Friday, September 23, 2011

Days Without (a Duck)

Meet Vladimir and Inga

These two ducks are the most recent addition to the Casa de Chaos flock.  They are Muscovy ducks, known to be quiet, clean, friendly, funny, and grounded.  As it turns out, Inga (on the right) can fly.

Here are the events of the past week:

Friday 9/16-  I bring home the ducks around noon.  They hang out in the chicken coop, swim around their tiny pond, nuzzle each other with their beaks, and make cute, quiet chirping sounds.

Saturday- I let all the birds out into the garden first thing in the morning.  The dogs don't pay any attention to the ducks at all.  The ducks do the same thing they did the day before along with waddling between the corn and squash looking for bugs.
Around 6, we leave for dinner, assuming all birds will make their way back to the coop before the sun sets as is standard.
9:00 pm we return from dinner to find only 1 duck in the coop.  The word is that sometime that evening a neighbor stopped by to see if we were missing a duck.  He had seen it walking down the road on the other side of the block.  The roommates couldn't find it.

Sunday- I get up early to start the search for the duck. A neighbor with ducks on the other side of the block says someone brought it to her house the night before.  They found it trying to cross a major road 6 blocks from our house.  By the time we got there, the duck, free-ranging with the other birds, had already disappeared.  

Monday- No word about the duck all day. By this time I'm sure she's been eaten by something.  Finally around 3, I think to call the Humane Society.  Good news!  Someone called about a duck in their yard earlier that day.  Bad news!  The Humane Society can't take in birds, so the caller was directed to the natural history park.  The park hadn't got any calls.  Being that the duck was sure to still be alive, I made posters.

Tuesday- I left bright and early Tuesday morning for a field trip and left the posters to be hung with the roommates.  Roommates did not hang any posters, but as luck would have it, Tuesday night they encountered a 'Found Duck' poster just a couple blocks from the house.

Wednesday- The roommates find the duck at a women's rehab center 3 blocks away.  Trying to catch her, she demonstrates her impressive flying skills and evades capture.  I get home from my field trip late in the afternoon and we go back to the center to find duck on the roof, beyond our reach.

Thursday-  We go to the rehab center at 7:30 to capture duck and she is nowhere to be found.  We search the entire block with no luck.  At 8:45, a classmate walking to school spots the duck three houses down from ours on their front fence.  We get a crew together and hurry over to attempt another capture.  The duck escapes and flies to the peak of a very high roof, very narrowly missing a high jump capture attempt.  Having class at 9, I have no choice but to leave her.  At 9:15, the rehab center calls the house saying she has returned.
At 11:30 another posse is called to arms and we all head to the center thinking a night time capture will be easier, only to find the duck again at the peak of a very high roof.  Being a roof very well lit, close to the street, and above many sleeping rehab patients, scaling the building was not an option.

Friday (today)-  As morning gets underway and I prepare for another duck hunt, a neighbor stops by to announce that the duck is back at the house just down the street.  We get together some sheets, in hopes of throwing them over the duck to keep her from flying.  We find the duck in the driveway, almost cornered, and seemingly very calm.  We get as close as we can then attempt to throw the sheet.  She escapes again, but luckily only flies over the fence to where a group of fellow Prescott College students is painting a mural on the house. I make another attempt with the sheet and as she slips out the side, one of the painting students tackles her with another sheet.

FINALLY! The duck is in my grasp!  We immediately proceed home, to the shop, to cut the ends off of her flight feathers.

So, one week later, Inga the adventuring duck is finally back in the coop and I got to see a very cute duck dance when Vladimir saw her. 

And they (hopefully) lived happily ever after.  The end.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I am happy to say it is spring, but I'm not really sure what the means here...  We've had this great weather pretty much since January, punctuated by brief snowstorms.  I guess the difference in March and April's spring weather is the abundance of greenery, flowers, and lizards!  Our small front 'lawn' area erupted in a sea of microscopic purple flowers.

All the fruit trees around our house are in bloom.

