Chicken Blog by Natalie

22 Red White Blue & Green

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:54
It's still winter, but there is every suggestion and hint that we are due to enjoy a beautiful spring. And just this one glimpse of our sky, of the trees waking, the fresh breeze blowing, reminds me that we must always move forward in our attitudes, actions, and protections of, for, and about the environment. Water, air, land... natural resources are finite, and I never want to see those neglected or abused, for all our sakes.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

21 Lapin Magique

Chickenblog.com - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 07:30
Here is the Magic Bunny, painted in her top hat.

{The only trouble with photographing and sharing these art posts of mine... I stare at the errors, the "glaring" bits that I'd love to correct, if I knew how, or could try again. So... I'm learning how and trying again. It's all about the journey. Even a bunny magician knows practice is the key!)

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

19 A Magic Birthday Bunny

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 02/20/2017 - 08:59
Jennifer and I are about fifty-one pictures into a second round of A Picture a Day. I wouldn't do it again, if not for my friend. I enjoyed the challenge of doing it last year, but it would be far less compelling without her company. And sometimes I crave a bit of inspiration, a nudge, or suggestion. Yesterday, on her birthday, she accepted my offer to post a photograph of any request she'd like to make. I would wish for a magic bunny, or a polar bear, she replied. I may yet visit our World Famous polar bears, to bring her a picture. But this time the Magic Bunny is what popped into my head, and onto a page in my sketch book.

In my head the bunny is the magician, a clever lapin, nimble and sure. I wanted her to have a knowing look of confidence, sure-footedness. If I can conjure her again, on canvas, I would love to make a little painting, too.

She sees you Jen, and wishes you a magical new year.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

18 The Pleasure of Trying

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 02/19/2017 - 12:58
Without an agenda, except try. Without a hope, except enjoy. Without worrying, stressing, competing, or letting doubts defeat me, I am enjoying the pleasure of trying my hand at making things that I imagine. It's not easy, but I am not letting that deter me, either.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

17 Giving Back

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 02/17/2017 - 12:52
We have been on the receiving end of some... well, love, actually. It's manifested as text messages, and phone calls, time over tea cups, care packages, handmade gifts, references, touching base, hugs, long talks, support, gestures of unwavering compassion. Being able to receive love is a gift, a nurturing, reassuring, heartening gift. I have thanks to give to so many, for their gifts, time, thoughtfulness, and am happy to begin, to try and give back.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

16 One Fish

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 02/16/2017 - 16:31
When you arrive at your destination and it's better than you remembered, better than you'd hoped for. And, truth be told, a little retail therapy ain't so bad, either. More little canvases, more shades of blue.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

15 We Are...

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 16:27
If it were warmer, I might jump into the ocean, and be happy in the brine. For now, I am taking solace in the view, watching the horizon, holding firm.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

14 Tower 16

Chickenblog.com - Tue, 02/14/2017 - 16:24

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

13 Skipping Rope

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 02/13/2017 - 16:22
I'll just leave this here... a reminder for any who may need it: Play. Share. Explore, breath, move, tinker, balance, sleep, and connect. Ask for help. Love, and receive love. Sometimes we lose our way, but the way back is almost always through the most basic and essential things. Never underestimate the healing power of simple pleasures.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

12 Picasso at the Lapin Agile

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 02/12/2017 - 16:10
For a moment I felt a small panic, and then I remembered, I am only a blogger, and under no obligation to write critiques, or support my points of view. Without any supporting evidence or proof, I can nimbly, blithely, state that I very much enjoyed Steve Martin's play, and the Old Globe's production of, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Sometimes, it's a happy relief to just enjoy a thing, and not be pressed to explain why. We laughed, and were moved, and felt a kindred affinity to lengthy reflections on the merits of art and science.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

11 Adaliza Patchwork

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 15:59


This is a gift, all the way from England. Can you believe it? I cannot, almost, except it's here, and Adaliza and I have exchanged so many long and chatty emails, become such happy acquaintances, that I guess I really can believe it. She's kind, talented, thoughtful, with dear stories about dogs and a duck, and loads of beautiful creations, this friend. She's generous, obviously!

On the subject of quilts and patchwork, I do have many posts, but I see now, it's been almost three years since I work on a quilt of my own, and even that one, sadly, is still a wayward wip, abandoned, somewhere in the office of stacks and stashes.

