Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RIP Spike

Our wonderful and beloved bearded dragon died last night.   He was my son's first pet, his own dragon that he got for his birthday.  Spike was his name and he was great.   Gage could get him out of the cage and walk around with him on his shoulder.   Spike would calmly sit on Imogen's lap.   He would slowly close his eyes, with a look of pleasure when you stroked his head just right.  This was my first reptile as well and I was really surprised by how personable he was.  Unfortunately, we were just getting to know him.

Spike seemed perfectly fine yesterday, he ate and pooped and sat on Imogen's lap.  He was his usual self.

I am thankful that we took some pictures yesterday, his last day.  I am sad that he is gone.  We will miss our little Spikey as he was so lovingly called by my children.  Good bye Spikey, rest in peace.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Miracle Moment

We had a, or perhaps THE miracle moment this morning at kindergarten drop-off.  Every morning Gage would start to feel anxious and squirmy in the back seat when we were about half-way on our 10 minute drive to school.  He would look around and determine from the surroundings that we were getting close, confirming that we were going to school and he would begin to announce his hatred of school.  He had a stomach ache, he didn't want to go "I hate school" - this would continue, even accelerate as we got closer and closer to school.  Every morning felt so ominous, so hard.  I would get nervous as he did and struggled to stay positive, reminding him of all of the fun things about school.  We would finally get there, those last 5 minutes of our drive being a living hell, and make our way to the playground.  We had one final hug before I pulled his clinging arms from around my neck, picked up Imogen and walked as quickly as possible back to the car.  Both of us crying.

However, today was different.  Today was amazing!  Simply amazing.  There was no anxiety on the way to school, no internal struggle in the back seat.  We got to school and he didn't fight getting out of the car, he simply got out.  We made our way towards the playground, the drop-off area.  We got to the entrance, Gage turned to me and said "Bye mom".  Bye mom, just that, nothing else.  He said it with confidence and clarity, with no teacher around to hold him back from following me out.  Just "Good Bye Mom".  So I bent down gave him his last hug, handed over his lunch and watched my son walk into the play ground.  He never looked back once.  He moved to a couple of different friends and said hello.  He walked with confidence, he had found his place.  He was there and himself, his whole self without me and my heart was soaring.  I watched my little man do exactly what I always knew he could do.   As I observed his confidence I felt mine begin to trickle back.  All of my pondering over my decision, began to soften.  My insecurity and constant internal battle softened, began to dissolve as I watched him go.  With his confidence, mine could return as well.

Looking back I realize this shift started yesterday after school.  When Gage got into the car his demeanor was very different and he said "I had a lot of fun at school today".  I was shocked, ecstatic and hesitant to make that simple statement into too big of a deal.  Apparently it was as big of a deal as I had hoped, in a very good way.

 As well I understand that every day may not go so smoothly, but I feel good about it all.  I can be in the process now without doubt or hesitation.  I get to see my son grow up and be all who he is - how lucky I am.

Friday, September 16, 2011

New from kindergarten

Well school is going better.  Both Gage and I are shifting into this new stage of life with less and less resistance each day.  Most mornings are still a struggle, but we have found a way to just be in the struggle, to ride the wave of this monumental moment.

I am truly enjoying all of the drawings and books he is bringing home.  These little gifts make the stumbling worth while.  My favorite is the rainbow song.  I flipping' love watching him sing this song.  I thought you might enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clingy Mother?

So is this what I have become?  The clingy, needy mother.  The one who won't let go?  I say I will let go, I believe I will when he is ready.  I say over and over to all who will listen that my son needs me, that I will not stand for his mental anguish.  I am his mother and I am a grizzly bear of a mother, so I will fight in any way that he needs.  So I keep him safe, I protect him.  I raise my children in the attachment style of parenting.  We have shared beds, long term nursing and complete motherly love.  In the hopes of creating independent children I provide them with a rock that will always be there, the mother who they never have to crave.  I realize that I am partial, but this method has produced two really great kids.  So it seems that in many ways this style, these choices have been effective in raising or supporting two incredible people.

