Thursday, July 25, 2019


Is a drink to a thirsty goose. He's afraid of her, sort of. She's cautious around him, sort of. They're about the same age.  It works out.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Boys. Toots make weather?

Photos taken over the last 24 hours:

Organizing the freezer and counting Popsicles.

Watching the Giant Pacific Octopus documentary while wearing snorkel gear, alongside his stuffed octopus

Raiding the kitchen cupboard.  Yes, we have a child lock.  Honestly, sometimes 5 minutes of clean up is totally worth 20 minutes of peace and quiet. Plus, I'm sure this is "learning" somehow.

Making play-doh this morning.  We are out of dang near everything so the mixer has been in overdrive: homemade noodles last night, bread this morning, banana bread after that and for the grand finale: homemade play doh.

Which the oldest turned into a "starfish tank" all by himself.  "HEY! Do you want to see the Cleveland aquarium?" he asked

Working on a puzzle together last night.  These two are a few years away from stealing Playboys and cigarettes at the local corner store but it's not too far fetched to point out the mischief that is coming our way.  

Rainbows.  Or the solar system, depending on who asks.  

And so while we were playing with our homemade Play-doh today and making the starfish exhibit the skies darkened outside and we heard a rumble.

"Oh"  I said " I hear  the clouds knocking together and making thunder".

The oldest corrected me.  "No."  he said deadpan  "That's chipmunk toots".

I can't even.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Well, that's that

This weekend a mamma deer and her two fawns came through and ate the garden. They ate the corn tops, the peanut plants, all of the buds off the daylilies I transplanted. They ate the beans and the TOPS OFF THE SUNFLOWERS.  

We have 5 acres they can browse on.  Thanks, deer.

I give up. I was sitting out there brooding and feeling horrible about things when I slowly resolved to focus on this, the oldest making nests for himself in the dirt and corn rubble.

 And so maybe that's where we're supposed to be right now.  Maybe the idea of getting food from the garden will be given up this season and the best made of a bad situation.  A garden seems like such a small thing but it mattered very much to me.

If I've learned anything about life it is this: you can either decide to roll with life or it will will run you over.

After dinner I turned all of the poultry out to graze and glean whatever they wanted. We still have some kale and chard, tomatoes, peppers and ground cherries.  Two zucchini plants.  We're picking blueberries to snack on when we're outside.  And if all of those get eaten by something too, 
what the hell, as much as it pains me to say there's always Wal-Mart.  I guess.

And so it goes.  A garden is such a small, stupid thing to get hung up on.  I will try my best to let it go.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Outfoxing the fox & Hank Shaw's skirt steak tacos.

First I want to say that it was a very, very good morning for me.  Let's just say the red fox will not be causing our birds any more trouble.  It is such a relief.  I think the geese and chickens all gave each other high-fives and clapped when they saw me coming back around the front of the pen.  After all of the bird deaths here it seemed like Christmas morning.

We did not eat the fox.  It did probably taste like chicken at this point. 

Last night we had Hank Shaw's Great Skirt Steak Tacos.  I've never cooked a skirt steak before and hardly ever marinade anything.  This was marinated in soy sauce, spices and beer.  It was so fragrant it really seemed a shame to throw the marinade out when it came time to cook the dish.

It's served simply with queso fresco and cilantro.  The cooked corn is just corn, chicken fat, some stock, butter and salt/pepper/sugar.  It was a fun dinner to assemble and eat with your hands.  If we were going to have this with company I would want to remember that I'd need to prepare 2 of the steaks - the cuts are large but very thin.  I guess these come from the inside of the rib cage.  Hanks says it works with elk or caribou.  I can't imagine a deer large enough around here to get that cut off of, but here's hoping.

Well, things are looking up.  That's for sure. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

More dead birds, serves me right I guess.

It only seems fitting that after posting yesterday about all of the life going on here that I should walk outside this afternoon to find something had been killing my birds again.  In the pen.  In the middle of the day.  So either our coyote is back or our fox is causing trouble.  I didn't see the animal but may have scared it off screaming "OH FOR FUCK'S SAKE!" when I saw the carnage.  I think this is a pretty reasonable reaction considering how badly we've been hit this year.  I estimate that we've lost 30 birds total to predators this season.  90% of them in the middle of the day.

I lost more 3 more pullets and I assume both of my pheasants are dead too.  

The pheasants are gone but the pullets were just found laying around the pen dead.  Not a scratch on any of them, feels like broken necks.  Whatever it was went over the fence again.  Just like last time.

I am ready to give up.  The number of birds we've had killed this year is just insane and there is absolutely nothing I can do to stop something from climbing the damn fence when we're not home. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Living things

Just some things happening around here...

Getting male coloration.

Bee waits out another rainstorm.

Trees are heavy with apples.

Monarch on milkweed.

Daylillies blooming.

Swiss chard growing.

