Monday, June 27, 2011

We've Named Him Mullett

It's Haught's Wild Kingdom here on our little plot.  The chickens have brought out a plethora of wildlife.  We see this beautiful skunk almost nightly now, we've named him Mullett (this was Music Man's idea, I cracked up, it stuck).  The boys spotted a "rat" a few days ago running away from the chicken's pen (luckily they were inside their coop for the night).  It turns out it's probably a mink as it has a long body and not too much of a tail.  Either way, not boding well for the chickens and their eggs.  Dog.  We need a dog.

This video was fun, I was so close to Mullett, and he's not phased by us.  Not safe for him as far as fear of humans goes, but he sure is pretty.  I've never seen a skunk that has so much white on it, he's mostly white with a long, luxurious tail.  Maybe he should be Peppy La Pew after all, he's quite divine.

Wishing you some wildlife adventures of your own,  ~Peacemom

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chicken Update

Okay, so folks have been asking for chicken updates.  I was sure I was driving everyone crazy with my chicken obsession, so I took a little break from talking about them.  Now, I'm getting requests from family and friends to put an update and some pictures up, so here goes...

This is handsome Pete Rose.  He's grown into quite the looker, hasn't he?  He crows all day long, beginning about 4:30 am.  Though he's tough on the girls, and Tulip in particular, he's doing his Big Protector job very well.  He will round them all up at night and get the girls in the coop for me.  I just wait for him to do his nightly duty and go out and close the door.  He watches very well for anything he perceives as danger and has a special warning BOK! bok bok. when he's not liking the look of something.  Or the sound of something, come to think of it.  He makes that sound every time I'm in the sunroom and cough.  He can't see me, so it startles him into the BOK! bok bok. (Shhhh don't tell him, but sometimes I cough just for fun). Funny stuff.

And this beauty is the lovely Victoria.  She's the one we thought looked like a hawk when she was just a chick.  She has fluffy little mutton chops that I love.  She's quite stately and is the leader of the girls.  She's not mean, but she keeps them in line and isn't afraid to put Pete Rose in shall we say...amorous place.  I can also pet her too, she's the only one that seems to enjoy that activity.

This picture just cracks me up.  This is Betty and she's the most outgoing of the girls.  She's the first at the door when you open the coop and the first to the "Treaties" bowl.  I love her because she's very inquisitive, as you can sense from this shot.  The girls are all still contained until they are just a bit bigger and so it's hard to get a picture without the fence in front.  I was moving the top screen back and putting the camera inside the fence.  She was very curious about what I was doing and wouldn't hold still, so this is the best I could do, but it's so her, the expression and everything, just very her.

And here we have Victoria, Wilma and Magnolia.  The two Fayoumis in the back are very skittish and not very interactive.  They are the feral of the bunch, but stick together and Wilma is Victoria's best bud, which you can probably see here.

And here we have Betty on the right and Tulip on the left.  They are bestest amigas and hang together.  Tulip is pretty friendly considering Pete never (and I do mean NEVER) leaves her alone, she's his amore even though she doesn't want to be and steers clear of him when she can.  He daily rips out her feathers.  Tulip, Honey, we've all been there. Boys.

So, that's the chicken update.  It's impossible to me to think that just 13 short weeks ago they were little puff balls cheeping in the brooder box.  They are growing up quite lovely and seem to be pretty happy.  And they are making me quite the same. Watching them is better then anything on cable, that's for sure.

Wishing you Farm TV in your backyard, ~Peacemom 

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Most Definite Spiritual Directive To Me

I find there are times in my life when I feel so exasperated by my lifestyle.  Let me clarify...when I explain to a family member or friend or even acquaintance when they ask why I have wanted chickens for 30 years, or why I put all the work into the vegetable garden or why it matters so deeply to my soul to be able to grow the food that sustains my family only to have that person look at me like I have six heads and have fallen off the 21st century wagon. 

