Month: April 2013

  •  Bullet Blog 

    • Good… afternoon?
    • Hrm.
    • Anyhow, it’s nice now…
    • but it HAILED this morning.
    • Marble-sized hail!
    • I was so geeked, I got the kids up…
    • and when it stopped,
    • we ran out and collected a bunch!
    • They’re in the freezer, to show daddy.
    • I’m on sump duty, again.
    • Brian says there’s something wrong
    • …with the new sump.
    • ((((((((shocker))))))))))
    • So every hour on the hour, I check it.
    • Highly annoying but whaddya do?
    • Otherwise, I’m a sponge, today.
    • S’why I don’t know what time it is.
    • The timer just went off – sump check time.
    • ((hang on.))
    • Okay, I’m back.
    • Today, I’m reading… stuff.
    • On-line.
    • You just never know, with me!
    • I stumbled on this site…
    • ITS tactical.
    • Most of it is… um…
    • Let’s just say I’m not a crazy person.
    • But I think it’s interesting, some of it.
    • Like when a fire alarm goes off…
    • DON’T sit up in bed.
    • 90% of the deaths are people that sat up
    • Instead, you roll off the bed to the floor,
    • then assess the situation.
    • I didn’t know that – I would’ve sat up!
    • So there ya go.
    • Now you learned something, too.
    • And are your car tires safe?
    • Here’s another fun one, if you’d like.
    • I don’t care about silencers
    • … or paracord wrapped knives.
    • But I bookmarked two kewl knots,
    • … and learned about escaping zip ties.
    • Hey… it’s interesting stuff.
    • I’m also working my way through a blog.
    • Her name is ‘The Homeschool Den’.
    • This woman… wOw.  I love her stuff.
    • I know, this should be a charcoal post,
    • but I’m busy reading!  ((LoL!!))
    • Yesterday a gal on FB asked a question:
    • “What motivates you to exercise?”
    • I answered that I grab my belly.
    • I don’t think that’s what they were looking for…
    • Okay, okay… but you needed a laugh.
    • I need a new road atlas.
    • Ours is… ho, man, you don’t want to see.
    • It’s WELL used from our adventures.
    • … and the fact that I squish it between the front seats.
    • There’s a laminated one, but… it’s $$$
    • I’ll talk to Brian about it, tonight.
    • But ours is just shredded.
    • And LAMINATED???  Too kewl.
    • So is this.
    • 4×8 plywood with paint/sand grout?
    • LOVE it!
    • This batch of baby chicks is just weird, FYI.
    • They tap their beaks against our bathtub all day.
    • All. Day.  And night.
    • Our bedroom is next to it… it sounds like rain.
    • Fifteen chicks, tap-tap-tap-tapping?
    • (((((boggles))))))
    • WHY?  I don’t understand.  It’s…
    • Whatevs.
    • I think lunch on the deck, again, today.
    • What do you think?
    • It’s beautiful!
    • ((Starts before 7, ends before 11, you know.))
    • And it was fun eating outside, yesterday.
    • Lydia is healing.
    • First day bikes were out, she hit a pothole.
    • While flying to race Isaac.
    • She flipped and rolled.
    • Poor girl is one big scrape, head to toe.
    • Every sentence punctuate with ‘ow’.
    • Way to start the summer, guys…
    • Is this long, already?
    • No. Way!
    • That’s crazy… but good, right?
    • Anyhow… yeah.
    • I got stuff to go read, so…
    • Until tomorrow!
  • Our Adventures:  Let the Sun Shine!

    I’m soooooooo far behind on our adventures (and SotW posts, and Charcoal blogs, and…)… but if’n y’don’t start somewhere, you never get back to things, right?  So… I’m starting last weekend.  Not this past weekend – we went to the GR Public museum yesterday, but we’re backing up before that and doing the weekend previous.  Because it was kind of a very fun, very kewl thing that we went to.

    A concert!  The small community college where we used to live has an alumni choir, and their director is a fellow actress from my ex-theatre group.  ((This is also where we go to see my friend/fellow actress’ drama productions – the art/theatre professor there is also from my ex-theatre group.))  Long story short, I got notification on Facebook that the concert was Sunday and free, and all about SUNSHINE… so I thought it would be fun to take the kids.

