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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ok everyone SING along...let it snow, let it snow...let it rain???? What! Wait!

                                                         Hayley     Oct 1995 to Feb 2011



Good Morning everyone...Since it is now after midnight I can say that....

 Good news, I finally was able to get the hubby to get me the Power of Atty, Military Medical Insurance & a Military ID card....wow, yeah I know, its mind blowing to me too!  Bear with me on this Blog, I had little sleep last night & am now getting a second (or maybe third) wind with too much coffee pushing my brain.  i must say though after about 6 weeks of mental stress over all of this it is nice to finally have it all done.  Now if they can just find his orders, since he is flying out to Texas on Wednesday!

Most of you up here in the North East (USA) have been dealing with this strange weather.   Normally we just get lots of snow, bitter cold winds & gray days....Well this year we got the snow late..  December instead of November...then last week we got tons of sunshine with highs in the 40's & 50's....Well that ended today when we got snow, rain...snow...and little more rain...well actually a lot of rain.  We were driving through mini swimming pools to the Military Post.  Nothing like a dirty mushy snow/rain mix hitting your windshield & no window fluid cleaner.....yeah I am going to stick my head out the side window & clean the window for you honey.  That Maid tattoo you requested on my forehead isn't there if you care to look.

Ok so it wasn't that bad, but you would think people up here would know how to drive in all this.  Even the snow plows were dumping sand on the rainy wet highway like that's going to help us drive in the rain better.  One of the other places I had to go today was to the DMV to renew my drivers lic.. which I didn't know had expired on my birthday THIS year, that was the middle of January...oops I am so bad!

Anyway on with the story, I got to the office which takes care of all the surrounding towns & is usually standing room only that early in the morning.  I walked in to a nearly empty office & got everything taken care of under 15 minutes.....Now you, that have had to go do this can tell me this is some sort of record..  Felt really really good til I saw my picture & I swear all I had been drinking was coffee!  I used to take good pictures & I just don't know what happened in the last few years.  The last drivers lic picture I had super short hair & you would swear you were looking at someone's granddad., even with the longer hair, I have seen great grandmothers who look better than me & I am only 52!  By the time I got the Military ID I was ready to hide under a rock...that one is even worse.  Oh, they are all kind & say "I could re-do it for you" but by that time I am so horrified I just say no, grab it & leave as quickly as I can.
  I am telling you these are so bad I couldn't pay someone to steal them.
My older sister got me this great birthday card with a old buzzard on it & today I sure felt & looked  its sister.

I am suppose to be writing about the 'kids' aren't I?

Mother, who you all know is broody & laying on some eggs is doing great, but I feel so guilty.  I checked her yesterday to remove any of the unmarked eggs & picked up one of the marked ones.  As I was putting it back under her she pecked at me, missed & cracked open the egg.  It had a developing baby in it & it just broke my heart.  So I am not longer checking., its not like I don't get enough eggs a day to feed the neighborhood, so she can have all she wants under her. My neighbor girl I talk about...Kelley has one of those egg thingies you can hatch the eggs in if I need to use it later. I will still have to move her in about 2 weeks time to a lower level but I will be extra careful not to let her get near the egg I have in my hand.


Poor Tilly, my one black sex-link is now completely balded...CeeCee had plucked out all her head feathers when he is mating with her. Usually my sex-links are the more aggressive hens, not violent but they don't put up with any bad behavior on the roosters part. I would think by now Tilly would do as the other girls do & fly up to the roosting bar when he gets close to her, I am just praying her feathers come back!  I may have to put sunscreen on her this summer.

The in house kids are doing very well, Jasper(duck) & Porgie(little rooster) still run around the room but Jasper is not trying to mate with the big hens at the moment which for me is nice.  Baby Girl, the blue Orpington I brought in because the hens were plucking out her tail & rump feathers is doing quite well, she no longer has a bare bottom & is getting braver by the day with this group.

The basement coop kids are doing just fine, Pippi La'Roo is keeping them all in line & he makes sure they  get in there to eat when I bring their warm feed to them. He is like a little military man calling them all...if they don't show up he goes & gets them & follows behind til they get where he wants them.
                                 

