Friday, April 30, 2010

Our Belated Earth Day Barbecue

We call them the Washoe Zephyrs. It makes them sound like sweet little warm breezes, doesn't it? Which they sometimes are. Of course you've guessed that they are actually mostly gusty, cold, take-no-prisoners winds. The kind that blows fences over and uproots trees and chills you to the bone. They are just part of life in the Truckee Meadows.

So when the forecasters warn that upcoming winds could cause damage that got our attention. Rightfully so.

Living without power for eighteen hours was interesting and brought an Earth Day aesthetic to our Tuesday. Turns out the only things that worked in our house were two battery-operated clocks, the cell phones and the water heater. I was more than happy to spend the day at school with the power ON and felt a little sorry for my sweetie to got to spin his wheels all day wondering when we might have power again. All he could really do was call the power company repeatedly, read or work on a cross-word puzzle. The bad news/good news aspect was that we both had food poisoning from our anniversary dinner the night before so we didn't really miss either the microwave or stove.

The chicks were grateful for our wood-burning fireplace. Just picture their foil-lined cage sitting cozily in front of a roaring fire (yep, looked like some strange chicken barbecue) so the poor girls could bask for a little while before I wrapped them up in their warm down-blanket cocoon.  A cocoon complete with hot water bottles, I might add. Fairly spa-like.  I would have worried more about my fluffed-out dears if they hadn't been almost fully feathered.

The Movie Stars are officially one month old today, have completely outgrown their brooder and have moved to interim quarters in an old dog house while we work on their chicken coop. Perfect timing to score a linoleum remnant ($1) from the ReStore.  The value of an easily-cleanable surface cannot be underestimated if you have chickens.  Just sayin'...

It's just me, the pups and the chicks for the weekend while our menfolk are out-of-town.  Either I'll get lots done or else I'll remain as scatter-brained as this post!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Color Coordinated

One blonde blogger...
 
check.


One blonde border collie...
check.


One golden retriever...
check.


Four golden blonde chicks...
 
check.

I like having a theme when I decorate, but maybe color-coordinated livestock is carrying things a bit too far?

 
Intentionally blonde,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Once Upon A Time

Girl met boy. 
(Fell in love, got married, raised kids and pets, planted fruit trees and flowers, survived various roadbumps...the usual stuff.)

 
...and they lived happily ever after.
(knock wood)

Another year, another anniversary.
 

Make that Mr. and Mrs.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Guideposts - Week16

 
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
--Roger Caras


Amen,


Linking (as always) to Notes From A Cottage Industry.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Four Years of Puppy Love

Four years and one day ago, my life was missing something. Then the cutest puppy in the whole wide world came into our lives. I'm still smitten--as in head-over-heels, ear-to-ear grin, rose-colored-glasses happy.
 

Each day is better because of Kharma. The first thing I do when I get up is greet her--she stretches her "coyote nose" up to mine. Then I tell her how much I love her as she gets a massage from her ears way down to her tail. It's a wonderful way to start the day for both of us.
 
All my dogs have been wonderful, exceptional and much-loved. I've thought every one of them is the best, smartest and most-perfect dog in the world. But Kharma is, well, my heart-dog. And I'm trying hard to be worthy of her.

Here's my first post about Kharma, if you want to join me in a trip down Memory Lane.  I won't deluge you with a fond mom's myriad posts...but feel free to go back into the archives for April and May 2006 and read more of those short but sweet ramblings about our new baby.

It's our anniversary...so please excuse me while I go bake her some special treats and spend the rest of the evening spoiling my favorite furry girl.

Still crazy in love,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Guideposts--Week15

 
Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous.
 --Ralph Waldo Emerson


Just guessing, but I'll bet ol' Ralph Waldo had some bug when he wrote this and was frustrated at his body being unable to work on all the projects his mind was thinking about  (repaint the shutters, transplant some iris next to the fence, prune the tree...)  Just like I was filled with ideas for Spring Break and a week later have accomplished pretty much nothing, alas.

But then, I could be wrong, maybe he was just philosophisizing...either way, he was right about how much you can accomplish when you feel healthy.  Which I plan to be SOON.





Linking up with Notes From A Cottage Industry!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Three Fifths

Yesterday's Spring Break adventure yielded three raised-bed planters for the Queen Mother's veggies.
I kinda like the striped look myself but I'm sure some paint is in their future (then they'll match the fence). We cut enough wood for five beds total but put off assembling the last two until this weekend.

