Friday, May 29, 2009


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


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...


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


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!!


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.

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!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

All I want for Chr...

Oops! All I want for Mother's Day is a chicken coop and run. If you would like to see this little piece of my homesteading dream come true, I am accepting donations to help offset the cost.

I pictured one coop for which I would need to buy the plans and build it out of reclaimed pallets (no one jumped at the construction opportunity).

This next one is shipped mostly constructed in a flat pack and is easy to assemble. Judging from the wide variety of positive feedback the seller has received, I believe this to be true.

Check this great little coop out for yourself on eBay and remember~ I am not at all too proud to accept your generous gift of funds or construction assistance. You'd definitely secure a spot on the list for a delivery of fresh eggs!


I didn't win the lottery tonight.