Sunday, January 22, 2012
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Monday evening I became the proud "mama" of 5 beautiful chickens. My awesome neighbor helped me collect them as I was totally unprepared for that adventure, and he was quite good at snagging them up. I brought home a rooster and his harem of 4 hens. Our home has a small backyard leading up to the marsh, and smack in the middle is an old rabbit hutch. Tanner worked diligently over the weekend to repair holes, put up a layer of hard cloth over the chicken wire, and he swept out the inside and filled it with fresh cedar shavings. Oh, and he created a nesting box out of an old nightstand I had. I brought the chickens home and again my neighbor helped out by assisting in the unloading, which was relatively easy. I thought they'd run crazy to the road, but they were already asleep and we just had to scoop them up and put them in their coop.
Chickens are really beautiful and I don’t think I ever realized it before. Tanner and I are going to have fun learning about our new friends. They've already laid over a half dozen eggs! Sometimes I forget that eggs are not perfectly white ovals tucked neatly in cartons of six or twelve. They’re rose colored, green, and brown and perfect with their imperfections.
I’m really excited about learning how to live more peacefully with the land and less dependently on corporate retailers. Homegrown vegetables taste a hundred times better than the genetically modified, hormone infused, shipped from far-away-lands produce we have adopted into our lifestyles. Obviously, homegrown fruits and veggies offer a wealth of nutritional perks along with their great flavors. And chickens? Well. Don’t get me started on corporate farms. I think a home grown meal is far more satisfying knowing it is the result of the work of my own hands.
Left to Right: Lola, Lucy, Bella, and Ginger
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Her paintings include images from everyday life, especially pertaining to home life and motherhood. Several of her paintings are portraits of her daughter, Julie.
This is probably one of the more famous pieces, having made an appearance at both the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Art Institute of Chicago. It's titled "Woman at her Toilette" ~
Monday, February 14, 2011
On another note, I'm done with AmeriCorps! Friday was my last day and it feels good to be done with that venture. While I learned a lot and had opportunity to network with a lot of people, I was very ready to finish my term with AmeriCorps. Now, I am working for CraftWorks full time from home. Which is wonderful!
Happy Valentines Day!
Saturday, February 12, 2011
For now, we are hauling five gallon buckets of water from the landowners outdoor spigot to flush toilets and wash dishes. We are utilizing the Patent House for showers (and any family member's home, when visited).
Despite the present inconvenience, I'm so in love with our new home. The old house never really felt like "home" - maybe because we entered it with short-term plans. We've occupied this home a grand total of two weeks and already feel like it's home. It's full of positive energy and plenty of light; it offers warmth and character. We're happy.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
The first person who comes to mind is my mom - she is my hero. My teacher, my comforter, my friend. I don't think my mom foresaw herself as being a mother of four and a homeschool teacher for 20+ years when she was my age. But, she's done a kickass job equipping her kiddos with skills to enter the real world - she's instilled a strong work ethic and encouraged us to offer our best in all we do. She's been there for every silly heartbreak, put band aids with a healing kiss on all our wounds, and sat through every single sports tournament, recital, and performance as our biggest fan. She's been chauffeur extraordinaire and top chef for decades.
I actually think my mom is cool, and not too many kids say that about their mothers. She's someone I would choose to hang out with on a Friday night. We have fun shopping, drinking coffee, and talking about everything and nothing at all.
Mom is first and foremost Joanne, a very talented individual from Queens, New York. A creative writer and hobbyist singer. A walking dictionary and motivated self-taught student of random, but useful facts. Perfect-hand-bag hunter and Zappos shopper. A devout Christian, loyal daughter, loving wife, and committed mother.
I hope one day I'm as awesome as my mom.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
2011 is off to a great start -
On January 1, Tanner & I adopted a Redbone Coonhound Lab mix dog and we've named him Buddy. He is so sweet & loving! Even our cat, Charlie, has grown fond of his new brother. He thinks it's fun to bat Buddy's tail or play with his ears, it's really quite cute.
We've also recently moved out of our Mecklinburg Heights house into Mrs. Thornton's cozy cottage. Full of charm and history, our new home roots back to the 1880's when a freed slave, Susan B. Thornton and her husband Robert, purchased one acre of land for $1 from the Haines, a Quaker family who had inherited the land from their father.
Tanner and I became the lucky tenants of this home through employment with CraftWorks. Tanner is the land steward for the 81-acre nature preserve on Cool Spring Farm. He has developed a Good Neighbors invasive species land management program to involve neighboring properties in combating the problem of invasive plant species such as teasel and tree of heaven. Why combat these invasive plants? They pose a threat to the 18 rare and endangered plant species the land hosts. Invasive plants are choking out the native plants... just like those pesky stink bugs are choking our crops. But no one has developed a successful program to combat those guys...
Back to CraftWorks... in addition, Tanner is working with partners from NOAA, the USDA, and USGS to create a Future Scientists of America model for middle and high school students. Part of this initiative involves partnering with schools to work with students on planning and developing science fair projects.
I have been hired to assist in program development. I am working to recruit volunteers, build our Friends membership program, plan fund raisers, and develop programs and events to bring the community together at Cool Spring where the arts, craft, and science converge.
We have wonderful neighbors, the founder and president of CraftWorks at Cool Spring, and two D.C. natives who are working to renovate adjacent property where their emus, peacocks, cattles, horses, chickens, puppies, monkey, goat, and parrot all reside.
I predict life on 81-acres with a zoo of animals for neighbors, will never be dull.