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Good Chi and Candy

April 12, 2012

We have a house guest this week.  He wiggles, snores, snorts, and while we’re out he sleeps pressed up against our glass doors, behind the curtains. His name is Chi.  Maybe you guessed {correctly} that he’s a pug.  A little snuggly bugger who’s a pleasure to have around.  {The photo above is not of Chi, but made me laugh!} He has chickens at home, too, so ours are no big deal to him.  We’ve been having fun this week and it will be sad when he goes. Some of our fun has to do with calling him silly names…I’ve taken to “Cheeeese” {stolen from Old School}:

The chickens are doing great after the big scare at our house the other day.  Ruby is on high alert, but we’ve been letting them hang out in our enclosed garden so there isn’t the threat of a fox. Plus, they’re turning over the soil and getting paid in worms. Win-win. Scratch-Scratch.

This week we’ve been lying low.  Renting movies like J. Edgar, making lazy dinners like scrambled eggs, and eating way too much leftover Easter candy that my sister-in-law gave to us.  Being reacquainted with Sprees and  Cadbury mini eggs is killing any health kick I thought I was on.  Who am I kidding?! The Gelato Fiasco I found in my grocery cart isn’t helping things on that end either.  And I admit that I didn’t find it in my cart; the proper word would be placed. Tomorrow I Juice.  Or at least drink kale smoothies and try to undo this voodoo. Anyone else OD’ing on sugar these days? How about dog sitting?

It’s fun to dress up sometimes, to put on an actual dress or skirt and look extra pretty, but I’ve got to say that more often than not I am in denim and keepin’ it real! Things are casual around here.  Our clothes tend to reflect the pace of the place, right? New Englanders are a sturdy sort and it’s no surprise that denim fits us just fine, and in Maine this means even for fine dining.

For those of you with casual or creative workplaces that allow denim, or for  weekends when you’re just banging around town {whatever your daily or weekly denim allowance is– I get to wear it to work every single day},  wearing denim and a fairly basic top can easily be pulled together and elevated in style by adding an interesting piece of jewelry, or a shoe in a great color, or a funky scarf.  Being as comfortable as “jeans and a tee” but looking “dressed to a T” is about choosing items that fit and flatter you, go well together, and have a point of visual interest to polish it up.  Making something your own can involve accessories, but sometimes it’s as simple as a fun color combination.

I got inspired to put together “visually interesting” and highly wearable outfits on Polyvore. This is the first set I’ve yet to create! This could be a great way to help you discover your own style or to create new looks without leaving your house or being limited by your actual wardrobe.  Then take your new inspiration as a guide for your next shopping trip. It’s clear I like pattern, color, and mixing them together.  Aside from the extras, the canvas of each outfit is a pair of jeans {skinny, boot cut, colored…these all fly; denim has never been more democratic} and a basic top {long & loose, fitted & striped, oversized & blousy}.  The most fun you can have with the basics is by giving them a twist. If you wanted to get real neighborhood-y about it you could add a cardigan like our old good friend Mr. Rogers.  Remember that he used to change into one in each episode?  Have any of you tried Polyvore yet?Spring: Denim & Tops Accessorized

Spring: Denim & Tops Accessorized by lilimz featuring stone jewelry

Live to Tell

April 10, 2012

An incredible, unbelievable thing happened at our house this morning. We were in the midst of our morning routine, getting ready for work. Luke hollered out to me that something had happened, that there were chicken feathers all over our backyard! I ran out of our room and looked out at the lawn and sure enough there were feathers from our chickens all over the place. I saw Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock feathers and knew more than one chicken had been attacked.  I felt sick and panicked.

Luke ran outside ahead of me and saw a fox right near our back deck run off with our rooster Ruby in it’s mouth.  I ran out second and chased the fox through our back field.  I was running, and crying, and yelling.  It was awful, and there was nothing I could do, the fox had taken off.  When I got back to the barn I asked Luke how many chickens were still there. 3 of our 5 hens were alive, but one was injured.  We had lost 2 hens and Ruby, our rooster.  We were shaken. Our injured girl didn’t seem to have obvious major injuries and she ate when I sprinkled corn on the ground for them in their coop.  I could only imagine what they had seen and what was going on in their heads.

So many things were going through my head.  Lots of what-ifs.  I felt terrible and so did Luke.  It was a moment of trauma and a reality of keeping chickens that we hadn’t yet encountered.  We had to lock up our hens and get to work.  How do you do that after something like this?  After Luke left I was walking out to my car in the front yard and happened to look across our driveway to see the missing 2 hens pop out from behind some low pine trees.  Unbelievable!  I ran over to them and coaxed them out from hiding and got them back down to the barn with the other hens.  It was just incredible!  I couldn’t believe it.  Even though we had lost Ruby {our valiant rooster who laid down his life for his hens} we still had most of our flock. Talk about shaken nerves!

