10 December 2009
I so enjoy going back to see where I was at a year or two ago for the same month. See what was going on, what was important, and what challenges we faced. Looking at last year during this time we were in a very difficult situation. The ice storm was in full swing. We were in the middle of a nearly two week power outage, had trees, and wires down all around, generators were a hot commodity and we worked day and night to make sure everyone had a warm meal a warm place to sleep, and if possible helped make sure their pipes didn't freeze.
This year we have a good foot of snow on the ground from a couple of storms, but it was a very warm November and December is quite pleasant so far. We had a successful year with the fire department. Only one house fire and the house was not a total loss. They have rebuilt the portion lost and are back to life as normal. After the ice storm it all seemed to be downhill.
My job at the town has intensified over the last year. Our selectmen have been "giving back" by using town fund reserve to keep taxes low. Unfortunately, they have "given" so much that now we are facing cash flow issues and I am called to the floor (along with others) to try to stop the bleed and keep us from having to borrow money. It is all very political and I am trying to make my point without choosing sides and trying not to get involved in the petty he said she said debates. I have a wonderful new deputy. The old deputy was fifty years older than I was and was having health issues, at 88 I'd say she's doing well, but still... She stepped down in June and I asked a long standing member of the community to help me out. She has been wonderful!
The shop is the usual roller coaster ride. Never a dull moment. We finally stopped paying rent for our warehouse and were able to buy property. We are using it as warehouse space and may move the store there eventually. We learned a lot buying commercial property. There was so much more involved between getting planning board approvals, town permits, site surveys, etc. etc. We moved in at the end of August after renovating and paving more of the parking lot. Our business flow is quit the opposite of last year when we were on allocation and could not get anything fast enough. This year people are mad that things were so slow last year, and prices were so high. Oil came down a little bit and pellets stayed the same which didn't really make sense to anyone. People are very sensitive to that sort of thing. Plus it has been really pretty warm this year. Our guys are doing great though and we have not had to let anyone go (knock on wood) so I guess we are doing ok still.
It has still been a learning year with the chickens, bless their little souls. We had dog issues, fox issues, rooster issues, and more fox issues. Alas, we have two original girls still- Abbie and Dorrie, one Rhode Island Red from the last batch- Rhonda, and four new beaks. Two Cochin Bantums- Frank and Cuddles, as well as Two Banty Frizzles Little Miss Sunshine (Sunny), and Lou Lou Roo.
Arts sweetest Zoicite passed away after a a tough year. She was a doll and we miss her every day! She was one of a kind, and it will be a long cold winter without her on our laps!
We do have two spunky new kitties in the house though. They are sisters, and they have energy! They are still working it out with my Blizzadora but they are getting better. Thalia is super smart and I think she has an inner snuggle-bug that will come out when she gets a little older. This smarty can turn on faucets, open doors, and is a great big tattle tail! Calista is Art's cat. She is the original smelly cat. We took away the forever feeder because she would just pack food into her tummy so she felt rock hard, and tooted her way through the day. Now they eat twice a day and the fatties have left the building!
We traveled an incredible amount (again) this year. I think Art is going to be at 70 nights away from home and me just a few days behind. We do have a few trips for the coming year but I think we are both a little burned out and plan to stay closer to home. We got a new tractor (yes a Deere) so we are getting excited about getting the yard and fields in order. Damon had a rough year growing because of all the rain and how cold it stayed through the summer, but we are excited for next year. We have ha Art's cousin's daughter coming a few weekends this fall and she was a huge help in clearing and maintaining the raspberry patch. We also hope to plan a few more fruit trees along the stream behind the pond. We also have a lot of work ahead of us at the new property getting it cleaned out and updated.
We are getting near the home stretch with home projects. We re-did our upstairs bathroom this year, and did a few more windows. Just a slider, a few more windows, and a screened porch and the house will be ready to start over with painting and maintenance! We do hope to tear the cottage down this year and put up another garage with a workout room loft. We can then bring the Porsche home and put the Bobcat in there as well as get my exercise bike out of the middle of the living room! The other exercise stuff we don't really use since it is in the cottage which had a huge tree limb fall through the roof last winter leaving it damp and cold in there...
