Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Big Fat Charlie Gets a Bath

Pooooooor, poor Charlie. Not only is he the biggest of the two Christmas guinea pigs (by far), but he also has the longest hair (a total accident when I picked him out), and he is the smelliest and dirtiest of the pair to boot. He lounges all day long in whatever he happens to be standing in, his fur trails through whatever he passes over... you get the idea. Short-haired, trim little Wilbur has no trouble keeping himself clean. Charlie on the other hand... let's just say Henry was getting grossed out about holding him, and we finally decided enough was enough.

It was time for Big Fat Charlie to have a bath.

And so a bath he did have.

Henry very gently and carefully washed all his curly fur, and we gave him a little trim to make it harder for him to get dirty again. The conclusion of his spa experience was a nice little garden salad, shared with his roommate and still cold from the fridge.

So now Big Fat Charlie is clean and fluffy (at least for the time being), and as a result is enjoying much more attention from his favorite human. I think Wilbur appreciates the effort, too.

Honestly, I think we all do.

Monday, July 8, 2019


We have been keeping bees since 2016 and have gone through three honey flows now, and all this time- for one reason or another (mostly because I ignored my responsibilities with regards to varroa)- we have sat them all out. There was of course the honey I got from a cutout and our serendipitous little harvest last year, but we have never done a real extraction with our own honey frames... until now.

This feels really big for me, you guys. I've never been so happy about being a hot, sweaty, sticky mess!

Five quarts of mild, floral, and maybe a little melon-y-golden success! A family effort with enough to share... I cannot tell you how good it feels to be a part of the harvest season this year!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Christmas Gift in Midsummer

Late in the winter, while the trees were still bare, my chicken girls started getting a little attention... all the wrong kind of attention, actually: in a matter of about two months, we went from 9 girls to 5 due to predation. We also lost our little raven-black rooster, Edgar, to a hawk (he was the first to go). Something furry and gray then started sneaking into the coop whenever I'd forget to go out there after dark and close it up, and one by one I was feeding the local wildlife an organic chicken dinner just about every-other-week.

The rub was that I'd actually gotten a battery-powered, solar-timed automatic chicken door for Christmas, but there was a lot going on at that time and it was just hanging out on top of the fridge, waiting for it's turn on the to-do list.

This weekend, it got it's turn. After a whole new wall panel and a guillotine-style door was installed (in less than an hour!), my girl went to work with the finishing touch so the chicken girls would feel right at home with their new back door...

So now my feather girls are released at 9am and closed up safe and secure at 9pm, and as soon as we learn more about the programming we'll switch to the door opening at full daylight and closing at dusk. The only problem we have left to deal with now is where the heck they're laying their eggs out there now that they can get out first thing in the morning!

Oh, and as for our diminished flock, we've taken care of that, too...

Six new "peeps," including two Easter-eggers with fluffy cheeks! Currently residing in a brooder generously shared with us by Uncle Larry & Aunt Karen- and I'm telling you, that fence lid they added pretty much saved my chicks right after we got them. Their introduction to Suka was her looking down at them from above as she was standing on it. Audrey and Henry now know to be extra careful about closing the garage door behind them!

Monday, July 1, 2019

Finger Puppets

There are times when it feels like we go days and days and days struggling between all the impulses, comforts, and privileges of being Little and all the responsibilities, assertions of independence, and different privileges of being Big. One will want the responsibility of choosing what they want to eat and maybe even preparing it, but not cleaning it up. The other will want the privilege of stay up way too late, but won't take responsibility for their poor attitude the following day. They're "too cool" for some things and yet cling to others that I would have thought would have fallen by the wayside long ago.

Some things I'm happy to see change, some things I'm happy to see have stuck around.

The other night, we were invited to a puppet show in Audrey's room, complete with music, costumes (made of clay), and a legit plot based on Huckleberry Finn. It was something I thought she might have gotten too big for, yet was pleasantly surprised to find was still going strong...

She was most proud of the costumes she designed out of clay, though she said after the show that she needed to work out a way to keep the "garments" from falling off her fingers during the presentation.

I hope there is always something lingering that reminds me that no matter how stubborn they are, and no matter how frequently it feels like they're pushing us away in the course of becoming their own people, there is still a Little tucked in those growing bodies... a Little who likes to create, who loves that Mama attention, and who needs that over-the-top unconditional praise for their efforts.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Catching Up: Visiting: Broken Bow

Our summer trip this year was to Broken Bow, Oklahoma. We split a "cabin" with our traveling buddies (though to call it a cabin seems like a stretch, it was more like a really nice house), packed up the dog and 4 days' worth of supplies, and made the trek into Cell Service Deadzone for the better part of a week right after school let out.

It rained every day, nary a child went to sleep before 10:30pm the entire trip, and we never got to see a Sasquatch, but the food was excellent, the hot tub was great, and Suka was a really, really good girl.