Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Birthday Buzz.

There was a lot of baking for Fairy Girl's 7th birthday party. Since her birthday also falls on the first day of Spring, it's always fun to celebrate with the first flowers in the yard.
For her birthday party with friends, she requested lemon cupcakes with whip cream and strawberries (and a few kiwis for adventurous friends). I made them 2 days ahead and put the cream on them right before serving- but a lot of the fruit still slipped off.

Later that evening to celebrate with family I made a honey cake from a Waldorf snack book in a bee skep mold from Williams and Sonoma. I also ordered marzipan bees this year from Huckleberry's Market to decorate it with. The rest of the flowers and leaves came from the yard. The bees were fun, but next year (if she lets me make the cake a third time, I would like to try making the bees myself in a less cartoonish style).

The third "baking" project was not edible, although Baby Dragon did test me on this. For a party craft and to celebrate Spring, we made seed balls. You mix a certain ratio of wildflower seeds, red clay, compost and water together to create a self sustaining ball that you can broadcast anywhere and that will germinate after the rains. After trying to find red clay, I could only find it in 25lb increments. I knew I did not need that much clay, but it was cheap anyway.

About 10:30pm the night before the party I reread the recipe to find that the red clay needs to be in the powdered form. ARGH! So I cut some off the 25lb block and made strips that I baked in the oven on low heat. In the morning, I proceeded with grating the dried strips on my cheese grater to make powder. Easy enough, but a bit time consuming.

Baby Dragon came in and asked what was in the oven. I told him, but he insisted they looked suspiciously like brownies, or something chocolate. I demonstrated their true substance by banging it on the counter, but he was unpersuaded. I let him look up close and he licked a chunk of clay just to make sure I wasn't fooling. Got to love his dedication to his conviction! I should remember that for a few years down the road when I wonder why he never takes my word about things. He was born that way!

So anyway, in the moment of organizing the craft with 10 little girls, I forgot the correct ratio of clay to compost and our little balls turned out looking like no-bake cookies. But I have heard some have already germinated and I guess there's room for error, phew! I would also like to take this chance to thank Daddy for all his help with the party. He calmed all my last minute stresses and washed all those muddy hands!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Words from little people.

This morning on my placemat I was presented with this short story written on three tiny pieces of paper by Fairy Girl:

Once there was a gnome who loved to play hide and seek. But he was sad. He needs friends that are new. The gnome was happy he had a new friend to play with. His friend’s name was Ella. Ella was a dragon. She was nice. And Ella had a brother and his name is Jack. The gnome’s sister and brother played with the dragons in the sun.

Baby Dragon said our breakfast prayer and in normal fashion it had nothing to do with the food and stayed true to his melancholic temperament:

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for today.

I pray that our chicks won’t die.

That things won’t get sad, or mad… or ha.. or cranky, or whiney, or fussy.

We just thank you for all these things,

In Jesus name, Amen

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Moving on up!

Today Costco is our hero. After a demoralizing trip to Home Depot with the family looking for a cheap way to build a bigger chicken box to house the chicks for another month, we decided to see if Costco had any big boxes. They did indeed. Imagine the giant boxes for pineapples and grapefruits that take up a whole pallet each and that's what we found. We brought it home and screened some of it's holes and put the chicks in it. They don't know what to do with all their space now. It's just another reason I love our house. My mudroom still has space in it even with the big box.

We also brought home another bantam chick. They were out of Ameraucanas- they went through 2000 chicks in a month. So we brought home another banty for Hera's company. We played around with "H" names. Daddy and I liked "Half'-n-half" because banties are 1/4 the size of a standard chicken. But we let Fairy Girl stray from the "H's" and name her Buttercup. It suits her creamy coloring and it heals the heartache a bit too.

Oh, and I found the off duty employee who helped me when Baby Dragon ralphed all over my Costco cart and was able to thank him properly.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tonight's tragedy...

0327001850.jpg, originally uploaded by lichen lady.

