Sunday, February 20, 2011

Leukemia Where I Least Expect It......

On Thursday night I started reading "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". My interest in the book began when I read the article about it in the WSJ, and the 1,000+ comments that were generated from readers of the piece.  To be honest, I enjoyed the book. She came across as being very honest in her shortcomings in mothering her daughter and that "Chinese mothering" did not work with her younger daughter.  There were a few other things in the book regarding her ideology that I appreciated, but not so much her methodology.

Midway through what I thought was an autobiographical account of  a first generation Chinese mother struggling to impart her culture and upbringing on her children-I was sideswiped with Leukemia.  The author's mother in law was diagnosed with Leukemia, came to live with them and died.

(For readers who are not personally familiar with me, my mother died in January of 2010 from Leukemia. She was diagnosed in October of 2008, and made it through a  few chemo treatments, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant.)

I shrugged off the few pages dedicated to recounting this experience, and went on with reading.
Toward the end of the book her younger sister, who by my figuring is not much older than I am, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of AML- which is the same type of Leukemia my mother had.  This was not a brief account, and the author went into great detail of the suffering this disease and treatment cause.  I felt sorry for the family, but at the same time was reminded of the horror of going through it all with my mother--the hives from platelet transplants, the antibiotics with nasty side effects, the graft vs. host disease that caused her to swell up and her skin to peel like she was burnt.  All of it played through my mind.

This is probably the fourth book I have read since my mom died where someone gets cancer and dies, or goes through the treatment and suffers to live.  The Story Sisters by Alice Walker is a book I read a few weeks after my mom died. I thought it was a story about three sisters, and it was- until midway through when the mom gets Leukemia and dies.

I appreciate reading these stories for the human drama and experience they convey, life is full of sadness as well as joy and grace.  However, coming across Leukemia in a story has the same effect  as a bucket of cold water being thrown on me
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Six Years Ago Today....

On February 19, 2005 my family was received into the Orthodox Church.
We converted from Protestantism driven by a desire to have something more with a deep historical connection. I first discovered the Orthodox Church from an online parenting forum when I met our godmother Presvytera Lisa. She and her husband (who is an Orthodox Priest) were a wealth of information. With her suggestion we started attending a Greek Orthodox Church near our home with a wonderful Priest named Fr. Paul.  The conversion process took many months- there was a lot of research done, questioning, discussions, reading- it isn't something that is jumped into and afterward there can be a very large learning curve.
Fr. Paul decided that we would be baptised and chrismated on February 19th which was the Feast Day of St. Philothea and it was our last chance before Lent to do it. Our godparents drove 4 hours to be there with us, and it was a very exciting, lovely day. This is where the name Eleni comes from for me, it is my Church name after St. Helen. Another wonderful this happened that day as well...our godmother, after the long drive home decided to take a pregnancy test on a whim...and discovered she was indeed pregnant! 9 months later she had a beautiful little girl.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

A Secret to My Happy Marriage

In a few weeks my husband and I will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.  This seems insane to me for a couple of reasons.
A) I don't feel old enough to be married so long
B) Weren't we married yesterday? Because I don't feel old enough to be married that long.

Clearly my disbelief hinges on my inability to accept my turning 35 this year.
Anyway...I have been thinking and trying to isolate little things that make us a good partnership and keep the happiness present year after year after year....

Today I realized a pretty big habit we have that creates marital harmony. My husband NEVER EVER EVER drives when we are together, I always drive.
Feeling a little...(maybe insane??) generous today, I didn't order him out of the driver seat when I came out of the grocery store after I dropped myself off and he took over the car in the parking lot.  I thought it would be nice to be a passenger for once and play on my phone or not worry about keeping us alive while driving a big dangerous machine around other big dangerous fast moving machines. (Because really, that is what cars are!)

He drove to the exit of the parking lot and since he didn't turn on the GPS he needed directions on where to go, I told him to turn right and then get into the far left lane in order to make a left hand turn at the light.

He turned right.
Got in the far left lane...
And then did a U-TURN around barrier (on a VERY BUSY ROAD!!!) and started driving the opposite way we needed to go.
I lost my sense of generosity and yelled to freaking pull the car over asked him to pull the car over because I was going to die of a heartattack and why did he do that?
He laughed.
I drove.
And will forever more.....because seriously, a good way to keep a marriage happy is to limit stress and things to argue over, and my husband, while a truly brilliant man- is a scary driver. 
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ducks, Chicks and Yogurt

There seems to have been a small shift toward Spring. This week will have temps in the 50's and 60's and then back to the 30's, I have been smelling skunks everywhere, and the wildlife seems more active.  Tomorrow I have big plans to head outside and do hours of yardwork.

