Sunday, 19 May 2019

Four New Hens and gardening

The four new hens are doing well. This time I'm actually doing it right. First, they were set, still in their large cage, beside the chicken run, so everyone could see each other.

Cue the music , "Getting to Knoooowww You, Getting to know all about you..."  Then super high tech feeding and watering stations were installed in the cage (empty plastic tubs with holes cut in them so they could be wired into the corners).

After a little while, the cage was moved into the run for closer inspection.

That's almost-bald Lacey checking them out. She was the unfortunate favourite of the two big roosters.

Here's a close up.

They are good looking birds and are even a bit bigger than our three that we've had for several months now. Nobody has laid an egg yet, but I'm not too worried about that.

Last night, the cage was carried into the coop and everyone shared accommodations. This morning, the cage came back outside, shaded now that it is actually a sunny day. I think by tomorrow, everyone will be well introduced and I can let them out of the cage to roam around.

Ooops, I hit publish and realized I hadn't written about the gardening part. I've been in my vegetable garden today. It is shamefully covered in weeds and grass. Bit by bit I am getting rid of unwanted greenery. I am alternating between standing and bending over, kneeling on a pad, and sitting on a little stool. That helps my lower back from seizing up too badly. Next, I am taking a break from that to tackle the scary barbecue that is messy from last fall and has disintegrating parts. I really want to put some meat on the grill tonight for supper, so a clean up and possibly a part replacement is in order.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

May 18, Victoria Day Weekend

I was up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 this morning. According to my Fitbit, I had very restless sleep and only slept in one hour stints between being restless or awake. Fabulous. Oh well, might as well be up now rather than continue to fight it.
Just got up for the kettle - I have coffee now. All is good.

Mother's Day was this past Sunday and it was very nice. I received very thoughtful gifts from both children and my husband. Daughter made butter chicken and rice with naan bread (one of my favourites), so I didn't have to cook. Lunch was out at a local little restaurant with husband's mother. She appreciated the chance to be out and enjoyed her meal.

The weather (yes... I'm talking about the weather) has been cold, rainy, rainy, and more rainy and then cold. I am sooooo far behind on weeding, cutting back perennials that I didn't get to in the Fall, and whipper snipping around the fences and edges. Ughhhh. Maybe some will get accomplished this long weekend. (Although, it's calling for rain).

I've been on a quest for a few more chickens. I was down to three sad, partially bald laying hens after finally getting rid of the two roosters. One of them keeps laying eggs with very delicate shells which break in the nesting box. I've starting giving her extra calcium, so we'll see if it helps soon. I called up a hatchery (Frey's) that also sells ready-to-lay pullets. I was told they were back ordered, at least for the interesting kinds I wanted which were barred rocks and Columbian rocks. Then I tried the local co-op, but they get their birds from Freys and I was told forget it until September. That made me very sad.

I went looking on Kijiji (an online buy and sell site) and found a few options, but then remembered that it didn't go so well the last time I did that, with birds that I believe were carriers of a respiratory disease, and three roosters!

Finally after mucking around on a site called Backyard Chickens, I found out about a place called Pullets Plus about an hour and a half away from here. They sell either brown or white pullets. Yawn. However, they are open on Saturdays until 3:00 and have birds available now. So... later today hubby and I will go on a "chicken roadtrip / date" and pick up a few brown hens. I will still keep my name in for September for the other more interesting breeds, but for now, little brown hens will be fine.

In anticipation of the new girls, after work last night, I cleaned out my chicken coop, washed and disinfected feeders, waterers, and nesting boxes (which are actually just plastic bins from Dollerama, but work remarkably well, especially in terms of keeping them clean), laid down fresh shavings, and gave the girls a good talking to about being nice to the newcomers. This is wishful thinking as I know there will be an established pecking order and an adjustment period. I just hope nobody gets too severely bullied.

This weekend is Victoria Day weekend, with Monday being a holiday. Many folk like to go camping this weekend, weather it be in trailers, RVs or tents. None of these are our thing, but good on those who do. In my classroom, I had students away to get going on an early camping weekend with their families. We will get together with friends tonight after supper for drinks and a fire. I'm going to make a hot cheesy dip to bring along.

My ant issue continues (for those of you who actually remember that I had an issue with ants in my house). I thought they were limited to one area in the kitchen. Nope, now they have migrated to the den. I currently have a spray bottle of Lysol cleanser and a roll of paper towel ready to attack every time I see more of the little buggers "go marching two by two hurrah, hurrah". For the record, liquid ant poison and little round ant traps do not work.

