Sunday, August 31, 2008

searching out nature in the big city

clean landing
city

board the super shuttle
3 hours from the airport
usually 40 minutes
accidents before the tunnel

sit sit sit sit in traffic
zone out, calm the mind

concrete concrete
brick and stone
cars and more cars
shift the mind to big city survival

topping the list
daily things to do
early morning run in the park
saddle trails

an outlet of nature to start the day
do or die
find the parks
find the trees
find a community garden

work call today canceled
on the search for the community garden
spiritual survival in the city for a naturalist
a good start


Saturday, August 30, 2008

the morning harvest

a stunning sunrise

fruits off the vine
crimson okra
red long beans
beautiful and sweet

a lovely color filled morning
good start to a day i'd say

oooh and three eggs yesterday - looks like the cloudy skies might have had an effect on the ladie's output. they are back in the swing. it also looks like alfie is experiencing a shedding of feathers but not a full molt. just practicing i guess.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

i was on my out to the airport when a "flight delayed" text arrived on the phone. hmmphf, two flights today bet they both delay i thought, seems to be the fate for travelers these days.

i called in to the airline to see what type of delay it was. "air traffic control" that's one type of delay you don't want to hear. it's one of the delays where anything could happen. it could delay a minute or hours or not take off at all. the result for travelers. you're at the mercy of the airlines. you can hike the airport, making solo efforts to standby or rebook but for the most part, you have to wait it out. the nice lady on the phone let me know this flight would take off at least one hour later. "ok" i said.

get used to it folks, "ok" is really all you can say - don't kill the messenger. so i decided to head out and chat with the ladies a bit more, bring them some freshly chopped musky melon and maybe give opera a few scratches if he decides to return from his morning neighborhood scouting expedition.

i was in luck, i had the whole clan by my side, mr. supercat was inside enjoying a bit of plain yogurt, his favorite treat. i'd visit with he next. the ladies were all on the nest when i arrived with melon.

i unlocked the outdoor run to set the melon down and shwoop! shwoop! shwoop! out came the girls. mellllloooonnnnnn! i could almost hear them say. they were all over it before i could even get the melon into the pan. boy oh boy oh boy do i know how to get these girls to go soft. i popped a look inside to see if the nests were gifted with eggs. oh my yes! three eggs, side by side by side and good sized too. thank you ladies, it appears we are back on the bright and early schedule. i am now of the believe that it was indeed the overcast skies of late that led to the egg delivery slow down. pretty pretty.

i then visited with supercat for a good while before i pushed myself out the door. i don't mind a delay when it means i can spend quality time with my creature family. that's a good delay.

i'm now on the second delay of the day. this one is looking like an hour wait or more, it too is an air traffic control delay. funnnnnnn!

Friday, August 29, 2008

oh boy revolving door

something felt not right for a bit this morning while working at home and then i heard a hiss. not an opera kitty hiss not a supercat hiss but a third not of this family of creatures so i took a walk to peek out the door of the back porch. hmm another cat, a very very very big cat eating away at opera's food dish. oh boy i thought, someone else has figured out and dared opera kitty's kitty door.

i shoo'd this particular cat out. i know who's cat it is and he went without much of a fuss but as cats are cats are cats, this young man will simply wait until the coast is clear to enter for the feeding goods again. wouldn't you?

i would next consider one of the pet doors that will only open when the creature with the special open "saysme" collar passes by but the history of collars and opera kitty might prevent more than a single entrance or exit. the boy does not like collars and has super powerful skills in the removal of such devices.

i don't know if i can discourage the visitations beyond the shooing but maybe with persistent shooing the visitations will stop. invite one, invite them all... oh boy.

moral of the day
it only takes one kitty door to feed a village


Thursday, August 28, 2008

we got two!

got two eggs today!
that means that saffron has contributed to mix. thank you ladies. hmm, maybe a chickenchica egg0licious sandwich for breakfast tomorrow. or maybe some egg salad for sandwhiches on the road. all sounds good to me.

sweetie girls, love those babies

ms. alfredia sunshine sheds some feathers

ms. alfredia sunshine has started her first molt. she's slowly but surely shedding some of her baby feathers. the evidence floats atop of the hay in the crazy coop. she seems to be feeling pretty good, still allowing me to pick her up to give her chin and neck a scratch. she eats well and drinks water as she should and chatter chatters in the morning like any other day. as a matter of fact she and freckles are presently leading the morning chorus.

ms. alfie is on her way to big girl-hood.
i wonder who's next?

i've pulled the below from the chicken encyclopedia, a fairly good resource for chicken loving folk.

Molting is the shedding and renewal of feathers and occurs about once a year. The order in which the different sections of the bird lose their feathers is fairly defined: head, neck, body, wings and tail. Molting is a difficult time for birds, since it involves hormonal fluctuations and increased energy requirements. Eliminate stress during this time: keep temperature in a narrow range (70-80o F), provide a high quality diet, and each day mist the birds with a fine spray or provide a pan for bathing. It takes about seven weeks for new feathers to complete their growth cycle.

