Friday, June 29, 2012

Angry chickens

My chickens aren't speaking to me.  I've locked them in the barn and they DON"T like it a bit.  I've tried to explain that it's for their own protection, but they're not buying it.  One of my big, egg-laying chickens disappeared a few days ago, leaving nothing behind but some big chunks of feathers drifting around the chicken pen.  I rounded the remaining chickens up and locked them in the coop.  One escaped and I was trying to corral him back inside using a rake.  Have you ever tried chicken herding?  It's not easy.  Eventually, I got her in the pen and locked up with the rest, then our neighbor came over.  I assume he saw me chasing a chicken with a rake and was thanking his lucky stars that he's got such entertaining people living next door.  He asked if we lost another chicken and I said yes.  Then he told me that he found feathers and a wingtip on the roof of his house and said he thought it was an owl. Oddly enough, I never thought to ask him the obvious question:  Why was he on his roof looking at chicken parts?  Instead, I gave him my theory:  I saw/heard a couple bald eagles flying over the woods on the very day that the chicken disappeared and I think our national symbol had a chicken dinner on me.  Either way, the chickens are now locked in the barn until we can get bird netting over the chicken yard.  I'm now down to 4 adult chickens, one healthy chicken from the March hatching and one sickly chicken from the March hatching - the only reason she's still alive is because she's got a bad leg and I figured she was going to die ages ago, so I put her in her own little pen in the barn to protect her from being harassed by the other chickens.  So, ironically, the gimpy bird I figured was going to die is only alive today's a gimpy bird I thought was going to die.  Life's strange sometimes, eh?  Oh, and I ordered 70 baby chicks from the coop this week.  I'm getting 20 layers and 50 broilers.  So, on July 10, I'm going to have a bunch of chickens in my bathtub again.

I went to an estate sale today.  I like estate sales because they've got everything in them as opposed to rummage sales, which is just stuff that people want to get rid of.  So, the people who lived at this house went into a nursing home and their kids or someone were getting rid of all their stuff for them.  You know, there comes a point when you just have to admit that it's time to throw something away.  Some things are stuff that NOBODY wants.  These people diligently put price tags on everything - every washcloth, frying pan, box of screws and - get this - a half a bottle of Scope.  Yeah, these people were trying to sell used mouthwash for $1.  That's not it either, there was also opened containers of dental floss, half empty bottles of shampoo, an open bottle of suppositories.  Everything with price tags on them.  I'm having a hard time imagining customers snapping those things up.  All I could do was imagine some old, toothless man taking a swig of mouthwash directly from the bottle.  I left the sale before I started getting gaggy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On Sunday I:
spent about 5 hours on the road (about 3 of them w/me driving)
went to a parade
went to a band concert
spent 2 hours in church at 2 different times in 2 different places
and watched horse pulling 

It was kind of busy.  It was the weekend of our town's Fireman's Picnic, so the whole weekend had stuff going on in town.  I skipped most of it, though we did make a point of heading in on Friday night for the perch dinners they were selling in the stands.  Friday night was also the night the local high school garage band delivered the entertainment for the picnic.  They were even selling tour tee-shirts with a list of their tour dates on the back, they're playing in exciting venues like "John's Graduation" and "Statler's Testicle Toss".  The "John" in John's Graduation is the lead singer, Statler's is a local bar and a testicle toss is a yard game involving 2 balls connected with a rope and a pvc goal post type thingy - we get our entertainment where we can out here in the sticks. 

Anyway, the kids all had fun at the picnic but hubs and I were kind of meh about it.  There's not a whole lot to do there, only about 3 or 4 locally run carnival type games, food and beer tents and music.  The baseball games on Friday night were rained out, Sat and Sun was volleyball tournaments and horse pulling.  So basically, everyone just stands around gabbing.  This is fine if you know a lot of people in town, but hubs and I tend to stay close to home, so we don't know many people.  Angel #2 enjoyed seeing people she went to high school with and of course, WE and #4 had friends all over the place.  Angel #4 played cymbals in the parade on Sunday morning.  It was kind of a mad dash, since church is over around 11 o'clock and the parade started at 11:30, it's about a 25 minute drive from church to town, so we all changed out of our church clothes as we were racing down the highway trying to get her to the parade on time (she made it in plenty of time).  The parade route is short, only about 5 or 6 blocks, so when you buy a big bag of candy to toss from your float, you've got to be really generous or you're going to end up with a whole lotta candy at the end of the parade.  We got a whole lot just sitting on curb and letting it come to us, we also got Popsicles, which were pretty tasty after we'd been sitting in the hot sun.  A couple floats were even throwing out stuffed animals - WE got one thrown to him from the high school wrestling float (they also tried to pelt him with a water balloon), he gave his stuffed raccoon to our dog, who promptly disemboweled it and now there's raccoon stuffing all over the living room.

