Tag: chickens

the garden is planted!

Unlike Monday, this Tuesday was good.  I didn’t feel super, but good enough to work in the garden.  We haven’t put one out in a couple years.  The last times we have, we’ve done it all by ourselves.  It seemed like no one else was in the mood for it.  We’d get comments about how it was too much work, it was cheaper to buy from the store or we weren’t keeping it the way “you’re supposed to”.  That just meant we were doing something different than the way they or previous generations did it.   sigh  As you might guess, we get those kinds of comments about pretty much everything we do!

Dad just doesn’t and didn’t want to fool with the garden at all.gardeningIt seems Mom has been the one suddenly just dying to have a garden this year.  Every time she’d send Dad down to the house with the tractor and plow, if Tommy was around he’d make at least one comment about it, letting us all know he was completely against the idea.  Actually, last time he had Tommy’s ear bent for almost 45 minutes!  ha ha

Anyway, so after dumping the chicken poops all over the garden for the past couple years and getting it worked into the ground, we have probably the best-looking dirt we’ve ever had!  YAY!  The ground here is very clay-heavy and has never grown anything, including grass (see that bald spot at the lower left of the photo? ‘ats what I’m sayin’!)  We’ve brought in cow manure in years past so every year we try to enhance the soil somehow.  But this year it is just more rich-looking and less hard/crusty/mud-rocky.  We are hopeful to get a lot better results this year!  After looking at the following photo, it doesn’t really appear to be the greatest soil, but it is dry so just trust me, that dirt is the best we’ve ever had to plant!

pretty dirt all ready to be planted

our garden, all ready to plant!

Tommy took off work because that’s the only way we’ve ever been able to get a garden out without working into the night and pulling out all sorts of lights, fighting shadows and all that craziness.  Today however, we had Mom and my brother-in-law, Dale, helping us!  Mom often has Dale help her with things and already had him lined up to help with planting on Wednesday though I’m not sure why since she hadn’t mentioned it to us, but ANYhow, she was able to suddenly change his plans (I’m laughing because Mom does that kinda thing SO often!) and we had help!

Mom has to be careful because she’s got some kind of weird spasm thing in her shoulders, so I had to keep her from overdoing.  She will get herself completely down in the bed just from something like sweeping or chopping vegetables.  She could help drop seed and cover plants though, so we were able to actually get the entire garden planted, including putting up our “bean fence” which is a little labor intense, but is the best way we’ve found to keep the beans clean and give them plenty of room to vine.  We put out several varieties of tomatoes and peppers, some broccoli seedlings, 45 day cabbage, squash and zucchini, two kinds of potatoes, cucumbers, a rhubarb plant, green beans and even some romaine lettuce.

the garden's all planted!

the garden, all planted and ready to grow!  God bless it with increase, please!

 Tommy and I were SO glad to have that done.  We weren’t expecting to have help so what normally would have taken us at least two days went much faster!  Mom was tired, but we finally got her to go home when we were down to just filling in the last empty area of the garden with beans.

She was insistent that we put out a ton of beans.  I would normally not put any more than goes around our bean fence, which amounts to four rows, but she wanted more, so we have eight rows, four of which aren’t on any sort of support.  I don’t like picking dirty beans.  Well wait, I don’t like picking beans at all, but especially if I have to crawl around in the dirt.  That’s why we go to the trouble of putting up that fence.  It keeps them up off the ground and they’re much easier to pick!  I could tell Mom thought it was just crazy for us to spend the time and labor to put up our fence.  I’ll be curious to see how much trouble she thinks it was when she’s having to deal with her extra rows on the ground.   ha ha

I am sore and really tired and “sun-kissed”…well, aggressively sun-kissed, but not burned, thank God!  My hands, which tend to get random, weird (probably neuropathy-related) itching-blisters anyway got even more torn up, but at least not itching.

diabetic gardener's hands

my poor, sad diabetic/gardener hands

I went in, took a shower to wash the grit off and sacked out!  Poor Tommy had to go do some running for the Jeep project, so he ended up coming in quite a bit later.