"Daddy, I need your help!"
This is an urgent plea from the hall. I rush to see our oldest holding our little chick Hope in her hand. But Hope is limp and not moving. She's dead. Forget that dinner is just out of the oven on the table. The whole world stops right now. I transfer Hope to my hand, peek on the other chicks for a split sec and call Daddy. Daddy comes to Fairy Girl's side and carries her to a chair in the living room. She's sobbing, holding her chest, asking, "why her, why did it have to be her? She was my favorite. I loved her so much!" While Daddy's soothes and listens, I am running around the kitchen and mudroom trying to find a box just Hope's size, because it's a little weird holding a warm dead chick. I couldn't find anything, but then I thought of emptying the muffin liners and putting her in this box. It was a perfect fit. The box almost feels empty, Hope weighed next to nothing.
Then I carry her out to my family gathered in the living room. Fairy girl is having a hard time breathing, holding her chest in pure and innocent seven year old agony! I look away but not after her grief has caught my heart. I walk back to the kitchen to shed some tears and come back. We move to the couch with our sad little girl between us asking the big, "WHY?" questions. Hope was all of our's favorite chick. She was so wonderful to hold, but as we look back, she was weak from the start, not just a super docile bird.
Next we move to "what can we do?" questions. We'll bury her next to Grendel. But she wants to get another chick, right now! We can't do that right now. Maybe tomorrow. She wants to know what she's supposed to do, and a whole new wave of devestation surfaces and shes sobbing again. I run around looking for my Rescue Remedy. I find it and offer it to her. Then we suggest writing and drawing pictures in her diary she just got for her birthday (which I still want to blog about, more later on that). She runs to get it. Yes, dinner is cold now. But it will get colder because she decides she wants to write a rhyme about her sadness. We wait. We help with spelling. The Rescue Remedy starts working and we're calming down.
We had planned to go out for ice cream at The Scoop beforehand, but now more than ever, I am wishing that they've got their Molasses Cookie flavor in stock. That's her favorite flavor (mine too). Thank you Scoop for being open and having our flavor. We can face tomorrow now.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

This is Helen.

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This gal is one of our long awaited Ameraucanas. Her broodmate is Hope. Hope is like holding an airy handful of cotton candy. She's so fluffy and I would show her to you, but my phone memory card is full and won't let me do anything with my pictures. And then, there is an extra. Daddy met us at the feed store and helped us pick up the Ameraucanas, but he couldn't pass up the dainty bantams. So we have a silkie/ameraucana banty that is beautiful and in charge. We named her Hera. She looks a lot like Helen. So maybe that makes Helen, Helen of Troy. They really are pretty... for chickens.

My how they grow!

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Here is Huckleberry, Holly, and Hazel almost a week later. I knew they were growing fast, but it was even more evident when we brought home some more chicks today. I will post more when I can get a decent picture with my phone.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I should have known better!

I was just the mom at Costco whose little boy was puking all over the cart and his little sister! I was paralyzed because I had nothing with which to catch the flow or wipe it up. An off duty employee grabbed a roll of paper towels from a demo booth for me and saved the day. We are now exactly where we were last Monday but with a different child. So I ask myself, why did I try to venture out today?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicks at home!

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We have three new additions to the Keller family. Their names are Holly, Hazel and Huckleberry and by Fall will probably start laying some brown eggs! I woke the kids up early this morning to be down at Aslin Finch before opening because I was told the Araucana/Ameraucana chicks were first come, first serve and would be there today. Well I got there 15 minutes before opening and then found they had changed their hours- so I was there an hour later than I had planned to be. Oh, well. The parking lot wasn't crowded. We walked in and looked around and couldn't find the chicks. The Ameraucana chick shipment had been delayed. We couldn't go home empty handed, so we found these little gals- 2 golden sex links and 1 black sex link. But we are still holding out for a couple of green egg laying Ameraucanas in a week or so. Baby Dragon is very disappointed that boy chicks don't lay eggs and therefore we won't be having any boy chickens. . . at least we hope!

Monday, March 1, 2010


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Today felt like spring! In honor of the unusally warm weather for March 1st, we had lunch outside. This made my little fairy girl quite exuberant. "This is so special," she said, and "we should make every Monday eat outside day!" Even though we had to rush a little to get her to school in time the simple meal outside inspired constant singing and happy thoughts right up to the moment I dropped her off and gave her a squeeze. The sunshine did us all good.