Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Chickens!

Oooooh, the excitement of new baby chickens!!! Today I left bright and early for the post office to pick up hatching eggs. The kids were wide-eyed with wonder at the idea that there are baby chickens in those eggs. Yeah, these are farm kids who actually KNOW that chickens come from eggs but they've never actually watched the process so it was eggciting! All the beautiful colored eggs with the promise of exotic and colorful, never-before-seen chickens were unwrapped from their bubble wrap shipping clothes and placed butt-end up in the egg cartons. It's important to let the eggs settle and warm to room temp before putting them in the incubator. The green eggs quite obviously belong to an Ameracauna or Easter Egg hen but who's the father? What incredible combination will be emerging in 21 days? The smaller tan eggs contain Silkies, Frizzles, Cochins or possibly some other banty. That really dark chocolate colored egg-could it be a Maran? Will there be Sultans, Polish, Game or Favorelles coming? Oh, the anticipation!
When I got done with that I started thinking about the baby chicks we still have to order for our breeding and selling project. We should have them all come at the same time so we can keep them brooding together while they're still the same age and size. So I went ahead and ordered my babies. Not as exciting since I know what they will be and what they will look like. I ordered 50 Ameracauna girlies and one Ameracauna male, 50 Rhode Island Red pullets and one male, 3 Buff Orp girls and 1 boy. The order of RIRs will probably include some extra chickens humorously referred to as "packing peanuts" so that will be kind of fun. If the hatch goes okay and the mail order goes okay I'm looking at 147 chickens about February 23rd. How cool is that?
Tonight? Quiche.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Mindless drivel

About mid-day I started getting the familiar pains that I know herald the beginning of an ovarian cyst getting ready to go south. I tried to tough it out, sometimes they go away without incident but this one is determined to go through the whole cycle so I took a pain pill and snuggled up to keep warm.
So, in the meantime, nicely stoned and toasty, I'm going to ramble a don't mind do you?
I should be getting chicken eggs today or tomorrow that I will try to incubate into little chickens. How much fun will that be? Great opportunity for the kids too. We're getting some silkies, frizzles, sizzles and some mutts. Can't wait!
My own girlie chickens wanted out this morning though they usually abhor the cold weather. I see they're back in now. Must have decided that 10 degrees was not chicken weather. All 17 of them are laying and that hasn't happened in the winter any other year so I have to attribute it to the added warmth of the heat lamp in the coop. I know some people say heat is not necessary but apparently is for my girlies.
Recently connected with one of my cousins and it's been great fun catching up with her and finding out how similar we are after all this time apart. She's into gardening too so I'm going to send her some of my favorite seeds. It will be fun to compare the results she gets up there in fertile soil compared to my meagerly amended dirt and sand.
One of the kitties got hurt somehow. She limps badly and I'm worried that one of the many predators will make off with her. Naturally it's one of my favorite feral cats, if there is such a thing as a favorite wild animal. I should bring her in and try to tame her down and make her a house cat. Wonder how that will go over with Greg?
Well, I think I'll try to do Tarot homework! Nothing like reading the cards when you're under the influence.

Monday, January 19, 2009

A zen moment

Pardon me while I indulge in a little karmic philosophy for a few minutes.
It's our nature to judge, we do it without even thinking about it most of the time but my religion warns against judgment of others so I try very hard to never make assumptions about people.
Let me tell you a little story, get a drink and cozy up to me:
Once upon a time a little boy was born in a far away country. This infant was born desperately ill and was removed from the home of his incompetent parents for his safety. I was called since I was his only other relative and was asked to take him and of course I told them I would. We were investigated and checked and poked and prodded to make sure we could provide a home for this sick baby and by the time we were cleared and licensed they said the baby was too ill to ever be moved. Now what? About that time there was a widely publicized case of child abuse that involved a parent who killed his baby by swinging the infant by it's feet and bashing it's head against the walls of the room. I remember that several of the responding medical and police officials had to go to counseling after that call. It was that case that convinced me that as imperfect as I was at parenting I might be able to help some children see what "normal" families looked like and so we embarked on a fostering gig that changed all our lives.
So here's two small children who died very young and I never met either of them, yet they changed my life forever. In changing my life they also changed the lives of over 60 foster children and whoever those children later came in contact with. Here's a couple of sets of parents judged by one and all to be a waste of oxygen and while they ruined the lives of their children and their own lives in the process, they were the impetus behind positive ripples that will continue to expand across the world forever.
The next time you see someone or hear about someone who's doing or done something you don't understand try to remember that that person has or had a purpose. They may be the catalyst for change that makes us all better people.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just Farmin'

