Happy Spring! (And a chicken update.)

31 03 2013

After two weekends in a row of spring snow storms we finally had a sunny spring weekend, and I celebrated by letting the pullets out for some sunshine. Pullet is the name for a hen before she begins laying. Tiki, pictured below, is 9 weeks now.

Tiki

They all enjoyed exploring the yard, pecking and scratching in the dirt, and sunning under their wings. After the intrepid explorers had their fill they settled in for a sunny nap, showing off their natural camouflage.

Happy spring from Vindaloo, Korma, Tandoori and Tiki! (Can you find all four?)

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Reminiscing about Japan

29 03 2013

A year ago today I was on a flight to Japan.

In the last year I never managed to write a single blog post about my time in Japan. Perhaps I needed time and space to reflect on the experience. A year later, it’s still hard for me to know where to start. Little Ninjas

Going through my many hundreds of photos I’ve begun to categorize them:

Natural Splendor
Historic Cultural Sites
Contemporary City Life
Tasty, Tasty, Food
Amazing Warning Signs
Manhole Covers and Street Art

Categorizing my photos has helped me see that it’s not possible to post about my time in Japan in just one post, it deserves more than that. So, over the next weeks (maybe months) I’m going to write about each category. I’m excited about it! I hope you’ll stay tuned to find out more about my time in Japan. I hope it might prove helpful, even inspirational.

 





Reflecting on Sakura

25 03 2013

This time last year I was madly packing and preparing for our holiday in Japan. I was anxiously following Japan Guide’s Sakura reports,  hoping we timed our stay in Japan to coincide with the ethereal blooms. We did.

It was magical. Every where we went, even bustling Tokyo streets (as seen above), we were surrounded by the beauty of Sakura. We incorporated Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) into our plans in each city, but one of my favorites was sitting under then cherry trees on a sunny afternoon, eating green tea ice cream, on the Moore Overlook at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Hiroshima. This overlook has a collection of Henry Moore sculptures leading up to the overlook itself, and gives you a great view of the entire river basin the city sits in.

Another of my favorite Hanami spots was the weeping cherry in Nakanoshima Park, Kyoto (as seen below). We went back at least 4 times to see this spectacular tree in different lights! The Japanese are ingenious: they’ve built a cone of wires to keep birds from landing on the tree and disrupting Sakura.

This year, I’m following Japan Guide’s Sakura reports out of a sense of nostalgia. This year much to the surprise of forecasters, the peak bloom has hit Tokyo 12 days early. Had we planned our trip with the same timing we would have completely missed Sakura this year. It’s an important reminder in the ethereal nature of Sakura, travel, and life. Enjoy every moment knowing that it will never be just as it is now!

Ps- The Washington Journal asked readers to Instagram photos of Sakura with #wsjsakura. You can see the images here!
#wishingIwasthere





2013 Seedlings

22 03 2013

Last year I blogged about the dilemma ‘to seed, or not to seed‘ when planning for a summer vegetable garden. While I didn’t plant from seed last year (because of travel) this year I am. I feel more strongly than ever about knowing where my food comes from.

seedlings
This year I decided to try something from a post I’d recently seen on Pinterest. It suggested that paper towel and toilet paper tubes are perfect for starting seeds. And they are! They don’t cost anything, they can be planted directly in the ground, and using them avoids sending more material to the landfill.
The first step was saving our toilet paper and paper towel tubes for the last few months. Then when it was time to plant seeds I cut each of them down to ~2 inch segments and lined them up in glass baking dishes and filed them with dirt.

I began with the seeds that have the longest germination (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc) and cool season crops (celery, leeks, cauliflower, and the like).  The baking dish works great for watering: I add about a half an inch in the bottom of the dish and the little tubes take it up from the bottom. I cover the dish with another glass baking dish to create a greenhouse effect and place it in a south-facing window. Here’s how it looks:

Celery!

Once the seedlings start getting too tall for their ‘greenhouse’ I pull them out and place them in a separate baking dish without a cover. I’ve filled in the vacancies with successive plantings including lavender, marigolds, and fennel. Believe it or not, I’ve actually run out of tubes! I planted the cucumber seeds in a leftover plastic plant pot from last year’s seedlings. Some of the tubes are starting to unravel though; I’m hoping they’ll hold together until I can put them in the ground. We’ll see!

 





Thesis vs. The-real-world

21 03 2013

It’s humbling to find that the research I was doing for my thesis three years ago was, in fact, relevant and timely. Props to my thesis committee chair Pat Kociolek for pushing me in the right direction! In this year’s Museums special section of the New York Times there are multiple articles addressing museums’ struggle to stay relevant with changing audiences. Especially art museums.

This article in particular caught my attention: “Museums look for ways to groom repeat visitors”.  So much of what I found in my research  is echoed in this article. I hope art museums listen; audiences are changing, and so are their expectations. Perhaps we in the art world should look more seriously at the success of science museums and aquariums. After all, are we really that different? I don’t think so.

And way to go Denver Art Museum for getting a shout out in the New York Times!

(^That’s the Denver Art Museum’s director, Christoph Heinrich!)





Two years later – remembering 3.11.11

11 03 2013

I want to take a moment today to remember the 3.11.11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that greatly affected the eastern coast of Japan. If you follow my blog then you already know that I have a deep affinity for the country of Japan, its history, and its culture. Unfortunately, now that the international cameras are gone we seem to have forgotten just how devastating these natural (and man-made) disasters were and continue to be. There’s still work to be done and too many lives continue to be affected.

I came across this article over at the Guardian a little while back and today seems the appropriate time to share it:

Imagehttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/24/divorce-after-fukushima-nuclear-disaster

My wishes for peace and good health to all in the area – may we never forget the tragedy of 3.11.11.





The chicks are growing!

5 03 2013

 And boy are they are growing fast!

chicks on 3.1.13

That’s our 7 week old Buff Orphington Korma in the middle. She’s flanked by our two 6 week old Ameraucanas/Eater Eggers, Tandoori on the left and Vindaloo is on the right. Tandoori is normally such a camera-whore I can’t believe she shunned the camera for this shot! We also have a 5 week old Silver Laced Wyadotte, not pictured. They are really showing their individual personalities now! Each one has their own ‘voice’ and I look forward to how they continue to develop.

The 4 of them are getting pretty big for the small cage I’ve set up for their brooder, and I hope weather will permit me to put them out in the coop in about 3 week’s time. Korma could go out sooner, but I don’t want to separate them so I’m waiting for Tiki to fully feather before putting the group outside.

I’ve also discovered treats that they like, and others they couldn’t care less about. Currently, apple and fennel greens are the winners. Freeze dried meal worms (much to my surprise) are the losers.

I have to say, I’ve spent way too much time just watching them go about their daily business – it’s delightfully meditative and entertaining!








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