Saturday, October 5, 2013

The chicks came

 on Tuesday afternoon.  16 mixed beauties.  The peeping so loud that I could hear them when I walked into the main post office for pickup.  Two have a leg issue each (tendon I believe for one, probably the same for the other).  Legs are massaged and are wrapped.  I think that both will be lame but they are otherwise healthy so we are taking a wait and see attitude.
 They are full of life and so cute.  We have Silver Spangled Hamburgs, Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orphintons, Araucana/Americanas, Black Australorps, 1 Blue Lace Wyandotte and a Free Exotic
chick :-).  They were inoculated for coccidosis before shipping so they are on unmedicated food and for a few days were on a lightly sugared water.  The two with leg issues are on poly vi sol vitamins.  (without iron).

Making sure the pool is covered properly with wood chips is also necessary so that we don't have more leg issues.  They like to move it around though.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paris or Venice

It's hard to say that I like one city over the other knowing the ire that I could face from the opposing side.
But I have to pick Venice over Paris.

It has nothing to do with the art which is fabulous in both cities though different.  Paris (as a city) seems to be  monochromatic while Venice is more individualistic.



Paris reminds me of Manhattan while Venice seems to have more of the small town feel once you get away from St. Marks Square.   Walking in Venice you always see a delivery guy.  Two ladies arm in arm out for a stroll or a visit to the market are a common site also.  Sitting in the cafe, eating a brioche with a cup of coffee, you can watch the locals come in to say hi to their friends and eat something standing at the counter (I always thought that each meal was a celebration in Europe but many people eat - at least breakfast in a hurry, while standing up at the counter, and with a quick "Ciao" they are off to their destinations.)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

30 years

30 years ago today.  

Tonight there will be pizza to celebrate!  But then it was carrot cake.

What kind of cake did you have?  And feel free to include any particulars.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Eiffel Tower --- at Night

I had made adventurous plans for our first night in Paris.  There were to be fireworks at Versailles and though the logistics were a bit complicated it looked like it might work.  That was until we found out that the major train to get there had cancelled part of it's route and there involved a bus and it turned out to be more than we felt that we could handle as first time visitors.
 So what to do.  We turned to the list that I had made of things to see and when items were closed.  Seeing the Eiffel Tower at night came up and was doable.  We got there before dusk to see picnics set up with families, friends or lovers on the green space next to the tower itself.
 And when it got dark enough, the lights came on.  The collective gasp from onlookers was priceless.
 The workmanship on the tower is amazing.  We waited a few days and then took a hike up.

More to come.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Chicken Hatching - 3rd incubation

**What I did worked for me but may not work for you.  I'm not an expert.

The first incubation went well.  6 of 7 hatched.  The 7th one got a beak through the shell and then did not make any more progress and died.  Wanting to know why I took the shell apart a few days later and saw a fully formed, large chick inside.  I read up chick in shell death and one article mentioned that large chicks may have a problem getting out of the shells.  It is easier for a small chick to get out.

The second hatch also went well.  Until the 5th chick tried to hatch.  It got it's beak through but that was all.  I waited until about 10 -12 hours later and still had a peeping but no further movement in the shell coming apart so I picked up the shell and started to dismantle the shell.  Carefully.  Pieces came off but the membrane stayed intact.  After awhile I pinched the membrane open (scared the chick) and left it in the incubator.  Within a matter of minutes the chick was out.  Eggs 6 and 7 were not fertilized which is why they did not hatch.  (I'm not good at candling).  

We are towards the end of the third hatch.  Egg #6 had issues.  Part of the shell came off but the membrane was intact.  So I waited.  About 14 hours later still no progress but the chick was peeping.  I started the dismantling process.  But this time there was blood (from the membrane I later found out).  So every time the egg started to bleed I put it back into the incubator.  I also wet the membrane with a slightly damp paper towel so the membrane didn't harden.  I kept this up for awhile and eventually had to open the membrane.  A chick slid out and laid there.  But it was breathing.  So I left it in the incubator.  About 3 to 4 hours later it was walking around and I cleaned off the blood (so the other chicks would not peck at it) and put it in with it's siblings.  The chick is the one on the bottom left.  It is walking around fine, chirping, eating and drinking.
**When it came out of the shell it's head was tucked inside in a way that it never could have reached the membrane to break it
Egg 7 might be another dud.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

14 years apart and good friends

Sport and Watson have become friends, good friends actually.  Lots of play which largely involves Watson running and Sport reaching out a paw to snag him.  Sometimes there is wrestling and belly biting.

Watson is highly interested in food and would like us to share our dinner with him but we are not as tolerate as Sport is.  Even though he has doubled in size he can still fit under the sofa with ease.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


You wake up on a Wednesday morning, thinking about having 2 days left of summer camp left to teach, and little do you know that by noon you will have a Watson in your life.

Some teachers down the hall from me heard a kitten meowing during the camp morning and looked outside to find this little guy.  No one wanted to take him home, so after calling Dale at work I put him in a box and he was ours!  A vet visit Thursday afternoon gave us the all clear health wise.  Watson is between 5 and 6 weeks old and weighs 1 lb.  He is energetic, likes to snuggle (for short periods of time - there is too much to see to be still for long) and has a lovely purr.

Snoopy is in love.  Between the kitten and 5 new chicks he could not be happier.  The rest of the pets are either peeved or indifferent.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Yesterday the baby chicks started to break through the eggs into the big world.  Today they all hatched.
 A lot of work
for a little one and sadly one did not make it (after making the initial hole).  One had to be
helped a little this afternoon and now is in the brooder box with it's siblings.
6 babies.  Warm and safe.  It was a great experience and one that we will try
again later in the summer.  These chickens are destined for a friend who is married
to a guy who is an ex butcher.  A barter for lessons in processing.
But right now they are adorable.  Snoopy hangs about the closed bathroom door like
he is the proud papa and not the rooster who has been strutting around guarding his
ladies and telling us all about it at 6am.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Craft Project - Painted Suitcase

Why paint a suitcase?