In a couple of weeks the feed store will be having "Chick Days" and we are going to pick up 4 more chicks to raise and then add to our small flock. They also carry ducklings, and to me ducklings are irresistible. I love adult ducks too. Last year I almost bought a couple but decided against it because the logistics of chickens had not yet been figured out. My mind has been working and I have figured out that we can easily add ducks. There is a duck run built on the side of the barn, an old dog house can be used as a duck house and I will stable up some predator proof fencing over  and around the run.  The previous owners also left a large child's pool and they can use that for their water. An added bonus, since ducks are messy in their water, I can use their old pool water for the garden-instant fertilizer. 

Today I am making yogurt in my crock pot.  I found the recipe at website A Year of Slow Cooking.
I am still trying to figure out how to make fruit yogurt.  Whenever I blend the fruit in my yogurt becomes a sometimes I toss in a frozen banana, some spinach and spirulina algae and make it a super healthy smoothie. Once, I put the yogurt in a strainer lined with coffee filters and let it sit overnight. A bunch of whey and fruit juice ran off and I was left with super creamy yogurt.  I used the whey for baking, but the kids said the yogurt was "too creamy".  Any ideas??
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Monday, February 14, 2011

Baking Bread

On Mondays I typically bake a few loaves of bread, and in a prior post I mentioned I would write up the recipe I use.

In a  large bowl mix together 2 cups of all purpose flour with a package of yeast- set aside
Put 1 and 3/4 cups of water into a pan and add 3 tbsps of butter and 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar and 1 tsp salt....and heat this on the stove till butter melts and water is 130 degrees.

Add the  liquid to flour and yeast and beat with mixer on low for 30 seconds- make sure to scrape sides of bowl. Then beat on high for 3 minutes.
Using a spoon add in 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup of wheat germ and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, try to mix it together as much as you can.
Dump the dough onto a floured counter and knead for about 6-8 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.
Make dough into a ball and put in an oiled bowl-turn to coat. Cover with a towel in a warm spot (For some reason I am always doing dishes when I am baking bread, so I put the bowl on the counter over the dishwasher and the drying cycle makes the counter warm) Let rise for about an hour and a half-until double in size and when you poke it with your finger, the dents stay.
Pull dough into two equal pieces and set them down to rest with a cover over them for about 10 minutes. (they are tired from rising and being yanked apart)
Lightly oil two bread pans and when the dough is done resting, shape into loaves-sealing any seams with your fingers.
Then bake in a preheated oven set at 375 for 35-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. (helloooo...are you done yet?)
Take out of oven, let cool for a millisecond, get them out of the loaf pans, slice off a super hot slice, put butter and honey on it, and fall in love.  ;-)
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Turkeys, Coyotes, Cat

Turkey in the back field

Coyote Trail

Mama Cat

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter Blues and Dirt

When winter begins I experience a mix of emotions- excitement for a new season-trepidation because I do not always do well with it-anticipation for the beauty of new snow and ice- and curiosity at what the snow reveals in the way of footprints. (I like to find the coyote trails, and see where they come onto our property)

Winter has a little over a month left and I have taken a swan dive into the winter blues. Fatigue is my constant companion, creatively I am congested, sicknesses have taken their toll on my immune system, lack of sunlight makes me want to crawl under the covers and hide. I want to spend the day in pajamas and am completely unmotivated to do anything. 

Aside from sunlight I am missing dirt. I miss the feeling of warm dirt crumbling in my hands, the deep earthy smell as I turn dirt over, the excitement of watching things grow out of the dirt.  Never did I imagine that I would experience such a deep connection to dirt, and during the growing season be concerned about the health of my dirt- to the point of nearly daily conversation with my husband who is not in love with dirt. 

I came across a news article that discusses some studies concerning dirt, in particular a bacteria in dirt, that alleviates depression.  Reading it made me wonder if the profusion of depression in modern life isn't in some way related to the lack of connection to dirt in daily life...and the push for everything to be sanitary. 

Next week we are supposed to have a few days of warm weather, possibly in the 50's.  Hopefully the ground will thaw out enough to do some digging.
Today the chickens found a soft patch of dirt in the potting shed and all squished into the small space to take dirt baths. If chickens can be happy, they were.