We have sewn the seed, now for God to send the right amounts of sun and rain and deliver the increase!  Let it be so, we pray!

Blessings to you!


escapist chickens & the mystery thereof

Yeah, so a couple days ago on Thursday, I had been out running errands all afternoon. I met Hubby for lunch and then started doing my stuff around town, so it was around 3 pm when I finally got home.

Before I left to meet him for lunch, I ran out to take care of the critters… let Samson out of his pen, give Max a potty run and see if the chickens needed water and check for eggs. They were almost out of water, so I pulled their waterer out of the coop, pushed the door together and rinsed and filled the container, replaced it and shut the door back, pushing the huge slide latch with the hook on the end so it can’t possibly slide out accidentally.

All was well, there was about 4 eggs which I took inside then I locked up and left for lunch.

Fast forward to 3 pm… I was wiped out once I got home and unloaded groceries. It was a windy, blustery, gusting early April day and I guess battling the wind made everything seem harder. I plopped down on the couch where I can easily see out the back door to where the chicken coop and run are in the backyard. I am busy catching up on Facebook and such when out of the corner of my right eye, I see something round and white moving on the patio. I look up to see what it is.

Lo and behold, a chicken is bobbing across the patio and I am flabbergasted as to how she got out there…as I set the laptop down on the coffee table, moving to go to the door for a closer look, I see she is not alone. I quickly count and realize ALL nine of them are out running around in the yard!

Through the door, I hastily glance at the run to see that door is securely latched, so I immediately think, How on earth did the coop door come open?? as I slip on my shoes and head outside.

I count the chickens again to make sure they are indeed all loose and wandering in the yard. Yep, every last one of them. I run over to the coop, around to the door which is not visible from the house at all and… it is securely closed and latched tight, just like I’d left it.

Now I am truly flummoxed! I walk all the way around the entire enclosure… the coop is attached to a run, which is open to the area underneath the coop so they have some sun blockage or a place to get out of the rain while in the run, and then on that side, opposite the “people door” for the coop, is the small, spring-action door into the run. It is made of wire on a wood frame with a claw latch. It won’t stay open unless you hook it back to the run itself, it always springs closed behind you.

So all this while, I’m walking around and around this thing, trying to discover some hole where these chickens could have escaped. I’m also calling Hubby because I just can’t figure out how this has happened! He immediately asks where Samson is and I realize that I need to secure him ASAP!
Samson, our chocolate lab, is a big softy. He’d be content to just lay around wherever you are, unless you’d like to throw a ball. Then he’s all over that until your arm falls off. Either way, he just wants to be near you. He used to be amazing with our chickens. We had let them out in the yard numerous times with Samson and after a few times of training him that he wasn’t allowed to chase the chickens, he was good with them. Never offered to bother them at all.

Until his sister, Emma, who lives on the hill with my parents, started coming down when they were out. She killed one of the chickens her second or third time, then I caught her and Sam both up under a wood pile after one. I dragged Sam to his pen and threw rocks at Emma til she went away. All I could see under the pile was a bunch of white feathers, so I didn’t look any further. I was so mad that she’d killed another chicken! I was so mad that my parents didn’t seem concerned about keeping their dog on their property.

We have had Samson on an underground fence for years. He’s not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to navigation, so he got lost a couple times after wandering off. So we went to the trouble of buying a trencher, the fencing, extra wire, the control box and his collar so we could keep him secure. Once he learned where the fence was, he never ventures too close, which is great now that we ride bikes.

Our house is on the main route for the town’s annual bicycle ride that brings in riders from all over the country. I know there have probably been many cyclists who have had a heart attack seeing Samson come barreling toward the road, barking, not knowing that he’s contained. I’m sure they wonder why he stops and just “chases” them as far as our driveway and only to within a couple feet of the road. Anyhow, the point is, we have taken pains and gone to great lengths to keep our dog at our house.