Domesticated chickens bred for high egg production have a definite molting pattern. A natural molt does not normally occur until the end of an extended, intensive laying period. Chickens that have been laying heavily for one year or longer molt easily in the fall since this is the natural molting season. If they finish their intensive year in the spring, they do not molt easily and may wait until the fall.

A chicken loses feathers from various sections of its body in a definite pattern. The order is: head; neck; feather tracks of the breast, thighs and back; wing and tail feathers. Some birds molt more slowly than others; some molt earlier. A good high producing flock tends to molt late and rapidly.

Decreasing day-length is the normal trigger for molting. Therefore, lighting programs for egg production flocks should provide either constant or increasing day-length. Stresses caused by temporary feed or water shortage, disease, cold temperatures, or sudden changes in the lighting program can cause a partial or premature molt.

we are going to keep things natural - no artificial light - no artificial anything
chickens as chickens as chickens can be

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

darkly darkly

up early early early this morning to finish chores in order to get to austintown on time for the morning class - day 1 it is as the students roll in sleepy eyed and tense for excitement or terror of what's to come. but that was not the agenda for the darkly darkly hours.

5am
  • change the chickenchica's interior coop drinking waterer, pool side bucket water and run waterer
  • put out the trash and recycle bins
  • ICED COFFEE FOR ME!!!
  • shower, dress, don't doddle
  • feed the kitty boys
  • give everyone a good loving scratch
  • load up some craigslist sellables into the car
    • meeting in austintown for the trade off
  • pack up the bags
  • make the bed
  • out out out
the girls were still sleeping when i entered for the water change. the automatronic chickenchica coop door was still shut and freckles, always the first to stir, was a bit odd wondering "what the heck is she doing out here already?". i clicked on the radio, clicked on the light and did the water change. then i kindly clicked off the light again so that the ladies might catch a few more winks of beauty rest.

opera was out and about somewhere but nowhere to be found. supercat enjoyed a bit of time on the porch as i moved about doing the chores. i think he too was wondering "what the heck is going on?"

well kiddos, this is how mama makes home stay home.

and i'm off.

got to austintown. did a small bit of banking and drove into the lot. now in the worker building i prep files, upload grading formats, layout interactive websites and generally get the stuffs that needs to get done done. and i send out a few emails to the craigslist folk reminding them that the goods are here and of our agreed upon meeting time.

it's now just 7:10am. i had no idea i would perform all expected duties so efficiently. i've got time on my hands to spare. so now what?

i stayed up late last night to update the most current light plot, mailed that out. updated the paperwork too. oh boy oh boy, what's a girl to do? is that even a question? the answer...

get more coffee! of course. so off i go folks no longer in the darkly darkly - daylight has struck and the private quiet of the early morning hours are soon to end. i am a morning folk. i appreciate the private quiet of morning. the time is mine and in that time i can move as quickly or as slowly as i wish. the morning serves as my ramping up. confession - i don't particularly like being around lots of folk at any one time so this day at least is prepping my mind for the loads and loads and loads of folk i'm about to encounter.

cheers!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

round the corner

took the morning garden stroll to check the state of the hippychick homestead surprised to see just how well all the creatures, plant and animal were doing. surprised about the chickenchicas? well not really, they are pretty spoiled and often doing more than well. the morning was still dusky so i switched on their radio station and stopped to listen to their cooing chatter as they individually made plans to dismount the 4' roost. freckles always first, alfie follows and saffron last.

around the corner i went, passing opera's kitty door. he was inside. i knew because i had just given him hugs and few good back scratches before heading out. his paws were damp and cool which signaled that he had been out before i saying good morning to the universe. he now sits comfortable on my drafting table ready for a morning snooze.

mr. t took his place on an outdoor porch chair. he found is vantage point and was happy for it. he saw me as i moved around the corner and gave me a little hello then went back to his personal grooming for the day.

the garden seems prepped for growth. our days are still quite warm and awful humid now that we are in the hurricane season. yes, the effects of humidity travel all the way up here, lucky us but the mornings have been cool and the plant creatures, especially the sweet potato vines the good bug blend are taking off like rockets.
still no sign from the seed potatoes. i fear they might have rotted out with the several rain storms that came through soon after they were planted. i have not had the heart to check on them yet. maybe they'll come up and all will be well but that's how it goes. no rain then buckets of it, gotta go with the garden flow.
the long beans are flowering out. they look beautiful. the lima's just don't seem to want to go this year. i'm not questioning their willingness one bit. it's been a tough year and i've learned in conversation with fellow neighborhood gardeners that they too have had odd survivals and equally odd losses in their own gardens.

