About Me

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Lapsed anthropologist-turned-burlesque performer and post-modern punk housewife/homesteader living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with a hunky husband, gorgeous daughter, adorable corgi, fluffy rabbit, and three clucking fabulous chickens.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fledgling Fluffs

 It is now day 10 of our great chicken experiment, and the girls are doing wonderfully. They all have tail feathers, and are beginning to feather out on their backs. As the baby fluff comes flying off them, they've been looking more scruffy.
We're getting closer and closer to that awkward dinosaur stage of chicken development.

 Ada Lovelace, Silver-Laced Wyandotte:

 At 10 days, she's lost the adorable chipmunk stripes she had when she arrived.

 Ada started out as the shyest of our girls, and that shyness made her pretty docile as a newly-hatched chick. She's fairly docile now, but definitely voices her displeasure at being handled.

Marie Curie, Easter Egger bantam:

 Marie has the softest feathers of all the girls, which makes her slippery.

Originally the bossiest of our chicks, Marie quickly realized that she is becoming the smallest chicken in the flock, and her aggression and bossiness has scaled back accordingly. She has become more docile, and will nearly doze in your hand when held.

 Rosalind Franklin, Rhode Island Red:

 Rosie's plumage is coming in gorgeously, and fast!

 Rosie is still the largest and quickest-maturing of our girls, and has become the most docile. Rosie will snuggle down and nap in my lap while I stroke her back. She doesn't appear to be bullying any of the other chicks, which I appreciate. She's becoming a very sweet bird.

Ruth Benedict, Silver Cuckoo Marans:
 Ruth's feet are no longer adorable baby chick feet. They are clawed.

Ruth's wings are starting to display the black-and-white striped pattern of the Silver Cuckoo Marans. She is the most ornery of the girls, hates to be held or handled, flaps furiously and complains loudly. I'm still hoping to win her over, but she may just be that kind of girl.

While the girls all vary in the degree to which they tolerate being held or sitting in my lap, all of the girls enjoy climbing up my arms and checking things out from my shoulders. We have chick grit for them and I introduced freeze-dried mealworms to them today. They haven't quite figured out what the mealworms are for just yet, but I believe in them. They've also been making a mess, tossing their bedding about, so I think it's about time to make them a little dustbath with sand and diotomaceous earth(which is a fantastic natural insecticide!) to ward off mites.

It's amazing how much they've grown in just a week and a half.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On Atheism

I think I'm finally coming out to my mother as an atheist.

She sends me emails full of adorable pictures of animals, usually labelled something like "Proof of Creation", and I usually just say something about how cute I find the giraffe. She has made her disdain of evolution and Darwin quite clear, and how she finds people who believe in it to be idiots. Which means she would find me to be an idiot.

Today, I made my usual comment about a funny raccoon, and when she responded with something about how these pictures prove God, I decided I had to be honest.
"Well, I believe in evolution, but yes, the fantastic diversity of life is always awesome." She countered with the belief that all creatures are made perfect, and I countered with the belief that imperfect creatures exist all the time, indeed spontaneous miscarriages often result from miscoded genes leading to the termination of a non-viable pregnancy. Mutations happen all the time, newly-birthed individuals surviving only a short while. Or mutations happening and the individuals surviving with extra limbs, or no limbs. Imperfection surrounds us all the time, and just because we are filled with awe when we see nature working perfectly, we can't ignore that mistakes happen all the time. I have a congenital joint disorder, and a bum thyroid. I was not made perfect.

A friend of mine said he thought perhaps it was the concept of a godless existence that was troubling and difficult for our religious relatives to grasp, and therefor they couldn't understand why we would choose to believe such a thing. Anthropologically, I understand the role that religion plays. It creates community, a sense of belonging. It tells you what your place in the world is, it helps alleviate the anxiety caused by the random brutality of life.

For me, science fulfills these functions. I feel a sense of community with other life, I feel part of it instead of separate and above it. I understand my place in the world as a human, the only living species of the genus Homo, a member of the Hominidae family of great apes. I am not descended from a monkey. Monkeys are not apes. I am not descended from apes as we know them, either. Rather, modern apes and I share a common ancestor way, way back.