    First thing that happened is that we drove the S-curve thru Grand Rapids, and it was just as the Grand River was peaking (from the flood).  It was PACKED – with people who wanted to see how high things were, with people volunteering to fill sandbags… and with museum goers.  April 21st was also ‘Museums4Free’ day… where you can get in the GR Children’s Museum, the G.R. Ford Presidential Museum, the GR Art Museum, and the GR Public Museum for free (excluding the Titantic exhibit).  So it. was. packed!  We avoid people, so we just drove by (on the way to our own free event) and marveled at the water.  It. Was. HIGH.

    Photo of the museum that will be in the NEXT
    adventure post.  Okay, it’s photoshopped (luv FB)… but just the shark.
    We really, really, REALLY flooded, here, though!

    Then we drove up to our old town, had pizza (they have one of the only two decent Pizza Huts around), and then went forth to the concert… and the first thing we noticed as we went inside was that the woman handing out programs (my thespie friend Larry’s wife) was dressed in 70s hippie style.   There was a streamer-like entrance, supposed to look like a 70s beaded curtain… and there was one of those things you can put your face in to get your picture taken… the caricature being that of flower children.  An enormous peace sign hung over the risers.  Ooooh.  That kind of sunshine.  How fun!!

    So we found some seats over a little further, and as we sat down, we noticed that… well, there weren’t very many younger people there.  In fact, I’d say by the time the room filled, it was a good 90% snow caps (white/silver haired people).  That’s kind of a sad thing – when there’s a FREE concert, to encourage the next generation to appreciate the arts, and nobody comes to it except the previous generations.  On the other hand, my kids quickly made friends with the elderly people around us, who always like to play with little ones.  I was also (not really) surprised that other than Larry/his wife, and the choir director (and her husband), not a SINGLE person from my ex-theatre group was there to support the arts.  It’s kind of the way they were, up there, though… another reason I got very frustrated with the theatre group, even before the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ debacle.  They should’ve been there – showing comraderie.  But that’s just me.  OTOH, I didn’t have to run into any of them, a true blessing.  And it just means WE can enjoy the concerts!!  ((grins))

      The concert was a blast… from the past, AND otherwise.  They did ALL songs with the word ‘sun’ in them.  Good day, Sunshine and a few other Beatles’ songs, Aquarius from ‘Hair’, Sunshine on my Shoulders, Let the sun shine in (that we all got to sing), Sunrise, Sunset from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, I Got the Sun in the Morning from ‘Annie Get your Gun’ (both of which my kids knew, so they were singing along, and the old folks were delighted to see them singing… we had a glorious time!  They had a guy get up out of the audience and swing dance with one of the singers, they had a girl play a blue guitar to a Matisyahu song (we <3 Matisyahu!), they had balls bouncing over our heads, and they came down and passed out daisies thru the audience.  It was fun… very free and inhibited and happy.  I like happy!

    The guy on the right is Greg, hub to the director and a thespie friend.

    The costumes were perfect.  No kidding – everyone was tie-dyed, hippyfied, be-wigged… it was kind of cheesy, but hey – so were the 70s (and I lived thru most of them, so I know, firsthand!).  The people singing were genuinely having a wonderful time, and it showed.  And more, everyone else caught that enthusiasm, and had a great time, too.  There was a 20-something guy in the front row, and he leaned over and was singing oldies to his girlfriend.  Is it possible to fall in love with a stranger?  Because he KNEW the songs… and it was so cute… so heart-melting, to watch him croon to his sweetheart.

      Meanwhile, the man in front of Brian turned around, saw Owen, and wanted to make friends.  Baby O was having NOTHING to do with it.  The man kept trying to get him to give him five, and each attempt won him a bigger and bigger scowl – Owen has one heckuva stink-eye, and it had the whole row in front of us cracking up.  The man’s (grown) son made a ring out of a dollar bill for Owen, for enduring their teasing/cajoling, and they gave each of the other kids a quarter!  The kids thought that was… far out, man.

