Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh Good, More Rain.

I just can't say that and sound sincere anymore. And I love rain. But really...Mother Nature, are you listening? Enough, please. The snowpack is good, the lakes are full, the lawn is lush, the car has been rinsed clean. We're good here. I think that Texas is most likely still (or again) on fire, could you send a little their way? Thankyouverymuch.

Besides which, the chickens look like drowned rats and are NOT happy. When they aren't happy, they blame ME.

The "Before" version of Phoenix:

Phoenix soaked and embarassed:

Oh NO!!! Don't take my PICTURE!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

T'was A Fine, Soft Day In The Spring, It Was...

...and I do believe that this time it might stick! We've had several false starts before now, single days of 75 degree, clear weather...then back to slashing rain, howling wind, cold and mud.

Today was beautiful.

Even the nectarine tree has finally been coaxed into bloom, albeit late.

Today was the kind of day that brings people to California to stay. The kind that makes you want to lie down in the grass and inhale. The sky was brilliant blue, the air clear, the day warm and the breezes soft. The songbirds are out in force, madly building nests, chasing potential mates and singing.

 The sage plant in the herb garden with it's snapdragon-like blooms.

I made a quick stop at the market so that this afternoon after school N. and I could have the first squirt gun fight of the season, along with blowing bubbles which quickly floated throughout the neighborhood. Mostly we lazed in the sun and pointed out the budding and blooming trees and plants to each other.

The blood orange tree, which we harvested just a couple of weeks ago, is beginning to bloom, but most of the buds are still closed up tight. I don't think they really believe that Spring is here to stay yet, either.

We did finally find one brave bloom fully opened, it will be another few days before that heady orange blossom scent pervades the air though.

Our little hot rod male mockingbird was sitting on the power lines above us, running through his song catalog. He still does the gang of crows cawing in the distance, to my endless amusement. We have more Phoebes this year, a cute little grey and black insect-eating crested bird that has a very sweet song. N. did teach herself one important childhood skill, with no prompting from me: learning to drink from a squirt gun.

Summer, here we come!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday Night Wrestling...

...pit bull wrestling, that is.

Tonight when J. came home from a late-night foray to Starbuck's, he found a young male pit bull sitting very nicely on our doorstep, as though politely waiting for him to get home. It had been raining and we had had a massive thunderclap earlier, so we suspected that the dog had done the dog thing and gotten loose when the thunder scared him. Luckily he had both collar AND two tags, so armed with a rope, pen and notepad, we attempted to sit him still long enough to get a look at his tags.

This was easier said than done, since he was SO very happy to have found friendly, awake people at 10PM. He demonstrated this by continuously leaping up to try and lick our faces, despite being tied to the front rail.

My, but pits are STRONG! I genuinely feared for my wrought iron porch railing.

To add to the fun he was wet and muddy, and his name tag was so worn as to be very nearly unreadable. His animal control tag was legible, but was zero help that late at night.

**Note to all dog & cat owners--read your animal's tag aloud as if you have NO IDEA what it's name or address is. If you can't read it, neither can the Good Samaritan that is trying to return your animal to you.

Everytime we got him still long enough to allllmmmost read the tag, up he'd leap again to slobber all over one or both of us or even worse, thump that oh-so-solid head into your breadbasket. He just couldn't help himself, he was SO grateful. We learned eventually that his name was 'Sam', and that he at least DID know the command 'Sit!' when combined with a healthy shove downwards on his fanny. Down he would sit, just long enough to sucker you in so you'd lean down and get your face down next to those tags.

Again eventually J. had taken numerous knock-ya-down-and-lick-ya-silly episodes and I had been suckered in for a couple of jump-up-and-place-his-paws-on-my-shoulde
rs affection attacks, along with one VERY memorable claw up my left nostril. That one ran me right off the porch for a moment while J. retreated into the house to get a flashlight.

It took 20 minutes of bellowing "Sit!" and pleas for him to be still, combined with wrestling and huffing and rolling around on the porch before we finally got his info. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought was going on. Turns out Sam had only wandered over a few streets.

The number on his tag was a cell phone. His owner was driving around looking for Sam, and was smart enough to have his cell with him. Once we read his tags, Sam was picked up within 5 minutes. The owner confirmed that Sam had freaked out in the thunder and jumped a fence that his owner had no idea he could clear.

We did tell the guy that Sam needed new, LEGIBLE tags, waved goodbye and then went indoors to get hot showers and Bactine. The next day we compared sore arms from doggie wrestling. Thank goodness N. was already asleep at that time of night and didn't insist on getting involved.

Fun begins at home!

Friday, March 3, 2006

Off-Season Indoor Easter Egg Hunt!

When it's raining heavily, as it is this morning, we have 5 hens that need to take shelter in the house. This is because their heavily feathered head crests can get wet, pull on their heads and cause brain injuries. Since they don't have the sense to shelter in the coop during the rain, inside they come. Usually they are well mannered and just kind of tool around in the kitchen until the rain stops and they can go back outside to hunt for drowned bugs.

But today, unfortunately, TWO of the girls were gearing up to lay an egg.

This means lots of anxious searching for THE perfect nest site, accompanied by top-of-the-lungs caterwauling. We've gone through this before, so I just try to wait it out, reassuring them from time to time that they are OK, and with repeated pleas to just lay the damned egg already.

So Poof searches and inspects the area behind one of the living room end tables...

Hmmmm....nice, but not quite perfect...how about in that pile of unfolded laundry?


Meanwhile, the other hen, Sugar, has become ominously quiet. When I go to find out where she has gotten to, I find her thus:

That's a bowl full of oranges I picked off the backyard tree yesterday, intended for Blood Orange jelly and marmalade today. I removed the egg (and the one in the laundry) later after it was properly worshipped and appreciated by all, an important part of the egg laying process.

I think this is quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen.

How Serendipitous...

Gleaned from my sister:


You will sink in a mire. You like to think you're
normal, but deep down you really just want to
strip off your clothes and roll around in
chicken fat.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla

Hmmmm....is THAT why I have all those chickens...?