Tag Archives: chickens

Good Things #41

026_4

Music.
James Blunt came out with one song “You’re Beautiful” when I was in high school, and I haven’t heard much from him since. As the days get a little warmer, though, I pull out old cds (yes, cds), and I remembered really liking his album All the Lost Souls. I was listening to his voice in the car the other day and said, “This really reminds me of the ’70s.” Like I would know.

April vacation.
After my jaunt as a chaperone to Italy and Greece during February vacation, I’ve been lying low this week. Coffee dates with friends I haven’t seen in awhile, lunch by the water with my aunts and mom, grandma and sister. I’ve been reading some fiction, as well as Tim Keller’s The Reason for Marriage. (“Why are you reading that?!” my sister asked. Good question. Mostly because I’ve been running into people who don’t see any need for marriage, and it interests me.) I cleaned my room – sort of – and took the trash out of my car. A dentist appointment is the crowning moment of this vacation, and it will be done by 10:00 Wednesday morning.

Thank you very much.
On Saturday around one in the afternoon, I decided to check on the chicks. I can’t remember why I was compelled to do this – they have been eating a lot of food lately – but when I opened the henhouse door, the smell of burning wood wafted out. I walked closer, and sure enough the heat lamp was just a little too close to the wood chips in the chick’s home. It had gotten down to freezing the night before, so I’d lowered it to keep them warm. The shavings were browned and the smell was awful. I raised the lamp and thanked God for not letting it all set fire. The chicks looked at me gratefully and stuffed their beaks with the fresh mash I put in their feeder, thankful for a at least one more day to live.

Living by the ocean.
I write about this a lot. Nothing fills me with awe and fear like the ocean. It’s dark and deep and water always inspires me to write. We sat outside a little coffee shop along the river that leads to the ocean, and I thought how wonderful it is to live here. I know there are other geographical wonders like mountains and tropics and fjords, but the ocean’s the one for me.

And summer’s not so far.

Good Things #40

Image 38

Being friends with coworkers.
The other day I walked through the halls of my school and realized how strange it is that I get to work with people I like. I know so many people who dread going to work – if not because of the job itself, because of their coworkers. The other Latin teacher sang in College Choir with me, the 4th grade teacher is a partner-in-crime when it comes to people-watching, and I’ve made a handful of other friends over the past two years. I love that I can walk by a classroom and want to stop in and chat – and not worry that the teacher I’m talking with wants to kick me out (other than Mr. White…).

Birthday parties and college friends.
This past weekend, we had a birthday party. It was warm and beautiful Saturday, but by 7:30 it was too chilly to drive with the top down. The girls and I showed up a little late, but it didn’t matter; we dove into conversations about jobs, education, faith, parenting (WHAT?! how does this keep coming up?!), and what-have-you. We ate reese’s cheesecake, brownies with fluff, blondies, and birthday cake. It was on this night that we learned three friends are headed to California for grad school in the fall, and we wept on each other’s shoulders and promised to make this the Best Summer Ever.

Moving the chicks outside.
Thank goodness the weekend was nice enough for me to clean out the chicken house and move those pesky birds from my bedroom. It took over an hour to clean out what was a terribly long hard winter, but when it was done I stood victorious (if a little dirty). Dad and I built a little space for the eight chickies because there’s no way the hens would’ve adopted them without pecking their brains out (literally). So now when I go out, the red glow from the heat lamp greets me. My room needed a little TLC once they were gone, but now it’s back to normal. It’s nice not to have guests.

Music.
I have loved this man for years. His voice, his guitar, his aching heart. This new song is upbeat and lovely for summer. I told one of my students she was featured in Ray LaMontagne’s new song, and she freaked. Looks like I’m not the only one who loves him.

 

Good Things #38: Chicks and All That Jazz

It’s that time of year again – the time to buy chicks. I stopped by the co-op on my way home from school Monday with the intention to buy six adorable soon-to-be-less adorable chicks.

I came home with eight, so not that bad.

photo 1

[Look at that cocked head. They don’t trust me yet.]

They currently reside in my bedroom, and their incessant cheeping keeps me up at night (good practice for baby season?). We got four golden comets, two barred rocks, and two golden-laced wyandottes.

I can feel the restlessness in the flock outside: who’s gonna go? who’s not gonna make the cut?

We’ll deal with that when the time comes.

There’s an informational session at the co-op this Saturday, and I think I’ll go. Since I’m teaching that chicken class again in May, it might be good to do a little networking, a little hen-schmoozing. I need to brush up on my bird diseases and prevention… 🙂

In other news, I wore flats and didn’t feel like my feet were going to freeze off. April’s turning out pretty well so far.