But now my son is starting kindergarten, has started kindergarten, and it is not going well.  He is having a hard time with the detachment, separation from his ever present mother.  Many of the other children are having the same problem, all boys.  The girls just seem to handle it better, even crave it.  But when it happens to my son it is different.  And I look at him in his sadness and despair and I know that I can not do this to my baby.  That I will not force him into a situation that he is not ready for.  I, his attachment mother, will protect and save him.  Keep him in my safe circle of love and support that he has experienced since birth.  And be a good mother.  If he is not ready for school, he is simply not ready and I can wait until he is.

Than we had the meeting with his teacher and we talk and we converse and she demonstrates kindness and thoughtfulness and an appreciation for the fact that it is our decision.  Than she talks about how she thinks he is ready and how he can benefit from school and what she expects from our young son.  As she explains her classroom style and expectations I realize this is exactly what I was looking for.  I wanted it to be 3 days a week rather than 5, but this is what I wanted for Gage.  Lastly she explains that my reaction is going to create or exacerbate his.  That I have to make a decision and feel confident about the situation,  for him to feel safe and secure.  Again, as the mother it is back on me.  His extreme emotional reaction to separation has to do with my indecision about him being in kindergarten.

Motherhood seems to be a constant act of hitting the refresh button.  You have to know when to let go, when to hold on, when to protect them and when to allow them their own struggles.  To allow them to begin their path toward becoming the independent person they are.  To watch and let them suffer and/or struggle and know that it is what is best for them.  It seems to be such a contradiction.  So unnatural.

So I sit and ponder.  My two sides converse and I release again how hard it is to be a mother.  I have created an environment where I am always available for my children, always loving them and being there for them.  I believe that this is an incredible way to parent and it has worked wonderfully for me.  But I am now in the stage of letting go, of letting them experience their own struggles and joys.  I have heard many quotes about mother hood, the one that means the most to me states "motherhood is like living with your heart on the outside of your body".  At some point you have to let them strike off on their own.  For some mothers it is simply letting go of their adventurous, fearless child.  Just letting go, and hoping their parachute opens :).  For others, it takes a little more.   It takes making the immense leap from wrapping them in your warm embrace to pushing them out the door, sometimes even against their will.

It sounds so violent, so wrong.   But I watch as he almost asks for it.  He needs my permission to let go of me, to let go of our incredibly intimate, close relationship and to begin his own adventures in this world.  What I am beginning to understand is that I have to let go first, which is the hardest thing in the world to do.  Because I don't want to let go, I would love to keep our closeness and friendship the way it is now.   But that would be unfair, that would stunt him and our relationship.  I love him too much for that.

So I let go.  And in doing so I let him know he is capable and safe as himself, by himself.   And that I will still always be here.  I will hold our space, I will keep it warm forever.  This will never change.  I open myself up to a whole new place of vulnerability and insecurity as my heart begins to beat on the outside.   Because I am a mother there is something in me that can allow me to continue living and loving with that main, vital organ on the outside.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Great Granola Taste Test

It all began with a conversation about granola.  My friend Crystal and I were discussing how much we loved granola and how expensive it is.  The major ingredient in granola is oatmeal and plain old bulk oatmeal is about $.80 a pound.  You can buy it buy the bushel for next to nothing.  But if you want to buy granola, it is incredibly expensive.  You are looking at prices that range from $10 to $20 a pound.  After this discussion, Crystal and I both began to rave about our current granola recipes that we make at home.   So hmmm maybe we should have a taste test, a taste off of sorts between our recipes.

The great granola taste off was born between two bloggers with a passion for granola.  Here is Crystal's blog post http://thekitchenmba.com/diy-granola-taste-off/ and her recipe Frog Hollow granola recipe.  Here is my granola recipe easy does it granola.

Crystal and I than handed off samples of our granola to a few friends to taste and give their comments on our blogs.  Stay tuned to see what they say.

Now for my own input.  Both granolas are fantastic and there are aspects of each that I really like.  The Frog Hollow recipe is made with oil and honey, that mixture makes for much chunkier granola, which I love!  I love big chucks of granola that you eat with your hand.  This granola also had less dried fruit and nuts, making it mostly honey/oil soaked oatmeal toasted to perfection.  Yummy.  My granola is made from butter and honey.  Two of the greatest things on earth.  Basically you can not go wrong when you melt some butter add a little honey - combine this to anything and it will be fantastic!  That being said I am still stuck on the flavor of my honey and butter mixture, but it lacked the chunkiness that I so desire.  I like the added dried fruit and nuts, but also missed the simple granola with less additives.  My granola is better as a cereal, eat it with milk in the morning. Crystal's granola is a yummy snack to have around and eat by the handfuls.  I will be making both in the near future.  Maybe I will try the Frog Hollow recipe, but use butter instead of the oil.  Hmmm, now that is an idea.