Family has been up and down as well this year. Art's Mom started walking a big again so that has been wonderful! Not sure she will ever totally give up the wheelchair but she can get to and from the car, bathroom, etc. which is huge! Art's Dad had a scare with a blood vessel popping in his eye. He seems to have leveled out but still has blood pressure issues... They did buy a house down in Tucson so they are excited about that. My Grandmother went into a nursing home this year and is currently not doing very well. I am sometimes sad that I didn't know my extended family very well but I know my cousins and Aunts and Uncles are taking good care of both her and my Grandfather.
08 October 2009
For this and other yummy Fluff concoctions visit their web site!
03 October 2009
Now that Blizzie is (mostly) out of her kitten/scratchy phase we started talking about replacing the faded and scratched couches in the living room. I would really like a sectional. It would help define that part of the room and separate it from the back part. So we went around to the different furniture stores and found what we both agreed upon.
Meanwhile at home we are adjusting to life without Zoi. Blizz has never quite warmed up to snuggling with Art. She'll play with him, but if he tries to pat her nice she just bites or runs away... After having such a good buddy snuggler in Zo I was pretty sure he was going to want another cat. I gave him some time to think about it, because you cannot get a new couch if you are going to get a kitten. Not practial at all. If you are going to get a kitten now is the time since we are home and not traveling every other week.
So, he agreed to go look at some kitties. All the shelters are full and there were a lot of kitties to choose from. Our first stop had a pretty gray boy with thumbs that was pretty sweet, and I liked the white and tabby kitten. A few rooms later as soon as we walked in a little gray tabby walked up to Art, wrapped in and out of his legs then started purring. He stood up to look around and she stood on her back legs (front legs on Art's shins) to get his attention. Just like Zoi used to do. He melted immediately. He continued looking but never took his hand off this little tabby. I was enamored with a long black haired cat with thumbs. She was sweet.
It was the first place we went to so he wanted to keep looking. We left and worked out way out to the Seacoast stopping at shelters along the way. Some of those places are so weird. The ASPCA has got to be run by some hippie liberal freaks. Those nutters wouldn't even let us open a cage to pat a kitten to see if we would like him without filling out the entire adoption application and giving them a copy of our license. Needless to say we left. Way to try to find those kittens a home!
After all of our looking he still had the tabby in his mind. Someone was patting her as we left so he was worried that she might get adopted. I tried to call the shelter to see if we could put a "hold" on the kitten but not so. We did download and fill out the app but had to go back at noon on Friday to see if we could get her.
We were there promptly at noon. Probably a little earlier actually ;) They were delayed in opening, of course! When the doors opened he shot right back to the room where she was. I could hear the relief in his voice when he announced that she was still there. Someone else came in the room (and he wasn't going to let her go again!) so I went out to get the ball rolling. Lisa came to help us. When we got back to the room Art was playing with a cute little gray kitten. She was so sweet. The little tabby had a bit of an edge on her today. Didn't want to be held as much and was a little hissy. But Lisa found her paperwork and told us what they knew about her. She was surrendered because the family had a kid. She came in with ear mites and while almost a year old was not fixed. She was also surrendered with her sister. A sister that the previous owner requested she not be separated from. The gray kitten is nuzzling with me at this point. Art is checking out a black cat he sparred (playfully) with yesterday. Black Thumbs is gone. Adopted. Good for her! Back to the sister. Lisa went off to find out who that was and the search began. Oh, wait a minute. Here she is. Right in front of us. A little gray kitten!
Kismet. I said immediately that you can't separate them! Art just kind of nodded his head.
So now we have two adorable snuggly new kitties.
The tabby is Calista, and the gray one is Thalia. Tally and Cally. They are temporarily set up upstairs in the TV room. We are introducing them to Blizz slowly. Zoi was such a snot to her so we aren't sure how she will be. Hopefully much better. So far so good! Polar is oblivious. He doesn't care. He just hopes they will play with him too!
This little gem does not necessarily clean, but it does help certain areas seem fresh even when they otherwise would not be. Like near our shoes, or by the cat box. The little motion sensor is wonderful!
