Am I hard enough? Am I rough enough? Am I rich enough?

Today it was suddenly quite hot and I was so grateful to my friend K.; she just sent me a box of clothes she’d sized out of including a simple, light, short-sleeved black cotton dress. I would have wilted without it, truly; I was hardly ready for the heat wave and the footwork I had to make – the dress was so much nicer than jeans. The garment also showcased more cleavage than I’ve ever bared publicly; I got a lot of thank yous for this. I sunscreened properly, no worries.

Earlier in the day I sold some things for taco money (I’m serious), bought my husband lunch and horchata. We wrangled a bit of additional cash to keep us in groceries.* And I brought my working friend an ice-cold Mexican sugar Coke, and I grabbed up some free and luscious yarn for another friend (through Freecycle).

Later in the day: now, I admit I’ll be a bit blue until I have my own working car, but driving back from Aberdeen in my mom’s truck with the windows down, benefitting from sunglasses (my husbands’ that he’d generously loaned me) and big swinging earrings and listening to the Rolling Stones (a guilty pleasure because I find many of their lyrics objectionable) and there was finally a breeze, and I felt pretty good just then, going home to family. Then sitting with friends while they had burger and fries and ice cream and my children ran around on the waterfront, then I followed Ralph and the kids home. I was driving the truck, they were on Ralph’s bike. I got to see how joyful and mobile they are on the bike (I usually can’t see because they’re behind me, natch). And that was just something else.

It was the first day of Summer, far as I’m concerned.

The kids were outside most the day, including a lot of time in the big plastic pool we bought last summer – I’m so glad we stored it and kept it mold-free. I’m not kidding, those kidlets were marathoning it out there. Ralph made homemade pizza and roasted broccoli and cauliflower while they played; they barely ate before zooming out again. By the end of a very rowdy and many-child jamboree, one neighbor kid called another a “fatty” so I gotta talk to them about that tomorrow (we had a great discussion with our kids about this).

Currently, I’m putting my feet up and my face in a book – and Ralph’s pulling homemade bread out of the oven and soaking black beans for tomorrow.

Life is good.

*

playing hookie

I have to mention, I had the greatest day with the kids on Friday. The night before I got up to looking up tide tables and weather for Taholah, and as it turned out everything was in order – and I had access to a vehicle, my mom’s truck. The kids and I had tacos for lunch, I paid a few bills in town with exact change Ralph left me in envelopes, and we drove directly north, destination Point Grenville. I hadn’t spent much time on the Quinault Reservation beaches since I was a little girl and my mother worked for the BIA; the trip ended up being a little nostalgic. We drove into Taholah proper to get a beach pass, asked for directions, and found ourselves on the most deserted and wild point with a fierce sea crashing at us.

And we just ran around. For hours.

Eden

Anemone Forest

Of Special Note

Squidly

Nels / ROCKETSHIP

#Minecraft

Cormorants

Seagrass

Volcanic Sand

Victory

Bundle

One Of Hundreds

The kids were hungry after all that climbing and dodging waves and tidepooling. I threw them in dry socks and shoes (and in Nels’ case, pants), then asked if they wanted to go to a “fancy” restaurant, salient point being perhaps you can’t take your footwear off nor crawl under the table. They were very excited by this and so we headed a few minutes south to the Ocean Crest, a restaurant I’d known of (as family friend Stephen had worked for some time) but never visited. I had no idea if they were reservation-only, or what to expect, or if things would work out in any way.

But it turned out to be one of those wonderful experiences, and an excellent and fulfilling meal. I had a crispy-fresh ceasar salad (even the anchovies on the side were first-rate) followed by a pasta dish with winter squash, goat cheese, brown butter, sage (some of it caramelized – delicious!), and truffle oil. You know the movie scene where someone takes a bite of a delectable dish and closes their eyes and flares their nostrils and looks transported? Whether it was from all the fresh air, all the beauty that had surrounded us, the excellent service, or the chef’s expertise – or likely, a combination thereof – this was my experience. Even the coffee was exactly right.

The kids had a wonderful meal too, and have been talking about it ever since.

