Chicken Blog by Natalie

Recuperating :: Two Hundred Seventy One - 16 hours 42 min ago
We have two patients recuperating at the Bird House. Patient number one, the cat, is rambunctious, frisky, disobedient, furry, and an utterly deplorable patient. He has summarily dismissed each of the veterinarian's instructions for post-operative care, including throwing off his cone of shame. Sadly, recent accounts of our kitty do not paint him favorably. Except that the last few days have been trying, he really is a darling. And judging by how limp-lifeless and deeply he finally fell asleep, we think he is being restored to his former, superior, self. Our second patient is sniffly, and sweet, congested, and cooperative, coughing, yet kind. Poor Maria. Seems it cannot be back to school without a fall cold to go with it. With the help of comfy pajamas, Little Women, hot tea, and her collage journal, she is coming along. It's such a sad and loathsome thing to feel unwell. I send warm wishes, to all. It would be so wonderful if we could always recuperate with comforts and love, patience, understanding, other favorite things, and loved ones for company.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

A Room With a View :: Two Hundred Seventy - Sun, 09/25/2016 - 07:47
Yesterday, when the dryer died, we installed solar! Unfortunately, my old laundry line disappeared after we remodeled our porch, but Geoff's string of lights, hung along cables, work very well for this added task. With help from the taller people living here, I got two loads of clean laundry hanging in the sun. Efficiency? Our solar system had everything dry in less than hour!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Fair and Festive :: Two Hundred Sixty Nine - Sat, 09/24/2016 - 20:45
Bambi and Maria, hearing the stone carver's tale, at the Viking Festival. We enjoyed another engaging and inspiring visit to the Viking Festival. For something new, we came later in the day and stayed after dark. The surprises were the people we met, like a teacher the boys knew from middle school, and our friends Leslie, Ido and their children. It's such an ideal venue... small, and full of great crafts, folk art, music, history, amusements. It's no wonder we enjoy returning, and come home with more ideas for making!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Before the first Viking Festival we attended, William and Alex were making things for period costuming and diversion. By the end of our first visit, I was completely certain we had to make our tent! Soon enough, our hopes and plans were coming together for one big-Big-BIG tent. Each time we go back to the Festival, we find new reasons, and ways, to enjoy our time there.

Taking Action :: Two Hundred Sixty Eight - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 08:39
Here is a picture of our kitten, Neo Cairo Nepenthes, being adorable, fluffy, angelic. Approximately two seconds after this photograph was recorded, he leapt onto my arm, and chewed it off with unrepentant gusto. He gnawed on my flesh, with such possessed conviction we couldn't decide which to dial first, a priest or the ER. Thankfully, he released his bite, and to our relief we saw that my arm, miraculously, had remained intact, though damaged. He took gross advantage of our momentary distraction and bolted through the front door. It took two abled bodied men to herd, then wrangle him, only inches from the street, and back into the house. He arched his back and spit gravel, then knocked over the sorted mail. "There is no hunting like the hunting of man," he meowed, eyeing us, without a care.

And this is why his particular, special appointment was moved up ten days. If he wants to quote Hemingway at us, he better learn, "There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self."

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Strange Days :: Two Hundred Sixty Seven - Thu, 09/22/2016 - 08:59
Happy Fall! For our last night of summer we paid a visit to the hallowed halls of suburban commerce, stalking the aisles in pursuit of consumer meditation. All the signs of the new season were upon us, and we immersed our eager senses in the banquet that lay before us... fall scented candles, autumn lighting, heaped masses of confections, skeletal anything and everything. Pumpkin anything and everything. It was a kind of bliss, absurd, yet sublime. Mindless, yet utterly engaging. And for your information, glue sticks are 70% off.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

(This may be the first in a series, which I can't think of a title for, yet, but pertains to us desperately trying to adjust to Max's absence, feeling sad, and counting the days until the weekend.)

Then I Googled "quotes about dogs." You're welcome...

“Every dog has his day, unless he loses his tail, then he has a weak-end.”
—June Carter Cash

“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.”
—Abraham Lincoln

"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
—Jack London

“If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
—Harry S. Truman

And this favorite...

