Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Go Buffy!

KUDOS today to our dearest feathered friend, Buffy the Bug Slayer, AKA: Buffy, who today laid her very first egg. It's a lovely pinkish tan, exactly as I was hoping.

Not to be left out of bloggy-world, I never posted RockStar's (Roxie) first egg, which was laid on December 6th. An awesome shade of blue that's just a bit greener than a robin's egg.

And lastly, a revised picture of the eggy bounty, now with all three girl's lovely treasures.

Buffy's first was small, but first eggs often are. They certainly don't match her size. On the other hand, the darker egg top row middle, next to Buffy's first, in this pic is Coco's from yesterday. It's so large (Jumbo) that it barely fits in the carton - and she's our smallest hen!

A Quote

I was blog surfing just now and came across this quote.


"In our society, growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can - and will - overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world - we change ourselves." ~ Jules Dervaes


And a picture of some of the bounty I'm enjoying from my girls...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Award

The award for the best note on the back of a Christmas card EVER goes to....

"This card was made by hand. If you throw it away, those same hands will make a doll in your image and stick pins in its butt."

AF MOM BONNIE

You've won my undying giggles... forever and ever, amen. LoL
One more reason in the long list that AF MOMS ROCK!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Landmark Day!

This morning, our girl Coco, pictured here...


blessed us with our very first egg!!



It's PERFECT!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Samhain '09


Yours truly, as the Goddess Aphrodite. (didn't think my hair was so flat!)

I need to enhance this costume for another party in February, so if you can think of anything to add to this - that is mythologically correct - please let me know.

To date, suggestions include: a dolphin or sea turtle (stuffed? on a pendant?) and a golden belt of some kind.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Morning SNAFU

So I'm up at the butt-crack of dawn to be there when Joshua registers for school online for the first time, right? Registration opens at 7am. It's Saturday, but what the heck, right? Diligently, I set my alarm for 6:25 & 6:30 so I can function and see straight by the required hour. With 7am on our heels I wake Joshua to log in.

Wait. Why won't it let you into that portion of the screen?

Dunno.

Hang on.

What's this?

"To ensure the best possible experience with Webadvisor, you must register after your designated time" We knew nothing of a designated time. The advisor he spoke to mentioned nothing about a designated time.

His? 11:00AM TOMORROW! HE can fall back asleep.
Me? I've already fed the cat and done a load of dishes. *sigh*

Oh - and this officially marks my first post from my new laptop. My first computer that I purchased, is all mine and portable. Welcome to the real world, to me!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

peek

Not a very good pic, but it's a quick peek at me from yesterday's jaunt with Joshua to opening day of the Michigan Ren fest.

Yep - I live.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Morning Encounter

As I sat outside enjoying the breeze and cooling temps last evening (after a humid 93 degree day) a thunderstorm approached something fierce! Before I went in the house, around 8:30 when the winds really kicked up, I had to close the coop door for fear that the girls would freak out at the driving rain, lightning and thunderclaps. Usually I let them decide when to come and go from the coop, leaving the door open all night, but no choice this time!

So this morning as I trod out with their morning feed and fresh water, I opened the coop door and greeted them as they ran down their ladder for more space and outstretched wings. I try to spend some time every morning out there communing with them and the garden. It's calming to see them peck and scratch and I love the new sounds they're making and trying out as they grow.

After a minute or two they calmed down to their usual cluck and peck and I turned to check out the garden. Tomato plant looks good and has already provided 10 lovely Romas. But wait, something moved over there... To the north of me, about 40 feet away, were two yearling deer!

I stood still just watching as they lazily grazed on wet grass. Then the one closest to me laid down right there. And there it sat as I moved slowly about my morning garden check, each of us keeping an eye on the other, but not showing any sign of worry or fear. It was a lovely moment.

I may not feel tied to this house with its limits and many physical woes and needs, but I am deeply connected to this patch of earth, for oh so many reasons.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

MORE news

Joshua and I each took Friday off to go to the school he's chosen and see a counselor. Little did we know that the day would be quite so long... or momentous.

