Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Our region has been unseasonably cool. The skies cloudy and gray. Melancholy abounds. It seems reasonable to hide under the covers and sleep the day away. All day. Every day.

And yet. There are those moments. Those precious moments tucked into everyday life that remind one all is not lost. The sumptuous rock daphne coming into bloom. Fragrant lilac trees scenting the town. The cluck of a chicken as she proudly lays an egg. Sweet heavy air ripe with ozone; the after effects of a thunder storm. White cowboy boots and hula hoops. Thrift store finds. Walks in the woods with friends and a pack of dogs.

It seems, if one looks carefully and with an open heart, beauty abounds. It's all about perspective.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

This will be the post in which I ramble on about random happenings in our life. Forgive me. This particular post is more for me than you. I'm marking mile stones. Taking notes. Should you be interested read on. Should you have other priorities I fully understand.

First off today my chickens laid eggs. Green eggs! I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for this day and feared it would never come. The chickens arrived last fall (October? November?) and I've been waiting ever since. Today was the day. Not one but two green eggs. Yippee!

This week is also the week I have been transplanting my tomato seedlings. They are being moved up into their big girl pots. This is quite an experiment for me as tomatoes are difficult to grow in my region. *Fingers crossed* I hope to have a bumper crop come late summer/fall.

I also managed to bring home a new chicken. She is a Golden Laced Wyandotte that was attacked by a dog. Rather than euthanize her the owner signed her over to our clinic. My colleague was kind enough to stitch her up. As she is missing most of her back feathers I knit her a sweater.

Yes. You read right. I knit her a sweater. I honestly have no idea what we'll do with her after she heals. I don't know if we'll be able to integrate her into our already established flock. I suppose time will tell. As you can see from the photo above she is quite comfortable around people. Now dogs -- not so much. I can hardly blame her.

And finally my neighbor's wonderful fragrant lilac-like tree is in bloom. I snuck a little cutting to give to friends. Oh how I love that things are starting to look like spring!

I've been quite busy with tomatoes, chickens and bees and such and have thus been ignoring the dishes and laundry. Shall we just say the mister is none too thrilled. Ah well. Such is life. He is quite skilled in said arenas.

And now I must go. I am using the girls' computer as mine had decided it is quite done with this world. The girls are breathing over my shoulder wanting to use their machine.

Fortunately my mother has come to my rescue and is gifting me a new computer for my upcoming 40th birthday. Indeed I am a lucky girl.


Friday, May 20, 2011

The Beehive is done! The Beehive is done!

The beehive is assembled and completed. Now all we need are bees. We got a late start and should have ordered bees much earlier. All we can do is wait and see if a source becomes available.

In the meantime I'm enjoy the transformation of my yard. Spring has been slow to arrive. We are just now getting leaves on our trees. My peach and plum trees are full of blooms. The apricot appears to be taking a year off. I am eagerly anticipating the flowers in my garden and can't wait for home picked bouquets; lavender and shasta daisies, cat mint, lupines and black-eyed susans. Is it possible that all these things grow on my little plot of land?

This year I am also trying my hand at tomatoes. They are in the seedling stage and just about ready to be transplanted. Today they got their first dose of sun sans a window filter. Tomatoes are challenging here -- frost, deer, short growing season. But I'm not letting that stop me.

And then there are my chickens; four silver laced wyandottes and two easter eggers. I got the easter eggers because I wanted green eggs (+/- ham). I've yet to get a green egg and am highly suspicious that the two chickens I kept might be brown egg layers. Bugger!

Ah well. Nothing I can do about it at this stage in the game. Now, in honor of this beautiful day I am going to walk down the hill to get the girls from school. I hope your weather is as gorgeous as ours and you find some time to enjoy it.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Rain tap, tap, tapping on the roof.

Light streams through the window. Rain is tap, tap, tapping on the roof. I'm kneeling amongst the debris; vintage toys, clothing racks, bicycles and the ever present to someday be built pizza oven. I can not think of a better way to spend a rainy spring afternoon, here, in the garage painting bee boxes.

Retro Avocado. That's the color I've chosen. It will blend nicely with the garden. I envision this hive, this lovely hive with the copper roof, nestled between my black-eyed susans. Bees buzzing in and out, pollinating, organizing, creating. An old screen door with gloriously faded and chipping paint will sit along the backside of the house, screening the view from our neighbors.

Have I found this screen yet? No. But it will come. It will come.

I go inside and, pretending I am the wind, tickle my tomato seedlings. Then I pick up a beeswax foundation, press it to my nose and breathe deeply. Ah! Honeyed wax. An infusion of pure joy!

I am excited to see what will become of this year's garden. I have high hopes. Hopes for tomatoes and cucumbers and basil and honey. Dreams of canning and pastes and jams.

Will it come to fruition? Only time will tell. Preparation, good weather and a pinch of luck are all necessary. I vow to take each day as it comes. To appreciate each moment for what it is.

