October 31, 2010

Rally Recap

Here are a few photo highlights from the "Rally to Restore Sanity" in Washington DC yesterday. We had a lot of fun. As Joe put it, it's nice to encounter such a large swath of humanity every so often. We both love people watching, and this was certainly a good gig for it. I know there's always controversy about how many people attend these things, and I won't even begin to argue for a specific number. All I can say is it was ALOT of people! The entire journey from the Metro to the Mall and back again was accomplished in very cramped baby steps amidst a throng of people.

The masses emerge from underground!!

An arms length aerial view of the people in front of me.

An arms length aerial view of the people behind me. Start counting and let me know what you come up with. :)

With my camera on full zoom, I was able to get this shot of Jon Stewart on the closest screen to us, even that barely visible to the naked eye. After a few rounds of chanting "Louder, louder!" they turned the volume up enough that we could sort of hear what was going on.

Joe said I couldn't post this picture on Facebook, but he didn't say anything about the blog. :)

Some incredibly sane horses.

Some incredibly sane horses, rear view.

Ahh, back to real life, where warfare is big business. This is one of a string of "Raytheon" warfare billboards at the Pentagon subway stop, how apropos.

We left the rally a little bit early to try and beat some of the crowds back to the subway, so we missed the final, serious moments of the rally. But upon reading Jon Stewart's closing remarks I can say "Hear hear!", glad I was there. :)

Joe and Wilson recovering from the rally.

October 29, 2010

This'll have to be the "highlights" version today because I've got a fire going in the earth oven awaiting a pumpkin pie I've yet to get ready.

Joe's home!! Yay!!! He had a great meditation course, and I managed to keep all the loose ends together while he was gone.

We've gotten the four corner posts set for the yurt!! Yay!! It's actually starting to look like we're up to something productive rather than destructive. Thanks so much to our friend Ben from Alaska for the extra muscle power required to make it happen. :)

Tomorrow morning we leave at 5 a.m. to head to Washington DC where we will attend Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity"!! Yay!!! We've done our civic duty and voted early by mail, and now we're off to have some political fun. We'll be spending the whole week in DC helping my friend and former Wildlife Sciences classmate with a greenhouse project at a DC highschool. She has been putting her college degree to good use as an environmental educator in DC, and I'm looking forward to being able to help out a good cause.

October 22, 2010

Joe comes home in three days!! This is good because I ate my last Daddy Bob brownie (world famous brownies made by my grandfather) last night. I do have some chocolate chips in the house, though, so I guess that'll have to suffice for these last few days. :)

On Wednesday, I had the wonderful experience of unwittingly playing a part in my little brother's plans to propose to his girlfriend. It was truly a divinely inspired coincidence, there's just no other good way to look at it. I had been working in the office all day and just as I was leaving, my sister and her friend invited me out to the Olive Garden for dinner. Upon arriving at the restaurant, I found my little brother Joe and girlfriend Mariah waiting to be seated for their special, 6-month anniversary dinner! They were, of course, happy to expand their reservation to a table for 5 (well, Mariah was happy to :). Joe acted a little bit grouchy about the whole situation, but it turns out that was just nerves due to the fact that he was planning to pop the question later that night!! And she said yes!! So, the evening didn't exactly follow his plans, but it does make for a much better story. :)

October 20, 2010

Stink Bug Mania Sweeps the Nation!

Like apparently everyone else in the nation, I have been dealing with stink bugs in every crack and crevice of my house. I didn't realize how national a problem it was until just now Google tried to read my mind and automatically assumed that stink bug eradication was high on my priority list. I was going to do an internet search on early voting in VA as I'll be out of town on Nov 2nd, but all I had gotten typed into the search box was "How do I" and up popped 121,000 results for getting rid of stink bugs! Do I detect a theme in our collective consciousness??? :)

October 17, 2010

Yesterday, my travels spanned three states and kept me out until almost 2 a.m. Today I am hiding the car keys from myself and not going anywhere my feet won't take me! It has been WONDERFUL to have a day at home. It is the first day this whole week that I have not had to be away from home for the better part of the day. I am dividing my home day up into spurts of incredible productivity followed by periods of general inactivity (chicken watching, beagle petting, staring at flowers and pretty trees, etc.). I believe in keeping a healthy balance. :)

Joe has been gone on his Massachusetts meditating adventure since Tuesday afternoon. I'm missing him terribly, but I'm still in that period of enjoying missing him. I haven't become desperate, yet. So far we've had no disasters in his absence. There've been no more guinea deaths. The adult guineas continue to roost in the chicken house each night, but the two young guineas can't seem to make up their minds. One night they'll sleep in the coop, the next night they choose the trees. So far they've been lucky. I'm just hoping that the coop eventually wins out over the trees, but you can't tell teenagers anything.

Fall seems to be progressing at a leisurely pace this year. The weather has been mild and beautiful. There's yet to be a single explosion of beauty, but there are small wonders everywhere I look. I feel the strong urge to be in the woods this time of year.

