Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday tidbits


in which our plucky heroine attempts an experiment...

After poaching the leftover chicken (can you say cold chicken salad?), there was warm proto-broth still in the pot. Rather than simply discard it, or attempt to make soup and fill the kitchen with excess heat, I set up a wee folding table outside the back door, and have the crock pot plugged into the outdoor outlet. I'll be adding an assortment of veggies, and should have some tasty soup and a comparatively cool kitchen.
:::

These two vintage Walt Kelly books were on our bookshelves in my childhood ("oh look, cartoons... hmmm... pretty weird cartoons), and as my folks are decluttering, I asked them to send them to me. The books are a little battered by the years, but I cherish the connection to my own past
:::


Sunday, June 28, 2015

roller coaster


our plucky heroine has had a week, and a weekend, of crazy ups and downs...

between dealing with my injured knee, trying to keep the house cool, and my beloved mother having mysterious scary medical issues (on the one hand) and the wonderful kindness of friends and family, and more delightful social time in one week than I usually have in a month (on the other hand) it is no wonder girl is exhausted. Fortunately have managed to keep my balance, more or less, and to keep both the hens and most of the assorted vegetation alive.

On the sunny end of the front porch, the San Marzano tomato plants are in a self watering planter box sitting atop two galvanised pots, and prunings of the plumtree from earlier this year make excellent support stakes. I will lash more crosspieces to the upright stakes and construct an "art project" to help keep the plants upright. They should do much better now in fertile soil that will not require twice a day watering. As I am not going away on any camping trips this summer (see torn meniscus) I should also be able to restart the salad table with extra daily attention, as our far too hot June weather caused all my spring greens to bolt and become bitter.

Mindy is so much help when she is here, my yard looks tidy and loved because she has skill and vision. My front walkway is all tidy, the last remaining brush from pruning earlier this year is cleared away for composting, and the crocosmia have come full circle from FjordsEnd and are tucked into another self watering planter box (next to the fig trees) as a temporary home over the summer. They will eventually be put into the ground to grow and spread.
:::

Tiny peppermint cutting grew roots, and now is in a DIY mini self watering planter pot, made from a salvaged pop bottle. Since I never drink the stuff, it is a OOAK little project, but will be very handy to keep the mint alive and moist this summer. This is my favorite culinary mint, so I hope to eventually have it fill a larger planter on the front porch.

An assortment of culinary herbs growing here is such a simple way to add variety to my everyday cookery, and after taking the gardening class earlier this year, it was surprising to note how many useful plants are already here, planted over the last ten years: sage, thyme, winter savory, rosemary, lovage, horseradish, and salad burnet. Sadly the spearmint went to the great compost pile in the sky, but hopefully I can nurture this peppermint well and carefully.

Our long dry summers really make it clear that this is a Mediterranean climate not the rainforest most folks imagine. The front lawn is already turning brown and crunchy, and will not need mowing again til sometime in late autumn.
:::

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Jen jumper thinned apples bag to Goodwill
2 grey popover pruned pear cankers bin of twigs
3 blue Norse tunic access to window bag to Goodwill
4 Jen jumper hallway shelf bag of books
5 peach gown for L yard mowed bag of books
6 - bigger chook yard bag of books
7 - pear tree gone bag of books
8 - fence gaps filled bag of books
9 - arborvitae pruned yard waste bin
10 - - driveway brushpile

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday snippets


in which our plucky heroine expresses her hatred of the hot yellow cloud...

Portland weather forecast for the next ten days! It would be a lot more bearable if it cooled down long enough and far enough at night to allow the house to cool down. Today my Blue Cedar House pals got up at 5AM so as to allow for helping with my yardwork, the mowing and weeding that are too much for my injured knee right now. Mr Blue Cedar has added another line of fencing to the backyard to expand the hen habitat to an additional shaded area. The hens are most unhappy, and stand around in the shade with their little beaks open and panting. I tried adding ice cubes to their water, and will hang some shade cloth over additional parts of their pen.
:::