I feel frustrated by this lack of understanding or even attempt to understand because it's not what they would do, or that it is not fathomable why I don't just go to the grocery store for all these things like everyone else does.  Or how can I help them understand that this is for a more genuine life?  That creating things with your hands matters. That picking that egg out of that nest from the chicken that you've given a good life matters. Or plucking that sun warmed tomato from the vine offering your family the freshest, most healthy food for their bodies matters. For me, all of this is most definitely a spiritual directive.  When you feel something is right and true so deeply in your soul, then it's met with the glazed over look from the person your talking to or worse the dismissive, "what's the point of all that work, that's silly- just buy it" attitude.
Well, to be honest, it's kept me inside my passions for a long time now.  I used to share these things with people, but after so many rejections of your core beliefs, it becomes a very personal dismissing.  And a lifestyle that I can't understand why more people don't want.  I know so many people that rush from one thing to the next, shepherding kids to this activity and the next, needing to work late at that business meeting or project.  Folks who spend hours on activities I think are inane, but yet, I allow that there is value to it for them.  If they did not get some sense of satisfaction, then they would not be doing it.  I don't think they are crazy for their lifestyle choice, but I do think that perhaps some of them are missing the boat.  Why is there so much craziness and anger and disconnect in our world? 

My feeling is because so many people have lost their connection to the very things that keep us grounded.  You're not feeding yourself staring at your cell phone or computer screen or ipad.  Or feeling the sun warm your skin as you sit among the blueberry bushes harvesting if you're indoors for hours playing wii or watching tv.  Life is meant to lived, dirty, physical, satisfying, challenging and most of all connected to nature.  What is more essential to our nature then living that genuine life?  Then harvesting food, sewing the curtains you need, building the chicken coop to house the very source of your life-giving food?  Having the skills to do all this builds the genuine life. 

My husband and I could just as easily buy all of this, hire someone else to do the work for us, yes, all that is true.  That is the age we live in, but I don't feel it's all for the better.  We live this life by necessity to some extent as we don't have the income to hire everyone for everything we need fixed or repaired or built.  But even if we did, we would not.  We would lose the soul level satisfaction of working with our hands and nourishing our bodies with love and care and attention. To see the sense of pride in my husband's eyes at the coop he built for the chickens, or installing the new light fixture or fixing his car.  Or for myself to smell the strawberry jam simmering on the stove, or shelves of canned food to get us through the winter, or chickens happily clucking while they go about their business.  The knowledge that we have the skills we need to survive in a different way then most.  No amount of money could buy that. Ever.

It isn't until I get the chance to talk to someone that is interested in this sort of thing that I see the glimmer of hope.  I have made such a new friend and we spent the whole of our children's baseball practices talking about CSA's, canning, the benefits of raw milk, why organic is so important to our children's health, chick rearing and our shared disgust over the school lunch program.  It is then that my spirit relaxes, when I see the glimmer of passion building in that person's eyes and someone who is interested in the knowledge I have built over the 4+ decades of my life, it is then that I feel a little song build and a sigh in my heart.  Kindred spirits for your passions are not to be taken for granted.  Ever.

Wishing you the enlightenment that shared passions bring, ~Peacemom

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ogunquit State of Mind

Hello All,

Above is a photo I took in Ogunquit last weekend.  For the first time in almost 8 years, Music Man and I took a night (two actually!) away from our children.  I don't really consider the one night we spent away from them when Little Red was born...since I spent the whole night in labor (28 hours to be exact) and Music Man spent fitful and intermittent sleep on a little bed in the room.  So, no, not a vacation for either of us.  It was so long overdue and so needed after the 15 completely stressful months we just spent. 
My mother-in-law very graciously agreed to take the boys.  She escorted them to their three hours of baseball practice, and around to a bunch of  "The Cousins" baseball and basketball games, and their favorite sports card store and out to eat and they got to sleep away from us for the first time in their lives.  They had a great time and Grammy enjoyed their company.  The gift of time is the best gift she could have given us and it was very appreciated.