And lizards have started to appear, hopefully to eat the ants...
Work on the house is still progressing, although at a slower pace since we are all busy with school.
Shaun finally quit his job at El Gato Azul (yet another un-fulfilling restaurant job), and I finally got a job, which I'm happy to say is like a childhood fantasy come true for me.  I work at a little custom cake bakery called Sugared N Iced.  The walls are painted pink and covered with glitter. Although I could do without all the glitz and glam (like the crystal chandelier above our front counter)... I'm just not a girly-girl...  I get to bake cookies, add sprinkles to cupcakes, and eat frosting to my heart's content!  On top of all that, there's still occasionally time for me to do my homework, and if not, I get off work before 9 anyway.  It's really a fabulous job, made even better by my awesome boss.  She's the nicest person ever and when she's not baking wedding cakes and adding edible sparkle glitter to pink champagne cupcakes, she races motorcycles. Like knee-on-the-ground fast track racing. Yeah!  The only downside to this job is that it is located in food court in the mall (though it is a locally owned non-franchise establishment) so I get to watch real live Americans eat fast food all day long.

On the school side of things, things are going well.  We're all busy and struggling, constantly piled with homework...projects, reports and papers due around every corner, but we are learning.  I am in a class called Human Rights Seminar, where we have tons of discussions about things like 'cultural lens', 'Marxist dialectics', and 'human rights discourse'.  Half the time I feel way over my head reading so much political theorist philosophy, but I'm definitely understanding enough and working out enough concepts to leave the class inspired and enraged.  The really great thing is that I get to take all those human rights and cultural lens concepts straight in to my Kenya History and Culture class to examine the colonial and post-colonial atmosphere of Kenyan history and present day corruption.

And to prove that this school is working for me so far, I've been able to apply numerous concepts from last semester's classes.  Writing Workshop (which Shaun is taking this semester) prepared me for the constant research paper writing, but also gave me a good basis for critical thinking strategies and context evaluation.  Spiritual Landscapes of the Indigenous Southwest has served as a great background for applying my newly acquired human rights frameworks as well as being a parallel example to oppression in Kenya.

My other class is an independent study in Russian language.  As it turns out, the dean of the Resident Degree Program's wife, who is a math teacher at the school, lived in Russia for quite a few childhood and teenage years, so she speaks Russian fluently.  She is mentoring me and I am making progress quite well.  Although I'm getting into the grammar aspect of the language, which is fairly complicated compared to English, I feel confident that I could hold a simple conversation and that I will be adequately prepared to spend a month doing an independent study in Russia next fall.  It's such a fun language! Я говорю на русском плохо!

Needless to say, I think we're all ready for school to end soon so we can get on with other parts of life... like being outdoors instead of in front of the computer.  We would all like to spend more time in the garden, continuing our yard work, and watching my little chickens grow.  Also, my dad is making another visit, starting next Monday, and this time for a whole month!  He will definitely whip us into shape around here, so there will be tons of great new project pictures to post.

Check out photos from the last couple months HERE!


Monday, January 17, 2011

January in Prescott

The very first...

But getting better.

This month has been so busy, but so full of new adventures.  The weather has been so warm and beautiful, reminding me of summer in Montana, though it gets pretty darn cold at night and the mornings are frosty.

My younger brother Joe visited us for his Christmas break.  He had a fun time here, but we never got out of town.  We just spent all our time on the roof.  He left a few days after Christmas and as soon as he did, we got a good dump of snow.  So much snow, that we spent that day sledding around our neighborhood behind the car.  The sledding really made our day fun and cheered up a lot of people around town who seemed pretty sour about the snow.  It probably also helped that as we sledded, we would stop and help whoever was stuck.

New Years Eve was pretty mellow.  Shaun and the dogs went to bed early and Dylan and I stayed awake long enough to hear our neighbors banging some pots and pans.  I took some photos of the stars through the new skylight we had installed in the kitchen that day and we went to bed.

We've been working every day since then, finishing up the roof on the 9th.  Shaun started school that day, spending the first couple days on campus before he went to Chauncy Ranch on the 12th.  His group spent a couple days there getting ready for the expedition and they went into the wilderness on the 15th.  Three weeks to go before he gets back, but I've got plenty to keep me occupied while he's gone, including my block class and working on house projects.
My dad has been in town since the 7th, so we've really been putting a push on the house.  He has managed to completely remodel the kitchen, build a closet for the washer and dryer, and just today, he installed a french door.  Its so wonderful to see the house transforming!

It will really be wonderful when it's all finished and we no longer have to step over, around, and under power tools and wade through construction materials, but there's still a lot of work to do.

Check out my facebook links to see the progress we're making!

December Living
January Living