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Friday, 31 August 2018

August Winds Down

This morning felt like Fall. We've had rain and cooler nights and last night daughter made ginger molasses cookies to take to work because of how it "feels" right now. However, I had a look at the weekly forecast and the heat (with more rain) will be back soon enough.

A colleague whose husband is a farmer quoted him by saying, "If you have livestock, you're going to have deadstock." And that's what we had. As you know, we got chickens again after a five year break. Of the four young ones we started with, we now have only three of those. The smallest one had been picked on relentlessly. We gave her a couple of "safe havens" both in the coop and outside in the run. I even separated her completely in a cage, but she fussed and squawked so much wanting to return to her "peeps" that I put her back. I noticed she was spending more time just in the coop and then started to have that "hunched chicken" look about her  (any readers who have chickens will likely know what I mean). I bought water soluable antibiotics from the local feed supply store. Our other chicken we have named  Bruce because we suspect she might be a he, was sounding rattley (also NOT a good thing when it comes to chickens), so a round of antibiotics would be a good thing in that case, too. If you hear one rattley chicken, it's good to treat everyone (we won't use the eggs during this time). Anyway, long story short, even after isolating her completely and bringing her into the mudroom in the cat cage and literally eye dropping antibiotic laced water down her little beak, the little black chicken died. Yes, it happens. Her antibiotics cost more than she did and I feel bad, but the truth of the matter is that sometimes you just can't save a chicken.

Other news, the garden is a scary mess. The weeds have taken over completely. This didn't happen by magic, although the heat and rain have certainly contributed, but you know how you just don't want to keep up with your vegetable gardening chores at the end of the season and you stop weeding? Well, that's exactly what I did. I stopped weeding. And it shows. However, there are some lovely tomatoes and I will be digging my FIRST new potatoes for tonight's supper and we've had green beans and I don't even care about the cucumbers any more. How many cucumbers can one family eat? I only planted two plants!! Tonight we are planning on 'springing Nana from the home' and having her here for a visit and supper, so she will enjoy the fresh garden produce, no doubt.

Eighteen year old son bought his first car a little while ago. He got a great deal because it is a standard (manual) and the man who sold it to him has bad knees and can't drive it anymore (thinking of Joanne's post now). It's an older Mustang (don't even ask me what year, don't remember, don't care) and it is bright yellow with black striping. I'll know it's him on the road! It needed some work done on it to be certified, which wonderful husband did for him and yesterday it was taken to our local garage where certification was completed. Today is licensing and all those finalities and finally he will be able to drive it. Mind you, he needs some lessons in driving a stick shift, but he's a smart kid and will be fine (says I, who does NOT drive a stick shift). I swear our property now looks like a used car lot!

I binge watched some Netflix recently, watching a series called Marcella (British crime detective...). I enjoyed it, but not as much as some others I have watched like Broadchurch, Hinterland, River, or Shetland. I did watch some new episodes of Happy Valley which were pretty good as well. Why is it we have so many channels (although, not the full package) to watch on tv and I am loath to watch about 95% of what's on right now? Honestly, I'll watch a rerun of Mash rather than some ridiculous Housewives of Somewhere show. Ughhh, I'll be so happy when the trend of "reality tv" is over, hopefully replaced by something more intelligent and entertaining.

We are approaching our Labour Day weekend here. School begins the day after labour day, so Tuesday of this coming week. We currently have no plans, but I would like to perhaps do a little local road trip, try a new place to eat, maybe take in a fall fair somewhere. The end of August is such a turning point. Even if we still have a heat wave after this, it's now considered a Fall heat wave, not a summer one regardless of the fact that the first official day of Autumn is September 23rd this year.

Well that's my rambling done. No doubt the rest of you are feeling the Autumn change? I'm going to read what the rest of you are up to now.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Along came a spider and sat down beside her...

On my way out to let out the chickens this morning, I spied this:


To give you an idea of size, I've held up my reading glasses beside her.

This is her close up. Isn't her beautiful?

I've posted once before about this kind of spider, but they are so beautiful, and so strikingly large. This is the Yellow Garden Spider, one of Ontario's largest orb weavers. This is a female (research tells me the males are much smaller). The zigzag line in the web is called a "stabilimentum" and after reading about that, there is much debate as to why some spiders include a stabilimentum in their construction (hiding spot, warning to birds, reflects ultraviolet rays to attract insects...).