Macy (kitty) is still on a 24/7 catnip high, she has now learned how to wrap her front legs around Big Mommas neck.  its like watch Pro wrestling... Macy may weigh all of 1 1/2-2 lbs to big Momma who is 18 pounds...Macy has her in a death headlock while Big Momma is running thinking maybe I can outrun her & she will drop.  So far, that has not happened & Big Momma is stuck with this moving gray collar that is now biting her. I am waiting for the day when all the snow melts & Big Momma convinces Macy to come outside & play.  Then leads her off into the woods near our house to go check out the big furry funny looking cats that hang out in there....you know the ones I am talking about...Or introduces her to a rabid raccoon.  Oh, the stories she will tell when she finally figures out how to find her way home.


Rosey (dog) has mellowed a bit since Hayley's gone but she still gets into things if I keep her down in the dining room at night....She is getting onto the table to get things, so I now know how she got the camera a while back ago.  Needless to say there are days I look at her & think...You would make sure a pretty coat.....No I am not going to do that, but when she is being bad it does flash across my brain ever so often.

I think it is finally time to put this & me to bed.  So until next time have a great chicken day!  M'.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Life has many thorns......& I seem to have a bunch of them!

Good afternoon everyone!

Ok so maybe that's not really true but sometimes it just seems life hits you on the has one too many times & I hate the headaches.

This week has been one of those lets just hid under the covers kind of week.....My beautiful 15 year old Chow Chow had to be put down on Wednesday, I had been delaying it because I just didn't want to see her go but it was the right thing to do for her. 

We got her when she was 8 weeks old & a big ball of black fur down in Georgia when Thomas was stationed at Fort Benning.  She was born at the end of Oct so I made her a Halloween baby for a Birthday...Even as a small pup she had this idea that everything thing that came into the house had to be mothered by her, even if it towered over her. Every new kitten got Hayley licks when they came in & even the ones the most scared seemed to realize she was there to help them. 

She did not seem to mind if it had fur or not.... she let my snake curl up under her.....She didn't mind baby rabbits jumping on her & rutting around in her fur.....nor did she mind baby chicks or hens laying on top of her to sleep.  At about 7 1/2 years old she started losing her sight which was sad in a way, but she never really let it bother her...her nose & ears were great so she had no problems getting around...coming down stairs though she would end up either falling or sliding down them.  I invested in a metal child's gate to keep her safe & we would carry her up & down stairs if she wanted to be upstairs with us.

I always thought it was so funny how she bonded with other animals but never really had a close tie to us....oh she was a good girl & minded & listened to you when you called her but she never came up to anyone to be petted or get attention like a lot of dogs do.  She spent 15 years doing her own thing & as long as she had food,water & a soft bed she was content.

I have never been one who has to have a dog in her life, if I have them that's great if not that's alright also.  Now that I am older I think I have come to the stage where I don't need to have a dog anymore, with 3 cats & coops of chickens i am content with the way my life is.  I will miss Hayley since she was special & the right dog for me.

The broody hen 'Mother' is doing well, she now has 7 eggs under her & is doing a good job of keeping them warm with the cold weather we are still having.  I give her a small bowl of warm feed when I take out the other hens breakfast since I know by the time she gets up to eat it will all be gone.  she has quit pecking me now when I check her eggs, I think its cause she knows she will get a treat after momma is done messing with her butt.

This military stuff is getting sooooo old, I never know from one day to another what is going on & I am about to start pulling my hair out.  Now its not the Military per say its a husband who refused to tell me what is going on so that I am in a consent state of confusion & nerves.  Trying to get him to tell me is not working, I get one word answers of yes,no & most of the time my favorite' I don;t know"....which is his way of saying I don't want to answer you, I am watching TV. 

You would think after 21 years together he could at least put my mind to ease over some of it....like when will I get medical insurance???? I am not a young hen & I need that insurance while he is gone for the year...not that I am going to fall down the stairs again, but it could happen....last time it was busted discs, before that it was a broken collarbone.....Cats & stairs don't mix well specially when you are half asleep & haven't had your coffee yet.

Anyway I hate being this edgy all the time & after a month of it I am tired of it.  I can't plan anything cause I never have the car or if I think I have the car I don't so even grocery shopping has become a big event....At least I don't need eggs!

We have been getting some sun the last 3 days which has been wonderful, the snow is finally melted off the roofs of the house & shop....no cave-ins this year!  I have been going through the seed catalogs I get in the mail day dreaming about the gardens that are still buried under 5 feet of snow.  Somethings I know I won't plant but the catalogs are so much fun to look at...for me they are like the old Sears wish catalogs of days gone past. Plus being this far up north some of the things you can never grow unless you have a greenhouse, heat/grow lights & so on.  I keep my house cool so even some of the fun things like mini lemon trees won't make it through the winter in my house...but they are so cute.