At The Ocean Crest

At The Ocean Crest

Windy McBlowerson

I spent all but four dollars of our three-day grocery money on that meal and tip. But it was worth it. Not just because the food was such an exciting experience – and because I got to see Stephen on his next-to-last day after six years of passionate employment there – but mostly because the kids were Entirely. Thrilled. With the entire day, every minute. They gave me many grateful and grave “Thank Yous” and told me in explicit ways why I was an excellent Mama. After dinner we ran around on the windswept – and now, frankly, a little cold – beach, and then to Hoquiam and the arms of their father, who’d missed his typical experience: seeing them upon his arrival at home.

Riding In The Back

It’s not hard, not far to reach / We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach

Natural Beauty

This weekend included a cross-country interview (will post soon) as well as the composition of two articles I was rather satisfied with. Also, and more on my mind for healing properties: many sunny walks (one of them rather long, and involving salamander-catching along a slough), a bike ride, a trip out to the bay, and the meeting of, right-proper, new neighbors across the street. The seven, nine, and eleven year old children new to the neighborhood are already adhering quite quickly to my own kids. Today when Ralph and Nels and I came back from our grocery run we found Phoenix with one of our quilts, lying in the neighbor’s yard alongside her new friend L. In the sunshine, my daughter’s strawberry blonde hair shimmered like golden floss and it felt pretty damn good to think when she was ready she’d run in and grab lunch real-quick (chicken noodle soup, milk, and a banana) before running back out again, grass stains on her corduroys.

More touching than just about anything I’ve experienced in a while, my friend Dawn hosted us for lunch on Saturday and cooked for me – fried chicken (and chard, and potatoes). The kids and I brought homemade peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream (practice for Wednesday). All of it the food was delicious – I maintain there is no fried chicken to be found better than someone doing it out of their home, and Dawn did a great job. Besides my mother, I rarely get anyone homecooking for me, and it’s a wonderful treat.

Speaking of the kitchen, I’ve been baking a lot of chocolate cakes – and, just to be clear, I have more than one chocolate cake in my repetoire.Two sour cream Guinness stout cakes are currently cooling in my kitchen; these involved two cups of the beer and lots of good chocolate melted carefully and a cup and a half of sour cream and very very fresh eggs. One cake is for a friend; I borrowed her bundt pan to bake it right in there for her (I shall, of course, remove the cake and apply the chocolate ganache, and clean the pan before returning). Much like I’m so very into making baby buntings as of late, I would pretty much like to make chocolate cakes many times a week for people – and I do think mine are better than what you can get in any restaurant, coffee shop, or bakery ’round here. The price of dairy and chocolate being what it is, I can’t do so nearly as much as I’d like. Funny thing about baking is, I love to bake for other people but I hardly ever eat anything I bake. And another thing, I think the smells that fill my house are almost enjoyable for my family and guests as the food itself.

We are back down to not having a running car, and in fact will need to acquire a tow as Ralph miscalculated and believed he could have a few days’ more starting power in order to deliver it to the garage. Fingers crossed we can convince the garage to allow us to finance the repairs (tires and brakes plus, I suspect, betcha anything, glow plugs), because it’s pretty depressing to have two rotting cars laying fallow in the driveway.

But. I can’t do anything about any of that, really. So why worry?

Kids

Flats

Watermark

As I type, Nels runs out from the bath with a towel wrapped haphazardly around his wiggling, clean little body. “Freshly-baked buns, just for you,” he tells me, a joke he made up himself and repeats now and then because he knows how much I like it. I’m going to read to the children again tonight, the mines of Moria from The Fellowship of the Ring. Last time I read to Nels I was on the kidnapping of Frodo by a barrow-wight; my son’s eyes held huge and his mien quite serious as he listened to the resolution of that spooky chapter.

There are some things money can’t buy, and those are some of the best things. Good health, sunshine, an appreciation for the natural world. The love of other human beings and the love for them as well.

supermoon and sundays

KidArt

“I’m so bored,” I tell Ralph. “It’s so boring in this town. I can’t stand it. Anymore.”

My husband waggles his eyebrows: “There’s lovemaking.”*

“Yeah. Right. I can do that when I get home. After doing the other cool stuff.”

Here’s the thing, we’re at a school carnival on a Friday night. It’s 7:30 and the thing is packing up and people are yawning and stuff. Yes, 7:30 PM, not AM. Friday night. This is what I’m talking about. Is it any wonder I feel an intense resentment toward shops that leave their OPEN signs lit past hours? Every time, every damn time, I drive by and my heart leaps, maybe everyone isn’t asleep already and I’m the only one awake, maybe someone wants to party**. I mean I’ve felt that hopeful flutter when I see the erroneous neon even in a paint store, only to have it ritualistically smashed flat in the land of dashed hopes and dreams that is Aberdeen and surrounding area, WA.

