Sunday, April 17, 2011

These feathered breaths

today i feel is day to reckon,  a settling of accounts.  one tiny such account was not expected to but has been totaled and settled and put to rest.

i returned from a glorious day at the Marin headlands filled with the splendid drama of wind, cold, and an ocean fury to my own little Mission refuge.  I traced my usual path from side gate to backstairs to Victorian flat door with customary cooing and shooing of my feathered lady friends who like to wreak a bit of chicken havoc in my backyard.  Fancy and Chubs waddled furiously in my direction, eager for treats? or something to simply break the monotony?   Goldie wasn't among the marauders but sometimes she lays late so i kept on my path into the house.  I will spare you the details, but let us just say that i was greated by a great fecal explosion of the canine variety as i walked through the door.  continuing to spare to you details, i ended up outside hosing down various materials and rugs when i suspiciously noticed a continued lack of Goldie presence.  Something to note is that Goldie is never demure or unnoticeable.  As a rather larger and tall golden Americauna, she has a glorious beard and an attitude to match her size.  She is cantankerous, feisty and LOUD.  So, the relative quiet in the backyard was eerie.   I postponed my clean up measures to make some inquiries into Goldies whereabouts.  Not in the hen house for an early bedtime, not hiding out amongst the garden pots, tools and backyard ephemera of Under the Porch, not even munching on the irresistible new arugula sprouts.  i did not even have time to fear the worst when i noticed a poof of little golden feathers near the garden beds.  damn.  my hope was that she was messed with but got away.  it could happen.  right?  right??  unfortunately, more feather poofs formed a trail to a little covered hideout in the furthest back corner of the yard.  This area is almost impossible to get to unless you are a smaller animal type thing - its marshaled off by some gnarly metal trellises and ticketed with blackberry bramble.  Now anticipating the worst, i crouched to see what i could in that corner and made out what looked like a avian shape.  Getting closer i confirmed that i was Goldie - what was left of her.

As many folks do when they encounter any shock or crisis, i went into DO mode.  I knew i had to get her out of there.  So i hacked my way to the area and somehow wiggled and wriggled and shifted my way close enough to grab her foot and drag her out of there.  I quickly set about figuring what to do with her remains.  Keep the wings.  Bury the rest.  With this firm plan i laid her down and went off to get the necessary tools.  as soon as i laid her down, her death overcame me and i cried.  Much harder than i expected for a chicken i had befriended two years ago who was arguably the most difficult one in the little flock.  Cried for failure, for failing to protect her.  Cried for loss, her life, her sisters extra body warmth in the hen house, my eggs, my friend. Cried because i had just been talking about her and her cranky ways to a new friend early that day.

I know that i am not a farmer. i have to pretense that this i what i am doing at 2621 Bryant st in the Mission, SF.  Yet, somewhere i assumed an idea that my chickens, while not being livestock, were not entirely pets or members of the family.  I even entertained the notion that perhaps when their time came - naturally, not from disease - that i would be able to eat them.  I guess i was wrong.  They are family - not the brightest bulbs in the barn, dirty, noisy, not particularly affectionate family members.

Goldie, Fussy Pants - you were a good chicken, an unexpected friend and i will miss you.  I send your little avian spirit off with new wings, ones that can take you skyward.

"And when the sky drops all those feathers
And when the birds sing in the morning
I'll be a mama
I'll have a daughter

And I'll give her melodies
I'll give her melodies"
Alela Diane

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

HomoMade Bike Tour - June 19th!!

Its been a longggggg time since i've sent out much of anything related to HomoHomestead (which is now being called HomoMade...get it?  Home + Homo + Made = HomoMade or as a friend said, like "making" homos!).  This is due to some injuries, some workin', some weather and some lost time. 
But... we are back for the spring and summer fun times!

This year we will be kicking off our HomoMade Bike Tours with another DirtStar collaboration as part of the National Queer Arts Festival.
Sunday, June 19th, we will be touring some amazing queer dirt projects - farms, container gardens, animal husbandry, kitchen witchery and rounding our tour out at DirtStar home the Luggage Store and its Tenderloin National Forest.

I need your help!  Please consider if you can help with any of the following in order to make this another fabulous DirtStar and HomoMade Tour:
* I need spaces for the tour!!! Do you garden, farm, make fermented things, belong to a community garden or city-steading project, have chickens, rabbits, goats, bees??? Do you live in a space without any dirt but want to host a mini workshop on container gardening or making tinctures or sauerkraut??  I need at least two - three other spaces to host tours to show off their fabulous projects.  Since its a bike project they should be within reasonable distance from the Tenderloin.  Please let me know ASAP!
*  Are you savvy at computers and making online maps?  Phew!  cuz i sure am not.
*  Donate your culinary skills to providing homomade snacks for the tour.
******Traffic wranglers and bike mechanics to be on hand at tour!!!  Such an important job!!  I will need at least two ppl to help but more is better

Thanks and please spread the word!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

East Oakland HH Tour

Sunday, August 1st
Noon to 3pm
RSVP!   And we will send you the addresses of the locations.

Come and check out what the homos are doing in our own back yards.  The East Oakland Tour will highlight queers collectively and community organizing for social and environmental justice as well as a pretty great look at what a couple of gays can do at their homes in very little time.

Meeting at Noon SHARP! @ Elephant House
A whimsical spot where we will nibble on fermented goodies, while being shocked and inspired by what queers can do with an Oakland back yard in only one year's time.  Newer to the Bay Areas, the Elephant House has been putting in raised beds, rain barrels, chickens, bees, upside down planters, and more at their house.  We may be helping them start an herb spiral as well!

Then on to SOL @ 1:30pm
Sustaining Ourselves Locally is a collective that is transforming an urban space into a center for sustainable living.  Sol continues to revitalize their site, formerly a vacant lot, by cleaning out garbage, nourishing the soils, and planting fruit trees and vegetables, reroute their water into garden greywater treatment, and to design on-site environmental education programs. By growing organic food, conserving and recycling resources, and organizing community events and workshops, they are exploring ways to make the city more healthy and liveable for all its inhabitants.