I love the colors in this section of the garden.

A family pile up in the yard.

Birthday decorations.

I still have photos to post from the youngest's birthday party.  We got new phones and service providers around that time and I still need to get all of my old photos off the phone. It's been a busy, fun month.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Welcome Popcorn! Our new rooster

A big welcome to Popcorn, our new rooster.

It was high time to bring in another Roo. I missed the crowning and the ladies have been... um... throwing themselves at my feet lately.  Which is both awkward and a little horrifying for me and continually disappointing for them.  So we were on the search for a handsome gentleman.

 My dad knows a lady who takes in unwanted farm critters as pets so today we went over to shop for a new Rooster.  She said he was the friendliest of the bunch.  I was smitten by his good looks and promised to return him to her if he didn't work out. 

The oldest and I named him Popcorn. He's gorgeous.  We were told his dad was a Leghorn and his mom a Buff Orpington, although I wonder if maybe the hen was a Rhode Island Red.

He was brought home and installed in a pen out in the poultry yard so everyone can see and smell each other.  Only one chicken has objected; the oldest hen of the group, and even she seemed to simmer down after a bit.  I'll go out tonight after dark and put him up on the roost with the hens and we'll see.  He came from a barnyard with a ton of other roosters and here he will be the only gentleman with a big, adoring group of hennies to follow him around.  I hope it works out.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Time capsule

I found this tiny tobacco tin at the thrift store today. It was just being put out for sale. When I picked it up I could hear something rattling around inside but the lid wouldn't open so I just bought it.

When I got it home I pried the lid open and discovered a child's collection of treasures.  A piece of Monopoly money dated 1936, a tiny playing card (2 of spades?) and a handful of marbles.  The big shooter marble feels really light and I think it might be clay.

I don't know why this beautiful, tiny collection makes me feel sad. I wonder about the child that it belonged to, did they simply outgrow it or did they lose it?
I'm not going to try to clean anything, they all went back into the tin and the tin will be put in my curiosity cabinet with a little note as to where it came from.

I did pick up a couple of other things; a vintage souvenir "birchbark" drum from the Deer Park, a tiny Jadeite bowl and a rectangular wicker basket that I think will fit perfectly on the rack on my bicycle. Total spent $3.75.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Garden progress, peanuts and pollinators, oh my!

Bee, miffed about having her picture taken.

Here is the progress on the garden tepee.   It's just starting to grow but will be a big, wonderful mass of green eventually  Here's a look at one of our previous tepees..  

I had the chance to weed the whole garden today.  The peanut plants are still small, barely the size of a dessert plate, but some of them are flowering (no, they don't smell like peanut butter). Clover blossom for scale.

This is the bean shaped garden by the back of the house.  That plant on the right is a yucca.  I don't know why I've  fought against it for so long.  It was here when we moved in and every year I've dug it out.  Every year it's come back.  This year I decided I like it. 

The hosta that were transplanted on the East side are filling in nicely.

Not a plant picture, but I really hope that little grey chick is a rooster and we keep him. It's the last chick to survive of the 4 I bought her this spring.

In the garden the ground cherry plants are doing well.

We've had lots of volunteers, like this borage plant next to a tomato.

Swiss chard growing in a pot.  The little bust was found in a burn pile out back.

Herbs; two types of basil, sage, oregano and some kale.

Garlic scapes.

The butterfly/pollinator garden is really coming into its own That broken crock was intended for a toad but none have moved in just yet. 

I love this picture: buckwheat and borage.

Here is the pollinator garden today  in its entirety.  Here is the post where we were just starting it.
We have not recently seen a lot of the birds we saw in the spring  The saddest part is that Bernie the Indigo Bunting has not been by in weeks.  I really hoped he's just moved on to warmer places and will visit again in the fall. As opposed to being caught by cats.

Tons of gardening happening here, in spite of ourselves. We have our first zucchini out in the garden, lots of greens and shelling peas.  It could be worse, that's for sure.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Birthday, first steps and pizzas

The smallest of us celebrated his first birthday on Monday.  It feels like he was just born yesterday, the grand prize at the end of a pregnancy that seemed to last 400 weeks.  

 But now he's a year old. Saying some words: Mamama, Da, Bye-bye-bye, Ka (cat) Ilk (milk), his name and the new favorite Uh-Oh.  He's even taken his first tiny stumbling steps this week. 

We had a tiny party and celebrated Monday by ourselves - the big party will be on Saturday. 

What a bunch of happy, easy babies.

Because it's been about 80+ degrees every day we've been spending a lot of time outside; playing with water under the shade of the canopy.

We did make pizzas under the broiler because it was too stinking hot to grill.

The one at the lower left was my favorite: piled high with shredded Swiss chard, kale, asparagus and corn.  We'll absolutely make it again.

Lucky and blessed enough to have brunch with friends on Saturday and a dinner with out of town friends tonight.