Wednesday, May 22, 2013

riding the bus

Jason has had his license for about 6 weeks now, and in an effort to be cool parents, we are trying to let him drive to school whenever we can.  So....a couple of days a week, I have been hitching a ride down to Cal Poly with Jamey, and then riding the bus home later on.  It's actually pretty convenient, because the bus picks me up right in front of the student union, and then drops me off at the corner of my street, with only one or two stops in between.  And it's cheaper to ride the bus than it is to park on campus for the day (Jamey parks along the street for free and walks onto campus, but I am far too lazy to do that, so I usually pay to park in the garage.  I justify it by carrying a lot of stuff).
Not being a frequent bus rider (I rode it around SLO exactly once, about 10 years ago, when Jason and another friend were learning about their town for kindergarten), I have been learning a few things:
First, when your bus route is pretty much a winding, uphill road, it is probably not the best idea to try to get some work done on your ipad.  It can make you feel really sick.  Ugh.
Second, because the bus needs to go really slow as it heads uphill, you get a chance to look around and notice things.  For example, there is a little gated road that goes off to the right about halfway up "the grade", and it looks like there is a beautiful ranch back in there.  Or at least a cool camping spot beside a creek.
Another benefit of taking the bus is the smug feeling you get from knowing that you are saving gas and being 'green'.
And because I have been walking from the bus stop to my house, I have been passing by my neighbors' yard, and I noticed the other day that their mama goat had two tiny, adorable kids in her pen.  This is the second time she has given birth to twins.  And as I was passing by, they hopped up onto the picnic table and asked me to please take their picture (in goat language.  Which I speak, actually.  I'm like Dr Doolittle).  My neighbor makes the most fantastic feta cheese from his goats' milk, by the way.  And his goats travel around to other neighbors' yards all summer and keep their weeds down (this is a great service, since we are expecting a bad fire season this year).
So, all in all, riding the bus is turning out to be a pretty good deal.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hippie Chicks

For whatever reason, I cannot watch the ends of close football or basketball games (or races, or other sporting events).  I can listen, but it makes me really nervous to watch.  So I spent a lot of this year's NCAA March Madness listening to the broadcast, but messing around on the internet.  When I want to waste time on my computer, I often turn to Pinterest.  For those of you who don't know what Pinterest is, it's a web site where you can, on the one hand, find some great recipes, decorating ideas, and household and gardening tips....on the other hand, it's an invitation to covet other people's homes, clothes, and bodies.  
I searched the topic "chickens" and up popped a great web site ( with lots of ideas on how to keep your hens healthy and happy.  For example, I learned that putting a half a teaspoon of cider vinegar in my chickens' water can keep away parasites and mites. I was happy to try it, and I am really really happy to report that not only is it keeping my hens happy (I don't think they actually had any parasites or mites before, anyway), but in 24 hours the vinegar in the water had actually cleaned the water container and made it look brand new!! There was also a list of fresh herbs that you can place in the nesting boxes, and the effect of each one.  For example, catnip is a sedative, lemon balm is a stress reliever, and fennel is a laying stimulant - who knew?!  Well, now, I have lots of herbs in the garden and around the house, so I thought, "What the heck?" and put some rose petals (vitamin C), lavender (stress reducer and insecticide), basil (mucus membrane health, whatever that is!), and rosemary (respiratory health) in my nesting boxes.  Apparently, my hens are not into herbs, because less than an hour later they had kicked all of the herbs out of the boxes and all over the ground.  They didn't even eat any, and that's saying something, because these girls eat any old bread product, grass, coffee grounds when they can get them, and even cobwebs.  But that's okay, because they seem pretty happy and relaxed to me, and we have more eggs than we can eat (clearly I need to do some baking!).