I know my parents would be mad if we let him roam around at their house the way Emma has done here. She’s a good enough dog, but when someone else’s dog steals your dog’s toys and gets him into trouble, she ceases to be on your good side, ya know?

So there’s been that whole thing going on until about 4 months ago, when my youngest son, who lives in the basement apartment of my parents’ house, got a dog and put in a radio fence for him, and Mom and Dad then bought Emma a collar too. So at last, she’s contained, but it’s too late for Sam. He can no longer be trusted out with the chickens.

So I go looking for Samson only to find him, napping contentedly on the porch. Poor fella, he stretches and looks at me like, “What?” as I lead him to his pen. Then he noticed the chickens…he knew exactly what was up then, and almost went into the pen on his own.

I told you, he’s a good, good dog!

I was still on the phone with Hubby, repeatedly assuring him there was NO WAY those chickens just got out, that someone must have let them out. I emphatically told him yes, both doors were securely latched and I couldn’t find any holes or separations in the wire. I was completely stumped as to how they got out.

I don’t know if he thought I was crazy or what, but as I was talking to him, all the while still visually scouring that coop and run for a way the chickens could have escaped, I realize someone has walked up beside me.

It was my sister, who lives next door. I have no clue where she came from or how long she’d been there, but I immediately ask her, “Did you let the chickens out?” and almost as quickly, I chuckle at how crazy that sounds. She gets this shocked look on her face and denies it. I’m sure she was stunned because as it was, she had just pulled up in my driveway and walked over to me just then, so she was clueless about what was going on.

I get off the phone with the Hubby and start telling her what happened and still just going mad trying to figure this mystery out. She informs me that she just came to get an egg because she wanted to make my Baby Son some brownies for his birthday, which was also that day.

By the way, this all went down April 2nd, the day after April Fool’s day, so had it been one day earlier, I’d have been on the hunt for the prankster who let my chickens out!

After calming down a bit, I took Sis into the house since I’d already gathered the eggs for the day, and got her one and we sat down to talk a bit. She hadn’t been to the house in ages and was in a visiting mood, so I went with it. Every little while, my mind would go back to those blasted chickens and how on earth they could have possibly gotten out. I had decided that some random person had to have walked a good 30 yards from the road to the back of our house, let them out and then waited to latch the door back.

Yeah, it didn’t seem too likely to me either, but neither did the idea that anyone in the family let them out, so I was desperate to reason the thing out for my own sanity!

DIL1 came up after she got off work, just to visit, I think, and we told her the saga and she couldn’t come up with a good scenario either. Not long after DIL left, Hubby came home and hobbled with his crutches straight over to the run to ‘figure it all out’, I’m sure. I am almost certain he thought I was crazy, in some state of low blood sugar or fatigued delusion…but after he’d walked around it once, he didn’t have a good answer either.


So, while we were out there, the three of us because Sis was still there, Hubbs and I went into the run to replace the big water tank that had tipped over where the chickens had dug under one of the supporting blocks. While we were in there, Sis shut the run door that I had propped open earlier so the chickens could get in there if they needed to… and remember, the wind is fierce all this time…whipping and gusting like crazy. So all of sudden she yells, “HEY! This door blew open all by itself!”

We look around and see that even though the door is made of 1-inch-square wire, the wind is strong enough to shake it back and forth when latched and that the latch rattles open after awhile.

Thank God!! You can’t imagine how relived I was! I was seriously about to lose my mind trying to solve this mystery. I never imagined the wind could have blown that door open!!

And so, the mystery of the escaping chickens was solved and I got to smooth the tension I felt about getting together at her house this coming weekend for Easter. I told her how Mom had “invited” me to this thing by saying “If you wanna come, fine and if you don’t, fine.” Sis seemed to think it was ‘just Mom’ these days and didn’t seem to have a clue what instigated that. She’s not usually very subtle and if she’d been talking to Mom about me, she’d have let it slip or have outright said what was bothering her. So…anyhow, there’s that much tension I no longer have to deal with, thank God!!

