Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Oh, the heaviness of summer.

I've been home for a few weeks. All I do is complain about the heat and... I water.
Think good things Farmlady...
*The tomatoes are still thriving.
*The chickens are still given us eggs.
*There have been no wildfires close to us.
*We have air-conditioning.
*The well hasn't run dry.
*The turkey have returned.

... but the leaves are falling, early, from our trees
  and the garden is sad.

Even Hotei is not happy.
 It's going to be a long end to the summer.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Frog story for my Beans

Once upon a time, there was a little frog that lived in a planter filled with ivy, on the porch of a little farm house, in the middle of a great wilderness near a river. She felt safe in this planter because she didn't have other frogs to keep her company and the only other creatures like her were those walking giants, that lived in the dirt and made a lot of noise at night.
So, the little frog stayed in the ivy and made it her home...
There was only one problem. Once a week the lady who lived here would have to water the ivy. This lady would take the plant down to the garden, fill it with water, drain it and then put it back in its place on the porch. She didn't realize that the little frog lived in this ivy because she hadn't seen any frogs for a while and thought that they were all gone.
One morning, the lady took the planter down into the garden and started watering it. This planter had a small  reservoir on one side to let the water drain out. She tipped the planter to drain the water out. Then she notice that something was in the water well... holding on for dear life.
"Well, hello there." she said.
There, inside the well, was a tiny frog. It was looking at her.
The lady carefully returned the planter to the porch and thought about how careless she had been carrying the ivy down into the garden to water it. The little frog had gone along for the ride and didn't even jump out when she watered the plant. It must have wanted to be in this planter awfully bad to stay inside, even when the water was filling the well... even when the planter was moving.
The little frog just stayed in the well, filled with water, and watched her.
Did she hear the frog say something?
"Please be careful next time, lady. This is my home too."
...then she thought she heard it say,
"Maybe you could just use the watering can and water the ivy right here."

The lady said, "I'm sorry little frog. From now on, I will water the ivy with a watering can and you won't have to worry about leaving your home."
The lady felt better and she was glad that the little frog was OK. She thought that the little frog was smiling at her.
"Next time...", she said to herself, "I will look before I water anything. I didn't know this little frog lived here, in the ivy, but I do now and once you know that someone's life is in your hands and relies on you for safety, you need to take care of it."
 Always be kind to anything that needs your help because all life is fragile.
The little frog is counting on you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chicken Post

I love our chickens. We added four more to our flock this spring and they are finally establishing a new normal in the hen house. The young ones are learning about being chickens and exploring their surroundings.

There's Paloma, who has beautiful feathers and a very long neck. She has trouble navigating things like solar garden lamps...
She stood and pecked at this lamp one evening, expecting it to move out of her way. Then, when she finally maneuvered around it, she walked into a big dry weed and it scared her half to death. She's kind of flighty and delicate. Her tail feathers drop down instead of up and she seems to favor low, scud missile flying instead of walking and running. I thought she was going to be a Banty but she's too big. I'm not sure what she is.

Clarissa is our beauty. She's a Silver laced Wyandotte.There were two, but one died right after we got them. It's a shame this happen because she is a really good chicken and I would love to have had two of them. Maybe I will get another one next year.
Clarissa is a big, beautiful girl. Her feathers are so gorgeous that I think we should show her at the Cow Palace.
She and Paloma like to tease Annie, our cat. It's one of their favorite pastime. I think they're just curious. Annie likes to monitor the chickens, but she doesn't like them getting in her space.

Then there's "dark brown chicken with spots". (We haven't named her yet.)
She likes to go off on her own and investigate things. 
Even the water trough seems to fascinate her.
She was suppose to be a French Moran, but until she lays an egg, we won't know.  Morans lay dark brown, chocolate colored eggs. She doesn't look quite like any of the Moran varieties, but she's closer than any of the others. Maybe the feed store got some chicks in the wrong bins. I thought that Paloma was the Moran and she is obviously not. She might be half duck.
Then, even though the breeders try to cull the roosters from the herd of baby chicks... sometimes they sneak through.
This is Bonaparte. He's our new, little Bantam rooster. We had lots of names for him and I really liked some of them, but he's little and tough so Bonaparte it is. The Prospector calls him Bony.
I think he's going to be a good rooster. He seems to like his hens and even seems to have respect from the big, older ones.
Big Red Hen, our Roady, hangs around Bonaparte a lot.
I think she's in love.