The fence company was going to charge her to haul away this lumber from her fence that blew down. Hello? Free lumber? I don't mind pulling out nails and stacking lumber for future use--especially since I was already plotting these raised beds to make her gardening easier in our Nevada climate.

Total cost: $6 for a box of screws. With enough lumber left over to build a chicken coop and run.

A slightly sunburned but satisfied,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Awakening

Not so long ago, it was winter. Brrrrr!
 
The frozen pond napped beneath a deep snowy blanket. It felt like we'd never feel warmth again.

But the Vernal Equinox brought sun back into our lives.
 
And my trusty yellow viola brought its own sunny look.

The Johnny-Jump-Ups began showing their cheery faces.
 
Hi, guys!

Heather blossoms appeared next to the granite boulders
 
adding to the feeling of the High Sierra in springtime.


Tiny bits of green began showing on the cutleaf lilac, and could those be flower buds?
 
Yep, these will be her first blossoms since I bought her two years ago as a little bare-root cutie.  I can hardly wait!

The creek is running again and the moving water attracts thirsty mourning doves and dirty robins in need of a good bath.
 
Personally I think they appreciate the rhodies I've provided. Fresh flowers add so much ambiance to any room, don't you think?

The Spring Peepers have begun tuning up for almost two weeks although they are very shy and we rarely catch a glimpse. (Or maybe our dogs make them nervous. They'd make me skittish if I was a frog.)

The water lilies have stirred from dormancy and we can see tiny leaves emerging. I've noticed that still water is difficult to photograph--it reflects the sky's mood and color. Taking pictures of things below the surface is even harder--my camera doesn't look below the surface at all well.
 
My red "Mother's Day" violets survived transplating (Yippee/big sigh of relief) and are the last of all my sweet violets to bloom.

Yep, things are definitely waking up around here. It's nice to have my garden back and even nicer to have flowers to admire while I clean up from winter and prepare for summer!


Cheerily happy to see the sun shine and have a warm Spring Break day,


Participating in My Romantic Home's Show-and-Tell Friday

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hump Day

Spring Break--two beautiful words. So far I've spent four days in bed and taken lots of long hot baths--sounds good so far, doesn't it? Just wait.

My allergies somehow got way ahead of me. All I've generated so far this week was a Puffs Plus-filled trash can next to my bed (so sorry, no photos). I went from sneezy to sore throat and drippy to stuffy and wheezy, all mixed nicely with aches and pains from sleeping sitting up or not at all. Thank heavens for my friends Aspirin, Caffeine and Tussin plus liters and liters of water to drink.

If I wanted to whine I could tell you about wasting vacation days rather than using sick days and the grey skies and a family that thought I should cook for them. But truthfully, I had enough bursts of caffeine-induced energy that I can't really complain about cooking or caring for the livestock (I'm referring to the chicks and pooches, of course, not the family).

I decided that I might live yesterday afternoon and was certain of it this morning, especially when I saw those blue skies. I now have a nicely-mowed and edged lawn--if that wasn't going to kick off my hayfever again, nothing was--and a large garbage can filled with rosebush prunings.

I put another coat of paint (apple green, even if it doesn't look like it) on my shutters.
 
They looked so pretty drying propped up in the violets, which are currently blooming wildly, that I just had to take a photo.

And I put the finishing touches on my new ironing board cover and treated her to a nicely-wrinkled white cotton shirt for her maiden voyage.
Love the ladybugs! Love the daisies! Love the polka dots! Love the green! Love my trusty vintage iron!

I'm not planning on running any marathons, but it's nice to feel more like myself!  And I still have four more days of vacation to enjoy myself.

Hopefully yours,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Guideposts--Week14

A laugh is the shortest distance between two people.

--Victor Borge

Even if someone fell and slightly damaged the camera shutter so that it doesn't always open.  Through many up and downs,  we still enjoy each other's laugh and sense of humor.  It's what attracted us in the beginning and it's still working more than a few years down the trail.

Happy Sunday, Happy Week, Happy Spring!  Thanks to A Cottage Industry for linking us up.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Four Classy Dames

Our Buff Orpingtons have lived with at Meadowsweet Cottage for ten days now. This was Day One.

And this is now! Taller, heavier, more feathers...less cooperative, but still very sweet.
 
Time to name them!Thank you all for your suggestions which helped me narrow down my choices. As of today Brownie, Beauty, Platinum and Chipette (how I've been differentiating them) have names.
 
Given how heavy they will be when fully grown (ten pounds) I decided to go with buxom movie stars that would also be familiar to the Queen Mother.