He is so SO good to me! *big smile*

1 Peter 1:22“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”


I feel this urge to write.  To “make a post” here, but….

I have no clue what to write about.  There’s nothing pressing weighing on my mind really, no earth-shaking updates in my life that I need to make.  Just nothing.

But I find that when I sit here with my fingers tapping the keys that sometimes “things” come out.  Things that I didn’t know were simmering just below the surface of my awareness, ya know?

Right now, I’m thinking about how I NEED to get some sort of exercise.  It’s been almost a week since I’ve been on my bike.  Hubby has had to work late every evening there was a scheduled ride and even on the days when it was just nice “bike ride” weather.  Things have been crazy at work.  It’s weird because when he calls to tell me he won’t be home in time, it’s almost like I feel relieved.  Even though I enjoy riding, I guess it’s the process of getting ready to go actually do it that I hate.  Maybe?  I dunno…

I’m also thinking about how I am tired of cramping.  If there are any male specimens reading, this might be the time to look away.  (ha ha ha!)  I was a little insulted when I went to the new gynecologist back in January and she looked surprised when I told her, yes, i still get my periods.  I mean, c’mon!  I realize I’m a lot closer to 50 now, but that doesn’t mean I should automatically dry up and stop doing my womanly ‘duty’, does it?  Maybe it’s rare for women past 45 to still have their periods?  Or maybe for a woman of that age to still even have her uterus at all what with hysterectomies being so prevalent these days

Anyhow, so I’m thinking maybe I need to go back on the progesterone cream for awhile.  I first used it about 12 years ago when I was ready to get myself a hysterectomy just to avoid the misery that was mine every month.  I had horrendously long, heavy, clotty periods… like 7-8 days long and occasionally I’d do that twice a month!  And the cramping!!  Oh my gosh, how awful it was!!  At that time, a friend suggested progesterone cream, which I’d never even heard of…so I dragged myself to the health food store and picked some up.

I used it every day up until the day my period started, then stayed off it for 6 days (I think.. maybe it was a week) and then started it again, over and over.  I used it for about 3 years and was never so pleased with how something worked in my life.  I went to 4-5 day long cycles that were much, MUCH lighter and hardly any cramping at all.  A MAJOR difference from pre-prog-cream days of being incapacitated by the pain and flooding “super-sizes” of all varieties for a week at a time.

I probably haven’t used the cream in a good 6 years or more.  And my periods are still much lighter than what had been my norm, but I’ve started getting horrendous acne and having a bit more cramping in the week or so prior to starting.  Maybe it’s time to get back on the wagon for awhile?

I know there is another regimen for using the cream during menopause, but I’ve NEVER missed a period… like I said, I sometimes have two in a month, so I don’t think I’m “there” yet, but maybe doing that routine would even help with the cramping and acne?  I dunno…  I’ll hafta do some research.

Ugh.  Just discovered that maybe all the cramping for today may NOT be from the monthly.  Although it is time for that and I’m sure that’s what it has been up until now, but ugh!  Intestinal distress is mine today and I’m not sure why.  Sheesh.

Okay, so that was a li’l TMI… sorry.  Anyhow, see what I mean about when I sit down to write sometimes things just “come out”?  Occasionally that is literal as well.  BAHAHA!  (sorry…potty humor!)

I haven’t got much done around the house.  It seems when I start thinking about what all needs to be done, I get so overwhelmed because there is SO much that needs doing.  *sigh*  I have all the Christmas stuff down and put in boxes, but the boxes still sit in the living room, which is our unused room, not the family room where we live/watch TV.

I need Hubby’s help to get them back into the attic and he hasn’t seemed to feel it necessary to even attempt to do that.  I think I will try maybe Friday after he gets off work and see if I can get him to carry them up the ladder for me.  I’m puke sick of those boxes in there.  And I mean probably a dozen big totes, not just a few shoe boxes, okay?  They take up the entire room.  I think if I could get those out of the way, maybe, just maybe I would get energized and focused enough to start making some headway on the house altogether.