I have removed five grocery sacks full of books from Acorn Cottage today. My friends helped me, not by taking the books themselves (that would overwhelm their little home instead of mine) but by driving me to the two closest locations of the renowned Powells City of Books where I exchanged a bunch of the books for over 75 USD store credit. (probably enough for two or three reference books at most) The books that Powells didn't want I first offered to a friend of mine who has a small independent used book shop, and the ones she didn't take went to the thrift store on the corner. I know that another deep sorting of the bookshelves will happen at some point, but the tall pile of "make these books go away" is now gone from my hallway!
:::

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Jen jumper thinned apples bag to Goodwill
2 grey popover pruned pear cankers bin of twigs
3 blue Norse tunic access to window bag to Goodwill
4 Jen jumper hallway shelf bag of books
5 peach gown for L yard mowed bag of books
6 - bigger chook yard bag of books
7 - pear tree gone bag of books
8 - - bag of books

Friday, June 26, 2015

one giant step


... in which our plucky heroine interrupts her regularly scheduled broadcast of hens and assorted handcraft to take joy in the tectonic shift that moves our country a little bit closer to the best of all possible worlds... Marriage (and families) not broken by law but protected; we have come a long way, with much effort, to a place I didn't expect to see in my lifetime*...

"Love is love, no matter who, no matter where..."

* I remember being on Boston Common for some of the rallies mentioned in the song. The world can shift, and change for the good is possible, however unlikely it may seem at the time. Happy I am that friends who want to be married, now can be, and that their love, and the families they are raising, will not be forced outside the law. Incremental progress can lead to great change.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

wishful Wednesday: "make it didn't happen"


in which our plucky heroine wishes for either a "make it didn't happen" or failing that, access to excellent physical therapy and an easy transition to a new sort of life...

So many times in the bright world, when the fast or slow blink of an eye ends up taking me somewhere I'd rather not have gone, do I wish for that magical ability to reboot whatever situation is less than ideal. It doesn't work that way, at least not in this consensual reality. Had I not chosen to go have brunch yesterday, or not chosen to try and use the stepstool, or even chosen to pay attention to where my feet and body were in spacetime, then I'd not be sitting here in pain and sorrow, looking at the shards of my plans and in fear of damage unrepairable. Ah well, as have said so many times before: no way around it but through...

Monday night my friends Jess and Jen came by for a short while. Jen was picking up the two teacher-pinafores I made for her, and was pleased enough to commission three more. This will help, since my everyday work cleaning houses is now forbidden. They brought me a lovely bouquet of unusual flowers as well as a bag of assorted salads and protein treats (yum, salmon patties!) from the takeway deli at New Seasons.


A true blessing was a house call Tuesday morning from my friend and acupuncture practitioner Sharon Rose; her ministrations by way of turning me into a human porcupine have always done me nothing but good, and today was a new and different experience, being treated in my own high bed instead of in the office. My legs are accustomed to responding to the process, and hopefully some of the excess trauma and swelling will continue to release. Her kindness in suggesting a house visit brought tears to my eyes.


Managed to start a very simple bit of embroidery that I can work on while lying in bed with ice on my knee: on a gown yoke for little L, it is a "blue cedar" tree outline for one of the two children of Blue Cedar House...

I've already contacted my primary care clinic and the insurance customer service lines. With gratitude to Obamacare, there is at least a theoretical possibility for some physical therapy, as long as it is requested by my PCD and as long as the diagnosis code is one that is "above the line" in the list of covered services. This is actually significantly better than before Obamacare, when there was NO PT coverage at all, no matter what your diagnosis/injury/surgery might require. While unable to access the higher quality care reserved for those with good insurance, I will at least get some evaluation and intervention, and hopefully some guidance in how to facilitate my healing, if that is possible. I am determined to do whatever I can manage to heal well and to regain my good life and function.