Here at early-thirty the gala is fun enough for our kids: a series of impressively inane games designed to A. file parents past the book fair wares about fourteen times and B. encourage the kids to fill in letter-clues to a corporately-sponsored word-puzzle instructing them THEY SHOULD READ MORE. (For realz! The games are managed by high school students serving out community service time; in one room such a lass dumps a pile of things on the floor and the “game” is, return the things one at a time to a garbage bin. Don’t worry, all contestants “win”. “Win” a letter-stamp on the dictatorial reading word-puzzle.) Lest you think I’m being snotty let me point out our kids are having a lovely time and I’m enjoying talking with my husband (and yes, we bought a couple books to support the kids and teachers).

I’m also putting to the test my resolve since moving here in 2007: say “hi” to every person I recognize from my schooling years (there are a surprising lot of them), even if I don’t remember their names (there are a surprising lot of those, too – more about how my brain don’t work too good in a minute). In fact I chat up a perfectly cute dad (first-name A.) and talk to his young son then a heart-skipping beat later realize wait, did I have a one-night-stand with same here in west side in ’95? No, just another feller named A. who pretty much looked exactly like him. Harborite boys (now men): close-cropped hair, henleys and/or flannels, fairly-grabbable asses in Carhartt’s, cleanshaven (my husband on the other hand breaks all these conventions, especially in that his corduroy-clad ass is not merely grabbable but excellent).

I’m also in a bit of a panic because I just committed to having Ralph pack up every bit of my sewing accoutrement and put it into storage. I figure, given our “restaurant” enterprise, I’m not going to be sewing much in the near-near future. Secondly and more relevantly, we’ve decided to make good on my longstanding and relatively intense desire to have a proper studio, a place with enough room I can start projects; maybe even a facility where I can set up a few machines for people to make use on. This is sort of my current version of wildest-dreams (yeah that’s right, aim high sister!) and I’m not sure we’re going to be able to make it happen (in which case we will be moving my gear back home). It’s a scenario that has me a bit on edge; as does the lurching in my gut now as Nels races down the school hallway after his sister and I observe he’s due for a few new pairs of homesewn trousers and I realize my gear is (for now) unattainable! Horrors.

On our way out of the carnival the kids pick up second-corporation-sponsor coupons and we head out into the night. It’s beautiful out: wet but warm, spring thawing the darkness. We’re on foot and as we walk Phoenix falls silent; cracks into her latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book to read in the gloaming. I put my hand in Ralph’s and we make our way through the near-full-moonlight to home and a late dinner cooked from scratch.

***

Casa Mia

With the kids, preparing and eating food and we’re trying to come up with a menu item, and I ask, What’s a kind of food that begins with ‘v’?  And I struggle a bit and a beat later just as I semi-trumphantly stammer out “vegetable” Nels smiles and says, “victuals”. Then it’s a word for “tasty” that begins with an “S”. Again, I got nothing. “Scrumptious”, says my daughter calmly.

Yeah, I know. Kelly Hogaboom = “Jeremy’s…  iron”. To be fair, I’ve been severely limiting my brain with the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism for the work and stress I’ve experienced in raising and caring for children. So yeah, they might look come off rather well on paper, but let’s remember who got them there and at what price.

* using sexiful voice

** “party”, meaning drink coffee and talk directly out one’s ass while sitting on a couch somewhere

The Bay

¡feliz cumpleaños!

Birthday Party Morning

Yesterday Phoenix woke up, recieved a custom-tailored hot dog for breakfast, then was hustled through washing up and dressing and out the door for a swim party. Directly after that she was whisked to my mother’s for a birthday / piñata / dance party / cake and ice cream / costume contest and ended her evening staying all night with Grandma and up until about 4 AM reading.

Definition of happy memories, methinks.

Piñata

I Don't Think You're Ready For This Jelly

It was an old school Kelly Hogaboom party, in that I had many friends from many different corners of my life Рthirteen children and sixteen adults, including a few out-of-town guests. I was weirdly exhausted from all this, but happy to see our friends. Between a few of us Рmost notably my mother, brother, friend Amore, and I, we put a fair bit of work into the party. My brother created an amazing pi̱ata (the turtle, pictured above, filled with copious amounts of rather posh candy) and Amore brought some extra-special food.

