Saturday, July 26, 2014

Life at home

Life in Grant Park, Atlanta. Summer 2014. Our almost century old home is half way between the Braves stadium (leaving) and the Cyclorama (leaving) with an amazing view of the downtown skyline. A lot of people might be surpised that everything you see below is living and growing in the center (literally) of one of the Southeast's largest cities. 

This summer our urban "homestead" includes:
• 4 Ameraucanas
• 3 Silkies
• Peppers: Thai, Poblano & Red
• Tomatoes: grape & several heirloom varieties
• Corn (not shown)
• Strawberries (not shown)
• Eggplant (not shown)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Burning of Atlanta

Yesterday marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War campaign/battle that resulted in Sherman's burning of antebellum Atlanta. It seems fitting that this is also the week I finally receive an answer to the question I asked in November: "Hey Atlanta, what's next? Moving the Peachtree Road Race to Gwinett County?" Sadly, the answer is another direct hit to Atlanta's wonderful Grant Park neighborhood: the Cyclorama, a historic painting that depicts the Battle of Atlanta, is being moved from it's home in the park of Grant Park to the posh northern neighborhood of Buckhead. 

The Cyclorama isn't JUST a painting. Created in 1885, it is still the world’s largest oil painting (42 feet x 358 feet). Since 1893 it has been on display less than a mile from the subject matter it depicts. In 1921 it moved to it's current location: a beautiful building on the National Register of Historic Places (right next to the Zoo Atlanta entrance). It's new home will be 15 miles north of the actual battlelines (just 5 miles from the future Cobb County Braves Stadium).

The location of my home (built 56 years after the battle) can be seen in the painting - I love that. The news of the move brought tears to my eyes in the middle of a work day. After losing the Braves Stadium and the fight against a Grant Park Walmart (on my beloved Beltline no less), this annoucement feels like the nail in "historic" Grant Park's coffin. I never let the crime get to me - but these repeated betrayals by the city - they feel so personal. They sting.

Details about the Atlanta Campaign:
• July 22, 1864: Sherman orders that any artillery positioned within range begin cannonading, not just of the Confederate lines but also of the city itself, which still held about 3,000 civilians (down from 20,000 earlier in the spring). Battle lines correspond with present day Moreland Avenue (south from the Edgewood Shopping center to I-20) and then turn 90 degrees West (towards the city) and follow along 1-20.
• August 9, 1864: The barrage of Union artillery peaks with approximately 5,000 shells fired into Atlanta.
• September 2, 1864: Union Soldiers finally penetrate the city. Atlanta falls to General Sherman.
• Sherman occupies Atlanta for 10 weeks.
• Early November 1864: Sherman orders his engineers to begin "the destruction in Atlanta of all depots, car-houses, shops, factories, foundries."
• November 12, 1864: Orders are given to begin torching designated sites, some with explosive shells placed inside. Locations include a storehouse at Whitehall and Forsyth streets, a bank at the railroad and Peachtree Street and the Washington hotel.
• November 15, 1864: Leaving along Decatur Road (which in turns is also Marietta Boulevard and DeKalb Avenue) Union troops leave a smoldering Atlanta and begin their march to the coast.
• December 2, 1864: Sherman and his troops arrive in Savannah. The city surrenders.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Blood Pressure Record

In 2012, when I was initially diagnosed with high blood pressure, I designed a little booklet to record my daily readings. Once my blood pressure was under control (through a combination of weight loss and medicine) the booklet worked it's way to the bottom of the stack of miscellaneous papers on my desk. Two weeks ago, during another visit to the doctor, my blood pressure was once again alarmingly high. The doctor's insistence that I return to daily monitoring sent me sorting through my paper pile in search of my old booklet. After flipping through it I had an idea for a redesign. 

My new Blood Pressure Record is a 2.75" x 4.25" booklet made from one sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper.  It's easy to print and assemble and is slim enough to fit in my wallet. Each booklet has space to record one week's worth of readings (morning & night). 

I'd like the booklet to bring greater awareness of heart health to the general population. To help this happen I've posted the file (and directions for assembly) on my website.  If you or someone you know monitors your blood pressure daily I hope you'll download a copy. If you like it  - please pass it on; this was designed to be shared. It can be a great conversation starter for heart health issues too!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Backyard chickens: corner crowding

Yesterday at dusk the chickens had me cracking up while they "wrestled" to see who got to sit in the corner. It was so odd and pervasive that I thought it must be an instinctive chicken behavior. Sure enough, "corner crowding" is a thing chickens do! Tonight I went back to the coop with my camera hoping to catch a repeat performance. It's close - but last night was definitely better. Silly chickens.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The chicks last night at home

Everyday for the last week the chicks have spent a few hours outside in their soon-to-be pirateship-coop home. Tonight is officially their last night in the dining-room-brooder. I'm going to miss having them indoors... so much so that I'm debating keeping two inside (don't tell Oliver). Six weeks into our urban chicken project the Muppets are even more muppety (the Silkies) and the Ameraucanas are unexpectedly intelligent and sweet (well two of the four at least). So far, so good; the chickens are exceeding my expectations!

(To see them live in their coop check out the COOP CAM click here and then click BROWSER.)

Monday, July 7, 2014

The chicks are growing up!

The chicks are getting too big for their brooder so the time has come to move them outside into their coop. This two minute video was taken tonight while I was cleaning out their box. You'll see Topher walk into the room, a couple of close ups and a lot of pooping. I admit to underestimating how much these little guys can eat and eliminate! Even so, I think I'm going to miss having them in the house with us. They're so full of personality!

Second video chick line up (left to right): Starbuck, Ginger, Professor and Blackbeard (with Mary Anne and Topher in the background). 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peachtree Road Race 2014 - this time we're legit!!

This year we're official!! The 2014 Peachtree Road Race will be my 8th and O's 5th. Every year I add a new detail to one of our costumes. This year's detail is an official 2014 Peachtree Road Race number. It was an easy add but I'm pretty freaking excited about it. 36 hours to go - see you on PEACHTREE STREET! XO - Cullen