My old computer that I normally write is blog on fried last week...the mother board went south so I had a guy here in town try to fix it, well that wasn't going to happen so he gave me a rebuilt one for a total of  $140 & that included all his labor on the old one....so now I have a computer I can use without it crashing, but haven't gotten my pictures downloaded as of yet, so sorry there is no chicken picture to greet you.

Until next time have a great chicken day....M'

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The sneakiness of a brood hen & spring dreams






                                                 Sundance with momma Ginger July 2010

Well, we are starting to get warmer days now, yesterday was in the high 20's & today we may see it in the 40 degree range.  I have never had a house that had ice dams on the roof edges so this has been a new experience for me, nor have I had flat roofs that need to be shoveled off.  So I was a bit dumb about it all until my neighbors brother came over one morning & shoveled off the roofs for me.  I had no idea he was out there until I went to check my mail. My husband had gotten that ice melt that is safe for the ground & animals & Leno told me to throw that up on the flat roofs to help melt the very large ice dams I had or I would get leaks in the house.  Thank goodness for such a sweet man cause with Thomas off & about with the military I would have been frustrated if I got leaks & not known why.  Leno won't take money from me, but I was able to get him to take 2 dozen eggs for his thoughtfulness.

Its amazing how ones kindness can have such a wonderful affect on a person. Leno is the same person who I helped with his sick dog this last summer & in trade he put a chimney cap in for me.   I grew up part of my life on a huge farm & trading/bartering was a given because at times the farmers just didn't have the extra money for work but could trade/barter what they had on the farm.  I sure missed that when i went to the city where I found trading/bartering to been looked at with mistrust.  Thankful that is now once again slowly changing.

My neighbor girl Kelley is waiting for her hens to get old enough to lay so since she has 4 kids I try to take over at least 2-3 dozen eggs when I can, in trade I ask if when she makes bread to make me a loaf since her bread is wonderful.  She mills her own wheat berries, uses coconut oil & honey so her breads are very hearty plus she uses cast iron bread pans that seem to make the bread even better.  They come out perfect every time, well that I know of anyway.

Kelley last year injured her back very bad & had to give up her goats & chickens, I took 5 of the hens but decided against the goats.  Well she is much healthier now & has decided to give the goats a try again.  I am excited because they are such fun to be around & she will be milking them.  Up here in Massachusetts goats milk goes for $6 to $10 a gallon.  Now I am not a milk drinker but she has 2 small children who have problems with store bought milk.  she gives them fresh cows milk, which I do drink & feels the goats milk will be a added bonus in the health of the children.  She is the one that got me into a lot of the healthier way of eating.  Not that I eat bad but I never knew about using coconut oil or how to make fresh yogurt in a crock pot.  Plus I now eat at least a few times a week stone cut oats that I cook in the crock pot as well.

It has been so much fun having her 2 doors down from me.  She is putting in a huge garden this year & I am putting in a huge herb garden which I will share with her.  We also try to do some of our canning together in the fall.

I have been looking at green grape vines that will grow up here.  I have all the set-up to put them in & have been wanting to do it since last year.  The block I live on at one time was all Italian families who had concord grape vines that they made wine out of.  Just before we bought our house the old owner tore out the grapevines he had that were planted in the 1920's.  My neighbor right next door still has the grape vines that were also planted in the 1920's & I used to go over there & pick the grapes but now that we no longer speak I have decided i would like my own.  I am not a wine drinker so I thought the green grapes would be nice for eating & making juice.  Its funny but under my art shop is a room that at one time had a copper still in it, its long gone :(....but someday I will pull up the area floor to check it out.....thank goodness they covered where the old stairs were with just a sheet of heavy plywood & screws so it won't be a problem doing it...its just having the time to move stuff to get to it.

On a sadder note, today I have to take my 14 1/2 year old blind Chow Chow to be put to sleep. I have been delaying this since December hoping the medicine would help her.  it did for a long time but now she is dropping a lot of weight, has no control over her bowels & hurts when she moves.  It will be hard as I have had her since she was 8 weeks old & she has seemed to always be here. But it seems cruel to keep her going just because I am not ready for her to leave yet.  Hard decision to have to make.