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Dog....the Lunatic Maker

I hear from friends with small children that they are going batty because the weather is cold and their kids are cooped up in the house without a good outlet to get rid of energy.
Im out of that stage of life, with my kids.
However, for reasons unknown to me, that space could not remain empty, and has been suitably filled by two dogs named Leia and Daisy.
Leia, being a cattle dog has some serious exercise requirements, and Daisy who is an American Eskimo/Chihuahua mix of a whopping 4 months old has just as much energy with the added bonus of the need to bark.
Together they work to drive me to the asylum.
Leia is the size of several Daisys and is bossy. When Daisy is bad, Leia grabs her by her head and drags her across the floor. Daisy yelps, I yell at Leia to drop her.
Every morning they go ballistic and run around the house chasing each other, while Daisy barks incessantly. This is not good before coffee.
 It is very very very very very very bad before coffee.
Heck, it is bad AFTER coffee.
This evening I was lazy, and let Daisy out without her leash, normally she goes a few feet from the porch, does her business and runs back.
Not today.
Since she is cooped up and crazy and has rocket fuel in her she ran across the yard and went to the chicken coop and started eating chicken poop.
She was then put into time out for an hour in her crate to confine her grossness.
Later, while putting the kids to bed, they both ganged up on Jack the Cat which created much barking and jumping and barking and knocking things over, and yelling (from me).
When they noticed I was yelling "Out" they dutifully left, only to go try to eat out of the cat box.
After that, Daisy realized the toilet held water and heaved her little self up to drink out of it. This led to more yelling on my part, this time "Get out of the toilet!!" My oldest son was in the other bathroom brushing his teeth, and the poor kid thought I was yelling at him. 
Thankfully, this weekend should warm to 40 degrees, and maybe, possibly that sheet of ice that is my yard will melt.  Then, should that miracle arrive, I am sticking them outside in the fenced area to run and bark their little hearts out.
Perhaps then they will return to being sane dogs, and  I will not be a yelling crazy woman.
Which would be awesome, because I am not a yeller- it hurts my throat and gives me a headache...but these dogs.....

Yes, even this cute, relaxed looking monster.....

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Things I Have Learned About Men

1) If a man is hungry, do not talk to him, do not take offense at his grumbly-ness. Just smile and nod, and get him some food STAT. After he eats he will turn from being a bear into his nice normal self. DO not be alarmed at this transformation, it just happens, it is weird, but normal.  This also pertains to small men of all ages. If they are grouchy, feed them.

2) If there is a tech device in hand, he cannot hear you. There may be nodding, may be some "mmm-hmms" but he does not hear you.  This is your chance to say very strange things to him...and chances are they did sink in and he will later ask you "Did you say that the alien invasion is happening at 11:13 tonight and that they are coming to take away my underwear?" and you can reply with big innocent eyes, "NOOO, of course I would never say anything so weird, are you ok?"
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Heirloom Non GMO Seeds

With GMO strains of vegetables becoming frighteningly commonplace, it is crucial to find a source to buy seeds that are pure. My favorite company is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
They offer a gorgeous catalog, a ridiculous amount of choices, and only carry non-GMO strains. 
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Short, Beautiful Reminder

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ThingsThat Stand Out

My kids have been in Public School for a few months...99 days to be exact. I don't know the number because I am a crazed helicopter mom,I know it because my 1st grader came home with a note saying that tomorrow is the 100th day of school and she can wear pajamas all day.

Since we are now on the verge of triple digit days and more than halfway done with the school year, I feel qualified to give an assessment of how our foray into public education has gone. Being prior homeschoolers for several years I have noticed several differences.

1) Sickness.  Every few weeks I get a sick kid, which leads to a sick mom. I have learned that I get FAR sicker than anyone else. In the fall I had Strep and it was horrible. My husband said at one point he thought I was dead while I was sleeping. On Christmas I came down with the flu, and was couch ridden for days on end. Husband thought I was dead at some point then too. ONE week later I got the puking flu and was so dehydrated I should have gone to the ER to get fluids,but being stubborn I kept downing Gatorade even though I would throw up a minute later.  I survived and managed to avoid the hospital. This time I thought I would die because I was all alone on the couch to keep my germs isolated and everyone was upstairs.