I went to the post office yesterday and there was a card in our box saying I had a package.  I went to the deck and handed in the card and the post office lady hauls out this huge military duffel bag.  I'm not sure what's in it or why Angel #1 sent it here, but now there's a big old bag sitting in the living room next to the raccoon stuffing.  He comes home in 2 1/2 weeks, so I guess he'll deal with it then.  Oh, btw, he called last week, he's now back safely in the US.  YAY!!  He's buying a car this week while he's out in California, so now he'll  be driving regularly in San Diego traffic, so I don't know how safe he really is.  :p

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Deer with a death wish

WE is outside in the backyard shooting at a target with a .22.  He come in with a frustrated look on his face.  As he's shooting at the target, a deer wanders out of the woods and stands right in line with the target.  WE doesn't want to shoot on the off chance that he'd hit the stupid deer.  It stood there for about a minute before it decided there was nothing to see and walked off back into the woods.  We've got a lot of deer around here this summer.  Hubs and I go on a walk just about every night and we always see at least a deer or two munching in a field or standing alongside the road.  Last night it was a doe with a couple of fawns and it was so cute watching their little white tails go bounding through the tall grass and into the trees.  We fenced off the entire garden a couple days ago, so I shouldn't have to worry about them using the garden as a salad bar.

We finally got some rain today.  I looked it up in my past posts and saw that we haven't had any rain since May 25.  Everything has been really dry and nasty and I've had to keep the sprinkler running on the garden to keep it green.  I hate messing with sprinklers.  I've also had to run around with buckets to water the lilac bushes and other things I planted this spring to keep them alive as well.  I think one of the lilacs is dead, but everything else seems to be surviving.  Problem is, now that it's rained, the mosquitoes will be out in full force.  Oh well, it's always something.

Our neighbors gave us a bucket of strawberries from their garden the other day and they are soooo sweet and tasty.  I had some with a bowl of ice cream the Thursday night and I think I hear the ice cream bucket beckoning to me again tonight.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm a weed pulling maniac, people

Even though I've cut the size of the garden down by about 1/4 this summer compared to last summer, it's still honkin big.  But, unlike last year, we're actually living in our house during the first month of the garden this time, which makes it much easier to get out there and weed.  Angel #4 has a daily weeding quota she must meet each day in order to do anything else like going places with friends or using the computer.  So, between her weeding and my compulsive weeding, the garden is looking pretty good.  We're going to try using some of that plastic black mulch film on some of the rows to see if that'll keep the weeds down, which would help a lot, especially once things start producing and I've got to deal with more than daily weeding.  It's been really dry lately as well, which is slowing everything down.  Hubs ran a pvc water line to the garden with a hose attachment on the end so we don't have to lug 50 pounds of hose around whenever we want to run the sprinkler, it's pretty handy.  Now, if we only had a rototiller. 

One of the benefits of a small town is the personalized service you get.  I do a lot of shopping at our local bulk food store, we call it "The Amish Store",  for  what should be obvious reasons.  Last year they took orders for bushels of peaches and I got one and the girls and I spent a loooooong day canning pie filling, jam and just plan old peaches.  So Lyle, the guy who runs the store, gave me a call yesterday (our Amish are allowed to have telephones) saying he was going to be getting another shipment of peaches in and wanted to know if I wanted some again, which, of course, I do.  Now there's something you don't get from big chains, someone personally calling you to see if you want groceries.  He said he's also looking on getting a bulk blueberry delivery as well, I am SO on that one.  I love blueberries.  I looked into betting some blueberry bushes for the yard, but after talking to Leroy (the guy who runs what we call "The Amish Greenhouse", are you seeing a pattern here???) I decided not to bother.  Leroy said he couldn't manage to get blueberries to grow here because of our soil (blueberries need high acid, we're high base) and since Leroy can grow anything and can't grow blueberries, I figured I didn't stand a chance.

Last weekend the next town over from ours had their big town festival.  On Friday night, they had the light parade, it's kind of cool seeing a parade at night, the floats are all decorated with Christmas lights, the bands wrap those plastic neon glowy things around their instruments, that kind of thing.  Hubs belongs to the Optimist Club, who is the organizer of the parade, and volunteered our family to help sell concessions.  So there I was wandering the streets before the parade with a shopping cart loaded down with cotton candy, popcorn and pop.  We sold in teams, so I made sure that hubs, Mr. Volunteer, was the one who had to push the cart, I just passed out the cotton candy and popcorn.  We bumped into a few people we knew, not many because we just don't get out that much, but about every half hour or so, we'd see someone we knew and chat for a bit.  I saw my cousin, who I hadn't seen since last summers family reunion, which was nice.  She only lives less than 10 miles from me, but we just never seem to cross paths.  I never spent much time with her growing up, she's my youngest sister's age and when you've got as many cousins as I do, you tend to just stick with the ones in your own immediate age bracket and don't intermingle with the younger ones.  You can do that when you've got dozens of cousins and some to spare, one of the benefits of being part of a huge family.  Though, now as we're all older, the age difference isn't a thing anymore and we tend to hang with those who are most like us instead of those we share an age with.

Friday, June 8, 2012

I needed to share

This is incredible.  A powerful song made even more powerful.