On a somewhat lighter note, my three new pairs of fun compression socks just arrived today...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

in the blink of an eye


Our plucky heroine is now broken. This morning I was on my way home from brunch with friends, and bent and twisted my knee in just the WRONG way getting back into their car! There was what felt like an audible "pock" and I was suddenly in intense pain. After spending most of the day at Urgent Care, have been told I have a torn meniscus. It hurts a lot, but supposedly will may actually heal if treated appropriately and not re-injured. That involves a lot of rest and ice, and likely not doing any of my housekeeping jobs, and that camping, with all the walking on uneven ground, is verboten. The rest of the summer is looking a lot less financially sound and a lot less fun. This is, at best, not a quick recovery, even though the injury was quick almost instantaneous... at best 8 to 12 weeks, if I am very lucky.

*

Saturday, June 20, 2015

maybe if I give up eating and sleeping?



Just made a list of the projects that I have committed to complete in the next 12 days... that doesn't include things like my actual outside-the-home work, or other personal commitments:
  • Fingall enamel Pelican re-do
  • DM coronets completed
  • tunic for Mr Robertson
  • underdress for Mindy
  • underdress for Laurel
  • assemble teaching materials
  • new business cards!!
  • guy rope flags
  • plant tomatoes
  • 3rd Jen pinafore
  • Stacy linen gown
  • shibori prep
Hang on to your hats boys and girls... I will see how much of this I can actually do, and how much will have to be put on hold 'til July, but it all needs done. And to top it all off, we have a triple digit temperature forecast on the horizon, and my Stupid Knee™ has been extra stupid for no apparent reason, being too painful to allow sleeping once again. Writhing in pain is not restful. My primary care doc has no ideas. Unfortunately my ear seeds* all fell off in the shower yesterday, which didn't help either. So after Stacy and Mr B helped me run errands (a big bag of chicken food and a big bag of chicken bedding acquired) I applied ice, and then managed to fall asleep... being asleep then so hard for three hours that I slept through two rounds of them ringing the doorbell! SO, more ice and more projects, now that I am sort of awake...

Sorry for all the whingefest, I am grumpy from pain but happy, if that can be a state... I have five people staying here this weekend, for various local events, but it means also chunks of social time with faraway folks, which is a Very Happy thing indeed.


* ear seeds = tiny acupressure helpers, courtesy of Sharon Rose

Friday, June 19, 2015

random lepidoptera and other fragments


...in a world full of sorrow, terror and horror, our plucky heroine wonders if it is disingenuous to put my attention on finding the something to notice that is beautiful or fascinating? To do that, however, is often my only way of getting through the day, the fragments of beauty and joy in the natural world, or in the interactions with people, are what I treasure as a bulwark, they are the prayer beads I tell...

It seems to be butterfly month, as this morning there was a very small visitor to Acorn Cottage waiting on the porch...

... and earlier this week there were two tiger swallowtail butterflies dancing around each other in the middle of the street. Apparently it is their mating season.
:::

Eight little strawberries, yum yum yum... Maybe next year there will be enough, and my rhubarb will cooperate, and I can make a little jar of my own homegrown preserves...
:::

I've been thinking that a useful way to hold assorted structures together, something more durable than zip ties, would be very useful around the homeplace... After all there are lightweight chook tunnels, and moveable protective netting supports, and a variety of other gardenish projects that are simply waiting on a way to construct them. So far I have found two different wire clamping tools, both of which use stainless steel wire, but with slightly different ways of tightening the wires: the Haywire Klamper, and the Clamptite Tool... but without actually having said tool available to try out, there is no way to know if my wee little paws will be able to use them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

arachnophobia in the morning


... in which the day can only get better from there...

Despite ongoing difficulty the last week or so with managing to stay awake (seriously WTF?) our plucky if somewhat groggy heroine was REALLY brave yesterday. When I found a spider in the bathtub, 2" across... after I stopped shrieking, instead of either squishing it or washing it down the drain, I carefully trapped it under a container, slid a sturdy plastic cover across, and then set it free out in the yard... I am a nice person because I didn't set it free in the chicken habitat.