The chickens are doing great!  I had thought they had all quit laying but 2 days ago I noticed that 'Mother' hadn't moved from one of the nesting boxes in a few days so I checked her.  That girl had 17 eggs hidden under her!  In about 2 weeks or so I will wait until night time & set up a new box for her on the ground, since now she is about 4 foot off the floor & when the babies hatch I am worried they will fall out & get attacked.  I did this with Ginger when she  was half way through her laying/hatching time so I am hoping it will work for Mother as well & not spook her into leaving them.

I had thought about grabbing all the eggs but I really did enjoy seeing the babies this last July with Ginger so thought why not let Mother have her babies this one time.  I am giving CeeCee away soon as having 1 large rooster & 2 small roosters is more than my space can really handle once the spring comes.  Right now with 2 coops & the in-house medical care area it is working out fine but CeeCee goes after Bess & Porgie goes after CeeCee to protect Bess & then if I have Pippi La'Roo out there I am sure it will be a feather flying mess & all the hens will be upset.  Plus if you have ever had to try & stop a comb from bleeding its not a good time for you or the injured rooster.  Last year it took about 2 hours to get Cashmires comb to stop bleeding after he & Chatty got into it.  One small cut bled like it was never going to quit & I was amazed at the amount of blood that rooster lost before it quit.

With the spring just right around the door I will have to get a Vet date set up to have Macy Gray (kitten) fixed & all her shots done.  Right now she is not allowed out, like she would go out in this snow.  But once its nice & the other 2 cats want to wonder the yard I am sure Macy will be out there with them.  All 3 cats were outdoor cats before I got them so its very hard to keep them in when the weather is nice.  They always figure a way out no matter what I do, so I make sure they are up to date on everything.  Normally I get an animal fixed ect as soon as I get them but with Thomas being unemployed most of 2010 I didn't have the extra money for Macy so I have been very careful with her until I do get her tended to.

I got involved with the Maryjane magazine & joined their group so I could become one of the 'Hens'  this last month.  Its been fun to see what other farm girls or want to be farm girls are doing. There is all kinds of sections dealing with all farm animals, cooking,sewing, bartering, swaps & so on.  I check it every day to see what is going on.  Its been nice since during the winter I stay at home a lot so having something interesting to read & check out has been enjoyable.  Plus there is badges you can earn by doing certain things....the badges are cotton so you can decorate them & sew them onto a apron or jean jacket.  I have decided to put mine on a patchwork skirt I am going to make just for the badges.  This will be skirt I wear when I am feeling like a farm girl & want to feel pretty.

Well I am nearly out of coffee so best close this for now...I am cranky when I don't get enough coffee!
Have a wonderful chicken day...M'

Saturday, February 12, 2011

While I wait

My sleeping pattern has been way off since all this stuff with Thomas & him being back to active duty....I have been up since around 2 a.m. showered & decided since I can't go to the post Office, library or grocery store yet I might as well go through some of my files. I have massive amount of herbal files, there's a book that is waiting to be written. i did start it & the computer crashed when our circuit breaker caught on fire years back...& of coarse I didn't save any of the work on disk...so a few 100 pages were lost. I was smart though in the regards I didn't throw away the hand written pages away & kept. so here they sit waiting for me to get the excitement level back up to type it all up. The reason I went through the files was someone had asked me for some herbal recipes & I came across a few that I thought would be fun to share with you. I have read 100's of books on herbs, its history, its uses, its medical properties & recipes. Most of the recipes I have collected are no longer copyrighted or in patent because they are 100 of years old so they are safe for me to share with you.
Besides my chickens, I love planting & growing herbs & flowers that are just not only pretty but can be used. Getting into chickens has sent me on the hunt for good plants/herbs that I can also give them to help them stay healthy. There is something wonderful about digging in the warm dirt & planting the seeds & then tending to them as they grow. It's like taking care of fragile little babies who need your attention for them to grow big & strong. I do love the winter when things are cold & nippy, but I also love it when the sun comes out & stays in the sky longer so I can wonder happily in my yard. this year with Thomas in Afghanistan I will not be doing a big vegetable garden to can later in the fall so I have decided on top of the garden for the chickens, this year will be the year I get the big herb garden I have been wanting to get in & plant the flowers that have yet to be done as well. Boy, that was a long sentence!
I used to own a herbal soap & bath business at one time & I miss it. Though I will not be doing large batches of items for sell this time around, I still want to make some herbal things that I do use or will use if I have them made up. the marigold salve I put in one of my blogs I love & now that after almost 13 years am low enough in it to make a good batch this summer. I really like this salve because I kept it in a cool dark place & it didn't go bad in the 13 years I had it.....now if I had used oil I bet I would have had to get rid of it a lot earlier.
Now the recipes I am enclosing are for different things I thought you might like to try if you want........

