Chicken Mission · General

Poultry Parade

My chickens are divas.  Not only do they lay extraordinarily tasty eggs, but they are tremendously amusing to me.  They’re greedy, messy, ridiculous and sweet.  And although it’s been quite a while since I posted about them, they take up quite a bit of my time and energy, and deserve a little press.

I have six chickens in two domiciles.  Four (The Hogwart’s Four) live in a split-level ranch kind of chicken coop with an extension.  The other two live in a chicken tractor-or what I like to call the chicken equivalent of a classic Air Stream travel trailer. Let’s do a roll call with their updated head shots…First, there’s Hermione

Hermione is a Barred Rock and the undisputed Queen of the coop.  She’s a real diva’s diva.  She coexists with the other ladies in peace and harmony, right up until they cross her.

Hermione’s sister, Luna, however, is more reserved.  She’s the first to move out of the spotlight and the last to investigate when there’s activity in the coop.  Luna is cool, quiet and distant.

Then there’s Minerva.  A Black Sex Link, this lady doesn’t suffer fools.  She just doesn’t really have time for nonsense.  I might even call her haughty. Just look at the disdain in her expression…

And then there’s Jenny.  Jenny’s the chicken equivalent to Paris Hilton.  She’s a party girl-always the first to the door when there’s company in the coop.  She seeks out the camera like it’s the paparazzi at an after-party. Diva-licious!

 OK, moving on to the Tractor Team…This is Buffy, the Buff Orpington.  I love this chicken.  She’s just sweet.  She’s kind of isolated with a companion who is the chicken equivalent of paranoid schizophrenic (more on this in a moment).  My goal is to integrate her with the Hogwart’s four.  I tried once and she wound up with her ear ripped in two.  I’m not sure if one of the divas did it, or if she did it to herself fleeing their bullying.  I pulled her immediately, though, and haven’t had the nerve to try it again.  The guilt was terrible.  Even with the slight ear deformity, though, she’s a looker!

Catniss.  I don’t even really know what to say.  She’s like a demented version of Miss Prissy (you know, the chicken on Bugs Bunny).  She tends to go into panicked, self-destructive flight.  She does this frequently for no visible reason.  She just freaks out. And when she freaks out she starts flinging herself against the coop.  This always, always results in bleeding along the top of her nose.  I’m pretty sure she’s brain damaged, and I’m starting to think it’s stunted her growth.  I got her as a chick just after Easter, and she just doesn’t seem to be putting on the growth you’d expect from a Rhode Island Red.

One of the reasons I love Buffy so is because she’s so patient with Catniss.  No matter how many times the freak chicken bloodies herself, Buffy never gets aggressive with her.  In fact, I’ve never seen Buffy peck at Catniss at all.  She’s a saint. As I mentioned before,  I separated them once, and Buffy actually acted distressed that she wasn’t with Catniss.  I find this difficult to understand because, again, Catniss is a freak.  I’m not sure what to do with her.  I don’t get that she’s healthy, and I can’t bring myself to bump her off.  For now, I’m watching her closely, and planning another attempt to integrate Buffy with the more “balanced” crew in the Hogwarts Hacienda.  Then I’ll figure it out….

 

So there you have my Diva roll call – five big beautiful hens and a slightly demented ingenue pullet.

 

 

 

 

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General

Acts of Random Gastronomy

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun…

When I ate my first Big Mac, there was not a McDonald’s in my home town.  You had to drive about an hour in any given direction to get to one.  When I tried my first one, it was love at first bite.  (Scarcity drives demand, don’t  you know.)  I don’t remember if it was my sophomore or junior year in high school, but we finally got a McDonald’s in my little East Texas town. The cars literally stretched about a mile down the street the Saturday it opened.  I’m not sure that there was ever a more anticipated opening in our little burg.  It was big news.  Yep, big news.  But it wasn’t pretty.  I have vague memories  an  undetermined period of time where I consumed  Big Macs daily. Looking back, it’s hard to believe.

I don’t love Big Macs anymore.  I don’t love McDonald’s.  And I certainly wouldn’t drive out of my way to get to one.  There have been times when I’ve pulled into the drive-through for my kids and smell has repulsed rather than enticed me.  In spite my general abhorrence for the restaurant chain, however, about once a year, I have an inexplicable craving for a Big Mac.

Over the last couple of weeks, I felt it coming on.  I’d see a commercial, and be tempted.  I knew it was coming, and when I woke up this morning, I had a sneaky suspicion that  today was the day.  Today was the day for a Mac Attack!

