Friday, January 31, 2014

Chickens in a Row

It's so cold, all 5 hens finally roosted together
(trust me, there's 5 there I just couldn't get the ones on the end in the shot).
It's good to have your chickens in a row,
but unfortunately chickens and ducks are nothing alike.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

State of the Resolutions Address

I think the Arctic temperatures have everything bound up.
Like icy constipation.
Frozen pipes.

I broke another chicken waterer this morning
and I'm tired of having to keep the chickens locked up.
They aren't too happy about that either.
The dark cold snowy night treks to the coop are getting old too.
This guy is staying (like there was ever a doubt he would).
Ended up naming him Jake.

So exactly what have I managed to do as far as resolutions?
I did get groceries for the office so I won't be needing to eat out this week during work.
And what I got is salad items and celery and hummus for snacking.
So I'm improving in those couple of things.
I have not exercised. 
I did pin a couple of exercise items to Pinterest
(I don't think that counts).
I downloaded a meditation app on my iPhone
that seems like a pretty good one actually.
I haven't used it yet.

I did get rid of 2 trash bags full of toys from my son's room.
And I donated some unneeded blankets
and some shirts.

So, it's obvious I need to kick it up a notch.
 But I'm guessing I'll be doing more procrastinating
by playing with this cutie and taking 50 million instagram photos of him.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night...

Yesterday we had yet another snow storm.
I get that it's winter
and snow isn't so unusual for our area
but the past couple of years have been relatively snow and cold free.
Anyway, it snowed.
I have no idea how much 
because the wind was blowing and drifting.
Some areas had grass showing other's were nearly to my knee
as I walked out to check on the girls. 
They were locked up tight earlier in the evening
but I couldn't remember if I had counted to make sure
all 5 were up in the coop when I locked them in.
So to save myself from worry, I went to check.
They were all roosting and more than a little irritated with the intrusion.
I try to think about the fact that there's only 56 days and 22 hours until spring.
(It can't get here fast enough)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Updates: Resolutions, Warm Chickens and an Abandonded Puppy

As far as resolutions go,  
I haven't followed through with any of them yet.  
This makes me ticked off with myself and 
that hopefully means a renewed desire to get back to the plan.  
While many might think resolutions as a waste of time, 
the ones I made were items I wanted to work on to improve my life.  
So by not doing them,
I'm not improving anything 
and I'm staying in this stagnant pool and that is no longer acceptable.  
Stress, however, has a way of waylaying your best intentions.  
(of course the healthier eating and exercise will help with stress so I should just shut up and get to it)

In other news, 
the chickens lived through the Great Polar Vortex of 2014.
Not that I was overly concerned.
The biggest problem was breaking the waterer.
This Spring I'll be thinking up some other ideas for that
(someone I know uses a 5 gallon bucket, that would make things easier most of the year- 
less cleaning and fill ups)

The big news is that Big E and I found a puppy.
He's featured in the video above barking- halfheartedly- at the chickens
(if one of those hens came towards him he'd be hiding behind my legs).
(Finally had time to do a full cleaning of the coop between cold fronts and rain/snow showers)
We found him this past Sunday
along a rural dirt road.
He was nearly hit by another car.
We have, of course, sent word to the 2 area SPCA's 
and posted an ad in the local paper.
No one has called.
We also contacted the only 2 houses in the area and neither families know the dog.
That leads me to believe that he was dumped there on the country road 
in the winter.
Because if I lost a puppy I'd be frantic looking for him
since he can't protect himself from other animals 
and has not yet learned about the dangers of cars.
Both SPCA's agree that he's most likely a dump.
I can't believe this myself because he's such a good puppy.
Since Sunday we have had NO accidents in the house or crate.
He hasn't chewed up the pillow he sleeps on in the crate either
(my lab Bailey would have devoured it 30 seconds after being locked up).
So for now, while we search for potential owners who might be looking for him,
he's staying.
We're calling him Clyde.

PSA: If you have an unwanted animal, DO NOT dump them on the street, release them into the woods or dump them in a stream.  There are places that will take them in- like a humane society or SPCA.  Many have overnight holding cages. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chilly Chickens

 So far, this winter had dumped snow, ice and sub zero temperatures
on us.
The girls have been tucked in 
with plenty of bedding and a run
protected from the wind.
We made it through the last batch of cold temps,
tonight it's a low of -1.
Windchill of -10.
That's cold.
Hoping the girls get through this okay too.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Good Luck Beans

For years I've heard about how it's good luck 
to eat greens, black eyed peas and pork and sauerkraut
on New Year's Day.
It occured to me that I've never fixed this particular meal
on this specific day
and maybe that's what I'm always so desparate
for the New Year to be better.
I threw some sauerkraut and porkchops in the crockpot 
and made up a black eyed pea recipe.
I chopped up a piece of ham steak
(I wanted a ham hock or shank but the store was out)
I didn't use the whole piece of ham.
I saved the leftover to throw in my egg in the morning for breakfast.
I chopped up some fresh kale.
And by fresh I mean I went outside and picked it from the garden.
I didn't use all of it as I was unsure about liking it
so I just saved the leftovers for throwing in a scramble egg.
I threw in 2 cans of black eyed peas.
I'd rather use dry, but I had a time issue.
I added some chicken broth and a little salt
and simmered it on the stove for a couple of hours.
I was quite pleased with it
and plan on making it as a side in the future.
 Here's the lucky meal,
black eyed peas, mashed cauliflower (in keeping with the low carb diet)
pork chop and sauerkraut.

