Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It is important to accessorize all your knitwear with a color-coordinated chicken.

"Hey, I didn't sign a model release!" -Betty

All the details are over on Ravelry. I'm liking this one!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cloudy with a chance of avocados

Whenever the wind blows here, all you can hear is the thumping sound of avocados pelting the house. These Fuerte avocados are heavy and they come down hard! One hit me in the shoulder while I was working, and it was like being pelted with a softball.

There are so many more fruits than we can eat. I never thought I would be so rich in avocados that I wouldn't bother to pick them all up off the ground, but there you have it. Plus, we're out of chips.

Saturday night we went out dancing at Ruin, then I got up early (well, before 10am)to hike to the Observatory. You might know the Observatory from that last awful Terminator movie...
It's where I would hide out if the city were overrun by zombies or killer machines or rednecks or whatever. That's why I have to keep running up that hill, so that I'll be able to do it quickly when needed. Not that there's anything wrong with rednecks, of course. I'm half redneck myself.

I'm gearing up to spend a few days in New Orleans, and just in time since a bit of winter seems to have blown into town. You can tell because people have to wear shirts with sleeves to keep out the bitter cold. The chickens get very indignant when the wind ruffles their petticoats.

Time to stretch my sore little legs and get a couple of miles in before my next appointment! May your day be full of adventure, and may falling fruit land on your plate, not on your head.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Still tired

Turns out I wasn't just tired, I was sick. I've been trying to shake this crap for a few days, but I think it just wants more warm baths and pajama days. On the plus side, I did get some yarn projects done while I was lounging around in my PJs! However, it's a busy time of year for babies, and that means a busy time of year for me. I have two clients lined up for March, in April I'm having twins, one for May already, and it's looking like I'm going to start working some births as a midwife's assistant too. Busy busy busy...I'd better go take that soak while I still can.

This chicken is my sister in loafing and feeling pitiful. She does this all the time, and forces all the other chickens to walk around her to get in and out of the coop. She didn't have a name until now: Dolores, our chicken of sorrows.

The little birds are enjoying their stay in Juvie.

Boyfriend does not approve, of me or anything else (except maybe his little girlfriend, who he takes very good care of).

Sunday, February 19, 2012


There have been times in my life when I thought I was really tired, from pulling all-nighters in school or working on houses, but I have to say I had no idea how tired you could get until I started working as a doula. The combination of physical and mental draining is intense.

I had a long, tough birth today, starting from about 10pm last night and getting home around 6pm today. I think I maybe got 45 minutes of catnapping in during that 20 hour day, so I was pretty wrecked. As I usually do, I crawled into a bath and drank some bourbon while I let my head unwind. Ever get so tired you can't go to sleep, you know you're hungry but you're too far gone to figure out the problem of food, etc? Then you start trying to beep the lock on the house open with your car keys, and almost cry when it doesn't work? Yeah.

The last few hours since I got home have been a daze. I'm thinking about crawling into bath #2 and starting over. I get to go back and visit the mama and her baby girl in a couple of days, so maybe I'll get some cute pictures then.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Around the hood

I love going for walks in my neighborhood.

Man with ghetto blaster: Excuse me, do you think maybe we could get coffee together sometime? You're so pretty.

Me (in work boots, hoodie, and jeans): No thank you, I'm married.

Man with ghetto blaster: Okay, got a spare cigarette?

New laces for old boots:

And the tiniest egg ever, at an impressive 30g. Not sure which hen that came from, but I sure hope they get bigger, since we don't have any half-sized people around here to cook breakfast for.

Monday, February 13, 2012

As it happened...

I didn't even get to begin the reign of plumbing terror. When I went out to buy the blade, I remembered that I had to pick up some chick starter (finely ground feed for babies, sounds like a pickup line) and should probably get the chicks better situated in case I was in for another 48 hour labor.

By the time I was finished turning the grow pen into a sort of stage-2 brooder, the mama was calling me to come. She and her partner worked beautifully together, and it turned out to be one of the most relaxed and fun births I have been to in a while! Baby H was born at 1:17am, en-caul.

Today's soundtrack for a cloudy day:

It may rain outside, but hopefully after today, no more raining in the crawlspace!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fun with Plumbing

Pardon me while I ramble on about neglected 1950s plumbing, without a single photo of cute animals or flowers.

I had a secret plan to try to get the master bath functional again while the husband was away this week...I thought it would be such a nice surprise for him to come back and have it all working and lovely (though it will still be cramped, dated and ugly...can't win them all).

