Saturday, May 31, 2008


Rooster? Ahhh, yes. I think so.

Here's some hens.....

They are a little shy and turned their backs when they saw the paparazzi.

Two white girls: believe it or not, I can't tell the white girls apart!


a white girl and a Rhode Island Red with the stumpy black tail (vs. the RIR with the long black tail). Here's short tail black RIR and white tail RIR... (are they are coming or going??)

Now, this is not a great picture, but I wanted you to see the black chicken and the one I secretly call "Goldie." Hard to tell here, but their feathers have the most beautiful patterns. Their faces look a little "full" because they are Aracaunas and have "cheek tufts." The golden one has brown eyes.

I think you've now seen pictures of all 12 of the the "hens." OK, 11 hens. Gotta run!

Blog? What blog?

It is so hard to blog consistently when you are me!

My days and weeks seem to go in spurts; busy, busier, busy. As a result, blogging is last (well, almost last, dusting is dead last and laundry is close....). I blog while I'm working around the yard and watching the dishes but finding the time when both girls are occupied (sleeping, preferably!) is a challenge. My usual day is: wake, feed 'em, school Hannah, put Abi down for a nap. Feed Han lunch, fiddle around, put Han down for a nap or quiet time, put Abi down for a nap, pick up, do laundry for about an hour and get them both up, fix supper. Whew. Its always a whirlwind. Weekends, are great, though. For some reason we're a little more slack with Daddy-o home. I do less housework. Hmm.

Yesterday I planted carrots, lettuce and cucumbers in the big garden. Today I moved all the contraband phlox to their new home in the "cottage garden" just outside the kitchen window. I also planted a little lettuce today in the herb garden. I put the potatoes in the big garden - hopefully they'll grow! (No tires, Dad, but they are in their little holes with two eyes on each one, ready to go!) So now, we're done with all the planting except for a spot I tilled up last week beside the chicken coop. I hope to plant gourds there - hope it works - and use the coop fence as a support. Hopefully I can get that done this evening. It got too hot working out there today. Anyways, once some of the stuff starts blooming I'll post a picture.

Hannah put her shoes on herself this afternoon all by herself - yes they are velcro, but its the first time she got them on the right feet, too. We're moving forward! Sugar Baby is really cruising around. She climbs on anything and likes to put things in buckets/bowls/cups/holes in the ground and pour them out.

Andy is building (like he needs another project!) a new front porch for us. If you've been here, you know we keep the front door locked and use the side door through the kitchen. That's fine with me, but the front steps look so awful that something had to be done. They were also a significant hazard as they rock from side to side when you stand on them. He's building a deck about 7' out from the house and - I dunno - 10 feet long. It will only need one step; I think its about 18" high. I could be wrong. Anyhow, it will be big enough to put our loveseat glider on, AND (he doesn't know this yet) house some of my houseplants that are screaming for spring and summer daylight.

OK, I have to go. I heard a baby squeak from the bedroom, and if I go now, it won't escalate to a howl!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When is a chicken not a chicken?

......When its a rooster!

I um, think that one of our hens has been under cover and is actually a young man. Andy and I have debated this lately, with me saying, "No way" and Andy saying, "I think we may have a gentleman in the hen house."

Andy said he heard crowing yesterday. I thought I may have, but forgot about it. There was no mistaking it a few minutes ago, though. "Errr-er-er-er-errrrrrrrrrroo!" Times 3.

I've read that sometimes in a flock with no rooster, the head chicken will take on a rooster's characteristics and may even crow. This particular poultry has no spurs on his legs, but he is huge compared to the other fowl. I'll try and post pictures later and let my readers vote on it.

This is NO WAY to win a popularity contest in the neighborhood! :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ARE YOU [a fan of] LOST?

It’s the only show I’m hooked on. Have been for 4 years now. Its sci-fi mixed with drama – and too much violence, lately….I hope they have a point. Just finished watching last week’s episode. I watch it online at (the no TV thing); it’s the only thing I watch. I enjoy sci-fi. I grew up sneaking Star Trek (it came on after my bedtime), and I was rather captivated by Star Trek Next Generation in the 90’s.
But now, my prime time passion is Lost. I’m finally up to date on the series. Tonight, my favorite scene: Hurley and Ben sharing a candy bar. My favorite line: “Because hopefully the man who lives us in the cabin can tell us what to do about the people who are trying to kill us.” I dunno. Must have been the writers’ strike that generated a gem like that one.
My pal Naurine and I used to have “Lost Parties” where she’d come across the street and we’d watch it in our jams with a bowl of popcorn. We’d analyze the show during the commercials and make our predictions. Now, via email, it’s not the same!! For one thing, I am usually weeks behind because I’m too busy with the girls or Andy is using the computer for schoolwork.
Television analysis must be a girl thing because Andy and I just don’t get in that groove. My niece in California watches the show, and we chatted it up during her visit this summer, but we haven’t connected again since the new season started up….so I’m left to making comments under my breath and lurking on the message boards.
I remember back when I was in college we stopped in at Fat Tuesday’s (doesn’t every college town have a bar with that moniker?) for a margarita and I was stunned walking in to a full house – but it was so quiet you could hear the ice crack from the other end of the bar. They were watching Melrose Place. I never watched it, so I Didn’t Get It. These days, though, I think it would be pretty cool to watch LOST with a group – minus the margaritas, though.
Anyone else watch this show? Any ideas on where the plot is going? Favorite characters? Any theories on Charlie? Are your suspicions that I am a Total Loser confirmed? Should I stick to poultry and babies?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Object lessons

Jesus, speaking in Matthew 7:3-5 says the following:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Later, in Galatians 6:7(b), "....whatever you sow, so also will you reap."