It began early as we needed to request transcripts and ACT scores from his former HS, which opened at 7:30. Fortunately, they were able to print official copies and send them with us via sealed envelope.

A quick stop at the enrollment office to verify that his online application was received and we were down the hall to the counseling office - to sit and wait, and wait, and... yeah. More than an hour later we got an older gentleman who we both agreed treated us like children - both of us.

J decided to improve his ACT reading score so he opted to take the placement exam. Off to office number 3. This surprisingly took less time than anticipated and it printed his score right then and there. Score? 100 out of 120, and he only needed a 70. Yay!

Based on this test score the classes selected were registered, paid for (ouch) and we were sent back once more to the counselor to officially record the test score in his student record. (Why they can't do this at enrollment/registration I don't know.)

This time we were in a different line and got called within 5 minutes. This counselor was much more informative, very pleasant and welcoming to Josh. She gave him ideas and options for class selections, and even began a full degree course planning sheet with him.

Satisfied that we had almost everything we needed, we zipped back to enrollment for his student ID card and then to the bookstore for ... um, heart failure!

Each book he needed was more than $100. If he gets a waiver to attend an additional class - that class requires TWO books. OUCH! And yes, before you ask, we checked into used texts too. They're not that much cheaper, really. I took names and ISBN numbers and headed home for a little research. So far research has been fruitful as I saved over $50 on just one of them.
Before we left I took one quick picture.

Behold, Schoolcraft College's newest Ocelot!

Insert very proud "YAY" here.

PROOF!

It's official... Avivah still exists, and I have proof.

There's been an Avivah-sighting in Minot, ND, by someone I trust, to verify it. This picture of three pretty suspicious looking characters in black is the evidence she offers.

I give you (l to r) Corey, AVIVAH, and Awesome WingMom Peggy!

Thanks Peggy, for going out of your way to see my girl and deliver a hug from this mom and all the others who sent one her way. You guys made my day.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Family News

I only have a minute this morning, so I'll just 'Show & Tell' you....

On Sunday, my sister and her SO, Mike ("boyfriend" sounds too juvenile)and my nephew Hunter, flew into a small local air strip on their way back from Oshkosh, WI where they had been camping for a week at the annual AirVenture show. The first time they had really spent any time together was at this show three years ago and it's been a yearly trek for them since.

Back then he was just beginning the building of his plane. Yesterday it flew in all shiny and painted and... wow. I give you ~ The Slinks! (and Pops and Mom too)



Yes, Slinks. Their cat's name is Slinky, ergo the plane... and logo...



Slinks is a two-seater, so my nephew hopped a ride in their friend Bill's plane. It was really cool watching them both land. Mom & Pops, Julie & Bruce, Hannah & Tillie and J & I went to greet them.

Hunter will be staying here in Michigan for a couple of weeks, but Karen & Mike had to fly back to Maryland and work on Monday. Our time was precious but everyone was hungry so we spent a couple of hours lingering over brunch.

Lots of smiles and stories later ... Karen wanders over to me and in passing shows me her new bauble...


ZOMG!!! (I think I squeeked.) Mike proposed during their time in Oshkosh!!! While in the air!!! CONGRATULATIONS, Karen & Mike!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New chant!


On Thursday evening I learned a new chant!
Thanks, Tisha!
In these times.
In these uncertain times,
I will remain open
To the miracle that is each moment.
Pretty syncopated, but it layers most beautifully in a round. We didn't want to stop! When we finally did... the ritard was in harmony and we all sat still, smiling; the room, and each of us, buzzing. Then of course we all started giggling with delight. DELICIOUS!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

HB, M!

To my dear friend M.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Update on the Girls

I haven't posted pics of the chix since they were 3 weeks old. Now, at more than twice that age, I figured it's about time. They've changed a lot!

In this pic is: Coco's fluffy butt and Buffy, scratching in the dust bin.


Coco standing tall in her half-feathered dinosaur phase. What? You don't think she looks like a velociraptor?! Also pictured is Buffy, and a decent shot of Roxie's neck feathers. Too cool, really.