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
—Groucho Marx

We Are Cozy :: Two Hundred Sixty Six - Wed, 09/21/2016 - 08:22
Cairo has been extra alert and curious since the change in the weather. It's been raining since yesterday. The garden already looks happier, and everything feels refreshed, brightened. The world is far from perfect, but the weather outside our door is rather ideal, and we are cozy, inside, and feeling thankful for our comforts.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

What The Birdie Saw :: Two Hundred Sixty Five - Tue, 09/20/2016 - 08:40
Here is the hen I call Birdie. She likes to take her dustbath next to the badminton net. She's an expert fence hopper, so it's no trouble at all for her to go wherever she pleases. She's not tame, but she's not unfriendly, either. She's just Birdie, a green egg laying, healthy, dust bathing chica.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

It's no wonder Birdie chooses to dust bathe on the other side of the fence!

Beginning :: Two Hundred Sixty Four - Mon, 09/19/2016 - 09:10
This time it's real. Max is moved in, and beginning. Actually, classes don't begin until Thursday, but Max decided to brush-up. For him, focusing on his studies is the thing that helps him settle in. For me... well, I have a lot to learn. I like that I have some company, and the insights, and support of wise, kind friends... thanks, Andrea, Diana, Jennifer, Liz S, Moments.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

We had the luxury of making the Move-in Day a two step process. Max set up his room, met his roommate, and lead us on a campus tour, then we all came home together.

On Sunday, Max packed a few more things, except not this Boop. No Boops at kawledge.

This time we had Maria and William with us. And we toured more of the campus.

I think he's going to appreciate Monday's menu... ono!

Max got to get a peek into his physics lab, recognized a lot of things, and was able to confirm that he can scramble between Humanities and Physics in the allotted ten minutes, even with an armful of text books.

On this hot day, we enjoyed nice breezes as we powered around campus, checking things out. Looks like someone has learned how to really hang loose at school. We stayed kind of late... honestly, not to delay the inevitable, but just figuring things out, solving odds and ends issues. And yeah, probably delaying the inevitable, just a little. I filled the time giving him loving looks, and saying things like, remember to hang your towel, and stop the microwave as soon as the popcorn stops popping. Seriously awesome things, like that.

If there's anything sophisticated or insightful to say, you won't hear it from me, not on this subject. I belong to the proud, but reluctant subset of mothers who have no desire to rush anyone away from home, who have so loved family life, that I see no harm in the status quo. But, yes... he's ready, and able, and I know that it will be a blessing and a joy to see what's next for him.

And even if I am not ready and able, I know there's a good chance I will figure it out... certainly, it's all much easier with sweet friends to offer comfort and support!

Silken Threads :: Two Hundred Sixty Three - Sun, 09/18/2016 - 09:54
The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.

And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.

Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider’s web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.

E.B. White

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Making Joy :: Two Hundred Sixty Two - Sat, 09/17/2016 - 14:31
Here it is... I am sad.

News, comments, events, politics, crisis, the big, wide world... Lately, I've let too much seep into my head, my emotions. It's not that I ever intend to escape reality, or close the door on responsibility, information, facts, truths. It's only that too much of the aforementioned and I am incapacitated, stunned into inaction. And even deeply hurt. Frankly, I cannot fathom the level of outright hate and acrimony that is spewed on the Internet. The incitement of violence, the name calling, accusations, even belittling common friends over differences of opinion... it confounds me. I think I am naive, yet not ignorant, hopeful, but not sanguine, sympathetic, not pitying. I've been accused, often enough, of being too sensitive. That may be true. Nonetheless, I will guard my hope, strive to keep my guileless nature intact, and endeavor to remain an informed, and sensitive person, because I feel awful otherwise. So I must impose a fast, preserve my head and heart... and for a time, tune out the news, the "issues" of the moment in social media, and instead turn to home, gardens, nature, stars, and moon, cats, chickens, and art, loving family, close friends, folding laundry, picking tomatoes, making things, holding hands, breathing. Gratitude, laughter, good will, kindness, compassion... I want to foster these, for well-being's sake, for the benefit of all, for joy.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Moving In :: Two Hundred Sixty One - Fri, 09/16/2016 - 18:31
"Delay as much as possible," the wise words from Diana that I am taking to heart. So we moved Max into his dorm, unpacked, helped him settle in, a bit. We met Max's roommate, and his family, and they all seem like very nice people. That's such a relief-good thing. We walked around campus, took in some sticker shock at the book store, had lunch in the cafeteria, played a few rounds of ping pong. Then we all came home, Max, too! We can return him on Sunday; prolonging the inevitable, and enjoying a little more quality time together!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Pumpkin Days :: Two Hundred Sixty - Thu, 09/15/2016 - 09:21
One day this week Maria counted four pumpkin items at Trader Joe's, the next day there were ten, including actual pumpkins. Pumpkin Days are here! It's not fall, yet, but it's coming. Fog. Colored leaves. Brisk mornings. Wooly socks. Homework in front of a fire. Hearty soups and fresh baked bread. And pumpkins! All kinds of pumpkins.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Moving Box :: Two Hundred Fifty Nine - Wed, 09/14/2016 - 13:54
It's pretty full, so we must be getting close... move in day for Max. All summer Maria and I have enjoyed our laughs as we poured over Pinterest Boards for Dorm Rooms. When we first read a checklist of "necessities," that included television, game console, boom box, CDs, DVDs, and every variety of pillow from therapeutic to decorative, she asked, What exactly is it people do at college? And neither of us was too distraught over the prospect of the big day. But. Now. Suddenly the big day is imminent, and moving box aside, none of us feels exactly prepared. Max is a practical fellow, pragmatic in his ideas about what he needs. He turned down decorative pillows, strings of lights, area rugs and matching seat cushions. Televisions and entertainment centers were never an option. What he actually wants is for classes to begin, for the routines and demands of this next chapter to be delineated, and to come home, often.