Try them both yourself, they are both relatively easy to make and spread some samples around to your friends to do a taste test of your own.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Garden Harvest

We are having a spectacular summer here in Sonoma County.  We have stretches of hot weather to help our gardens along, intermixed with days of coastal fog in the morning following by 78 degree sunny afternoons.  The summer coasts along, or shall I say flies along and we are beginning to enjoy the bounty of our garden.

In our back yard we have two pluot trees, a white nectarine tree, two cherry trees, a pomegranate tree, an apple tree, blackberry vines, a raspberry patch, strawberries, rhubarb and blueberry bushes.  As well as a large seasonal vegetable garden.  This year we have tomatoes, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, summer and winter squash galore, cucumbers, egg plant and peppers.

I love to watch my children wander through the yard, picking whatever appeals to them, often unripe fruit seems suitable.  They are covered in blackberry, strawberry and tomato juice daily.

My daughter prefers to gather her harvest, pull up her chair and sit back and enjoy her bounty.  Sometimes she follows up her garden snack with a little yoga.

All of the blooming vegetable plants have attracted  many humming birds to our yard.  They perch upon the tomato cages and flick out their long tongues.  I love to watch the humming birds and I am enjoying how comfortable they are with us this year.  The vegetable garden is surrounded with flowering herbs, my favorite is Bee Balm.

For a moment we get to sit back and enjoy the beginnings of harvest.  We have forgotten all the work we did in Spring to make it happen and we have not yet begun to experience the craziness of full harvest.  Canning, drying, freezing.  We are in between some busy stages and enjoying it.


I have finally put all of my chickens together and everyone is getting along.  We have a fairly large space, so that makes living together easier.  The chicks, well more like pullets, get chased a little.  But over all every one seems to be getting along.  Whenever I look out at the chicken yard I see my big 4 girls hanging out together and the pullets a safe distance away, in the periphery.

We took baby steps, with our introductions.  My first introduction attempts invoked a ghastly sound of bloody murder from Minnow the lead hen.  She wanted to kill those chicks badly.  Luckily I was smart enough to introduce the chicks safely behind a fence, so the desired killing did not occur.  I kept the babies in their own pen away from view of the big girls for about 3 weeks. They seemed safest there.

I kept taking time to introduce them over and over to the big girls through the fence.  Minnow's bloody scream diminished into an angry, aggressive cackle, wew.  I really did not want to hear the killing scream again, it was rather disturbing.  At one point during these minnie social events it became clear the two lower hens Bolder and Cookie had no issue with the chicks. So I stuck the chicks in with them and pulled out Yoko and Minnow and all was good.  Baby steps.

Second, I built a pen for the chicks inside the chicken run.  So the big and little girls could get used to each other on a daily basis.  The chicks were coming closer to being pullets daily, they seemed big enough to get picked on and avoid death.  The big girls were initially up in arms, making a raucous and running around like crazy. Changing their territory caused a lot of excitement and perhaps a bit of stress.  At least it eliminated the boredom factor from their simple chicken lives for a couple of days.

Of course I had a lot of help from my backyard barnyard children.

Lastly we have a comfortable, content flock with two new additions.

No blood, or dead chickens as can happen when you make additions.  No severe stress to my current flock or the young birds.  Everyone is OK.  Of course there may be some bickering that will happen when the chicks, Elizabeth and Flower get older and feel the need to establish themselves into a higher position in the flock.  I will deal with that as it comes.

Baby steps and giving the chickens time to adapt to the change.  Change is hard for chickens and adding new members even harder.  A little time and patience made for a mild and painless change.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

slugs, snails & two black widows

Gage and I went on a slug and snail hunt a few days ago.  This is an activity that we do often.  The snails in our yard are constantly munching on our garden and the slugs love our strawberries.  So we hunt.  Sometimes we hunt at night when they become active, but we have found greater success in hunting during the day.  Finding their day time hiding spots and doing some massive killing.

