Saturday, July 16, 2011

final post

I end this blog with 2 beginnings. They are both story ideas I scribbled onto paper several months ago. I don't know what will come of them, but I like the idea of ending with the beginning of stories birthed from 'a year with chickens'.

'Natalie and Harriet'
It was an unlikely friendship, but then again the best friendships often are.

On an almost sunny day the decision was made that chickens would be joining the family. My mom went to the farm with empty moving boxes and returned with my soon to be friends.

When I first laid eyes on them I determined they were curious creatures indeed. They didn't seem too excited about their new home and I was a bit uncertain about them. My name is Natalie and this is my story. I am 6 and I fell in love with chickens..........

'A Year With Chickens'
I've tried to write other things, well not with pen but in thought, and yet it is this story of our families last 18 months that beckons me to write. So alas, I give in happy to meet pen to paper once again.

Where to begin sharing a simple decision that unfolded into a grand adventure. I'll start at the end for a moment and say whenever you have a choice, choose adventure. Recognize that it often presents itself quite dully, tarnished perhaps and resembling a lot of work. Choose it anyway and you won't regret it by journeys end. This is my family's flight into a year with chickens..........

Friday, July 15, 2011

blogging next steps...

So, after much thought I have decided to conclude a year with chickens. It was a journey meant to run the course of 1 year, but actually went for 2 and 1 month. I have loved it. I want to thank you for reading and encouraging me along the way. I would've stopped long ago had it not been for the comments that have refueled me just when I needed it. I have learned a lot. In regards to blogging, I have discovered I love this format of writing. Because of that, I have plans to begin a new blog this fall. It just didn't seem right to tag the next chapter onto this amazing snap shot of life. I think a year with chickens needs to stand alone. So tomorrow, July 16th my BIRTHDAY!, will be my last post. Thank you again for putting your phonics skills to use along the way. My cup runneth over.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Russian olive trees

I am reading a book that encouraged me to think of something from my childhood and then fixate on it, trying to recall every detail about it. This was quite fun and I'd encourage you to try it.

The object I picked was the Russian olive trees that perimitered my childhood home. Here's the details I recalled, with a bit of time fixating.

There were over 60 trees covering 3 sides of our 1 acre in Reiles Acres, North Dakota. Weaved together, not knowing where one began and another ended, they created a solid natural fence and some reprieve from the prairie winds that howl unannounced. The leaves were small and shaped like an olive dish. The color was not a crisp green, but more a sage. One side of the leaf was lighter and slightly velvety. At some point in the year, the season is now lost to me, they bloomed with petite yellow flowers. I don't recall them having a fragrance. They did produce large round pea like "fruit" which we would collect in buckets as props for our imaginary play. The branches were home to large thorns. The kind that put rose thorns to shame. They were so big, I recall my dad and I getting one stuck in our foot, having first traveled through our tennis shoes. Some were a good 2 inches long, strong like a stick with a point like a needle. We would prune the trees, although I don't recall that we did with regularity. During one pruning session, the job went from casual to serious business, maybe they hadn't been done in a while? In the summer heat, long sleeves and pants were required for trying to wrangle the wild branches. My dad rented a wood chipper that year, there were so many limbs and they seemed to breed like rabbits. At the end of the day, we all were scratched up and not in a place to appreciate the beauty of the Russian olives. I don't think I ever really fully admired them. Part of my chores included mowing the lawn. My dad would use the John Deer green rider on the main grass and I was assigned the push mower, charged to trim between all the trees, including the 60+ thorned traps. Like a child not anticipating a kitten that no longer wants to be held, I was scratched up a lot.

As I look back on this reflection, I am stunned by the details that fell back to memory about trees I simply remembered only as Russian olives.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

belgian waffles

This is hands down the best Belgian waffle recipe EVER! My husband Ted makes these and they are melt in your mouth delicious. I will say that only dad makes them. In my diabolical scheme, I have convinced our children mommy can't make these, only daddy can. This is a beautiful thing.