After almost 40 years on the earth, you'd think I'd have grasped these principles by now. But no. It still so hard for me.

For example, my post of just a couple days ago was mighty smug. I wasn't feeling so smug, however, as I stood (in the sawdust, no less!) facing the inside walls of the chicken coop and the door that I had just slammed to keep the neighbor's dog out. I filled the waterers and turned around to grab the door handle - whoops! - no handle on the inside!

I knew that Hannah would not miss me for another 30 minutes when Barney was over. Even then, though, I doubted if she'd come hollerin after me. I smirked when I realized what I had done.

Necessity is the mother of invention. I slid the hem of my shirt under the deadbolt knob to get some leverage, then pulled as hard as I could. Whew! Not a problem. Only a minor panic.

Anyone got a spare pull handle? Give it to Andy next time you see him. He has a new chore on the "household to-do list" that includes one.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

May Flowers

At 5PM, we’re in between a line of thunderstorms, and I wonder if that is why my computer connection seems to be so slow. The Weather Channel website radar map shows another strong line of storms followed by a lot of rain. After last year’s drought conditions, I am grateful for any and all rain any time.

Thunderstorms in the mountains are different from those on flatland. I remember one summer when I was a lifeguard in Virginia Beach, still in college. It seemed like it stormed every afternoon around three o’clock. There would be these huge thunderheads growing over the coast all afternoon and lightning would look thick as rope dropping down around us. After an hour or so it would be over and we’d open the pool back up. Steam would be coming off the roads and roofs of the apartments in the complex where I worked. There would be a cool, fresh layer of rainwater atop the lower chlorinated layer of water. If it was the weekend, we’d jump in after the storm had passed and mix it up real good. On weekdays, we’d close the pool for the day, and head home!

Here in the Highlands, though, the storms seem to stick around longer and the air that follows them is so much cooler. The thunder reverberates over and over again off the mountains after the first big boom. It sends Han screaming into the arms of the nearest parent. Abi growls back at the noise.

My May flowers are perking up. I’ve transformed a strip of woodlands in our back yard into a flowerbed for native flowers. I have Jack-in-the-pulpits, phlox, violets, Solomon’s seal, mayapples, yarrow, wild rose, wild strawberry….its gardening on the cheap. I know that these plants will grow here because I’ve transplanted them from around the yard and the county. It also is easy on the budget.

(Aside: Hannah matter-of-factly said this to me yesterday: “Mama, when you pull up flowers from beside the road, its stealing.” Argh. I asked her who told her that. She said, “No one, I just know.” Oh man. Where do I go from there? I guess no more pit stops to pull weeds out of ditches.) (Where do you fall in this argument? Median and roadside flower picking is a time honored tradition passed down from my mother! I once nearly wet my pants on Route 460 when a State Trooper rounded the bend and the trunk of my Sentra was filled with state-funded-wildflower-beautification-project poppies, with me wiping the dirt off of my hands.) (You have ME to thank for those signs that are now posted: "WILDFLOWERS. DO NOT PICK.")

I ran into the ladies from the Garden Club at Wal-Mart the other day and got a big batch of plant divisions that will fill out the flower bed under the bird feeder. I think I spent $10 – but really not, because I had a return to make at WM from something I found in a moving box…I got $14 from that…so I got plants and half a teaspoon of gas. HA! Year before last, before we moved, I had saved a bunch of seeds from my plants down in Chesapeake. So, this year, I planted them (last year I was too pregnant to garden): Queen Anne’s lace, Pink Catchfly, Delphinium, foxgloves, and Zinnias. Actually, I bought more Zinnias at the Dollar Tree this year. I’ve also planted a bunch of sunflower seeds from my birdseed stash, and seed corn sprung up from squirrel corn we bought last year.

All that to say, maybe we’ll have a pretty garden this summer with lots of cut flowers…AND with lots of seeds for the chickens and the girls. Of everything about our old yard, it’s the flowers I miss most. Hannah is on this kick of telling us she misses our old house – “the windows.” Man, we had some great windows at that old house. But the flowers were the best part of the outside by far.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

it happened last night

This has already made its rounds, but its worth a repeat. And expansion.

True story: Andy went to put chicken girls to bed at 7pm last night. He was gone for about 20 min and I didn't see him, but coop was shut up so I figured he saw our neighbor and was chatting with him out of my view. I went about my business inside.

Got a phone call.

Andy was stuck in the chicken coop. He didn't put a handle on the inside of the door when he built the coop - a detail that I, too, had overlooked - and because - well, I'm not exactly sure why. Anyways, he called me from inside the chicken coop to say he couldn't get the door open and would I come let him out.

OF COURSE I laughed out loud and sat down and filed my nails, chewed my cuticles, did some dusting and poked around in the junk drawer for a second or two....(HEY! This was too good to be true!)

Hannah went flyyyyyyyyyyyyyyying out of the house shouting, "Daddy's in the chicken coop, Daddy's in the chicken coop, Daddy's in the chicken coop!" at the top of her lungs - with only her shorts on (we'd had supper and her shirt had food on it so off it came). . . . and this is funnier if you know "the rest of the story" about the chicken girls. . . (email for an explanation if you need to)....because at this point I was cringing....

She didn't stop running until she got to the pen and started trying to open the door....she shouted, "Daddyo? Are you in there? Daddyo?" Andy answered yes very calmly.

When we opened the door Andy was cuddling one of the Rhode Island Reds. He placed her gently back on her roost over the inside door where she could potty all over the feed bucket and we came inside. Andy smelled vaguely of chicken. Not KFC.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Addendum to Locks of Love Post

What can I say? I am impulsive and only weakly resistive to peer pressure. Especially that of my cherubic daughter! The three ponytails are now en route to Florida! Hannah's hair was so thick she had two!