I do not fear spiders. I'm not keen to have one walk up my arm, but that's just a sensation thing. I am from the generation who "knew" Charlotte as the benevolent creature who could spin words into her webs and whose life sadly ended after befriending Wilbur, the runt pig. To me, spiders are good.

I don't fear bees or worms or praying mantises... but these guys completely creep me out:


source

House centipedes are FAST and run in my bathroom at awkward times. (That's the price you pay for having an old house, I guess).

Are you brave when it comes to bugs, or do you run screaming?


Friday, 17 August 2018

Nothing like a good (dust) bath

I went out to the chicken run in the hopes of getting a picture of a resident chipmunk who, the cheeky thing, has now gone from sneaking into the run and eating the chicken feed that gets flung and scratched outside of the tin, to sitting directly inside and stuffing his cheeks to the maximum.

As soon as I came close to the fence, I got this:


Curiosity.

Then I noticed a hen who was in the middle of sheer, total chicken heaven. For those of you who don't know, chickens dig. A LOT. They especially like to decimate any existing grass and create a hollow spot.


No, she is not dead.


She is having a dust bath. Chickens use their legs to scratch the dry dirt like crazy, and then roll around in it, spreading out their wings, rolling their heads, twisting and turning from side to side.


Chickens use dust baths to clean amongst their feathers, especially if they have mites or other common tiny pests.


They love it. Even our smallest little birds take dust baths. When they are finally all done, they stand up and fluff themselves, releasing a surprising amount of "dust" into the air around them. That's not what this girl is doing. She's still bathing, churning up the dirt into her feathers.

While I was out there, I took a picture of our two littlest hens (Raven and no-name).


They are still the lowest on the pecking order and probably always will be. Even though I've provided them with a "safe space" in the coop, they choose to do their own thing, squeezing themselves between the wall and a box.


I leave you with tandem preening.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

August 15

How's that for a grabbing post title? August has such a feel to it, doesn't it? Crickets. It is all about crickets. The air feels different. I do like August. I've picked some more green beans, cucumbers, and zucchini from the garden. I was planning on blanching and freezing some beans, but haven't done so yet. I have laundry on the line, and I decided to make old fashioned rice pudding. It's in the oven right now. I've just been craving it. I really wanted to put raisins in it, but knew nobody else would eat it if I did (perhaps that's what I should have done!).

I don't know about you, but I would not win awards for my housekeeping. I clean what needs to be cleaned enough so that everything is kept under control and tidy, and if company is coming then that is great motivation to really get in there and do a good job, but there are other tasks which go undone for a long time! Those areas that don't get seen by other people's eyes tend to suffer. Today I hauled the vacuum upstairs and gave our bedroom a good going over, took all the little thingys off of the tops of the dressers and bedside tables and did a thorough dusting. I even dusted pictures on walls and chair rails. That's what I mean about if nobody else sees it. It's just us. I'm the cleaner in the family and husband NEVER complains, so it gets done when I feel I want to do it. However, I am glad to have it done properly now. (Don't worry, toilets also got scrubbed). How would you rate yourself as a housekeeper:  Surgically clean, Fastidious, Pretty good, O.K., Hit and Miss, Best not to Ask, or "At least I'm not a Hoarder!"

To end this compelling post, I leave you with chickens on bench and a wrapped up cat at the pool.


Monday, 13 August 2018

Not out of Control... Yet

Thank you so much for the comments on the new four hens (?). I have joined a site called Backyard Chickens. It is chock full of great info, ideas, and forums where chicken owners can ask questions, share advice... So, I posted a couple of pictures of the new girls and asked what breeds people thought they were. A lot of the same names came up as some of you suggested (good job, bloggers!!). But alas, a guy let me know that my big one (black / brown mottled feathers) is undoubtedly a rooster. I really hope not. I've had roosters in the past.

The first rooster we had came as a package deal with a little banty hen. He was beautiful, but had "little man syndrome". His name was Rusty, a la The Friendly Giant, for all of my Canadian bloggers.  He was a nasty piece of work. Hated me, hated my son's little red rubber boots, just a horrid little animal. He was rehomed down the road at a farm that had a whole bunch of chickens.

