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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.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Another Fall clean-up / did a tornado hit this house!

                                                                        Lovey 2009

OK so maybe the house isn't quite a pigsty yet but what is it about Fall that makes me want to drag out everything & try to organize?  Most like to do spring cleaning but with me its the time of the year I start that whole nesting thing over again & come up with a huge mess that grows by the day.

I have such great plans in my head that I will go through things that I never seem to use & get rid of them one way or another but what happens is I get side tracked & instead of working on one room at a time I wonder from room to room & see things that need to be done....So what happens is i get these piles/nest of things in different areas that are all screaming at me to do something with....yeah you know where this is going, don't you?!

All that wonderful energy has now left the body & the mind has gone on to another country to visit....where I might add everything is in its place or now lives with someone else.  Now, I wish I could say its just having a hurt shoulder but I do this every year.  I can remember as a teenager having this big wonderful room with my own bathroom & deciding to fix things.....move furniture, dust, re-organize the clothes & on & on....It always started out well but after 2-3 days of this my mind would burn out.

You would think I would have gotten a clue to this & stopped it,..... but for some reason I can't.......  its like someone else takes over & says you can do this Michele'...... this year will be different. Well the only difference is there is different stuff to tend to!. Everyone has been so kind about giving advice throughout the years...take it slow, do one thing at a time, take mini breaks & so on....Oh please!  Even if I put on horse blinders I know it would still come out the same way.

My thing is & I question often...Who is this person who is needed to do this & why?  Wasn't everything just fine sitting there covered in dust...... not bothering anyone?  Why do lots of items start needing all this attention at the same moment in time?  why aren't they wearing the horse blinders?

Plus once they get to the piles, where do they next go?  into boxes or bags, then what...I am sure some the garage man will enjoy but who really needs or even wants the stuff I have collected & not used?  Will it just get the same treatment elsewhere? or worse thrown into a box & left in the attic?

It seems so simply to just go through the stuff & deal with it, but then when you have to make paths throughout the house just to get to another area, it gets to be too much for even me.  Its now time to crash & burn...brain shuts down, body refuses to pick up or store another item & you tiptoe through the rooms pretending everything is neat & clean.

OK I admit I am a bit of a pack rat, blame it on childhood or whatever, but I get things that I have wonderful dreams for & then something else comes along & replaces those dreams.  It seems to have gotten worse with the raising of chickens.  Every plastic container now can have a use, those milk jugs can now hold water for them during the cooler months, that piece of fencing could be used...newspapers can be shredded for the compost or used in the wood stove....Cardboard also for the compost or gardens or to hold the plastic stuff for the chickens....See it can be madden to say the least.

Thank goodness I didn't do this with the bedroom, but with my bad shoulder I am not sleeping in the only clean room in the house.  Plus I am sure if I was in there I would be dragging out the clothes & bedding & doing the same thing that is in every room of the house.

For those of you who know me its my manic stage kicking in so you get what is going on with me, but for those of you that don't, it can get pretty crazy to think that every room has boxes like moving day, but I am not moving!

Over the years I have tried to come up with things that would make it easier on me but all good deeds in thought never make it to the front of the brain & to the hands.  Once my mental tornado has hit, I just have to wait out the ride & go from there.  which means months instead of days getting the things back to where I want them or out of the house.

Now if I could just get up, grab that coffee & work on it I would be ahead of it but then my chickens need something like a coop cleaned out, I need to go to the feed store for bedding hay & feed, checks need to be written for bills or its Sunday & Dexter is on....See, that's why it takes so long...plus I need to check my email, make sure my FarmVille is tended to, write something here...it just never ends.

I am thankful that Thomas is understanding or turns a blind eye to this, but then again his game room which I never touch is a wreck as well!....But after 21 years of living with me he just stays out of my way if he is here & never complains about the paths he has to take to get to his chair to watch TV.



By the way, Gertie has decided she needs to come into the house to spend time with Piper,  tonight she refused to leave & go to the coop, so she is down with Piper & Lauria for the night.  I have a feeling this will keep happening as long as Piper is in the house healing her bad leg.  But to be honest I really missed her once she went to the coop at night......she is my talker & a joy to hang out with, so I am fine with that.

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!....M'

Monday, November 14, 2011

Winter blessings are soon to come

                                                                     Baby Monk 2011


My little sister took this picture of Monk while she was here in July for my minor surgery.  It was so cute I had to post it for all of you to see.  As many of you know, his 4 siblings didn't make it, but everyday I am so happy that Monk pulled through & is here with me.  He just had his last series of shots until next year & even gained almost 2 lbs within 3 weeks.  This boy has 2 different kitty foods to choose from, the no grain feed of Big Momma's or the urinary tract feed of Einsteins.  so he gets the best of 2 worlds in this household.

I finally was able to once the blizzards snow melted, to get the 2 coop kids together during the day so instead of just 6 kids in the backyard, I now have 17 that are free to roam around & enjoy the yard.  I hated having the big coop kids in a run once I got the fence in, but just had no good days where I could set up a fence so they could see each other but not get to each other to fight.

