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1 In home

finishing our bedroom with light and life 

Getting our new house into shape has admittedly been slow going , but progress is being made…in the master bedroom at least! I’m lucky to have had good bones- it is spacious, with good light and lovely original hardwoods.  Painting it palest blush pink (Farrow and Ball Middleton Pink, to be exact)  brought some beautiful warmth, but the space still felt a little barren. So when I partnered with Orchard Supply Hardware to improve this room, I knew adding light and life would bring both the functionality I needed and Palm Springs ‘jungalow’ vibe I was craving.

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0 In home/ lifestyle

chickens and eggs

chicken strutt

Our girls are huge, it seems! As far as chickens go, they are actually on the small side, but they have just grown so much, so quickly.

dr. robotnik chicken brown ameraucana hen

Once they made it out of the awkward teenager stage, they began to look totally different.  Nugget is the fluffy-cheeked blonde, while Mimosa’s rocking the red mohawk.  She looks a bit suspiciously roosterlike, but she’s definately a hen. Both of these ladies are supposedly Easter Eggers, but we think Mimosa is crossed with Rhode Island Red- her appearance and blush eggs are my clues, but I’m really just learning from Google over here.

easter eggers grazingchicken coupbackyard chicken dust bath backyard ameraucana dust bath

I can’t even believe I actually feel this way about chickens,  but they are really cute.  They are adorably codependent- they follow each other all over the backyard and will call for each other if separated. They are especially adorable dust bathing – they fluff up and shake and roll and it’s pretty precious.

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To be honest, apples aren’t falling far from the tree over here. These girls are assertive and opinionated, for sure! They’re more often that not a bit big for their britches- Nugget is happy to help herself to a snack, and seems very intent on roosting as high as possible in the yard, ideally on top of their cabin.

backyard chicken escape

backyard chicken flyaway backyard-chicken-run

Sometimes they’re super cuddly, and other times they are having absolutely none of it, and will go squawking away. The chicken jailbreaking actually got a little out of hand for a bit, with frequent uninvited visits to the neighbors.    Nugget even went for a brief swim in the neighbors pool, till David hopped the fence on lifeguard duty.

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backyard chicken wing clip

So to limit the chicken capers, we had a little wing trim session. I watched a few YouTube videos, and it was quick, easy, and totally painless to trim their flight wings so they can’t make it over our (rather tall) fence. You can spot Mimosa’s haircut in the above pictures if you look carefully…. it’s not exactly super even!

stash backyard chicken eggs

But I think the naughtiest thing that happened was the egg hidey-hole situation.  After the first few eggs from Mimosa, and just one aqua egg from Nugget, they went on an apparent strike- no eggs for over a week. After a literal egg-hunt in the backyard, we found a dozen and a half eggs hidden in the wild sage!

backyard chicken pink eggs vintage egg scale

replacement eggsbackyard-egg-comparision

Their eggs are pretty tiny- above with a quail egg, and an xl white store egg for a comparison.  At first, some barely tipped the egg scale, but nowadays most are almost or into medium sized.

egg comparision

They’re obviously richly colored compared to the store egg, and stunningly more tasty. They make the most incredible carbonara, and scrummy fried eggs, and everything else. We feed the girls organic layer feed, lots of kitchen scraps, and plenty of treats and grit, so these are some spoiled chicks.

wind blown ameraucana

I’m clearly obsessed with these girls, so bonus windblown chicken picture (how hysterical are they?) if you made it through all this chicken chat!

LoveRavayna

1 In home/ lifestyle

cute new chicks

We had been thinking about increasing the Coe flock this year, and then the sweetest little chicks spontaneously came into our lives.

One of our clients (little Macie in the pink) is a tweenage poultry farmer at home, and a talented magician on the pageant stage. Pulling a live chick from a hat is far more impressive than a toy one, but avian flu forbade her from bringing her Silkies from home. Her family ordered a pair of Easter Egger chicks to the host hotel,  and post-pageant, we inherited these sweet girls.

national-chick david-and-the-chicks

They came to us as wee little Prettyboy and ShittyShittyBangBang, just 3 weeks old.  We tried a handful of names before settling on Mimosa Bouvier and Nugget Beauregard Coe, IV… purposefully presumptuous poultry names.  Our friends with flocks of their own warned us they would outgrow the fluffball stage astonishingly fast, so we  attempted weekly photo shoots, proud parent style, with varying success.

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chickens-first-steps

They got their first taste of freedom when we put them down in the grass. They were still living under a heat lamp in a brooder, so the great outdoors overwhelmed them- they just stood there in shock!

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Mimosa (on the left) has had her stinkeye down from an early age. She’s a wild one, that chick.

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Once they sprouted their adult feathers, they seemed to grow up overnight! The more teenagery and independent the chicks have gotten, the more hysterical our outtakes from their weekly photo shoots have been.