we here in hippychick land have a special surprise - papaya trees growing from composted papaya bits right into the garden soil. they've been growing like crazy and i've been puzzled to identify the plant with the okra like stem and the oak like leaf. no one seemed to know until just this past week. once identified, i cursed myself for pulling the several that i did out of the garden for thinking it was yet another weed like something i had yet to experience.

nope papaya - my non-local fruit favorite. wow! i thought, no more feeling guilty for the love of papaya. but how long till it would fruit i asked? well probably next year as long as you protect it in winter. can do can do can do! aha friend said. what more said i? well you must be sure that you have a male and a female plant. ohhhhhhhhhh ok, how does one know? we will have to wait a bit to see how they develop. ok.

so this means, that soon, we'll be transplanting the papaya babies for garage like protected growth or maybe i'll build a special hoop protection place just for them (more likely). should be cool to see how this plays out. what a gift i thought, all for the effort of composting. so if someone says to you why bother composting? you've got yet another reason to sell the efforts forward.

which brings me to the funny thought i've been having. what about all those folks who have been composting for hundreds of years? i wonder what they think of all of us weirdo's blogging about our efforts when they, as earlier said, have been doing it since they cannot remember when.

do they think us silly? or do they scratch their heads and think yes hello! what took you so darn long? my honest guess is that they are probably so busy with their own lives that they don't think much about it at all. for me, the comparison introduces a level of humility and the awareness of the smallness of my efforts. just the same i think we will all continue to press forward big, small, whatever. an effort is an effort is an effort.

and with this i find myself back at the door from which i came out. iced coffee empty, time for a second, sun rising on the crest of the horizon, time for me too to prep for the day. kitties are napping, chickenchicas scratching and poking about and the birds sweetly chirp and sing the morning song.

busy day ahead, many more to follow. with fall hippychick lives not only as small time farmer and gardener and mama to her loving creature family but as professor and professional designer as well. many tasks for one to balance, sometimes easily sometimes just by a hair. and thus we fill our days.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

family is more than good

ever sometimes feel so overwhelmed that the bit of crazy you have always considered yourself clever enough to avoid creeps a little too close for comfort. yeah well that's me lately. big changes might be coming, might not.

choices are there, pop! pop! pop! right in front of you. what are you going to do? what are you gonna do? what do you do?

and of course all that at a busy busy time when there is little time to properly sort through it all, measure it out, determine risk or balance, yes maybe no. instead it begins to spin in the brain and the spin cycle just keeps a going and going and sleep is lost and sanity teeters in a way you never thought possible but you put on the face and get through the day.

well folks, that's me. that's these last few weeks. that's the now.

you have to be prepared for anything at anytime so some think. well i say that efforts at the being prepared cannot possibly predict and/or cover all variables which means we are bound to be thrown by some part or another of the experience. some we handle with ease and other require deeper efforts. efforts you never knew would be required and the path, the directions, the clues as to how to proceed are nowhere in site.

you have two choices, you step forward blindly terrified and hope to learn from each step or you stay still and hope you don't wonder too much about the choice of staying still.

lucky for me, family came to the rescue right before the "too much to ponder right now, might be going crazy" place. family came, family calmed, family stayed near and that simple staying near was enough, was perfect, was far far far better than good.

i threw out the line and they held on as i bobbed as i floated as i struggled with the waves. and no the storm is nowhere near over but there is now a better understanding of the landscape and i think for a while i can swim on my own thanks to their steadying.

nothing is fixed. fixing is not the need, just some steadying, just some way to help forge a bit of quiet, just a place to bounce thought rather than spin it.

lucky for me, i am blessed with a family more than good.

so now just stay calm, roll with the waves, stop fighting, stop solving and just be. accept the being and listen listen listen listen. we all know the path. we don't all know to listen.

shhhhhhhhhhhhhh
listen...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

got to get it done day


hey folks. busy day today, i've got a project i must must must get done. will check in with you later. there's got to be a break somewhere in this day. enjoy the weekend!

Friday, August 22, 2008

long day short day

back to work - long day

season changing - short day

freckles is the only one laying this week - watch the counter, she's catching up.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

sty-lo-li-cious kitty man


talk about finding an environment that brings out your color. supercatinteriorbugremoverator man has it out of the park with this designer kitty digs.

just look at how the subtle greys bring out his whites while the faints touches of color enhance his eye color and the fleshy pink of his ears while separating him from the background and pushing him forward to the focus of attention.

ooh stylish kitty ohh. you're a starrrr!

his response
"get away from me kid you're bothering me."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

craigslist rocks

just had to say it. thank you craigslist.

what would half of america do without you? i mean it.

i think, though i have no proof, that craigslist might be responsible for keeping trash out of landfills. just think about it. craigslist is an easy way to sell or give away goods you no longer need or want. before craigslist, a lot of this very same stuff might have been put out on the side of the road for pick up. maybe someone did pick it up before the trashpeeps stopped by but maybe not.

i would venture to guess that craigslist might just be one of the biggest recycling communities in the usa. go craigslist go.

