Tuesday, June 30, 2009


The coop is now about 90% finished and is functional but ugly. It needs paint badly, as it is mostly clad in plywood scrap that has been out in the sun for too long. I was at Le Home Depot yesterday trying to pick out a color, but MY GOSH it was color overload and I just couldn't pick! I want it to be obnoxiously bright and cheery, but yellow is out because that is the planned color for the backyard furniture (yes, Stephen, the ones we retrieved together - at least the couch is sanded!).

There was an awesome fucshia-purple, a peacock blue, a fiery lava orange, a very caribbean coral, and of course bright grass green. All of which would be lovely and make my white-trash side yard look a little better taken care of. But which one? The coop has a white roof and the most visible side of it is 4' tall by 8' wide. The paint will be matte, because matte claims to "hide surface imperfections" and boy is it imperfect. What color would you paint YOUR chicken coop?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Here It Comes Again

Ahhh, the feeling of anxiety that only college can give me. The Fall 2009 schedule is out, and I am not eligible to register until EIGHT DAYS after registration opens. I can receive email updates on the classes I want, but I know what those emails will say on either Day 1 or Day 2: CLASS FULL. And I still don't know what I'm going to do with Eli.

I am scrambling to get more stuff planted before summer hits too hard. I finally got my Crimson Sweet watermelon seedlings in (although they are not so much seedlings now as they are mini-vines), and my Charentais melons. I put them in the second raised bed in the backyard - the first raised bed has Jarrahdale pumpkins (in the picture above) and banana melons. I planted a second crop of blue corn on the side of the house that will get the most sun this summer - the first crop is already quite tall and we pulled off an ear the other day just to see what stage it was at - white and milky and sweeeet. I got a great picture of Eli eating it, but I am SUCH a moron about pictures that I can't edit it down to a blog-useable size. Can anybody recommend a free or very cheap photo editing program for an ignoramus like me?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Our internet connection has been out. Very often. I am totally fed up, although I notice that my net-free days are much more productive ones.

Today Eli is 4. I am shockingly sad and sentimental about it, considering that my heart is normally made of frozen marble. He went to Dizzyland with his Aunt Christine and had a hootenanny of a good time.

Yesterday I walked by a young Persian (Iranian) couple in a parking lot. The young man had on a green wristband, a green headband and a green shirt, and the young lady had on a green turtleneck. They had a green flag attached to their car. I have always felt an affinity for Iran (it's on my short list of fantasy world travel) and seeing them made me suck in my breath, tear up a little and want to run over and hug them. I should have. I totally understand the urge to want to knock the snot out of the Iranian government, to be the world's big brother (not in the Orwellian sense), but I also understand why we have to keep out of it. But it still pulls at my heartstrings.

Did I tell you about Paul's piano recital? He refused to play; no surprise there! He stayed in his teacher's kitchen (where the students waited their turn) and cried a little and would not come out. He also refused to go up front and sing "I'm so Glad When Daddy Comes Home" in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday (all the kids go up). He's not really shy on a personal basis, but MAN will that kid not perform in front of any kind of audience.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

visited 12 states (24%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

New Mexico and Colorado are the only two others I really care to see.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ethan Is Back!

You recall Paul's friend Ethan was taken by his father after years of unpleasant custody battles. Roughly two weeks ago the FBI arrested Ethan's father in New Zealand. Ethan had to stay in protective custody for a night, but his mother (who had flown to NZ as soon as the FBI told her they had traced him there) got him back the next day.

We all found this out last Tuesday, as Paul's class was preparing for their field trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific. So of course I cried right there at Paul's school, because how could I not cry, and Ethan was so happy to see his friends again (although I won't pretend everything will go right back to normal for him - that was 4 months of being on the run with his father), and everybody wanted to hug him or rub his head or touch him. It was quite a mob scene.