    When the concert was over, we said hello to our friend Larry (but not director Val or Greg, they were swamped)… and as we were leaving the kids had ants in their pants from sitting (for the ride, then lunch, then the concert), so before getting back in the car to go home, we decided to check out Heritage Village.   See, the kewl thing about this community college is that it has an old-tyme village right on the campus.  The blacksmith, the train depot, a schoolhouse and town hall and livery and barbershop… it has a mercantile, church, and even a cemetery with some interesting headstones in it.  Of course it was all closed up and we just got to peek in windows, but it was still fun, and the kids could run on the grass and stretch their legs, some.  There was even a pump-merry-go-round (?!) that they got to try!

    By the time we were finished, the parking lot was completely empty, and it was definitely time to head home.  But what a fun Sunday adventure… and the kids are excited to go again, next spring!
  • Due to the sensitive nature of my readers,
    I’m making the blog topic I want to discuss/vent about
    protected, today.  My apologies…
    A few bad apples spoil the basket, unfortunately.

  • It’s been so crazy, I have to add to yesterday’s post…
    it should be updated by noon, k?

  • Patchwork Blog

       And it is a better morning, too.  I’m MUCH, MUCH better, today.  It was the flu-iest cold I have EVER had in my entire life, lemme tell ya.  First I thought it was strep, because it was in my throat and I couldn’t swallow for wincing in pain.  ((Luckily, we speak ASL in our home very well… so the good news it that I didn’t have to talk.  The kids all except Brian who says “What?!” to everything and then makes stuff up, like, “You want a rhinoceros?  You think the lawn needs mowing?  What is THAT sign, a washing machine?”))  Anyhow, by the end of the night, I was so sick to my stomach, I had to go empty it, which is NOT normal for a cold.  Then yesterday I had a fever so bad – all day – that I just hunkered under a blanket and chattered to death on the sofa.  The cold-ish part of things was on the muscle ache stage, so I had a headache, backache, jaw ache… it was miserable.  We watched Jane Austen and took it easy on school.  But today… okay, I’m HOT (it’s weird, to feel THIS hot – I’m in a tank with my hair up, and I’m just ROASTING), but it’s like everything that was tight and clogged has relaxed and let loose, so I’m feeling MUCH better, thank you!

    Building Update!
      We decided that we should get a second opinion on the building project before deciding what to do, just so that we had more than one person’s take on what would work best, and what it would cost.  So Brian called a guy in the paper, and Monday he came out (LOVED our chickens and rabbits, and kept finding excuses to go over by the goat pen), but I have to tell you.  He was a ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy, who ‘hmmed’ a lot and insisted we’d be required to put in a slab foundation under it, at the least.  ((Our friend said we could just put it on poles… much easier/cheaper.))  And the second guy wasn’t sure how they’d get excavators and cement in, and… it got REAL complicated, really fast.  So I know his estimate is going to be at least double our friend’s.  Anyhow, Brian called the township, and we *can* do it on poles, so it’s moot, anyhow.  We just have to decide if we want to take the plunge and go for it.

    Great Sites.  I have found some wonderful sites, earlier this week.  There was this renovation blog that… I love watching people update things.  This woman did almost ALL of her updating with spray paint, and it was SO fun to read.  Then I saw that – up in the corner of her blog – there was a link to ‘recipes’… and she apparently has a foodie blog, too.  And the food there looked SO GOOD, that I made her Italian Crockpot chicken for supper… Tuesday?… and am doing the beef stroganoff tonight.  Then this morning I found a homeschool site that has SUCH amazing ideas on it… and I like the lady writing it, too.  She’s cut of a different cloth, if you know what I mean.  So I’m reading back and back… and back… oh, and I found a couple of Pinterest sites that I’ve bookmarked to go thru, because… there are some really amazing people (and ideas) out there!

    Sunshine!  It’s SUNSHINING today, can you believe it?  Amazing.  We have been SO. WET.   I can’t begin to tell you.  I have pictures… and yes, I meant to do an adventure post and show you some stuff, but… life happened.  Good life, mostly (and then not-so-good, what with the sick days)… but still.  Having things dry out would be SO nice.  But what would be nicer?  If the people who plan to rip up our land would come right NOW and do it, so that I don’t have to worry about doing all of our gardening this year in pots…