Rose Hand Cream

1 teaspoon Beeswax
1/4 teaspoon Honey
4 tablespoons of Almond Oil (Sunflower Oil is nice for this as well)
4 tablespoons of Rose Water

melt honey, oil & beeswax in a double boiler or a pan placed in another pan of water. Stir until it is all melted then stir as you slowly put in the rose Water. Remove from the heat & keep stirring until it is cooled.....Place in a wide mouth jar without the lid until it has cooled to room temperature. this is very nice to use after your bath on your feet, then put on socks. It will soften your feet & they smell nice but not overpowering.

Rose Oil, Recipe from 1586

18 ounces of a good oil such as Almond or Sunflower
3 ounces of dried Rose Petals
In a clean sterile jar put the petals in first & then the oil. Set in the sun for 40 days, shaking it ever so often. Strain out the petals & re-bottle into another clean sterile jar.

Rose Powder, recipe from 1879

1 pound of Rice Flour
1 cup of ground up dried rose petals
10 drops of Rose Oil
5 drops of sandalwood oil

Dandelion Cookies

1/2 cup of honey
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup of raw oatmeal
1/2 cup of dandelion blooms ( use only the yellow petals, not the green stuff)
Mix honey & oil together then beat in eggs & vanilla. Stir in the flour, oatmeal & dandelion blooms.
drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

I love this recipe & can't wait until the dandelions come up so I can gather them. For you that don't know this, dandelion helps clean out the poisons from the liver. Most people use dried root & make a tea of it but the blooms work on a very low level. & while you are grabbing the blooms, pick the small leaves & cook them up like you would do spinach....Very good for you!

Rosemary Drop Biscuits

1 cup flour ( can use whole wheat as well)
2 cups of mashed potatoes
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary
1/4 cup of vegetable Oil
1/2 cup of milk

Mix Flour, potatoes, baking powder, salt & rosemary together, slowly pour in oil & milk & beat to mix together well.
Drop by the spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet & bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes....When golden brown they are done.

I am hoping to get some Rosemary planted this year, I love the smell of it. For some reason every time I plant it, it doesn't want to come up so I think I would do best of getting a good size plant that someone else started. I like to just pick it & lay it on my counter for the smell, to me it smells so clean & fresh.

Update on the 'kids'.....Jasper, my male call duck has decided whenever he sees my blue Orpington hen that he has to bite her butt. but now, Porgie, the Sarama rooster has decided to get into the act & while Jasper is clamped on the the hen, Porgie is chasing the duck. This of course scares the hen even more so she is running for her life & flapping her wings as fast as she can. The other hens are staying to the sidelines just watching...definitely no loyalty there.

I have tried to grab Jasper but he won't let go so when he finally does his beak is full of her feathers so I decided to quit doing that...the poor girl is almost bare bottomed as it is! Once the grass shows back up they will be outside so hopefully she will learn to get out of his way or maybe Jasper will have a mate by then...I sure hope he doesn't do that to the girl duck...they don't have as many feathers & I may end up with a balded duckie.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Its cold & I am bored

I do so love the snow but with 5 foot mountains of it in my yard I am struggling to get anywhere. At least the driveway is only about 12 inches high but still makes going to get the mail a challenge. And with Thomas gone I can not shovel out the snow because we got sleet a few days ago & its so heavy I feel like the shovel will break just lifting it...lol...

We have been getting into the negatives at night, so last night I went down to check on the chickens in the basement coop & boy was it cold. I went & grabbed blankets & covered the door to the outside to block the cold air that was getting in, added another heat lamp & put a thick blanket around the tarped area to help cut off more cold air that might get in. In less than 10 minutes my finger tips were numb, so I am glad I thought to go down there & check on them. I even put a sheet over the top of their dog crate they have so they can get up on it & get closer to the nice heat lamps if wanted.

