Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Here a chick. There a chick. - Part Two

The chicken saga continues...

We have looked into zoning, deeds, etc.  And so far, so good.  Nothing legal saying we can't have a few feathered friends.  We aren't planning on a rooster or a big flock.  So noise ordinances also should not be an issue.

Now we are looking at the day to day needs to care for chickens.  A coop - obviously.  Something to keep any local cats, foxes, raccoons, and hawks from dining on the flock and/or our eggs.  The Man of the House is working up plans for a chicken tractor.  Don't know what a chicken tractor is?  Yeah, neither did I.  It's essentially a movable coop and chicken run.  If you want more details just google it.  You'll soon know more about chicken tractors and how they are made than you ever imagined possible. 

But I digress...  As I said, the Man of the House is working up rough plans for our personal chicken tractor.  This took a serious discussion on tractor vs permanent coop, and a walk around the yard to figure out the most ideal location.  Where would we like chickens to live?   Where would we like to live if we were chickens?  Would chickens be happy under the mulberry tree?  Would we be happy if they were closer to the peach and pear trees, or the garden?  Just as with human real estate - it's all about location, location, location.

We are now the proud owners of two books outlining the finer details of raising poultry.  I certainly never expected to be pouring over volumes on chicken care.  Not by choice at least.  But here I am - avidly learning about mail order chicks vs locally hatched, chicken feed, nesting boxes, dust baths, and avoiding pasty butt.  (Yes, pasty butt is a real thing - and not a good thing if you're a chicken.  Or probably anyone else for that matter.)

And then there are the chickens themselves.  Orpingtons?  Or Plymouth Rocks?  Laced Wyandottes, or Rhode Island Red?  Which breeds are calm and friendly, but also active layers?  Can they handle the cold winters and the hot summers we get?  This is more difficult than one might think!

And so we continue along the journey.  Stay tuned.  I'm sure there will be much more to come.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Of all the animals, the boy is the most unmanagable." ~ Plato

I've gone crazy.  That's it.  It must be.  Why else would I agree to let the Little Man invite a group of 13 year old boys over to spend the night this weekend?  I have completely and totally lost my mind.  It's the only reasonable explanation.  I have my hands full with the one I usually have around the house.  Boys of this age are a mystery to me.  Boys of any age, if I'm being completely honest. 

I just don't have the experience with them to have much insight into how those minds of theirs work.  I blame my parents.  They only had girls.  Three of us.  I am the oldest.  You could practically feel the estrogen in the air when you walked into our home.  Therefore I had no real reason to learn much about boys. 

As I grew up and came into contact with boys I went through stages:  friends, annoyed, interested, etc.  But figuring out the real life day to day workings of their brains never entered the picture.  By the time I cared about what or how they thought, they had passed the "Boy" stage.  At least as much as any of them ever really do.

I knew boys and girls were different.  I had no idea how different. It's probably a good thing the Princess was the first born.  A girl I could understand for the most part.  I knew about girls.  But from the time the Little Man was very young he has continually amused, baffled, and intrigued me. 

Since he was a tiny boy he was a bundle of energy.  He would exhaust me with his constant state of motion.  His non-stop curiosity.  He managed to get into things and situations that never in a million years would have occurred to me.  I can't begin to count the number of times he would do something which led me to wonder "What on earth was he thinking?"  I blame most of my gray hairs on him and his antics. 

Would I trade one second of it?  Not a chance.  I feel blessed to have had the experience of raising a boy.  It has been an exhausting, exciting, hilarious journey so far.  And as he enters into his teen years I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of man he will become.  I've just stopped hoping to figure him out.

As James Thurber said - "Boys are beyond the range of any body's sure understanding, at least when they are between the ages of 18 months and 90 years."

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm NOT The Gingerbread Man

You all remember that old rhyme from the story.  "Run, run as fast as you can.  You can't catch me.  I'm the Gingerbread man".  I am so not.  Running is just not my thing.  I've always been very up front about the fact that I don't run.  I don't even jog.  I don't enjoy it.  And I just don't see the point.  If someone suggest I take up running - I have to suggest that they take up chasing me with a knife.  Because that's really the only way I can see myself getting motivated to really get worked up past a brisk walk. 

The other morning I saw a lady out jogging.  Slowly.  So slowly that I thought to myself that I'm pretty sure I could walk faster than that.  Which led me to wonder... why wasn't she just walking?  Was there really some point in jogging that darn slow?  Would walking not have accomplished the same thing?  Had she been walking at that pace I wouldn't have thought twice about it.  I would have been impressed that she was out walking and getting her exercise at 7:30 in the morning.  Instead I was left thinking about how slow she was jogging.  And wondering about it.  Probably just another way I don't get the whole running thing...


I know, I know.  Someone right now is frowning at the screen as they read this and feeling indignant.  I'm really not trying to knock you.  If you run or jog - GREAT!  I know people that run and just love it.  They just don't feel the same unless they get their daily run on.  I think it's great if that's what they like.  Really.  Truly.  But I just don't understand it.  I do, however, encourage them to feel free to run enough for the both of us.

