Monday, November 11, 2013

I've been doing lots of quiet contemplation lately. Just sitting with my thoughts, actively bringing them to the forefront of my thinking. For me, it was always easy to think about what I needed to improve my life. My brain would race and come up with ideas to make those thoughts a reality. I would stress over it, rethink what I thought was the direct route to my happiness. It was always such an active process mentally, and it was tiring. So a few months ago I wanted to change something. Not just act on those thoughts. Think, quietly about them. Were the choices I've made the right choices? I slowed down. I stopped. I gave myself the luxury of time. And I've decided, or come to realize, that though all my choices may not have been the best, I am very happy with where I've come as a person. It became quite clear tonight as I was watching my daughter, in the kitchen, pour herself a glass of green tea. Everything that I've done, thought, prayed for, stressed over, cried over, fought for ALL OF MY LIFE came to that one moment of Olivia pouring herself a glass of tea. I stopped. And I was happy. I am exactly where I need to be right now.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Illinois joins the other 14 states that voted for marriage equality! When I heard the news, I was home making dinner for me and my daughter. I was so thrilled! I later went on Facebook and saw my friends and their partners kissing, holding each other, and many posted pics from their civil unions! I kinda felt like sharing the news with someone! But instead, I kinda felt like the only single guy at a New Years party when it strikes midnight - no one to kiss! Being single is fine right now, but I know in the future I will be looking to put a ring on it. I think many of us would welcome a partner. Someone to share your life experiences with. The ups, downs, slows and fasts of it all. Someone to help walk the dog. Take turns cooking, or cooking together. Someone to snuggle with on the sofa and watch American Horror Story! Ah, romance! Till then I'll be Papa Patrick, living life, happily, as a single dad.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

OK. I'm doing it. I'm cleaning out Olivia's old bedroom here at the house (she's since moved into a larger room). At first I was sooo excited to get the room cleared out to make room for a home office. Then I started cleaning off her old dresser. And I noticed, again, her attempt to beautify her dresser with some stickers and hand paint. I started feeling bad about wiping off the paint. So, I stopped. I rolled up the rug that kept her little feet warm when she got out of bed in the morning, so she wouldn't have to put them on the cool hard wood floor. I noticed that her cat had scratched up pieces of it, and as I rolled, little sparkles fell off as did little plastic hearts, beads... Next step was to take down the hanging butterflies. Oh, this was getting hard! As I was taking them off the wall and the ones hanging from the ceiling, I'm realizing that my little girl is growing up. She no longer wants the carpet, the butterflies, the dresser. UGH! It is such a wonderful experience watching a child grow, but times like this make me feel nostalgic and want to put on the brakes! And those darn whimsical butterflies... well, they may make an appearance in her new bedroom. Just because dad says so.

Monday, August 19, 2013

What a week I am coming down from! I spent the week in Michigan helping Olivia with the Berrien Co. Youth Fair. She had blast, saw some friends, rode lots of rides, and showed her llama Bandita and rabbit Mr. Gray! It was such a good experience for her, and I am thankful she is part of it. Now I am at home and tending to my small flock of pets/ animals and garden. I've been enjoying heirloom tomatoes and fresh eggs. My red peppers are getting bigger, too. It all makes me so happy! I think Mr. Gray is both happy to be back home in his garden and also sad that he isn't surrounded by lots of like species. The chickens are definitely happy I'm back, as they get some good free ranging time. They must think of me as the "leader of the pack" so to speak, as they are never very far from where I am at any given time. I planted comfrey for tea (my Aunt Gail gave me a plant as a kid and I enjoyed it!) and that is doing well. I also learned it is good for chickens, as it helps them ward off parasites that could affect their health. My Aunt is one of those amazing people that teaches what she knows. She is also one of the first people I know that started things organically. I remember seeing eggs shells and I don't know what else in a jar in her kitchen that she used to feed her plants. She also started my knowledge of plants, composting, and anything natural. Thanks, Gail! Another great thing about this past weekend was my involvement with the llamas at my old ranch (Northwind Llama Ranch). I really loved watching them, getting my hands dirty with trimming their nails (they get quite long!), breeding, and honestly, just being in the pasture with them. It gives me great joy that Olivia is around them. So yeah, I feel quite blessed. What a week! :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Well, tonight the neighbors on either side of me met "the girls" (a.k.a. the chickens). My neighbor to the right of me loved seeing them and went and got her son to come out and see them. Olivia and I got our picture taken with Black Road, a friendly hen. I gave her a half dozen eggs and she thanked me and said they would eat them tomorrow. :) My neighbor on the left kind of had a "huh?" look on her face when I introduced the girls to her. She was curious about them, said she never hears them, and that she never knew they were here! She and her husband will be the next to get a half dozen. Gotta keep the neighbors happy! I'm loving my home this summer especially! Not only am I getting good eggs, the heirloom tomatoes are beginning to look ripe, the red peppers have little red peppers on them, the comfry (for tea) is doing well, as is the mint (you really can't kill mint). I'm not sure about the watermelon, if that will produce fruit or not seeing that we planted them a little late. Olivia has eaten all the green beans off of our one little bean plant (we started a seed last fall and it is still in its pot, alongside a fig tree (well, maybe "tree" is pushing it!) that I planted from the pit of a fig I got at the Santa Cruz farmers market last March while I was with my TM teacher. So all in all, things are going very well. Still "playing" with and in my garden, having fun with the dogs, cats, chickens, rabbit (great fertilizer!),and, of course, enjoying Olivia and our swimming at the pool near our house. We go to Michigan for the Berrien County Youth Fair in two weeks where she will show said rabbit and her llama Bandita. Keep your fingers crossed! Not worried about the llama, but the rabbit has been enjoying food this year! So yeah, things are going very well. I'm loving it!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What a great weekend I've had so far! Friday night I went to hear monks chanting at Lighthouse Yoga in Evanston. It was beautiful! There were moments when I seemed to transcend that yoga room. It was an incredible experience. And this morning I enjoyed eggs from my girls! And I had yet another double yolker, which makes it 5 double yolkers since I started getting eggs from my girls (around a month!). I see it as a good sign. It's amazing what is happening when you talk care of animals. I have been trying out rabbit manure (POO!) as a fertilizer to see how it does, so I put it in two areas of my backyard about two weeks ago. When I let the girls out to scratch and forage, they seemed to be drawn to that area and started scratching. Wouldn't you know, but that area had so many fat earthworms in it!! It was really cool to see! So I know now that rabbit manure would be good in areas of ones yard that needs to be aerated and get nutrients. I can't wait to try the chicken manure next! That is supposed to be nitrogen rich, but has to break down a bit before used. I am thankful for the things I am learning on my small farm in the city!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Just a quick post to let everyone know OUR CHICKENS STARTED LAYING EGGS!!! Olivia and I were soooo happy to see the first little egg in the coop! You would have thought it was the perfect Christmas gift received!! And, when I cracked one open to make Fullers French Toast (an old french toast recipe my Grandpa Fuller made up), the egg had two yolks in it! I took that as a good thing, like an omen for prosperity! Yaaaay chickens!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What a great summer so far. Family. LOTS of family lately, and I love it. Dad and Christine visiting from Florida. Family coming together to welcome home my sister and her two daughters. Food, love, conversation, laughter. My sister, mom, two nieces AND my daughter sharing a dinner at my table. More love, food, conversation and laughter! My daughter eating nearly two ears of corn. Memories. Love. Family. I feel like the luckiest person alive for this.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I love Dr. Seuss. The messages in it are great for kids, and a wonderful reminder for adults, too. This is taken from his story "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!" Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! Shout loud, "I am lucky to be what I am! Thank goodness I'm not just a clam or a ham Or a dusty old jar of sour gooseberry jam! I am what I am! That's a great thing to be! If I say so myself, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Favorite time of the day.