You know, I'll bet if I had a thousand acres of land I'd be sitting here wishing I had just another hundred acres so I could do more stuff. Maybe not, but if I had a dime for everytime I wished I had a few more acres .....I'd have a lot of dimes!
I need to be more grateful for what I do have. I'm living the dream here, I need to stop dreaming about more and more.
Okay, done with that little personal admonition. So, here's the plan. We're going to put up the other hoop house and put my chicken girlies in there. This accomplishes three things. Gives me more room to raise and breed chickens which has fast gone from a fun little hobby to a passion. It also gives Greg his shed back so he can store his....stuff. And it effectively limits how far my garden can continue to sprawl thus limiting the amount of work Greg has to do to dig it up every year. Ah, life is good. Now if I just had a few more acres I could get a cow and raise me some more fruit trees.....
Wow, that slap upside the head HURT! I'm thinking I'll keep my egg laying girlies and sell some eggs. They're laying like crazy and people like my eggs cause they're so PURTY. Then I'm thinking I'll start breeding some Ameracaunas and Rhode Island Reds. Those are the chickens I get the most requests for. So turkeys in one pen, egg layers in another and purebred chicks to sell and show in the last two pens. Sounds good!
With that in mind I got a beautiful, insanely handsome new roo yesterday. He's an Ameracauna and has most of the colors of the rainbow represented on his big, stout body. He's already taking to the position of head honcho what's in charge and he made sure all the girls were inside before he went in this evening. Of course then the girls rounded on him and started pecking on him but really, what man's life is complete without a little hen pecking? Seriously? I'm going to leave him in there with the girlies and hatch some of their fertile eggs just to see what kind of pretty colored mutt chickens I get and whether they lay colored eggs or not.
I love my life.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Parental Pondering

Tomorrow is Mikey's sixth birthday. I tend to be a little overly sentimental so whenever one of my adopted kids has a birthday I spend a little time worrying about thier biological mothers. I wish they'd chosen to remain in contact in some way but I understand that there's a lot of guilt that comes with having a judge say you're unfit to parent.
I remember how horrified I was when I heard that Mikey's mother had said she was giving him up because she couldn't bear to look at him. Of course I was thinking of the physical presentation of his disorder. Having walked in her shoes (sort of) for the last five plus years I realize now that she was completely overwhelmed by the constant illness, the infinite number of surgeries, the hours that turn to days in the hospital, and never-ending doctor visits. As a single mother with other children she must have been so torn with guilt and terror as the mountain of responsibilities crushed her and pulled her in so many different directions. I'm sure that everytime she looked at his sweet face she was only reminded of the many things she hadn't done, the thousands of things she still had to do and how impossible it was for her to do them.
So when we blow out the candles tomorrow I'll be thinking of her and hoping that she knows he's healthy and happy now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dreaming of Spring

Must be the three inches of glistening, new snow and the chilly 13 degree weather that has me in the mood for spring. I'm usually quite content with the winter season. It's a special time of quiet planning and reflection-like the Earth I gather my resources and get ready for then next period of growth and activity. But there's no rest for me this time. I'm restless and impatient for the new life of spring.
I've gathered my seeds and cataloged them to a spread sheet listing what kind of seed, where it came from and how long I've had it. Forty different breeds of tomatoes-mostly heirlooms, 11 kinds of peppers-from sweet bells to the hottest in the land, cucumbers for eating and cucumbers for pickles, 8 different melons, beans, peas, carrots, corn, my special Pinetree lettuce mix, herbs, onions, potatoes..... Have I forgotten anything? I gaze longingly at the seed catalogs stacked up beside my chair. Maybe some more strawberry plants....
Another two months until I can press those precious seeds into the starter mix and begin planting my tomatoes and peppers in their special room in the basement. Two months? Can I wait that long? Oh my goodness, I'm a fifty year old woman with eight kids! The one thing I should have mastered by now is the virtue of patience. And yet, I have to wonder if it wouldn't be worth the gamble to go ahead and start my seeds early. I could always heat the greenhouse, right?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Through the bathroom door....

I heard them come into the bedroom and stealthily approach the bathroom door. No, I don't have super-hearing, it's two 5 year olds and an 8 year old-how quiet can they be? From the other side of the door I hear:
"Do you think she's taking a big dump?"
"NO! Mommy never takes a dump, just Daddy."
"Yeah, (snicker) Daddy takes BIG dumps all day."
Trio of delighted giggles.
"Maybe the monster took her."
"No, monsters can't get in the house."
"Yeah, they live in the trees and only come out at night."
"See, it's daytime."
"Mommy's strong, she will kick monster's ass."
"OH, I'm telling! You said a BAD word."
"That's what Mommy says so it's okay."
"I'm still tellin'."
"Maybe she's hiding!"
"Mommy's don't hide, they love their kids and like to be with them."
So feeling more than a little guilty I emerged from my sanctuary, gave them all a hug and went back to the Mommy dance.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's in the cards....

I like to read Tarot cards. I'm not one of those nut jobs who can't take a step without looking to the cards to see if there's a mud puddle on the path but I enjoy seeing what they have to say.
Reading my cards today I asked about money. We've had one credit card company raise our interest rate though we've never been late on a payment and have always made bigger than minimum payments and I'm worried that the "BIG" credit card will be next. So I ask the cards about it. When you ask a financial question of the cards you expect disk or pentacle cards to turn and yet all my cards are cups. Though each card has it's own meaning pertaining to it's position the immediate answer I got was that I'm already rich beyond belief in love and that regardless of our financial future we'll be safe with that love to tide us over. Awwwww, that's wonderful and so true.
Still, kinda wish I'd had a card that said it was time to buy that lottery ticket.....