Then the next rooster we had also came as a package deal with a beautiful hen. She was black and white, as was he. He was a gentle giant. He never crowed for the longest time. Then one day we heard him crow and it was astounding. It was like an old fashioned crow, deep and throaty, like a country western singer might put forth, the kind you'd hear in the back ground of an old black and white movie set in the west where homesteaders were carving out a life... you get the idea. His name was Pepper and his "wife" was Salt. Unfortunately, Pepper slowly lost his sight and at the end, just stayed in the coop. He was still eating and drinking but I felt sad for him. Then one fateful, horrible night, a skunk got in the coop (we hadn't closed up it when we normally did because we were out for the evening) and killed Pepper. I didn't even know skunks would do that. It was traumatizing.

Our third rooster was actually three roosters. We bought a "package" of four pretty little buff brahma chickens (at the same big farmer's market where we got all the other rooster deals) and this fiasco ended up being three roosters and one hen. (The three tenors, the three amigos, whatever you wanted to call them) They were fun. You could crow at them and make them crow back at you. They were small, but not feisty. But seriously, nobody needs three roosters. (For the uninformed, you don't need a rooster at all. Chickens naturally lay eggs regardless. Having a rooster just means the eggs can be fertilized and possibly hatched out as chicks).

Anyway.... to get back to the story at hand, the four little birds still weren't interested in going out into their run and after all the work of clearing branches, pulling giant weeds, making the chicken bench, and raking tons of wood chips, I was determined to have them go out and see what they were missing. I managed to catch the biggest of the four and placed it just outside the coop on the little ramp that goes down from the chicken door. It took a few steps down and so that started the process. It called out several distress calls ("Hey!! I'm out here alone! Hey you guys!!) and then one by one the others came out. Within a few hours, they had dug a small chicken sized hole to act as a dust bath and had a roaring good time. I introduced them to the joys of watermelon rinds and they drank water from the outdoor water pan.




Happy happy, cheep, cheep, cheep (they don't cluck yet, they're too young).

But... here's the thing. I really wanted laying hens. With these little ones I will have to wait probably another three months before any eggs are laid. I've already had a five year hiatus from hens. Husband already spent a lot of time making this coop into something great again (This Old Coop, The Coop Mahal...) and I felt things weren't exactly what I envisioned.

Before the weekend, I had been in email contact with a fellow in a town about 45 minutes from here who was selling all six of his young laying hens. He was relocating and didn't want to take them with him. I had offered to buy them, but he was going away for the weekend and I didn't have an appropriate vehicle in which to load up chicken cages, so I had to pass on the purchase. Another person was coming for them before I could make the arrangements.

Today I fired off an email to this fellow and asked out of curiosity if he had ended up selling his hens and he had not. Well, I had the vehicle, so off we went after getting directions. Nowadays, people are allowed to keep backyard hens in towns and this is what he had done. He had a lovely set up for them with a spacious coop and an covered run. He was taking very good care of them. They are red sex link, a kind I am very familiar with, and they are only six months old. They came home with us, and six of their eggs from that morning!

Welcome the six new girls:


Aren't they lovely? Healthy, happy, clucky, fluffy bummed hens. They set to work in the chicken run scratching around, eating some watermelon, and establishing a pecking order. Naturally, they are bigger then the younger hens and will be a bit bossy, but nobody got seriously hurt. Just feelings.

I absolutely cannot wait until I go out tomorrow morning and hopefully find some eggs. I took three of their own eggs and put them in the nesting boxes to get them to make the connection. I'm about to go outside and see if everyone has gone into the coop for the evening. Then I will shut the little door. I hope the little ones are "allowed" to come in by the big ones, otherwise I'll be out there trying to catch them and put them in. (Not a big fan of that. Chickens are notoriously hard to catch).

I am now the proud owner of ten birds. Not out of control, yet.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

New Hens!

We went off on a chicken hunt yesterday. The first place was quite hideous. This couple had a property set back from the road with a ramshackle small barn, an outdoor pen for goats and sheep, and a variety of pieced together chicken coops. The conditions were very crowded, poorly maintained, dirty, and practically all of the birds were missing many feathers. The woman said she had far too many roosters who were very hard on the birds and that she had gotten rid of most of her roosters a little while ago. There was no way on earth I was going to buy any of her birds. She needs to take better care of her very large flock. There were also geese and turkeys, and a handful of cats.

I was disappointed, but husband asked if there was anyone else I had been in communication with, and there was one about 40 minutes in the opposite direction. I emailed him on my cell phone and off we went. This was a fairly young guy who had a smaller amount of birds. He knew the history of his birds, could name some of the varieties, had built nice shelters for them, and many of the birds were free ranging out on the grass. Much better. The rain started to come down and I got soaked standing outside, deciding which ones to take. He was also very good to say that he wasn't totally sure if some of them were hens (or roosters), so we avoided those. I ended up buying four young birds from him. Two of them are about three months old, and two are between three and half to four months old. I still have probably three more months to wait until they begin laying eggs. This really wasn't my intention, but they were healthy looking birds that he clearly looked after.

