your small town. big is not everything.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

in the house out of the house

so it goes the seedlings are back inside for a few more days, maybe a week. good thing i did not place the tomato and eggplant babies in the ground this past weekend. they would have shivered themselves silly last night in the 33˚ degree temps. ah how those false warm days tempt me.

never fear though, everyone is safe and sound inside, cozying back up to their window and looking pretty good. the tomatoes are gaining height by the day it seems and i'm tempted to plant them into bags of soil and build a temporary cold frame so as to keep them from becoming too lanky and falling over. that will more than likely be the saturday plan. i've got an old window that i can use as the frame top and some hay, bricks and pieces of cut oak tree that i can fashion the side supports from. i am sure i can come up with some sort of poor woman's cold frame given the challenge.

my eggy eggplant are looking fine as well. this is the first round of eggplant that i've ever grown from seed and to be honest i was not sure how they would fare but they seem to be doing well. they too are ready for planting in deeper ground but they will have to wait to go outside a little bit longer being the heat lovers that they are. i could set up an area for them surrounded by hot compost.

aha! that might work well for the maters too. see, just let the brain go for a bit and solutions surface. groovy! we've got a plan.

it's nice being home. the morning sunlight is a comfort. the companionship of growing things and my all time favorite mr t. supercat is a blessing. life is good in the hippy chick universe.

Monday, February 25, 2008

crazy coop caper buys some time

the prepping for the chicken folk gained a bit of time today. i sat down with the what's really going on in the daily life schedule and came to a conclusion. best to wait until early may in order to insure proper attentions for the additional new ladies of the family. i've also decided to purchase pullets rather than chicks. i'm a bit in and out of town for the next few months and would not want to leave the little ones in some one else's care, just does not seem fair. so here we are being responsible and patient.

good news is that it gives me more time to really swank up the coop. i'm thinking windows at the top, a gable or exhaust fan, lighting (gotta have good lighting) and some souping up of the chicken hutch.

i spent a little time today calling some folk up; local farmers about their luck with chickens in the area. pecan creek farm had some real friendly folk. they suggested looking into the 'started red' chicken type, said they are docile, friendly and like to follow you around. other folk suggest the leghorns as expected but say they can be fliers if you allow them out and about.

see what you get when you just call some peeps up. most folk are happy to help. thanks folks!

so i picked out the girls and put in my order. i chose 1 black star started pullets, 1 started red star pullets and 1 white leghorn pullets. yipee.

i bet they are not even a thought in their mother's eye at the moment.

happy thought of the day... we'll have a real nice home ready and waiting once the stork flies over.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

home for peeps of the chicken sort

today is build a home for the chicken peeps day. or was rather, the sun is now down, my hands are tired and dinner is in the making (pasta with home grown pesto). i decided today to go with coop design plan b. plan a was to use a design created by dennis. it's a fine design but i thought, why not make something from the digs already on the property?

i've got a covered area in the back that is rarely used, in a perfect location and of a good size. why not build into it rather than building something completely from scratch? this is a positive step forward for me. i am one of those who tends to reinvent the wheel. not this time folks. and in the span of a day - today - i got the place framed out, installed a door and ready for the chicken wire. not bad if i do say so myself.

i hand cut each stud and used outdoor screws to connect all pieces. the design? i just sat down this morning and figured the whole thing out then went off to pick up the supplies and got to work. take a look!

this picture shows how the coop sits within the structure. the size is 8' x 8' and the height is 8'6".
this is an image of what i call the front of the pen. i have located a door on the left and created several securing devices to deter unwanted visitors. the temporary nesting coop is inside. i did not design the nesting coop myself. it is sold as the chicken hutch. it's simple but allows ample air flow for warmer temperatures; like those we experience here in texas.


this is a front diagonal image. you can still see the door on the far left. this image gives you a better idea as to how i framed it out. i used 4"x4' cedar posts to frame out the floor. the structure is placed upon a cement floor which is great because it will keep the diggers out. i framed out the above as well; those that dig also climb so i'll have to secure all points of entry once i get to the chicken wire phase.

this is a side view. i used treated 2"x4" studs to frame out the verticals and 1"x 4" planks for the chair rail support and 1" x 2" strapping for an upper rail. you can see the outback garden to the north (your right in the picture) and the orchard area to the west (which would be on the opposite side of this p.o.v.)

