“Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace. ”
– Paul Theroux

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.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Where have I been... what I'm I doing...

This is one of those months. I have been coming and going, meeting myself in the middle and not staying home much.... and when I do get home... by myself... this happens.
The Prospector and I have been camping at Spicer Meadow Reservoir on Ebbetts pass for two weeks and I came home for three days last week, for a social get-together with friends, to water the garden, check on a few things and bring some supplies back up to our campsite. Well, I headed to town to do some shopping and pick up mail at the Post Office and this is what I drive down into at our entrance. Sometimes mother nature doesn't really cooperate with us very well.
It appeared that one old Pine tree fell against another and they both came down.... in the middle of the night... without a sound... without wind, rain or tornadoes. Well, we don't have tornadoes very often, here in California, but someone I know suggested that a bear could have been rubbing its backside on the tree and pushed it over against the other one. Ha, ha, ha... That's as good a story as any. 
So thanks to a really great neighbor with a chainsaw, I was able to get out, drive into town and return home again. He and his friend cut the trees away and dragged them to one side with a chain and a truck. We will, now, have to deal with cleaning up the cut Pine trees that are lining our road. We have awesome neighbors.

So I'm not really caught up with anything at this point. I came home, with the dogs on Wednesday and Steve arrived today. It's good to be home... but now the RV needs cleaning out. And... there's laundry to do etc., etc., etc.

SOooooo... I need to finish a "second day" post about the Nuno Felting/Botanical Dyeing class that I went to at the end of May. My last post left us with wrapped Nuno felted scarves that were rolled up with  Eucalyptus leaves inside. Remember?
We drove home after a long day of making a Nuno felted scarf and preparing the scarf for Botanical dyeing.
On Thursday we arrived to find that the scarves had been steamed and dyed in the leaf tea and were now ready to open up. What excitement.
I may be missing a step here and there, because we also went to lunch and wandered around the nursery and shops... in additions to all of this scarf making. My brain is missing little parts of what we did, and when. But that's OK because it was a few weeks ago and I'm lucky to remember what I had for dinner last night.

We always had the friendly and informative instructor talking to us about the process and answering any questions that we had about what we were doing and what was next. She was so excited about what she was teaching. It was contagious.
She talked to us about the cooking process... and what would happen to our scarves.
She wore special gloves that protect the hands and arms when working with the hot leaf tea. I thought that I could use a pair of these when I feed my chickens.  Rhode Island Red is getting a bit too demanding. That hen is a terror. She jumps at me for the lettuce I bring them. She is going to be on my endangered species list if she keeps it up.
How would you like to have a porch like this one to do all of your messy crafts? I would die for all this space.
This is part of an old fruit processing and packaging building. It is huge and accommodates all kinds of businesses now. The next one down is a ceramic store with planters, fountains and statues. This huge building was the High Hand Fruit Shed in Loomis, CA. above Sacramento. Now, there are more houses than fruit trees around here, so the whole place has been turned into a Nursery/ restaurant/ mall , with lots of shops. Talk about "repurposeing". This building is having its second life and what a great idea for the owners.
This is where the cooking was done.

So... we took our scarves wrapped around each pipe and we slowly undid them. This was the fun part. We laid them out flat and removed the leaves and let the breezes on the porch dry them while we cleaned up the classroom and talked about what we had done. There were smiles all around.
Each had its own distinct patterns and designs. Each was beautiful and unique to the person who make it.
All were done a little differently. All were so beautiful. The orange places on the scarves is where we used those round eucalyptus leaves that wouldn't absorb the tea when we were laying them on the scarf... and the instructor said, "Try it anyway." Yep. That's the one. Beautiful, clear imprints of the leaf in a very lovely color. It's amazing how the fabric allows the leaves to imprint their natural patterns into the fibers. Magical really.

This is one end of my scarf. This is where the copper pipe left its mark (the darker color) and where the string and rubber bands that were wrapped so tightly onto the pipe made their imprint... or I should say resisted the color and left their mark, like a negative photographic print.
The scarves almost looked like snake skins. So interesting and organic.

The resident cat, Petunia, came in to see what was going on and approved of the finished product.
"Meow, ladies. Nice job."

I will take some photos of my scarf when I have time and show you some close ups of the leaf imprints.

 For now I leave the four of us standing in the covered part of the nursery with our completed masterpieces around our necks and smiles on our faces.
We had so much fun.