Dear Adaliza, the kindness of your gift has moved me deeply, and I am cautiously preparing to do it justice. For instance... I think I should change the needle on my machine, so I am sewing these small squares with as fine and sharp a needle as possible. Don't you agree? I am anxious about the little errors that add up so dramatically when working with small pieces. And a confession... I have never, ever, used a kit or followed instructions. My one consolation is knowing we have a well established email relationship, because I just know I will be reaching out to you for assurances, tips, and counseling... even before I begin tackling your beautiful quilt kit! My hope is to do a good job, share my progress, inspire all sorts of friends to visit your blog and discover your quilts, then one day fly clear over to your corner of the world to thank you properly, in person, and meet Flora, too! You are so nice, friend, and I am lucky to know you. Thank you, very much. Sincerely, Natalie~

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

10 Las Chicas

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 02/10/2017 - 15:34
Chicas, in Spanish, are girls. And these chickens, are my girls, my chicas.

I know, I've written these words before, which is something that happens, possibly more often than I realize... blogging since 2002, I repeat myself. Perhaps it can be helped, but I don't think I am going to be too concerned about it.

Eleven chicas, all big fat hens, all amusing, noisy, pesky, flighty, messy, and good.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

9 Comfort

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 15:32
Home is full of comforts. And I wish all the world were so~

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

8 The Eggs Are Back

Chickenblog.com - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 15:20
Such a long spell of no eggs. It felt like months, and it practically was that long. Between the big molting the hens went through in November, then weeks of short days, long nights, we went many weeks with no eggs at all. More recently we started getting an egg every other day, then two. And today, all of sudden I find 5 eggs. And perhaps even more awestruck and admiring than ever before, I brought them into the house with ceremony and affection. The eggs, the pretty, nurturing, inspiring, darling eggs are back.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

7 At Risk

Chickenblog.com - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 15:29
I think of what I love, like our backyard, and scrub jays, like the rain that's filling our state's reservoirs, the fresh air in the wide, open sky, education for all people, access to affordable healthcare, and the survival of our republic, the United States of America. I value and respect science, reason, freedom of all religions, and speech, and assembly.

"I've noticed people objecting to "politicizing" issues in recent days... and I have struggled to find the words to express my concern about recent events, including politics, because I don't want to debate, defend, shame, or condemn, and I do not pretend to have ideal solutions... but it seems to me, more and more urgently, that the matters of this election, of gun control, of human rights and respect... these "political" issues are becoming pressing humanitarian issues, on the verge of slipping into a desperate crisis. It feels cowardly to sit quietly by, and not take a stand against hate, lies, greed, and a calculated call for violence and tyranny. I don't know if I can effect change, but I am one more voice, one more light... and I will vote against Hate. And I will vote for human rights, for gun regulations, for representatives that answer to the people and not corporations, or the NRA. Our government is not perfect, but our ideals have been good, and I hope to see them preserved, honored, and guided by love, respect, intelligence, compassion, and truth.
This isn't a political stand... it's civic duty."
June 6, 2016

Those were my thoughts, that I shared last June. One regret is that I did not just come out and indelicately, but truthfully state, "Donald John Trump is a tyrannical @ss, and we are doomed if we allow him one step closer to the White House," but I was trying to play nice, so I held back.... but now, with the appointment of Betsy DeVos to head our department of education, I am evermore aghast and dismayed. Aghast to see the deliberate, systematic fracturing and dismantling of our democracy, and by what right? By the "right" of money, and the means of coercion, by the manipulation of truth, which is to say lies, by the devaluation of journalism, science, education, the environment, diplomacy, and our constitution. I am dismayed at the prospect of a future in which our air and water are polluted, and our nation's children have been robbed of equitable, sound, reasoned, opportunities for education. There is too much at risk to play nice, to be tactful.

I am dismayed that there are still people wondering if it's right to politicize, issues, who question the loyalty and patriotism of people criticizing the POTUS, the legislature, the talking heads surrounding the White House. I am dismayed that lies, misinformation, misdirection, and ignorance are rolled up into one big pill that some seem to be perfectly willing to swallow whole... and let's be clear: blanket "skepticism" is not the same as rationally, intelligently reasoning with facts and evidence. Calling "all" of "them," corrupt, liars, terrorists, rapists, fake, evil," does not protect us, and it does not make us smart. It is ignorant, lazy, and paranoid, and no sides should be exempt from criticism for making these judgements, placing these labels, relying on this kind of narrative.

