Monday, November 17, 2014

No eggs, just feathers.

Things are pretty slow in the chicken coop these days. It's time for THE MOLT.

Not having farm fresh eggs is a bummer. (Yes, we are spoiled.)
Squeaky would if she could, but she's in a permanent "molt" called old age.
No more eggs for this old gal.
She just eats and follows me around complaining about the big, bully hens that won't leave her alone.
She's such a sweet little hen. I love bantams. They are the laid back peace makers of the chicken world.

I try to feed her separately. First I feed the big hens outside... then ( and Squeaky knows this) I keep some scratch just for her and when I go around to the other door she is already inside waiting for me to clear a spot on the floor and give her some grains... just for my chicken little.
Of course as soon as I do, in comes big, bossy Miss Plymouth Rock...
She struts her coolest, most badass self into the hen house and scares Squeaky away. If I'm still inside, I tell her to leave and scoot her back outside so Squeak' can have a few moments of peace and quiet  before they all come in to see what's going on.
Miss Rock just gives me that, "What am I doing?" look and ...
leaves, until she sees me walk down the hill. Then she goes inside and finishes the scratch. She's a bully bird. The other hens are looking pretty scruffy right now, but Miss Rock looks great... and she's no Spring Chicken. She's a beautiful, big girl and she knows it.

The other day I told them to molt fast and get back to laying eggs, 'cause they could always be dinner... AND, if truth be told, I need to be able to eat raw chocolate chip cookie dough while I'm making cookies.It's one of my traditions. I can't do this with store bought eggs.

 The next morning I found this...
Do you think it was a statement?

(Losing feathers and re-growing them is called molting and occurs every year when the days get shorter.
 For chickens, shorter days and cooler temperatures are a sign that it is time to renew their feathers. This usually lasts for a month or more with our chickens. It's been two weeks so far.) 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Photos should have fragrance

I wish I could send the way it smelled when I stepped out the front door this morning.
The rain came, for a while, last night and kissed the earth with its moistness. We will take any amount we can get. This has been a desperate summer.  California is having a drought and even though it has happen before, it's always scary. We are at war with the powers that control and use water. We are conserving like crazy. It's even a status symbol to have a dirty car here, because you can show others how you don't even wash your car because that would be a frivilous use of water. I think it's an excuse for some folks who never washed their cars anyway... but it's another way to cut down on water useage.
This morning was so beautiful.
I walked out to the edge of the garden and just stood there... breathing in the wonderful combination of moist earth, cold air, Oaks, Manzanita, Toyon and my garden... the blend of fragrance, of place, of home.

I had a cataract removed last week and a new lens put in its place. Amazing what can be done. I mention this only so that I can tell you what a gift it is to be able to see the fog settle into the Mokelumne River canyon instead of remaining in my eye. The surgery took the fog away and now I can see my surroundings, drive at night and not mistake a road sign for a person. It's wonderful. My life, for a few weeks, will be about eye drops, not leaning over or lifting heavy things, and not coughing. But, I'm here to say that if you need this kind of surgery... don't hesitate. It's very easy and the results are astounding.

I've been walking. Every time I go for a walk, I look for some fuzzy dark movement in the corner of my eye. The Tarantulas should be moving around. It's their time to walk the earth looking for a mate, but over the years there have been less and less of them. I've looked everywhere... In the crevasses...the holes...
In the grassy ridge lines...
Among the garden rocks...
I've not found one Tarantula... anywhere. This is the second year without a sighting. This is sad.  "I find them to be fascinating creatures." she says... (Miss Arachnophobia). But these big, fuzzy spiders are different. They stay outside, for one thing. They don't sit in the bathtub... waiting for you... or go "Boo!" at you from the corners of your bedroom. They are upfront about their purpose in life and don't care about humans very much.
 I miss them.
Well, time to go drop more DROPS in my eye and fix some lunch. Take care.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Very Green Pear... a true story.

Last week when Sis and I went to the Art Is You workshop in Petaluma, part of the benefits for signing up  was a free lunch. Most days we had a lovely buffet lunch outside. The lines were long but the food was delicious.
But one day, for some reason, we all got a bag lunch. A sandwich, a bag of chips, a bottle of water and I also got ... a very green pear.
So we took our lunch, sat in the bar and watched a little golf, and ate our bag lady lunch for an hour. When I saw the pear, this very green pear, I decided to save it for another day... hoping it would be ripe in a day or two and I would enjoy this piece of fruit then. 
Well, I'm sure you can see where this is going. This morning I went to get my extra camera battery that I keep in a cloth camera bag. I reached into the bag and guess what? I touched something squishy, cold and rather disgusting.... and it wasn't green anymore. 
Yes... I forgot the very green pear for a whole week. Sometimes you just get so caught up in the joys of vacationing and having fun, that you forget about a small piece of fruit in the bottom of your camera bag... you forget that a very green pear doesn't stay that way when wrapped in a warm place for a long time.

Well, it did what a pear does when left to its own devices... it got ripe... really ripe... all over everything in the bag.
So... the pear took a fast trip to the compost.
And everything is being wiped off or washed.
Sometimes life gives you lemons...
Sometimes life gives you a rotten pear in the bottom of your bag.
And sometimes you don't get to make lemonade... or anything.