For several reasons. 
1.  Free canvas.  It came from my garage and fits my -Use what I have plan- which I'm trying to do this year as much as possible.

2.  Cute storage.  I have 3 of these and can use them to store craft items out of sight.  

3.  Cheap project.  This cost me under $10.  I bought some cheap craft paint (on sale) and used Modge Podge to prime the suitcase and to seal it.  Used an archival black marker to outline the designs.  The ribbon I had probably came from a ribbon sale.  

The painting took a little time as I painted several coats of orange on. I used 8 oz of Craft Smart orange paint.  My suitcase measures 21 inches w by 14 inches tall.  Back and sides are also painted and decorated.  

This will be used to store ribbon in my craft room but the possibilities are endless.  Small suitcases can store tiny toys like legos and cars.  Blocks and small dolls.  Linens and fabric.  The room will look cuter and neater.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Walking to Section 60 in Arlington Cemetery is a short, mostly serene walk which is why I don't often take advantage of getting a pass and driving over.  This day was no different.  Even thought the parking lot was full with tourists on Spring Break most of them were heading in a different direction to see the graves and sights of the famous.  That is a blessing.  It leaves the rest of the park quiet for family.

Since I was last there however, 16 months ago, the scenery has changed a lot.  So many more head stones that it left me a bit disoriented.  Military personnel are now being buried close to the highway and to the Visitors Center.  Everything looked different and when I made a turn onto York I spent a great deal of time wandering around lost

I walked back to the Visitors Center and looked at the guy behind the help desk.  "I can't find him," I said simply.  "That is what we are here for," came the calm reply.  So I typed in the name and was given a map.  "His address is 6429."  And as my feet hurt from looking for almost non existent cherry blossoms earlier in the day I took advantage of the driving pass.

I had not been far off.  Only 3 rows which made me somehow feel better.  Instead of putting out flowers I put out a small tortoise.  When we were young (and life was different) we rode the tortoises one day at the Buffalo Zoo.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Springtime in Virginia

Or maybe on the calendar only.  We still have power and the air is not bitterly cold.
School is cancelled though the roads are mostly clear.  A few ice patches in our area but near the mountains and in shady areas it is probably much worse.  Judging road conditions for the county on your own road here has never been a wise idea.  Travel a few miles and conditions can change.

 Another snow maker is coming through later with 1 -3 expected. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday - Chickens in Snow

So the last snow was not the final of the season.  We have 1-2 inches in spots of heavy, wet snow so far. The chickens are hiding under the pine tree in the garden and Henry is standing on one leg  (like a flamingo) but no one wants to go to the warm and clean coop.

Work laundry is finished.  Dinner for the next few days is done and firewood is in the garage.  Phones are being recharged.

On Easter it will be 60.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Winter's Last Hurrah (or so we hope)

On Tuesday night the snow started.  It had
so much water content that flakes came down
heavy and in straight lines.
About 2 or 3 in the morning the power
went out.  I thought there was lightening until
Dale pointed out that it was the transformers
on the power poles sparking as the
falling trees hit them.
We got about 10 inches of heavy snow and
lost a few trees and limbs.
                     Bella loves snow and likes to catch
We have not had a storm like this
in quite awhile.  Our street got
plowed this year which
was amazing though unfortunate for
the neighbor children who
wanted to sled.
The chickens were not pleased to be kept in their coop.
One of the younger hens started to lay eggs.

Laundry got washed but not
dried before the power went out.
Used fire heat for clothes for work on
College kids like to climb snow
mountains in the local shopping center.
They got chased off before I got the camera out.

Electric companies from other states answered
the call to help restore power.
Gratitude can not be expressed in words
for their help.

The snow is melting and our power came on last night.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Little snowflakes are

coming down only to disappear when they touch the ground.  The chickens seem to be oblivious to any kind of weather.  They only want OUT of their pen and are quite vocal about it.  Bella loves when the chickens are out.  Sometimes treats are thrown to the chickens and she likes to look for anything that they might have missed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Candle for a Corpse by Ann Granger

"Oh Christ, remember me, as evening falls and shadows darken the day"  Inscription in a country churchyard.  
 And so starts an excellent Mitchell and Markby mystery by Ann Granger.  

Superintendent Alan Markby and Meredith Mitchell become involved in solving the disappearance of a teenage girl 12 years before after her body is uncovered accidentally in a graveyard.  Clues point in different directions and the couple doesn't always work together in their investigations (Mitchell is a government worker who has a tendency to get involved when she shouldn't much to Markby's consternation.)

The setting for the story sounds like what most people imagine when they think of an English village; an old church with an equally old graveyard, village life with a butcher shop, the odd village characters.  But this book contains more.   Mrs. Granger, instead of just writing blindly about people, understands that there are reasons for the way that each character acts.  Experiences make us and bring out our inner good or bad.  
Their stories are thoughtfully interwoven in a way that makes you want to continue to the next page instead of giving up in the middle of the story and returning the book back to the shelf..  


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bathroom Window Curtain

We have had several high winds come through our corner of the world in the past year with the result being that our yard/house is no longer as private as it once was.  Time to look through my stash of fabrics and trims for the perfect curtain material.  

As the window is small I had just enough fabric and trim to make something cute and functional.   A curtain that covers half the window during the day and at night we can pull it shut.  A good one day project.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine Flowers

We used my flowers (from husband) for our centerpiece for my class Valentine's party.