Yesterday we had a playdate at another friend's house. Ethan, being a kid, smacked into the sliding glass doors and had a spectacular crash. He didn't cry, shook it off, and had only a little cut under his nose. I thought his mother completely overreacted, making him count fingers on her hand, insisting on Neosporin and a band-aid for an incredibly small cut, constantly watching him and worrying that maybe he had a concussion, calling her husband to ask his opinion... and then I understood. She's absolutely paranoid and who can blame her? Her kid was missing for four months. He's not entirely happy to be away from his Dad, who of course he loves. She told us she hasn't slept more than an hour straight since he came home (and I'm sure she wasn't sleeping well for those 4 months, either), that she's like the mother of a newborn, getting up every 30 minutes to make sure her baby is still alive, that her baby is still there.

There is so much in this life that I wish nobody ever had to go through. I hope someday this can all be forgiven and Ethan can have something close to a normal relationship with both of his parents. But I'm not sure that will happen. I just have to do the best I can for everybody I'm responsible for.

Monday, June 08, 2009


We have had the first fruits of our summer garden. Several early Girl tomatoes, some very small yellow onions, a handful of green beans almost every day, 2 cucumbers. I picked one fushimi pepper, but this is my first time growing them and by the taste I must have picked far too early. My Japanese eggplants are already fruiting and the other eggplants have bushed out considerably and have many blossoms now. I suspect that my cucumbers are not Japanese suhyo; they seem too thick and have too much curve to them. My mild Japanese obsession is now irked.

Some of my tomatoes are wilting. I am afraid they have verticillium wilt, which is incurable and has the added glory of staying in the soil for years. They must have come from the nursery with this disease, as that section of the yard has had nothing but weeds and rocks in it for a loooong time. I am ticked off about the lost time (I planted them in APRIL! I've lost two months!) and have already bought backup tomatoes to plant elsewhere. I will take in a sample to the nursery for a second opinion, but even the alternative diagnoses are also pretty much fatal. I am already resigned to losing the space and having to solarize the soil. I'll do it when I'm off to the beach and Montana.

Yes, barring any disasters, Montana is happening. And Mom may go with me. And bring my nephew Noah. We may get creative with the route home - Mom would like to swing over to Washington and drive down the coast, which I think sounds wonderful. Me, Mom, and three little boys driving almost 3000 miles together. I may need some pills.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Your Opinion Is Solicited

I've been thinking about splitting up into two blogs - a farm/garden blog and a personal blog. I know you're all fascinated by everything I write, whether it be poultry mishaps or Eli dialogues, but I'm betting the farm-y parts are slightly less scintillating for some of you. And as I connect with other backyard farmer-types, I'm thinking they might not be as enthralled with my family shenanigans.

Opinions? It's not imminent; I don't even have a snazzy title for my theoretical second blog. "The Real Farmwives of OC" is already passe.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Gee Whiz!

It's not that I have nothing to report - there's just too much!

We spent Memorial Day with friends we haven't seen in years (they've been in the US briefly after 5 years in Okinawa, and they're going back). It was wonderful to see them again, plus all the old friends who also came to see them. Since we'd be gone for 2 days, we put the girls in the almost-finished coop and "locked" the door by pushing bricks up against it, and left them food and water. I was terrified that they'd be murdered by raccoons and when we got home I had to send Dan to check on them because I just didn't have the stomach to discover their corpses. They were fine.

Last weekend Mom stayed over and we all took the train into LA for our occasional Olvera Street/Little Tokyo stroll. Next time we need to get brave and go over to Chinatown instead (yes, Don and Lee, I wish we could go see the real thing), or get into town earlier and go even farther. I think we'll try to go to the Hollywood Bowl this summer, too.

Last night I was able to go to a small party at Iris & John's house (remember Iris who saved me at the Fresh & Easy?). They went to Taiwan for their 10th anniversary and had some wonderful friends over for a slideshow (well, a digital slideshow - a projector connected to the computer and pointed at a blank wall). Their friend Larry played the ukulele in an asian style while we oohed and ahhed and laughed at the pictures. I felt like a cool person in a magazine, not at all like a dirty farmer housewife. I haven't seen a vacation slideshow since my Uncle Reed used to put them on for us when I was a kid. I have to convince Dan to get a projector.