i've been talking about purging some items and today i decided it was time to walk the talk. once items are posted, it's amazing how often in less than a few hours, the requests for goods come in. you accept, barter or deny, make arrangements for the big hand off and you're done. pretty darn cool.

and if you're looking for the free universe, check out freecycle, another great community of recycle, reuse thinking peeps.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

cover crops, rain barrels and shady cloth

we have for several days been blessed with on again off again rains with several good strong drenchings. some folks are already wondering when the rains are going to stop?*&@!? these such folk are clearly not farmers or gardeners. where as i am hoping it sticks around for the week. our poor land needs this rain, we've been in deficit for such a long while.

hey is this wise guy squash bloom throwing me the finger? hmmmm.

the ground is wet and the soil is ready to take seed. there is more rain expected in the coming days. you don't have to twist my arm, i am taking advantage of the weather. walked into the garage today, reached into my seed stashing mailbox and pulled out two pounds of the low growing good bug blend from peaceful valley farm & garden supply.

the good bug blend is a great mix of flowers, and herbs and even some veggies designed to attract all the good guys to your planting areas. most folks might plant this out in the spring but down here in texas, it's a good fall planted blend. nope, it's not fall yet but i figure with this wet rain it might just have a chance and truly benefit the fall garden.

here's the peaceful valley chatty chat about the good bug blends.

Beneficial insects are a natural army of pest control allies and it is important to provide them with suitable living conditions if you expect their help. In order to reproduce, beneficial insects need nectar and pollen. If they do not find these in your field (and they are very particular. Ñot just any flowers will not suffice), they will leave and may not return. We pioneered these seed mixes for beneficial insect habitat. We designed our mix to include plants which are proven hosts to specific wild as well as introduced beneficials, such as predatory mites and wasps, ladybugs, lacewings, syrphids, tachnids, predacious beetles and many more. Good Bug Blend has been field-proven for over a decade in large and small scale growing areas. Since the mix blooms nearly year round, Good Bug Blend should be planted in areas which can go a little wild, such as field borders, ditchbanks, fence rows, etc. Generally, you need to plant only 1-5% of your land with this mix for good results. Drill or broadcast seed at 10-15 lb/acre (1 lb/1,000 sq ft) in any but the coldest months of the year. Large scale growers: if you are planting in fall, add vetch at 5 lb/acre. If you are planting in spring, add 10 lb of buckwheat and 10 lb of cowpeas/acre. (See Cover Crop Seed section). Blooms begin 45-90 days after planting and will continue for years. Our mix contains crimson, rose and sweet clovers, subclovers, alfalfas, gypsophila, eriogonum fasiculatum, white alyssum, nasturtium, yarrow, carrot, dill, daikon, celery, radish, fennel, caraway, chervil, coriander, and more.
sounds good enough to eat right? yeah well it is and i do pick from it. i also think this is going to be a big big big hit with the chickenchicas.

the girls have adjusted daily to the sun's seasonal transition. i was up and out before they this morning and i gave them a hard time about it. it was about 6:30am and they were awake but still hanging out on the roost.
still sleeping..... hmmmphf

i turned on their radio, kept the volume soft so as not to disturb the neighbors and walked into the garage to get the clippers in order to prep a morning treat for the chicas. i returned with the goods to find only ms. freckles ready for the day. saffron and alfie were sleeping in. it's raining today chickenmama, why not? i let them be but as soon as i opened the door to the run, inspiration grabbed both alfie and saffron and they were down in shot to investigate the goings on. silly wabbits.

right now the ladies are enjoying a morning taste of
pleasant greens including basil, red shisu, grass clippings, oregano, parsley and thyme. they were all over it, especially the red shisu. i don't know if it was the color that proved most attractive or the lemony flavor but they were chasing each other around for it. opera kitty had a grand ole' time just watching them do their thing. he had his nose right up to the run but the girls paid the poor boy no mind.

opera was soon occupied with my removal of the coops shade cloth. with the days growing shorter and (fingers crossed) our heading into a cooler part of the season, i figured now was a good time to let in a little extra light. everybody enjoys pretty sunshine, especially my girls. as soon as the shade cloth was dropped to the grass, opera was inside rustling around. he soon settled inside his little cocoon to take a short rest.


remember this idea? the rain barrels on the tires idea? yeah well some ideas are better than others and this idea, not so good. once full, the barrels began to resemble the leaning tower of pizza. i just let it go for a while as they seemed to be holding steady but once full they leaning looked a bit more precarious and i thought what if a kitty or creature were passing by when this baby decided to go over? that would be bad.
i'm not going to risk it. so i wrestled with the barrels and finally got them both to ground level. much safer now but heavy as all heck.

the good news is that we've now got four full barrels on reserve. that's an easy 240 gallons of water ready for the taking, no chlorine,
au natural from the sky. the off news is that they are now on ground level and bit harder to draw from when the reserves run low. i may, in the near future have to craft a special support platform for each. it's all about taking advantage of gravity baby.