I’m not gonna lie.  I was stress eating.  Stress with a capital “S”.  And I’m not ashamed to say it…That sandwich was good.  I enjoyed it.  I didn’t feel bad about it.  I don’t now.  And I’m done.  Done until the next time.  My next annual (or whatever-I’m pretty sure it was well over a year this time) Mac Attack.  Nostalgia?  Probably Tasty? Usually. An anomaly?  Absolutely. Acts of random gastronomy…

General

Obstacles…

 

It’s been a month of transition at my house.  Transition back to school.  Transition back into my husband’s business travel.  Transition into a new level of engagement in my own job, which has also necessitated travel.  As it turns out, I’m not as good at transition as I used to be.  This morning finds me reflecting back on a month of obstacles.  Isn’t that absurd?  It’s so easy for us to focus on what we aren’t able to do instead of really experiencing what we’ve done.

I sat down today to write about obstacles to my blogging.  Mainly because I carry masses of guilt on a daily basis.  Guilt for what I haven’t done or haven’t done well.  I added my blog to this list over the last couple of weeks.  I felt guilty because I didn’t do something that I do strictly because I enjoy it.  And guess what? The guilt eliminates the enjoyment.  That’s an irony I don’t find enjoyable.  And I love irony.

So this morning I woke up a little angry.  Per the usual, I was angry with myself.  So I decided to give into the obstacles. I let myself be interrupted by my kids and chose not to be frustrated by it. I let myself go onto other things when i couldn’t start a load of laundry because I’m out of laundry detergent.  I let myself read blogs and link to sites as my whim dictated. I let myself drink a cup of coffee and do nothing. And it was nice.  And I don’t feel guilty.  I gave into the obstacles, and I was able to cut myself some slack instead of focusing on what isn’t getting done.  (I win!)

….And now I’m blogging.  (I win again!)  And I’m still going to talk about those obstacles, because really, they’re kind of funny.

1.  I finished my Tunisian Multi-Garment, but have no photos to blog because I can’t decide the best way to lace it together.  I’ve laced and re-laced this garment around 5 times and undo it every time.  There’s a strong possibility I’m subconsciously postponing the inevitable because I don’t want  my picture taken.  Hmmmm.

2.  I’ve crocheted what I feel is an adorable scarf.  I can’t finish it, however, because I went off pattern and ran out of yarn with only three sides of the final border row to go.  I went to the yarn store yesterday and they’re out, so I ordered some.  It’s going to take two weeks for the yarn to come in because I went to my local yarn store instead of ordering it online.  Why don’t I order it online?  Because of guilt! I love the little ladies at my yarn store and I feel obligated to get it from them because of their elderly wonderfulness. Next.

3.  I’ve finished a pencil skirt and I think it’s pretty awesome.  I’m actually taking license by saying I’ve finished it because I haven’t.  I need to add a hook and eye to the waist band.  That’s all.  I’ve needed to add this hook and I for roughly four weeks.  Still haven’t done it.  I want to wear it to work.  But I can’t because it needs a hook and eye.  Could it be that I’m postponing completion on purpose?  Probably.  You see, I want to blog my sewing triumph, but then…I’d probably need to have my picture taken….

Oh well, I think I’ll deal with one shortcoming at a time…don’t you think?  I’m going back here now…Wishing you all a peaceful weekend!….Amy

General · I'm loving this!

Peace, Love, Spa…

The last two months have been nutty!  Too much and too little!  As in too much to do, too little time to do it in. (sorry about ending with a preposition….sometimes one has to let the grammar thing go just a little)  I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, however.  So I’m back! Set the pigeons loose!

My sweet baby angel girl turned eleven Saturday.  It was a big day.  We invited our two BFF’s over and themed the weekend, “Peace, Love, Spa!”.  We even made t-shirts.  Our logo was rocking, but our iron on t-shirt transfer let us down…boo….

The t-shirts were just the tip of the iceburg, however.  It was a tween dream at my house this weekend.  We had Beauty Buckets

We did an array of facial treatments including a cucumber, green tea, avocado mush that we whipped up in the blender.

We had an assortment of fascinating reading material….We’re officially current on our horoscope, fashion, teen celebrity gossip and an assortment of quizzes.

We made a sugar scrub that was delightful if I do say so myself.  I used a modified version of this recipe that I found on Pinterest.  My modifications were pretty simple.  I used colored sugar sprinkles to make the pretty colors and flavored extracts instead of essential oils.  I also used a coconut oil that wasn’t super-refined, so the girls wound up with coconut-orange-vanilla sugar body scrub.   Baby soft skin ?  You betcha!