Given how arachnophobic I am, I am rather pleased with myself! I will say that my attempts to change my behavior in this respect was inspired by interactions with other people that I feel close to, who were horrified when one time they saw me squash a spider in my kitchen, and told me "if you had asked, we would have taken it outside for you"... I try and bear that in mind, when the only actual danger is in my imagination
:::

+
OH look! It's an artifact! This tiny (bronze?) cast acorn mount was a surprise un-birthday gift from my friend Wanda!! The piece is only about 40mm x 22mm; the reverse side has integral pins intended to secure said mount to a strap of some sort. While the provenance is unknown, it appears similar to various other acorn mount finds* dated to somewhere between 1500 and 1700.
:::

* Post-medieval copper alloy acorn mount, another Post-medieval copper alloy acorn mount, and an assortment of acorn mounts.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Monday monday musings and media


in which our plucky heroine is beginning to suspect that the part of a project that involves cutting out the pieces and prepping to do the actual work is the part that takes the most time, at least in all the various artisanry things that I do...

This is just lovely, a beautifully done short film of an inspiring artist:
:::

An envelope of Senior Farm Direct checks arrived in my mailbox today, which means that our plucky heroine had good luck in the benefit lottery and now has an additional "six $4 checks ($24 total)" to spend at local farmers' markets or farm stands this growing season. Incremental assistance is still a helpful thing. Considering how best to distribute this bounty, which can only be used for produce(vegetables, fruit, and herbs) and not for any other foodstuff or sadly, not for live food plants; am thinking that at the least, saving some of it for winter storage squash would be a good idea...
:::

The random tiny succulent bits, starting to grow in the cupcake tin, are also flowering. Not sure if this means that they are happy, or that they are convinced that "oh god oh god we are all going to die!" But the flowers, barely an eighth of an inch across, sure are charming...
:::

There is nothing quite as pleasant as hands using handmade. There are some spoons in my kitchen made by my friend the artist/shaman Seb. Every time they help me cook a meal, I notice both the beauty and the function that make part of the everyday special. That is the world I dream to live in...
:::

Every day an effort to put in at least twenty minutes on my own clothing refurbishment and renewal. Which over time and like pulling teeth, got the grey popover dress completed, and I love wearing it. Mostly because of how the cloth floats barely touching me, and how the various textures and colors please my eyes. Another popover begun, using some black/white batik rayon, and learning from the former dress, this time the pocket openings are measured out to be stitched prior to assembly of the garment. A slightly different edging, not folded and geometric, but wavy edges to be done in needleturn applique:
:::

This is so worth reading... some of the most basic things I took for granted as a child, the good locality of outdoor and unsupervised, that I and my friends inhabited, is a part of life that is apparently mostly disappeared, in the name of "safety"? But life itself is not safe...




Sunday, June 14, 2015

turning Iberian and Sunday snippets...


In which our plucky heroine shifts gears...

Going to see how productive I can manage to be today, the last week has been almost a total loss despite my best efforts. While I've never liked hot weather, have never been this unable to function or even stay awake...  Am currently attempting to switch over to a crepuscular/nocturnal lifestyle in hopes of improved functionality: My new plan: get up hella early, let the hens out and feed them, do some outdoor chores like water plants or mow the lawn, run fans to cool the house.... then shut the house up, deploy mylar, do indoor chores, and work until it gets too hot. Siesta until just before dusk when it cools down again. Put chickens to bed, run fans again, and do more work, until self-bedtime. Here is hoping this will be a better day/week/plan.
:::


Here the hens do their wonderful imitation of a folk art toy...


:::

Found a sprig of peppermint somewhere and have it currently in a blue glass vase full of water, where it is starting to put out roots. While the overwhelming belief is to "not plant mint because you will never get rid of it", I have never been able to successfully grow it, and would really like to add a culinary mint to my homegrown herb selection. Our summers here are hot and dry, all the rainy Oregon jokes to the contrary. Am considering planting it in a pot to keep on the front porch, where I can be sure to keep it watered, or possibly a self-watering planter like this one...
:::

This, my standard summertime popover, is a pretty shapeless dress, but when it is beastly hot out, (which this summer seems proving to be) the less fabric touching me the happier I am. Rayon, or some of the heavier gauzy cotton with some drape is a great choice; this rayon fabric has a very interesting texture with woven in pleated checks and tiny herringbone twill. I managed to include some interesting details, particularly the binding treatment around the neckline. The dress pattern itself is the simplest thing, being a combination of rectangular panels and triangular gores, and can be cut out with practially no wasted fabric.