because of all this rain, i've fashioned an extra super downpour catchment system here you can see opera kitty modeling so that you might best understand the scale of the project. it's really quite simple. i've gathered my galvanized tubs and set them under the gutter. the massive downpours cause the water to jump right out of the gutter. i'm going to have to take the gutter down, add a support and rehang so that the weight of the water does not cause the gutter to dip down which is what's causing the spill over.

you can see the girlygirl's radio here too. i've bungied to a horizontal coop support, nothing schmancy.


i've then piled up a bunch of my garden burlap to soak up any extra water that may escape my ingenious catchment system. again opera kitty felt it important for you to have an idea of scale. the water you see in the tubs is from today. we've had a couple of good rushes.

all in all though, the girls coop has remained perfectly dry. so though it may not be the most beautiful system to date, it is working. and when the sun comes out, i simply hang the burlap on the line to dry, use the water for plants or bird/creature water bins and wallla! good as new.


making bread today - oatmeal honey - mmm mm mm

5:30pm
i'm on a clean the house roll. i've swept, mopped and now i'm going to do the 7 month flea treatment. i'm going to employ the power of enforcer flea spray for homes. i last treated the home late december and it really did the trick. it's been 8 months now so i'm a month behind.

the wet weather refreshed my mind actually. it was during a wet spell that the leaping giants took hold of supercat and me. i probably brought them in. later i learned that around here, they jump through the screen windows - clever buggers that they are.

no it's not totally organic.
it's an orderless liquid with pyrethiums and an egg development inhibitor called nylar. i tried and tried and tried to keep things completely organic on this front but nothing worked. i'm telling you, i think fleas have been around as long as dinosaurs, alligators and any other amber fossilized creature. they just are tough to beat but this stuff has really done a great job.

i follow the directions to a t and i keep all creatures including myself (after i finish spraying of course) out of the house until the spray is completely dry and then some (as instructed). i've still got the upstairs to do but that is a much smaller area compared to the downstairs area.

i did spray the yard with beneficial nematodes earlier in the year and i do believe it's also played a large part in our flea free environment. the vets around here are constantly urging their clients to treat their yards with beneficial nematodes so there must be something to it. and the bummer is that it's always flea season here since we don't get long freezing temps.

before the sweeping and the mopping and the spraying, i hit the studio determined to clean at least half of the old projects lying around out of the house for good. it's not uncommon for artists to want to keep bits of past projects around just in case the materials become useful in the future or for some sentimental "i worked really hard on this" reason.

as of late, i've wondered why i keep any of that stuff at all. i never design something the same way twice. i never use one design in space for a different show in the same space. it's just not me and frankly i would find that boring and not at all stimulating. so i'm recycling a good bunch of it. there's quite a few boxes outside just now filled with old papers, and plots and process work.

i pulled what might actually be useful for future reference but the rest - gone baby gone gone gone. and there's more that needs going, i'm just going to wait another week before burdening the recycling folk with more stuffs. it feels good to see it going.

there's a whole lot more recycling to be had in this home of mine. i've got a good number of books that could be donated to the library and clothes that could be donated to a local shelter or hospice facility. there are some books i just can't let go of, those i turn to and read over and over and over, but most i read once and that's it. i should probably think about a yard sale in the not too distant future - lighten the load - live even simpler and in turn not buy anything to fill the space just set free. i want to stop that stuff cycle.

craigslist has worked very well for me but i think it might be nice to just get it all together and meet a few folks along the way. it's interesting to see who buys what.

i had to use the dryer today, with the rain and all the outside line probably would not have been very successful. haven't used it much though so i figure it's not so bad, just be good about it when you can and go from there.

now i'm rambling. time to go. chow!

Monday, August 18, 2008

slowing down the production

it's interesting, overcast skies, dark rainy skies, summer's daylight waning truly does mean slower egg production. today just one egg. i spent a little time searching about just in case the ladychickens had decided to change things up a bit and lay outside of their nests. nope, just one egg today, two yesterday.

am i bothered, upset, disappointed? not a bit. i find the whole relation curious and i'm tempted to begin with daily light treatments to see if that brings on any change. but before i do, i'm going to observe further and see how consistent this new schedule becomes or if this is simply a short week of egg vacation.

i'm happy having the ladies around either way. they are far more than just egg layers for me. they are my chickenchicas, i love those girls.

almost there

just a week or so before the university job picks up again. i'm off to austintown today to meet with two of my graduate stu stus. we'll talk semester plans over lunch. my students work their butts off so anytime we get the chance to meet outside of the school setting is good. in fact i should make graduate off campus lunch a weekly thing - might be good for all of us, keep it real and maybe reminds up that school is not the only thing in our lives at the time.

maybe i just need to remind myself that.

going to miss my daily outside office. it will still be there. the hours of service will adjust to those much earlier in the day. hey, we do what we can.