    Art Posts.  It has been so long since I have put up any art posts… but I want to catch up.  Really, I do.  So I think what I’m going to do is post them backdated, and link to them for people who are interested.  Because honestly, there is just SO much going on in our lives, I can’t keep up.  I don’t know these mommy bloggers do it.  I try, but with seven of us, and schooling, and homesteading and… LIFE!… I can’t blog like that.  And honestly, if these women can, I question how much time they actually spend on their kids!  Do you know the last time I had a chance to do a ‘Story of the World’ post?  Yeah…

    Catch Up Day.  Today is a catch-up day.  It. is. AMAZING how fast things fall apart when I’m down for the count.  Brian came home last night and… he was boggled by the house.  But I didn’t do dishes, I didn’t walk through 492 times, picking things up as I went.  And this morning?  Our home looks like ground zero.  I have to try to re-claim it… which is going to take up a ton of time, so maybe I’d better scoot…?

    Updates!  Stuff happened, and I have to update this.  By a bit, anyhow.  And since I don’t post on Shabbat (separately), I’m adding it here.

    U-Haul #1.  Friday morning, I saw something BIG move through the trees at our slider door.  Like… bigger than a car.  So I went to the window to see, and it was a U-haul trailer, coming out of the drive next door.  Now, the drive next door is a shared drive – there’s the ‘crack house’ (<what Brian calls it) up front, and the drive becomes a loop in front of Hatfield’s house, back further in the woods.  So either the crack house people, or Hatfield was moving a lot of somethings.  Considering nothing much ever happens over there, it was BIG news for us to see.  I know Hatfield isn’t in very good shape – he’s had at least one major heart attack, three years ago.  Maybe the old crank finally went to his maker?  I don’t know… but this morning, the Crack house kids (and dog that they say they don’t have) are all out playing, but there’s not a single car/truck at Hatfields, and nobody’s out banging on siding (Hatfield likes banging on siding).  So I wonder what’s up!

    U-Haul #2.  Then Friday night, a drivable U-Haul truck went by our house on OUR drive.  Ours is also a shared drive – we’re up front, and a quarter mile back into the woods is the McCoy shack.  ((I call it a shack, because they built it from what looks like scrap wood, and never sided it beyond the ply… so it has the appearance of a shack.))  The McCoy’s are NOT U-Haul people, so this is REALLY odd.

    Pa McCoy hasn’t been around (except the big holidays) for two years. We suspect he dumped Ma McCoy, and is showing up for visitation, and since he’s an OTR truck driver, he just backs in and stays in his cab when he visits his kids. And who can blame him – I’d've run screaming BEFORE the marriage.  Jason McCoy (who knocked up a 16-year old when he was 18) moved out to a trailer park for a while, but came back about six months ago (I think he lost his fourth job), and scowls at my kids every time he drives by. He drives his girlfriend’s red Jeep, because I think he blew up the motor in the Confederate Truck, once and for all. He doesn’t like mufflers, so he pulled the muffler off the girlfriend’s Jeep, and Ma McCoy’s new truck, too. We *always* know when they’re coming/going.

    I also think the girlfriend has moved in with them – she’s by every day. I’m not sure any of them are employed – so the assumption COULD be that the place is being foreclosed on? It won’t sell – they built it themselves, and it never got any siding or insulation on it – it’s plywood walls, back there in the woods. But they have ten acres… or Manuela Guiterrez (or some such name) has the acreage – the land isn’t in the McCoy name, and I don’t know… but a U-haul? Kinda weird, for them. They’re more the ‘throw it on a buddy’s half-cocked flatbed’ kind of people.

    Then this Morning!  Stuff happened, again!  The HUGE U-Haul came by TOWING the Confederate Truck (which was loaded with scrap metal and car parts), and Ma McCoy’s truck was with it, loaded with more junk and pulling a flatbed trailer just loaded with even MORE stuff.  So… I don’t know!  But the kids were ALL shades of geeked, watching.  Brian suggested maybe Jason McCoy is cleaning out all of his dad’s tools and crap… but with a rented U-Haul?  That seems odd.  So I’m still wondering if they aren’t moving.  And what that could mean – it might make for WORSE neighbors (although they accused me of shooting their cat, drove thru my garden, let their dogs loose eight times in the past seven years, threw cigarettes in my yard, grooved out the drive doing burn-outs at the street, and used our front clearing for a turn-around.  So how much worse could it be?  Then again… if they’re foreclosed on, maybe we could hold off on the addition and by the property for back taxes?