The Americana's are choosing to feather dust in the middle of the driveway and ignore the newbies.
 They are just waiting it out...
...until the dust settles.
Squeek', our little banty hen of ten years, is trying to establish order and she pushes the new ones around a lot... but this may be a task that is too much for the old chicken. She is spending a lot of time in the chicken house...
...and at her age, we will let her doing anything she wants.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

How I learned to love the ocean... part 1

We just returned from a trip to Maui in the Hawaiian Islands. We took our family (sons, daughter in law and the Beans).  Our oldest son flew from Oakland, CA. and we flew from Sacramento. We flew to Kahului airport, met each other and rented a car. As we walked out of the terminal ,the humid breezes took my breath away. The humidity takes a bit of getting use to. Then we drove to the Papakea resort, above Lahaina on the west coast of Maui. Our other son and his family would arrive the next day.
The drive from Maalaea up the coast was one beautiful beach after another. We settled into our beautiful condo, on the forth floor, with a postcard view of the ocean and the sound of surf and strange bird calls that I had never heard before. The sliding door to the balcony never shut until the day we left.

 The condo was beautiful... with a second story bedroom and bath overlooking the living room.
And lots of room for everyone.
I could definitely do this  for a week. The ocean was out there and I've told you this before... I'm afraid of it... but up here, on the forth floor, looking down... It didn't look so menacing. Just beautiful.
We decided which bedrooms we wanted and unpacked. We also went to the Safeway store in Lahaina for supplies. The condo had to be stocked with food. A box of chocolate covered Macadamia nuts weren't going to cover the needs of our family for a week.
Later we walked across the main road to a fresh fish restrurant for dinner... ( That's right... momma was fixing NO DINNERS while she was on vacation.).

I decided that I would have to met this vast amount of salty water on my own terms... foot to surf. I would walk down, remove my shoes and put my newly painted toes into the water.
I can't begin to tell you how nice it was. No big waves. The water was warm and it lapped up onto my feet as if to say "Aloha, my friend. I hope we become acquainted while you're here. I'm the ocean that will not frighten you. Tomorrow you will swim in me and I will show you things you have never seen before."
Well, OK then... that was easy. This is a friendly ocean. I can do this.

I walked around the small beach, as the sun was going down in the distance.
The tide was coming in and the beach was disappearing, so I back up onto the sea wall and found a recliner to sit on.
The sea appeared to have two or three rows of flat,volcanic reefs out in the water that were keeping the waves down. The sea seems to settle into a calmness.

The sun set into the distant ocean. I could see a big island across the channel. The map said it was Molokai.

Molokai is an dark refuge that gives one the feeling, with its constant cloud cover, that its history has made a mark on this island. There's a sadness about it.
This photo of Molokai was taken the next morning at sunrise but it shows the bleakness... as if the something sad is (maybe tears)  running into the ocean. It's very hard to photograph.)

I sat on the lawn recliner and watched the sun set.
I watched the lights go on, up the coast.
I was thankful for being here and seeing this sunset.  I thought, in a kind of prayer... thank you for all of this... The plane didn't crash... my other son and daughter in law and THE BEANS would be here tomorrow... the ocean seems friendly and accepting (we'll see.)... I didn't forget anything important... someone we trust is taking care of the dogs, chickens, and the house... (please don't let her have to deal with rattlesnakes or fires while we're gone.)... Time to relax... have fun... go swimming in the ocean... maybe.

Oh, and my phone said 7:00 p.m. but it was 10:00 p.m. at home. It was bedtime. But wait... it took us over five hours to get here. Confusing? Yes... I thought that I would sleep on it before I tried to figure it all out... or maybe I just wouldn't bother. After all... "tomorrow is another day"...and I'm in Hawaii.