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Back in July we got a couple of new hens.

Hobbit (left) was named for the feathered feet.  Chicken Little (right) was named for her catastrophic reactions to treats being dropped on her head.  By “treats” I mean spinach stems or strawberry caps – nothing at all that should cause a concussion or “end of the world” behavior.   Hobbit would *always* be the first to snatch up the treat. This would instantly send Chicken Little into “the sky is falling” mode, in which she would chase Hobbit around the cage in a panic, all the while peeping frantically. Hobbit wouldn’t even eat the snack at first, preferring instead to run around with it taunting Chicken Little.  If I dropped another treat in for Chicken Little, Hobbit would drop the first treat, snatch up the second treat and take off running with it.  Rather than taking Hobbit’s discarded treat, Chicken Little would act like it didn’t exist at all and continue her incessant peeping and chasing.

The silly little birds grew and grew and it quickly became evident that they were nothing like the dignified Myrtle, Pearl, and Gertrude, or even crazy Freebird. These two chicks were friendly and more than a little nuts. They’d practically jump in our pockets each time we opened the door to their cage.

At some point Chicken Little stopped growing, but Hobbit kept getting bigger and then began developing iridescent greenish black feathers like a peacock.  I was in denial for a long time even though the evidence was before my eyes.  The day after Christmas when we opened the back door to let Moon Pie out for her morning routine, our little Hobbit announced to the world his manhood with a “COCK-A-DOODLE-DOO!!”

Hobbit

Hobbit demanding a close-up and Chicken Little in the background

Dear Far-Flung Family & Friends:

I am alive and well despite my lack of digital communications.  I’m having difficulty facing the screen when there is so much  presently unfolding “out there” in multiple dimensions that is demanding attention. Nonetheless, I miss you! You really should come for a visit.

This month marks two years since we arrived at Peace. Love. Home.  I continue to be awed everyday by the largest and smallest things.  Eggs for instance appear daily, as if by magic, in the dog house.  I could build a pyramid  large enough for all four of the chickens to live in with the eggs they laid this month.  How do all these eggs fit inside these fluffy feathered girls?

all my eggs in one basket

this is not even a quarter of my eggs in one basket

The chickens are comical in so many different ways.  When I go around the barn to tend to the ducks, they try their hardest to spy on me.  They cram themselves in the corner between the doghouse and the fence practically on top of each other as they vie for the best view.  When I walk back around the corner into their line of vision, the chicken totem pole disbands and they scatter as if those nosy girls couldn’t possibly be interested at all in anything I could ever do.

Apparently, word has gotten out that this place is “bird friendly” because we’ve been visited recently by interloping fowl trying to figure out how to get IN on this domesticated action.  The two wild mallards below have been touring the property regularly, checking out the ducks’ pen and the chickens’ digs.

 

june2014 003

Myrtle, Pearl, and Gertrude bow respectfully as they bid the interlopers adieu.

 

There’s also a lone Canadian goose who drops in to check everyone out.  He wanders around in the mornings honking incessantly for hours at at time.  One afternoon last week I spotted a coyote who was drawn in by all this birdy action.

Perfect strangers (of the human variety) have also dropped by this summer to share stories and cry at the kitchen table with me about things that matter, which turns out is quite a lot.

 

I can’t unsee it.

–El D

The Hungry Raptor

The Hungry Raptor

My beautiful mistress demanded another blood sacrifice this week.

Hiram, our only boy duck that had manners, was taken out by a hungry raptor.

I was headed to work when I met the brazen beast near my car  in the midst of his macabre meal.  At first sight I was so captivated by the hawk’s beauty and proximity that it was all I could see.  I didn’t process the life being extinguished beneath his talon. And then, all at once I did, as the flood of life’s drama rushed in – the hunger, the struggle, and the sacrifice of one life for another.

Sacrifice.  When I was a child, the word conjured terrifying Biblical images of a world that made no sense: Abraham binding his son Isaac, slaughtered lambs, and gruesome crucifixions.  Such interesting tales told to Sunday school children.

Over the years, my understanding of the concept has deepened. When I became a vegetarian I began practicing what the word meant in action: to surrender or give up, or permit injury or disadvantage to, for the sake of something else.” I gave up my taste for flesh so that another life might go on for awhile longer.

My current lesson comes in noun form, “the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.”

Within the linguistic roots of the word sacrifice is the word sacred.  That tangle of meanings is there for good reason.  The life and death of one thing is contained within the seed of another.  Everything must eventually give way for what comes next in Life’s yearning for itself.

This brings me to the topic of the Japanese beetles.  The scarabs are pretty; their shells are an iridescent mix of greens and golds.  However, they don’t belong here. These interlopers have been fornicating all over the roses and eating up the petals and leaves. Last season I came to the conclusion that while they’re pretty, they don’t smell nearly as good as the flowers,  so I poisoned them.  Then I questioned myself about the ethics of a vegetarian destryoing a happy bug’s life — and about poisoning the air, ground, and plants with hazardous chemicals.  Skattur suggested I pick the bugs off, pack them in a box, and ship them back to Japan.  I entertained this fantastic idea briefly, then I decided to pick them off and feed them to the ducks, who seem quite satisfied with this exotic delicacy.