i plan to raise the height of the kitchen hutch a bit so as to allow the chickens to wander beneath and give them more room to mosey their happy selves about.

the run is next on the list. my plan is to build a chicken run that exits the west side of the covered structure which is in the area of the apple, peach and plum trees. chickens and fruit trees, that should be a good combination. i plan on creating a run that starts out the height of the lower open area you see currently without any lattice.

not bad for a days work! never thought i could build something so sturdy. yeah me!

bread crumbs all over my self


oh it's good to be home. got up this morning and swept the kitchen and laundry area. I pulled out the coffee beans, ground some and got a fresh pot started. i poked around the fridge to see how things had fared in my absence. everything just fine, even the milk (organic) after two long weeks away. tucked in the back a loaf and half of my home made sprouted grain bread. ah ha! toast for breakfast.

i sliced off two healthy sized pieces and popped them in the toaster oven that my mother calls "they eyesore". it's not the newest model on the block but it works just fine and i'm happy enough with that. maybe someday i'll hand it off to a person in need and upgrade but for now, she works well enough for me. on went some yogurt butter... mmm soft, sweet and crunchy crust bits all over me, perfect.

i took the toast for a walk around the yard; my morning ritual. the squirrel and bird chatter is exceptionally lively today. the neighborhood cats must be lurking excited by the chatter just like myself. all seemed in order. the lawn newly trimmed and gardens weeded all looking good. i was on the search for a location for several items. tomatoes, squash (which i will grow under cover), pumpkins and melons. you heard right, i am expanding.

season by season i'm doing a bit more. at present the garden beds are full and will not be harvested in time for the planting of the heat loving veggies sooooo expansion occurs. i've got room, it's just about where, sun hours, moisture, neighboring plants, etc. all this is part of my quest to turn the yard into a fully edible landscape. not just veggie patch after veggie patch but trees, bushes and vines that grow fruit and nuts. i'm well on my way, but i'm getting more careful in the planning.

i ask myself, how can i lush up this normally dry area? i remember how the sunlight hours shift as the pecan trees leaf up. i think about where the chickens are going to be and how they might impact the location. it's quite fun.

i've been looking at the weather and i think today is the day that i put out all of the tomato seedlings. i might wait until next weekend, we'll see. actually, you'll find out later today what happens. i have an idea of what might happen but you'll just have to wait and see. the weather is great so i think i could get quite a bit done, given my back holds on. it's aching again - age and a bit out of shape is where i credit the pain from. i need to work the ab muscles more in order to feel better. weather is great, as i said, no excuse not to.

been thinking on the chickens too. i am pretty sure i have nailed down their location. far enough away from each of the neighbors and in a place where they will have a fair amount of shelter from the blistering summer sun. in regards to heat, i've learned that it would probably be best to raise bantam chickens. they take the heat better than standards and boy do we get some heat. i'm looking at leghorns white and red. they are claimed to be friendly folk and better at tolerating heat than most. i want to do all that i can to keep the chicky chick chicks happy so better to follow advice than challenge it.

i've been planning the building of the temporary run while i get the materials together to build their more permanent home. for now i've got a small chicken hutch type house. the plan is to build an enclosed run that the hutch lives in so as to deter predators as much as possible. the larger home will be a longer term build project. my personal schedule deems it so. mr. t supercatinteriorbugremoverator and local squirrel speak expert has been helping me with the planning. his advice centers around a fair amount of kitty stroking hours that cannot and will not be forfeited for any stinken' chickens. i can understand his point of view. he knows how he feels and he states it and i love him for that.

well, i've got to get myself out and about. going to stop by the feed store for a final bit of advice before i head over to the lumber yard. the feed store guy is a great encyclopedia of local rural knowledge. he's been here all his life, he probably knows, at least that's how i figure it.

onward and upward! have a great day.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

beautiful day in smalltown usa

an amazing day, a thing of perfection; long sleeve t-shirt in the morning allowing the tough tasks to get done without sweating it up too much and as the day warmed up, a fantastic breeze began, just lovely. i am back in texas and so happy for it.

