Thursday, January 31, 2008

Color of the Sea by John Hamamura

The book club I read with selected this book for our February meeting. I just picked it up night before last to get it read by Saturday night and am now sorry that I don't have longer to lovingly savor every word. This is a book that cries out to be read aloud.

It is the story of a young man born in Japan in the 1920's, shipped off to live with his father in Hawaii on a sugar cane plantation where he studies and masters martial arts. He then moves to the mainland in the late 30's. To sum up the first part of the book in this manner seems so cold. The writing is anything but cold.

Listen to this passage: (see, even reading it will feel as though you are listening)
"Dawn. Sam shivers at the bow rail as the ship pushes through fog toward the bright disk of the rising sun. The fog thins and the ship emerges into a clear morning. Ahead lie coastal hills, low, sensuous, draped in blue-gray chaparral and winter emerald grass. Sam inhales down to his toes and up to the tips of his hair.

California! A new land. A clean page to his life. Another chance to get it right.

Escorted by tugboats the ship passes slowly under the newly completed Golden Gate Bridge. Sam stares, dizzy, reeling with awe. If Fujiwara-san could see this bridge! A dream blossoms in Sam's heart. He will study to be an engineer. Someday he will design and build a marvel like this, graceful, powerful, useful to all.

Delivered across the long rolling swells of the Pacific into the calm waters of San Francisco Bay, Sam feels the morning sun penetrating and warming him, sees it mirrored golden in the windows of the city. Sam Hamada, eighteen years old, sharp and bright as a naked sword, eldest son, bearer of his families crest, his father's spear reaching the mainland...the United States of America...He inhales deeply. He bows."

Please buy the book and then tell friends about it. Writing like this needs to be shared.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Seven Things you don't Know about Me

7 Things you don’t know about me…

(I was tagged ...and heavens know what will happen to me if I don't do this!)

  1. I took a polygraph test in order to be bonded for a job as a cashier in a music store (between cooking jobs) and used to carry as much as $30,000 cash in a brown paper bag down Hollywood Blvd. to a bank for the deposit.
  2. I am 14 plus years sober (Sobriety date of April 2, 1993)
  3. I used to be a tour guide in San Diego for convention groups and included tours of the San Diego Zoo, Old Town, Tijuana and multiple trips to Disneyland.
  4. I am a trained chef and have cooked for Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, Governor Pete Wilson, Gary Hart, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Newhart and my favorite customer, Henry “The Fonz” Winkler.
  5. If I could choose an alternate career to the one I have now, it would be in the film business.
  6. I like movies with creatures.
  7. I can’t eat eggs without Tabasco.

I now tag the following sites for 7 Things we Don't know about them!

And don't forget the one that got me started on this list in the first place!
Not Again Farm

Here are the Rules
  • Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Post 7 random or weird facts about yourself on your blog.
  • Tag 7 people and link to them.
  • Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Mighty Miz Sarah and the other Bantam Ladies Lay

Our darling Miss Sarah, the Bantam Old English Game Bird (aka tiny hen) and her step-sister, Bully, the Bantam Brahma hen, have started to lay! We are so dazzled and amazed by the size of these eggs! They are about the size of big olives! Not only have they begun to lay, but our other older bantam girls, Wild Girl and Josephine (both had Ameraucana mothers and unknown fathers) are laying again...we are guessing.

Really, with 50 chickens/46 hens, you really have to guess at who is laying what. I mean, you can't exactly see who is laying which particular egg because we aren't out there all day long. Farmer Jeff went out this morning to collect the eggs that have been laid over the last couple of days only to surprise Sarah sitting on a green egg. Now, we know full well that Sarah will NEVER lay a green egg because she just isn't that kind of girl! Whose egg it was, well, now that we have 9 Ameraucanas, we will really never know. We have seen that some of the Ameraucanas are laying very green eggs while some of them are laying eggs with a slightly more blue hue.


We love all of our chickens equally, no matter what color egg they may lay. Thanks, Girls!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Update on the Boy Callebaut

Our big and happy boy is doing just fine! He is now enjoying fine health and pre-moistened food! No more big bowls of just dry food that can puff up in his tummy like jiffy pop popcorn! We have learned our lesson!

Thank you for your kind words and thoughts for Callebaut and us. Go hug a dog today!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Kitty Trio

Our kitties are remarkably good friends. I know we are lucky. A friend of mine has constant wars between her kitties and it is NOT PRETTY. The photo above was taken just before Christmas.


Seeing the kitties in the grouping of 3, I was reminded of the painting, Resurrection by Piero della Francesca. He created the compositional device of the figure triangle. While Chloe doesn't quite create a central column, it is nonetheless a triangle of kitty figures.























While the kitties are peacefully lounging, our sweet puppy, Callebaut, is in tummy distress.

I brought him into the house today and within 15 minutes he was pacing, licking his lips, pawing at his mouth and whining. After 10 minutes of this I called Farmer Chef Jeff at work and asked him to come home so we could get the pup to the vet. He is so big I can't get him there by myself. Luckily I was able to get him to the vet right away.