Lineup

We also had a wee costume contest with prizes, and goodie bags for the kids.

(My little Gulper Eel:)

Gulper Eel

Friendly

So let’s see, okay for food, we had chile and cheese tamales (with all the fixings), frijoles refritos, fresh chips, pan de los muertos, bean salad, “beefy” taco dip (everything was vegetarian so you know, not really “beef”), banana pudding, a jack, chile and corn cake, and Mexican rice with peas and coconut oil. Amore’s birthday cake and some Breyer’s Natural Vanilla ice cream rounded out the aggressive amounts of chow.

Cake

Then there was a Dance Party which mostly involved Ralph, Shannon and I being way too into it (by other people’s standards anyway – & yes… we were sober) and a long chat with Jasmine, who arrived home early from work.

At the end of the evening – when I finally left my mother’s and all was calm and the party had been cleaned up (my mom, husband, and I share this compulsion) – I kissed my daughter goodbye and asked her, “Did you have a good party?” She looked up and me and smiled the most genuine, warm smile and said, “It was great.”

So, that worked out pretty well.

***

Today I stumbled out of the bedroom for a quick cup of coffee then an afternoon with our out-of-town overnight guests, Cynthia and her two dogs. Along with Nels and Ralph, we took a walk on the flats thanks to the sunny weather (Phoenix was at my mom’s, having stayed the night and reading Harry Potter hardbacks like a machine). Nels took a shovel and did some digging for precious gems.

Lineup

I’ve pretty much got the beauty of Hoquiam in my bloodstream.

The Flats

After lunch I crashed. I’m frankly disappointed in my low energy, but it seems it can’t always be helped. Today I took the opportunity to watch a classic B-movie which cheered me up more than just about anything else. Lovely, earthy Anne Francis! Leslie Nielsen in an Orlon jumpsuit! Mansplainy science! A sassy fucking robot! Lasers and monsters of the Id!

My heart was also glad at the sunshine, the cold but springy smell of the greenery, and Nels working along in the backyard (note SEKRET CAT!).

Mining

It was a good weekend.

(Do click for Ralph’s panoramic work):

The Bay

farmer maggot’s mushrooms

11th Annual Fish, Farm, & Forest Tour! My little family, and a bunch of much, much older other people!

Slightly Carsick

I do not have a problem with older people. Some of my best friends are senior citizens.* I do slightly resent a publicized “family-friendly” activity designed with about zero consideration for small children. The small children there – our Nels, and the sole-other young family P.’s two little ones – nevertheless had a good time together (in part because we moms missed some of the adult-activities to play outside on tractors etc).

Beauty

The tour was great and opened my eyes to the almost 500 farms in our county.  We visited an oyster farm, a cranberry bog (this was seriously interesting!), a ranch with a presentation on forest management and their sustainable forage farm paired with pulp industry operations (I had to miss this for abovementioned reasons), and a fish hatchery. My favorite was the oyster farm. Ironically (or probably not, I am not so good at identifying irony) even though I’ve lived here off and on for many years I learned more about oyster farming from an episode of “Dirty Jobs” than living alongside such endeavors. Saturday I learned a tiny bit more while other tour participants gobbled up grilled and smoked bivalves.

Oyster Seeding Demonstrated

Oyster Seeding Demonstrated

Oyster Seeding Demonstrated

The tour was also a bit disturbing because many aspects were completely and unflichingly pro ag-business; independent farms (like the one we support) were not mentioned nor was there much mention of what I’d consider the future of food – local, decentralized ownership and smarter, less chemical- and process-intensive practices (such as the raw milk movement – although it’s always funny to me when we go back to principles quite established in human experience it’s called a “movement” or “trendy”)**.

As a bonus at one point one fellow got up and started talking logging history (gee, living here twenty-five years of my life I’ve never heard any before! P.S. we have entire MUSEUMS dedicated to this and in-county not one Native American museum I know of) and before long he was using strong language to condemn the environmental movement, which he said is completely controlling everything in forest and fishery managment. He got very upset talking about this lovely boss he’d had and the beautiful shiny log trucks that used to be in the now-empty lot. These fellows often speak in terms of decades – the time a logging business existed. I understand the pain that’s been lived in my community and I live and breathe this reality (and I completely loathe the over-simplified charicatures of residents in this area as knuckle-dragging rednecks – as I do worldviews of “progressives” who pretend they do not live off the backs of the US working class and the overseas slave class). Seventy years of a logging operation now gone, very sad, it really is. So is killing off wildlife species, and whatever happened to those Native cultures that lived here for not decades but – guess how long? No, guess. 10,000 years. I don’t second-guess nor criticize the anguish of those suffering our long-standing bottomless economy legacy – I only wish for a little more of that seasoning called Perspective.

