why chickens?

why chickens

in some ways it is almost obligatory:

you move out to the sticks, you get chickens

amidst all the pintrest-fluff on self sufficiency

there is something deeper and richer about the food on your own plate coming from your own toil

a brood of fluff ball chicks

it is simply the easiest and cutest way to first step that 1,000 mile journey of being more self-sufficient

may i add,

frugality should not be the primary motivation

like all projects the start up costs are always steeper than advertised

we did everything as creatively cheap as possible but building a solid, dry, yet well-venalated, racoon-and-fox-proof 8×8 coop cost money

however, our CLUCKINGHAM PALACE was fun to plan and build and all six of us were involved, and so higher cost was more easily swallowed

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not to mention

have you recently woken up on a saturday and thought

hey,

how about we all see that new disney movie today…

and get popcorn…

and then go out to eat afterwards…

all six of us as a family…

our lumber cost probably neared that typical saturday at the mall with the family excursion

another thing:

almost everyone told us:

“don’t name them”

i almost always never listen to given advice

and so,

“josephine”

“lady”

“flo”

“myrtle”

“eggs”

&

“toast”

met an untimely and messy end

and i kid you not:

the chickens we never really got around to naming were the only ones to survive!

graphic life lesson?

six laying hens that include three different breeds remain

we have a pretty assorted half dozen eggs each morning for the eating

we have come to love quiches and french toast

even a family of six can’t eat three and a half dozen plain cooked eggs every week

we realized our name-less breakfast providers were being executed by chicken hawks

keeping them cooped up

{hey, that is where that term comes from!}

in their coop seemed mean or corporate or something…definitely not hip earthy organic cool like we like to THINK we are

a pretty cool solution emerged:

the solution that presented itself does nothing if not laud the natural eco system circle that emerges when a family starts to lives more natural and organic

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let me explain:

we have a big ole vegetable garden

of course

because like chickens it is pretty much something you have to do or you are just pretending to be a hick

i love gardening and love growing my own veggies

however come august, i am like:

“…meh” when it comes to weeding

{i should also mention i am real cheap when it come to mulch in may}

so,

“pick some veggies”  turned into   “try to find some veggies” by september

it is the folowing spirng

i am lamenting my cheap–may-self and lazy-august-self

i now have two problems:

my chickenS being air raided

my vegetable garden flowering so many summer weeds i cant even find the garden stakes left from last year

let me plant another visual in your mind

chickens are good at three things:

scratching the earth

pooping

& laying eggs

the last we are reaping the protein rich rewards, aplenty

the first two we have recently put to good use in our unsightly weed garden of doom:

plop our six ladies inside our fenced garden every morning

{after their morning job has been accomplished}

the ladies then are employed to do nothing but paw at the ground, eat the weeds and their weight in bugs {many garden pests} to boot, and poop…and chicken poop is another word for fertilizer

however before we could put our girls to work we had to hawk-proof it:

that entailed stringing about half a mile of various string, rope, and cord from post to post, criss-crossing it over and over until there were no spaces left wider than a foot

{hawks have a very wide wing span}

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it is beyond humorous to see family members

corner

catch

carry

squawking hens each morning to then fling them in between stringed spaces inside our garden fence

because we kept them contained in their coop for about two weeks once they were feathered their instinct to go back to the hen house every evening is strong

when the shadows get long we look out

the ladies are gone

they have put themselves to bed in their hen house

 

yet all wild things wander

that is partially why we got a dog:

Padfoot was a

hyper

willful

nipping maniac

puppy that for weeks i feared had ruined our life,

but perseverance

common sense discipline

a strong bond of love for the furry beast

and careful controlled use of a shock collar

has transformed out menace of a puppy into

watch dog…ever on duty

he is as viligant as he is enthusiastic

he herds and gently nips his feathered charges

tail thumping with glee the whole time

again, the cohesively working together; we bought chickens, and a dog, and seeds, and plants not to just buy and consume and dispose of, like so many of our purchases

each purchase has a purpose, and that purpose improves our life

enriches it in terms of:

food

nourishment,

beauty,

companionship,

or entertainment

A movie in a theater or stuff for sale on a rack can’t compete with that

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WATCH DOGS DON’T GET SNOW DAYS

Cheers!

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April in these parts…

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DAFFODILS  BEHIND THE EAR…

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SUN STILL STEAMING AFTER SIX

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DAFFODILS ON THE PORCH & FOR SALE…

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JAUNTY STEMS ON THE BED STAND…

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A PICKED HEAD LEFT ON A JOURNAL THAT IS LEFT ON THE PORCH STEPS…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA VASE OF YOUR OWN GARDEN FLOWERS ALWAYS ON THE TABLE…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATHE SUDDEN RELEASE OF HAIL ON A SATURDAY  MORNING AS YOU INSPECT YOUR GARDENS WITH A COOLING CUP OF COFFEE IN YOUR HAND…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWATCHING OUR NEWEST “NEIGHBORS” SETTLE IN…

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AND SQUAWK AT THE OVERLY INTERESTED CAT…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASPYING ON THE BABE BAREFOOT ON A BIKE THROUGH THE BOUGHS OF A COMING TO LIFE BUTTERFLY BUSH {try saying that one ten times fast!}

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPLAY HOOKY AFTER A INTENSE WEEK OF STATE TESTING AT SCHOOL…

 

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THEN TRYING NOT TO LET 40 DEGREE WIPING WINDS RUIN THE PICNIC…

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PAINTING PROJECTS DONE WITH ENTHUSIASM…

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DONE WITH PATIENCE…

 

Yep, April means a lot of things when you live in upstate New York.