This bathroom had two problems - one, when you ran the shower it rained downstairs (seen here). It also leaked around the edge of the shower pan where the grout had crumbled. Two, the bathroom sink took about four hours to drain after you washed your hands. Sexy.

Yesterday I cleaned out the p-trap for the sink, and it is better but still draining a little slow, probably in need of augering. The shower pan got new silicone caulking all around the edge, and I replaced the nasty, broken cast iron piping directly under the shower a while ago, but it was still raining under the house.

The master bath shower and the shower on the ground floor directly below it share a drain line, and we couldn't use either of them because of this hot mess under the house.

This problem isn't as visually obvious as the other one, but where the red arrow is, the pipe has rusted out completely and detached from the pipe below. You can wiggle it back and forth, and water sprays out in a lovely 360 degree fan when you run either shower. Since you can't tell that this is a problem unless you happened to be looking into the crawl space while someone is in the shower, which I happened to do one morning while I was feeding the chickens, this could have been happening for years. I'm not thrilled with our home inspector for missing that.

Anyway, since all the pipes are rusted solidly (or not so solidly) together, the only solution is to cut away the cast iron (where the red lines are in the drawing) and replace a big section of the drain line with ABS plastic. There is a special tool for cutting cast iron pipes, and at first I was really excited about having an excuse to buy another weirdass plumbing tool, but they cost about $650 dollars...plus, reading further, I was warned that trying to use one on rusty old pipes could cause catastrophic results. Instead, I learned that I could get a special blade for an angle grinder, which I already own, and slice through that pipe like butter.

Or so I am told. Plumbing retrofits never goes that easily in my experience. Plus, I have a client going in for labor induction today, so I'm probably not going to get anything finished...but I'm off to the hardware store to buy that blade anyway. Nothing makes babies come faster like getting into some complicated, messy project entanglement, right? It would be unfair to that mama NOT to get to work on it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chicken Math

Folks who have chickens know how it is. Folks who don't...they may not understand how you could accidentally buy five more chickens.
Straight run, two Silver Laced Wyandottes and three New Hampshire Reds. Wanna place a bet on how many roosters I get?

I love having chickens, but I have a love-hate relationship with brooding chicks. I feel like I spend half of each day emptying shavings out of their water bowl, and they really do stink up the laundry room.

On the plus side, these guys are three weeks old already. I'm going to keep them in a couple more weeks and cool them off slowly before they move into the big grow pen outside.

Just in time for five day-old Freedom Rangers to take their place in the laundry.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Let's see...today so far:

Up at 5:30am to get to LAX, then 90 miles north to Lancaster and Odyssey Ranch. Traffic was horrible. Soundtrack was awesome.

By the time I was done with my pickup there I was starving, but pressed on without stopping for fast food. After all, how can Jack in the Box compare to this?

Homemade tortilla, slow-simmered black beans, backyard eggs, homegrown avocado, and homemade salsa. I'm just such an overachiever.

The bunnies settled in while I had lunch, then they were ready for their closeup.

I haven't held a bunny since 3rd grade.

Like good little urban rabbits, G├╝era and Boyfriend snuggle up together in a King Cobra box.

I think they'll fit in just fine around here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Idiocracy and the Animal Farm

Last night we watched Idiocracy, lying on the floor with the movie projected on the grand room ceiling. The cats were very enthusiastic about this entertainment. Silly, but fun.

In the corner of the backyard I like to think of as the Animal Farm, some animals are definitely more equal than others. Like these girls, who wish I would stop taking pictures and give them their damn scratch already.
I want to add a couple of rabbits to the scene, because bunnies are cute (and tasty) and rabbit poo is great for the garden. Chicken manure is really hot, so it has to be aged for a while before you can put it on plants. Before I brought home any bunnies, I had to have a place to keep them, and I wanted to do it while spending as little money as possible.
The hutch on the right was a Craigslist freebie. It needed a lot of work, but nothing I couldn't fix. On the left, a hutch built out of wood and materials I had lying around. I'd like to have one more, but the gods of free stuff haven't coughed that up for me.
Last but not least, I needed a grow pen - for young chickens who are out of the brooder but not big enough to join the big girls, or for young rabbits if I decide to breed them. This pen was made all out of leftovers from other projects and salvaged hardware, though I may have to break down and buy a little more hardware cloth to finish it.
Window restoration is proceeding, sloooooooooooooooooooowly. I am thoroughly sick of painting window frames already, and I only have about 3 dozen more windows to go!