Roxie saying "Hello!" She loves to sit on the outdoor perch when I'm out there. We sit and chat, nose to beak. My BFF says this is a face only a mother could love. Guess it's official, I'm mother hen.


Here's Coco (a week ago-ish) in full dust bath mode! Watch the sand and dirt FLY!

video


All three girls enjoying the dust bin. Watch (at about the 21 second mark) to see Coco shake like a wet dog! Cracks me up every time.

video

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Goodbye to Friends

It's been a rough several days here. Last week we lost our dear WingMom and Snail-Mail Queen, Betty. She was valiantly fighting liver and pancreatic cancer and developed a lung infection that unexpectedly took her from this realm overnight. I know every other mom and dad in that group feels a profound sense of loss at Betty's passing. I have sent messages to her husband Russell and her son James, but there really are no words to convey what a giving and amazing woman Betty was. She will be missed by Airmen and Air Force families around the world.

Sandi
Then this morning I was notified that a long time friend of mine, Sandi Spike passed. Sandi and her husband Doug helped found the group that T sings in, Cantate. It was Sandi who really had a heart for reaching out to people, she remembered everything about you and you knew right away that this was a woman who cared. Sandi and Doug moved to Florida several years ago, but Doug always managed to send just enough e-mail (usually bad jokes and an occassional update) that you never felt that far away. I was stunned to hear of Sandi's passing. Next Saturday there is a Memorial service, though I will be unable to attend. Cantate will be singing her 'home'. How appropriate.

Add to these losses that my wallet was stolen from my car late on Thursday night and I have been in credit card fraud HELL ever since, and it's been a bang-up week. SARC!

I promised myself that I would do my best to relax this weekend. So far so good. I'm going to hang out with my BFF this evening. Been way too long since we've done that. G'nite.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Three pictures

My neice Tillie looking absolutely adorable and paitently waiting for the fireworks to start.


Joshua and I after the Oak Park parade - my hometown up til 1978. I still go back for the parade every year I can. If you look back you'll see pics of Avivah with us last year. I missed her a lot this time.

The flip side of that is that this year I ran into a bunch of HS alumni! We hung out for quite a while, boring Joshua to death and tickling me silly. What fun. So here's a shout out to Gary, Lisa, Lynne and others I'm going to forget to mention. Hey! No old memory jokes!

Not sure if I posted this pic yet because blogger is still having issues. Every time I open it either the text is missing (all of it) or the minute it loads it crashes. Anyone else having problems?

Anyways, this is the finished coop. The girls are now 6.5 weeks old and just wonderful. Caring for them is a chore I enjoy. Feeding them clover and greens is a HOOT! This past weekend a friend of mine and I decided that all my chicken loving friends and I should write a book. Title? "Grounding with Chickens" I love it.

That's about it for now. I'm off to work and volunteer greeting and proposal writing. Yee Haw!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Let us never forget our original pledge, to be united as Americans, and the true name of this holiday, Independence Day.

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG, OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

Because of the spirit of the American people, and the sacrifices made over our meager 233 years, we can celebrate INDEPENDENCE DAY today. We must never forget to appreciate the freedoms we have, and honor those to whom we should be grateful.

As the Mother of a US Airman, I pledge my allegiance to a Nation indivisible, though if I had my choice my heart would have it be, "to a World, Indivisible"

PAFM A1C Avivah, Minot AFB
PM Joshua

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Clearly, Blogger is having issues!

Been trying to post an update, but I can't get to my own screens, or they won't upload the content. Hopefully, blogger will get it together soon and I can show you pics of the chicks, the garden, the kids and more. Actually - I hope you can read this post!

Until then I am sending a shout out of love and support to AF Mom Betty, the most awesome snail-mailer of us all, as she endures a personal medical odyssey. Sending prayers to you and your family, dear one.

Love and feathers,
moi

Monday, June 22, 2009

SkyWatch ... monday



Fellow AF Mom Deb sent this pic to me after I admired it on her FB page. I'm a big fan of "Jacob's Ladders".