P.S. Friday, I’ll be having my first guest-post. I thought it was about time to have a voice other than mine on this blog; my friend Bryn will be talking about fiction and its role in our lives, so stay tuned!

Good Things #34

IMG_0221

In February, I woke up every morning thinking: Maybe it’s warmer today.

In March, I wake up every morning not believing that it will ever. be. spring. again.

[This place exists, right now as I sit in a snow flurry. It’s called Capri. And it’s way warmer.]

Dad planted some seeds Sunday and we have plans for flowers this weekend. There’s the skeleton of a greenhouse in the backyard, but it’s crooked because it’s sitting on top of a foot of snow.

I got a phone call asking if I’d teach the chicken class again this spring. I was shocked because a class of two doesn’t sound like a success to me, but why not? I had fun, and I liked showing off our “big red barn” of a chicken house. It’ll give me a reason to keep wanting to have chickens because there’s something about a long winter that removes every desire to keep having them. By May I plan to have a new brood of chicks, anyway, so that’ll be another addition to show whoever might sign up. Last year, we ended up talking about writing as much as we talked about chickens – seems the same kinds of people are interested in the same kinds of things.

I am 3/4 of the way done with my second grad school class and I’m close to rejoicing.

This is a song I loved my junior year of college. Justin McRoberts came to our school and for months I made fun of his silly poster that hung in the dining hall: eyes down, shaggy hair, he looked like the quintessential too-serious musician. We went to his coffee-house-style concert and my opinion completely changed. He made us laugh. He joked about being Mexican and Irish and how short he was. I love this song because it is despair and hope all rolled into one.

The excitement of my grammar school Latin students to see my Italy and Greece slide show is overwhelming. Of course, I’m not dumb, and I know that at least part of them is just excited to get out of some translating. But still. I’m terrible with technology so all I can do now is cross my fingers and hope the slide show works…

Read A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp if you need some encouragement in gratitude. Her style can be a little distracting at times, but it’s beautiful and thought-provoking.

Good Things #29

Music. I discovered this band on the radio. I listen to 92.5 The River, and it always makes me think back to middle school. My best friend was cooler than me – she was more eclectic than your average kid – and she was listening to 92.5 and David Gray and other alternative bands way before any of us were. I remember teasing her because I didn’t know how great these different sounds could be. I’m always late to the party.

But here’s the band. Boy and Bear. I know absolutely nothing about them except that I love their sound.

Sherlock. It’s back. I can’t even tell you how excited I was to watch that first episode. I waited until it aired on PBS (I have amazing will-power, apparently. But really? I just wanted to watch it on the big tv…), and I was swept right back up in my love of Sherlock and Benedict and the friendship between Sherlock and Watson and everything. (For those of you who don’t know, I have a slight love affair with this.) Twitter and facebook were things to be avoided before I watched it – some people just can’t help spoiling things.

sherlock_3(That moment when he jumps through the window, flips his collar, tousles his hair, cups Molly’s face and kisses her. Man.)

Eggs. It’s been a long December (haha, Counting Crows, anyone?!) and beginning of January. The temperature has been in the teens and lower, and the girls can’t handle it. We weren’t getting a single egg for a few weeks. I let customers down. I didn’t know if the girls would recover. But this week it’s been a little better – we’re averaging about five eggs a day which, with nearly twenty hens, is quite terrible, still. One step at a time.

Pickles. This might be strange, but I LOVE pickles. Claussens – big, whole cucumbers, cold – dipped in hummus. Homemade mustard pickles for dinner with buttery potatoes and steak. Homemade bread and butter pickles with pork chops. They’re tangy and delicious and add flavor when every other food seems so utterly boring in January.

[Also, I finally watched The Artist after my friend Kate recommended it. It is better than you think it will be. Trust me. Way more thought-provoking than I expected.]

Happy Wednesday! And happy snow day to my fellow teachers!

2013 – A Year in Pictures

 Start off the New Year with a birthday and a dance party. Enjoy the fact that 2 goes into 4 twice and 24 makes a beautiful number.

undefined

One of the perks of sticking close to home is you get to visit your old favorites.

undefined

IMG_1335

The girls had a rainy spring and the garden went through a transformation.

undefinedundefined

At first, I was completely against the pond. “It’s too big! Who’s gonna maintain it? My forsythia bush!” Now, though, I’ve grown to like it. I do NOT however agree with the unceremonious way my forsythia was disposed of.

undefinedundefined

We sold out of honey for the first time this year – a good thing, in most ways, but I hate having to tell people to wait till the spring. We’re also doing the favors for two weddings. Picture this: cute little glass jars with “One Pound Honey” on them, a simple cream label and a bow of twine.

d+n wedding

My first wedding of the season was on a beautiful island in Maine. We sang “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” and frolicked in the night along the dark streets of a sleepy town.

d+hwedding

I learned that you can have the wedding you want and surround yourself with all different kinds of people at once.