It took me a while to get the pocket design sorted out, since I didn't have enough of the grey fabric to simply make patch pockets. Instead I made a variant on a faced opening, turning the facing edges to the front, double folding them, and stitching them down. The remainder of the grey fabric was just enough to serge finish and stitch in place on the back, which created a one layer pocket bag, which keeps the whole dress light and breezey and still gives me a place for my pedometer, pocketknife, and flip phone. A few more dressses like this and my summer wardrobe will be properly refurbished
:::

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Jen jumper thinned apples bag to Goodwill
2 grey popover pruned pear bin of twigs
3 blue Norse tunic access to window bag to Goodwill
4 - hallway shelf -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -

Monday, June 8, 2015

media Monday and extreme siesta


in which our plucky heroine, sodden with the heat, sleeps away the afternoon and plans on working all night* instead...

This last weekend my pal Ursel and I traded days helping each other with cleaning/ organizing projects. Sunday we removed the center set of shelves from in front of the larger workroom window. This will allow me to open and shut the window while keeping my back happy. The contents of said shelves are in process of being sorted and relocated. This window faces west, so in the afternoon, is temporarily covered with mylar bubblepack, to help ameliorate the heat gain; the solar glare still leaks through around the edges... Of course now I am going to eventually need to reconfigure the storage on either side of the window, so that it works more effectively... but that is an entirely different task... sufficient to each weekend the housey-tasks chosen for working on... This one makes access of the window much easier (and my back is grateful), which makes running that fan in the early morning while working much easier.

The shelving from the workroom has a new home in the hallway, facing the bookcase and on the reverse side of the computer. This will allow me to have the most frequently used tools and hardware in a more central location, as well as giving me the chance to organise that category into more "findable" configurations.

When something in the house shifts position, the shakeup allows new ideas for both how to make life here more functional and what can be let go of.  One of the two Ikea entryway box of drawers will fit neatly atop the new hallway shelves, and there are two vintage chests of tiny tooldrawers on the kitchen windowsill that are not being used well either; the flat tops of both larger and smaller drawers are clutter-catchers. I'd like to return the entryway surface to just holding the key bowl, and some decorative bit of the natural world like yard flowers and some pretty rocks...

The thing that helps me the most with sorting and decluttering is having a friend keep me company. They don't have to even do anything, just having someone there in the same room helps me stay on task. The other thing I do, when I can't get a friend to hang out with me, is to set a timer and do 20/10's: twenty minutes on task and ten minutes doing something that is a reward. I have several online cartoons I like to watch that come in about 10 minute episodes, so that works well for me; there is quite a lot that can be done in an hour or two of 20/10's... I learned about that concept from "Unfuck Your Habitat", and it has been very helpful...
:::

This is one of the clearest burn test charts I've ever seen, for those of us who sometimes end up acquiring "mystery fabric"... Ursel and I burn tested some ostensibly silk fabric she found at Goodwill, and were quite pleased to find out that it was, in fact just as labeled... I plan on laminating the chart and storing it in the bathroom along with the burn test birdy** and the matches. I usually do burn tests in the cottage bathroom, because there is both an exhaust fan and a sink.
:::

This morning I stood within sight of the hen food dispenser while they ate, making "choooook chook chook" noises. Eventually they will accept my presence and associate that sound with food. Eventually I will be able to phase out the feeder and simply feed them once a day, as I have done in the past with other chickens
Wrote this a week ago, and now when I walk into the backyard the first thing the hens do is come over to see if I am bringing them something tasty... Yesterday suppertime it was 92 on the front porch in the shade. 79 in the house. Ditto today. Went outside quickly to check on the hens, who were in the shade and appear to be okay, they have plenty of water and are moving around normally.

Fans are what I use for cooling down the house a bit, which keeps the house about ten degrees cooler than outdoors: I run them late in the evening, and very early in the morning. I can definitely feel a difference between the workroom, which is the only room with wall insulation (well, and it doesn't get full sun until the afternoon), and the main portion of the cottage. Morning is the time for house chores, and often either a walk or a bike ride is combined with errand running; it is a challenge to fit in physical activity on the days we get hammered by the hot yellow cloud in the sky.
:::

And here is a bit of video fun... my friend Eulalia recently reminded me about Kacey Musgraves, and I've been enjoying some new-to-me music:
I have a real weakness for stop motion animation...