a thought...
gas gas gas gas gas gas gas gas gas
we did well over the summer months
no unnecessary trips to austintown and not a regret in the world for it

oh by the way, the piles of hay and pine needles you see around this tree... - yup, they are no longer there. this photo was taken just prior. it was one of one of yesterday's cleaning up bits.

and this is after, tada!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

resounding gravity



hopeless dirt digging romantic

so i get up this morning and i say to self "self let's dress nice today, no special reason, let's just do it." so i did... and then i walked out the door to survey the lands after the entire evenings rain. green, brown, dirt splashed up onto the house, green, leaves and twigs fallen down, tall flowers weighted over, etc. and then i walk into the garage and i grab the rake. "i'll just clean up a bit." should i change clothes, nawww, should be fine.

and then i grabbed the garden cart and then the garden fork and then the clippers and then what do you know, i'm kneeling in the dirt digging out the smallest of the compost piles. dirty dirty dirty - can't keep myself tidy and clean for even one afternoon, that's just how it goes around here. what can i say? i dig dirt and apparently dirt digs me too, we are a good pair and i like the deal we have with one another.

i came in for a bit because i was beginning to feel light headed, not good. i'm sitting now with an iced tea and trying to think if i've eaten anything today. i don't think so and only one iced coffee today until i brew myself another batch. funny how 7:ooam turns into 2:3opm just like that. ugghhhh and now i've got the stomach hurts but not quite sure i feel like eating after all feeling.
i know, i'll whip up a yogurt smoothie with fresh grown melon and local honey. that should do the trick. not too heavy and pretty darn good for me. i need to perk up here, i'm crashing.
i did do alot of work out there this morning. moved a few tomato, basil and rosemary plants around. dismantled a smaller garden and moved it's soil in and about several of the other already existing plots. emptied out a compost pile and distributed that around to several plots as well. i moved the two older olive trees to areas that might better suit their needs and keep them out of the harshest sun, i ripped apart a garden around one of the pecan trees. it just did not look right so i transferred the flowering mums which used to be under the tree to one of the perennial plots. then i pulled all the weeds along the fence line.

wow! i guess i've been pretty busy. no wonder i'm feeling a bit weary. all this is labor intensive, of course i'm feeling funky. and there is more that i want to get done today so i guess i should have something to eat.

got to get some fuel for the lawn mower later today too. she's plum dry and with this rain grows the grass. mine is growing like crazy. i know i mowed not too long ago. maybe it's been a week already but i don't think so.

well i walked back out after the lunching smoothie (which really hit the spot and did the trick) and it began to rain again. hey now i'm not complaining. it turned out to be a pretty light rain, nothing to run inside for so i decided to stay out and pick up from where i left off. finished my tasks and then stopped back inside to wash up a bit. it's feeling a bit muggy out and i found myself a sweaty beast once i stood still. eiik, gotta get out of the "nice clothes" ha ha ha.

i'm hoping for more rain myself. it's kept the temperatures down and i'll trade a rainy day for a cooler temp in the august month of texas any day. oop! the power just dipped out and back, i wonder if there is a thunderstorm heading our way. that would be fun.

the thunderstorms around here can be pretty darn severe. last night was, i'd say, a medium sized texas thunderstorm. we've had them where swear i believe the electricity is going to pass through each and every wall and get us! i've never really been one to scare from thunderstorms. in fact, i'm usually out watching the fireworks. i find the whole experience quite awesome. but around here, the bad ones, the big big big bad thunderstorms, they scare the big big big bad heck out of me. they have power beyond my comfort. nature is something quite spectacular, that's for sure.

now there's a light show i'll never match. my respects to the wonder of it all.

the whole hippychick homestead seems to be chilling out on this happy day sunday eve. each in their own place. nothing wrong with that.



wondering what's in that smoothie?

1/2 home grown musky melon (big melon)
plain yogurt
honey
flax seed
wheat bran

whirrrrr it and you're done!
- how much of each - ahh i just eye it -

Saturday, August 16, 2008

bless the heavens, it's raining

oh thank you gods of the universe for this blessed rain. we bow, we prostrate ourselves.
hey, it's about damn well time! what took you so darn long?

i can't tell you peeps how glad i am to see these drops falling upon us today. what a relief it is to have the break. it's perfection and nothing less. i hope it stays with us for a few days. it might. on and off they say but that's just fine with me and i bet it's just fine with a whole lot of other folk as well.

mr. t supercatinteriorbugremoverator and i have parked ourselves out on the screened in porch. from here we can watch the east garden, the road with the neighborly passers by and the washing of the roof of the garage. it's pretty darn relaxing out here. i turned off the a.c. early this morning and have opened all the doors and windows in hopes of a flushing of the home. it's bliss. if not for the drink but for the sound of the rain falling.