This powder is such a help with the Swamp Dog smell that we have all summer, and the cold wet dog smell all winter. It keeps him dry, cleans and absorbs the goo, and because it's menthol he won't lick it all off :)
This is a brandy new toy but I have had the idea in my mind since I went to a baby shower this summer and saw the girl get two diaper genie canisters. You put the stinky diaper in swirl the lid and the smell (and poo) is sealed in the plastic container until you take it out. Wow is that nice for a cat box. Especially now that we have three little sets of kitty piddy's running around.
The Magic Eraser. What can I say. It's Magic! Not sure how or why but it will get just about any crud off of any surface. Toothpaste goo soaked into wood, slime in shower, glass buildup, appliances... Wow!
My vacuum cleaner. Hubby got it for me for my birthday four or five years ago. Not sure how I ever owned furry animals before this vac. I average four to seven times emptying the canister when I vacuum the house. It is awesome that it rolls everywhere easily, is light, has a wand to get the cob webs and bird feathers, and can be dumped and back into service in less than a minute! I turn off the brushes to do the hardwood and tile floors. Sucks almost as good as day one. LOVE IT!
My muck boots. They don't "clean" per-say but they do help keep a lot of gunk out of the house. Tromping back and forth to the greenhouse is a dirty path. They easily slip on and off though so life is good.
Simple Green. I tripped on this by accident. It was on clearance at Big Lots for something like a buck and I needed a quick cleaner. I am amazed at how clean this gets my butcher block countertop, and wood floor. It is a miracle bird poo and fruit goo remover on the floor and walls, and gets sticky beverage leftovers off of the countertop. It gives a nice shine to stainless sinks, and appliances too. Only the lemon seems to really work great and give a polished finish look, but I don't know what I would do without!
Last but not least. My Swiffer. Hubby is a mop man through and through. Once or twice a year he will haul out the bucket, the Murphy's oil soap, and the big ugly old mop then proceed to swab the decks. Good for him! Me? Not something I have time or desire to do every week or two! No Siree! I dilute Murphy's oil soap with water, or Lemon Simple Green, spray it on the floor and Swiffer my way to a clean smell, and dog slobber free shine! No need for the Spray Swiffer. Much easier to spray my own cleaner depending on the floor and the goo...
30 September 2009
I moved the couch so that Beaker was further out of reach and took down the bird bath that left a crack big enough for a bird to get out (or a paw to get in). Outside in the greenhouse I sured up the outer door, and fixed the latch on the inner door. Polar will always be chained up or leashed outside. Period.
Not to be deterred we went to a chicken swap on Sunday. I got a couple of black silkie chicks and 3 Canadian Chantecler chicks. We were then out of bucks so we headed out. We barely made it out of the parking lot when we decided to hunt for an atm. We found one and headed back to the swap to see if anyone else had shown up.
We looked around, not really anything new, but they did have a beautiful white silkie Roo. Nah, The day after Killer was sacrificed my sweet Isabel Silkie crowed for me. Alas, she was re-christened by Art and now her-mmmm- I mean his name is Igor...)
We were about to leave the swap when I noticed a new van with a couple of boxes. I went over and out peeked a cute little red headed beak, then another. We asked what he had and he said he wasn't sure, but we could take the box for twelve bucks. Someone else came up and the guy said, "not to worry" he had another box with three of them in the back of his van for him. So we took the mystery box of chickens home. I was guessing there were five girls inside.
We got home and sprung the girls packed into the box. Four New Hampshire Reds. They look like they are about five or six months old. He wasn't sure who was laying yet or not, but he said they were close or laying...
I put the babies in with Igor in the back coop and let the bigger girls in with our other four. Dorrie (former low girl on the totem pole) went to town on them. Man, chickens are Mean! Mean! Mean! The four stuck together and held their ground though. At four days in Abbie has switched 'teams' and hangs out with the reds now. The others are still prone to the occasional snit fit but the reds don't seem to mind. They are the most social birds we have had yet :-)
They flock around me and love to be held and fed! Abbie always did too so I guess she blends ;)
I thought for sure I would not be able to tell them apart but they actually look very different and have varied personalities.