Not all of us did what we were supposed to do...
:::

... did I today ? :
write pages walk 20 minutes make something declutter excess
no yes ? yes

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Jen jumper thinned apples bag to Goodwill
2 - pruned pear bin of twigs
3 - access to window bag to Goodwill
4 - hallway shelf -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -


* I do have some enameling that needs to be done, but I will probably wait til the middle of next week when it is a little less oven-like, and set the alarm so I can work in the middle of the night/earliest morning when it is the coolest. Instead for most of this week it will be other sorts of workroom projects, like soldering settings with my new torch!

** this is my "burn test birdy", yes it is a vintage street fair item, and yes I know what it's intended use was, but here at Acorn Cottage it has had a second life helping me identify thrifted mystery fabrics

Sunday, June 7, 2015

appley dappley


in which our plucky heroine does both kind and unkind pruning...

This week, I realised that the uppermost branches on the apple tree still had thick clusters of green apples, and needed more fruit thinning. By removing most of the small apples now, the remaining ones, six or more inches apart, will be able to grow into larger apples. At least that is the theory. If the squirrels don't eat all of them. Looking at the tree this closely is also making clear the places where further pruning makes sense; the new growth is going every which way since the stronger pruning this past winter.

Some time every morning thinking and eventually pruning, will help the tree grow into a shape both useful to my backyard and easier to pick. The tree itself doesn't care about what I need; it just wants to grow and reproduce, a tangled web of branches and tiny fruit are just as effective for that goal. The bowl full of green apple thinnings is probably enough to turn into some apple pectin, and if I can find some good red rhubarb, I can make strawberry-rhubarb jam happen...
:::

Getting better about doing some writing every day, usually in the morning after my walking. While this might not match the instructions in The Artists Way, if I don't walk first thing in the morning, it is soon too hot to enjoy the walking at all! As far as making things, today the only thingmaking was the ongoing while-on-transit embroidery of the cuffs for the next Mr Robertson tunic, the one with the little Norseguy woodworkers on the yoke... another few days should see those sleeve embellishments finished, which will let me finish the tunic... The decluttering that sort of happened was that I went over to my pal Ursel's house and spent a big chunk of the day keeping her company while she did housey-chores. In return, tomorrow will have her coming over here to keep me on task while I do some decluttering of my own here at the cottage...

... did I today ? :
write pages walk 20 minutes make something declutter excess
yes yes sort of sort of
:::

Ursel gave me a very kawaii new addition to the family of tiny* maneki neko figurines that live here at Acorn Cottage: the oversized (at 1.5") charmer on the far right of the picture. Labeled "flowering fortune", initially the directions attached made me think the idea was to bury the whole tiny cat in the garden and the enclosed seeds would sprout, but on further examination, the paper sticker on the bottom peeled away exposing a small red envelope tied in red and gold braid, with a fortune attached to a wee packet of flower seeds. Much less disturbing! The idea is that as the seeds sprout so will your good fortune...

*yes, these really are that small, they range from 1" on down to 5/8" or less...
:::

Yesterday in the backyard I noticed the pear tree didn't look quite right, so I did some research... Sad morning, I had to do some radical pruning, because of what I think is fire blight - almost all of the new young shoots were wilting and starting to blacken. Bartletts are particularly susceptible. The painful thing was that the protocol for control has you prune 10 to 12 inches beyond the affected areas, which pretty much took out all the few baby pears as well. I will be keeping a close eye on the tree for more diseased areas, and hope to not lose the tree... but tonight I just found a large canker on the main trunk, which is a sign of larger infection... Not sure what to do now... If I cut it off 8 to 10 inches below that, I will be left with a stump and no branches.
:::

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Jen jumper thinned apples bag to Goodwill
2 - pruned pear bin of twigs
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -

Monday, June 1, 2015

momentum


in which our plucky heroine starts the month off on an upward trend...