got home yesterday with the lids of my eyes heavy and tired. i took care of two errands and then made my way home from the airport, unpacked, threw a few things in the laundry, glanced at the mail then hit the sack. i was tired. there was a bit of a chill in the air last night, perfect for sleeping. i woke around 6am feeling better and ready to go out and catch up in the yard. there was much to do.
the garden, oh the garden, she's doing so very well. it's amazing how much change one notices after a few short weeks, truly amazing. the beets are looking spritely, the onions are beginning to shape up, potatoes are popping through their planting ground and the radish, turnips and ready for picking. the lettuce is doing quite well, some looking like it's ready to bolt. the cilantro is going strong and the herbs are looking real sgood! all is well.

the peach trees are showing small pink buds, one apple tree is flowering, the other leafing up, the fig tree is leafing up as well. the blueberry bushes are looking like they may flower soon and the pomegranate bush is covered with beautiful pink and yellow thin leaves. all the roses are looking good, my climbers look as if they may flower any day now as well as the butterfly bush.
the new gooseberry bushes are leafing up in their temporary container home and so are the dewberry bushes. the apricot tree is budding but no leaves yet and the two new olive trees are evergreen and lovely.
  • the grass is now cut.
  • all trees and gardens weeded and watered.
  • the driveways swept.
  • the mulch turned.
  • the front entry picket fence garden has a fresh 5" layer of compost.
    • it's a tough spot for plants, harsh sun and dry
    • figure the extra compost will do it good
  • the beneficial bug mix is kickin' butt!
    • have seen lots of ladybugs and lacewings around
    • the radish in the mix have gone to flower and the ladybugs love it!
a bit about today. aside from the above cutting of grass and such, i joined a whole lot of folk from my community at an annual benefit for the emergency food bank here in town. it was a soup fest. restaurants from all round each brought a batch of soup and several individuals did the same. a good number of folks came along with several local bands who got together and played for the eaters (peeps like me). it was great!

the soups were fantastic, the bread tre' yumme' and with each ticket purchased one could chose and take home a hand made bowl. the bowls were made by students in art class. great idea! i love my bowl. it's simple white with a rooster painted in the center. the shape is shallow and asymmetrical. i'll take a picture of it tomorrow to share. john r. made my bowl. lovely work john r. it's my honor to share your art in my home.

they held the gathering at the local high school in the newly built section of the school. wow! the folks who built the place did a real nice job; excellent use of natural light and the color palate and material choices are good. it's a calming place which is nice. there is nothing institutional about it. there are some tax dollars well spent. nice job builder folk, thank you.

then a bit of grocery shopping, i needed to replenish cleaning supplies, biodegradable laundry dish washing and kitchen soaps. every one of them is safe for the environment, don't feel right buying any other way. i picked up a six of saint arnold's lawnmower ale - love that stuff. if you see it in your area, i suggest you pick some up and give it a try. it's not a heavy beer, just light and simple but goes down real nice. also picked up some cottage cheese. i'm on a cottage cheese kick - don't know what that's about.

here i am now sitting on the bed typing and the lids are beginning to feel heavy again. it's so nice to be here with mr. t. he's sacked out next to me purring up a storm. love my sweetie boy.

thought a lot about traveling less today...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

soon to be superhappy chickenmama!

after years of planning i've decided i'm going to go for it and become a chickenmama!
mr. t and i will start small, just three our four henny hen hens for now.
this is exciting!

and look look look at the home i've picked out for them.
first i've got to build their home. i think it's important that i do.
it will mean more to me to know that i've done as much and maybe they'll be happier for it too. i'm thinking on a few modest adjustments to the design to help deter digging predators.

i've decided to start with the playhouse chicken coop designed by dennis. you may contact dennis at im-handy@sbcglobal.net. he replied to my emails within the day. he's a friendly helpful fellow who raises chickens himself. simply email dennis and he will send you a link to where you too can buy plans for the coop.

now to find some time to get this started.
he he he, big smile.
chickenmama - chickenmama - chickenmama

bless the cleaning ladies of the universe

good news good news - my faithful gloves have been found!
once again the family is reunited thanks to a most gracious cleaning lady.

happiness, happiness oh joy oh happiness

and thank the gods they are back, the temps here in minner-sota have once again dropped. the walk this morning to the coffee shop was so much more the better for them.