i must say that i have become a staunch fan of the metal roof. it ain't the ocean but it's got it's own sense of charm and i do like the way it glistens when wet. that gunmetal grey tone always gets me. there is something deep and emotional about that color. and i like the fact that it's washing clean. the mere lack of coated dust may help make the next few days feel better.

i took advantage of the cooling rain and set myself out and about the yard as soon as it began. i was already out and about but i was busying myself with a good hard cleaning of the garage. it was an effort to sweep out the dust so you can imagine how happy i was when the rain began to fall. i waited until a good bit of rain had come down and then i swept each of the drives, trimmed several spent flowers back, trimmed a bush or two and pulled yet more weedy bits from various gardens. i was a bit sopped myself but it bothered me not one bit.

and then i thought i'd come in and sit for a bit. i showered first in order to remove my own layer of dust and grime then poured out a cool iced tea and now here i sit.

opera is just across the way. he's got himself perched on a table under an umbrella. he's no dope. looks like he's sacked out just like mr. t here. i think we are all pleased for the change in weather. the ladies don't seem to mind a bit. they are out doing their own thing, tuned into the saturday opera - carmen today. several neighbors have commented on the chicken radio. they all hope to be treated so well in a future life.

treat others as you wish to be treated - it's really nothing more than that. music soothes the soul and i do believe the ladychickens have deep and power filled souls. there is much to fill there, let's all enjoy our days.

i don't think much else will be happening here today. i'll eventually cook something up for dinner - maybe sooner than later - but i think for the most part we're all going to set a while and simply enjoy the rain.

Friday, August 15, 2008

who does this?

here i am working my tail off with a pint of home grown home made sauerkraut at my side cold out of the fridge. who does this? who sits with cold sauerkraut and fork just eating right out of the jar?

for me it's a legitimate lunch but i stopped at one point and laughed at myself. maybe, in truth, it's not so odd. maybe there a lot of folk that might do the same but i'll tell you i've never had a food conversation with anyone that started with "i had this great jar of sauerkraut for lunch the other day, really hit the spot." even though this particular jar is really hitting the spot. it's cool, not too heavy, not too saur and fresh tasting.

on top of that, if you consider the cost of the ingredients, cabbage, water and salt, it might just be the cheapest lunch out there.

so who does this?
i do.
hey you - over there - bring on the herring!

tater tater see ya later

bet you can guess who's going down deep into the ground today. yupper, the chitted taters are going to get themselves planted in early today.

i've chitted two types - colorado red and yukon gold.

the spring planting of these very same potatoes produced excellent tasting taters. i was more than pleased.

now i've got to hope for the weather to begin cooling some in order for the potato vines to grow at optimum. i've piled some dry hay over the planting area in hopes to cool down the soil.

this summer has been challenging on so many levels for the garden and the hippychick creatures. heat heat heat, seems i'm always talking about the heat. more to the heart of the matter is the combination of heat and lack of rain. a double wammy and maybe something i should learn more about. gardening in super dry conditions.

it started with the heavy loss of tomato production. it then attacked the eggplants. i have two of my original ten plants. why? well with the heat comes the insecty pesty bady bugs and with continued conditions multiple generations of the buggers. we pretty much always have to deal with multiple generations of buggers but this year was a WOW kind of experience. i chose not to use neem out of concern for the bees and frogs and lizards. i just worry that they may experience badness from the need spray - nothing proven to hurt them but my gut makes me wonder so i abstain.

i did plant a large amount of basil, oregano, tansy and other fragrant plants that help to deter the baddy bad bugs. in addition i built in several safe house areas for frogs, toad and lizards which proved very successful. each is populated and i've seen the creatures in and about the garden on a daily basis. the lizard population this year is particularly good.

i also set out four sources of open water for the creatures, bird bath type, that are frequently visited by all sorts of folk including lizard lizards, bees, frogs, toads, hornets, cats, a puppy, squirrels, birds and raccoons. i bet the local skunk visits as well but i've never been witness. because there is so much action, i change the water every few days. this keeps the mosquito population from producing as well. they eggs may be in water but never long enough to fully develop.

the fruit trees are experiencing a fairly slow growth probably out of a need to conserve their energy and resources. i wonder what kind of flourish we'll see this fall. two of the four olive trees are even showing some ware for the worse. their leaves are looking dry and a bit crispy. i may move them to a cooler yard location just until the temps cool but then again probably better not to upset their root growth. flip a coin...

for myself, i'm looking forward to the day i can turn off the a.c. and open the windows and doors without worry of cooking the kitty creatures. i miss the fresh air wafting through the house. then again it has been a summer where the clothes on the line dry in record time. i do wonder how much fading of color has occurred.

regarding my anxious self these past few days. a full moon is just around the bend. it struck me last night that it might be the case and upon discovery, much began to make sense. some of you may not notice or seem to be affected by the moon but i must admit that i have been sensitive to and have made connections with my internal behavior and it's cycle for years now. check it out sometime, you may be surprised.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

three's a charm

i sit now with the master of the house supercatinteriorbugremoverator a.k.a. mr. t. he's purring up a storm and keeps close contact with his left paw resting on my left wrist. he types with me and stairs straight into my eyes.