So the trip was really awesome but it was also kind of the story of white guys just trampling and eating everything they see.

We saw some lovely mushrooms. This little one was about the size of a quarter.

Tiny Mushroom

We saw her brothers and sisters nearby – larger than dinnerplates, but with this classic toadstool shape. Nels and I were really into these big mushrooms.

The weather was that breathtaking misty shroud which turned into a soft rain.

Oops

More mushrooms: today’s lunch, the chanterelle (sautéed in butter and garlic), avocado, and (local raw milk aged) goat cheese sandwich. Awwww yeah.

September 27th, 2010

Today I worked very hard on sewing (I hope to post awesome pictures very soon!), helped the new indie bookstore brick-and-mortar operation move some shelves, cooked for everyone which meant about five or six extra kids running in and out (food included crumpets with whipped cream and preserves and, for dinner, a lentil, sausage, rice, carrot, potato and spinach stew; it was entirely gratifying to see several children devour this with much gusto***), then went for a late-night spooky and dark run (so spooky I had to call Ralph and ask if he’d come escort me – like a total hero he did!).

Lovely fall times.

Cow-Handlin'

* This was a bad joke. I’m sorry. Read comment #1 & #5 for clarification. Thanks commenter lizzie for (indirectly) bringing it to my attention.

** There was however a lot of discussion of home gardens and the tour leader Don Tapio just about floored us with his knowledge on most every ag-product subject you could imagine.

*** “That’s the best thing you’ve ever made,” my daughter tells me just now as I type.

stuff we’ve been up to

My husband is making a drum machine. But not like you might think. Like a physical drum set that is beat upon by a robot. A robot he powers from a MIDI-sequencer and arduino and hand-built circuit and solenoids. I’m not even making this up. It took a while for his friends and admirers to catch on he’s actually building a goddamn amazing robot and after he’s done with this maybe I’ll tell him to build another one to terrify the hell out of you mere mortals.

Robo-Drummer

Brilliant Man

I made a pair of pants for Phoenix that were PERFECT in every detail. Here’s a picture of the pocket bags. Yeah I know. You stitchers want to punch yourself in the crotch that this is the INSIDE of the pants and looks so good (I am feeling cocky and all about the CAPS LOCK tonight). You’ll be seeing the rest of the pants soon enough. For now, weep at the preview of awesomeness.

Pocket Bag

I cooked down all our extra CSA veggies yesterday (and we had a lot) and made a resultant slow-cooked organic veggie puree and froze it in batches and gave one batch to my mom and used a batch in tonight’s dinner and will be making up some soup this week (for my SOUPTAKER daughter) and have a little more besides. Tonight’s dinner was amazing, because I have finally hit on the perfect spaghetti and meatballs recipe and it’s good every time. We had my mom over to share and she baked brownies and covered them with Tillamook vanilla ice cream. I haven’t had any dessert yet because I’m still recovering from MEATBALLS AND RED PEPPERS.

August 8th, 2010

Our kittens found another place to perch, prairie-dog, and sleep. When the living room carpet is entirely dry from shampooing THIS rug will be rolled back out and they’ll have to take their shady business somewhere else.

ON THE RUN

Also: bike rides, friends over for music recording and talking and tea, lunch date with my husband, many snuggles, my son sneaking under the covers to the bottom of the bed last night to gently massage my feet and then pop his blonde head up and smile at me, my daughter opening her eyes first thing this morning and saying dreamily, “The nights go by so quickly…”

Good times this weekend.

just like Loverboy used to sing

My husband is working four ten-hour days during the summer weeks (which will likely end in the fall, when I teach classes at the college two nights a week) so now, Thursday night, our weekend is suddenly upon us. The depressed / anxious / stressed persona of my spouse the last week or so has lifted this evening, and I’m not sure why.  It could be the end of the work week; it could be the effort I put into our chickens and their coop yesterday (which Ralph had felt was being neglected).  It could be rehearsal with his band today preceded by dinner of filet de beouf poele with sauteed mushrooms, glazed carrots, sliced orange tomato – and no dinner cleanup. It could be all the hard work he put into making t-shirts, CDs and CD cases – with a fair bit of help from a very talented friend – resulting in a tidy little pile of merchandise that he will distribute in the most awesome Creative Commons methodology that is his hallmark (can you tell on some levels I really l ike the guy?).