Skirts and flip flops one day

Sweatshirts and boots the next

In means some day you rise from bed to jog in warm sunrise

Or groan and huff in freezing wind that makes you wheeze

It means Winter may be over, but Summer’s not here yet by a long shot

It means dinner not getting on the table till 7pm is fine cuz its still light out and the girls are still playing outside anyway

It means you will say at least a dozen times  more:

“No! it is NOT warm enough to play in the hose”

Its hopeful and expectant and full as of many plans as the days are long.

ITS SPRING AT LAST IN ALL ITS UPS AND DOWNS AND TINY PLEASURES AND VIBRANT COLORS AND WACKY MOODS.

Come to think about it:

its a lot like us.

Cheers.

 

An Ode to Spring {in photos & Scripture}

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For lo, the Winter is past

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The rain is over and gone:

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The flowers appear on the Earth;

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The time of the singing of birds have come,

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And the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land;

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The fig tree putting forth her green figs,

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And the vine with the tender grape

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Give a pleasing smell.

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Arise my love, my fair one,

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And come away.

 

~Song Of Solomon 2:11-13 KJV

Here's to the beauty and hope and promise that is the Season of Springtime.

Cheers

 

 

Rose’s Last Stand: my Macro and Pink photo group

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It happens every fall…

 

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My garden starts to wax old, as annuals die, perennials start to curl up inside themselves…

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The first anxious leaves have broken free from the branches; blanketing the rug of garden mulch and weeds…

 

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I dismiss the garden from my mind, fall projects filling the spaces of my brain, and I barely notice her existence as I pass from porch to fence…

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but then  I catch a glimpse of pink, a streak of pastel, small yet vivid, amongst over growth of green and warm hues of orange and gold.

My pink rose brush has had one last quick eruption of pink blossoms…

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When I look closely I see delicate sharp thorns of blood-toned pink.  I imagine the inner nutrients, buried deep down in the roots, pumping sustaining life force into its twisting canes.  Preparing and strengthening it for the long harsh winter ahead.

Look closely.

See the pink; dappled and resolute.

That is what I have come to love so much about photography:  a snap shot of an image that suddenly catches your eye, later becomes a frozen picture that can unfold layers of depth and beauty you would have never grasped or appreciated in your hurried "present".

So here is to sucking up, gulping down, and digesting, and relishing the last drop of our fair weather nourishment.

Cheers!

Join the photography fun if you want and be part of the "I heart Macro" and "Pink Saturday" photo group.  Their handy-dandy buttons are to the left of this post.


 

 

 


 


Shopping in Ithaca, NY: August Break #5

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Blue Birds Antiques

Cool vintage mannequin

Cheap vintage bling jewelery

Lovely old stuff

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yes that really is me taking a picture of myself in a changing room

(i am getting wierdier by the day)

(i blame the children)

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why I love consignment stores

this one is called Trader's K…and I cleaned up

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pink gilded old architect

(they just don't make it like this anymore)

(yes,that was kinda an old man comment)

(i blame the children)

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An unexpected curved walkway leads to…

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an unexpected plot of hydrangeas

&

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A tucked away river garden, behind their huge public library.

And finally after going the WRONG way down a one way street,

(i seem to keep  endangering myself  in a distracted way)

(i blame the children)

I, a teensy bit frazzled, took the wrong turn leaving the commons and stumbled apon

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the sugar shack!

Of course we got out to get some shaved ice.

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I got peach flavored shaved ice.

It was delightful.

 

Ithaca…only 40 minutes North of us, and such a hip, earthy college town.

Its like a little slice of Vermont in our back yard.

 

Escaping for the whole day to shop, eat, antique, without children was to this lady a 7-hour-vacation.

Thanks "cuz" Mariah for going with me…patiently waiting for me in changing rooms for an eternity, and while  waiting whileI click away at random things like every 9 feet.

I am easily entertained.

(just blame my children).

Cheers,


  

Le Jardin

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The weather has been horrible here in Upstate New York.

Cold

Rainy

Dark

The only bright spot has been my front gardens that I put in last summer.  This is my first Spring of enjoying poking around and discovering what is coming up in my little patch.


It borders our front sidewalk,that has lots of walkers, and therefore, a perfect palette to share my botanical art with passer-byers.

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 My seasonal muse (and for those of you paying attenion, my seasonal blog header).

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.I found these two rocks that makes up this little pink house while walking in a dried up creek bed last summer.  The two flat stones were laying next together just like two little segments of a house.  I, of course, had to take it home and spray paint it pink!

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My front garden "daffies" are only just poking up…something perhaps to do with the fact they were covered with frozen snow drifts taller than goliath till late March?

So, I took my  oh-so-pretty-daffies from the gardens near my house (warmer there) and put them in containers to perk up my front garden.

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While clicking away at my gardens my two daughters non-chalantly came strolling by holding a bouquet with a single flower set jauntily behind their ear…think they wanted their picture taken?

Here's to flowers and sunshine, cuz last time I checked: Flowers Need THE SUN!

Cheers