Lisa Bondurant

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I spend my time raising kids, gathering eggs, cutting wood, scoping out trees for tapping, making syrup in the last days of winter, watching my garden NOT grow in the summer, writing, wishing that there were more hours on the clock for sleeping.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Margaritaville Hammock

Making the coolest hammock in the hemisphere 

Start with one fantastic canvas hammock sewn by one fantastic Grandma

Hire a crew of painters that work for cookies
(really they do)

Leaves & cut outs are sun ready

A sprinkle of magic makes awesome tropical water effects 

The sun starts to do it's own magic

sumac's give a tropical jungle palm look 

The oak leaves not so tropical

OK, fuchia is just pretty

Starry night

Lime green

Hand woven stringers ...

...on awesome solid brass harness buckles

Pressure treated oak spreaders and finally, finally...

...time to hang and stretch

sssshhhh!...weight testing in progress

stringers are beautiful when stretched

Now it is taking it's hammock shape
the only thing left to do is trim the stringers

Riding the USS Margaritaville to Happy Town

and most importantly ...

... the view from Margaritaville Hammock

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beneath These Same Blue Skies

Beneath these same blue skies, to the foot of these same blue mountains...

...a thousand years ago the first people traveled to harvest the wild sweet potato from the earth they called the  daughter of the stars. The sweet potatoes are long gone, the daughter of the stars is still here and the daughters of the first people still walk towards her blue mountains.
 So with small warm hands clutched to mine, I brought my daughters back to stand beneath these same blue skies and blue mountains to harvest from the earth.  Back to harvest as their ancestors did, not sweet potatoes, but blueberries.

Perfect rows of cultivated bushes 

Far larger then the wild blueberry that grows on our mountain.

Perfect for sitting beneath in dappled shade... 
...and eating till your heart is happy and your tummy full. 

...for games of chase in shady rows.
The bushes hang full though and soon the players are distracted and back to eating

I helped prune these bushes 20 years ago and they came just to my knee, now they tower over my head.

The boxes fill too quickly 

 ...and it is soon time to head back to our mountain where the wild blueberries still wait to ripen beneath the high canopy of forest giants.

While we wait for those tiny wild cousins...

Monday, June 20, 2011

First Aid cooling neck band Life Saver

These very quickly made bands are perfect for reducing the temperature of a person in jeopardy of over heating. Simple wet with cool water and place around the neck or any area of the body where the vascular system is shallow to the skin surface like elbows or back of knees. In EMT training we were told to put ice bags on the back of neck, knees and elbows to cool a person in imminent danger of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. These have the advantage of being much softer and the fact that they cool with evaporation  as well as made cooler by repeatedly cooling under running water or put into a refrigerator or cooler. Because they can be made up ahead of time or quickly they can be ready in minutes to help those in need.
They are also very inexpensive to make and with a box of diapers and some pieces of cloth a lot of people could be helped for very little money.

I have added photos of how to make these with a bandanna.

Cut out the center of the diaper, it is like an envelope inside so be careful not to cut the long side just so the gel beads stay in better. No big deal if you do, just less mess when making them.
That is what you should have. Remember that diapers come in many sizes so this is a size 4, if you want a
 smaller band use a newborn size.

I tried them rolled tight, this worked but the finished band was somewhat stiff for wrapping around the neck.

Keeping the diaper flat start rolling.

Secure ends with rubber bands.

I poured 3 cups of water on this one to see how much it would hold.

This band soaked up the full three cups easy and does not drip when around the neck, but is very cooling.
The good thing about these bands is that when you are done or it gets dirty, just untie the ends and throw out the diaper core. You can keep a couple in a first aid kit in the car for emergency treatment of hyperthermia, just store in a zip lock bag and then pour cold water over it when needed. Can help to cut the cost of stocking your first aid kits.
My mother came up with this as she has suffered from hyperthermia several times and this has saved her more then once. Thanks Mom!

Tip! Here is an extra tip, when you want to remove the used core from the bandanna, open carefully as the gel beads may spill out. Catch in a bowl and then recycle by mixing into potting soil or garden soil-it holds moisture in the soil  and keep plants from drying out too quickly!

This is how much gel is in one diaper!


I was a welder and the company issue cool bands dried out very quickly. These will last much longer.

All that is needed is diaper, 2 rubber bands or string and a sock or bandanna, scissors. Trim the outer edge of the diaper off  leaving just the blue core. That is all that  is needed because the crystal/gel is right in that center.

