Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
April 27 – We had a brush fire last Wednesday evening. I was riding my bike back from work when I rolled up our gravel drive at just after eight p.m., and as I headed towards the blue garage I noticed a trail of smoke billowing up behind the old barn. The thought crossed my mind that Joe might be back there – burning off some leaves or eliminating one of the many piles of trash on the property. But, then the adrenaline began to kick in, fueled by biology and the hidden memory that smoke of any form is not good for forests and humans … or old barns – for that matter. Old barns that seemed to be precariously close to where the smoke trail ascended.
I hurriedly dismounted from the road bike, switched over to the mountain bike and peddled through the yard. As I swerved to the east side of the barn and stared down into the creek bed and across the way I could see a ring of fire moving outward in all four directions. It looked like what happens when you put a lighter underneath a piece of paper and light it right in the middle: glowing orange at the very edges pushing ever-outwards leaving a black emptiness behind. Uh-oh.
Thankfully, my fears were larger than the present danger. And in the next hour, we managed to contain the fire – thanks mostly to Grandpa Joe deftly maneuvering the Bobcat in between trees and dumping piles of dirt on the source of the fire. I will not mention in this post just how many similar brush fires have been ignited on this land in the last three months.
Secondly only to the excitement of fire is the thrill of now having all eight of our chickens in our A-frame chicken coop. The movable coop is working fairly well, so far. Although, movable is really a relative term. The earth is movable, I suppose. And while the coop is a bit more manageable than that, it usually requires Anna and me together grunting and pushing and lifting. Although, just this morning, I found a new technique which makes the process potentially a solo person job: a combination of pushing the dolly down with the left hand while pushing against the boarded frame with my right. Farmers must exhibit the deftness, strength and flexibility of samurais.
I told our insurance agent about this chicken coop today, and she laughed when I said A-frame. “Why?” I wondered. But, I had forgotten that what is abnormal and bizarre to others is commonplace in our family. I swear that we have not purposefully set out to live the life that falls under the labels of “hippy,” “granola,” and “different.” It’s just what happens when you throw our two lives together: a mishmash of sustainable living, SoCal culture, Christianity, Putnam County, farmer’s markets and living off the land.
Anyhow, the “girls” are doing well – nestled away in the frame at night and pecking at dandelion weeds during the day. They seem to do a good job in mowing down the lawn, although it’s hard to tell given the extravagance of those weeds all over the place (again with the hippie-thing: we don’t spray the yard).
I was not too pleased, however, when I bent down to pick up a slug in the coop – thinking I had found a delicacy for the chickens. When my fingers went to pinch the slimy slug, they instead went through. It was then I realized that this nice, oozing mess was nothing less than – you guessed it – chicken s&%! I mumbled the very same thing as I stepped outside the door.
With still much to learn, this is Wes signing off for the Kendall family. Until next time … be well and live well.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The boys spent a bit of time in the baseball diamond...
We all enjoyed the glorious weather...
Saturday, April 17, 2010
She has also been finishing up the chicken coop this past week - including tacking up chicken wire around the open frame. Much to her dismay, she's learning that the malleable nature of chicken wire makes for one great way to frustrate yourself, especially when your "self" likes clean, seamless, modern lines. I tried to help her a bit this past Thursday evening - pulling the wire down or over or up while Anna used the staple gun to fix the barrier in place.
At one point in this stapling process, Anna said incredulously, "The learning curve is so high with this whole process." And shortly after that, she began talking about how she would build the next one. She is destined to build the world's most efficient, modern, and attractive free-range chicken coop.
I, meanwhile, have gotten back to painting the house ... finally. By the end of last fall, I had managed to make my way around the perimeter of the house, coating the old boards in tan and the trim work in a deep ruby red. However, the ladders I had only extended up to about twenty feet or so - not enough to reach the four corners of the house that come to points at "never eat soggy waffles." So, as winter approached I gave up.
Wise move. Wise move because this week I called Jeremy Black, a friend and man of many talents, one of which is as a general contractor. I asked Jeremy if he had a ladder that could get me up to the twenty-five foot range. "Oh, yeah," Jeremy assured me. "Are you going to be around tonight," he asked while editing about twelve hundred wedding pictures he had taken (one of his other talents).
And so I ended up meeting Jeremy on this past Tuesday just after dinner, and within an hour we had two twenty-five foot ladders up against the east side of our house with a walk board running the length between the ladders - making a perfect platform to finish painting the apex. And after we had the ladders up, I ended up drinking a root beer on the front porch with Jeremy - soaking up the natural leisure of dusk. It's all about the value of friendship.
Yeah, it's been a beautiful week in so many ways. Begun with Wyatt's fourth birthday party - celebrated with family out in our yard - and ending today in an opportunity to ride in the DePauw Little 5 alumni race. In the middle: bright, endlessly sunny days; the discovery of Greencastle's best pizza (in fact, it rivals any pizza slice I've ever had); some great moments wrestling with Wyatt and Elise yesterday; and even the opportunity to say congratulations to Brad Stevens in person on Tuesday.
I am blessed.
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Last night, I watched one that falls in that last category, what may be called "Depressing Documentary" (the Oscar winner in this category may just be "Deliver Us From Evil" about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church). The one I watched last night is right up there with "Deliver Us ...": The Cove - the story about the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji, Japan.
I am not typically upset by much, but - boy - this was disturbing, especially the ending. I am planning to never visit a "family-friendly" dolphin park again, and - yes - that includes SeaWorld, kids. Shoot: I even found myself at 11:15 pm last night thinking, "I'm not sure I can eat another piece of sushi."
For me, that's huge.
But, even with that warning, I want you to watch it.
I want you to watch it, specifically, because I think this movie is an incredible lesson on what "social justice" honestly looks like. I believe it heart-wrenching-ly shows you the struggle that any conscientious, concerned individual has to go through in addressing a wrong in the world (and, yes, there are still plenty of those). It makes you realize how truly sadistic and fallen can be the ways of industry, and how inconspicuously communities, nations and even you and me can get caught in the death-dealing gears of productivity and progress.
Plus, you cannot watch this movie without realizing how this is indeed one of the enduring legacies of human civilization: the slaughter of innocents for the sake of human comfort and gain. I know: not something you want to watch with a bucket of popcorn!
But, this is how wrongs are righted. And maybe that would be reason enough to watch it: maybe it would spark some desire within you to make a change. As one of the heroes in the movie said, "Either your an activist or an inactivist."
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Monday, April 05, 2010
She was definitely one of our favorites from the get-go...named after my beloved great grandmother who we swear still walks around our property keeping snakes at bay and flowers growing in abundance.