Chickens, oh my …

I like chicken a lot because chicken is generous – that is to say, it’s obedient. It will do whatever you tell it to do.  ~ Maya Angelou

Chicks2016This Spring we finally picked up four female chicken. There they are two Andalusian Blues and two Ameraucana. From left to right Pride, Sapphire, Cobalt, and Glory. Turns out Glory might be a rooster, we shall soon see.

We talked about it for a while, Suzy and I. We’d heard that chickens would keep insects at bay, chase away rats by eating everything in the backyard, fertilize and mow the yard for us and so much more. The book, A Chicken in Every Yard by Robert & Hannah Litt.

ChickenCoupOneOh goody, a project. Third big project for this summer 2016. So we purchased a coup. That was an adventure in itself. Suzy thought the first one was too small so we doubled it. Then I saw my neighbors and wanted one that we could walk into rather than kneeling down to change the water and such. We will be putting a new one together in August. One of our neighbors will get the old one. (Old as in 4 months old.)

Our little guys spent 6 weeks in the garage and now are so happy with the run of the backyard. They put themselves to bed (roost) every night around 7:30 PM and we lock the coup up to keep predators out. We let them out every morning around 7:30 AM. Glory (probably the guy rooster) crows in the morning to remind us. You can see a 30 sec video of them here:


My dad grew up with chickens in his backyard. When we told him that we often sit in the backyard, reading and such, that we love to watch the chickens. He said that he had never thought of sitting with the chickens in his parents backyard in Kansas. We are so happy with these pets that we will probably get 4 more next year.

PowerCleanerWe did buy a pressure cleaner to help us keep the chicken shit off of the patio. It is in keeping with our all electric or battery lawn toolage. No schlepping and storying fuel for us. It’s a very handy tool to have and I have some other plans for it too.

The chickens are inquisitive, happy to eat from our hands, run to us when we call them, and on occasion will follow us around the backyard. We hope to start getting eggs from them when they are old enough. The average we’ve been told is 2 to 3 a week per bird. Yum!

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Taken from a conversation on the senseless killings by the police of black people and the coming revolution …

Tess: So Stanley, what’s next? I wasn’t around for the 60s but what is the final catalyst for a complete and thorough revolution? I’m asking one of the smartest and well versed guys I know…

Stanley: The only answers I know are the eternal ones: to eschew fear and anger, and work daily to spread love and understanding. I am saddened to see so many succumb to the fear and anger stuff, but have never-ending optimism that over time the love and understanding will win, since they are the only true path.

“When you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out”

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Summer uke Project ~ Take One

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…” ~ Susan Polis Schutz

Some years ago I was called upon to recommend a ukulele for some cute girls from my sister Deb’s in-law side of the family. I ended up buying a nice LU-21P pineapple uke made by Lanikai. You can get a cheaper one in soprano size, but I wanted mine a little larger.

Pineapple-shaped body top, back, and sides are of nato wood, which is similar to mahogany construction, with a smooth rosewood fingerboard and bridge. It has geared tuners for precise tuning. A binding adds the finishing touch to the top. The distinctive pineapple 14″ scale length is in-between soprano (13″) and concert (15″).

Lanikai ukuleles apparently have great playability, sound, and aesthetics at a price that made it a slam dunk for me. This ukulele is strung with Aquila Nylgut Strings.


So this summer I am going to try to learn my first song, memorize it, and make it the one I always play. I selected “The Cowboy Song” that I first heard on Joe vs. the Volcano.

It only has two chords so that’s a start.

The Cowboy Song

Joe vs. the Volcano

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy

Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo

Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy

Under the [G]moon.

I was ridin’ my [G]horse

by the Rio Grand[D7]ee

and all o’ them coyotes singing

in a prairie [G]symphony.

I was ridin’ my [G]horse

down by the Rio Grand[D7]ee

when I seen me a cowboy, cowboy, cowboy,

ridin’ toward [G]me.

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy

Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo

Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy

Under the [G]moon.

He was twirling his [G]guns

And he had a gui[D7]tar

And we sang us up a sweet old

song about love

Under the [G]stars

Ee he o he-o [G]cowboy

Ee he o he-o [D7]oooo

Ee he o he-o cowboy, cowboy, cowboy

Under the [G]moon.


The song was written by John Patrick Shanley for the movie Joe vs. the Volcano. The strum pattern is up to you. A simple “down down up down down up” would work nicely, or even “down up down up” is okay too.

Listen for the chord changes. They’re fairly obvious, and learning where they come in is part of learning to play. But here’s a hint… listen for the change on the last syllable at the end of every other line in the lyrics.

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I called my brother Pete, the Luther to see if he had any easier chords to recommend for a beginner like me and he sagely said, give it time. He also recommended I learn this song next:

Right …

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Some More Kitty Pictures

There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats. ~ Albert Schweitzer

I was just on a friend’s blog site and enjoying yet another cat picture. What is it about these furry creatures, creatures who for the most part want to be left alone, that draws us to them. Sigh, just giving in …

CatzGlasses   CatzEyes2

catwalk    CatzEyes

Here are my top three reasons why Suzy and I have cats.

1. Suzy has never not had a cat. When I met her in high school she had Dharma, a Siamese catly so named by her brother. We are now on Dharma III. Of all her catz, the Dharma’s have been around her the most, sleep with her almost every night, and follow her like she was the mother ship.

2.  They purr. This weird rumbling soothes us when we’re melancholy, lulls us to a calm place when we’re frustrated and makes us smile even bigger when we’re happy. This simple built-in motor cats have will give any mood a tune-up.

3. They give you someone to talk to. Cats are some of the best conversationalists. Sometimes they just sit and listen; sometimes they speak up and give you their opinions on things. It’s nice to have someone around to always lend you a furry ear.

Be well my friends.

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Sax Pinkie Key Madness

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” ~ Bob Marley

Practicing for an upcoming concert and this little pinkie key run (at milepost 92) is kickin’ my hindermost. Still, it’s a lovely line, very moving.


Well, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Eh?

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YouTubeage Joy: The One O’Clock Lab Band Plays Yesterdays

Can’t stop playing against this. So many good ideas, multi-tones, edgy-ness, vibrato techniques, and just good sound. Expand the window to fill the screen, turn up your sound system. Listen to it a couple of times. Then grab your sax and fill …

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Maceo Parker – We Do This

Scott’s at it again and blowing us away with this transcription.


Since we lost Prince, I haven’t listened to anything else. It’s been very bittersweet to re-discover corners of his vast catalog that I had forgotten about!

This week has been all about the three-CD set “One Night Alone”. It features both Maceo Parker and Candy Dulfer prominently, so expect a bunch of solos from this set over the next month.

The thing I love about this set is how it shows Prince’s versatility. You don’t hear any synth-pop dance tracks. If you dropped the needle in random places, you’d might think it was a live P-Funk show. In fact, George Clinton makes an appearance on this track – re-uniting with his old sideman Maceo.

The solo is meat and potatoes Maceo – super funky and in the pocket over a slow, heavy groove. I’d love…

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