Center  core cut out and ready 

Roll up the center and slip into sock

Rubber band both ends or tie with string long enough to secure around neck if needed.

Soak in cold water. This one I made in 3 minutes and soaked for 3, much less time then the store bought kind 

Make a bunch and throw into a cooler of ice water for mass emergency situations.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Pompous Ass

So, Rudy the rooster thinks he is "all that!"...Hmmm, I have another think!
 I raised him from a hatch ling and I know he is just a guy, but if you ask Rudy he will tell you different. After all he is the only guy in Chicken Town, population 45 hens and 11 chicks and 1 Rudy, A.K.A.
 The Pompous Ass!

  The more he struts his stuff around the ladies, the more he thinks of himself. Honestly, I think that he thinks he is French! He wears his comb all tossed to one side like a jaunty French playboy and throws his chin up in the air like it is beneath him to strut near a human. Then there is his temper! He occasionally takes after one of us HUMANS for no reason and lands a good peck and stab of his spike in one slick move. If the unlucky human is not paying attention and can't counter attach with a swift kick then...well let's just say YEEEEOOW! Roosters are powerful and launch their whole bodies into you and then come back for more as soon as they hit the ground again.

 I don't tend to take his abuse and have been known to cuss like a sailor and run around the chicken yard trying to catch him with my foot. This has earned me the proud title of the Fearless Mom from my kids. He is fast though and I don't usually catch him, but this will teach him a lesson and he will avoid us for a few days.
                                    But then without notice he is back "huntin' humans" again!
                   In the past month he has tried to attacked one five year old, one oldest child, one grandma and managed to get one mom leaving a hole in one shin and a bruise the size of a lemon on the other. Needless to say my kids are quite afraid of this rooster, that is all but my middle child A.K.A. The Tough One! She marches past him unconcerned while protecting her siblings who hide behind her as they pass. She will one day inherit my title, I think proudly.

  Well... he made the mistake of going after the middle child the other day, The Tough One.
I hear a scream like someone has been snake bit and my oldest, the Meek child who is scared of the rooster and avoids him at all cost, recognizes the primordial fear and looks at me and says...
                                                                ... "Rudy!"
Another scream and we were off and running with a stick in my hand. I found my toughest child bleeding and crying and Rudy taking aim for another attack (I later find out he attacked 3 times before I got there). I had had enough, I yell at the rooster and Rudy's eyes get big and he runs. I take after him around one side of the hen house and here comes a curious thing around the other side, my oldest child (remember? the Meek!) and she has a stick and is roaring like a lion. Apparently she has had enough as well!

   "YOOOUUU ROOOOSTER! You don't mess with my sisssssstttterrrr!", and off she goes after the wide eyed Rudy. Around and around the hen house we chase him, I going one way, my daughter going the other. I soon relize that Rudy is not running from me at all. Every time I pass her I think "Good Lord, I am glad she's not mad at me!"
Rudy ducks into the hen house and she slams her stick to the hen house door.
"Get out here you little twerp!" she yells, "You don't mess with my sister!", he pops out the opposite side. She is after him again. I run pass the both of them and Rudy looks at me like "Pleeease save meee!"
He slips between the plastic wall and hoops, she swings and the plastic snaps loudly and Rudy cackles and leaps free and she send the stick sailing at him, hits him straight on. Back into the hen house and out the opposite door. She is waiting with stick in hand again, " You think I didn't know you would come out here," she yells and chops the ground a moment after he vacates it.

So, the chase continues for a full ten minutes. Rudy goes right and I am there, Rudy goes left and she is there. Rudy finally dives into a nest box with his head crammed down into the egg slot.
 The oldest child waits at the nest box with her stick swung back like a baseball bat, "Come out you big meany, I'm ready for ya!" she screams at him. I know I have to end this before I have a heart attack from running around the hen house or the oldest catches him. I swing open the egg door and jerk the rooster the way, you have never seen such huge eyes as that rooster...I grab his neck and ...

... and throw him on the ground.
    Rudy squawks and flutters away to hide in a bush. I look back at my oldest, she still clinches her stick with white knuckles and anger pressing her lips to a straight line. She looks at me as if disappointed that I have spared him. She marches pass me and I think "Oh crap! She is going after him again," but she marches over to her little sister, who still cries by the fence. Oldest child throws the stick down and scoops her sister into arms and hugs her about in two.