2) Papers. The kids bring home mountains of papers and I get them all confused and mixed up. This leads teachers or school staff to call me and politely remind me in a terse tone that I needed to send something to school

3) Snow Days. They are still as awesome as they were when I was a kid...unless I had planned to write a paper for class that day and have three talkative children talking while I write. This does not always lead to a coherent paper.

4) Comfort Zones. My kids have been blessed with awesome teachers that push them past their self imposed comfort zones while being supportive. I am not able to do this to the extent they are because when my kids look at me with tears in their eyes and say "Im scared" my mom heart breaks. Example- my middle son tends to be a bit shy in groups. His teacher wanted him to lead a presentation each day for a week in class and he came up to her and told her he was too scared. She offered assistance and prompted him through it. Within a few days his confidence was up and he did it himself.

5) Being Different. My 10 yr old has been told he is "like a kid from the 50's" because he does not know who Lady Gaga is, he likes Leave it to Beaver, and he is very polite to adults. He replied "That is a great compliment, thank you!" My nearly 7yr old girl is getting pressure about any difference she may have "Everyone has their ears pierced in 1st grade, why don't you?"  She has a hard time with it, but is hopefully learning to stand on her own two feet.

6) Hearing About My Kids From Their Teachers. This is really nice. I get to hear things about them from people with no prior connection or bias.  It  is great hearing that my kids are compassionate, helpful, insightful and kind to their classmates.
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Homeschoolers don't quit...they evolve

Into Afterschoolers.
After five years of homeschooling we, my husband initially, decided to enroll the kids into our neighborhood public school.
My husband felt it would be best, so I could have a "break" from all the responsibilities I was taking on. His reasoning was that I had just lost my mom after a very intense 18 month bout with leukemia, and I was in college. He wanted me to take the time to ease  up a bit after that experience and take more college courses if I felt I was up to it.

It took a bit of time, but after a couple of months of working through grief, homeschooling, and juggling college I realized he was right.  I am only one person and I needed time to process things and take a breather.

However, just because they are in school does not mean that I shoulder off everything to the school.  It is still my responsibility to introduce them to good solid literature, help them develop a strong vocabulary, do math drills, and include or expand upon any areas I feel are important that the school does not.  I do love their school and their teachers are wonderful, but after Christmas break there was what seemed this big shift and mobilization to get ready for the standardized tests.  Which means more focus on math and the mechanics of reading. I think that is fine, give them a solid math base and reading and writing base, and I will cover history, poetry, the great books, and natural sciences.

This said, it does not mean that I am burdening them with tons more work. "Afterschooling" for us, is an  extension of our life like homeschooling was. They are given books to read each week from a list here and asked to write down any vocabulary words they come across that they don't know, and write a quick couple of lines summarizing their reading for the night. My boys like to read before bed, so they fit in 15-30 minutes of the book I give them, and then move on to whatever other book they are reading. Poetry, I recite to them, we discuss it together, and this can happen over dinner or while Im cooking. History- Im a history geek and topics in history come up in several conversations during the day. Sciences, same thing. 
Really, afterschooling is just doing what is a parental duty and truly does not even need it's own name.
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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Simple Life

Simple Living does not always equal easier living.
Everyone has a different definition of what simple living is, and there are semantics involved.
Are you striving for a simple life or natural family living.....
I have a hard time with taking on a description to sum up the way I live.

Over the years I have noticed similarities between families wanting to simplify; they homeschool, they move onto some land, they get chickens, maybe a goat or a cow, they grind their wheat, and bake their bread, they eat their own animals, and grow their own vegetables.
Case in point: simple does  not equate easy.
In fact, in my quest to simplify our lives I have created different levels of difficulty. Here are a few...

It is much easier to go to the store and buy a carton of eggs as opposed to taking care of chickens. Chickens mean daily care, and in the winter the daily watering can be a painful experience and give a person some old looking hands.
Having my own chickens gives me a sense of accomplishment, we get eggs. Eggs that are cheaper, and possibly more nutritious (click link) than storebought,not to mention I know what my chickens are eating. For the most part I know what my chickens are eating, they free range all day and eat bugs and who knows what. I DO know that they aren't eating- meat byproducts from factory farming, antibiotics, and other things I don't want in the bodies of the creatures who make my eggs.
The chickens also create plenty of manure for our garden.