Right now, I'm going to wrap this up and run get something done around the house.  Relax.  It's a figure of speech.  It will probably be more of a slow walk.

The Deal of the Week (5/23/11)

I love BOGO sales! Especially when I have a coupon to go with the deal!

Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce
Original price: $1.98
BOGO Free Sale: 2 for $1.98 (or $1.04 each)
Coupon $1 off any 2
Final Price: 2 for $.98 (or $.49 each!)

I had four of the coupons, and ended up with $15.84 worth of sauce for $3.92!  Those in the know realize that our family loves to grill out during the warm months.  In fact, the Man of the House got a HUGE smoker/grill for Father's Day last year.  So all that sauce will go to good use
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lipton Family Size Tea Bags
Original Price: $2.08
BOGO Free Sale: 2 for $2.08 (or $1.04 each)
Coupon: $.40 off each (doubled by my store to $.80 each)
Final Price: 2 for $.48!!!  (or $.24 each!) 

I also had four coupons.  Getting $8.32 worth of tea for $.96!!   I drink a LOT of iced tea, so at this point I am trying to figure out a way to get my hands on more of these coupons before the sale ends! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Call It What You Will

Some call it fate, destiny, karma, divine will, or circumstances.  What ever you call it; as my mind wanders lately - it seems to often land in this general area. 

I've always believed that everything happens for a reason.  Everything.  Even if it takes years to understand why it happened.  Or even if we never understand.  I know some believe that we make our own destiny.  Based on the choices we make, or the actions we take.  But I also believe we make the choices we do and do the things we do for a reason.

And sometimes it seems that no matter how much we want something to occur, or not.  No matter how hard we work to make it happen, or not - if it is meant to be, it will.  And if it's just not meant to be - it won't.  We can scream and cry.  Kick and hit.  Wish and pray.  Work our finger to the bone or stand still.  In the end, it is just what it is. 

We can constantly rail against the circumstances in which we find ourselves. Or we can make some sort of peace with them.  And begin thinking about how to best deal with them and what will be our next step into our future.  And into our destiny.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Here a chick. There a chick. Everywhere a chick, chick.

Ol' Mc.. ME? had a farm? 

No, not exactly.  But we are considering keeping a few chickens.  Seriously considering.  And researching what exactly is involved.  Reading some things online, getting ready to grab a few books at the library, or maybe B&N.  Looking at chicken coop ideas and plans.  That sort of thing.

What has brought on this sudden surge of domestic homesteading?  Well, I could blame it on the cost of groceries.  But to be honest, it's more than that. After watching the documentary "Food, Inc", I am quite frankly grossed out.  And I'm starting to have more than a little concern about where exactly some of my food is coming from and what is going into it. 

I don't think I can harvest chickens for meat.  Unless the Man of the House takes up that duty.  But eggs are completely do-able in my opinion.  And the idea intrigues me.

So, we will do a little more research.  And I'll keep all of you posted on any new developments in the Happy Home Farming movement around our home.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Monday Moment

The planter of viola pansies on my front porch. 
The colors are amazing and I can't believe how big they have gotten!

A Message from the Emergency Nervous Breakdown Broadcasting System

This blog is conducting a test of the Emergency Nervous Breakdown System.  This is only a test. 

*$@&^%*$@#*(%@*

If this had been an actual nervous breakdown, you would have been instructed where to turn for news and official information.

This concludes this test of the Emergency Nervous Breakdown System

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday, Friday, Friiiidaaaay

It's been a terribly long week.  It's finally Friday.  And I'd like to tell you how I'm looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend.  Yep... I'd like to tell you all about it.  But in this instance what I'd like to do, and what I can do are two very different things. 

After working extra days, my housekeeping schedule has gone right out the window.  The house is a complete mess.  It looks as if we had a minor disaster take place around here.  I'm pretty sure someone is going to run out of clean undies pretty soon if I don't get around to doing some laundry.  And I think it may smell a little funky.

We also have a neighborhood cleanup day tomorrow.  Who the hell came up with that bright idea?  Not me!  You can be sure about that.  So, instead of cleaning up my own home tomorrow - we are expected to show up and play the nice neighbors and clean up fallen tree branches, patch potholes in the road, paint the sign, or whatever else needs doing. 

Have I mentioned I'm not exactly the "good neighbor" type?   Just because we happen to have purchased property near each other does not mean we have a lot in common and must, Must, MUST be good friends.  Does it?  To be quite honest, I'd much rather just mind my own business and just wave at you as our cars pass on the road. Really.

I'm hoping for rain tomorrow.  Crossing my fingers and doing a rain dance.  So I can stay inside, do laundry, and straighten up.  And maybe once that's done I can relax on the couch and watch some Netflix.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Playing The Waiting Game

Rushing,
   Running,
Getting no where.

Searching,
   Seeking,
Finding nothing.

Puzzling,
   Pondering,
No answers,
No resolution.

Waiting,
   Still waiting,
And waiting some more.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Carolina Dreamin'

I keep thinking about the Outer Banks.  We had a wonderful vacation there last year and I can't wait to go back again this year.  I'm already making plans in my head.  Today I went to the official website (http://www.outerbanks.org/index.asp) and ended up lost for much longer than I had intended.  I clicked on page after page.  Enjoying memories and making plans. 

