Quote of the Day


The Red Wheelbarrow

Chickadee likes poetry.
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The Red Wheelbarrow
William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white


Easter Menu

Stuffed Eggs*
Pita Bread

main course
Greek Salad
Greek Potatoes*
Spanakopeta Pinon Pie*
Grilled Chicken & Steak Kebabs*
Nutted Saffron Pilaf

PW's carrot cake
baked custard

* items can be mostly prepared the day before.



the bugs

So, Chickadee climbs into her Papa's truck to go to the feedstore and asks, "Papa, will you put the bugs in?"
Papa: "The bugs?"
Chickadee: "Yeah, I like to listen to the bugs. You know, 'I wanna hold your hananananaand.' The BUGS Papa."
Papa: "Ohhhhhh, the bugs. Sure."


Early Spring by Rainer Maria Rilke

Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows' wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,

hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.



Two big firsts in our lives today.

1) My Dad drove himself out to our house and drove himself home.  The last time he did this was Dec. 13, 2006.  He used to come out a couple times a week and hang out with the kids and give me a little break.  Oh how I have missed this. 

He has his learner's permit again and a good vehicle with all the adaptations.  If all goes well he will pass his driving test and will once again be a frequent mid-day visitor at our house.

2) Our chickies spent the afternoon outside.  They loved it.  When we brought them in they all fell over in little heaps of sleepy fluff.  I think we wore them out.  The two in the foreground are Americunas, the one behind them is a Golden-Laced Wyanndotte.

And as a bonus, here are two of my three new Gold-Penciled Hamburgs.  Aren't they pretty?


One of my students called me a femivore in his final essay.  A what?  I only eat females?  I am a female who eats?  I am a feminist (ha!) that eats? What does he mean? 

Being well-trained, he kindly provided a definition along with his specialty jargon. 

Orenstein defines femivores as women who have renounced the consumer culture and have made the home a self-sustaining center of labor and livelihood.  These women typically grew their own vegetables, kept chickens, canned their fruit and stuffed sausages. A majority home-schooled their kids and derived their income by working on-line (Lisiecki).
Ah, yes, that is me.  But who is Orenstein?

Peggy Orenstein is the author of (among other things) a March 14, 2010 article in the New York Times, The Femivore's Dilemma, giving attention-- and a new name -- to those of us that in a previous generation would have been called home-makers. Ree Drummond over at Pioneer Woman is a classic example of a femivore, complete with the Black Heels to Tractor Wheels story line.

It's a great article; you should read it.  It's also a great life-style; you should try it.

My prediction?  All the County Extension courses are going to have record enrollments this year.  If I weren't so busy growing my own vegetables, keeping chickens, canning fruit, home-schooling my kids, and earning my living on-line, I'd apply to the County Extension office for a teaching position.  I actually know where my Master Food Preserver badge is. 


mean nasty rooster

As we have a rooster who can be quite aggressive, I've been reviewing my rooster lore.  And just in case you also need this info, here is my top pick: The Easy Chicken for Beginners teaches us all we need to know about being an Alpha rooster.


Very cool iPhone App: StarWalk

I love StarWalk. Instead of guessing at what I am seeing in the nightsky, I can easily look it up. Click on this little iTunes thingamagummy to get yours: Star Walk - 5 stars astronomy guide


egg blower

And with Easter coming up, you need to know about this: an Egg Blower, for hollowing out your eggs. This will be especially nice when my Americunas start laying.

Once more, I learned about this nifty item from my nifty cousin Jenny.


Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov

If you are a teacher either at a school, college, or at your kitchen table, you will want to read this article "Building a Better Teacher"  and will probably want to order the book Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College by Doug Lemov.

Mr. Lemov helped found UnCommon Schools, "a nonprofit organization that starts and manages outstanding urban charter public schools that close the achievement gap and prepare low-income students to graduate from college." UnCommon Schools is going to be even more wildly successful than ever before, as they had the good sense to hire our lovely niece Kara (or maybe it is Kara that is going to be more wildly successful than ever before, as she had the good sense to get hired: I don't rightly know).

Either way it is an interesting and informative article and I am looking forward to reading the book.


stuffed or deviled eggs for Easter

This is your friendly reminder that if you have your own hens and are planning to make stuffed or deviled eggs for Easter, you need to set aside eggs now so that they will peel properly on April 3rd.


Nespresso Citiz

This is a Nespresso CitiZ Automatic Espresso Maker and Milk Frother  and it is calling to me. Please, someone, talk me out of it.


Happy Birthday to Joy and Bliss, our geriatric house-bunnies

On March 9, 1997, these two were born and came to live at our house a few weeks later.  They turn 13 today and we will be enjoying a carrot cake in their honor.

They enjoy a small private room with a window and a view inside, and a gated netted bunny palace outside on pleasant days.  Apparently this suits them as they have far exceeded the expected life-span of house-rabbits.


Catawaba Chicken Coop Plans

Last spring, as some of you recall, my kids and I built a chicken coop using these plans.

It worked really well for us as the building plans included step-by-step instructions and we were really proud of the outcome.

Then our chickies grew and grew and outgrew their coop. This was my fault as I kept buying new baby chickies. So we retro-fitted the creamery and moved the hens into it. As winter storms blew in (well just one, back in November, but it was a doozy), we were glad that the hens weren't in the Catawaba Coop as it would not have sustained them during the arctic out-flows that we endure here. So, cautionary note #1: don't build this if you get significant windchill in your winters and if you are in an exposed area or open country. The plans are much more suited for urban use.

I spent the winter thinking that the coop was built for naught (though we had a great time and learned a lot about building). Then last week I bought off of Craigslist three grown hens and the Coop became useful again. I don't know what I would have done without it as it provides perfect housing for new birds. They spent several days inside of it and all the hens had henny sqaubbles through the fenced sides. When that died down, I let them out and they are slowly starting to integrate with the flock.

We also have 5 baby chicks in the chickery right now, and they too will use the Catawaba Coop when they are ready to move outside. I'll raise it up a bit on one end so that they can scoot in and out but the big bully hens cannot. This will allow the pullets the joy of yard-grazing and provide a safe haven.

If you are looking to build chicken housing, and if you can keep yourself from buying more than 4 chickies (good luck with that), you can't go wrong with the Catawaba Coop plans, with these caveats:
  • buy 1 more length of 1x4 than called for.
  • skip the whole angle iron business and simple get some 1x1 from the trim department.
  • skip the difficult-to-cut and easily-split shims and find something to substitute in the trim department.
  • if you live in the Pacific Northwest, make sure that any part that will touch the ground is cedar
I did notice that the current plans have been updated from when I bought them. These concerns may have been addressed in the update.



I need a Nespresso Machineand then I need the barrista (my first-cousin once-removed) to come live with me and make me one every morning because he is just so adorable.

Here is my lovely cousin's lovely blog: Walk Along the Way. She and her Swiss ski instructor and their 4 children and their poodle are moving to Switzerland.

Which reminds me, the last time we visited, when we arrived they were sitting around the dining room table making double helix DNA strands out of pipe cleaners and beads. For real. For science class at our house we make scones and eat them.