Baking bread.
I do bake our bread, usually twice a week because it gets eaten quickly. Again, it is easier to pick up a loaf of bread at the store, but for bread that is free of hfcs, whole grain-preferably organic to keep our pesticide exposure low, and tastes good it is not hard to spend $4 to $5.
Baking bread is super easy, and taking a slice off when it is fresh out of the oven-and eating it hot with butter and honey easily falls under the category of luxury.
I will post my favorite bread recipe later.

Drying clothes on the clotheline.
Lugging wet clothes out back, hanging them up, taking them down and bringing them back inside -again, easier to toss them in the dryer, and faster. But, can a dryer create the scent and feel of wind and sun dried sheets? Never.
Clothesline drying is free, and that will wind up saving a few dollars or more over the course of the season. On a side note:  It drives me crazy when HOA's forbid line drying.

If ever there was a thing to give a person gratitude for how hard it is to grow food, having a garden would be it. Pests, plant diseases, good soil, the back breaking work, the sweating, bugs, it is never ending.  Everyday during the growing season there are weeds wanting to choke out the vegetables and bugs wanting to eat everything. Last year I had an invasion of squash bugs, if ever a bug looked like Death, it is a squash bug. Im not squeamish but whenever I turned over a leaf and saw hundreds of those pale grey things, I would get a cold chill.
After the harvest, provided there is one, there is the canning, and freezing and prep work to make it last till the next season.

Once again, it is easier to go to the grocery or farmer's market and buy veggies and fruits, but for me the smell and feel of warm dirt, and the satisfaction of eating food I grew after battling to get to that point-priceless and a luxury.
I support farmer's markets 110% and make every effort to buy from them, and think everyone should get to one at least one time a month during the season.

Cutting Back
The biggest area I can think of there would be cars.  We have been a two car family for several years, and it is convenient.  In October my husband was in an accident and his car was totaled.  There was a few days of panic and wondering how we would manage with one car. The thought of getting a new one was pushed aside simply because we were just freed up from a car payment, and we did not want to add another one.  So, we decided to save up and buy a car with cash.  My husband is in sales, which means he drives. A lot. On Mondays and Thursdays he is strictly in the office, so on those days I have the car to run errands, and take our son to tae kwon do in the evening.  This has worked out nicely, and I have to admit I like not having a car available to me a couple days a week as it forces me to have less distraction, which means I am forced to write more. ;-)
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Friday, February 4, 2011

On my mind.....

This August day. It was beautiful, and the kids had so much fun playing. This day was one of those where you remember every moment, the laughter, the scent in the air, the sun on your face.
I love this day.
Posted because of the On my mind post over at Down to Earth
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I am craving it.
Not just the brightness but the warmth. I want to feel the sun on my skin-that prickling, soaking in, hot feeling on  my body.
The sun is shining today and the reflection of  the snow is blinding. My house has many windows facing south and the sun is flooding in.
For a moment I was tempted to lay naked in a sunbeam to try to satisfy the craving of feeling it soaking into my skin- but I looked at my thermostat and my house is 65 degrees.
Too cold. 
Just a few more months.......
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Thursday, February 3, 2011


After two snow days the kids are back in school and I am once again left with a quiet house. The walk to the end of our driveway to catch the bus was...slippery. There is at least an inch of ice on the ground, and that is covered with a couple inches of  snow. I figure that between the walk to the end of the drive, and then out back to the chicken coop to feed the chickens took care of my leg workout for the day. My quads were burning by the time I was done.

Yesterday morning when I took the dog out, I noticed two large and very fat raccoons checking out the chickens. They ran off when I yelled at them to shoo.  This morning when I went out to the coop I was greeted by the sight of blood. Everywhere. After making sure everyone was still alive, I started looking at feet thinking perhaps the raccoon had gotten another toe. Indeed, that is what happened, Dread Rooster Fairy now has one less toe.
I do not have much love for raccoons.

Thursdays household schedule:
~The ever present laundry needs to be done
~Vacuum upstairs and downstairs
~cat boxes

When the kids get home from school we dash off to Tae Kwon Do, and then to the library for our biweekly trip.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Barn Swallow and Provision

 Barn Swallows are my favorite type of bird...
Resident barn swallow flying from our barn

and in a small boutique during late summer of 2008, I found a plate that had a barn swallow with clouds as it's design.  My husband suggested I buy it, but when I looked at the price it was $200- for a melamine plate with a decoupage design on it- by John Derian.
There was NO way I could bring myself to spend that much on a plate, so with a longing backward glance I walked away.