Deb doesn't participate in SkyWatch Friday (and neither have I in recent months) but she gave me permission to post it so you could see it too.

AF Moms totally rock that way. They want you to see and enjoy every beauty they see. Maybe it's that we all want to find and capture the beauty around us to share with our kids, and others? I'm not sure, but it seems to hold true for the AF Moms I know. They/we see and are moved to share some lovely stories, videos, pictures, poems, crafts... which bless my life.

So today, enjoy Deb's picture. She wants you to! :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Da Chix!

Three weeks old tomorrow, and oh so adorable...

Da CHIX! Roxie, Coco and Buffy

video

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pics

One more row of staples and it's done!
Avivah inside the new coop...



Then we went to pick out our new chicks. On the left is: Coco (Shokolat, an Isa Brown), bottom middle: Roxie (Rock Star, an Aurcauna) and on the right: Buffy (the bug slayer? A Buff Orpington).



Their initial brooder, a plastic bin, was green. I decided that moving it by the window and that having a clear bin would be better for them. They have a heat lamp, but sunshine is important too.



The chicks were all hatched on June 1, making Sunday their 2 week birthday. To celebrate, and because they were handling the temps well, Joshua and I created a play pen for them to go outside. Their first outing was only about 20 minutes, but they loved it!


And YES! Joshua really did graduate High School, and Avivah really was here for the occassion. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Update

Sorry for the lags in posting. My aol browser which held my quick links, favorites and even my huge list of away messages crashed and vanished nearly three weeks ago. Add to that a much heavier than normal work schedule and that Avivah has been here for almost three weeks and... I've been burning the candle from every end possible!

Yes, Joshua graduated High School. He was even selected to sing at graduation (in front of 3,000 people) with a few of his friends, all Seniors, who formed a group just to audition for this occasion. They sang: A Song of Purple Summer, from the musical Spring Awakenings. They did a seriously incredible job at it too! You guessed it: me, mom and Julie all teared up. Uncle Steve video-taped it, so when I get that I'll certainly do my best to post it here.

The chicken coop is nearly done! M (who brought over every tool known to mankind) spent a day helping me, along with Avivah, Justin and Joshua, and the basic framing was done and painted in a day. Since then Avivah and I have worked on nearly it every evening, completeing doors, the nesting box, an interior roosting bar, and staining.

M's biggest accomplishment was like a dream come true to me. He mathematically traced and then cut a perfect STAR into the front door! I was and am totally delighted.

Avivah and I held a brainstorming session with T and J and we came up with a pop-door opening/closing system - which the plans did not include. This girl should have been an engineer. Together with M's help to design the track, we created a pulley door that is easily operated from outside the coop... and voila! It's so sweet.

Which leads me to today, the most bittersweet of the past three weeks.

This morning the kids and I will carefully set the coop on its side and add the chicken wire floor (to help keep critters out). We'll set it upright and attach the ladder, hardware wire the outside and set the top cap so the coop will be complete, enough (I'm still working on the cedar shingles, they're expensive). Together we'll go pick up the girls: "Roxie", "Buffy" and "Coco" (Shokolat)!

I say bittersweet because today is also the day that Avivah returns to Minot. :( It seems that no matter how long she's here it's perpetually too short.

Such is my day and the update for now.
Blessings, moi

Friday, May 29, 2009

COOP DAY!

The time has come the walrus said, to speak of many things...

like CHICKENS!

Yes, Saturday is the day when the framing for the coop will begin. If you'd like to be a part of this adventure, just give me a call or show up at the house tomorrow afternoon around 2.

Oh - If you happen to have a router that I can borrow, that'd be good but it's not essential. We can do without if there's a jigsaw available.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's an AFHDD*!


My news? Avivah PASSED her PT Test this morning - with one knee blown out!
Next great news? She's applied to be Honor Guard!
NEXT Next great news? She comes home on Sunday!!! YIPEE!!!
*Air Force Happy Dance Day

I <3 NY

I work until 2pm today and then it's (run around getting ready, and) off I go to New York! Ok it's not quite as exciting as it sounds... I'll be a chaperone on Joshua's choir performance trip. Me, a handfull of other adults and 21 teenagers.