I will also take a moment to explain the origins of my Belgian waffle maker. I acquired the device at one of those pick a gift and steal a gift pass around Christmas games. It was on my mom's side of the family and they are serious about playing the game. You roll up your sleeves or else you don't whine about going home with the lame gift. And there is no question what the lame gift is because they will all tell you. For real. So, I picked a gift that someone thought they needed and like that my gift was stolen. I have no idea what I had because I had my eyes on the Belgian waffle maker my Grandpa Ken had set slightly under his chair. This is a good technique, however, often backfires in this crowd as someone will notice the tactic and then announce it and then bye-bye to the gift you wanted. Anyway, I stole the waffle maker from my Grandpa. In all honesty, I don't think he was that excited about it. Well, for sure not as excited as I was. I will say my sister teased me quite a bit for stealing from my Grandpa. Today, the waffle iron is still trekking along. We've made hundreds of delicious waffles in this baby!

Here's my favorite recipe, enjoy! Disclaimer, I suspect these taste SO wonderful to me because they are made by my husband and not me. As a kid, my mom used to say that my McDonald french fries tasted better than if she had just gotten her own bag. Which I would always ask, "Why don't you get your own bag!?!?!"

Belgian Waffles

2 eggs, separated
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons salad oil
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 teaspoons baking powder

Mix egg yolks, flour, milk, salt, sugar, oil and melted butter. Beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry. Add to first mixture. Just before baking, fold in baking powder.

Bake in a preheated waffle iron.

Makes 4 - 6 waffles, depending on the waffle iron.

*Ted makes a double batch and it satisfies our salacious appetites.

empty glue bottles

I am reading a book titled Edith Ann my life, so far. I want to share an excerpt. "Tomorrow," she'd say (Her teacher) "I want you all to bring in some old string and old newspaper and empty glue jars." It never dawned on her that some of our parents are not string-savers. And who keeps their empty glue jars? I've never seen an empty glue jar myself. In our house, the jar is finally thrown away not because all the glue is gone, but because it's just too dried up to be used.

This made me smile. I thought there are 2 kinds of homes. Those with empty bottles of glue because they use it and those that find the glue all dried up and past its time and ready to be thrown out.

After the smile, I thought on this and then I frowned realizing that somewhere in the last couple years my home has become the second, when really I was always created to be the first. And I have three old enough to use glue children so this puzzles me. And I don't think it's because the glue bottles have gotten bigger. So, once this bed rest business is over, I plan on gluing a lot of things.

On this subject, my sweetie was organizing the garage yesterday and I gave him company from a lawn chair. He said, "Robin, do you realize how many craft boxes you have?" I replied, "Don't complain, I am going to make something wonderful and be your sugar Mama someday." He smiled.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I'd do it different.

Fishing. It was never my favorite. As kids in summer, my mom and dad would take us out and I’d maybe last an hour before I invariably had to go to the bathroom or just grew restless. I liked things with more action and fishing, to me, was action challenged.

My dad loves fishing. He has patience and can sit for hours. When I was a teenager, there were a few times my dad would ask me along for some ice fishing. We didn’t have a fancy ice house, rather an upside down 5 gallon bucket was home to the bottom atop a frozen lake. I never went. I couldn’t see why I’d want to. My sister, on the other hand, often went with my dad. When I was a kid, I never understood why Tracy would go but now I suspect it was to spend time with her dad. I was quick to answer and slow to think of the benefits the hour drive to and from the lake as well as sharing an activity my dad loved could bring. I only saw a cold bottom, limited conversation from my quiet dad and catching a fish I didn’t want to remove from my own line. Today, I’d do it different. Knowing now what I didn’t then, I’d go fishing with my dad when he asked.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Poppy's you make me smile!

My new yard is a wee bit like Christmas, and I love it! Every couple weeks I'm making new discoveries as things begin to bloom. I was delighted by the recent poppies that popped in a former sea of green. These flowers are just FUN to me.