The next morning, bright and early, we headed to the Nail Salon for mani/pedi’s.  (Mom even got a pedicure! Magic hands…that’s all I’m saying.)

Nope.  No spoiled little girls at my house.  Just soft, pampered tootsies. Zebra striped tootsies to be more specific.

Zebra striped tootsies and an ice cream cake!  Does it get any better than this?

Bookmarked · General

Sundries

My sweet baby started 1st grade this week…sniff, sniff….So big!

During a business trip last week, I started reading the Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud.  I wasn’t sure I was blown away by the first book…But apparently I was interested, so I read the second.  By the third I knew I liked them.  But then, I have a tendency to like teenage adventure stories.  You should check them out.  It’s approach was a little different.

I‘ve been working on my sewing “do over,” and it doesn’t suck.  I’m trying to figure out a way to do a big reveal without actually having to be in the picture.  Let’s just file this under the “Coming Soon!” heading.

This one remembered she had a B.B. gun and set about to teach herself how to shoot. Have you ever seen a hot pink B.B. gun?  Is it just a Texas thing?  Anyway, she also wrote a Cinquain poem this week in class that I think is awesome:

Wit
athletic, funny
laughing, swimming, running
Totally the class clown
Whitney

 

I like the Cinquain form, it’s fun and there are a lot of variations.  I think I may have to do a Cinquain for the Weekend…. 🙂

 

 

 

General · Sewing

Progress Realized

I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m in the middle of a “Sewing Do Over”.  And as I’m sure you all know, you can’t have a “do over” without having first attempted something and failed.  I also may have mentioned a few times that I have a tendency to “go big” and over extend myself when I’m excited about something.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, well… I do that.  I don’t just select one project and follow it to completion, I envision hundreds of projects and accumulate everything needed to accomplish them eons in advance of their likely coming to fruition.

With my first attempt at sewing, I started a few things that were never finished.  So great was my ultimate frustration level with sewing that I popped them in storage boxes and walked away.  That was roughly four years ago.  Maybe more.   A couple of weeks ago, I happened across one of these unloved, unfinished projects, and on a whim, I decided to finish it.

It was a bag designed to utilize the pre-quilted fabric you can buy at the fabric store, and inadvertently, it’s got that Vera Bradley thing going on.  I’m not necessarily in love with it, but I still think it’s cute.

As I laid out the pattern pieces that I’d cut out four years earlier, I was actually a little pleased with myself.  They were pretty terrible.  On one hand, it’s never fun to confirm that you suck at something.  On the other hand, it actually let me see that I’ve gotten a little better.  I could actually see the mistakes I made and even distinguish what I would do differently now to eliminate those mistakes.

I still had to rip out and re-do three times to get it finished.  (Sewing is an incredibly  humbling process for me.)  The lining has four pretty deep pockets-but I won’t be photographing them. The final result was not pretty…

But the bag itself is kind of pretty…pretty cute….not bad….and I learned doing it.  Which is always a good thing.

General

Vacationing

We went on vacation, and we all fell in love.  The plan was to keep close to home, while exploring somewhere we’d never been.  So we headed to Arkansas.  I was hopeful, but I kept my expectations in check.  I hoped we’d have a good time.  I hoped the kids weren’t bored. I hoped it would be nice enough that we’d be comfortable.  I hope to find it “ok”.  Well folks, it was more than “ok”.  It was fantastic!

Petit Jean State Park is a jewel in the Arkansas Park system.  The first state park in Arkansas, many of the buildings at the park are stone structures built by the depression era Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration. This includes Mather Lodge where we stayed.  Entering the breezeway of Mather Lodge is like stepping through a frame into a picture.

The hiking was amazing.  Some hikes were easy.  Some hikes were challenging.  All of them were beautiful. It’s so wonderful to see your kids outdoors!  Scrambling across rocks and running toward their next adventure.

We hiked down to the base of Cedar Falls. Unfortunately, the state is in the middle of a brutal drought, and the water was only a trickle as it reached the edge. If you look very closely, you can see it.

The kids were undaunted and declared the water cold and wonderful.  We’ve vowed to return when we can see the falls in full glory.

We explored and went swimming and feasted on hamburgers with an appalling frequency.

It was exactly what a vacation should be.

We bickered and laughed and argued and teased and told each other “I love you” at least one hundred times each.

Memories are made of this.