Perhaps I’ll put together a list of what needs to be done and the projects I’d like to accomplish and post that here.  Not sure I’m that brave just yet, even though no one really reads this.  It is accessible and people could see it if they chose to read.  *sigh*  We’ll see.

But as for accomplishing anything, yesterday WAS a little better than usual.  I got up and took our tax stuff to the CPA at 10.  Then I went by my doctor’s office, the GP, and picked up the orders she’d written almost a month ago for physical therapy for my neck and shoulders.  I kept forgetting to stop and get it…that is after they forgot to even give them to me.  *ugh*  After that, I went to the grocery store.  Got the ingredients I needed to make some Chicken Enchilada soup I’d shown to Hubby and we agreed sounded yummy. Then I stopped at the gym and laid for a few minutes in the tanning bed.  Toyed with the idea of going there to actually work out a little soon, but I detest driving to the gym.  I know, I am pathetic.  After that, I went to the bank to see about getting the app on my phone working again.  After it updated, I had to re-input my info and it kept telling me my security answers were wrong when I KNEW they were right!  Talk about embarrassing!  Turns out instead of entering the month and year of my anniversary, I was supposed to be putting in the month and DAY.  Sheesh!  Thankfully the woman who helped me apparently runs into this a lot with customers and she just laughed with me and told me it happens all the time.  Suffice to say, I didn’t tell Hubby how they remedied the problem.  Ha ha!!

After the bank, I went to the therapy place my mom recommended.  She’s been to a lot of physical and occupational therapy over the years, so I figure she knows which one is the best.  That took a long time because they don’t participate with my insurance company.  The nice lady offered to call them though, since I have two separate policies with them to see if that would make a difference.

It didn’t, of course.  She showed me the difference in doing it out-of-network versus “in  network”.  Quite an expensive difference.  *sigh*  I would be “allowed” 50 less visits and each one would cost twice the amount.  Nice.

One of the therapists was sitting at another desk and when I said I’d better just check around first, she started telling me that she was hearing from patients that their office does much more “hands on” therapy than others.  Meaning, I gathered, that they actually do some muscle manipulation (massage) where the others just put a TENS unit and some heat on you and have you do some neck stretches.  I swear, I think a few good massages would probably fix my stupid neck anyhow.

THEN they tell me that their other office, about 35 miles away, DOES accept my insurance.  Now first of all, I’ve never heard of a medical group where one office takes an insurance but the other doesn’t.  That doesn’t make a lick of sense to me.  But that’s what I was told.  I asked how often they thought I’d have to go and was told probably twice a week in order to help the problem as quick as possible.

Now, I am starting the pelvic therapy in Lexington with once a week visits in about 4 more weeks.  I just don’t think I could handle a 100-mile trip to Lexington and another two 35-mile trips each week on the interstate.  I just think that might possibly increase my stress level, ya know?  And that’s not counting the 50+ miles every other week to see my therapist in Richmond.

Too much driving for me.  Ugh!

So I’m not sure what I’ll do about my daggone neck.  I might try just going to my chiropractor and see if getting aligned will help any.  Knowing my history with that, the muscles are probably so tight, I won’t be able to stay in alignment from one appointment to the next.

Ugh!  Sucks to be me, right?  Heh.  Oh well…

Okay, so to finish up my tale of accomplishment from yesterday…once I finally got home, I gathered the eggs, found we had got another monster one and promptly had to send a picture to Hubby and the kids:

sometimes, one of the girls gets a little uber-ambitious!

And then I had to send another one once I got inside and put them in these cups to compare the size:

I couldn’t resist… heh.

And after all that fun, I tidied up the kitchen (read: cleaned up the mess that was there so I could cook) and fixed the enchilada soup.  That took a little longer than I expected, but after I got all that done, I even cleaned up that mess too and put on a load of laundry and swept the kitchen floor.

Go, me!!

Psalm 24:4 – “He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”