After 3 days of this, the smallest of the babies was able to get through a section & was left alone to wonder & eat grass, so the next day I opened up that area of the fencing after CeeCee figured out how to get out also.  Only Gertie faced off with CeeCee, but I was there to stop it & now after a week they are doing wonderful.  They still go back to their own coops at night, but I enjoy that they all have more freedom during the day.  Plus Monk & his Momma Macy seem to enjoy running around & playing among the kids.  Just so you know the baby kids are now 4 months old & tower over Monk so he doesn't try to go after them.

Now I will work at getting the 4 basement kids out there & hopefully into the smaller coop before the next snow.  I would love for them to be together, even though to be honest I don't think they care as long as they get their share of the feed & treats.

I have gotten much better working the old wood cook stove but have yet to cook anything on it except for water. But soon I will be using it as Thomas is getting to come home in Dec instead of Feb. Can you say Happy Dance!  In the 18 yrs we have been married we have spent 5 yrs of that separated.  I don't mind so much since I do well being by myself, but I don't eat well when he is away.  Its not that I eat a lot of junk, I just don't eat & drink too much coffee. with him home I cook so that I know he is getting good healthy foods which means I get good healthy foods also.

Now that my little Sis & I learned how to use my bread machine, I can't wait to make him whole grained & egg breads.  We are not big bread eaters, but I can make enough different breads & rolls with this machine that we will have good breads to go with the homemade soups, stews & chili's I make during the cold months. Plus this machine will let me make quick breads like pumpkin which we both enjoy.

You all know I can't make bread to save my life, but with this I can have the machine do the mixing, then I can take it out, do more batches & let it rise in bowls, then bake it all at once.  When I use my oven, I try to make sure I have plenty of things to go in it so I am not wasting the fuel.  Plus now with the old cook woodstove I will work on learning the oven part so I can bake in it....I will first do casseroles in it so not to destroy the breads. At least with a casserole if its not done I can microwave it or throw in in the regular oven.

This winter was going to be a slow season for me without Thomas, partly due to a bad left shoulder that has not healed & has gotten worse.  But I have an appointment for it this Wednesday so hopefully something will get worked out.  With Thomas home he can do the heavy lifting, if & when I remember to ask him...lol....I am looking forward to him being home even if it may be a short time.  He may go back to Afghanistan for 2 years to work for a computer company that sets them up for the military.  So far its up in the air but I will enjoy knowing he is here & with me & the kids.

I have been working on a few different things lately.....finally boiled the deer legs I had in the freezer, outside of coarse...since they smell something nasty.  Once completely dry I will cut them to make bone buttons for my old fashioned clothes I sew.  Been practicing my needle tatting & am more comfortable with it now & am enjoying it...still got a long ways to go on it looking really good but its fun.  Got up into the sewing room & completed a skirt & top & working on a long muslin skirt right now.

Also decided since so many people ask me questions about raising chickens to write a small book on how I raise chickens.  You can get so much information through books & the web but some of the stuff I have learned isn't listed anywhere.  Everything is more on a professional level but not all of us need the professional information, we just want the common sense information.  Well its a bit bigger..ok its a lot bigger than I thought it would be but I decided since I was doing it to add recipes, medical, Vitamins & mineral information  plus add pictures & information  of things you can make yourself instead of going out & buying things.

Right now its still in the rough draft stage but I will send it to my little sis to review for me & catch my mistakes.  She is good at seeing things I might have misspelled or repeated so she is in a sense my editor.
It will be self published here at The Old Batz Farm & I will do a poor mans copyright on it until I know its something people want to have.  I am excited about this as I love to write & eat up information whenever I can. So keep your fingers crossed for me & this booklet on my kids.

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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Massachusetts Oct Nor'easter 2011

                            The Shop


Must say it sure is pretty but I was one of the lucky ones who had oil lamps, a cooking wood stove & plenty of wood to keep us all warm.  We went 2 or so days without electric which didn't bother me a bit but I could hear generators running from the neighbors.


Most around here live in all electric houses so they have a tougher time of it than I do....but years ago I learned my lesson being in that type of house & knew it was not something I wanted to deal with ever again.  I also have a propane stove & hot water heater which is a blessing when times like this come here.


I also got extra bedding down for the chickens & gave them cracked corn to help keep them warm so they all made it just fine...even if they refused to come out of the coop that first day...lol...


I had to shovel 3 foot of snow off the tarped garage since the snow was so heavy it was starting to bend the frame.  Can't have that as that's where my wood supply is :).


Off & on throughout my life i have lived in places with no heat or electricity & I don't seem to mind it when we are without...I have good sweaters, warm heavy socks & lots & lots of blankets.  I guess I am one of the few who just doesn't think about what is happening but what I have to get done....then get it done.


I do know that as I age I am thankful I am smart enough to be able to handle these events without going crazy & worrying.  its sorta nice to just go with the flow of it all & know that I can take care of what needs to be done.


We did set a record for snow in October up here...be something to talk about at the grocery store when I do decide to go.  I am thankful though that I built extra good chicken coops for my kids & that they would be alright.  They are all I thought about while this was happening...did I get enough hay down for them?  do they need more corn?...if the water frozen?  but I guess I did something right because they are all happy & now that the electric is on I made sure all their lamps were dusted & working correctly.


The cats have been piling on me at night to the point I can't move without knocking one of them or the other....like wearing a movable fur coat.


I hope all of you that went through this as well are safe & sound.


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