Here are some pictures of the new girls.


The light "buff" coloured one, and the one at the back of this picture, closest to the wall, are the older two. They are thankfully not too bossy of the younger two.


The one closest is one of the younger ones. She is going to be very pretty with her black and brown feathers.


Here is the other younger one. She is kind of bizarre looking, kind of like a vulture. She has barely any comb, black legs, and occasionally you see a hint of white feathers underneath her wings. We'll see how she develops. She is the smallest of all four, but manages pretty well.


Here are three of them clustered together ready to have a tiny, thirty second snooze. You can see the white feather poking out from the little black hen's wing.


This older brown and black girl was the only one who ate the bits of lettuce I gave them. She is the biggest of all four and will be a very pretty, interesting looking hen.

I spend a ridiculous amount of time sitting in the doorway of the coop, getting them used to my presence, my voice. I want them to be comfortable around people, not a bunch of scaredy cats that will be impossible to handle if need be.

We've opened the little chicken door which has the ramp to lead out into the chicken run. I even put a little food right in the doorway. So far they have pecked at the food, but are not the least bit interested in going outside. Maybe that's a good thing. I want them to think of the coop as home and a safe place so that when they do start to go out in the run, they will automatically go in the coop in the evening. Most of our chickens roosted at night with no problem at all. I want these to be the same (although they are entirely too small to jump up on the lovely roosts that husband built). For now they will be happy to nestle down on the floor in a little cluster.

In terms of what kinds of hens these are, I'm not entirely sure. The young man had some "Easter Eggers" (lay bluish eggs), some Wyandotts, Barred rocks, perhaps some orpingtons, and then mixes of those. We shall see...

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Executive Coop Accommodations Ready for Occupants

We've been very busy lately. August, with all of it's crickety, hot, harvesty wonderfulness is definitely upon us. A quick garden tour to show you such a pretty combination right now:


Black eyed Susan and Russian sage make a very nice impact with opposite colours and leaf variations. Even though I rip out hundreds of Black eyed Susans every year, I am glad for the ones that still remain because they are such a nice punch of colour right now.


This old Hansa rose was, I thought, deader than a doornail this spring, so I just chopped everything off. Well surprise, surprise, it put forth new growth and is now blooming. Don't you wish that happened with hair? Chop it all off and it comes back better than ever?


Just a little sampling of garden produce at the moment. I now also have some regular sized tomatoes ready to pick.

But here is what is really making me excited (although, a ripe tomato does make my heart flutter). My dear husband has revamped the "old" chicken coop which had not housed chickens for five years (holy squirrels and mice, batman!!) and of course, with everything on our property it became an avalanche project. Far more had to be done to it to turn it into the Executive Coop Accommodations that it is now.


Fresh coat of paint on the door (no, not really necessary...) and the signs that were already there. The rooster on the door was also touched up. The black stuff overhanging the door will be cut off after the last of the metal trim gets put on the edges of the roof.


The wood chips have been spread out in the chicken run, leaving some grass at one end, too. That garden bench was destined for the burn pile (it had rotted and was coming apart at the joints), but I asked husband to cut the legs off a little (don't want it so high that the birds are tempted to fly out overtop of the fence) and do a little patch job at one side to hold it together. Voila! Now it is a cute chicken perch in their run.


The new and improved coop now includes some features like removeable nesting boxes to make for easier cleaning. Husband whipped this up for me after I showed him some ideas on Pinterest. The only thing left to do is to put on a steeply sloping top to prevent them from roosting up there (i.e. pooping on top).


A closer look. This was pretty much constructed with all leftover materials we had on hand (except the boxes which are Dollerama finds - easy to replace if necessary).


The old coop used to have a single roost (going a different direction), but I really like the double roost. We are also hanging the feeder and waterer from the ceiling. We used to have them just set up on blocks on the floor of the coop, but the chickens flung a lot of bedding into them and they always had to be cleaned out. I'm hoping this method works better.


The roost is made out of small trunks of trees that were cut down on the property when we had the woodchipper last weekend.