Regardless, I am happy to have him back to being a bit more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Tomorrow we are sojourning out to Helsing Farm’s sleepover and music festival for a bit of sun, river play, great food, and music. Saturday heralds The Redbird Fever’s first show at an HQX bar called Stiffy’s; I’m not sure if I’m going (it’s 21-and-over and I haven’t sussed out somewhere for the kids to be).

Tonight: collapse into bed with a good B-movie and some rather sleepy kids.

maybe it’s just the weather talking, but oh what a beautiful morning!

There have been so many fun things about this weekend, so many successes and little adventures. I missed my husband but I had such a wonderful time with my children and our friends. Looking back I think it all started Friday afternoon when at the Deli I looked up to see my daugther all sunlight in a summer dress, running through the door and telling me breathlessly she got her new violin.

Yesterday was spent almost entirely out in the sun with another family, biking, hiking, and later: ice cream. Cycling through town and waving to and talking with the many people I know. Nels hugging me behind me on the bike, a steep steep hill up and up and up and then whoosh down, along the river. Stopping at places in the neighborhoood and listening to crazy coots rant about this and that. After getting home in the cooling evening, I cooked up some more.

Today: peaches and cream for breakfast; homemade bagels with cream cheese. A cross-town bike ride to pick of a 10 year old friend of the kids’. Returning with the three children and catching chickens, putting them out in the tractor and watching their contended, fussy little dirt baths. Our guest had an interest in making crackers, hardboiling eggs. I rolled the cracker dough (herbs from our garden) and the kids cut, pricked, and applied an egg wash. Serving the kids on their own little table in the sunny living room.

This evening, dinner with a friend. Organic red wine, Italian fare, rocky road ice cream. Good conversation with an impressively smart, calm, and lovely young lady.

Slow food all weekend. So many things in and out of the oven: bagels, cheese and herb crackers, baguette, rhubarb pies. All-day marinara sauce, mushrooms poached in wine and broth.

As a parent we plan so many things for our children to enjoy and they are not so enthusiastic. But tonight it is not so. I tell the kids we’re heading up the coast tomorrow for a hike. “Is daddy going to come?” they ask. “Yes,” I tell them. Nels proceeds to pack his backpack despite my protestations: extra shirt, water, all of my jewelry (wtf?), and a little bead of his own that he loves. “My julie,” he says, “you know.” (Jewelry. I always mean to record Nels’ pronunciations. In rotation this weekend were “owarvies” [ovaries] and “ruff” [roof]).

The house is clean; laundry done, kitchen neat as a pin, kids room tidied and my sewing room mopped and ready for the next time I can get away.

Ralph calls this evening from the last bit of his recording session in Seattle. He is pleased with how his hard work went. I can’t wait to hear his recordings. My mom calls: she is back from Mexico in So. Cal. She’s bringing me a new car when she drives up.

Kids are in bed reading and awaiting my return to bed; we will watch another old B-movie together. Maybe we’ll still be awake when Ralph rolls in – likely not.

It’s been a truly incredible, busy, blessed, amazing weekend.

a study in tiny fluffy insignificance

Stealth Mission
These chicks party all night then suddenly sleep at the same time. I tried to sneak up on them and snap a picture – but they’re light sleepers. So I inched forward imperceptibly for several minutes. One would lift it’s head up and cock an eye and I’d halt. Then it’s eye would get sleepy and it would slowly, slowly lower it’s beak to the straw. Unfortunately the digital camera we borrowed makes a tiny sound right before it clicks the shot – thus some of them are stirring in this picture. I wish I had a picture of them beaks-out. It’s just ridiculous.

As evidenced by Ralph’s initial criminal lineup, we’ve had these little guys (and gals) for just over a week and they’ve grown enormously! In an act Ralph compared to N. Korea’s nuclear testing bravado, this morning one of them flew up to the edge of the box and perched there momentarily.

(names: Striker, Swayze, Snow White, Guinevere, Peeperton)