    Geula Updates!  BIG stuff over at Yarenen’s, this morning.  He translated Rav Fish’s report, and it had some interesting things in it:

    Zohar Beha’alotecha 153a says that there will come days that will be like the Exodus from Egypt, where it is written “And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation.”  But in the final exile, there is no death – only poverty – as a pauper is considered like a dead man.  This will fulfil in them [the verse] “And I will leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall take refuge in the name of the LORD.” And to fulfil in them [the verse]“And the afflicted people Thou dost save”. …they will be like a donkey, whose burden is upon his shoulders from the yoke of taxes in the exile and from the burden of work, and this is “lying under its burden” in the exile. …Tikkunei Zohar 27a says that the poverty of the exile of the Erev Rav over Israel speeds up the Redemption, and their weakness prevents Israel’s Redemption.  Because of this, Hashem appeared to Moshe [as the verse says] “in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush” – from the thorns.  …And the Sod of the matter is that immediately when the time for weeping comes and it will be a time of poverty for Israel, immediately, there will be a Redemption from exile, as it says “and it is a time of trouble unto Jacob, but out of it shall he be saved”. … And the Sod of the matter is [the verse]“They shall come with weeping” – And once Moshe saw the pressure of poverty for Israel,it says: “and behold a boy that wept”.  What does it say immediately following?  “And she had compassion on him” to redeem him.

    Which is a reminder that we need to be preparing for such a time of hardship, whether for ourselves, or for those who will be left to endure it.  I thought this was VERY interesting, especially in light of the next statement:

    It’s brought down in the Kuntres “Ve’aneta Hashira” by Rav Nahmani ZT”L that from the day of the 17th of Tammuz until the day of Hoshana Rabba will be 3 months when all of Kelal Yisrael will repent.  It’s possible that he was hinting to the 3 months mentioned in the Zohar [Va'era 32a] since the end of the Gog Umagog War and the victory is expected to be on the day of Hoshana Rabba.

    Hoshana Rabba being mid-October, and 17 Tammuz being July(ish).  So the giving of a heads-up right now?  Very good stuff!!!

    More on Bush!  Another article today about Bush… and how he saved more lives than any other American president.  Very good reading, after yesterday’s presidential event.

    Doolittle Raiders.
      Another article that you HAVE to read.  I’m printing it off for Pop, who loves this stuff.  But I think we should be mindful of true valor in our world. 

    PhotoDeluxe!  Here’s the deal:  Windows 7 is NOT compatible with any previous version of Adobe Photodeluxe.  Which is – in my opinion – the ONLY photo editor worth working with.  So for the past year, I’ve been using THREE editors, trying to get the same results (and not succeeding).  People all over the net have been complaining – because Adobe stopped making Photodeluxe for a monthly on-line version you have to keep paying and paying (and paying) for.  Um, NO.  First, I don’t want to put my photos on-line.  Second, I don’t want to keep paying for something I already bought the disk for.  So I found out if you got the LAST version, you could use it in compatibility mode on Win7… so I bought it, and finally today installed and tweaked the compatibility… and it works!!!!  Woooo-HOOO!!!  So for the first time since September?  I can work on photos!  Soooo geeked.  And off to edit photos.

  • Someone needs to remind me to take meds when I catch a bug.
    Problem is, I couldn’t when preggers/nursing.
    Which was approximately 10 years, straight, for the record.
    And so I simply don’t think of meds.

    It has not been a pleasant day and a half.
    I just now remembered I’m not nursing/preggers, anymore.
    In about half an hour, I may feel up to posting.

      … Or maybe not. 

  • The Second Chance

    Numbers 9
    King James Version (KJV)

    And the Lord spake unto Moses… saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season… And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover…

    And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day: And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the Lord in his appointed season among the children of Israel? And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.

    And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the Lord The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it. 

    Today is 14 Iyyar, the fourteenth day of the second month on the Jewish calendar.  It’s a day that’s important in scripture, but until this morning, I had NO idea.  I was reading along my morning digs, and came upon a link to something that said ‘The Second Pesach’.   Intrigued, I clicked in to the link, and… well, I need scripture to back things up.  If it ain’t in scripture, I am hesitant to buy it.  But this was RIGHT there, in the book of… Numbers?  That’s crazy.  But okay.  So I looked it up… and sure enough.  Today’s important – 14 Iyyar is the ‘Second Passover’… the time to celebrate it, if you weren’t able to, the first time.  It’s the second chance day.