It may sound harrowing but I've been doing this a long time and they're a great group of kids every time. In fact, this is the same group with whom I travelled to England and Wales 7 years ago.

We leave on a bus at 9 this evening and arrive for a very full day tomorrow. T, the Director always plans for activity packed days and precious little down time. Should be fun!

In the meanwhile...

V ARRIVES THIS SUNDAY!!!

OMG I'm so excited! At the same time, please send her your prayers and positive energy as she has her PT test today ~ and her knee(s) are giving her trouble. SO much so that she actually went to a Dr. I know, I didn't believe it either, but she did. She isn't permitted to run, so she'll be doing the three mile walk test in addition to her crunches and push ups.

So send out that good JuJu, please and then she's homeward bound!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Poppies

I won't be posting this Memorial Day (though I won't tell you where I'll be as it has it's own meaningful attachment to the day) so I thought I'd get these thoughts down now.

I think our VFWs are so underrated in their support for each other and for our current troops. Last weekend I bought my annual (paper) poppy and thought to go back and get one for V too. I shared that with the kind VFW lady, who looked at me funny for rushing right back as though I'd forgotten something important, and she passed along the most hearty THANKS to V I think I've ever gotten.

Maybe it was her shining eyes or her bright smile that blossomed when I shared with her that my girl is an Airman. Maybe it was my own pride shining there in that brief interaction.

And maybe it's just me, but nearing every Memorial Day I can't help but hear the poem, Flanders Fields by Canadian, John MacRae. For me the song starts playing in my head the moment I see those paper poppies sold by the VFW.

Wonder how many people don't know why they sell poppies.....

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Canadian poet John McCrae was a medical officer in both the Boer War and World War I. A year into the latter war he published in Punch magazine, on December 8, 1915, the sole work by which he would be remembered. This poem commemorates the deaths of thousands of young men who died in Flanders during the grueling battles there. It created a great sensation, and was used widely as a recruiting tool, inspiring other young men to join the Army. Legend has it that he was inspired by seeing the blood-red poppies blooming in the fields where many friends had died.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Prom Night

Friday was Prom Night for the two Seniors, Joshua and Ryan. As promised, here are the fruits of the paparazzi's labors!

Here's J being hokey before he left the house. Black shirt, white satin tie, white damask vest, black tux and fedora - and the new black dress watch he'd just received as a graduation gift from a very special teacher = Spiffy!


J LOVED the Chicago Gangster look of his tux. So of course ~ he had to milk it for all it was worth. Have you met my son "Bugsy"?!


J's best friend Ryan and date, Jessie. Adorable.



Sam was stunning in cobalt blue satin that flattered her skin and eyes (not to mention her figure!)

Pin and slide on flowers and pose for the cameras!!


AWWWW!

He was on top of the world. And can you blame him?

LoL - Da Boyz!


The fearsome foursome, ready to roll.


Aren't they just Picture Perfect!?!?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who's up for Chickens?!

A comment my friend L left gave me pause for thought...

In the early days of the chick's life, they thrive when they are close and warm. It's more efficient to raise 9, than 3 (in terms of energy). Raising 3 is just like raising 9, and most responsible sellers will put a minimum 6 (cash 'n carry) or 25 to ship.

It's true, the seller of the Isas and Orpingtons want me to have 5-9 chickens but I'm just not prepared to raise that many. I really have my heart set on ~ and know of others who've successfully raised ~ three. Many of the smaller coops I've been researching are designed for less than 6, and as social as I know the 'girls' are, my friends' hens seem quite content.

So I ask my dear readers who live in SE MI, or even northern OH... If we raised the 6 or 9 of them together and shared the minimal costs so that they can share body heat, would one or two of you be interested in joining me on this suburban chicken journey? We could help each other build coops, do chicken-care during vacations and be a resource of suburban chicken knowledge for each other and our communities!

