Thursday, July 27, 2006

Chicken update

Here are some pictures of the chickens from yesterday. They are still pullets but they are starting to look like fully-formed hens. They're currently about the size of full-grown bantams, but as these are standards they will get about four times larger than they are now.

Our experiement with letting them roam seems to be working OK. They seem to prefer roosting on the back porch under the pew, which is OK for now. There's enough shelter around that I don't think they're in too much danger from hawks during the day. CIMG3868Predation is our primary concern--otherwise they are very low maintenance; we just have to make sure they've got access to fresh water and enough feed around so they don't starve.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dada Pictures of the Week

Nothing very exciting to report--our lives have become entirely routine, but I thought I would post a few of the latest Data pictures.

The first picture is from our weekly trip to the dog park.

Here is an artsier picture:


Dada at the playscape at Central Market:


And finally, Dada playing under her own playscape with her friend Macie:


Monday, July 24, 2006

Getting So Grown Up

This picture doesn't really suggest it but it was the best I had with me today (I forgot to bring the camera into work where I can offload the pictures but I had a few new ones in my phone).

On Sunday Dada and I went to the pool. We go to the East Side YMCA where they have a pretty elaborate water park, with two big water slides, lots of showers and fountains and this "pirate ship" in the middle with a little water slide that small kids can use, no bigger than a typical playground slide.

Dada loves the big slide and she and I must have ridden it five or six times in an hour, but I can only carry her up the stairs so many times, so we went over to the shallow end.

Dada decided she wanted to go down the little slide, which she had not done before. I started to go up the stairs of the pirate ship with her when she said very sternly and clearly "stay here, Daddy. Stay here", including a little palm-out gesture. OK, I said, tears welling up in my eyes.

So my little girl climbed up the stairs, got in line and came down the slide all by herself. It was, I think, a defining moment, marking a new stage in her development as a person.

Then she did it again about six times. On one slide she got off balance and banged her head, making a loud bonk. She cried (who wouldn't?) and the life guard came over and got her a cold pack and checked her head (no blood). But before the cold pack could have any real effect, she was back on the ground saying "stay here, Daddy. Stay here." And off she went.

This child is tough and determined. I can only imagine what I'm in for in about 10 years....

Oh, yeah, the picture. This is us on the way home from the pool about 7:00 p.m. The pitiless summer Texas sun was shining in. We had forgotten to grab the towels in our rush to leave the house and all she had to shield herself was her lambie bag. This is her reproachful "has it come to this Daddy? Has it come to this?" look. Or maybe it's the "more Pool, I want more pool please. More pool. More pool" look.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Chicken Update T+6 Weeks: New Digs

The chicken run I had built next to the house was proving to be both problematic and too confining. It got blasted by the afternoon sun and there was no good way to shade the chickens. So we decided to give them their freedom and experiment with letting them roam free. We tried just putting their cage in the back yard inside the fence but the dogs were a little too interested in the birds (Lucy would go up to the cage and bark and Forrest was a little too intent on cornering one).

CIMG3846So we moved their cage to the back of the yard and I put up a makeshift fence to keep the dogs out. The chickens are not themselves confined by the enclosure--it would take a lot more work to build a fully-encosed chicken run. As long as the chickens do not prove to be either a nuisance or at too much risk of predation there's no reason to not let them roam around.

I'm finding I really like having the chickens around. They're facinating to watch and it gives me pleasure to see them roaming about, clearly having chicken-style fun.

So far the biggest issue we've had is that they like to come hang out under the bench on the back porch in the afternoons. My solution was to put down cardboard and some newspaper to catch their mess.

CIMG3844The chickens are now about seven weeks old and starting to look like proper hens, although they have a lot of growing to do yet. They probably won't start laying until late in the fall.

Finally, here is a little video I took of the chickens taking a dust bath:

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Gallery of Ponytails Vol 1

Dada's hair is finally long enough to be able to put it into real ponytails and she sometimes actually asks to have them put in. The first picture is Dada and her mother modeling their tiaras for the Fourth of July parade.

Here are some more:



And here is Dada not in a ponytail but with her "I said no ponytail Daddy" face on:


Patriotic Fervor

A couple of days before the 4th our friends Sherry and Vanessa called to say they had decided that since our immediate neighborhood was not organizing a Fourth of July parade that they would organize one and were we in? Of course we said yes.

Julie was Grand Marshall, sitting pretty on the back of Princess Daisy, with Dada beside her in her car seat. Behind us were the synchronized swimmers (Sherry, Vanessa [a bonafide veteran], and Jesse), and behind the swimmers, the obligatory fire truck, namely Joanna in a yellow slicker and fire helmet and her red pickup tricked out with CIMG3814very official looking fire department shields. The swimmer's "float" was blaring Stars and Stripes Forever and I had a big red white and blue hat (I was driving Princess Daisy). We also had little candies to throw to the assembled throngs along the parade route.

We drove the length of Wilson street and one parallel too it, to a modicum of jubilation from the assembled crowds (mostly our neighbors Jay and Kay and Linda, to whom we had called ahead to warn of our approach).

CIMG3817It was great fun and everyone we encountered along the way seemed to really like it. Everyone waved at us and the few people actually near the sidewalk seemed to like having candy thrown at them.

After we returned to Sherry and Vanessa's house we feasted on hot dogs and beer and vowed to do it again next year. Next year we might even plan more than a couple of days in advance.