I don't believe in an interventionist god, I don't believe in a deity that cares deeply about me and my life, and is keeping track of all my deeds, good and bad, to determine whether or not I deserve eternal paradise or eternal torture. I don't believe in the persistence of consciousness after death. I believe that this makes life more important, because it is finite. I understand that to a theist this may sound like I think that nothing we do matters, so why not kill, rape, steal, etc. if there is no grand judgement? On the contrary, if nothing we do matters, then the only thing that matters is what we do. We have evolved past our base instincts, we have developed an understanding of compassion and kindness, of morality. You can be a moral person with out being a religious person. I am a good person, because I want to be a good person. I think stealing, lying, raping, and murdering are all wrong. 

To me, existence is even more inspiring and amazing without a divine hand guiding it. The idea that this vast diversity of life that surrounds us is the result of millenia-long processes of natural selection and sexual reproduction is infinitely more satisfying to me than the thought that it was created static and perfect over the course of a week. I feel like I have an obligation to protect the environment, to minimize the negative impact I have on the global ecosystem, because I don't think that the world is going to end anytime soon. 

I'm not trying to dissuade my mother or anyone else from their faith, but I do think that we can be respectful of each other, and not resort to name-calling or disparaging each other's beliefs. I plan to raise my children without religion, and with a strong understanding and appreciation of science. Maybe they will come to religion of their own accord, and that's fine. They'll still be my kids. 

Love should be unconditional.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day of the Dead Sneak Peek

I had the pleasure of modelling for Stina Rae Photography last week, as part of her amazing Day of the Dead series, which will be premiering at BonBon on November 3rd. Her work is fantastic, and I love it when she asks me to be in one of her series.

I bought some skull makeup(which I'll be using for the upcoming burlesque show as well, so totally justified!), and added some rhinestones. I made a couple rose hair clips from Dollar Tree flowers and curled my hair up in a '40s-ish style. It was super-fun!

 This isn't the image she'll be using in the actual show, this is just a teaser. We did a Halloween housewife vibe, given my adorable kitchen.

Bam! Gettin' in free to the gun show! Seriously though, I need to work on my triceps...
I used a bunch of Day of the Dead makeup tutorials from Pinterest as inspiration. I'm fairly happy with what I pulled together. That greasepaint is hell on your skin, though.

Friday, October 19, 2012

They grow up so fast...

 The girls are getting bigger everyday! Their baby fluff is coming loose and floating away like dandelion puffs, and their pinfeathers are coming in. I've been holding them more and more, to get them used to being picked up and held and hopefully to make them friendly, sociable hens. We're getting closer and closer to our urban chicken dream of our own small backyard flock.

Ada is very docile and quiet, I haven't noticed the others picking on her too much, she just seems to prefer to keep to herself.

 Marie is still the boldest of the bunch. She will protest loudly when picked up, but quickly adjusts and explores your lap.

 Rosie is maturing faster than the other girls. Her wings are feathering out nicely, and she's already getting pinfeathers on her tail. She's very sweet and will fall asleep in my lap.

Ruth, more than any of the others, hates being held. She's also the first to experiment with her burgeoning wings. I think she's going to be the most independent hen in the flock.

Ponyo is extremely curious and simultaneously afraid of the girls, which is really funny to watch. Butters is completely indifferent, as she is to most things. I'm having nightmares about losing the girls, which I think is due to my anxiety as a first-time chicken momma. I'll continue trying to socialize them as best I can, and hopefully soon they'll stop fleeing my hand.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I love October. The air gets crisper, it finally starts to feel like fall. There are pumpkin doughnuts at Greenbluff. I love it.

 We always make the drive out to Greenbluff to get apples and pumpkins. It's a wonderful tradition, it supports local farms, and the produce is better than what we can buy in town.
We ended up with two white pumpkins and a Rouge vif D'Etamps. I had tried growing these so-called "Cinderella" pumpkins in our garden, but what with the wedding and all, our garden was sadly neglected this year.