Olga is the lightest one, Pennie has a little white on her tail, and a white and red alternating pattern on her neck, Queenie is the lighter of the dark reds, and Rhonda is the reddest.
The next day I went out in the morning and had two eggs from the older girls and a new darker colored egg! Yippee! Then when I went out later that day I found a whopping four more eggs! Two from old girls, two from new! Then when I went out to close up the coop for the night I found another from the Reds! Eight eggs! Happy Happy Joy Joy!The little Silkies had to fight for every scrap of food they ever got I have a feeling. They were sopping wet when we got them (rained the day of the swap and their owner had them in an open pickup bed...) When I set them in the coop they ran for the feeder and ate and ate and ate and ate! They still camp out by it and I have to make sure that others get a turn to eat! I think they are easing up a little now that they have gorged themselves for several days!One of my (twin) neices asked me to name a chicken after her when I got to her letter in the alphabet (we are going in alphabetical order to better keep track?!). Problem is I can't remember which neice asked! LOL! Anyway, I named the older 'new' silkie Lexie, and the smaller one Mollie.The Chanteclers are a beautiful and very hardy bird. They are for both meat and laying but we will be using them strictly as layers. One is two months old, and two are one month. Suzy (the older one) has elected herself adoptive Momma of the two little ones- Tori, and Natalie. They are shy birds and have set up camp behind the box we brought them home in.
Little Igor is the king of that roost! He is so proud :-) He has lost two BFF's in his short life but he is only stronger for it! I think he and Suzy may work it out and be good buddies, too.
Now we have one big happy coop with Abbie, Corrie, Dorrie, Frannie, Lexi, Mollie, Natalie, Olga, Pennie, Queenie, Rhonda, Suzie, and Tori!
13 September 2009
12 September 2009
30 August 2009
You can click here for the full article http://www.kiplinger.com/features/archives/2009/08/freelist_2009.html but I will transfer a few here so that I can remember them!
4. FREE SOFTWARE
For most of your computing needs, you can get free software. For word processing and spreadsheets, go to OpenOffice.org. For antivirus protection, head to http://free.avg.com. For free basic photo editing, check out http://picasa.google.com, or for more advanced touch-ups, try Gimp.org. And to manage your finances, use the free programs at Mint.com or Wesabe.com.
7. FREE TV AND MOVIES
Head online to watch free episodes from hundreds of TV shows -- old and current -- as well as free movies. And it's perfectly legal. At OVGuide.com you'll find a list of TV and movie sites including Hulu.com, Veoh.com and Fancast.com, as well as individual network Web sites, such as ABC.com and CBS.com.
18. FREE DIGITAL STORAGE SPACE
With free online backup storage, you can protect your important files and photos from computer crashes, theft or natural disaster.
For instance, Spideroak.com and Myotherdrive.com each give you 2 gigabytes of free and secure digital storage space. You can also store your cherished photos and videos at sites such as Photobucket.com and Flickr.com. You can also store your pics at photo-print ordering sites such as Snapfish.com, Shutterfly.com or Walmart.com, as long as your account is active.
21. FREE TOUR GUIDES
To get a real feel for a city when you're traveling, team up with a local. The Global Greeter Network organizes volunteers in several cities worldwide to show you around, give you the inside scoop and answer your questions. Tours can last a couple hours or longer, the service is free, and there's a strict no-tipping policy.
Cities include New York, Houston, Chicago, Paris, Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Toronto and more. (See the full list.)
22. FREE CULTURE
You can visit many museums, galleries and other attractions nationwide for free, on special discount days or during certain hours. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, for example, offers free admission every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Some top-notch attractions are free every day of the year, such as Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, the Baltimore Museum of Art, St. Louis Science Center and the Getty Center in Los Angeles. And many college campuses host free concerts and student art exhibits.
26. FREE PLACE TO STAY
Traveling? Consider trading spaces. Hospitality exchange Web sites are growing in popularity. You can network to trade homes with someone who wants to visit your town, or even take turns hosting each other.
