"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sister Friend

I probably won"t write anything tomorrow because my sister is coming for a few days and we get kind of busy. She is seven years younger than me so when we were growing up we didn't do much together. We had different friends and, more or less, separate lives until we were older. Now we are making up for all those years. We travel together and visit each other as much as we can. She lives in the Bay Area and it takes her about three hours to drive up here. It's kind of nice to have a good friend who also happens to be your sister.
Oh!.... She's here. The dogs are barking and are out at the gate already. They are such social animals. They know her and will be so happy to see her. Me too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pecking Order

I've posted a photo of our bantam rooster, Napoleon, to show everyone how beautiful he is. He was a chick when we got him and because we had another rooster Napoleon decided to defer to the huge, full grown head of the coop. Napoleon always stayed with his two bantam hens and the three of them did their best to stay away from the rest of the larger chickens. Napoleon never crowed or made an attempt to take over the hens. He was a mild mannered, shy little rooster and we joked that he probably thought he was just one of the hens.

When the big rooster started getting too aggressive and began to attack the hens ( and sometimes us) we decided to get rid of him. He is at another farm and I hope he's happy. Well...., the position of management fell to Napoleon and he, somewhat reluctantly, accepted the task. He has a much different approach to dealing with the hens. He's the strong silent type and very careful ( after all, most of the hens are twice his size) but determined. He seems to get the job done , even though I wonder what the hens think sometimes. The last photo, inside the hen house, shows Napoleon eating his fill as Rock and Rody look on. I thought the Rock had red eye from the camera flash, but then I remembered that I didn't use the flash on that shot. So...I'm thinking that this big gal is kind of annoyed at Napoleon for taking so long eating his dinner. She is definitely "seeing red". She did wait untill he was done though. She knew her place.The rock is the last of three plymouth rock hens. The other two were not fast enough to escape a very determined young bobcat last summer. I think that she is glad that she's still here, so she puts up with Mr. Chicken Little. He's really quite the gentleman.

Napoleon did start crowing. I didn't think he could crow at all until after the big rooster went on a permanent vacation, then he started practicing and, good grief, he crows all the time now. You know it's a myth that roosters crow only at sunup. They will crow anytime they feel like it. He does crow in the morning, but he also crows his greeting with your arrival at the coop and at any loud noise he hears. We love hearing Napoleon crow in the morning. It's a wonderful way to wake up.

Napoleon




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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Gourdelicious




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Gourdelicious Gourd Artist

Gourds once grew in a garden. I buy them and make them into pieces of art. Before I change them into something lovely and/or useful they are quite awful looking. They need to dry out completely after I remove them from the garden. They get very black with mildew and are not usable for about six months.

When they are dry I begin by cleaning off all the mildew and skin residue etc. that has formed on the outside. This is done by soaking them in warm water(sometimes with a small amount of bleach added) and scrubbing them with a mesh scouring pad(I like the copper ones). This is a lot of hard work and you can get an upper body workout from cleaning these beauties, especially the big ones. Now I let them dry, again, and..... the fun begins.

I make lamps, night lights, ornaments, jewelry, vases, wall hangings, birds, birdhouses and anything that the gourd shape creates in my mind. Usually the gourd dictates what you will do with it, by it's shape or color. The saying in gourd circles is: " The gourd will tell you what it wants to be." , and in a way it's true. Sometimes the "naked" gourd has to sit around in the house for a while before I get an idea about what I will do with it. Then I drill, dye, paint, stain, burn or embellish it until I have created a work of art. It's really a great creative endeavor and so organic. I just started growing them in my garden last summer and the plant is beautiful! The gourds need a lot of support while they are growing. My husband built a strong wood structure with heavy fencing wire stretched over it. It held all the good sized gourds up all summer. They were a lovely sight.

I belong to a gourd group. We meet once a month and share ideas, go on field trips and attend gourd shows. It's fun and I learn a lot from other members. I'll bet most of you didn't know that there is a whole world of gourd lov'in people out there. Now you know.

The four photos above are samples of the work I do. The last photo is a work in progress. It will be a wall hanging when I'm done. I will put a photo of the finished piece in a later post.

Remember to commit a random act of kindness this week. Take care.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

My calendar says that this is Random Acts of Kindness Week. From Feb. 11 through Feb. 17 we are asked to be aware of what one act of kindness can do. As a whole, we could benefit from more kindness in this country. There seems to be a lot of mean spiritedness and benign rudeness going around these days. I call it "benign" because it's something, really harmful or rude, that is said in a nice soft voice; sometimes with a smile. Maybe folks are too stressed or busy to see the effects ( call it damage ) of what they say or do to others.
So, this week we are being reminded that we could pay someone a compliment, give a hug to anyone who needs one and really listen to the next person who bothers to tell you something about their day. When you ask "How are you?" do you just want to hear "I'm fine", so you can go on to something else. Try a smile! It's amazing what goodwill this small act produces. I think I will write a hand written letter to a friend. A letter that says good things and , hopefully, they will receive the letter, read it and their day will be a bit better because of it....and you know what? We can do these things more often than just this week. We could make a habit out of being nice. This could catch on. It could be a Revolution of Kindness. Wouldn't this be a wonderful change of direction?
One of my sister's favorite quotes is Gandhi's "We must be the change we wish to see in the world". It is a great saying from a great man. I think that most people don't want to change anything, but let's try this week. Smile at someone and say "Hi"....... and see what happens.


So many gods, so many creeds
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.

-ella wheeler wilcox-