It's simple... where I stand. I stand with love, not hate. I stand with the republic of the United States of America and our constitution. I stand with a representative democracy. I stand with freedom of the press. I stand with the freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and the freedom of fear. And it's not too soon to state that I stand against some things, too: I stand against tyranny, and treason, and anyone who has stated, and sits in a place of authority in our White House, that they "want to destroy the state" is an enemy of the state. I stand against domestic violence, here or there, or anywhere. I stand against repealing the "federal rule restricting mining companies from dumping waste in nearby streams." And I certainly stand against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, who bought her seat, as our nation's education secretary.

I am apolitical, honestly... or, at least, that is what I want to be. To be at liberty to pursue happiness. I love buttercups, snowflakes, republicans, democrats, Sunday dinners, fireside chats, and the constitution. I love art, camping, and making, chickens, mentoring in STEAM, traveling, reading. I want to enjoy the benefits of living in a free society, with representative democracy. I value the benefit, to all, of living among healthy, educated neighbors, and I want a peace agreement between people who have opposing views, because we have, and we can, get along, but we have really got to stand up for the essence of what has made our country worth living in, so that we can get back to our run-of-the-mill differences and opinions, and happier pursuits, under the protection of a government with checks and balances, that stands for truth, and justice.

6 A Fine Hen

Chickenblog.com - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 11:12
Fiona Buff Orpington is a fine hen. First-rate. Pretty plumage, sweet disposition, kind and curious. She has a smart profile, darling feet, a pert comb, and a refined plumpness, which is most becoming.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

5 Still Autumn in My Heart

Chickenblog.com - Sun, 02/05/2017 - 10:45
Early autumn, New England... if I could go back, I would. I could not do more or see more, nor be more thankful, for everything we enjoyed there. It was time well spent, thoroughly immersive, and appreciated. But to have more of the same, to revisit, I would not pass on the opportunity. And as much as possible I relish the memories formed there. Maria and Jennifer's pressed leaves are on our mantle, and here are the ones I saved from our walk through the Public Garden. I had them pressed in a book, then sitting on a small bench at the top of the stairs. Even when they were crumbling and spreading up and down the stairs, I couldn't bring myself to sweep them away. It felt too much like a betrayal, like admitting that the trip really is over. Then I realized one more way to celebrate autumn and Massachusetts, friendship, adventure, a part of the Freedom Trail, which traces the beginnings of our democracy, and my maple leaves... and so now they are in the garland, around the old printer's drawer, which makes me happy.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

4 Works In Progress

Chickenblog.com - Sat, 02/04/2017 - 18:00
It's one of my mom's frequent observations, that we are all works in progress. My grandmother, too, taught me that we are always growing, always learning lessons, striving to achieve goals, mend our missteps. With their wisdom, the kind words of Jennifer and Val, the company of friends, and more painting (my therapy and meditation, which like writing, crochet, and photography, I seem to have adopted, almost, compulsively,) I found a bit of breathing room, felt encouragement, redoubled my resolve (again!) Thank you, friends. I filled in some gaps, and made more progress, and that is, I suppose, all we can do, sometimes... start, pause, move forward, step back, inhale, release, learn, strive, and find ways to fill in the gaps. I strongly recommend the company of friends, taking in kind words, and finding ways of meditating.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

3 Filling In

Chickenblog.com - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 01:23
So far, I've ruined two pair of pants with paint spills, and clumsy mishaps. It would be the one pair of jeans without a hole in the knee. But writing all that is just to fill in the awkward silence, the hollow feeling after long days, and uncertainty. I am vague, I know. It's only that being sad never reads well, and phone calls drop out, fail. There are so many things broken, that I cannot mend. Distances I cannot bridge. Maybe painting isn't for me, after all. Maybe I need the warmth and comfort of yarn... row after row of shells, to wrap around and hold me together, bigger, to share.

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

2 Wood and Sheets and Plans

Chickenblog.com - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 13:00
Another supply run, for another plan. Alex and William are helping me make the prototype for a child's tent... something simple that we can teach, share. It seems like a good idea to get back to the things that move us forward, give us focus, help us connect. It's a maker thing, because I believe in making, and sharing. We are A Nation of Makers. #nationofmakers

With Infinity More Monkeys, a picture a day.

Pages