Begin in the way you mean to go on can be a good policy. Today I walked first thing, after letting out the hens, and before writing. This, combined with a bit of bike-riding, brought my step totals for the day just over 10,000, or about three and a half miles. So much easier to do when the weather is in the sixties and a sweet soft misty rain, by next weekend it will be up in the 90's and movement much more of a challenge again.

In and around working today, I was able to put a little more time in with the new hens, getting them acclimated to my presence: This morning I stood within sight of the hen food dispenser while they ate, making "choooook chook chook" noises. They kept an eye on me, but they were willing to continue their breakfast. Each day I will gradually move closer. Eventually they will accept my presence and associate that sound with food. After all, hens are smarter than fish, and I trained my fish to come to the surface when I had food, and eventually they learned to come to the surface when they saw me... I suspect that these hens had a very different upbringing than the young hens I have had in the past, who all came from assorted friends in Olympia, from what were likely to be much smaller chicken set-ups.

More chicken training this afternoon: I stood next to the pen and made the choook chook sound, and gently tossed a few grains at a time into the pen where they were visible and the motion of tossing them wiggled the grasses. Eventually one brave little hen came closer to investigate, and when she discovered it was food, her behavior drew the other hens... they were willing to eat the food within a few feet of my continuing to make "food noise" and gently toss out more and more small amounts of grain. This bodes well for at least half the learning they will need. I love how training theory actually works!...

My chickens are not stupid, they are cautious and careful, as befits young birds of modest size that are prey and not predatory creatures. This evening I fed them again, to continue the acclimatisation process, and had left a flashlight inside the roof of the coop, intending to turn it on when it was closer to dusk (the last two nights I have had to catch them one at a time and stuff them into the hen house, they were too uncertain to go in there themselves, preferring the dubious safety of underneath the ramp to the coop door) I went outside to turn on the light, when I saw one of them walking up the ramp into their house, and as I was looking at the run, didn't see any of the others... I walked quietly, and slowly, closer, and could hear the twittering of the other two birds already inside! I peeked in through the crack in the back panel and saw at least two of them on the perch, as I let down the iron-weighted door. Yay for chickens that put themselves to bed!!
:::

Sometimes when I am out walking, I find bits of succulents on the sidewalk detached from their planted parents. It occurred to me that if I brought them home they could grow new roots here at Acorn Cottage. Five of them are now putting on new growth in an old rusted out muffin tin in a sunny front porch spot. One of my small goals is to have a nice looking mixed succulent planter or wreath, and giving foundlings a good home seemed more my style than spending gobs of money on a trendy garden thing...
:::

Not very big, but successfully red and flavorful: the first strawberry from the backyard! With luck and bird netting, I may be able to have more for me and less for the tree rats. Unfurled the netting today, and realised it would fit a lot better if the tall stakes were about half the height. After all, strawberries are not very tall plants, so don't need a four foot tall enclosure. Will deal with that another day...
:::


Fifty years is a long strange trip...
:::

... did I today ? :
write pages walk 20 minutes make something declutter excess
yes yes yes yes

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Jen jumper - bag to Goodwill
2 - - -
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -

Discontent

in which our plucky heroine continues to bang away at the brick wall...

Looking over the graphs and charts for May, and I give it a barely passing grade. My walking numbers went down from April, as did my discard/declutter totals. I did improve my make all the things numbers. I did lose a little weight, but not up to my goal amount of 1 pound a week.

My goals for June are to actually walk every day (and find a time/way that will be possible), and to declutter for at least 20 minutes every day. I will and am getting up earlier, which is both necessary and desirable: morning routines will now include setting the window fans running, and letting the young hens out of the coop, in addition to my other daily morning tasks. The things that have fallen by the wayside need to be picked up again! When I was doing morning pages writing, it felt valuable. When I start my day with both physical movement and action taken on useful tasks, I go through the rest of the day feeling positive and hopeful. With that in mind, I am adding a second graph to the SMART chart world, to be filled in daily:

... did I today ? :
write pages walk 20 minutes make something declutter excess
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