    There seem to be a LOT of those in scripture.  Take Elul, for example.  It’s 30 days of repentance, to prepare for Rosh Ha’Shana.  But then Rosh Ha’Shana has ten days of awe, that are a ‘second chance’ to get right before Yom Kippur.  And here we have a ‘second chance’ at Pesach… exactly thirty days after the first Pesach.  Apparently there were people who were ceremonially unclean and could not keep the Sabbath.  I worry about that a lot, myself.  By default – I’m a woman, and once a month we’re unclean for a week.  Brian says that it’s nothing I can do anything about, so it doesn’t count, but these guys couldn’t really help that their loved ones died, either… and that their circumstances kept them from participating in the shed blood of the Lamb.  And they did NOT want to be left out.  I don’t blame them!

    But Yehovah isn’t unfair.  He always provides ample time, and even second chances.  There’s NEVER any reason a person misses the boat, except for his own choice.  Yehovah makes sure of that.  And I’m amazed again and again at His provisions to try to give everyone the opportunity to participate – IF they CHOOSE to do so.  My God is a fair and just God.  He keeps the game going til the very last second, and even throws in overtime to be sure everyone who will can come to Him.

    I like days like today.  Because they remind me that the One I serve?  He’s better than ANY other option.  He’s an awesome sovereign, who gives all opportunity to all people.

  • Another Special Delivery

    Oi, my vey… I am destined to be up with the dawn every morning, this week, I swear it.  ((I don’t get up until 8…ish.  If I can help it.  I don’t believe the good Lord wanted us up before daylight, or He wouldn’t have made it DARK, hello.  And FYI, it was a red sky, this morning, so ‘sailors take warning’… er, it’s going to rain today.))  It was the first time in… a LONG time that I’ve watched a sunrise.  Pretty, but I’m not sure it’s worth it.

    Anyhow, yesterday my brother called at the crack of a.m. (I bolted out of bed for the phone, thinking Brian had car trouble on the way to work, r’something)… with the good news about our nephew’s birth!  And then this morning, the phone rang at the crack of a.m, a-GaiN…  6:19am, to be exact.  And I woke up (Brian was in the shower), and ran for the phone, again – thinking, “oh, no, something bad’s happened with the baby…!”  After all, who else would call me that early?

    It was the post office.  I didn’t even KNOW the post office was open at 6:19 in the morning, hello.  You’d think with it being gov’mint…  But anyhow, it was really hard to hear the lady over the cheeping that was echoing in their cavernous mail room.  Cheeping.  Our chicks had arrived, and they would like us to come and get them, please… as soon as possible.  ((Probably because they don’t want to be held responsible if something happens to them, and also likely because they were LOUD.))

    So I knock on the bathroom door and tell Brian… and he just laughs.  He thinks it’s HILARIOUS that I’ve been yanked out of my nice, warm bed two mornings in a row.  ((And I good naturedly tell him he doesn’t even want to SAY anything more about it.))  So Brian called in and told them he’ll be a few minutes late, and sent me to the post office, while he set up the garden tub (in our house, the ‘garden’ tub really does get used for some down-home stuff.).  That’s the good thing about Brian’s work – they’re really, really easy-going about life, and if something comes up – they work with you… as long as you work with them when something comes up.

    We’d already cleaned and brought in the stuff we’d need for the chicks: the food tray, waterer, pine shavings, and heat lamp, but I had thought the kids and I would set them up, after breakfast.   Change of plans!  Yeah… and not for the better – I expected to sleep normal hours, and there I was, on the road with a TON of morning traffic (you people are insane to be up and out that early.  It’s inhuman.).  And yes, I used to do it, too, but I grumbled all the way, much like I did this morning.  But maybe there was a bright side.  Pretty sunrise (RAIN A’COMIN!) and I wouldn’t have to juggle five chil’uns and a passel of baby chicks, at the same time.