I don't like to kill things, particularly snails because they are so darn cute!  But when your garden is decimated year after year, losing so many plants and partially ripe squash that it is hardly worth gardening, you decide that killing is necessary and come to terms with it.  So hunting we went.

Now with our chickens our hunts have taken on an entirely different spin.  We hunt to feed our chickens, give them protein for our eggs.

We found so many snails and slugs and hand fed them to the girls, they were in heaven.   When we moved onto the wine barrels, we had to come up with a new technique.  When we tipped over the wine barrels there were so many slugs and snails I did not feel like picking off all of those slimy bodies and hand feeding them.  So we gathered up Yoko, our best scavenger and brought her over to the wine barrel and let her do the picking.

Yoko went crazy and ate all of the slugs, snails, earwigs and pill bugs - picking each barrel clean of pests.  When we picked up the second barrel there were two black widows hiding out with the slimy slugs.  Lickity-split Yoko ate the spiders and everything else.  One of the black widows was a very large female with an egg sac.

Our little chickens eat our daily scraps, provide nutrient rich manure for our compost/garden, eliminate the slugs and snails in our garden with a vengeance and remove dangerous pests from our yard.  Just for that they are worth their food costs.  Low and behold they provide wonderful, nourishing eggs for my family as well.    I love my chickens!

New additions

We decided to add a few more chickens to our flock.  Four eggs a day simply isn't enough for our family and we love the idea of having more chickens.  Two little girls now call our yard home.  Our dear friend Lynn picked them up from Western Farm Supply when she got 5 chicks for her family.  Lynn needed to get more chicks as all of her chickens were eaten by a raccoon.   Yes, apparently a predator proof chicken coop really is necessary.

Lynn raised our chicks with her own for 6 weeks (thank you Lynn!).  Now we have them.  They are giant Cochins, the ones with the feathered feet.  Gage named them Elizabeth and Flower.  They are growing quickly, but far too small to join our flock.

I have introduced them to the flock slowly with a fence between them, and Minnow our top hen wants to kill them.  I don't mean she wants to peck them or chase them around, she wants to kill them and she has tried.  She puffs up her neck, spreads out her wings and makes a noise that is something between and growl and a scream - ready for the attack.

So, the chicks live in their own pen with a a little coop I borrowed from a friend and neighbor.  When they get a little bigger, around 3 months I will built them a pen inside the current chicken pen for a couple of weeks and then begin introductions with the big girls.  If Minnow is still trying to kill them, she will live in the chick pen on her own for a couple of days or weeks, however long it takes her to chill out.  Then one night all of the chickens will be stuffed into the big coop at night to wake up together and I hope to find a cohesive and friendly flock the following morning.  :)   That is one old-school secret to adding birds to your flock.  Stick the new chickens into the coop at night when everyone is in and roosting.  The theory is they wake up thinking the new chickens are members of the flock and accept them.  This does not work 100% time, particularly if you are adding younger birds. I will let you know how it goes with my flock.  The one thing I do know about roosting birds is they are incredibly docile.  Once a chicken goes to sleep for the night or even as they get ready for sleep they calm down, settle in and let go.  I hope they can keep that calmness first thing in the morning as well.

Adding chickens to your established flock can be rough.  Take your time, be creative and try to understand chicken flock social dynamics and home turf mentality.  Always try to add bird of approximately the same age or size, young chicks added to a flock will most likely be killed.  Lastly keep your fingers crossed.

Beaver Island

We took a wonderful, busy family trip back to the midwest.  I say back, because I am originally from Iowa.  A midwest transport to California.  And I say busy because we were on the move for most of the vacation.  We flew into Milwaukee, where my brother and his two children and my mom picked us up in a large passenger van they had rented in Iowa.  We stayed a night in Milwaukee where I lived for 6 years and enjoyed lake Michigan.  It was however, far too cold to swim.  They were having a very cold, late spring in the midwest

Than off we went north, around lake Michigan.  We drove for 4 hours and made our first stop in Escanaba, MI.  The upper peninsula of Michigan is a truly beautiful place.

After one night we were of through the Upper Peninsula over Mackinaw bridge to the small town of Central Lake, Michigan where my lovely cousin Liz lives.

She has a son, Max who is one day younger than Imogen and she is pregnant with her second baby, due in October.  We rested a night or two with her and than we were off to the main attraction Beaver Island.  The lovely Beaver Island in Lake Michigan.

