Friday, June 28, 2013

chicken run

Man those little chickens grow fast. Each morning they were noticeably different, larger, yet oh so adorable all the same. We were growing very attached to them. Naia needed to check on them before breakfast each morning and sing them Los Pollitos. Zach needed to have his cuddle time with them. Neighbor kids were coming over to have chicken play time in the cockpit. The chicken love was floating all around us.

(our friend and neighbor SuperJen getting in on the chicken love. jen... you need to get some chickens of your own girl!)

And right at the peak of the poultry bonding the mean old mama said it was time. Yes, THAT time. Time to say adios pollitos. They were too big, and too stinky, and too good at flapping and flying.

Yes, we packed up the floating chicken brooder and brought Percy Jackson, Indiana Jones, and Gatsby to our dear friend N's house. Her daughter was in the same farm school as Zach and they set up to have chickens for keeps. So we know where they are and visits can and will easily happen.  They will hav room to roam and peck and scratch their chicken hearts out. The kids were sad. They still talk about the chickens. I felt a twinge of guilt about letting them get attached and then sending them away. Zach knew all the while this was the plan, and who knows how much Naia really understands about the big picture.

But the key thing we want our kids to have are experiences. The living on a boat thing is not their choice. It's a beautiful life, but Doug and I always wanted to make sure it wasn't a limiting one. We wanted to make sure that they didn't only see the world in a watery, tropical, salty dog view. I don't want the canvas of their childhood to be painted only with a boat brush. We want to let them experience as much as possible alongside the amazing opportunities of boat life, so they really know about farms and mountains and cities and museums and theatre and art and forests and camping and sports and music and community. So I hope that one day instead of looking back and saying, "My mom gave away our pet chickens!" Maybe instead they will say, "My mom let us raise chickens on our boat, that was really a neat experience."

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

summer nights

These long, lingering days of summer feel so luxurious after a long winter here. Being able to really take advantage of the whole day, making room for work and play and a little more play and just one more romp in the moonlight mama please?

Naia announces sunset each night, "The sky is turning pink and red and owange!! So beautiful!" And she is starting to figure out the cycle of the sun reminding me that the sun is going bye bye to grandma and grandpa's house in Hawaii but it will come back in the morning.

Staying at the marina pool until closing time, evening cart rides around the marina, chasing and catching fireflies, and of course very late bedtimes too. It's all part of the blissful abundance of summer.

(One of our marina neighborhood kids with some fireflies.) 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

9 times around the sun

Today was such a sweet, slow, low key day to celebrate this boy.

( Zach's special birthday orchid. When we brought him home to the boat as a newborn baby we had an orchid waiting for him. It's been his birthday flower ever since. 

9 times around the sun and each trip filled with love and learning and laughter and wonder. It was unseasonably cool (a trend around these parts this year) and rainy, so we spent the morning just rolling around and loving on the chickens. I have to say, we're all becoming quite attached to them. What wonderful companions. Sending them to their new home later this week will be difficult to say the least.

Then a handful of his friends arrived to have some pizza and a crazy homemade "cake" that Zach and I invented. Basically we made a big pan of gluten free brownies. Then we packed chocolate peanutbutter cup ice cream on top and scooped it out in bowls. We were all shocked at how sinfully yummy it was. The saltiness of the peanut butter in the ice cream with the chocolate was just right. Who knew?

Last year was a huge hit with the outdoor movie night and the first viewing of Star Wars. We wanted to do the same this year with Raiders of the Lost Ark, but the rain forced us in. So we blacked out the salon windows as best we could with rain soaked towels. Then we created a "big screen" (ya know, for a boat) and projected the film up and piled the kids on the floor with popcorn and it was all good.

Zach was showered with so much love and kindness, it was really wonderful for me to see him realize that people other than mom and dad care for him so much. Happy Birthday to my sweet boy! We love you to the moon and back!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Bok Bok

There are many things I imagined doing on this boat when we first bought her. I knew we would raise children here, we would gut fish, we would welcome friends and drink wine and break bread, we would school our kids on this boat, we would explore and discover and grow.


I never once, not for even a micro second, imagined we would hatch chickens in the guest cabin.
And yet...

There are some die hard homesteading sailors who grow tomatoes and lettuce in the cockpit, they ferment cultures in the galley, they make their own yogurt, they roast their own coffee beans on deck. But chickens? On a boat?

Yes. Well, yes for now.

Of course these little cuties will need to (ahem) spread their wings and roam in some fresh grass and peck at terra firma eventually. And I'd like to go sailing...soon.  So, I told Zach one week. Maybe 2. And then they need to find a forever home where they can run free. Oh, and just for the record I did ask our dock master about keeping them at the marina. I think between the fits of laughter I heard a no in there. Our marina is so inhabited by foxes they wouldn't stand a chance unless we built a coop like Fort Knox. And the marina just isn't into that kind of thing.

We incubated 13 eggs and got 3 chicks. So far so good. It's a low number, and I am not sure why we didn't have more, but we're happy to have any. Zach was like a worried first time daddy checking their progress, carefully turning them, and when they started to hatch... wow! We were both like worried dads. I say dads because I started to understand how an expecting dad feels. You care so much and you can really do nothing of use but smile and hope. What a helpless, maddening feeling. And this was just a few chicks.

Zach gave me constant progress reports those last 24 hours. And to his utter delight he discovered if you gently "bokbok" into the incubator they will "bokbok" back from the egg. AMAZING. Little boys of this age are not generally knows for having a nurturing instinct, so it was extra sweet to see him kick it into parenting mode to naturally.

Naia was clueless. And that's sort of how we wanted it. If she thought there was something cool going down in the guest cabin those eggs would not have stood a chance. Super Toddler 2000 would have got her mitts on them and that would have been that.  It wasn't until they were actually coming out that we brought her up to the incubator on the bed and showed her what was happening. She cooed with delight and her first question was, "Where is their mama?" When I explained that the mama was on the farm and we would be the mama now her next question was, "Ooooo, do I get to nurse the baby chicken then?"

So we have 2 hatched in the brooder now and one more who was a late comer and not doing great, fingers crossed for thim. Zach named them Percy Jackson, Indiana Jones, and Gatsby. Pippi Longstocking and Shakespeare were two that almost hatched but didn't make it. The neighbor kids have been stopping by for regular updates. These two girls who live on a boat across the way just gave up their chickens recently to move aboard their boat, so they were extra delighted to get in on the chicken love. (I don't think I have mentioned these two before, but I have to say we are SO thrilled to have them as neighbors. They are gems, such wonderful friends to have in the neighborhood!)

Chickens on a boat. I think I have seen it all now. Might as well get that boy that pony he's been asking for and hitch him to the mast while we're at it.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

strawberry fields

Just another romp at a picking farm. This time though Zach actually will eat the fruits of our labors happily, unlike the great apple fiasco.

It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day to pick and pick and eat and pick and eat some more.

 (Zach's buddy H who joined us with her mom and sister.)

(My friend N, the strawberry diva!)

The winning recipe for the cooking impaired was this raw strawberry chia seed jam I found via Pinterest. You just can't mess this up and it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo good. Like, whoops I just spooned the whole jar into my mouth while watching the Daily Show good. You canning divas can do your thing to make this stuff shelf stable for the long haul. If you're like me and just jar it up, make sure you keep it refrigerated. Spoon it onto bread, ice cream, oatmeal, yogurt, or... just spoon it in your mouth and feel the love. We followed this recipe but sweetened with maple syrup rather than stevia.

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