Mornings. They have got to be my favorite time of the day! I usually sit on my back porch with the pups looking out over the garden. Today, like the past few days, I've been treated to the fragrance of fresh lilacs- they smell so good! I also listen to the sounds around me. The birds at the feeder. The neighbor with her new baby on her back porch sweetly talking to her. The goings on of "the girls" (a.k.a. the chickens). It's a good time to just be. How about you? What's your favorite time of day?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Yep, it hit me. I think I am a hippy! Why? Well, for one thing, I'm trying to live as organically as possible. Sheets on the bed? Organic cotton. Milk for O in the fridge? Organic Skim. Even the sugar is organic. And not to mention the new additions to the back yard. And my love of gardening! And not just the active act of gardening, but the joy of sitting back and watching the happenings of the garden. I am thrilled that I've seen bumble bee's! And even a cool looking bird that looks like a chickadee, but with a black and white head. I even want to build a little deck of sorts in the garden to meditate on. I guess living in Chicago wouldn't make me a real hippy, but maybe an urban hippy! And that's ok with me. I love my city!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Well here we are in late April and it is finally starting to feel like SPRING! April showers, if the saying is correct, should bring upon us a MONSOON of May flowers! So far so good with the chickens. I repurposed Olivia's old cedar playhouse into a kinda nice (I feel!) coop for the girls. Right now there are six, but that number will go down to three. The other three will be living in llama-land in Michigan. This group of young chickens are pretty friendly! They have no fear, so when I or Olivia are taking care of them, they let us stroke their feathers, peck at our shoe laces, and eat right out of our hands! It has been a pretty good adventure for the two of us. We just can't wait for the yummy eggs!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

WHOA! I realized that I haven't written a post in almost a year! I'll try not to make it a habit. So, what have I been up to since last April? Well, to be honest, a lot. Last April left me broken hearted, so I was in repair mode for awhile. I had thought I met "the one", but then life happens when it is supposed to happen and showed me that "it" has other plans for me. So I focused on myself. Meditation. My girl. Making new friendships. We also got a new puppy, Gracie. I've also been spending some weekends of the month at my old farm, Northwind Llama Ranch. There are still some old friends living there, and I feel fortunate to go there. My ex and Olivia's other dad still has it. Speaking of Michigan (that's where the farm/ranch is), Olivia and I went out and bought some new chicks. We were going to buy two, but the very kind lady said we had to buy six! So, yep, there are six new chicks. They are going to be living in Olivia's first grade class for the week, then some will go to Michigan. Yes, I said some. I'm pretty sure I am going to try out being an urban backyard chicken person. Just don't tell my neighbors. Yet. :) So, I can't wait for spring warmth, greenery and flowers! This brown and beige color palette has got to CHANGE. I have some good ideas in mind for the yard, and some in the planning stages. Definitely more flowers. And plants that stay green all year round to help with the brown shades of late winter. So, that's it in a nutshell. I'll keep you posted more often than once a year. Till my next post!