Raising Chickens

In Gainesville Spring is in the air.

Pollen showers down from the oak trees like fine yellow snow. New leaves burst from the branches and push out the old leaves that have clung on all winter. From the leaf and pollen covered earth new grass shoots up like tiny green swords.

The azalea, salvia, and dogwood are bursting with flowers, and the orange tree smells sweet with blooms. Peaches grow slowly fatter and pinker on the branches of the young peach tree every day.

In the midst of all this new life I bring home seven tiny speckled sussex chicks from the feed store.

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Bonsai: The Passion and the Pitfalls

I became obsessed with bonsai while I was in college, growing tortured shrubs in cheap square pots in the yard. When I lived in Taiwan the obsession grew, but I was frustrated trying to grow the beautiful specimens I saw at the weekend flower markets.

I never thought to use a grow light in our tiny apartment, and there wasn’t enough natural light for the kinds of trees I tried to grow. Those that survived the light conditions inevitably lost the battle to dehydration when they were abandoned for vacations.

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What Your Dog is Telling You

We all know the frustration of trying to communicate something to our dogs that they just don’t seem to get. Whether it is a training goal, a behavior you are trying to change, or something interesting on a walk that you are trying to point out, sometimes your dog can’t seem to understand. Other times, it seems like she knows what you are thinking before you do.

IMG_4252Our dogs also have the experience of trying to communicate something that seems obvious to them that we just don’t get. Sometimes our requests seem ridiculous to them, sometimes incomprehensible.

We ask them to deny impulses which come intensely and unbidden, and we ask them to resist their instincts, sometimes constantly.

Meanwhile we disregard the important information they communicate to us about the approaching danger represented by the mailman, or the infringement of our territory by the neighbor dog sniffing our fence. Many times, the miscommunication we have with our dogs comes down to a difference in perspective. Continue reading “What Your Dog is Telling You”

Oven Dried Flowers

Cut flowers are one of the little luxuries that make life sweet. Whether I buy flowers or cut my own, I try to keep them fresh for as long as possible, and always feel a pang of regret when I finally have to throw them out.

Drying cut flowers is a great way to keep some of the beauty around.

Dried cut flowers have a pleasant scent of their own, and can be dressed up with dried citrus peels or scented oils for homemade potpourri. 

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Savannah Preserve State Park

St. Lucie, Fl. is absolutely awesome for beach and intra-coastal waterway access. Summer days with my family are spent on the beach or out on the boat. On windy winter days, however, these activities are less appealing.

While during most of the year the last thing I want to do is walk through the palmettos with nothing but the occasional pine tree for shade, in the cool winter wind this sunny place with palmettos for shelter from the wind is very pleasant.

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