He's not moving out, I console myself... it's only that our universe is expanding.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Cake & Flowers & Kindness :: Two Hundred Fifty Eight - Tue, 09/13/2016 - 08:48
Can't see the cake? It was too big for any camera, too dark, shiny, and chocolatey to be captured digitally. It simply had to be eaten to be appreciated. But you can see the flowers, the bodacious and generous bouquet of flowers, delivered with the cake, and full of unexpected thoughtfulness, heart, cheer, and inspiration. As for the kindness... it's all around.

Thank you, Janece. Your gesture, the visit... it turned my day around, and revived me. Thank you for reminding me that sometimes a little shake-up, an empathetic ear, can make a world of difference. We cannot always change things, but they can certainly be put into perspective, be offered a little grace. And don't we all know how to make the most of a tasty cake?

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

A Cat's Help :: Two Hundred Fifty Seven - Mon, 09/12/2016 - 09:09
When we have important notes to take, files to read, things to alphabetize, delicate, pressing matters that call for our undivided attention, we can always count on a cat to arrive on the scene, to lend a paw, and help. Now, thanks to Cairo, with some assistance from Geoff and Max, Max has a rehabilitated lap top, with emails, bells, whistles, and calendars all ready for Physics, Humanities, Calculus, and FaceTime with family... especially for FaceTime with family!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

There's No Place Like Home :: Two Hundred Fifty Six - Sun, 09/11/2016 - 08:09

It will always be about home,
and home will always be where love, family & friends,
comfort, safety, thinking, tinkering, creating, sharing,
and giving thanks are welcome.
With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tenth of September :: Two Hundred Fifty Five - Sat, 09/10/2016 - 15:24
The same Green Gardens Nursery that I always enjoy visiting, for their beautiful and exotic plants, for the scent of cedar, redwood, and blossoms, for artful displays, the pleasure of walking there, and for the colors of the season... I see autumn. It's almost here!

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

School Morning :: Two Hundred Fifty Four - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 08:11
We love red dresses, big sun hats, books, tetherball, badminton, blueberry waffles,
drawing, gardening, programming, train rides, brothers, friends,
Miyazaki, the beach, pumpkin pie, fall, Fridays, and kitties.
With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Tonari no Totoro :: Two Hundred Fifty Three - Thu, 09/08/2016 - 09:15
There is something endearing about this fellow, and it lifts the spirits to be greeted by our neighbor, Totoro, when we come home.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Waking in The Garden :: Two Hundred Fifty Two - Wed, 09/07/2016 - 09:07
The first Cosmo blossom in the newly planted garden bed! One zinnia woke up, too. The eggplants have fruit, there are peppers, and the beans are sending out tender vines. I am thinking of tempting fate, and risking this lovely fall weather, by planting peas... I am loathe to do anything that might inspire a heatwave! Never mind all that. Today we have a Cosmo, waking in the garden. Today is good.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.