Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tour de Coop

Merlin chatting it up with visitors to Tour de Coop. Click for the rest of the story! Hundreds of people toured Bainbridge coops yesterday to benefit Helpline House.

“Chickens will find a way.”

This is what PopPop (Bill) said after chicken-proofing the garden, the second time! We think it is chicken Ft Knox now, but only time will tell. Some of these creatures can fit through very small holes, and their feathers act like little greasing agents which help them slick right through fences which would trap us. Every time Nana and PopPop visit we end up with a short list of very memorable quotes. In Coronado we will never forget Bill’s two: “Our goose is cooked” and “Who did this? Who DID this?” Here we think the first two candidate quotes have already been logged – “Chickens will find a way” (or will have their way?) and Gail keeps asking “What is that noise? What IS that?” pertaining to different house noises they’re getting used to. They are so funny! Nana is also getting her mind around the fact that our cold hardiness zone is 9a, and theirs in upstate NY is 5a – stuff that would die there in a winter can live through it here. She’s looking around in wonder, especially this morning at our fuschia in the ground! They are so much fun and SO nice to allow me to have a few laughs at their expense. You know I LOVE a good laugh! 🙂

Nana getting her hands dirty in the garden! It is so fun to have them here! See the wonderful chicken-proofing, with enough room for veggies to grow?

Nana and PopPop arrive!

We welcomed Nana and PopPop for a visit after three years of living too far apart! It was so wonderful to see them! Sam and Bill enjoyed playing some guitar together, including a song Bill wrote for church. Ben was playing a wild game of Wack-A-Mole with Nana while the guitar playing was going on. Dave was making a great salmon and potato dinner. After dinner we went out for ice cream 🙂

“Mom, what does fun mean?” … “Fast?”

You can guess who asked and answered that one! Today we had a FABULOUS time out mountain biking at Grand Forest. Click on the picture for the whole story 🙂

For JUNE pictures, click here:

For JULY pictures, click here:

“Mom, are these parallel?”

Ben loves to bike hard down the driveway, get some good speed, then practice braking on a dime. He loves to make long skid marks then have me measure them. So he's learning that 6 is bigger than five, and even remembered learning about parallel lines (something I randomly pointed out weeks ago at a doctor's office where the railing on the staircase provided a good example). Can you see all the skid marks in this picture? At one point he asked me "Mom, are these two parallel?" and I was floored! What a good boy. Sometimes he shows remarkable recall. Other times he shows no good sense whatsoever...

Today is one of those days I am thankful the boys are safely tucked in bed. My job is done. Do you ever have days where it seems like random injury is around the corner at every turn? And the kids happen to be fragile, too, so every random injury is a big deal? Today was one of those days. Sam complained of a splinter, then pulled it out. Next he complained of a sore foot, but it was totally fine to walk on minutes before. Then his ear hurt (which does bear some merit – I think he has a mild case of swimmer’s ear which has been off and on for a few days and we’ll have to remedy this week). Then at my dear friend’s house checking on her new chicken hatchlings (more of Merlin’s progeny!) Ben took a slipper to the cornea in a freak accident. Then we’re out mountain biking (you’re thinking – huh? on a freak accident day?) – because we all really wanted to go (Dave was at work so couldn’t call us off the trail). We went to a trail we knew, but forgot how many hills there were. Things look different when you’re rolling. So at one point when I was coaching Sam on the finer points of shifting just in time to keep momentum up a hill, then standing up to keep going, Ben decided he was going to check out what we were doing. I’d told him to stay put in no uncertain terms, but he went rogue. Next thing I knew I looked up and there he was merrily rolling off-trail down a 20% grade right toward a tree, with no real look of concern. Probably thinking he can brake any time. I threw myself before the runaway train and caught him. I might possibly have had some expletives of disbelief, too. I was more growling than talking because I didn’t want the nice homeowners to hear me, so thankfully probably the kids had no real idea what I was saying. Everyone is fine, but this just goes to show my daredevil is capable of just about anything, even blinded in one eye. (His eye is fine – the cornea abrasion is either gone or fine – he recovered in minutes. He’s dramatic, though, so sometimes it’s very hard to distinguish fact from near-fact.)

Anyway…I just dearly love those boys but sometimes I feel like I hardly know them! My tough guy Sam who never complains about a thing – ever – truly never complains – actually complained about three things today. So I said, hey, you know what, maybe just do a bathtime FYI for me…which he remembered and did tonight. He goes “Hey, mom, I’m not complaining, but just so you know, my ear is bothering me a bit.” Perfect! Well done my friend. I asked where it was on a scale of 1-10 (which the boys can reliably do and have been doing so for years) and he said a 2 or 3. I gave him some Advil and a promise to follow it up on Monday with the doc. He is fine. Good boy. Say a few prayers for my friends – ask their guardian angels to keep just a tad bit closer watch on them perhaps?

Tonight as they were putting jammies on they asked me to “make me talk, Mom!” Which means – move their chins and talk in a funny voice as if I’m them, talking. Weird stories come to mind and it’s very cathartic for all of us for me to make them say horrendous things about their ogre of a mom and end up laughing…somehow in Sam’s story (as I was moving his chin and he was smiling) he became a jelly donut. “Why am I biking up this crazy hill, mom, when all I really want is to be a donut, yeah, a donut, filled with jelly and smiling up at people from my white box!”  You get the idea…

July 4 – Happy 236th!

It all started here - boys in their first parade on a float representing the Aquatic Center where they take swimming lessons. They loved relaxing, eating candy, and watching all the sights!