Monday, February 18, 2008

gloves go bye bye brr it's cold

the seemingly inevitable has occurred. i've misplaced my faithful winter gloves in saint paul. now i'm not quite sure how they could be lost. they may still have a chance of being found. i did worsh (as dad says) my laundry today and may have folded them quickly into a ball thinking they were socks. but hmmph, my hands are chilly without them. i do hope i'll find them with my socks, i like my faithful winter gloves.

they are little stretchy black gloves. nothing too fancy, not made of leather or any other fine like fabric. simple knitted gloves that fit like well... a glove. you see i have pretty small hands and i'm not a big fan of gloves that fit with the fingers too long. in fact it was just a few days ago that i took the time to sew up a hole i had in my gloves. never did it even cross my mind to dump them and acquire a new pair. nope, i was going to fix them and i did. how fine they looked once repaired and how good i felt at the doing so.

i first met my gloves in search of a simple winter running keep the hands warm in chicago winters tool. i tried them on and the rest was history. we've been together more than four years now. oh i do hope you are socializing and rousing it up with the socks.

oh my little lost black gloves. i do hope i find you soon. maybe you too just needed a day away from the cold. who could blame you.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

hope and love in a local coffee shop

out of the blue hope and love walk through the door.

here i am just sitting in a crowded coffee shop; sunday morning, people moving in and out, a steady flow. others step carefully around those seated at tables closely placed. some in conversation, others just enjoying a sunday sit with coffee and baked goods, there is a bleach blond transvestite involved in a serious game of chess with a business like fellow and others like myself, typing out replies to emails or reviewing work materials. this is the buzz at nina's saint paul coffee shop. (pronounced n-eye nahs)

my breakfast sandwich is delivered by a smiling woman. a man a bit away leans forward in his chair and gains her attentions. she greets him warmly. he's a fellow without teeth, without hair and with two small packages of mini white powdered donuts next to him. also next to him is one of nina's famous apple fritters. he calls her by name and thanks her for the fritter, tells hers she makes his day and that nina's feels like home. i nearly cry. he is more than sincere. my heart swells. this is a gift. a gift in the witnessing of something so beautiful and so real. now these persons who were once seeming strangers are familiar to me now. they carry depth in my life and the world becomes smaller and warmer.

i do hope i will see them both again. it's these moments that bring true happiness and hope into my life.

note: the above painting of powdered donuts can be found at: http://hgroatii.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 15, 2008

my funny valentine evening


short bit of background...

i'm currently out of town designing a show and my housing is hosted by a lovely family in saint paul proper. so life is about moving about and respecting this family's home, schedule and keeping myself as much out of their way as possible. lucky for me i'm staying on a floor of my own.

so the story goes like this.

the theatre i'm working with kindly gave off the actor folk the evening off in light of valentines day which means i too, as designer, gain a free evening. well with the weather as cold as it is, i decided to accept a ride back to the house and possibly spend the night in.

i got back, heated up a bowl of soup and was soon greated by the owners of the home looking a bit surprised to see me. i washed up the pot i had heated the soup up in. then i heard, " ok, now you can take your soup upstairs and enjoy it there. see you tomorrow." hmm, ok.

(there are no chairs or tables in the room i'm staying in)

but then i heard it again. "go on up, see you tomorrow"

so up i went, seconds later, the sound of the television grew to a roar. oooooohhh my. and then it got louder and then laughter was heard. oh my oh my oh my.

i sat on the floor, sipped my soup, hummed a song
shut the door

more laughter, oh my oh my awkward
la, la, la, la
i can't hear this
la, la, la, la

soup gone, i picked up my book and settled in to the reality of the evening. eventually i dozed off...

funny night, learned a bit about my hosts, guess they had a good time. there were signs of a jewelry exchange on the counter this morning. i prefer to believe the laughter was joy of giving and of the receiving of gifts.

you can all think what you want. truth is, you're probably right.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

in praise of street art

today i share my love for street art. it pops up in the most surprising places. it can be beautiful. it can send a message. it can be accidental. it can simply be.

feast your eyes...


natural art - human hand not required
some of the best i've ever come upon. this bit in prague, cz summer of 2007


and ten foot away to the left
mixes nicely with the natural background


cannot explain it
brings tears to my eyes
deep breath, it hits me


chalk divine
mind your step
dante may grasp your soul!