 I am awestruck, it is like watching a movie when the war stained soldier comes back from defending the village single handed and scoops up the frighten child to assure them that all the enemies have been defeated.
"Don't you worry, that rooster won't mess with you again," she says softly to her.

 I stand there gasping , looking from the kids to a bush in the corner where the former Pompous Ass now whimpers pathetically and try to get my head around this sudden shift in power. Perhaps Rudy will not be Pompous Ass of Chicken Town for awhile, perhaps the Toughest child has just been shifted to the Protected and the Meekest will now inherit the title Fearless. As for me, I think I have lost all titles and should take up jogging again to prepare for the next round with Rudy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dance, dance... it is summer, don't be sad!

          The last day of school, the first day of summer break! How long this day has been anticipated, when finally, finally the planet tilts and fills our hemisphere with bright, stretching days and our children are free to dance across green fields and chase fireflies into the sparkling night! Free to sleep until the song birds awaken them on snoozy late mornings and spend long hours braiding daisy chains.

   Finally the day I have been waiting for is here and I must say that I am a little sad! Not only is this the day I claim back my children and start the long dance of summer, but this is also the day we say good bye to the teachers that have meant so very much to our family for a whole school year. 
Don't try to fool yourself and say, "Oh, they are just teachers and teachers come and go, not to be missed. After all we will just get new ones next year!" 
Don't fool yourself, they are so much more!
 For seven hours a day, five days a week we gave into their good care the most important parts of us, our  children! The single most important people in our lives we gave over and asked these teachers, without asking in words, to protect, to notice if they are sick or sad, to influence and guide, to shape their very minds and send them back to us without a scratch and even better little people then when we left them in their care. I know that I asked this much of my children's teachers everyday and not once did they let me down! So yes, I will miss them, to us they are like an extension of our family. Some we will not see again and that thought is more then I can stand to dwell on right now. 
Some we will see at the end of summer and for that I am grateful, but for now, as we start the dance of summer,  I will be just a little sad and then...

....we will dance, dance...
 ... it is summer...
                                       ...don't be sad!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Update on the Bucket 'O Chicken

Do you remember Bucket "O chicken?

You know! The one who laid eggs in a bucket on my front porch and cackled for all the world to hear about her success!
Well, one day we took the bucket from her, by accident really not from meanness, we needed it to haul feed in it.

 Poor old Bucket Chicken pushed her little egg back into the corner, between a bucket full of tools and an old cook stove she settled down onto it and commenced to get broody! For a week she sat there on her egg, hissing at us if we came near and terrorizing the wiener dog till the Wiener Dog developed a nervous condition. She pecked a hole in the egg by accident, but still protected it fiercely. After a week it started to get quite sad, as the hole got bigger and Bucket Chicken got meaner and the Wiener Dog began to twitch and grumble as if talking to herself when ever she had to walk past the wanabe mom. Someone had to step in!
The kids and I took a vote on who should separate the "chicken from the egg'!
 Wow! In hindsight I made a big mistake right there, letting them vote, the little people out numbered me 3 to 1. I was voted most likely to succeed in a grab and move of one mean broody hen. I was told that I had been elected because I was less likely to cry when pecked, they told me this after the fact as they shook their heads in sad disappointment.
Anyway I grabbed, she growled, she pecked, I yelped...Oh, and we moved her to broody hen heaven...
...and with fertile eggs and plenty of them!
OK, she was not happy at first!
But after checking out the front yard she decided the neighborhood was not so bad. Soon she was inside and growling at anything that moved out side her box.
Then today...

tiny wet chick next to mom

..peeping from the nest box! Let's have a closer look...

..still wet and ooky!

A little closer look a few hours later, fluffy yellow bit under Bucket Mom's chin.
At sunset I counted four more eggs chirping and cracking. I hope all goes well tonight and hopefully more and better close ups tomorrow.
By the way Bucket Chicken is sooo happy! She clucks softly and non stop to her new little Bucket Chick!
She seems almost proud to show her off to the family...Oh, but not the Wiener Dog, whenever she comes too close Bucket Chicken  fluffs up and growls "You want some of this, Hot Dog!".

Update on the Update

Chick hatching, see the hole?

The egg on the left is about to hatch.

"Your are such a good momma chicken, Bucket Chicken!", said boy.
"She likes it when I tell her that"

Three fluffy chicks, I count six total with the ones under her and more still hatching on night 2!
Wow! 48 hours of labor...well sort of!