Hannah\'s Wedding

We drove half-way across the country to celebrate another college friend’s wedding. The groom made their wedding shoes of leather and they danced to swing.

hike

I even missed a wedding, but I got to go on a hiking bachelorette – that’s the way to do it!

wine tasting

The wine tasting which brought four friends together on a hot June Sunday. It’s also where a little bet began, but that’s for another day.

561475_10200672310747124_1280790892_n

The best summer job ever – teaching English at my Alma Mater.

969246_10200672233745199_544954667_n

We didn’t have any fun at all.

Image 6

And then a trip to London, a trip I never thought I’d go on.

Image 30

A train-ride away was Oxford, and this is my attempt at a panorama.

Image 41Image 2

We stumbled upon an exhibit of mystical writings and illuminated manuscripts at Oxford University. We also found a large blue rooster.

Image 14

This photo was taken at Kensington Gardens, after a not-so-pleasant run trying to catch a tour through the palace (“I’m sorry, it’s 5:02. The tours are closed.”). I look much happier than my feet were feeling at the moment.

Image 39Image 40

A week at the Swiss L’Abri and mornings of “Oh my gosh, this is real.” Did you know the Swiss care about bees, too?!

undefined

undefined

Fishing trips in the Atlantic are always cold, even in August.

makin\' wine

We didn’t win the photo contest, but the winners were holding a baby. Not fair.

redsoxme and sarah

christmas2013

 

Cousin Christmas pic.

baby elijah

The last photo of 2013. A reunion of roomies and I got to hold her little one for the first time.

[This has been a good exercise for me. Too often I let things slip through my fingers, moments of joy and communion, the hard lessons I’ve learned and re-learned.]

[Next week, I’ll be posting my favorite things of 2013. A little late, but I want to make sure it’s a rocking list.]

Good Things #19

This fall has been a particularly beautiful one.

Morning commute. This is not something I generally consider a Good Thing, but yesterday morning was the most beautiful drive. I looked out and saw fog lying low over the fields, the trees red and orange, the sun shining in that October-morning way. I wanted to stop the car and run through the fog, but imagining it was second-best.

art1

Books. Writers’ group met this past week, and we talked about John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. “I’ve never read that,” I say, and my friend hopped up, ran to his shelf, and pulled out his copy. I’ve only read the preface, but already I’m in love. Addressing the fears that so many wanna-be-writers have, Gardner says:

Most grown-up behavior, when you come right down to it, is decidedly second-class. People don’t drive their cars as well, or wash their ears as well, or eat as well, or even play the harmonica as well as they would if they had sense. This is not to say people are terrible and should be replaced by machines; people are excellent and admirable creatures; efficiency isn’t everything. But for the serious young writer who wants to get published, it is encouraging to know that most of the professional writers out there are push-overs.

I love this. Partly because I think, “I knew it!”, and partly because I feel like I need to admit, “Yes! It’s true! I DON’T clean my ears as well as I should!” I can’t wait to get into this book.

Music. I first heard this band in my city-friend’s apartment last spring. I didn’t know who it was and I didn’t figure it out till a few weeks ago when another friend said, “Hey, I think you’d like these guys.” I like their lyrics and I love their sound. Good writing meets good music. “When Your Back’s Against the Wall” is encouraging in a not-hoaky way – give it a try.

eggs

Chickens. There was a long while where I was not grateful for chickens. I hated doing them every day, I hated how they acted like they were starving when there was clearly food in the feeder, and I did not like that I had to clean out the henhouse. While not all of that has changed (I still do not rejoice in the early mornings…), I am so thankful that I get to eat farm-fresh eggs and sell them to friends and family. It’s actually been hard to get enough eggs recently – something I’ve never had to deal with before – and I’m considering expanding the flock next spring. There’s nothing more beautiful than an assortment of eggs.

Movies. Okay, this is not so much a recommendation as a plea: I haven’t seen a good movie IN FOREVER. Are there any out there? Please.

Good Things #3

You know those days when you think: I wish this day never ended?  That’s how I feel most Sundays this spring.

But, it ended and Monday dawned bright and sunny.

Here’s how I’m starting my 5th-to-last week of school:

Music. This song is getting me. Originally sketched by Bob Dylan, the song was completed by Old Crow Medicine Show (what a great band name!). Maybe it’s the New England part, maybe it’s the harmonies. The romance doesn’t hurt, either.