28. FREE MUSIC
For a free way to get your groove on, try Pandora.com. Type in a favorite song or artist and this online music-streaming service will play similar tunes it thinks you'll like. It's a fun way to discover new music. You will have to listen to the occasional ad –- but they're super-short and infrequent. Pandora gives you 40 free hours of listening per month.
Slacker.com is another good (and free) music-streaming site. You'll also have to listen to a brief ad here or there, but there's no time limit on your free listening.
29. FREE DIRECTORY ASSISTANCE
Save a buck or two and dial 1-800-GOOG-411 next time you need directory assistance. Google's free phone service will connect you with the business you're looking for, and there are no ads to listen to. However, it doesn't offer residential listings yet.
You could also dial 1-800-FREE-411 for business and residential directory assistance, but you may have to listen to a short ad.
28 August 2009
By spring Elliot Roo was quite a handful and by summer I was at my wits end. He was so big and could be so aggressive. He would attack our poor gardener every time he bent down to pick a weed or plant a seed. He would strip the poor girl's backs he was so fiesty. He would lunge at me randomly and I did not turn my back for a moment! Although if you caught him he would happily snuggle down to be patted, and he loved it when you hand-fed him anything!
I made a fence outside for the girls so they could free range on bugs, grass, and weeds. Elliot got to me (and the girls) one too many times so I put him outside the fence for a couple of days to give us all a break. I would let him back in at night when he was calmer. After the third day he had had enough. He left. The next day I went looking for him. I could hear him but did not find him. The day after I looked again and thought I saw him at a neighbors. I had to go to an appointment but vowed to come back with Art later to get him since he was still hanging around. I really thought he would eventually just come back to the coop... The next day he was gone. I assume that someone took him. He was a big beautiful Roo for those who can handle him in all his glory!
We lost our first chicken to illness. Poor Ginny got sick inexplicably and died while we were out of town. We lost her sister Hallie to a fox. This prompted us to put a gun out in the greenhouse in case he came back. I also hung a predator "eye" outside. The fox has not returned.
We got our baby silkies by a fluke. I went to Tractor Supply to get chick feed and they were having a chicken swap. I bought two beautiful blue/black silkies that were about a month old. They were so snuggly and adorable. But so shy. They clung to each other and even when I brought them out to munch on grass they would never be more than six inches from each other.
Two of my birds went broody this summer. Ironically, they did it just after Elliot left. Not sure if they were trying to replace him or what but both Dorrie and Abbie were out of commission for a month! Corrie was hoarding eggs but would not always sit on them and once they were taken she would forget about them for a week or so. Still, she was brooding off and on for about two months. All told I think we 'lost' two dozen eggs to brooding behavior. Maybe next year we'll have some baby chicks in the coop.
The other day I was absolutely horrified when I went outside and saw that my dog had gotten one of the baby silkies. HORRIFIED! I think the dog is getting nuts in his old age. He killed a squirrel the other day and brought it into the house, too. He has never ever ever done anything like that before! Scary. So the dog is on restriction. I won't let him off his run outside, all guests are warned to give him space, and he can't be inside alone with Blizzie. I was bit by a dog when I was small and I have zero tolerance in that department. I love Polar but it would be unforgivable if he bit a person! I cried and cried. Between losing Zoi and losing Jezzie all within a week I was a mess.
We did get a new little feathered friend. We adopted a little Cochin Bantam born in June. He was a little sweetheart. He has made friends with Isabel who has been very sad and lost without her sis Jesabel. He does have spunk. Jumps right in there and tries to make a place for himself. Of course, he runs right behind me when they peck at him. Too funny! Izzie and he are in the little coop away from the big girls who are pretty aggressive toward them. Hopefully, when the Roo grows up a bit it will be a smooth transition.His name? Well, I told Art a long time ago that he could name the next Roo. We are going alphabetically and the next letter was K so he could pick any K name he wanted. Yeah, he picked 'Killer.' It sounds more like Killah since he says it with a Boston accent but all the same... I call him 'Baby K' because Baby "Killer" is way inappropriate.
I hope we are done with loss and on to happier times in the hen house!