Monday, November 16, 2015

First Frost

The rain came day before yesterday. It was a good soaking rain that replenished the earth and gave us hope.
This morning the air is very cold... you feel it before you see it. The cold creeps under the bed covers and reminds me that the California Winter is almost here. The furnace comes on earlier... an extra blanket had been added... and the first glimpse of sunshine rises from the east.
The Prospector says, "There's frost on the pumpkin this morning."
I throw on my warmest coat over my PJ's, slip into some boots and take the camera out to find the beauty of our first frost... the subtle sparkle of mossy frost that edges leaves and freezes raindrops.
This is the first frost of the season and I hunt, in wonder, for its beauty.

It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. ~John Burroughs, "Winter Sunshine"

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A kiss of rain.

 It rained today. We have wished for, prayed and danced for this miracle. It came from the west and after announcing its presence with one huge clap of thunder, the rain hit hard. It was powerful and steady... settling the dust and dryness of summer and blending the ash and sadness of the Butte fire into the earth... to begin the healing. 

This is my tribute to a beautiful day of rain. The poem below belongs to Langston Hughes, but the images are mine. I presumed to use his words because I felt the rain kiss the earth today and I know he would understand.

"Let the rain kiss you.

Let the rain beat upon your head...

with silver liquid drops.

Let the rain...

sing you a lullaby.

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk

The rain makes running pools in the gutter

The rain plays a little sleep song

 on our roof at night

And I love the rain."

A poem by ~Langston Hughes~

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Chicken Story

Boney, our new little bantam rooster is trying really hard to take control of the hen house. He's tough, but he's little. So when he does take a stand... it's kind of funny.

I shouldn't laugh, but when he stands in the doorway and waits for each of the hens to come in for the night...
and gets all huffy puffy with them, paces back and forth, runs out to them and dances around them... 
I'm sorry... but I have to laugh. If he was a huge full sized rooster, he might pull this off, but he's not. He's a dink... a very small guy... and he's really trying hard to overcome this disability.
The other night, I got between him and one of his hens. I was walking away from him and he jumped up... and nipped me in the back of my leg. This "attack" didn't do any damage, but I was really surprised. Then he stood there and fluffed his neck feathers at me. I told him that he could just as easily be our dinner one night next week. It was an idle threat... he knew it. He wasn't fazed at all. He side stepped toward me and dragged his wing on the rocks. I was obviously not someone he was going to tolerate in HIS chicken area.

Some of the hens take him seriously. Pepper, our Speckled Sussex, is not one of them. She free ranges until they all go to bed and then wonders where everyone went.
She got Clarrisa to stay out with her last night. I counted heads, noticed they were missing and went looking for them. They were behind the chicken house... looking for any small tidbit they could find in the very dry hillside.
Our new Silver laced Wayandotte, Clarrisa, (Isn't she gorgeous?) was pushing the limits of her bravery by staying with Pepper when she knew that she needed to go to bed. She kept looking at the hen house. She could hear the other hens getting onto their perches. Even Boney had returned to the rest of his hens inside, giving up on the three of us.
Finally, as if some unheard bell tolled for these two, they walked down the path and into the chicken house.

I closed the door to the chicken yard behind them and watched Clarrisa go up the ladder into the hen house.
But, Pepper, having second thoughts, turned around and came back to the gate.
"What's the matter sweetie? Everyone is in the hen house. It's getting dark. You need to go to bed."
She looked at me...  and then walked up to the hen door.
She looked at the ramp...

Then she turned around and look out at the place she loves... the place called "freedom". She stood there for quite a while, then she turned and slowly hopped on to the ramp and into the hen house.
Pepper is my favorite hen. She is curious, smart and truly an adventurer. She would free range all the time... but I choose to keep her safe with the others, at night. Too many predators out there would call her "dinner" and I can't let that happen.
Sleep well, my pretty's. See you in the morning.