A couple months later my mom called me and told me she had been diagnosed with Leukemia. I have some wonderful friends, and upon hearing the news they mobilized quickly and told me they were taking me out to dinner for a fun night out, I agreed knowing it would be helpful to have a nice distraction while processing this new reality.

The night of our dinner I was early, so I decided to wander around Target to waste time. I walked around aimlessly,  until I turned a corner, and saw that Target was carrying a collection of John Derian items.  I ran over, and under a stack of plates was my plate, slightly altered, but the same swallow and close enough to the original design.  It was priced at $20 so I bought it.
It now holds a focal point of honor on my mantle and serves as a small  reminder that things will usually work out.
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Adventures in Chicken Keeping

Last March we went to the feed store and on a whim we bought  7 chicks.
This one was named Butterscotch
Since we did this impulsively, and brought them home in a little box, I had to be inventive in making a brooder for them.  I had an old dog crate, so I put bedding in it, surrounded the sides with cardboard because they could fit through the openings, and rigged up a heat lamp.
Leia the Cattle Dog mix took her job as chick protector very seriously. She also liked to herd the chicks in the crate by running around it till she was satisfied they were in their proper places. The chicks did not like this.
Leia the chick guard dog

 They grew and were moved outside to a coop. One day one of the chicks crowed at me and I realized I had accidentally gotten a rooster, we called him Bob.
Unfortunately, Bob turned out to be mean and attacked my daughter. So I rehomed him. After Bob left our very flashy chicken named Fairy started to crow...Fairy was then named Dread Rooster Fairy.
Dread Rooster Fairy strikes a pose
My chickens free range during the day and in the evening they go back into their coop. So far, even though we have coyotes, raccoons and hawks we haven't lost anyone during the day.  Christmas Eve, however, there was a chicken massacre by what I assume to be a raccoon due to my red hen's head being pulled off.  My husband came home from somewhere, and asked me why the chickens were not in their coop and were huddled around our backdoor.  I went out to check, and noticed feathers on top of the coop, and lots of blood. I opened the door to the nesting boxes and found the body of the red hen.

The door was not shutting securely, there was a large gap, and I was lazy - so it wasn't fixed, and the chickens liked to sleep right by this gap, which was big enough for a paw to reach into.
I disposed of her body and shooed the rest of the chickens back in.  After that I went into the house and took a bath.  Upon getting out of the tub, I heard a horrible commotion coming from outside. I threw on a robe, ran downstairs, shoved my feet into my boots and went outside.  There were chickens squawking- running everywhere, and ghastly growly noises coming from the coop.  I thought I had latched the main door earlier, but I hadn't and the beastly chicken killer had opened it and was back.

Running around at night, in the snow,naked aside from my robe and boots and chasing chickens was never on my list of things to accomplish in this lifetime,but I suppose I could add it and check it off. (By the way,chickens are very fast).  After several minutes I found and caught three chickens and stuffed them in the spare coop.  The next day two other appeared-one with a stump for her middle toe.

Anyone interested in keeping chickens, can find wonderful information at Backyard Chickens.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice World

Cold Daisy

Last Summer's Sunflower

Iced Chickens

Tree Corral

A mouse lives in this house


Grass enclosed in Ice

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We are in the midst of a lovely ice storm, so the kids are home from school. Everything is coated with ice and the dogs did not appreciate stepping out onto a slippery porch this morning, although it gave me a good laugh. Thankfully, the cat that comes and goes from the house was ensconced in her room. She came to us last summer bone thin with a belly full of kittens and several ticks embedded in her skin.

Today will be a day for taking pictures to capture the dangerous beauty of the ice; my apple trees are bowing down with the weight of it, and I hope they will not break.  Tonight there is supposed to be more freezing rain-my prayer for then is that the power stays on.  We might live in an old farmhouse, but strangely, there isn't a working fireplace and the thought of freezing for a few days without power is less than appealing. 

Tuesday has a to do list also:
~vacuum the downstairs (I love my pets, but not their hair!)
~vacuum couch
~Dust living room
~cat boxes
~bake more muffins because the kids eat so much
~work on essay

Prior to this school year we homeschooled for a total of five years. The kids are enjoying being in school and I enjoy the ability to take a heavier course load for myself-in the hopes of not graduating past 50. Today they asked if I could homeschool them since they were off of school.

How could I refuse that?
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