30 August 2009


Kiplinger's released a top 30 list of Free items and services in 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!

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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

A Chicks' Life

I got my first set of baby chicks last year. Eight little beaks with seven chickens and one Roo. I got my first egg on my birthday last year. All through the cold winter the girls gave me four to six eggs a day. I spoiled them feeding them warm oatmeal with apples, and a special mash made with cracked corn and whole oats. My philosophy was (and is) I feed them well, they feed me well.
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!


Where all the time and $$$ goes!