 I think that Ponyo's distaste for the out of doors is a result of her spending her earliest years with an animal hoarder who kept her inside. It's unfortunate that she only tolerates being out, but she's gotten worlds better than she was when we first had her.

 After the ordeal that was processing the bushel of peaches I came home with last time we were at Greenbluff, we were more conservative with our harvesting this year.

 We took home a quarter-bushel of these scrumptious Red Delicious apples, and another quarter-bushel of baking apples.

 We always get the best apples because Mr. Bear is so tall, he can reach the ones at the top of the trees that others leave behind.

I feel very lucky to have a farm community so close to home, it's one of my favorite things about my hometown.

On the homefront, our new girls survived their first night with us. We've been enjoying watching them scurry about, falling asleep into their food, climbing all over one another. Hours fly by without us noticing, I understand what is meant by the phrase "chicken tv".

 Rosie, Marie, and Ruth hit the buffet while Ada naps.

 Rosalind, our Rhode Island Red.

They're ridiculously cute and charming. In a few weeks they'll go through a truly awkward adolescent phase before emerging as full-fledged hens. I expect they'll start laying in the spring, which will be quite a wait for us, we're excited about fresh eggs from happy chickens!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Clucking Adorable

 Our (four!) little chicks arrived today! We'd set up our brooder over the weekend, next to Butters' hutch, so it was all ready and toasty for them when I brought them home.

The yellow chick on the left is Marie Curie, the fluffy red is Rosalind Franklin, the dark one with the white spot on her head is Ruth Benedict, and the chipmunk-striped chick on the right is Ada Lovelace.

Poor dears were cold from their journey when I put them in the brooder, and huddled together for warmth.

It wasn't long, however, before they started exploring. Marie, our bantam Easter Egger, was the boldest of the bunch and figured out the food and water first(I did dip all their beaks, one by one, in the waterer when I put them in brooder).

Marie and Rosie have been zipping about, exploring and working out their dominance, Ruth perked up and started checking the place out, but poor Ada is exhausted and just wants to take a nap. The others keep tripping over her and waking her up.

I'll be posting fairly regular updates regarding their development from these adorable balls of fluff into productive members of the homestead. Urban chickens aren't just adorable, they're practical! I can't wait to have chickens roaming the backyard.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pastry Party 2012!

Celebrating non-heteronormative relationships with baked goods!

So, my good friend Matt brought this Jezebel article to my attention a few weeks ago. If you have no desire to read it or watch the video(and I completely understand), the run-down is that this man leads Christian-based sex education lectures, and has some interesting ideas about how gay people have sex. Now, while I respect everyone's right to their beliefs, I personally find the belief that homosexuality is wrong/shameful/unnatural to be abhorrent. So when I got to the part of the video in which the lecturer explained his views on homosexuality(using carrots and doughnuts as metaphors for male and female anatomy, respectively) by stating that men were not created to sword-fight and women were not created to have pastry parties, two thoughts immediately occurred to me;

A. Is that how he thinks gay men have sex?
B. A pastry party sounds like a freaking fantastic idea!

 Butterscotch and Peppermint Chocolate Meringues

 I invited a bunch of my queer, lesbian, bisexual, and ally friends over for a Pastry Party, where the wine flowed, cookies and cobbler were baked, and conversations about sexuality and heteronormativity were had. It was delightful.

 Making pumpkin snickerdoodles with pumpkin spice kisses on top.

 Chocolate-covered cherry cookies, pre-ganache.

 Just because we don't support dogmatic heteronormative gender roles doesn't mean we don't love aprons.

 I love my hostess apron. It is red, sheer, and covered in teeny-tiny white dots.

 Everyone went home with a cookie sampler plate.

 Mmmm...chocolate-covered cherry.

 Ponyo was pretty excited about all the food.

 Peach cobbler.


Of course, after everyone cleared out, I realized that all I'd eaten all day were cookies and cobbler...and also that "pastry party" is my new favorite euphemism for lesbian sex.

Edited to add: This post was featured on Offbeat Home, and there are some pretty fun conversations going in the comments. Check it out!

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