we all need hugs, unintended collaboration?


a trip for the moderns
nice value study in truth


keeping track of progress



a message to mr. b. current president of the u.s.a.

we cannot simply sweep our troubles under the rug
eventually the burden hits the streets


a cool man hole cover
prague, 2008

and to finish...

a little old style
certainly brightens up this park - quite lovely actually


in short... i dig it.
love your street art universe

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

inspired by the chill



so i'm here in chilly saint paul minnesota and it's cold and really it's not so bad. i mean what am i complaining about? i've spent time in massachusetts, new hampshire, maine and finland winters before and survived. and on top of that folks, i voluntarily chose a vacation to reykjavik iceland one winter and greatly enjoyed a visit to the antarctic with my ever generous and loving parents. so baby suck it up there is happiness to be had when there is a chill in the air.


look closely, there's a large cruise ship here - humbling site.

truth be told i've now switched over to enjoying the chill a bit. it is kind of fun bundling up in the morning for the walk to the local coffee shop in saint paul; nina's a great place for eats, coffee beverages, free wireless internet and a lively atmosphere. the interior is warm tones of brick, wood and old style lighting fixtures, all fun and cozy like. it's a top notch meeting place in the heart of the old selby street district. lot's of history here.



i'm in town lighting a show. the minneapolis saint paul area seems to be a place that i'll be spending more and more time in. funny how the universe works. this is the place where family is from, where the parents met and where my loving brother came into the world. so there is much more than a show in the works when i visit. it's nice.



it is a busy time. my travels out of town for work usually entail long days and nights working to put together a show. it's an intense period but i love it.




so i present to you today images from my visit to the antarctic several years back. take a good look and you'll find a large boat in one. it will give you an idea of the truly massive size of some of the ice floes pictured. for me, the skies spoke volumes. enjoy, you may not believe your eyes.



freaking awesome huh?
breath it in, let's hope it lasts.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

is it cold or is this just crazy!

oh lucky me. took the 6am to minneapolis today just in time to enjoy a -13˚f day with winds gusting up to 25mph. so i ask, is it cold or is this just crazy?

hmmm...
who needs a flash freezer? just head on up to the land of 10,000 lakes and you'll be good to go. ice fishing anyone? cheers!

ah but folks, here is an example of crazy. next to these guys we've got it easy cheesey. click on the photo to see what these supermen are up against! i don't know what these folks are thinking! great balls of steel, take a look!
these men are simply out of their noodles!


Thursday, February 7, 2008

gooseberry apricot olive olive cool

time to plant spring bushes and trees, each and every one a producer of some form of edible fruit.

this year i'm adding one apricot tree, two olive trees and two gooseberry bushes. they arrived in perfect shape last week from trees of antiquity which is a group of folks you ought to make yourself familiar with if you are looking to increase your fruit grove or thinking of starting your first edible planting. these folks are top class on all fronts. they deliver, the trees and bushes are always in superb health and each and every purchase i have made with them continues to show vigor and strength through each season.

this year i'm excited for the gooseberries. i've never tried to grow them before and from what i hear the fruits are abundant and quite good for jams and preserves. ooh ahhh. and if you take a look at these photos, they are quite beautiful to look at. i have also learned that i'll be in competition with birdies for the booty.

this may be a bit of incentive to get my handy lady skills up a notch and build several protective screen boxes once the ripening begins. or... maybe we'll just share. for now, it's about getting them in the ground.

i've not had a whole lot of free time so at present i've potted them in a large container. they seem to be doing just fine. the apricots and the olives each have their own containers as well and not a one is showing any signs of stress which pleases me just fine. maybe just maybe they'll settle into their new in the earth home saturday. for now we just admire the pictures and say,
pretty pretty gooseberry, happy happy apricot, tender tender olive how lovely are you three?

pretty darn lovely.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

some things i know are true

home sweet home

more on this later today - we have got a lot to catch up on!
  • tree planting
    • got some new babies
  • tomato seedlings
  • flower seedlings
  • travel
  • consumption of goods
  • reading
  • garden growing madness
  • can you harvest as fast as it grows?
  • golden glowing morning light
  • the comfort of one's own bed
  • simple pleasure of familiarity
  • cozy cozy happy happy
a lot to catch up on.