The other morning, while putting my shoes on to head to work, I looked up to find myself in the direct gaze of a deer standing in the middle of my yard. I'd been running around attending to my various husbandry chores all morning, and the first thought that popped into my mind was "Wait, am I supposed to feed you?". It was my laughter that scared the deer away.

October 12, 2010


We made it through last night without a single death!!! So exciting. I was going to make an attempt to convince the guineas to roost in the chicken house for the night, but I got home too late from work and they had already gone to roost. But! The GOOD news is, they had all VOLUNTARILY decided that maybe the chicken house was a better bet than the tree tops, and so all I had to do was close the door on everyone and they all slept safe and sound and made it to this morning alive. :)

I'm SO relieved that a collective lightbulb went on in the guineas heads. If I had tried to force them into the chicken house, it would not have gone over well. I can just imagine them discussing/thinking: "Have you noticed how none of the chickens have gotten eaten in the past weeks? Yeah, they sometimes have to wait an hour or so in the mornings for those lazy humans to get their act together and come turn them loose, but at least they're always alive. At the rate we're getting knocked off, we're not going to be around much longer. Do you want to be the one that gets eaten tonight? No? Me either! I vote for the sleeping in the chicken house!"

Good idea guineas!!! I really didn't want to watch them all disappear one by one, and I'm reluctant to take any violent measures against the owl either. I'm really in awe of owls and like having them around. I've always seen my role as animal protector rather than predator exterminator. This only works of course if the animals are willing to accept protection, and that seems to happen. Here's keeping my fingers crossed that their new change of heart sticks for a while so we can all sleep safe and sound. Sorry Mr. Owl, but I'm sure there's plenty of mice in the woods.

October 11, 2010

A sad little avian tale

I now have cold hard proof that it is indeed an owl that has been decimating our guinea flock of late. Joe had a face to face encounter with the 'mythological creature' crouching over a freshly killed young guinea in our garden at dawn yesterday. Therefore, I leave him to tell the story in his own words. The following is an email that Joe sent to a friend:

Have you ever met a guinea fowl? We have some that live near us.

Usually when I talk about the guineas it is a funny story because I can't imagine any creature that more fully captures the mannerisms of the Three Stooges. But today I relate (ironically maybe) something that may be an unspeakable tragedy.

My wife and I are living in the center of a killing ground. In short succession I am hearing words out of Amanda's mouth like, "genocide, dark, vulnerable, and screaming murder." You can imagine how these words either reflect or affect (surely both) the atmosphere around us.

The long and the short of it is we have been sponsoring a flock of free range guineas for over a year. We started with a seed bunch of 8. And after a season of bird sex and true nesting periods we at one time had well over twenty guineas flitting, frolicking, and flocking about the compound. But that was all before the owl came to town.

A side note: I have been told that if I find myself doing CPR I ought to sing the song "Stayin' Alive" by the Beegees, because the ideal rate for pumping a persons heart is 100 beats per minute and "Stayin' Alive" is 102 beats per minute. I have also heard that the song "Another One Bites The Dust" by Queen has exactly 100 beats per minute but most CPR training courses don't use that song.

Anyway the second song has been coming to mind because we have been losing one guinea per night. And we are down to 5 guineas and one is injured.

As to my true feelings about the whole thing it is quite a muddy concoction. I know that my role in this nightly game is that of a lazy sports fan, I am rooting for my team but I am not willing to stay up late enough to see the game in real time. I just watch the highlights in the morning in the form of scattered feathers or burying bird remains. And I suffer the pains of rooting for a losing team.

Tomorrow I am off to a silent retreat for two weeks. I will be unplugged. So I am sorry to say I will not have the opportunity to shoot off a compensating upbeat email until after I return.

I wish for you peace filled days

October 09, 2010


I'm not really someone who relishes change. I love my rut. :) But, if there is one lesson life seems intent on making sure you learn, it is that everything changes. The changing of the seasons is such a powerful and beautiful reminder of that lesson...and the good thing is that the seasons always change in such a predictable fashion, which pacifies the part of me that craves stability. :) This particular day is so completely beautiful and perfect that it is making it hard for me to hang on to the tinge of mournfulness I've been nursing lately.

I spent Monday and half of Tuesday in bed dealing with an ailment of some sort. My only symptoms were a sore stomach that felt like I'd been beaten, a complete lack of appetite or energy, general lacklusterness and a low grade fever for about two hours. I was especially grateful for all of the homemade applesauce we had on hand as my appetite started slowly returning. It was the only thing that sounded at all good to me.

The garden is looking very quiet and peaceful this time of year. Many of the beds have been harvested and cleared out. We got a nice crop of sweet potatoes, but we learned that they have to cure for several weeks before actually becoming sweet. The ones we ate straight out of the ground were most like regular potatoes than sweet potatoes - still delicious but not what we expected. We've also been enjoying that brief window where we get to enjoy both tomatoes and lettuce at the same time. The volunteer lettuces that sprouted several weeks ago are just now getting big enough to harvest for an occasional salad, and there are still tomatoes on the vines for a few more days.

I'm spending this day in Floyd while Joe works at his aunt's gallery, and the sunshine and lure of yardsales is drawing my attention outdoors.