I know they are doing alright, but I do so worry about them. My neighbor told me yesterday she had to bring in one of her hens because of frost bite on the feet. That's what made me check my hens again. I have decided this spring when they finally go back outside that I am re-doing both coops with a better heating system. I love the lamps but always worry they may fly up & hit them or burn themselves on them. I am sure I have written about this before but when its -6 or -27 degrees it makes me want to bring them all 15 in & set them in front of the woodstove.

I decided to make chocolates the other night...I started doing this years ago as gifts & had so much fun with it that I now do it when I want something different to make. I will tell you right now they are not the pretty store bought candies, I make ugly chocolates but they sure taste good. I had found a recipe this winter for a orange cream chocolate that is like the peppermint patties you get at the store. Its the basic -powdered sugar cream recipe but with orange extract added...I decided to double the recipe & since it was 2 o'clock in the morning I didn't read the recipe right & added 4 Tablespoons of extract instead of 4 teaspoons. Well I was sure surprised that they tasted so good. I think they would have been too mild if I had read the recipe right! There is something fun about melting chocolate & dipping the stuff into it. I always freeze mine so the chocolate gets hard enough that when I remove them from the waxed paper its not a mess. now I have about 100 chocolates minus the few I have already gotten into to enjoy. I always buy the chocolate, nuts , powdered sugar during the holiday months when they are on sale so I always have them when the 'chocolate' mood hits me.

I also put on a pot of lima beans & ham that night, I only eat them when Thomas is away since he doesn't like them. They are one of my favorite comfort foods along with potatoes & cheese...not that I mix them all together but I think you see my point...we all have our favorite foods that we need when nothing else sounds good. Another thing I love which I really need to make is potato soup, my great grandmother made the best potato soup....she would take out part of the potatoes & mash them then stir them back in to make the soup nice & creamy. It wasn't fancy, just potatoes, milk, water & a bit of salt & pepper but on cold nights it was the best!

I am not much of a meat eater when my husband is away I prefer vegetables over everything else. Which makes it easy when I want to cook, a pot of veggie soup, beans or baked potatoes & I am a happy camper....well that & my handmade ugly candy as a treat.

I have yet to get back to tearing the wood shingles off the kitchen walls, for some reason I am tired & the idea of ripping them & the staples out doesn't appeal to me right now. I know part of the tiredness is from the worry of Thomas leaving for Afghanistan soon. I do well on my own, but I hate the idea of him going to a very unsafe country where he doesn't know who to trust. Iraq was bad, but here there are so many unknowns of who the enemy is & I worry not so much about him getting killed but getting injured by someone who is out to destroy everyone & everything. I will never understand this ideology of right & wrong religion. I am not a religious person but I think I am spiritual & I accept that there is a place for all religious beliefs in the world. It is not my place to say one thing is right & another is wrong. But I get so sad over the wars created because of ones beliefs.

Since I grew up as a child at home, then in a Childrens home & then in foster homes I got the chance to experience many religions, some I found odd but not wrong. I saw that the general idea was about being a peace with yourself, others & the world, to share joy, love & happiness with those around you. To learn to give of yourself without thoughts of what was in it for you & to enjoy being alive. a label of your religion really didn't matter, it was about what you did with your life to better yourself.

Ok sorry I got long winded about that :)

On to something else.....I got in the mail some great patterns for my adopted grand daughter the other day & am excited about making her some new bright clothes for the spring & summer. I even found a under garments pattern using cotton so I can make her pretty little slips, pantalooms & shirts. There is something fun about wearing cotton slips...I don't know why I love them, but they make me feel pretty when they peak out from under my dress or skirt. Maybe its the lace??

I also got some great books in the mail...one is on backyard blacksmithing. I am a silversmith who has always wanted to learn the basics of blacksmithing. I know its the same concept as silversmithing but you need more arm strength. I am sure to drive my neighbors crazy banging away! I have always loved weather vanes as well & got a book on the old original designs of metal & wood weather vanes that I want to do. I started a copper fish weather vane years ago & its been sitting there waiting for me to finish it. I also want to do a chicken weather vane to put on my shop in copper. I love working with my hands & am always trying to come up with things that I can create. My large 50 foot by 20 foot shop has a woodstove in it & I should really get out there & play when I am feeling this restless. but the idea of lugging firewood in there isn't something I want to do at this moment......too cold! Plus I lost my wonderful wool fingerless gloves that I use to help keep my hands warm. where they went I have no idea...they just walked off one day & I am sure hoping they will come back home soon.