We started our trip arriving at the inn where we had reservations.  You know, when you are reserving something site unseen, it can be interesting.  I have a dear friend that LOVES Ogunquit, and I asked for recommendations, but as he either camps or stays at friend's timeshares there, he didn't have a clue where to stay.  I had two requirements.  A jacuzzi tub I fit in (for those that don't know me personally, I'm a chubby tall girl and need a nice big jacuzzi).  It was made for two and was very nice. We also wanted a fireplace in the room as well.  What we got was a lovely, large one bedroom suite with a jacuzzi and fireplace in the bedroom.   However, the sitting area of the place has one VERY tiny little loveseat (it was an oversized chair, really).  That was it for seating.  Being there two nights, we were sort of hoping for a place to hang, have a drink or two.  This was not that space.  It was a little strange.  In any case, we went right down to the downtown area and decided to get a dessert and sit and people watch. There is not much chance to do that in our little country town.  Fun, fun stuff.  Ogunquit is a gay mecca besides being a lovely destination and some of the people we saw had nothing but fun in mind.  It was amusing and we enjoyed their energy. 
Then Sat morning we had the continental breakfast offered by the Inn and headed downtown again to sit on the square, enjoy some tea and coffee and enjoy the lovely morning.  We had amazing and perfect weather the whole weekend, we could not have asked for more.  We walked along the Marginal Way which is a 1 mile walk that goes all along the water.  There are many people that enjoy this and we were able to find an older couple to take our picture.  This is us...
and this is them enjoying one of the many benches along the trail.

and we found the house that our friend, who is totally missing his calling and should be an inn owner, should buy and renovate.  Right on the water, large gorgeous lot and needs someone to love it...

  then we sat on a bench and talked of our lives and our relationship and what the past 10 years together has brought our way.  It was a meaningful, sentimental wonderful discussion in front of a vast and beautiful ocean. We also talked about how we don't have enough time to do just this often enough.  Life gets in the way much too often. 
Music Man also made an offering on a cairn that was built on the rocks...kinda fun I think.

Amazing landscaping all along this trail makes for such an enjoyable walk.   Above is a poppy I just couldn't resist, so fetchin'.

We had a truly enjoyable walk that ended with me falling off a little edge on the walk and spraining my ankle, which was not fun.  And embarrassing that so many people watched me fall and my camera hit the pavement at a very high rate of speed.  Thank goodness that no permanent damage was done to either one of us!

We ate lunch at Barnacle Billy's.  Because there are just some things you should do once in your life.  Our server was great and even brought me a bag of ice for my quicky swelling ankle.  After enjoying more good food (our entire trip was great food and direly needed relaxation), we very slowly made our way back to the hotel for a bit.  We ate supper at the Cape Neddick Lobster Pound restaurant.  This is a place we had visited before we were married.  We were very pleased to find the food still great and the atmosphere equally so. Though, what is with young girls wearing tank tops with their bra straps hanging out.  First of all, so unhygenic to serve food in a tank top (I'll just say deodorant and leave it at that-gross), secondly, modesty is a virtue.  I don't need to see all that hanging out everywhere when all I want is my clam chowder.  But the rest of the experience was positive, so it's all good.  Music Man especially enjoyed his beer float.  This place took a Chocolate stout and added scoops of ice cream.  He coulda died and gone to heaven.  He doesn't drink much , and he is a beer snob, so for him to see something like that...well, there was no doubt he was going to have to try it.

The next day, another awesome meal at the Wild Blueberry, in which we also enjoyed a charming older couple serenade us with some upright bass and piano music.  Outstanding pancakes and Irish Eggs and live music, what could be better?

Though I missed my children, I was still sad to leave that perfect moment in time.  It was so nice to be able to spend a whole weekend not being needed by anyone, or cooking for anyone or cleaning up after anyone and to be catered to for a bit after 8 years, well that was as priceless as it gets.  We both agreed, we won't wait another 8 years to do it again. 

Wishing you some romantic time with your loved one, ~Peacemom