We woke up early so we could get on the ferry by 7am, with all of our gear, the van and all of those children. The ferry ride is about 3 hours, some of us slept, some just ran around.  It was incredibly cold when you were outside, so we all had to take breaks inside to warm up.

Beaver Island is a mysterious, wonderful place.  A fairly large island that hosts a year round population of 500 and survives on summer tourism.  My aunt once owned a restaurant on the island, where I waitressed for a summer in college and now owns a cabin on Fox lake, one of the small inland lakes on the island.

We stayed on the island for 3 days.  Enjoying the family, kids, water and other amusements of the island.  We fished, we walked among the legions of mosquitoes (they use 25% deet bug repellent) and visited some of the interesting locales in town - like the toy museum.

Than it was time to leave.  There is always a sadness when leaving Beaver Island.  Somehow, in only that short visit I felt connected again, wanting to stay longer.   When my aunt was telling the story about finding the island for the first time, she said that she cried when she left the island.  After that first visit, she was hooked.  I completely understand that feeling, there is a life on the island, something that I am so attracted to.

Despite my sadness, it was time to go.  So we boarded the ferry again, and waved good bye to the beautiful island that housed us for those three short days.  Bye-bye Beaver Island.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Our little Charlotte waits.  She waits patiently by her well spun egg sac for her little babies to hatch.  Every time we look she is the same place, waiting.

For a moment I thought she had died because she was always in the same place.  But the next morning I saw she had a new web, freshly spun and beautiful.  So she waits quietly, in her own pre-baby stillness.  Moving at night to spin a new web or wrap up a flapping insect.  Than moving back to guard her babies, to watch over her little ones as the sun passes over them all.

Watching her, in what seems her unending patience, reminds me of waiting for my first baby.  Of course my baby was on the inside and there was only one.  But it seems similar, the waiting.  Those last months and weeks seem so long as you grow heavier.  Spending sleepless nights thinking of the new person coming into the world, so excited to meet him/her.   Waiting.

So our little Charlotte waits and she teaches me patience, as I long to meet her little ones as well.  I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to do the waiting game more than once.  Where Charlotte will see these many babies into the world and than she will leave it.  Patiently waiting.

To nap or not to nap . . .

My 4 1/2 year old son is traveling through some tiring times.  I talk with other moms about this current crazy faze and most of them, particularly the moms with older children confirm that this is normal.  Something they have experienced as well.  Some of these moms have 5 children, so I am comforted by their affirmations.

As we struggle through this faze, this development, whatever you would like to call it.  I am finding that Gage needs more sleep than ever.  His exhaustion is all consuming and definitely adds to the "developmental struggle" :)   But we have also found that naps don't necessarily help.  When he naps he is up until 9pm and than we begin the cycle.  Up until 9pm, therefor needs a nap - blah, blah, blah.  So my approach is to push him through those saggy, tired moments and carry on.  Make it to 7:30pm and he goes right to bed, sleeping pretty soundly.

I do however, make exceptions as we always do in parenting.  Because some times the nap just happens to him.  It just takes him over the moment motion stops.  He is barreling around the house and happens to sit down for a moment and boom he is asleep.  He is wresting and swinging himself crazy at the playground, gets into the stroller to go home and boom he is asleep.  So those moments come and I try to take a deep breath and go with it.  Some times ya just gotta sleep.  

Just yesterday was one of those moments.  Around 4pm, the worst time to take a nap, Gage pauses for a moment (and I mean a moment) in his destruction of the house.  And a nap jumps up and grabs him.  I blink and see this upon the couch.

It's official the keeping him awake game is over, so I take a deep breath and move on.  Gage has fallen asleep on the couch, Imogen and I keep playing and I began making dinner within an arms breath of him and he sleeps through it all.  An hour and a half after crashing on the couch he sits up as though startled, looks at me and I think maybe this nap has come to an end.  But instead he slouches down and spends another hour and a half like this.

This nap, that I attempted to post pone lasted 3 hours.  3 hours.  That is quite possibly the longest nap Gage has ever taken.  He woke up a changed person, well-rested, happy and cordial.  That night we tried to get him to bed on time, to no avail.  He was awake until 9:30pm and the cycle continues.  Ow well, it was so wonderful to see him sleep so deeply, so completely and to see him wake up as my son, not crazy person that has taken him over recently.