An hour or so later Luke told me he was headed home from work, he wanted to check on things.  We were feeling heartsick and worried that the fox would come back to bother the hens.  When Luke called me a little bit later he asked, “Guess who is standing in the middle of our driveway?” I imagined a bold fox was back for more.  “Ruby,” he said. Ever hear anything that was both mind boggling AND beyond wonderful? I was stupified.  Say what?! Luke explained that Ruby seemed ok, he looked and was acting fine, considering he’d been in the mouth of a running fox.

Later in the morning Ruby took his hens out to the compost pile {with Luke supervising} and they went about their usual task of scratching at scraps while he kept lookout.

I’ve never felt more proud of or astonished by an animal.  These chickens that we are so fond of and who color our days, are a band of toughies, not to be messed with, who can overcome a sly fox, take a beating, and give one.  Some of them have truly ruffled feathers, but they are ALL alive.  They live to tell.

The bravest, scrappiest, most valiant rooster around these parts: Ruby!

When we looked over the photos from our trail camera we saw lots of mug shots of this guy creeping around our field:

I suppose he lives to tell, too.

Maine Things Monday

April 9, 2012

Hello!  Did everyone have a good weekend?  Since it was a holiday we saw a good amount of family and that’s always a highlight!   Things are ‘greening’ up around here but Maine has been super dry and we’ve had some wildfires.  A rarity for us in March and April.

On my next day off I plan to visit the Maine Audubon’s Gilsland Farm location {where the trees and wildlife have been safe from fires} to check out the birds and see what’s in bloom over there.  A meandering walk through nature, along the estuary is in order! They have lots of interesting and fun events going on all the time in various locations, too! 

Gilsland Farm Maine Audubon

p.s. On Saturday Night Live last night there was a mention of a Maine man in a Batman costume who pulled a not-so-funny April Fool’s prank that got him arrested.  Got to love being mentioned on one of the most watched pop culture podiums for having a knucklehead amongst us!  What state doesn’t though?!

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In keeping with the nature theme here, take a look at these awesome wooden toys and puzzles from Merchants Row, right here in Maine! They have nailed the whole turning-your-idea-into-a-tangible-thing endeavor that is just so hard for most of us!  Every single puzzle, toy, and object that they make is like a little piece of art.

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Happy Easter!!

April 8, 2012

Assuming you celebrate Easter, do you remember as a kid waking up to the excitement of your basket that the Easter Bunny left for you?  I would have a trail of jelly beans to follow from my bed to my basket!  There would be egg-shaped candy, jump rope, a bottle of bubbles, a toothbrush, marshmallow peeps, a chocolate bunny, a stuffed bunny, a book, and an orange.  What a combination of things!

This image of Christopher Walken as The Bunny makes me laugh!  It’s a little creepy that you can see more instances of Walken wearing The Bunny here.

Today We Dye Eggs

April 7, 2012

Tradition is tradition and all over the world kids will be dyeing eggs this weekend in celebration of Easter!  Here are some, fresh-out-of-the-nesting-box, courtesy of the resident hennies:

Fresh eggs

Later today we’ll visit with a couple of our nieces and do some egg dyeing!  Aren’t these some pretty Easter egg designs?

Broadly speaking, Portland, Maine is often considered “the other Portland,” mainly because the one in Oregon is a larger city.  Around these parts if you consider this one to be “the other one,” then you’re from away, and if you’re from here you wouldn’t even consider calling it that. {This could just be the hometown pride talking.} Part of me doesn’t mind that our city here is less well-known because that means we can keep it to ourselves.

However, in 2011 Travel & Leisure did a “City Face-Off” of the Portlands as part of their “America’s Favorite Cities” series and Portland, Maine won over Portland, Oregon. Interestingly, as Wikipedia would have us know~ “Portland, Oregon was named for Portland, Maine.” Turns out a native Portlander {of the East Coast variety} was one of the founders of the Oregon Portland. A fun fact that I did not know.

Elvis Costello gets this same “other” status because let’s face it, when you’re The King of Rock-n-Roll you’re a hard act to follow. Presley, while I do like some of his music, has just never stuck with me. I’ve always liked Elvis Costello and if I ever find a t-shirt that reads “I love the other Elvis” I’m buying it.

All of this “other one” business is all relative anyway because some might agree that the positives of being somewhat of a little secret outweigh the negatives.

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