And today I am doing just that. Today life is good.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

In Gratitude

This weekend we took a trip to the big city -- Portland. We were after something special, something exciting. And because we haven't been anywhere for a while we decided to make a true weekend of it and spend the night.

Now, though the weekend was good, my children exhibited some untoward behavior. Specifically begging, whining and moaning. They wanted gelato but we insisted on eating real food first. After dinner we settled on Baskin and Robbins as the gelato bar was across town. Ice cream served. Problem solved. Only it wasn't.

The next morning after hot chocolate, donuts, candy bars *and* pancakes with MnM's the girls once again asked for gelato. After all their wish had not been granted the day before. And they were hungry (can you say protein starved?). The answer to gelato? No, No and NO!

Clearly we'd already overindulged on sweets. The girls were acting up. The sugar trend had to stop.

Tears ensued. I got angry. If you can not appreciate the things you have, the things you've been given, then you do not deserve any more treats -- ever!

And I meant it. Their lack of appreciation, their ingratitude, made me want to cut them off completely; strip down their rooms, allow them a mattress, a single outfit and bread and butter on a tray. What right did they have to beg? To cry? They have so much. They have been given so much.

I was sitting high and mighty in the driver's seat, having just laid down the law, when it hit me. I, too, am culpable. Why in the world would the Universe want to grant me anything when all I do is moan about what I don't have? Why indeed.

Because you see, though I have dreams, fantasies, I have a great life. And, truth-be-told, I don't always appreciate it. So I'm working on tempering my dreams with a healthy dose of grateful reality. I can not shut off desire (at least not at this juncture) but I can foster appreciation.

So today I drove through the farmlands of the Hood River Valley. I marveled at the gorgeous red barns, the fields of pear, the bee boxes and the chickens. I marveled at it all and then I came home and marveled at what is.

My girls clucking in the backyard. The labradork. My happy, healthy, albeit argumentative children. Mr. Peculiar. My house. My yard. Coffee. Gainful employment. All the beautiful things that I more oft than not forget to appreciate.

So thank you. Thank you Universe for all I have been given and all the things to come. Indeed I am one lucky girl.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day was Just Right

What a lovely Mother's Day weekend. Saturday Mr. Peculiar humored me as I drug him about town for a chicken coop tour. Perfect fodder for my farm and beekeeping fantasies. We saw chickens and bees and goats oh my!

I worked Saturday night and therefore slept most of the Sunday. How glorious to sleep uninterrupted! I dreamt of bees and gardens, mason jars full of honey and my family gathered close.

When I woke up the boy, with some cajoling, made me coffee and I commandeered the remote control (believe you me this is a privilege as we only have one television). The family watched the end of "The Secret Life of Bees" and the beginning of "Waitress." After that I can not say what happened on the television front as I had to return to work.

Before I left Mr. Peculiar spoiled me with dinner (shish kibobs and tabouli). The girls made a couple of darling homemade cards and smothered me with hugs and kisses.

It is these moments. These sweet simple moments that mean the most. I'm so glad my brood understands -- it's not about fancy or big expensive gifts. It's about simple gestures and snuggles and taking up the slack. That is true love.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sowing the Seeds

It's no secret I fantasize about moving to a hobby farm. But my wish will not be granted until I prove myself. First I must become a steward of this land; this little plot smack dab in the middle of town.

Last year my garden was neglected. Spring came late. I got lazy. Veggies were never planted. The cutting garden was left to its own devices. The flowers thrived despite me.

But come fall the weeds made their presence known. Lots and lots of weeds. This week was time to pay penance. Down on my hands and knees, nose to dirt, I have been pulling weeds and weeds and more weeds. Woo boy is my body sore! Don't let anyone tell you gardening is not exercise.

This year I am planting veggies. My friend, Shelley, is well versed on heirloom seeds. She sent me ten different tomato varieties and well as some lettuces and cucumbers (how lucky am I?!! Thank you Shelley!!).

The seeds have been sown and are starting to sprout. Eventually they'll be transplanted to my raised beds and pots and where ever else I can squeeze them in.

Whilst dreaming about the garden to come I've also been swooning over hoop houses. So much so I spent this afternoon wandering around my local nursery, meandering slowly through the delicious warmth of their greenhouses.

For as long as I could remember I've dreamt of a greenhouse of my own. One big enough to house not only plants but a reading nook as well. Oh the time I could spend out there. Oh the things I could grow!

I've also got honey bees on my mind. This past weekend Middle and I went to Bee School. Our original intent was to get a hive next year. However we learned you shouldn't harvest honey the first year. As such we are wracking our brains trying to figure out how to get hives sooner rather than later.

I've mapped out the hive location, cleared a spot, planned a neighbor screen and picked out paint colors (if we are getting hives they are so getting painted glorious colors).

Now I must admit Mr. Peculiar is, shall we say, a bit less enthusiastic on the bee idea. But the same held true for the chickens. He'll come around.

Yes. I've got grand plans. Now to bring them to fruition.