The movement's already begun. Come be a part of it!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chicken Bloggin' - part deux

Because of this video, and the encouraging comment of a friend with many chickens of her own, I am just about convinced that this coop is IT.

Thank you to A, who has made a contribution to offset the cost of materials. And my mom too, who has done the same ~ though she didn't know it!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Remember The Family Circus?

You know, the cartoon strip family antics drawn by Bill Keane, with Billy and Jeffy... It's always been one of my favorites.

Well there was one little-known character that he drew who happens to live in my house. She's a mischevious little spirit named: Ida Know. She had a sibling named: Not Me. Get the picture?

Here she is running away from a mess "she" obviously caused.



This is another illustrator's idea of the antics for which Ida and her brother must be responsible... Today, I discovered that Ida Know (or her brother, Not Me) left bleach/peroxide spots on my only 6 month old, gorgeous, plush and delightful burgundy and grey bath sheets. Yep sheets. The big ones.

Did I mention that these were the most luxurious towels I have ever owned? That they were like a little spa moment when emerging from a hot shower and wrapping yourself in their cushiness?

Well, they're gone now. Can't be dyed because I wash them so often that no amount of dye would restore their rich coloring. Can't ever be anything close to what they were only weeks ago.

And no one did it. Not that it matters all that hellfire much. Ruined is ruined, and no amount of "my bad" can fix it. It's just that the blank stares and "I dunno's" just irk the heck outta me. How can you not know you've used a peroxide or bleaching agent? How?!

I know they're just things, and things come and go. But I will miss my relaxing moments, even on work days when I'm often in a hurry, when I wrapped that bit of warm, soft, simple luxury around me.

Damn that Ida!

Happy Mother's Day

Wet Oatmeal Kisses

One of these days you'll explode
And shout to all the kids,
"Why don't you just grow up
And act your age!"
And they will…

Or, "You guys get outside
And find something to do –
Without hurting each other
And don't slam the door!"
And they don't.

You'll straighten their bedrooms
Until it's all neat and tidy,
Toys displayed on the shelf,
Hangers in the closet,
Animals caged.
You'll yell, "Now I want it to stay this way!"
And it will…

You will prepare a perfect dinner,
With a salad that hasn't
Had all the olives picked out,
And a cake with no finger traces in the icing,
And you'll say, "Now this is a meal for company."
And you will eat it alone…

You'll yell, "I want complete privacy on the phone.
No screaming. Do you hear me?"
And no one will answer.

No more plastic tablecloths stained
No more dandelion bouquets.
No more iron-on patches.
No more wet, knotted shoelaces,
Muddy boots or
Rubber bands for ponytails.

Imagine…. a lipstick with a point,
No babysitters for New Years Eve,
Washing clothes only once a week,
No PTA meetings or silly school plays
Where your child is a tree,
No car pools,
Blaring stereos or
Forgotten lunch money.

No more Christmas presents
Made of library paste and toothpicks,
No wet oatmeal kisses,
No more tooth fairy,
No more giggles in the dark,
Scraped knees to kiss,
Or sticky fingers to clean.

Only a voice asking, "Why don't you grow up?"

And the silence echoes: "I did"

Erma Bombeck
(February 21, 1927 – April 22, 1996)

With more thanks to AF Mom Deb, who seems to have a knack for awesome posts that I want to share with people.

Chicken Bloggin'

For some odd reason, Chicken Bloggin' sounds like something the Muppet's Swedish Chef would make!

I just found this on youtube and really like it. It's a more compact design and more covered/secure than the last "chalet" style (the raccoon smorgasbord).

Give this a look-see and let me know what you think.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Michelle Obama to Military Families: "I Care"

She says in this interview that 94% of Blue Star families don't feel that others support them or get what their military families are going through... Michelle says in this interview... "We need to change that".