So to nap it is, whenever the nap jumps up and grabs him.  It appears to know better than I what is needed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


There are many reasons to drink Kombucha, first there’s all the benefits of detoxification, such as healthy livers and cancer prevention. One of kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It is rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing your pancreatic load and easing the burden on your liver. Kombucha is very high in Glucaric acid, and recent studies have shown that glucaric acid helps prevent cancer.  Even Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the recently deceased Russian author and nobel-prize winner, in his autobiography, claimed that kombucha tea cured his stomach cancer during his internment in soviet labor camps. (And because of this testimony, President Reagan used Kombucha to halt the spread of his cancer in 1987. You’ll note he didn’t die until 2004, and that was from old age, NOT cancer.)

Next, there’s all the benefits of the glucosamines it contains, such as preventing or treating all forms of arthritis. Glucosamines increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic painwith relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.
Then, there’s all the benefits of the fact that it’s a probiotic beverage, such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, and the general health and well-being associated with this. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.
Plus, it’s extraordinarily anti-oxidant rich, and you all know the benefits of anti-oxidants for boosting your immune system and energy levels.
Here are some articles about the health benefits:

Once you have decided to try this beverage or if you already have a taste for  it, next you need to learn how to make it.  It is incredibly easy to make and making it will save you a lot of money.
First you need to get the starting material.  The easiest way to do this is to purchase a kit for around $13 and gallon glass jar and you are ready to get started.  There are many places on-line to purchase a kit I like Oregon Kombucha.

The kit contains black tea, sugar and your scoby.

Next you add one gallon of boiling water to the glass or ceramic container (never use a metal container).  Add the tea bag from your starter kit or 12 regular size tea bags.  Any tea will do, I prefer black.  For optimum brewing time, remove black tea bags in 4 minutes and green or white tea bags in 2 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup sugar per gallon of water.

Let the tea cool to room temperature.  Add the entire contents of the live culture packet or scoby.  This culture packet contains a piece of life kombucha culture and some kombucha tea.  The culture is a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast: a scoby.  The scoby will grow in the sweet tea you have prepared and change in into Kombucha.  During the process healthy vitamins and digestion-aiding natural acids are formed.  This process creates natural carbonation.

Cover the container with cheese cloth and rubber bands.  This keeps dirt and bugs out, but lets the Kombucha breath.

You can than cover your kombucha with a cloth napkin or dish towel to keep out some light and place it in a warm place, dark place.   In the summer anywhere will work in the winter find a warm spot in your house - near a heater vent, or a pilot light, on top of the water heater,in an insulated cooler with a jar of warm water.  Kombucha is best brewed at 80 degrees.  In cooler weather it will take much longer for the fermentation to be complete.  Kombucha can be ready in 7 days or take as much as 30 days.  Taste your Kombucha on day 7.  Everyday it will get fizzeir and more tart when it seems perfect for you, move it to the refrigerator and the brewing will stop.  Kombucha will last for moths in the refrigerator.  You can filter your Kombucha through cheese cloth to remove some of the sediment.

The scoby is a live organism and it will grow in your container while Kombucha brews. At first, it looks like a transparent film and then grows into a solid mass the size and shape of the container. It may be white, dark, smooth or bumpy.   It may grow in layers that can be separated.  You can use the scoby to grow an unlimited number of batches of Kombucha.  to keep it alive simply keep it covered in the Kobucha, at room temperature, with a cloth over the container, until you are ready to make another batch.  Give it a little fresh Kombucha or sweetened tea occasionally.  Each time you make more Kombucha you will grow another scoby, so feel free to pass it on to a friend so they can begin making their own Kombucha.  Share the pleasure of Kombucha.

Colossal Egg

I went to gather the eggs late this morning, and I found this gigantic thing awaiting me.

This egg is easily twice as big as any egg we have gotten from our chickens.  I placed it in a jumbo size egg carton and couldn't close the container.  A whopper  of an egg - I think the culprit is Yoko our Rhode Island Red.  She lays the biggest eggs on a regular basis.

Our second surprise was when we cooked the egg.  It appears the reason for this huge size is a double yolk.  Essentially we got two eggs in one.  :)  Thanks Yoko.