Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do Chickens Sneeze?

Just when I find myself caught up in my own little thoughts, "When oh when will the sun come out?" or "Why isn't it warmer, it is Spring after all?", life hands me a wake up call.  This morning when I let the ladies out of their coop, one of my little hens wasn't moving so well.  She, being a Silver Laced Wyandotte, is the smallest of the flock, but boy does she rule the roost.  She is definitely on the top of the pecking order.
Photo Art by Anna Brown
But not this day.  The poor little dear could barely make it through the Hen door before she had to sit down.  She couldn't even hold up her head or tail feathers.  And nothing kicks me into high gear like a sick loved one.  So off I went to find an old beach towel.  With towel in hand I swooped (ever so gently) the little gal up and cradled her back into the house.  Here she sits in the warm laundry room in Lucy's crate.
Little Hen & Dr. Rest, Dr. Quiet, Dr. Still

Hopefully, the warmth and quiet of the house will help bring her around.  I know this trick worked when our Rhode Island Red was mauled by a neighbor's dog last fall.  Perhaps this is just one example of why I like care taking so much?  It kinda takes you out of your own little dramas.

Friday, March 25, 2011

So They Say It's Spring

Yes, the calendar says it.  Yes, its all over Blogsphere, but good lordy, Spring sure is a fickle miss here in Boulder, Colorado.  She is slow to rise and may decide to bless us with the warmth and light of a cloudless day one minute, then BAM, we're slammed with strong wind bringing grey clouds and any manner of precipitation scudding through the next.  It's enough to try one's patience.

So close, but yet so far.  I can see it, feel it, smell it, touch it, taste it one minute, then it slips through my grasp.  Now I know how my dear hens feel.  Look at the them.
There they are yearning to get to the other side of the fence.  They are not the most perceptive of beasties, but I swear they know the grass is greener on the other side of that fence.  Now how to get there?  The yearning is almost palpable.

I'll never cease to be amazed at how whatever I'm feeling in my internal life is mirrored in the life around me.   And I find great comfort in that.  So even though I would like to "get on with it"and press a "fast forward" I must content myself with the way things are. 

Here's hoping you all find the grass a little greener on your side of the fence today.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Finer Things

This past weekend my sister, Paige, was in Denver for my niece's Volleyball Tournament.  The tournament took place in the Denver Convention Center that was configured to hold 60 courts, each team playing multiple games (2 or 3) per day.  What a busy time!  I was fortunate enough to steal her away for a lovely  Afternoon Tea in the Brown Palace Lobby.

Of course there was the lovely decor, piano music, and the tea tray piled high with goodies
And the personal pots of Jasmine Cloud green tea, that were never left unattended.  All these things were simply lovely.  But the nicest, most lovely part of all, was the time to linger and visit.  I only see my family every so often, we are a far flung bunch, all residing in different parts of the US.  So when we do have the good fortune to be together, why not make it quality time?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Two Steps Forward . . .

and One Step Back.  Sounds a bit like a line dance instruction, more like life.  This past week I've had the pleasure (?) of slowing down in order to allow myself to recover from "the Crud."  You know, the stuff that settles in to make you realize just how slowly the days are warming?  But, I've turned the corner and no longer am having that lovely "out of body"/ "moving under water" experience when climbing out of bed in the morning.

The silver lining of being sick?  I did make some good headway on my Spring Shrug.  I've completed one sleeve and am cruising through the back, almost halfway!
The knitted fabric is a little womply, but hopefully some blocking will take care of that.  The first part (beginning of sleeve) was a bit tricky and fiddly, but once I completed 3-4 inches of knitting it got a lot easier.  Or maybe I just got over my fear that lace weight yarn was fragile?  It's amazingly tough for such a dainty thing.  Kinda' like snowdrops.
Another plus, I had the excuse to lay in bed and indulge in one of my all time favorite movies:
The gorgeous scenery helps allay my impatience with Spring's slow arrival here in Colorado.  The costumes are simply to die for.  And the story, ah well, Jane Austen knows how to tweak my soul.  I feel more about this film than I dare share in this space, trust me.  I do so enjoy thinking about the intricacies of love.

That being said, I was able to peruse the garden on my way to the hen house yesterday.  That in itself felt very productive!  I snapped a few pictures of the early spring bulbs to share and as a note to myself for the fall season.  I do so like to plant bulbs in the fall.  A panacea for the upcoming long, dark Winter, knowing that promise is buried in the ground.  These pictures will hopefully act as a map later when I try to find some places to stash hope!
Iris Reticulata and Crocus

Friday, March 11, 2011

Soul Therapy

The weather this morning was not fit for fowl nor beast.  As evidence my hens wouldn't venture out of their coop, and the pups weren't begging to play outside.  Spring was indeed coming in like a lion, roaring so hard tree limbs were down in the garden and outdoor furniture was being blown about.  Good time for some indoor pursuits.  Since it is Friday, the one weekday that I do not go into work, I thought I would give myself a little self care:

Ginger Foot Soak
Grate a cup of ginger*
Put Ginger into an old T shirt rag or cheesecloth or muslin (whatever you have on hand) and squeeze the liquid into a basin, I use my Homedics Sole Therapy Foot Bath.
Add 2 generous teaspoons of olive oil.
Now pour in hot water and soak.
Towel off and slip into a pair of your favorite socks.

*Ginger is one of the Trinity Bulbs in Eastern medicine, the others being Onion and Garlic.  Use these liberally, especially during the colder months to enjoy optimal health.

This is an incredible treatment.  I soaked long enough to finish a swatch for my Spring Shrug (45 min?)

Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud - Tide Pool
and my feet kept tingling for another 45 minutes or so.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Learning to Shrug

Taking a peek in a favorite book, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sara Ban Breathnach, I was reminded how to complain.  Or rather, how to not complain.  Or something like that.  This book is full of great reminders, and this day my take-away was "Learning to shrug is the beginning of Wisdom."  Which got me thinking, of course.  But not just on how to live life more fully, but about SHRUGS!

I have to admit, I don't follow these day books like most ordinary folk out there.  I don't thumb through until I find "today's date."  I like to use my intuition and open the book at random and see what pops out at me.  And of course, my intution never fails me.

Wouldn't knittng a shrug be the perfect Spring project?  AND I just so happened to have the perfect yarn in my stash.  Now at this point I like to play my "Is the Universe Trying to Tell Me Something?" game.  Go ahead, roll your eyes, I know my family does.  But really, if I was meant to committ to this project I would have enough yardage of the yarn required, etc. . .

(fingers crossed, drumroll please)

Yup!  Guess I have a new knitting project.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I don't know, maybe I'm not all that different from most of you, but every now and then I say to myself, "Really?  Is this what I natter on about?"  And I know that whatever I natter on about basically comprises my life.  You know, where your thoughts go, the energy flows?  But I can't help myself actually. I really do care about the little things.  It does indeed make my heart fit to burst putting together my little care packages full of a feast for the senses.

Lemon Cumin Tea Cookies
Such a weekend I had!  12 Lemons, really, do you know what 12 Lemons can add to a life?  Well I'll tell you, LOTS!  I zested and juiced all those suckers.  I now have a freezer bag full of ice cube sized fresh lemon juice just waiting to be made into lemonade, dropped into tea, or added to any number of recipes calling for some acid.  And the zest?  Well, I have my first ever batch of Limoncello in the works.  The zest is infusing some Vodka which will then be strained before adding a simple syrup.  And . . .Walla!   or Ta Dah!
Limoncello in the Works
But I think the best of all was looking at those emptied rinds and knowing that I couldn't just chuck them.  They are too acidic for the compost so I had to come up with something.  Done!  Little Fire Starters :)  I dehydrated them in a low oven overnight, now they are crispy, little shells that I am stuffing with dryer lint.  Perhaps before they are put to use I will melt leftover candles and pour the wax in them.
Some of you may think "Wow, she has way too much time on her hands" or "She must be crazy."  And who knows, you may be right?  For you anyway.  But I say, "Crazy is as crazy does."

From Auguries of Innocence
By William Blake
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Was I Dreaming?

How can it be that the memory of Winter slips so quietly from the mind?  Was it really here?  Or was it a dream?  And in that dreaming, was there a life awakening?  I will miss you Winter.  Time of quiet.  Time of reflection.  For the time of doing is upon us.  There is much to do (about nothing?) in Spring.

But look, someone has a jump start on me.  How can this be?

To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; ~ Shakespeare

Friday, March 4, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons

There's something about this time of year.  The season seems to say "Wake Up!"  I find myself a little more enegized.  Housework doesn't seem like such a chore.  In fact, it's a pleasure to care for the home that sheltered me so beautifully through the long, dark Winter.  Funny enough I find my senses wake up and start to crave lemons.  I must not be the only one because the magazines are full of their images and ideas for cooking and cleaning with them.

So the question is, "What will it be?  Lemon Cumin Tea Cookies? Lemon Coconut Bars?  Limoncello?"  Yes, it will!  I'm almost done with my Trader Joe's Lemon Thins, and I do so enjoy cookies and tea.  Then again as Rachel would say, "Mom, you think EVERYTHING would be good with a cup of tea!"
Considering how many lemons I have on hand I will start with the Lemon Cumin Tea Cookies and move onto the Lemon Coconut Bars. 

Sara Raven's Lemon Cumin Tea Cookies

Cream 1 stick butter (unsalted) & 1 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in 2 egg yolks, finely grated zest of 2 lemons and 4Tbspn.s of juice, and 2 teaspoons of Cumin.
Sift together 2 1/4 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda.  Fold into wet mixture.
Place dough onto waxed paper and roll into 2" cylinder.  Freeze until hard, 1 to 2 hours.

Then preheat oven to 350  and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cut 1/4" slices and place onto sheet allowing space for spreading.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes until firm to touch.  Cool on wire rack.
I'm sure Brad is wondering "What on Earth are we going to do with all these sweeties in the house?," but I'm actually planning on sending a Birthday Box to someone special who just happens to have a love affair with the little darlings.  Then, once I pop into our local Kings for 10 LEMONS, I can give Limoncello a try.  It needs to set for awhile so it should be ready by the time I board a plane for Texas in April.  Now, how to get the stuff through security?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

And The Winner Is . . .

It's a tradition in our family to watch the Oscars.  So, we jumped in the car early Sunday to make it home in time.  Not hard to do when the weather in Steamboat Springs had delivered. We had an easy drive up Thursday afternoon, and were tucked in our cozy condo before the snow started to fly.  And boy did it ever!
One of the many special things about the place is their Aspen Glades.  I've skied trees all over Colorado, but never in an Aspen forest, until now!
I'm so happy I got to share this with my boys,
Boyz in the Trees
Missy in Powder
and the Hot Springs with my girl.
But, as I'm fond of saying, "sometimes enough is enough." So with car loaded, and memories made we wound our way through the mountains back to our home on the front range.

And Oscar night?  It did not disappoint, lots of oohs and ahhs from our girl over the beautiful dresses and people.  The highlight for me?  The last quote shared in memorandum:

“It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.” Lena Horne b. 1917

I guess she knew what she was talking about, seeing that she lived to 93 years young.  May you all have what is takes to lessen your loads, lots and lots of love!
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