I can already feel the ocean breezes and warm sun.  I can smell the ocean.  I can taste the Duck Donuts for breakfast and the local seafood for dinner. 

Which lighthouse(s) will we visit this year?  Will we seek out an old shipwreck or two along the shoreline?  Will we drive up to Corolla to see the wild horses?  How many hours will I spend just relaxing on the sand with a book and a cold drink?

I'm already counting the days until we trek across the state to enjoy what the eastern end has to offer.  Until then, I can be found staring at the Outer Banks website with a far away, glazed over look in my eyes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Awkward Week

I'm a little off this week.  I'm working two extra days to fill in for someone else, and it has thrown off my entire internal calendar.  I keep having to stop and think about what day it is.  I know it's going to be like this all week.  Monday already feels like Thursday.  It's going to be a long long week at this rate.

The Monday Moment

Blue bird sitting on cable line waiting for his turn at the bird feeder

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mom Saves Dinner

It was time to fix dinner. Enchiladas.  Mmmm...  enchiladas.  I was looking forward to this.  I went to take the needed items out of the fridge only to discover someone had been eating the tortillas. 

I'm not pointing any fingers, but the usual suspect is the Little Man (aka: the almost 13 year old bottomless pit!).  The boy would easily empty my cabinets in the blink of an eye if given the chance!

Now what am I supposed to do having only about 1/2 the needed amount of tortillas for my enchiladas?  My mind races, it scrambles.  I'm thinking... "Great, I hope people aren't actually hungry tonight"  I stare at the remaining ingredients for a short time.  And then inspiration strikes. 

I prepare the filling as usual.  Diced chicken, black beans, shredded cheese, a little enchilada sauce.  And then, instead of filling and rolling the tortillas - I grab a casserole dish and alternate layers of the filling with what was left of the tortillas, topping it all with more sauce and shredded cheese.  20 minutes at 350 degrees until bubbly. And  VOILA! 

Mom saved the day.  Or at least the dinner.  And it was quite delicious if I do say so myself!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Would you like a piece of pi?

My local news always does these little segments called "Never Stop Learning" which feature happenings in local schools.  Not long ago the segment started with a little banter about how some students were getting their fill of Pi, "not the kind you eat, but just as good".  I have to take issue with that statement.  Because it's just not true!

C'mon, really?  I mean.. REALLY?  

Pie is always going to win out over Pi.  No comparison!  None! 

Apple?  or 3.141592...?  APPLE! 
Cherry?  or 3.141592...?  CHERRY!
Pumpkin?  or 3.141592...?  PUMPKIN!
Chocolate cream?  or 3/141592...?  CHOCOLATE CREAM!

See!  Pie ALWAYS wins!  Given a choice, I will always pick the delightful dessert item.  It's just better!  With the glaring exception of mincemeat.  If I were offered mincemeat I might take the mathematical constant.  Maybe.

(And maybe Coconut Cream.  I'm not a fan of coconut.)

The Deal of the Week (5/3/2011)

Grabbed a few goodies I'm proud of this week!! 

Bic Simply Soliel women's razors
Original Price: $4.67 per 4 pack
Coupon: $3.00 off
My cost: $1.67 per 4 pack

Ivory Bar Soap:
Original Price: $.97 per 3 pack
Coupon: $1.00 off
My cost: -$.03
(love money makers!!)

Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn:
Original Price: $2.38 per box of 3
Store Card Savings: BOGOF making them 2 for $2.38 or $1.19 each
Coupon: $1.00 off 2 boxes
My cost: 2 for $1.38 OR $.69 each!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Monday Moment

Spring at the Biltmore Estate



A Month of Reality in Pictures - The Conclusion

The conclusion of this little experiment is that I have learned I am not very good at taking pictures every day.  Or posting them.  Oh well..  lesson learned.  I think I bit off more than I could chew with that one.  I happens.

As a result, I will cut back to one picture a week for May.  Trying to post them on Mondays.  The Monday Moment is what I think I will call it.  Something from the week prior to share with my friends and family.

Now, keep in mind this doesn't mean I can't (or won't) be posting other random photos along the way.  Just that the Monday Moment will be a minimum expectation.

Or DOES it??

This is confusing me.  And while we all know that doesn't really take a lot... this is really, really puzzling to me.

I got a great deal on some Method disinfecting bathroom cleaner at Target a couple of weeks ago.  It states right on the front label that it "disinfects as it cleans".  However, while using it - I notice something quite odd.  Two sets of instructions for use.  One for cleaning.  The other for... you guessed it!  Disinfecting!!  Two completely different procedures for each. 

HUH?  If it "disinfects AS it cleans", do I really need to sets of instructions?  Don't two different sets of instructions for use actually contradict the claim made on the front label?  Shouldn't one procedure cover both things?  When I use the steps for cleaning... shouldn't that, in fact, take care of the disinfecting part?

Thinking about this has given me a headache.  I think I need to lie down for a while.  And skip cleaning the bathroom for the moment.
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