After blood tests, a tube into the tummy and x-rays, it was revealed that he was bloated. How did this happen? The theory is that because he inhales/doesn't chew his dry food, it then swells when he drinks water. This time it swelled so much that he was in gastric distress. The vet ordered no food for him tonight and a recheck in morning. How do we prevent this from happening again? We first need to cut down on how much we feed him (he weighs 103 !!!) and we also need to moisten it with warm water and let it swell in the bowl first, then let him eat it. I pray that does the trick.

Callebaut is the dog that taught me about unconditional puppy love. I know he will be fine. Any additional prayers are greatly appreciated.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kettle Gumbo at Acorn Winery

Farmer Chef Jeff took the show on the road this past weekend, just down the road, to Acorn Winery. It was "Winter Wineland", a weekend in which over 100 wineries in the Russian River Wine Road group participate by opening for tastings paired with yummy food.

Tell me: what man can resist cooking with fire? So far we have, all having to do with fire, a wood burning oven, a "weed dragon" which incinerates weeds, and now the kettle over the fire ring!

What is in the kettle? The full title? Kettle Cooked Chicken and Housemade Andouille Sausage Gumbo. Yep...it was as good as it sounds!

(Photos taken and kindly shared by Bill Goode)

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

There's no Place like HOME!

(India, the dog, and Chloe, the cat, on our bed!)

Farmer Jeff and I rolled into the driveway at 1 am on Tuesday morning from our restful 10 days away from home. We did get some rest, along with colds! No fun while on vacation. I did get some knitting time, as well as time to nap and relax.

Honestly, though, there really IS no place like home. We have gotten so accustomed to sleeping on a rock hard bed that we had trouble sleeping! We also have such a quiet place here that anywhere else is noisier!

The best part about coming home? The Kids!!! We guessed that India would be the one that missed us the most, but I think that she might also be tied with Chloe and Ginger. India insisted on sleeping between me and Farmer Jeff the first night home. Not only was she smack dab between us, she kept her paw and head on his shoulder all night. I had Chloe and Ginger sleeping either on me, much like a hood ornament, or snuggled under the covers with me.

I even think the chickens missed us! I took out a bowl of scraps to them today (made some comforting lentil soup last night) and they sure sounded happy to see me! Or was it the food?

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love


Have you ever read a book that you could not stop thinking about, even after starting another book? Have you found yourself going back through said book with a yellow highlighter, or lipstick pencil when you couldn't find the damn highlighter, making sure you would find certain quotes or ideas? How about being so enchanted by a book that you type out little phrases from it or, better yet, start talking to perfect strangers while in line for the bathroom and convince them to go buy it TODAY!!!

The book, eat, pray, love is that book for me. I think this book has resonated for a lot of women. Why has it touched me so deeply? The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, went through a nasty divorce. I went through a divorce, too. Mine wasn't nasty, but, heavens, there are still wounds that pop up from time to time. If not wounds from that, wounds from less than ideal dealings with people that continue to haunt me like a bad dream. I find myself replaying very old "tapes" and am so tired of it! I found the very simple ways in which she or her friends advised her to deal with these problems something that I could easily do with high hopes of leaving the past behind.

I have had some time this past week to be able to look at my life a little more objectively and came up with some of the following goals and plans. Isn't that what breaks are all about?
  • I want to learn to swim better. I don't swim very well and want to be really enjoy it and not be afraid I can't swim well enough to save my life.
  • I would also like to work on my abilities to speak, read, write and understand Spanish. It is so silly to live next to a foreign country and not be fluent in that language.
  • Balance. Hmmm...that will be the biggest challenge!
The following things I am doing now and will integrate them into my daily life.
  • I am praying more.
  • I am getting more exercise.
  • I am playing more.
  • I am keeping my heart open and protecting myself at the same time. Boundaries are healthy.
  • I am living in the present and loving every minute of it. YEAH!!!
Happy, happy, happy...!!!

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Building the Ark of Guilt

Our little town is taking an incredible beating from rain and wind right now, and we aren't there to help. Farmer Jeff and I have taken a little trip and are learning about the storm in panicked calls home and funny text messages, along with getting online to check the rain fall and road closures.

Farmer Jeff and I knew that there would be a fierce storm but knowing about it, living through it, and hearing about it are all different experiences. Before we left Farmer Jeff did what he could to put a corrugated metal "roof" over as much of the chicken pen as possible in an attempt to keep parts of the pen drier. Keeping it totally dry is impossible. He also put an entire bale of straw down to keep the girls from standing in water, as that is not good for them.

While at lunch today, (not in Healdsburg) we were watching pigeons wandering around our feet, mating, chasing after scraps of food, and couldn't help but think of our girls (and 4 boys) at home. I feel sorry for our new girls, the Salmon Faverolles, as they are fancy show chickens and are not used to the slightly more rural way of life. We did, however, come up with names for them. Taking into account the name of their breed, they are now named Coho and Pacifica.

I don't know how many more times we will be able to have internet access, but I'll give y'all an update as soon as I can. In the meantime, Happy New Year!

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