This is awfully exciting. It's a light switch... right beside the door!! We used to have a light on the ceiling with a pull cord. You would go out there after dark and swing your hand around in the air until you grasped onto the cord. Now there is a beautiful new, easy to find, use your elbow if you have to, light switch. Husband is a very talented guy!

So.... I have been on a chicken quest for a while now. You would be amazed at how hard it is to buy chickens. I wanted interesting, pretty birds. I really don't want to have to drive an hour and half to go look at chickens and decide if I want to buy them. I am not interested in raising chicks and waiting five months for them to lay. Been there, done that. I'm not all that keen on spending $30 for a single chicken (chanticleer, if I'm spelling that right). But today, I am going to go look at some hens that a lady is selling. We shall see. When we first started out, we purchased some Rhode Island Reds out of a trailer from some guys who were more than willing to part with them. Little did we know these were probably hens culled from their own flock for obvious reasons (too old, egg eaters, feather pickers...). Oh well, we kept them and they did lay (not all of them) and we gave them a good home for their entire lifespans, but we got smarter over the years (although that one trip to the farmer's market when we bought four lovely little Brahmas and they ended up being three roosters and a hen didn't attest to our chicken intelligence much). I don't want any roosters anymore. Some of them have "little man syndrome" and I don't need any more hassles in my life. I think six would be the perfect number of hens. Enough eggs for us and some extra to give away to friends or sell to co-workers occasionally.

I will let you know how today's chicken purchases (or not) go. Possible pictures to follow of hens in their new Executive Coop Accommodations!

Sunday, 5 August 2018

The Beast

Welcome to Woodchipper Weekend! Friday afternoon, we picked up the woodchipper we rented from a rental company in a nearby town. We needed to use the vehicle with the tow hitch on it because that's how this thing got home. We put it into position by the enormous brush pile and then it began to rain. A little rain wouldn't have stopped us, but this was big, fat rain. The skies opened, the thunder rumbled and it continued in this way for the rest of the day, it seemed. We did not chip wood on Friday.

Saturday morning began beautifully. The sun was shining, the birds we singing, and we were going to get rid of the enormous brush pile! Happy day!!



There it is. Isn't it a beaut? I know it might be a little difficult to get a perspective on how big that pile is.  


There is a different shot. The pile goes around the corner of the chicken run (you can see fence posts to the right of the pile). What's that yellow thing in the picture? That would be the Beast!


The woodchipper is like a snowblower, but scarier. It is sitting in front of the now almost completely refurbished chicken coop that my wonderful husband has been working on just because I said to him, "I kind of miss having chickens."

Before we get started chipping, I'd like to show you some pictures from the side of the Beast.


Holy crap!! How's that for some images!

In all actuality, there are some great safety features that keep most idiot humans from feeding themselves into the woodchipper. (Anyone seen Fargo?)

Truthfully, it was AWESOME. You stick a huge branch / limb in there, and it just grabs it and chews it up and spits it out. We went through that brush pile in no time! What was left was actually a relatively small pile of chips.

Then we began more cutting and trimming and lopping until we had another pile. Husband did a good job of cutting off dead limbs from our very old apple tree. (This is the apple tree that only seriously produces every other year and we don't use the apples because they are quite soft, not a good flavour and we don't spray for any kind of insects. I just keep raking the apples up and dumping them. ) Now, of course, that it has been pruned, I'm sure it will produce even more useless apples. Husband keeps saying he is going to learn to make cider. But that's another project...


Can you see him? He's on the blue ladder. It's like the children's book, "Each, Peach, Plum, Pear". Oh how I love that book. He's using a Saws-All because we don't have a big chainsaw. We are very adaptable here.


In a little while (in the above 30 degree heat) we had created another big pile. The Beast easily ate that up and spit it out, too.


These are some of the woodchips that ended up in the chicken run - not as much as you would think. Today will be a finish up day with a bit more cutting and a whole lot of raking to clean up the bits of branches that have accumulated all over our immaculate lawn (eye roll).  Because this is a holiday weekend with Monday being a civic holiday, we don't have to return the Beast until Tuesday morning. It is so satisfying to use, I'm a little afraid we might start cutting down trees just to see them being fed through and reduced to tiny bits!

Thursday, 2 August 2018

A Summer Questionnaire, or Stealing Jeanie's Post

I so enjoyed reading Jeanie's answers on her blog, The Marmelade Gypsy that I asked if I could do the same thing. There is a series of questions that I will attempt to answer, but it is always tough for me to make final decisions because there are so many variables out there. Jeanie included wonderful pictures with hers. I think mine will just be text. Here goes:

1. Walk, Bike, or Ride?  Being as I live in a really rural area and nothing is within walking distance, except maybe the post office, my answer would be ride, as in my vehicle. (Love my "new to me" Toyota Rav 4, by the way).