So why do you eat all this?
Pork- said to bring luck in the coming year.
Black Eyed Peas and greens- because they resemble money (greens dollars and peas coins) it's said they will bring you good fortune.
Sauerkraut- an old German tradition says you should eat sour cabbage  for a sweet new year.

Here's to a luckier, healthier, happier New Year!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


  1. v. settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter).
  2. v.  decide firmly on a course of action.
  3. n. firm determination to do something.
 It's that time of year when people write out lists of things they want to change in the coming new year.  
I'd wager that most people start out with good intentions and 
plan on following through with all of their resolutions.  
Sadly, most give up and fail to accomplish anything on their list.  
Despite the fact that I fall into the never-accomplish-anything-on-my-resolution-list category, 
I figured I'd give it another go.  
So, thinking that sharing my list might make me more inclined to stick to it 
(the whole accountability thing), 
I'm posting it here.

Being Healthier:
  1. Walk at least 2 miles 4 days a week (I'm hoping to make it 7 days a week, but I think 4 is more realistic).
  2. Go back to a Low Carb/Good Carb diet (like South Beach).  I did this once and lost a lot of weight and just felt better over all.  But I'm a stress eater, I'm stressed and planning meals and grocery shopping is a pain.  No excuses though, time to get back to something healthier.
  3. Lose 30 pounds. I'm pretty sure that if I manage #1 and #2 this one will be no problem.  
  4. Drink more water. 
  5. Cut back on the amount of soda I drink.  I like iced tea and green tea so I should work on drinking that.  Plus, making iced tea is cheaper than buying soda.  And it really bothers me that I drink something that is used to clean the corrosion on car batteries.  
  6. Find time to meditate at least 3 times a week.  Ideally it should be every day, but I'm being realistic as meditation is not so easy with a 7 year old about. 
  1. Save some money using the 52 week challenge.
  2. Put at least $25 per week in my savings account (hopefully more than that per week, but a minimum of $25).
  3. Cook my own breakfast each morning- don't eat out (this is also a healthy thing).
  4. Pack my lunch at least 4 out of 5 days.  I'd say all 5 days, but again, I'm trying to be realistic.  This could potentially save me about $200 a month.  That's a lot.  In fact it's a car payment. 
  5. Eat dinner out only 2-3 times a month.  This is going to be a tough one.  When you've gotten into the habit of eating out on a regular basis, it's hard to break that habit.  Who wants to deal with planning meals or doing the dishes (the cooking I'm okay with).
  6. Pay off the Credit Cards.  Tough, but I've already locked them away in the safe, and I have a plan. 
  1. Go through my 7 year old's toys to see what can be donated.  He wasn't too receptive to the idea, but he has more than enough to play with (and doesn't even play with it all).  I'm thinking of making this something that is done yearly  before Christmas- you know, making room for the new stuff.
  2. Clean out my clothes.  I know there are things that are in my closet that haven't seen the light of day in 2 years or more.  I obviously have no need for them, but someone else might.
  3. Plan out meals a month at a time.  I know I can do this because I have done it.  It makes live easier when you do- you save money on groceries, save time on shopping and on cooking (especially if you use a slow cooker on a regular basis).
  4. Organize recipes.  I have a few, some written down, some saved on Pinterest, but I'd like them all in one place like a recipe box.  
  5. Declutter in general. Find a better way to organize mail, school papers, product manuals, warranties, etc.
  6. Cleaning the basement and the items you have in storage there.  This includes my whole family and a trip to the dump.  I'm hoping to get my items better stored and organized at a minimum and help my parents and siblings get rid of the junk as a bigger goal.
  1. Get to the point where I am blogging 4-5 days a week.  That's tough since I have several blogs, but something I have been continuously working towards.  
  2. Learn to use my DSLR camera in something other than automatic mode.
  3. Take some time to go take photos with the DSLR camera not in automatic mode at least every other week. Ideally I'd like to take a trip somewhere closeby to take photos at least once a month.
  4. Start writing a book.  Doesn't matter what the genre is or the content or that there's an expectation to finish, just start.
  5. Build 2 polytunnels for growing greens in the cold winter months.  
  6. Plant a more efficient vegetable garden. 
  7. Plan out time for canning to be faster and more productive.
  8. Plan weekly family night. Either planning on playing a game or watching a movie or some type of outing like bowling or mini-golf- and sticking to it.
  9. Plan weekly or bi-weekly date night. Because alone time with the one you love is important and sometimes life is so busy you forget.  So weekly is the main goal, but building to that is okay.  And date night doesn't mean that you have to spend money.  Could be dinner at home and a movie or going for a walk or a hike.
That for the most part is my list.  
My goals and resolutions for 2014.  
Throughout the year I'll check back regarding my list to see 
how I'm doing or 
if I'm doing.  

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

~Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Be at War with your Vices, 
at Peace with your Neighbours, 
and let every New-Year find you a better Man.  
~Quoted in Benjamin Franklin's 1755 Poor Richard's Almanac, December