The first harvest of the season comes at the heels of all this sacrificial obeisance.

june 21 010

I managed to pick about a dozen blueberries before the bushes became just another elaborate system for feeding winged-things.

We have also managed to salvage some lettuce, radishes, and a few raspberries, which made a pretty salad.

july 7 2012 001

P. Recious Rainbow is out of control.

Don't let that demure look fool you.

Don’t let that demure look fool you.

She has dethroned P. King and positioned herself as Queen Mother of the duck kingdom….

There are 18 eggs in this nest

There are 18 eggs in this nest

She is uh…really fertile?

I knew she had eggs under her feathers, but no idea that there were THAT many until I offered her some cracked corn. This was an obvious violation of duck protocol. In fact, she found the gesture so offensive that she hissed at me. Twice.  Then she jumped up and went running around quacking ferociously about it, which disturbed all the other ducks.  Ordinarily, everyone follows P. King around and lets him bully them, but P. Recious Rainbow Queen Mother was in such state about the cracked corn incident that all the rest of them — including P. King — went chasing after her. It almost seemed like they were trying to console her with the wheezy whistling ruckus they created around her crazed quacking.

It was even more dramatic than the commotion P. King makes when he is feeling frisky and doing his “Sexy Time” dance with his wings splayed out running around on his tippy toes chasing after the girls.

So, I left, as I do when things get out of hand in the duck community. As I was leaving, I looked back.  P. Rainbow was standing outside her nest eyeing her eggs carefully.  She looked like she was counting them.

I have been neglecting my SoKaN achivist duties the past few months. You might have noticed by the previous posts, I have been a bit overwhelmed (in wonderful ways).

So much has happened so fast that I feel like my life is going by in dog years. At least six years worth of life have been crammed into the last 10 months. With the arrival of autumn, things are slowly winding down. Several projects are drawing to a close or are now being carried by their own momentum. I think I can  return now to being a Good Archivist.  And there is quite a lot to report.

First off, back in May (May!) The Angry Russian debuted The Angry Russian’s Birdhouses at the “All Things Art” festival.  Here’s an amusing behind-the-scenes tidbit:  as The Angry Russian was building these birdhouses, a mama robin built her nest four feet away from his construction site…

Yep.  Right on top of the weedeater.  As he worked, I could almost hear her tweeting (the oldschool way), “Dude, you are not doing that fast enough….I got babies on the way here!”

Brace yourself. Here comes a picture of her naked babies…

They’re alive, although you’d never know it from that picture.  No wonder (normal) birds build their nests in trees – nobody needs to see that sort of thing!  But now you have and there’s no going back.

The Angry Russian made his birdhouses from reclaimed wood that was once someone’s fence.

Then sometime around June or July (it’s a bit of a blur), SoKaN hit “The Big One,” where SoKaN’s Elitest Jerk peddled her beady peeps and BeadyBoop peddled various beaded accessories.

I didn’t spend much time at that event because by then we had moved to Peace.Love.Home. and I was running around chasing butterflies doing very important work…

…like cleaning out the barn.  The previous owner had left the barn full of stuff, like Christmas trees and scarecrows and chairs and party games and a bunch of chipped dishes and clay flowerpots…so I decided to experiment with a little mosaic work with her (now my) stuff. As it turns out, I excell at breaking stuff.

But my mosaic pot was dangerous to touch and a little off kilter.  Kinda like me.

Still, I enjoyed this a lot.  Next I want to do make a birdhouse to match my pot.  Maybe I’ll eventually set up an off-kiltered-mosaic-stuff garden next to the Greek-ruins ensemble.

And then dear LORD we had Goat Days!  The Nutters were selling stuff, or something…I guess, but how anyone could expect me to concentrate on all that when I was surrounded by so much Goaty Goodness is completely beyond me. I mean just LOOK:

I was so completely overwhelmed and carried away by all the Goaty Goodness at Goat Days that I somehow managed to wind up alone and behind the scenes of a traveling circus…

I got kicked out of the circus by a very short man whose picture I did not get, but whose likeness I just rendered for you in Photoshop.

Then, last month, Skattur and I did the Broad Avenue Artists Market Renaissance, which was a cool event organized by local artist, Shaun Barber.  It was a “just show up and do your thing” sort of event.  There were instrument makers, painters, jewelry designers,  musicians, and knitters and nutters, who showed up and did their thing.

The fantastic work of Scott at Tribal Spirits Flutes

Skattur has been creating (and selling) fun stuff like crazy.  Here are a few of her awesome bird feeder and garden plate designs –  all made from repurposed materials purchased at Goodwill and the Salvation Army.

And finally, tomorrow SoKaN will be at the Broad Avenue Art Walk and Art Bark.  If you’re in the area, stop by!

And I think I have finally been a Good Little Archivist and covered all my bases.  Until next time!

xx

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