Then we had a casual fire and pizza time with dear friends and patriots, Matt and Melodie (although I am not sure why they were in black and white!). We had a great time kicking off the festivities with Matt showing us how to properly form up and salute the flag while Sam played the national anthem. Once we were officially "at ease" we fell out to pizza and catching up.

Reading some famous quotes about the Fourth of July - and guessing to whom they should be attributed. As you might imagine, Dave and Matt did very well at this! We burned the quotes upon reading. Seemed fitting somehow. Sam read one, too.


Some monster s'more eating!!!! I love this shot 🙂

Buffy came out back to celebrate with us. Here the boys are giving her select blades of grass to nibble on. Their little heads formed a heart shape over her. Seeing the setting sun dance on the grass in front of them while they tenderly cared for their young hen was just about as moving as hearing the Star Spangled Banner dance off my son's fingers on his loud guitar, or the stirring of bagpipes within the soul. (Dave says he's not moved to tears by bagpipes - clearly he is not Scottish!).

The pictures above give you a sense of the day. Please click for Sam playing his guitar to open festivities this afternoon. He started out with a warm-up (Gramma will love this – Amazing Grace) and at precisely 4:04 he hit the national anthem for us. We love that his amp is battery-powered. 6 AAs, baby, and we can fire it up anywhere! Anyone need a little Star Spangle in their Banner? In the T&C parking lot? First day of school? The opportunities are endless! But do enjoy this front-porch stage  performance: 

Another interesting hike

We went for a hike down the Close Trail today and really enjoyed a nice chat along the way, and looking under rocks once we got to the water. Sam and Ben ALWAYS love seeing who is living under the rocks. Ben and I will be off doing something (Ben likely up on a rock, saying "Do you want to take a picture of me?!") then we'll hear Sam exclaim loudly "Whoa - ho - ho!" upon a new find. He'll pick up all kinds of crabs, sex them, make a little "habitat" for them (a rock in his hand for them to hide under) and walk around with them. Today he found a big one (not the one pictured above, who had recently expired) and carried it around all over, up on rocks, jumping down, singing a song, lifting it high, then low - finally he said he was giving it a roller coaster ride. They are so much fun to be with! This big guy above got a nice final resting place - Sam put him right at water's edge, front claws nicely positioned, and a nice view of the west where the sun would set. It was so sweet to see him do that. We talked about a huge tree in the middle of the trail - that Lewis and Clark found a HUGE tree 39 ft around. We spread out our arms to see how far around we could get and estimated the total circumference to be about 18 ft. I asked Sam how much bigger Lewis and Clark's tree was and after a minute of thinking he said "Two and one-sixth." I was thinking he'd say about two, or just over two, so I had to catch up a bit. Turns out he did that just right. From there we talked about what that means as a percentage (it's very handy that 1/6 is .16 or 16%). From there we went to the market, starving, which was a complete nightmare because everyone was there stocking up for the holiday. We managed to mess up their system down at the nut/dried fruit/candy bins by inadvertently mixing a pineapple with mango slices and banana chips without noting the little number codes. You really need 4 arms down there to hold the bin open, hold the bag open, scoop, AND keep kid hands out of the bin. We were starving, so it was our own faults we caused such a scene. Once they'd had a snack they were fine - but you should have seen them clawing at the bag of mango slices!!!

In other news, it was time to integrate flocks today, so the six babies got introduced to the big kid house. That meant cleaning and dusting the big house, replenishing food, moving hens over and separating flocks for a bit, getting babies acquainted to new food and water locations, spreading plenty of snacks all around so there’s enough for everyone to peck at (so they don’t pick on each other), and then leave for swimming lessons and a hike so I don’t obsess over every sideways glance the chickens give each other. Still, it weighed on me all day. After all, these little guys were hatched by Jersey and me. I didn’t want them to come to an untimely demise. Tonight they were uncertain about getting in the house – I think Jersey was acting as a bouncer. Merlin really just wanted to hunker down and not think about the cheeping. Lots of cheeping today. At one point I had 6 little hens all tucked into my lap as I comforted them and told them to go in the house. Then they piled on top of each other, climbing all over each other to be the one on the bottom, protected. It was a hen heap. So then I moved them all to the nursery where Jersey had nested, gave them fresh water in the hamster waterer, and put up a concrete block to give them privacy. I stroked their little necks and talked to them. Finally the cheeping calmed down. I think they will be fine – it’s snug where they are and together they’ll generate enough heat. They have food and water handy, and we’ll hope for the best. They’d been weaned off the heat lamp in the garage over the past two weeks and it’s upper 50s at night. The farmer in me says they’ll be totally fine. And so they will. And if they aren’t, well, you can be sure I’ll think it through and try to improve next time. But they had totally outgrown their brooder box in the garage and were starting to fly around in there any time I had to do feed or water. And you already know how those little rascals had messed up their food and water SOOO many times. I was really done with that! They’d soaked the bottom of the cardboard apartments I had made. Time to move on, guys 🙂 Cross fingers with me!

Sam’s journal wk of 7/2

Week of 7-2

This week I built alpharex! Evin my cimputer wasn’t strong inof! Evin for an 85 pg instruchin book! The peeps have moved into the run! I was in the 4th of July parade in the aquatic center float! And Ben was too! And I’m in Manta Ray. My rooster, Merlin, is obsessed when he is (in) a nesting box. He’s chucling right now!

Dear Sam,

I really enjoyed sitting by the coop in our little tent and watching all the hens to be sure the little ones (Gordon, Alex, and  Jersey peep) were ok! Butterflies danced in the garden while we chatted and laughed at Merlin!

I love you forever!


7-6-12, 3:07pm