Well I guess I am finished & should go find something to do...like maybe the dishes...or refill my coffee cup....have a great chicken day everyone....M'

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

So many things to do, but will they get done????

                                                                          Jasper


We have another big storm coming our way & I was just getting used to having it in the low 30's.  Everyday I am so thankful to have the wood stove, not so much for me, but for the animals who love to lay in front of it.  This house was built in the 1920's, Even though it has cement outside walls we get drafts that just mysteriously appear from no where. So since the kitchen/dining room has very cold floors, I try to make sure the animals have a warm place to hang out.

As some know, I am getting ready to send my husband off to Afghanistan the beginning of March.  I have been through this before when he was gone 15 months to Iraq back in 2004-2005. This time though he is off doing all these military things before he leaves which gives me pretty much no time with him or to get things that need to be done with him.  It is quite frustrating to say the least but thank goodness I am no spring chicken & can hold done the fort while he is away. 

I am hoping this will be his last time, but with all the problems with other countries, I can see him being shipped off again in the near future.  I love my military man, but boy sometimes I wonder what our government is doing & why.  I will always support the military even when I disagree with what they have to do or where they have to go.  I have had lots of family members, plus a 1st husband who was also military so I try to understand & be understanding.  Not always easy.....

One thing with him gone is I can get things I want to do done without him underfoot.  I have decided to finally tackle the kitchen & get it painted.  sounds easy right????  Wrong!  The old owner decided to put up little wooden shingles on all the walls plus on one side of the sink cabinet.  Took me over an hour yesterday to pry them & those awful little U shaped staples out of the sink cabinet.  To make it easier..did I say easier???    I plan to do small sections at a time since it will seem overwhelming otherwise. Plus it seems to make the nerves in my back go nuts if I do it too long.  Now, I could just paint the shingles, but thy are not sealed & the dust is really bad with them. plus its hard to put up pictures ect when everything is at an uneven level.  I bought paint when we moved here for it......A gypsy green that I will tone down with some white & a sunflower yellow.  I plan to make the walls the yellow with the cabinets the green & do the cabinet doors in the sunflower yellow toned down also with some white.

The old owner used very cheap wood so I don't feel bad about painting them,  Right now they are just wood colored but none of them really matches & its very dark & I like a bright kitchen. He did do a beautiful butcher block on both counters by the stove that I need to strip & oil  the old varnish is coming up & I think since they are butch block they need to be unsealed & given a good oiling.

I am also hoping to get the dishwasher that has been in its original box for 3 years put in as well while he is gone. It is a energy saver type & I feel that I waste too much water hand washing everyday when I can load it up & do them all at once & save water & energy. Plus I have a huge double sink antique farmers sink, also in the shop waiting to be put in as well.  These will wait until later after I get the walls done of coarse.

I was raised in foster homes & one of my foster dad's was a carpenter who taught me how to use power tools at age 12.  So I now have a nice set up in my shop of everything I might need to build a new sink cabinet when the time comes.

Also since it is cold right now I have been sorting through stuff & trying to find new homes for it.  I have boxes of books that need to go plus other odds & ends that just take up space.  I don't know if its age or what but I am tired of all the STUFF.  In my younger days, I always hung on to stuff cause I thought I might use it someday.  Now I understand somedays don't really come that often & it needs to find a new home.
I love doing it but it seems to make more of a mess than it first did just sitting there. Now its divided up into other boxes instead of just the one & so that now means more stuff to walk around til I can get it out of the house.  I live in a small town so they don't have organizations that will come get your stuff to donate like my other bigger town did.

I guess my nesting years are over except for when it comes to the chickens.  The shingles I am removing from the kitchen walls I plan to save since I am building a overhang (roof) in the big chicken run this summer.  This year with all the snow I couldn't get into the run to clear it out or even uncover the coop door....not that the chickens would come out...they didn't when there was less than a foot of snow on the ground.  Well I would like them to have a area with no snow next year to hang out in...if they want....So having these shingles will be great cause now I don't have to go out & buy some sort of roofing for it. Since these are pine shingles I will have to put a tarp or roofing fabric over the plywood before I nail them into place as I can see them only lasting a few years untreated.  I hope this will be a good thing for the hens as I sure do hate them being cooped up all winter even if it is their choice.

Well I guess I had best close for now & go put another log on the fire for the kids....until next time, have a great chicken day1