Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Glenn, Oliver and I went on a walk today to look for wildflowers. We were almost able to find ROYGBIV. I had to settle for a ladybug because we couldn't locate a red flower.

Otter followed us the entire way. He is a good example of "gray."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My Neighborhood

I’m proud to live on Parkhill Road. We have it all here on Parkhill, beautiful land with oak trees, neighbors growing vegetables to feed the neighborhood, donkeys, gun shots and meth labs (or so I’ve heard). On a typical walk you can encounter wildflowers, deer, friendly people, barking dogs, and people peering at you through the windows of their trailers, ready to shoot the moment your foot clears the property line. I checked and not a single Parkhill neighbor has made it on the registered sex offender list. Thank goodness there isn't an illegal drug list. I took pictures to give you an idea of the wide range of encounters one will have strolling around our neighborhood.

Oliver took this picture of one of the friendliest horses on our walks. I love being able to run into horses and donkeys just a short distance from the house.

Ahh, some of the beautiful wildflowers we saw on our walk.

If there is a dead deer within one mile of the house, Pumpkin will find it and try to bring its leg home to chew.

Look at the beautiful orchard just up the road with unique “dandy lions.”

This gate belongs to one of our friendly neighbors. The sign should say “shot, then eaten.”

Oliver, don’t touch that latex glove! We found this glove, an empty pack of cigarettes and a beer can on this stretch of road. Being a nurse, I guess I'm pleased they used a latex glove. Safety first but please don't litter!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Wildflower Bike Ride

People who ride bicycles are cool. I do not own a bike. I do however want to support bike riding when I can. That is the reason Oliver and I got out of bed at 7:30 today. The annual one hundred mile Wildflower ride includes our country road (Parkhill). Oliver and I headed down the driveway to cheer on the riders and take photographs. EVERY rider waved, said good morning, or rang a bell for Oliver (and we watched the riders for almost two hours). I'm hoping these types of experiences will help inspire Oliver to love bicycles!

Here are a few of the shots Oliver took of the bicycle riders this morning:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Swarm Update

Glenn and I (with help from Grammy, Oliver and Owen) opened up the new hive today and were pleased to find the swarm bees busy at work. I have been reading "Beekeeping for Dummies" and found the inspection much more interesting with the information I picked up from the book.

We observed drones in the new hive. The drones are male bees and are pretty much worthless except for their mating abilities. They are easy to spot (when you know what you are looking for) because of their large eyes and large bodies. Did you know that the male bee dies after mating with the queen? His member gets stuck inside the queen during the act and then he falls to the ground to die. I circled a drone from our new hive (hive two).

Our new queen has been busy laying eggs. You can see a nurse bee tending to the eggs in the picture below. Can you believe the bees have done all of this in five days? Bees are excellent creatures.

Our old hive (hive one) seems to have less bees than the new hive, but appears to be healthy and increasing in numbers. Here is a picture of my nephew Owen checking out hive one for the first time.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

An Easter Swarm

Have you ever seen a swarm of bees? Before this evening we hadn't and yet Glenn still seemed to think it would be a piece of cake to remove a swarm and take it home. He read about it in a book. How difficult could it be?

Rebecca, a fellow SLO County Mommy, emailed me to tell me about another Mommy who had a swarm of bees fly across her yard this afternoon. The bees conveniently landed on a trellis, five feet above the ground.

You would have thought Glenn won the lottery when I told him about the swarm. Glenn has been waiting and waiting for our neighbor's bees to swarm so he could add another hive. Glenn had all of his supplies in the truck in minutes and we headed out to Paso Robles to try to pick up the swarm.

I have to give Glenn credit, he looks like a professional. I think he was made to keep bees!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chicken Drama

I’m fortunate to have a somewhat uneventful life currently. No births, deaths, moving, divorce, job losses, or family drama. See, I’ve got nothing and it’s harder to blog when things are pretty boring all of the time. This is the reason I live vicariously through my chickens. My chickens have it all-new chicks, sex with multiple partners, hawks trying to kill them, a rooster who loves one son and hates another, and brothers fighting to the death. And all of this happened today.

Carlos our oldest and most aggressive rooster is the proud father of two sons and a daughter. The relationship he has with his children is, well, weird. For instance, this evening he watched his son copulate with his daughter before he decided he wanted a piece of the action. It all makes me want to vomit. I guess chickens don’t quite see family relationships the way we do.

This post is actually about the complex relationship between Carlos and his sons Eddie and Clumsia. Carlos and Clumsia get along well and work together taking care of the hens. They also would both like to see Eddie dead. Eddie is a goofy, gentle rooster, the kind of rooster I like. Eddie has been sequestered away from the rest of the flock since we noticed his foot was injured. We have five new chicks almost ready to join the group, so we decided we would let Eddie take care of them. Glenn let all of the chickens out today in order to set up two separate hen houses. I noticed Oliver transfixed on something he was watching outside as I tried to get him to eat yogurt. I asked him what he was looking at and he said, “They are attacking!”

Poor Eddie was being beaten down by Clumsia. You can see the damage done to Eddie’s comb and wattle. Eddie now has a nice wing of the hen house and his chicks moved in this afternoon. We hope our outcast rooster finds a little bit of happiness with his own group.

This is a picture of Eddie's new family a few weeks ago. Honey, Bea, Last and Georgie are in the picture.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Boy and his Dog

I can't believe I haven’t yet blogged about Oliver’s best friend, Pumpkin. Pumpkin came into our lives one fresh fall morning in October 2007. Glenn woke me up saying, “Honey there is a Pit Bull on our doormat.” Back then we lived in a barn on a sheep ranch- we were used to finding all kinds of animals on our doormat. Pumpkin was thin, hyper and pooping acorns (not to mention the funny blink that he had). It took us ten minutes to realize he belonged with our family.

I made a meager effort to find Pumpkin’s previous owner, knowing he was probably dumped out in the middle of nowhere. After a few weeks of caring for Pumpkin, it became obvious why he was dumped. Pumpkin was not neutered and while he looks fierce, he has a heart of honey. He was also raised without any sort of obedience training and his huge frame frequently barreled into me or Oliver, knocking us down. Pumpkin also was in need of an expensive eye surgery (the reason for his blinking).

I have to admit, it is hard for me to like Pumpkin at times. And I know it will get easier as he matures. He frequently takes off (Oliver like to let him outside to play with the dogs across the street), chews up grandma’s quilt, or lifts his leg on me during a walk.

Don’t feel bad for Pumpkin. Pumpkin will forever be loved deeply and unconditionally by his favorite human, Oliver.