Michelle Obama to Military Families: I Care

May 8, 2009 ABC News' Yunji de Nies reports:

Michelle Obama has a special message for military families this Mother's Day: "I care."
In a public service announcement for the Pentagon Channel, airing every two hours now through Sunday, Mrs. Obama looks directly into the camera and says, "Hi, this is Michele Obama and I wanted to wish all the mothers out there a Happy Mothers day. Know that we love you and we are praying for you and we hoped that you enjoyed this day take care."

Mrs. Obama also sat down for an interview with the Pentagon Channel's anchor Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Liz Murray. The First Lady explained that she's made military families a part of her platform because, "it's the right thing to do."

Check out this 12 min video on the Pentagon Channel. http://tinyurl.com/MrsO-military-families

Thank you to AF Mom Deb for this post.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Knowledge Junkie

If you don't know me by now, let me tell you that I'm the sort that asks a lot of questions. A LOT of questions. I thrive on knowing the details and feeling confident in the knowledge I've gained. It's how I make decisions. Heck, it's how I shop!

So... I asked another seller (craigslist this time) about their coop design.

I wanted to know: a) If it had or I could purchase a run attached b) If it was easy to assemble since it comes flat-packed and c) If he made anything smaller than the 8-10 hen sized coop he'd advertised.

Yesterday I received an answer from a very nice woman, the farmer's wife (D).

My husband assembled ours in about 1 hour. You need a screw driver and wrench for assembly. We do have a smaller coop and run but it is not available at this time. The smaller one will be available in a few weeks. Thank you, D

Nice enough for someone who cuts off blind mice's tails for fun.

So in a few weeks I should have a picture of the smaller coop with run. Here is a picture of the 8-10 hen size. See why I asked? It's really nice!


And just for fun, try this! Yep... Chicken Cam - LIVE!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

detail & debate

I had asked the designer/seller (on eBay) of the Stagecoach coop a couple questions regarding the roofing material for the coop's roost and laying box sections: Was it tough to work with? Too hot/cold for Michigan? Ok for a klutzy novice? Below is his reply.

Thanks for your interest. You have lots of options for your roofing material. In the winter you can wrap insulation over roofing area and install a heating tile on the inside wall. Thanks.
Remember, your chickens are going to stay in there only at night or when it gets real cold. I score the roofing material with razor knife then bend to break into. Very simple!

I still have to admit, the fact that he says this is virtually predator proof is really very appealing to me. He also has another pic of this with a shade canopy over it so the 'girls' can self select based on the temp du'jour.

I'm just really leery of the amount of metal work in this as well as the heat differential (normal chicken temp is 109!) causing condensation, which can prompt a host of wet-chicken ills.

Does anyone have any suggestions about this particular coop or thoughts about alternate materials for the roofs? Should I just take a 'pass' on this one and look at something different?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Choices, Choices, And...

Coops and more coops.

The Stagecoach. Neat! Says it's "predator proof" (a huge plus), but I'm fairly certain the roost roof is metal. Too hot/cold for Michigan's highs and lows. Plans for building - $30. I'm not so sure this novice should be working with that amount of sharp metal!


This is ok. Seems sturdy and functional. Not as terribly expensive ($350-400) as some I've seen. Metal roof would have to be replaced with a lightweight, not as hot material. Needs a secureable pop-door too. 12' long. Wonder if it could be made 10'? Best part? It's made for me and delivered. Bonus!

I like the look and all-in-one nature of this, but the ($10.) plans left about 632 questions unanswered. It's a pity really.


This is an adorable A-frame "chicken chalet"! It's too bad there are waaaay too many mitered cuts for my very construction skill-less self. For some reason I also think it screams racoon smorgasbord! Anyone else get that feeling?

And then this came along, and seems just about ideal. Sure, I'd have to gather/buy/reclaim materials to build it, but the size (4-5 large hens) and lockable nature of it appeals to me greatly. It also doesn't seem too complex, even for my hand-saw-loving heart. My concern is the height and clean-ability of it. (This video must've been taken early in the day - there are warm eggs - but it's not at all clean.) Thoughts?




So - what do you think? What appeals to you? What considerations might I have missed so far? How do some of these options compare to you? Speak up!