2. Favourite picnic food:  We honestly haven't done an actual, proper picnic for years. So, instead I will describe what our little family would do when we would visit a farmer's market during the summer. When the kids were little, we would go to this very large market (which also includes livestock sales) and wander around, look at the animals, and purchase specific food items: yellow plums, a baguette, pepperoni-type sausages, maybe cherries, and something to drink (my daughter claims it was rootbeer). We would go to where we had parked our vehicle, open up the back and have an outdoor picnic of our purchases.

3. Pool or lake?  We have a pool, so I would have to say pool because you can lounge, not worry about sand, grab a drink from the pool fridge, and not have to navigate the crowds at a beach. However, we have Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes about a 40 minute drive from here and have some wonderful family memories of Sauble Beach and Port Elgin.

4. Favourite flavour of ice cream?  See now, that's a particularly hard one. That's like asking who is your favourite child? If I am in the mood for ice cream, and had to narrow it down, I especially love a Dairy Queen Smarties Blizzard, but I also love a chocolate dipped soft swirly vanilla ice cream in a cone.  (It's the combination of crunch and smooth!)

5. Ice cream cone or in a dish?  Well a blizzard comes in a cup. If I was having a scoop of ice cream at an ice cream place where you choose from many wonderful choices, I would probably have a waffle cone.

6. Flip flops or slides?  Here is something you don't know about me. I have to be particular about my shoes due to an old annoying knee thing. If my shoes are too flat (which can be said about most flip flops), my knee will be giving me pain within minutes. So whatever I wear has to have a bit of a heel (I'm not talking high heels, but just not flat). As well, I can't wear any of these new ultra comfortable shoes that have a squishy sole to them because of knee pain as well. To top it off, my feet are fairly narrow, so slides have to be fitted, otherwise I "slide" around in them.  My current favourite is a pair of birkenstocks that go between the toes. I love shoes, but have to do a lot of trying on before I find ones that will suit me.

7. Jean shorts or jean capris?  As with Jeanie, either one, but if they are capris, they must go beyond the knee, otherwise I look like my mother. Dark denim preferably.

8. Favourite summer fruit? Again, who is your favourite child?  Strawberries in season, not shipped from Mexico and the consistently of a golf ball. Peaches - oh dear lord, peaches. Yellow plums that are perfectly ripe. Dark cherries - there is a bowl on my counter top right now that is full of huge, delicious dark cherries and I grab one or two every time I walk through the kitchen.

9. Corn on the cob, or cut off the cob?  One the cob, please. Must have butter (or margarine) and salt. Haven't had my first "feed" of local sweet corn yet, but soon! Sweet corn and fresh tomatoes - nothing says August better!

10. Favourite summertime song?  I decided to narrow it down to two songs, but there are so many from my youth (misspent youth?) - Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts  and Heat Wave by Martha and the Vandellas.

11. Favourite summertime activity? I would probably say just getting together with friends, having a barbecue, sitting outside, relaxing. Second to that would be vegetable gardening and eating what I have grown.

12. Favourite berry?  I would say strawberry but only local (as in my own back yard). Second place would be blueberry for things like putting on my cereal, having with oatmeal/eggwhite pancakes, or blueberry desserts.

13. Bikinis, tankinis, or one piece?  I have NEVER been a confident bathing suit person. I always wanted to be one of those thin easy going gals who could just frolic around in a bikini, but I never was. I have worn two piece bathing suits but usually on vacations to the Dominican Republic or Cuba where I am in a crowd of many, but ridiculously still feel self-conscious. Now I am more likely to go tankini. I have black bottoms that I pair up with a variety of tops. I do own a couple of one-piece bathing suits, but quite frankly, ladies, am I right in saying that they are a pain in the neck when you have to go to the bathroom? Just putting that out there.

14. Dresses or skirts?  In nice weather, dresses, for sure. I love the ease of putting on one piece of clothing. In fall or winter, (i.e. most of our year), slim skirts which I like to pair up with a great pair of boots (think riding boots).

15. One word to describe summer?  Glorious!

Thanks for letting me steal your questionnaire, Jeanie (and I think you mention you got it from someone else's blog, too). Happy summer, everyone!