Monday, May 19, 2014

Coop Du Jour

The title of this post immediately makes me think of the scene in Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey asks, "What's the soup du jour?" And the waitress answers, "The soup of the day." Mmmm...I'll have that.

Anyway, the coop du jour is almost finished over here, which is really great because the girls are getting bigger and more energetic with every passing hour. It seems like just yesterday we were wiping their butts with q-tips and now they fly out of their pen every time we remove the screen top and keep asking me to buy them latest One Direction album. They grow up so fast...

Mr. W has been working furiously to install all the final pieces of the coop—like the automatic door that will let the ladies into their run every morning. What can I say? We are lazy farmers that like our sleep. And Mr. W likes projects that allow him to geek out.

The roof of the coop is "green" which will help keep it cool—and give us a little extra rosemary for the kitchen.

The greenhouse side of things is in full swing but still needs a real window on the south side. We'll add one when we swap out the windows in our house sometime later this year.

We may move the girls out to their coop later this week if the weather stays nice. I'm a little torn on how I feel about doing this. I'm looking forward to cleaning the inch of chicken-spawned dust that is currently coating every surface in the guest room,
but I will definitely miss peeking in on them and hearing their little cheeping every time I walk down the hallway. Perhaps I'll buy chicken costumes for the cats to help me through the transition.

My all-time favorite thing the girls have been doing recently—and will continue to do as they grow to full size—is take sand baths. Apparently they like the feeling of grit between their feathers, so they completely go to town rolling around in their sandbox (an 8" x 12" Pyrex baking pan) and kicking up dust all over the place. They were lulled into an almost catatonic state of bliss last night after doing this for about 10 minutes. It's hysterical to watch.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Beginnings and Endings and the Stuff in Between

My gardening boots are nowhere near their tragic end, but I do think it's kind of funny to see how far they've come since August.

Mr. W and I recently started watching Breaking Bad and are already discussing how we'll cope when we finish the final season. Naturally, we plan to watch another series. Rinse and repeat.

It's funny how when certain things end, the only way you can get through them is to sort of try to relive the experience over again.

Then there are those other cases—like really demanding jobs—when all you want to do is rest and not relive the experience for awhile...

This is how it goes with Mr. W's most recent career endeavor. After a year and a half of very hard work, he finally wrapped up his movie. We got to attend its premiere last week, and it was so much fun (particularly because we saw Bryan Cranston right in the midst of our Breaking Bad binge). It was a very cool event to mark the ending of a very big project. (Big like, crushing skyscrapers and sinking air craft carriers kind of big...)

So now we begin the litany of remodeling projects. Again, rinse and repeat. Some of that mode of operating is "necessity"—in order to finish everything we want to upgrade, we have to start one thing right after another. But I also think it's just because we like being in-process. We like having projects. Beginnings can be tricky, and endings are often sort of sad, so we try to stay in that in between place. I've watched my parents do this for nearly four decades. It's the creative process, not the end product, that draws them in, I think.

This week we started demo on our main bathroom and the thrill of starting this transformation is only slightly tarnished by the amount of dust that is now coating all of my toiletries...

For those readers worried about the fate of the endlessly adorable seahorse tiles, fear not—Mr. W was able to extract them with a saw and expert technique:

We're so excited to finally have a big indoor project underway. Especially now that the chicken coop is almost totally finished (post to come). And we're not the only ones who are beginning new "projects" around here either. Our local mockingbirds have built a nest in our Meyer lemon tree and are expecting triplets:

Sunday, May 11, 2014

How to Get a Cat Out from Under a Bed

I have no idea whether anyone else will find this funny, but it made me laugh until tears, so I have to share it...

The other night, Mr. W and I were getting ready for bed when our little cat Zoë raced into our bedroom, under our bed, and went right to the middle section where we can't reach her. I tried to coerce her out with kind words and promises of cuddles, but she did not budge.

I figured I would just leave her alone and she'd wander out when she was ready, but Mr. W wasn't having it. As soon as he came into the room, he got down on his side of the bed and started trying to shoo her out. No luck.

I was sure we'd have to go get the yardstick like that one time a lizard decided to hide under our refrigerator.

I leaned over my side of the mattress, to once again try to encourage her to come get some petting, when something white sailed across the floor in my direction. I reached down to retrieve it.

It was a #10 business envelope. (I know them well from 15 years of direct marketing copywriting...)

"Did you just try to get the cat out from under the bed by throwing an envelope at her?" I asked Mr. W.

Apparently he thought it would scare her but it might be the last thing I would ever think to throw at a cat if I were trying to get it to move from anywhere. A shoe? Yes. A book? Could work. Even a crumpled up envelope might have tricked her into playing fetch. But a plain old flat one?

I laughed to tears. 

Clearly Mr. W's cat-parenting skills are a little rusty.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Progress Report

The girls are only a couple weeks old but are already losing their baby feathers and becoming daredevils with their fancy new wings.

In spite of the fact that we are very distracted by our new quadruplets, we've been making relatively steady progress on our house projects. We may even begin demo this week on the beloved seahorse bathroom. But first, we need to get a bit more done to the chicken run because, as you can see above, the girls are growing up fast.

Mr. W worked hard to dig about a 120-square foot ditch this weekend so we can bury the bottom of the run to prevent any critters from sneaking in and attacking our girls. We had our first weasel sighting in the yard this afternoon and although he was adorable (I literally thought someone's pet was loose in our yard) we don't want him coming back and going all True Blood on our chicks.

Coop progress. Run progress. Please disregard the fact that Mr. W's legs are the same color as his beige shorts. He's been locked in offices for quite awhile.

For some reason, I offered to help Mr. W dig yesterday and quickly remembered that back-breaking labor is just not my bag. Naive optimism ("I can totally help you dig that hole!") mixed with a short fuse ("This effing SUCKS!") can add up to a pretty lethal combination. Fortunately no one was injured by a flying pitchfork. I tried to hold it together but eventually Mr. W sent me into the front yard to pull weeds... He later informed me that, to him, shoveling dirt is equivalent to dancing (equally awful). Does not compute.

The greenhouse side of the coop is also coming along. We've painted the inside white and today Mr. W
started a bunch more seeds in there for one of our garden plots.
We've been trying to clear out the lower section of our front yard so we can add some plants and flowers around our new little collection of olive trees. And yes, we will attempt to make pickled olives down the line...

Feels pretty fancy to have our fountain hooked up again. Even though it's surrounded by landscape fabric and dirt.

The lower yard in the back is springing to life (pun intended) with cute baby veggie plants and an astronomical number of weeds. Mr. W was down there with the weedwhacker this weekend and lost his Fitbit in the greenery. After about fifteen minutes of fruitless searching, Mr. W got the brilliant idea to triangulate (his word) the location using the sync feature on his phone. Shortly thereafter, I found the Fitbit covered in a shreddy green film, but still in proper working order. We were both very relieved, as we've been locked in fierce "step count" competition ever since getting our Fitbits several weeks ago.

Our little corn is shooting up like crazy.
In addition to some pumpkin success, little volunteer zucchinis have appeared—and are already fruiting!

As you can see, the weeds have decided to swallow the yard whole.

The other highlight of our weekend arrived in the mail Friday, courtesy of my mother, AKA the grandchickens' grandmother. I made a joke about her knitting some scarves for them in the winter and instead she made them baby bonnets. We have yet to attempt a photo shoot with the girls, but I did snap this shot of their feline sister modeling one. Just another ordinary weekend at the Maris house...

This is only the beginning, my friends...