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Mimosa boycotted week twelve’s shoot altogether, flying out of my hands, scampering away, and generally misbehaving. She was far more interested in exploring the garden than posing. Nugget reveled in the undivided attention and preened away.

chicken-coup   nesting-box-chicken

Once these girls were grown enough, we moved them out to their new cabin. I enjoy woodworking, but was too skeptical of my skills to build from scratch, so we ordered one from an artisan in Washington. It came flat packed in a giant box with some truly terrible pictogram directions, but we had it assembled in just a few hours.

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They were utterly cofounded by the stairs at first, but slowly figured it out and have settled in a treat.  They know where home is- they run straight in when startled (like by recent El Niño rains) and cozy up there often.

mimosa-strutting nugget-tries-to-flythe-chickens-2

That said, they are literally clucking happy to be set free to explore each day.  They are adorably codependent- Mimosa has a sqawky little meltdown and frantically catches up with Nugget if she strays too far.  Nugget just puffs her blond feathers- she’s totally alpha chicken.

the-chickens-1 jungle-chickens dust-bathig-chickens

These pretty teenage girls are still a ways from their laying days- they’ve got some growing to do. But I’m beyond excited for our first eggs this spring- I can’t wait to see what color these girls lay! Their proper breed is Ameraucana, heritage hens that lay pastel eggs-  often blue and aqua, but also green and pink. I feel like with coloring so different, their eggs should be as well, but we will see. In the meantime, they’re quite content scratching and pecking merrily away, dust bathing (the cutest thing!) for hours, inspecting under leaves and in branches and eating grass.

chickens-drink-watereaster-egger-chickens teenage-chicks

They are bird brained in the best possible way, and so funny to watch. We have taken to eating lunch outside with them most days we’re home and are kindof infatuated with their silliness- I snapchat them incessantly. I’m not sure I would have ever seen myself venturing into chicken keeping, but I’m settling into the chickenlady lifestyle quite nicely, feeding them all kinds of kitchen scraps and already petitioning David for one or two more chicks later in the year.

We’re learning as we go, and researching like mad along the way, but I’m pretty geeked out by this little adventure in urban homesteading. I’m looking forward to all it entails, and sharing the shenanigans along the way.

loveRavayna

0 In festivities/ home/ recipes

home for the holidays

decktheH-plated-long

As much as I love latkes, I can’t eat them for 8 nights straight if I want to fit into my clothes. So I make a point of experimenting with and serving other foods with Jewish and Israeli foods as we celebrate Hannukah.

decktheH

Having made several variations of chocolate babka in the past, Smitten Kitchen’s simplification of Yotam Ottolenghi’s krantz cakes are hands down the best. I decided to up the ante a notch by raiding/catching up on my Valrhona x Trader Joe’s chocolate calendar  and including several different dark varieties, and it was a scrumptious life choice.

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The cutting and twisting stage can be a little iffy, but refrigerating the dough to stiffen the butter makes all the difference. And as long as you get it into the pan in some fashion, it will rise up just dandy. And yes, I have to use a mug of water to humidify my microwave as a rising drawer- even in sunny SoCal, our house is an icebox.

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I lose all self-control around this yumminess- that little pan of ends was history before I’d even finished glazing the loaves. With Hanukkah falling early this year, we’re celebrating the miracle of light as we prepare and decorate for our annual holiday open house, which we’re hosting this weekend.

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The babka made for some scrumptious Hanukkah bush decorating fuel. The moist and tender brioche was swirled generously with melted chocolate, and warm slices paired perfectly with glasses of icy cold milk.

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We don’t go too overboard with holiday decor. As much as I love the way it looks, I have limited patience for the untangling and wrangling, putting up and taking down, organizing and storing, and David even less so.  My mom is a holiday superdecorator and I’m nowhere near her level,  so I’m just grateful that she gifted us the majority of those gorgeous vintage glass ornaments.

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But I loooooooveee the smell of a live tree in the house, so every year we wind up at the tree lot. It’s the same story, different year- I try and talk David into a 9 footer or the like, he laughs in my face. Then we inspect no less than a dozen (more reasonably sized) trees until I find the perfect one. And once we get it home, I’m hanging onto the mantle or teetering on the arm of the couch to perch the sparkly fleur de lis on the top.

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There’s a lot of love on this little table. The chanukiah was a wedding present, and my mother in law crocheted the tablecloth as a gift for me. We collected the pinecones hiking in Big Bear during our 2nd wedding anniversary getaway, then cleaned and glittered them.  I can’t help but smile when I see it all- it’s simple but special.

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David got me a new MacBook Air last month, and his new camera body arrived a few weeks ago. Since we’re already using and loving our big gifts this year, we’re exchanging  smaller treats each night. Some are useful, like the previous night’s Restoration Hardware foot duvets (graphite for David, grey for me), some are indulgent, like these gorgeous rose gold and brown abalone Kendra Scott earrings, and some are silly, like the box of practical jokes and disguises David proceeded to open.

decktheH-tree2

With all the travel I’ve clocked this year (24 round trips in 2015) it’s been really amazing to have put up the suitcases for the year.  To just spend some time around the house, making it fun and festive, just gives me all the warm and fuzzy feelings.

loveRavayna

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