Art. I went to my first art show in nearly two years, and it was like I’d forgotten part of myself for awhile. I don’t know much (or, really, anything) about the visual arts, but part of me wants to keep it that way. To just sit back and marvel at the artistry without worrying about how they did it. I can’t do that with writing or music, so I think I’ll keep visual art in that beautiful, ignorant place.

gatsby

Movies. We went to see The Great Gatsby with two friends Saturday night. We’d heard It’s all glitter and one long music video. There was glitter. And there was certainly music. But the thing is, that was the point. The book was all about the corruption and debauchery of the 1920s, and that’s what this movie showed, just in more 21st-century terms. I’m sure LOADS of my English-friends will disagree with me, saying it destroyed the book. Well, I enjoyed the destruction.

Family. Yesterday afternoon, I brought books out to the lawn and read in the grass. My brothers and sister played cribbage, and their laughter and arguments over the score drifted out to me through the garden. When I looked over, I could only see pieces of them through the white birch tree.  You know how wonderful it is to listen to people you love? And it was even better because I was a little separate, reading and reveling in the sounds.

IMG_0629

[That is NOT a honey bee.]

[P.S. The chicken class went well! It was kinda funny – only two older women and me, but it was great. More like a coffee date than anything, and we probably spent more time on writing and other nonsense than the down-and-dirty-facts of chicken-rearing. People are so interesting.]

[P.P.S. The morning glories are from last summer – there’s no way they’d be that big already. Soon!]

What Good Things are you enjoying? Feel free to link-up a youtube video for music or movies!

Good Things #2

This past week was unusually beautiful: I drove with the top down, drank iced coffee instead of hot coffee, enjoyed a good Mexican dinner with my brothers and cousin, and felt a hankering for country music (this hits me in the summer – very strange phenomenon). Sunday ended with an hour-long talk on the phone and a reminder that we are all changing, just some are faster than others.

Here are some Good Things that are brightening my Monday:

IMG_0424

Teaching. I spent Sunday afternoon compiling material for a chicken class. It all happened last fall when I was teaching an adult ESL class – somehow it got out that I have chickens and the director of the program asked if I would be interested in teaching an “Introduction to Raising Chickens” class in the spring. Well, spring is here and the class is this Saturday and I find myself making lists of the hardiest breeds, best layers, local farm stores, and all the weird things you learn when you raise chickens [Wait, you’re telling me you have to check hens for mites?! Yes, that’s what I’m telling you.]. I can’t wait to show the girls off. I hope my Barred Rock gets her act together and grows some feathers back in time!

Music. Okay, so I know I posted a song from Ivan and Alyosha last week, but I’m still listening to them. This is one of my favorites, probably because it’s so upbeat. Oh, to be easy to love! [This is a live recording because they’re cool.]

I’m also really liking this guy lately. This was sent to me by my contemporary music guru [a.k.a., my city-friend]. I don’t know much about him except that his name is Joe Purdy and that he looks pretty much how you’d imagine him to look [judging from his music]. A little more melancholy than “East to Love,” but sometimes that’s what you’re in the mood for. [This one is not live because the camera on the live version was so shaky I felt nauseous.]

Iced Coffee. I think I’ll always drink hot coffee in the morning, but iced coffee really hits the spot in the afternoon. I’m wondering if these afternoon beverages aren’t what’s affecting my sleep patterns…?

silver

Movies. I finally saw Silver Linings Playbook after months of hearing about it, and I loved it. Which is weird, because usually when people praise things to me, whatever those things are, they’re never as wonderful as I’d imagined. But I loved the way this was filmed, the way the dialogue was lapped over itself, and the character development, especially. Good stuff. Should be nominated for an award or something.

Books. So this isn’t a particular book, but this past Saturday I went to my library’s annual book sale. Oh my gosh, I forgot how great these are! Only $1 for a paperback, $2 for a hardcover?! I’ll take twenty. We walked down and got old fashioned doughnuts and coffee at the little cafe [there’s actually a funny story that goes along with this, but that’s another post] and then headed over to canvass the tables for interesting finds. I found an old copy of Dostoyevsky’s Idiot [I’ve been meaning to read it for awhile – gotta add to my Russian literature, you know?], Bridget Jones’s Diary, a Margaret Atwood book, and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Prodigal Summer [a guy at my small group keeps recommending her, so I figure I should give it a shot]. My friend and I bought a good stack with plans to switch in a few weeks. I was thinking of having a book-swap, because I have all these books that I’ve loved and want others to love, too. Maybe this summer!

What good things are filling your Monday?

Priorities

I prepared for Sandy in a funny way.

I locked up the girls in the house, moved their waterer inside, gathered the eggs, and closed the window.

The coop looks weird, empty in the middle of the day.

Did I buy any water for myself? No.

Did I buy canned goods? No.

Did I protect my chickens from the hurricane?

YES.

Gunther and I watched from the cozy indoors.

And Tuesday dawned, sun on dark clouds, and the smell of spring in October.