at last, he thinks, she is sitting on the sofa. now it is my turn to take control of this frenetic creature. so wry, so anxious, so erratic, what is up with her today. i must calm her, i must gain her attentions and then finally she will give her attentions to me.
yes i finally sit. i've had myself all worked up today, emotional, wondering too hard and nearly sick to my stomach. that can happen when i think too hard about things i cannot control. not very productive of me i know.

aware the absurdity of it all, i made efforts to keep myself so busy the brain would have to turn the dial. it did not work so well so i just kept going and going and going. bad cycle. there were moments i even thought i might cry - it happens - not often but it happens, my feeling overwhelmed. i did not cry maybe because i could not identify why i was so worked up. i think if i knew i might have let myself have the release. odd behaviour huh? yup. well it's time to cut it all out.

though indeed frenetic, much work was accomplished and there are now quite a number of gardening areas looking quite spiffy. i pulled weed after weed after weed. there are many more weeds yet to be pulled. i collected another couple of bags of grass clippings and mulched the flower beds out back by the chicken coop. i mowed the lawn and cleaned up the tall grass along the fence line.

the fence is falling apart again, may the gods help me. i think i'm always fixing the fence. the fence is on the gotta replace this soon list along with the siding panels on the east side of the house and the new coat of paint the house could use. ka ching! ka ching! ain't happening tomorrow, that's for sure.

i trimmed back the bean vines. they were pretty damaged by all this hot sun. i took about half of the growth off. they should bounce back and deliver a nice fall crop. the summer crop dried on the vine before i could pick it. i've piled the cut bean vines in a corner of the garden. i'll be going through those tomorrow to collect seed - no need wasting a thing - then the vines will head into the compost heap.

pulled in another musky melon today, each one a bit smaller than the earlier melons but no matter, the size is still quite substantial and the number of melons i'm getting is truly impressive. i'll be just fine with the smaller melons.

all the while outside, opera kitty followed and cuddled and stayed close by my side. i'm truly blessed folks to have such companions as opera, supercat and the girls. each cheers me and looks out for me. i believe that.

well i'm feeling thoroughly exhausted. got to go turn off the chicken radio so the ladies can catch their beauty sleep. ta ta til tomorrow.

chickenchica's classical vocal training oozes with talent

i never knew the chicken ladies were classically trained!

just yesterday, i placed the new radio out in the crazy coop and tuned it to the local classical music station. immediately their heads were cocked and their attentions focused upon the new experience. music! they gathered closer to the radio. not 5 minutes passed and the ladies were chirruping and cooing themselves. yeah, it's a hit!

boy oh boy is it a hit.
i got up early this morning in order to turn the radio on for the ladies. i wanted to see if we would experience a repeat performance. sure thing, we did.

what's even better as is that as the day went on the classical station mixed in several up beat and sometimes high energy marches. freckles loved it, she got up on her roost so that she could be closer to the radio and she too started chirping along. i'd never seen her do anything of the like. alfie has a pretty steady purr like sound going and saffron chirps and coos. they sure do make quite a lovely trio.

the wonder of music and now the girls will prove even more impressive to the manchickens if ever they meet one. they'll be full of cullcha! i love it.
anything to make those ladies happy

maybe someday we'll send invites to their coming out first ever chickenchica vocal concert.
keep your eyes open, you'll not want to miss it.


sharing the adventure

i've pondered the idea of letting a room out for some time and today i put out the add.

why not? the house if plenty big enough for me and the two upstairs rooms often go unused. i'll let out one and keep the other available for family and/or invited guests.

i think it will work out well and help towards making ends meet and/or if disciplined enough be used strictly to pay off debts outside of the mortgage or maybe a new fence. just another part of the journey towards sustainability.

before that can happen though, the right person has to show up at the door. let's hope the good vibes we've been sending out to the universe send us a good one.

it's special here in this home. it's a good home. the fit matters. it's not just me who will decide. we'll have to see what mr. t and opera think of the folks too. it's important especially with my fairly frequent travel schedule. i guess we're looking for another friendly neighbor.

already an inquiry - hmmmm something feels not right about the details. so the looking leads now to the trusting and the truthful investigation of one's gut feelings about a possibility. i will be discerning, it may means the process is slow but that's just fine with me. this is a big deal - sharing a home is a big deal, it's not going to be just anyone.

even now as the ad sits, i wonder is this the right thing? and i tell myself that it will be when i find the right person. i am generally and have generally been a better safe than sorry kind of woman and there have been times when i've given the benefit of the doubt where i should have not. i'm grateful for the experience just the same. live and learn, yeah? let's hope.

i can always change the mind and work towards my goals at a slower pace.