The lead singer is a Navy vet, so he's one of the few  professional singers performing this who's actually been out there defending the flag and country he's singing about and you can tell by his passion.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Whew, that's over with

Well, the voting is done, the results are in and (hopefully) the robo-calls will stop.  Jeanie, Wisconsin politics have been very inflammatory, pitting family members against each other and neighbor against neighbor.  In order to get here to vote, Angel #2 needed pretty much the whole day off work and the use of their vehicle, so her employers could have easily said that they needed her to be there rather than give her a 4 day weekend so she could vote.  Now that she's registered though, voting by absentee ballot will be much easier.  Things have gotten pretty vicious over here and now that it's over, I hope everyone can get past the arguments and pull together to keep our state great.

In local news (local meaning my backyard) Angel #4's party went well.  The weather was beautiful, the moon shone brightly, so we didn't have to worry about our lack of a porch light leading to some kids falling over the cellar doors or running into the side of the house.  There weren't quite as many kids here as she was expecting, but it was still a good turnout.  We ended up with 3 girls spending the night and staying up giggling until after 2am. 

After voting, Angel #2 and I headed to town to pick up some library books she wanted, then we went to Walmart where I taught her how to look through the pattern books, look up patterns by number and how to read the back so she knows how much material and what kind of notions she'll need.  She picked up a couple of easy to sew patterns and is planning on appealing to Rent-a-Grandma to teach her how to sew since she's sure not going to learn from me.  Hopefully, some time in the next month or so, she can spend the weekend with grandma and learn a skill and get a new dress or skirt out of the deal.

I discovered that I make really really hot gravy.  Tonight at supper, I was dumping some ham gravy on my mashed potatoes and some spilled off the edge of my plate onto my bare thigh (the hazards of wearing shorts).  I yelped and wiped it off right away, but it was too late, I've got a big blistery burn mark on my leg and boy howdy, does it hurt!  Ironically, today when we were at Walmart, we passed a display of sunburn lotions, I picked one up and was going to buy it, but put it back down when I saw it wasn't pure aloe vera.  I was going to look for some pure stuff in the pharmacy, but then forgot.  It sure would have been handy to have tonight.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

There's a hearse in my yard

Angel #2 is home now and she brought her friend, Hearse Boy, along with her.  She came in the car she uses at work, a really nice one, and he came in a 1968 hearse.  He looks exactly like you'd imagine a 19 year old boy who drives a hearse would look like, long black hair, lip ring and a black tee-shirt that states that: A hearse is a great way to pick up chicks...dead ones.  Overall though, he seems like a really nice, polite kid.  At the moment, Angels #2 & 4 are with him in the hearse eating snacks and playing cards at the table bolted to the hearse's cargo bay.  It's a regular party wagon, I'm telling you.

Angel #2 will be here until Wednesday.  She wanted to stay over until at least Tuesday so she'd be around to vote on our huge gubernatorial recall election and since she's planning on voting the same way as the people she works for, they were more than happy to give her the chance to take part in the election.  I'm going to make sure my vote gets in as well.  But more than anything, it'll be nice to have it all over with so I can be done with the millions of campaign calls coming in every day.  I'm sure they'll start all over again with the presidential election, Wisconsin is a pretty pivotal state, but it'll be nice to have a little break from the robo-calls.

Friday, June 1, 2012

shiney teeth

Angel #4 and I got our teeth cleaned today.  Sadly enough, that was the highlight of my day.

Afterwards we went to Goodwill and while we were standing in the check-out line, there was a lady in the line next to ours trying to check out.  They had to call the manager in because all the items she was buying were mistagged.  Amazingly enough, everything she bought had a blue 50% off tag on it, yet they were tagged differently than how the store usually does it, and I overheard the manager tell her that she remembered just putting those clothes on the rack that morning with a full price purple tag.  Really lady?  You're trying to rip-off Goodwill????  How pathetic is that?  Ironically enough, I saw her earlier in the store putting wall plaques with Bible verses on them in her cart.  Maybe she should have read a few of them before hitting the checkout line.  You know, like Thou Shalt Not Steal??

Something got into our chicken coop again Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  Out of the original 9 baby chicks I hatched out in March, there are only 2 left, and one of them is the chick I put in a separate pen in the barn because it's got a bad leg and the other ones were picking on it.  I didn't expect it to live long, yet it's outlasted most of its nest mates.  I fail at chicken motherhood.  Whatever got in managed to climb the fence and go around the top netting I put up, all that was left of one chicken was some feathers and the other two were lying side-by-side, deader than dirt.  The survivor had got out of the pen and was running around loose outside.  We put out a live trap and caught a cat, who may or may not be the murderer, but since there's not a lot we can do about the neighbors cat, we just let it go and hope that if it's guilty, it's learned its lesson and won't ever go chicken hunting again.

Hubs and WE are out of town on a job tonight and won't be back until tomorrow.  Angel #4 is at a sleepover and Angel #2 won't be home from work until tomorrow afternoon, so I'm home all alone tonight.  Well, not ALL alone, since I've still got all the critters running around here and it smells like Diesel rolled in something nasty, so my quiet time at home will be spend giving a dog bath.  Not exactly how I planned on spending my evening, but life's what it is.  I also picked up a couple of John Cusack movies at the library yesterday, so I might spend a little time with him tonight.  Serendipity or America's Sweethearts?  Oh the choices I have to make.