Say "hi" to Sophia Loren, the brunette; Carole Lombard, the platinum blonde; Rita Hayworth, the popular one; and Marilyn Monroe (MM or Norma Jean), the sweet belle.
 
You can see they've grown wary of the paparazzi. At least I promise not to try to herd them into the bunny basket which is too small for one (much less four) ever again.  In fact, I'm adding a playground accessible from their brooder and beginning to plan their future residence.  I can read the writing on the wall (even if it's chicken scratch)--they're not going to be babies much longer.

Why do babies have to grow up so fast?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Alien Night Light

When you have a chick brooder in your home, there's no need for a night light.
 
Our high tech brooder consists of an old rabbit cage surrounded by aluminum foil and cardboard, warmed by a hundred watt bulb with a pie tin reflector topped by an old cookie sheet.  Our chicks are currently at a toasty ninety degrees. They get to stay in their cozy brooder for another month and a half or so, until they have fully fledged (gotten all their feathers).

I'm not sure chicks get bored, but they have certainly begun to play games like queen-of-the-hill with their water jar and chase-the-chick-with-the-paper-scrap.  That is, when they're not napping or pooping.  I'm changing their paper three times a day now and they've begun to recognize the door as an escape route.  Obviously we handle them a lot and I've also begun to offer chick scratch feed in my hand regularly.  (Chick pecks tickle!) We want them to be well-mannered hens who associate only positive things with human hands.

These chicks miss NOTHING.  When they roam our kitchen, they remind me of the raptors in Jurassic Park.  I know they're bird brains, but when they get "that look" in their eye, stretch out their neck then dart like predators...let's just say I don't want to be an insect invading our yard this summer.  Maybe I could hire them out as organic bug exterminators for big bucks? They are very soft and cute, but food really motivates them!

I'm loving the names you're coming up with for my four girls who are destined as egg layers.  Four hens,  each laying one hundred fifty eggs per year (conservatively), would mean we'll have six hundred (or fifty dozen) eggs.  I can still eat and enjoy chicken--but it feels a bit odd with our four little peeps just a few feet away from the table.  Thank heavens I'm not on a first name basis with anyone at Foster Farms!


Warmly,

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Four Hot Chicks Need Names

Although all four girls are Buff Orpingtons, they look different enough that we can tell them apart.

This one with the bold stripe is the queen of the coop and head of the pecking order.
And we could tell within the first thirty seconds!

This little gal sports more brown tones than gold, definitely the brunette of the bunch.
She's also growing fastest which is surprising considering she started out as the shyest of the bunch.

Say hi to the Twins. It took us a bit longer to distinguish between these two honeys.
One has a platinum blonde stripe and a brownish head.

The other has a goldie stripe and a yellowish head.
She's the beauty of the bunch (not that the others aren't as cute as can be).


That's our little flock.

So...now that I don't panic every time one of the chicks lies down for a nap (please don't die, please don't die), it's time to start thinking of names.  I'm looking for four girl names that stick with a theme--film stars, old-fashioned girls, cartoon characters, heroines, favorite authors or ????

You can probably tell I've got a few ideas for names brewing but I'd be thrilled to have some fresh ideas to add to the mix.

Remember that these little girls will grow up to be Buff Orpington hens--big, golden, classy, and mellow.  I'm interested in seeing if the grown hens' plumage mimic their chick coloring.

They will be a week old tomorrow already. Their wing feathers grew so fast you could almost watch them sprout. Yesterday I remarked that their baby bums were looking peaked and sure enough, today we can see the beginnings of tail feathers! It might be my imagination but I think I'm seeing their combs start to develop. My babies are growing like weeds!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Guideposts--Week13

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word

Sweet the rain's new fall sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's re-creation of the new day.
--Eleanor Farjeon

I think of this as the Cat Steven's song that we used to sing in church, but was fascinated to learn about Eleanor Farjeon's life and works.  Shy, not a healthy child, encouraged to write by her father, never married, staunch friend, wrote poems and stories primarily for children.  What an unexpected benefit of producing a weekly Guidepost--I plan to learn more about her life and read some of her children's stories.

Linking up with Notes from a Cottage Industry

Happy Easter from

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Easter Bunny Made An Early Delivery

Four lovely little ladies...
Our Buff Orpington babies, only four days old...
 
Currently residing in their brooder...
 
Being cute and sweet and entertaining. (No wonder I haven't posted anything recently.)

They will be needing names soon.

 
Yours, with a silly smitten smile on my face,