    I knock on the back door of the post office, and the lady let me in… it’s obvious which package was mine – it’s the only one singing in fifteen-part harmony.  Which is probably why it was so loud – the minimum order for shipping was fifteen.  What I’m going to do with THAT many eggs a day next spring, I don’t know.  Maybe by then WWIII will have started with North Korea and I’ll have an extra bird or five to share with people.  Or maybe we’ll just eat them.  Come fall, that’s EXACTLY what I intend to do with the other breeds in our coop.

    Anyhoo, the thing is, when they ship the chicks, they’re *just* hatched, so they have a 3-day supply of food/water in them to tide them over (from the nutrients of the egg)… and we HAD to get them to food and water.  So it’s not like I should wait to go and get them.  For all I knew, maybe some hadn’t made the trip.  And so maybe it was better that I go get them withOUT the kids, and we take care of any… misfortunates?… before they wake up and feel bad, right?

    Yes, I realize that they sell chicks at the farm stores in Greenville, Cedar Springs, Wayland and Hastings.  But the reason we ordered is because they don’t carry the breed we’re going to, exclusively.  We bought chicks at the farm store more than once, and… they’re sub-par breeds, to our experience.  And after buying eight different store breeds (and incubating some of our own)… I can tell you:  they’re not my Black Langshans. 

    Black Langshans are HUGE birds – when we have them processed, it’s a nice size chicken to roast!.  They keep their tail feathers and sheen, unlike the farm store birds.  They’re more resistant to disease by A LOT.  They’re quieter, milder, and far more beautiful – they’re iridescent, so they’re a gorgeous black/greeen color.  They also have ‘fur’ running down their feet, and covering one of the three toes, so that’s kind of a kewl thing. 

    As for the roosters, they. are. REALLY big, and absolutely beautiful… and sweet as the day is long.  You hear stories about roosters coming after people and clawing the crap out of them with their spurs.  Not so Black Langshans.  My kids pick them up – the ROOSTERS! – and carry them around.  Of course, we keep our roosters separate of the hens – I hear if they’re together, the roosters are protective of their mates.  Separated, though, they’re big babies. 

    And everyone who comes to our homestead are intrigued and impressed with the Black Langshans.  ((I did a little reading on them… they were a favorite with the American Pioneers, too.))  So we’re going to them, exclusively – and I’ll just breed the cocks we have now with the new hens, incubate, and keep it going.

    Chicks in a box… and then in the tub.
    (Sorry it’s fuzzy… the setting got bumped, and I didn’t catch it.)

    It’s crazy, all those little birds hopping around in that box.  So funny to see.  And of course you have to add a little sugar to their water (to give them an energy boost… they’ve been two days traveling with no food/water), and you have to take each one out of the box and dip it’s beak into the water, so they know where it is.  I got the honors… and those goofy things fight you, the whole way!

     But now they’re warm and fed and in their new home (for the next few weeks)… it’s a good thing we have two tubs in our house!

    So yeah… and when the kids wake up, this morning, it’ll be like Hanukkah – a special delivery came while they were sleeping!  But aren’t they cute?  And they’re BORN with the fur on their legs.  I didn’t expect that!  I didn’t expect them to be so lemon colored, either – when they grow up, they’re solid black (very Matrix-y… but I digress).  But, OH, the kids are going to love it!

  • Out of the Office

    I didn’t post this morning.  We kind of were busy, paying a visit.  My brother and his wife had a very exciting night, last night… resulting in a surprise phone call this morning.  He’s a daddy, for the first time!  Mama is fine and the delivery went well.  So needless to say, we’ve been out of the office.  We went to town and picked up Daddy from work (he took a LONG lunch), we visited a florist to pick out flowers (an adventure in itself!), and then went up to the hospital to see the newcomer:

    Isn’t he sweet?  7lbs 8oz.
    Welcome to the world, little baby boy.
    We’re all very happy to have you join our family.

  • Look for the Lyrids

    Earth is entering a stream of debris from ancient Comet Thatcher, source of the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower. Usually the shower is mild (10-20 meteors per hour) but unmapped filaments of dust in the comet’s tail sometimes trigger outbursts ten times stronger. Forecasters expect the peak to occur on April 21-22.

    Taken from FB, so who knows if that’s the true number,
    but heads up… it might be pretty your way, tonight!