Saturday, January 28, 2012

Excuse Me While I Kiss My Chicken

The winter brings a lot less to worry about in the yard, the veggie garden and fruit trees are resting and in our chicken coop so are the hens. Something most people wouldn't realize is that with the shorter days comes reduced egg production. Chickens need light to lay. The average laying chicken needs approximately 13 hours of daylight to trigger egg production. Often times chicken owners will install an artificial light source to keep those eggs a comin; after all we still have to feed and care for the birds regardless of whether or not their making us breakfast. I didn't get around to that this year, and for 2 strait months my egg bowl on the counter sat eggs (this is another little known perk about chicken husbandry, freshly lain eggs don't need to be refrigerated. An invisible yet protective membrane is washed away before lining them up in a cartons for sale in stores).

This is a bitter pill to swallow after a plentiful summer of more than 3 dozen eggs a week, I was selling them to neighbors for heaven's sake! A little part of me died each time I had to pay for eggs at the grocery store, I know it's not a handsome fee but to have little egg making machines scratching around in my own backyard and then pay for far less than superior eggs just killed me. Well, the days are getting noticeably longer, and we got our "first" egg this week. When I compare the two it's no contest, my eggs are better. Look at the difference! You couldn't buy an egg that big at QFC!

organic free range egg on the left from a grocey store/organic free range egg on the right from our Marigold

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Keep Calm

I know these signs are kinda the rage right now, but c'mon. This is my favorite chicken thing I found on Etsy today.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Alone Time

Tho all this snow (that is still falling) makes for hushed and beautiful streets around our neighborhood, I had to get out in it to enjoy them this afternoon, just glancing out the window was not cutting it; going a little stir crazy (and that's a lot coming from a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom). I had enough of the repeated begging to watch movies, and tattling. Molly and I hit the street headed for the nearest Starbucks. I returned to a sleeping 2-year-old and a serene 7-year-old.

*Thanks Babe, I needed that break.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Snow Topped Cabbages

We got over 1/2 a foot of snow during the night, and it never stopped coming down all day. The only thing left visible in my garden were 2 lonely purple cabbages, the chickens have been to 'chicken' to even step one claw outside, and the only thing moving in my backyard at 9am were these 2 clowns.

Snowed In & Out


Molly enjoyed her off leash snowy walk/romp on our quiet deserted street this morning.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Me Too.

Last year E wanted to run away after she and I had a minor argument. In her fashion she stuffed her backpack full of all the things she'd need, and was ready to bolt. Where to? Well, in the end it didn't matter she decided to stay for supper and forgot all about it over our meal.

Well, something sparked that romantic view of up and leaving with all her precious and necessary items strapped to her in a ladybug backpack this evening. I noticed just before 5 that her backpack was by the door again and she was stealthily making trips up and down the staircase. I was a bit clueless as to why all this was happening again, I suppose it could have been the fact I informed her that our family movie night was canceled due to her lack of regard to specific instruction I had given, or maybe the math homework I insisted we complete, or the fact I offered the last coveted slice of Margarita pizza to her cousin for lunch. Whatever it was, she was decided. Our home was not a livable place and she was packin' up and walking to Gram's house (she later confided).

Dinner seems to make everything better. She smiled when we asked her why she wanted to go; she couldn't remember why. During her bath as I scrubbed her soapy head, she even gave me permission to look through her backpack.

I know none of this warrants too much worry, she's a smart 7-year-old who likes to play the drama card frequently. We spend our days in very close proximity. I pretty much know her every move, and if I'm not right at hand there's at least 3 other mom's watching her like a hawk and wouldn't flinch to have to report any malfeasance. I get it. She's a strong headed kid in a house with 3 other equally strong headed goofs.  Hey, I wanna run away at least once a week! She and I are cut from a similar cloth. I often feel like it isn't fair I have to do things I don't want to do all day. That I don't get to choose what I eat, where I drive, how much sleep I get or don't get, what I get to spend my money on, or how I spend my free time (because it just doesn't feel like free time!).

It's just the tiniest bit hard though, to not take it personally. Doesn't she know I'd be lost without her? Doesn't she know I live my entire day for my family? That I've specifically chosen this path in life? That what brings meaning to my morning is the immediate realization that they're mine. That I grieve repeatedly because she's had to learn life lessons so much earlier than I did. I want to run away too.

She confided that her plan was to wait until we were asleep and then leave, and I kind of think that Molly was part of the conspiracy too. What she couldn't comprehend is that I awaken at the slightest cough from my children, how could she slip away under my radar? Maybe it wasn't a forever decision, because she didn't pack any clothes this time, but what did make the cut leaves me with such an essence of who she is right now:

1 stuffed dolphin N gave her for last Christmas
1 small black pillow she and I made for one of her first sewing lessons
my security blanket from when I was small
an old necklace I gave her
a crystal she bought with her own money
her safety reflector vest
a photo album
her journal and pen
and 1 of D's dirty socks (this one is un-understandable to me)

As I now read over this list part of it makes me laugh; a reflector vest and worn sock?  Well, at least she'd be safe. A good majority tho, makes me wonder what she was trying to get away from if she packed so many things that are from me, of us? I know, it's silly to analyze this to pieces, but in that small nagging place in my brain I can't help but go over it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


We've almost come to the end of the Africa unit for our World Geography co-op. The girls made ugali, a traditional cornmeal-based Kenyan staple. After they stirred and stirred we formed it into a dome and took small pinches and dipped it into our chili.