The fox that showed up on our back porch continues to be seen around our area. I have no idea why it wants to hang around this vicinity. There is a lot of human commotion happening. We are always coming and going, and the new house which is built kitty corner to us has lots of action and people all day long. It could have a huge woods to reside in if it just walked five minutes to the south. I don't exactly know where its den is, or if it is male or female, but I would really like for it to change locations. I am not worried about the chickens during the day. They are in an enclosed run. If we are home, the chickens are closed up in their coop by about 8:00 in the evening. However, there are times when we are out, and the kids are out, and we aren't around right at roosting time to close them up. I have no doubt that a fox could scale the fence and pop in the little door. Oh well, nothing I can do about those times except maybe try to heard the hens in early, before we leave.

We watched the final episode of Big Bang Theory and daughter and I had a cry at the end. I enjoyed it and recorded it every week so I could watch it. But I think there were series that were more meaningful to me. I was a religious Seinfeld watcher and still reference the show (low talker, man hands, spare a square, working on the Pensky file...). I remember the last episode of MASH. Now that was a tear jerker! As an eighties gal, my shows that I watched were things like Magnum PI, Hillstreet Blues, St. Elsewhere, WKRP in Cincinnati, Cheers, Soap, Unsolved Mysteries... I didn't get into any of the night time soaps like Dallas. One thing I can't abide with these days are the so called reality tv shows which are just staged competitive ridiculous fluff, such as The Bachelor, or Naked and Afraid. Seriously, who came up with that concept??

It's now 6:20 a.m. and the sun is starting to shine in my windows a bit. That's nice to see. I'm going to start to catch up on some of your blogs now and finish my coffee. I'll leave you with some morning tulips that have just stated to show their colour, a bright little forsythia, and the girls  just starting their day.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

May 3, 2019

My baby girl turned 23. We had a wonderful time celebrating her birthday. She wanted to go out to eat somewhere, and as she is the social media, tourism, knower of all things interesting, we asked her to decide where she wanted to go. She thought Cowbell Brewery would be fun. This is a fairly new place that features its own craft brewery on site and has a large restaurant. When reservations were first made, they were so booked up that we had to have an 8:30 p.m. time. That's pretty late for a Friday night, when I figured I'd be ready to fall asleep within a couple of hours of that, and then they called back as they had a cancellation, so we were able to have an earlier time. At first, son was booked to work, but he was able to switch, so he was available to join us as well.

Cowbell is about an hour away from us, so we had to start out ahead of time. The food is fantastic there! They have their own wood fired pizza oven, so their pizzas are amazing. Four of us had pizzas and daughter had a lamb burger. Of course, the big thing there is their own beer with all kinds of inventive names. I had a glass of Absent Landlord. The three "kids" had flights (four different kinds of beer in smaller amounts, so you can try a variety and see what you like), and husband had a dark beer called Fly Girl.

Daughter and boyfriend. You can see their flights in front of them in nifty rustic wooden holders. They write the names of the beer on the wood.

Mother and daughter. That is my "Absent Landlord" pizza with pulled pork and crispy onions on it. I brought half of it home with me.

Father and son. Son's pizza was like a cheese burger. Husband had the meat lovers (predictably! ). We had lots of laughs and daughter and boyfriend ran into a couple of friends and associates. We amused and maybe shocked daughter with stories of the day and event of her birth. Husband told her how she was such a conehead baby when he first saw her that he was afraid there was something wrong with her! As you can tell, her head went back to a normal shape. We also told her how husband was in such a fluster that day, that he ran out of gas when driving home from the hospital and had to walk to a gas station to get gas. (Good thing it didn't happen on the way to the hospital!)

The facilities are amazing. We've toured a brewery before, but not this one. You can see much of it from the restaurant, and the rest you can take a self-guided, or guided tour of.

They surprised daughter with a birthday desert which she shared with all of us, because the standard chocolate birthday cake was waiting at home for later. We were absolutely stuffed!

When we got home quite a bit later, it was time for cake.

Try as I might to get a "nice" picture, this is as close as I got.

Not to be forgotten, we pulled up the chair and Samson took his rightful place.

He did not partake in cake. He was expecting some kind of handout.

Today (May 4, yes, May the fourth be with you...), is supposed to be much nicer weather than the rainy cold crud we've been having. I'm in desperate need to outdoor yardwork time. So many things to cut back, clear up, weed, and dig. Hope you all have a good weekend as well!

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Happy happy, joy joy

The post title is a reference to the Ren and Stimpy show. They had a "Happy happy, joy, joy" song. Why am I thinking of that? Someone came two nights ago and took my roosters away!!

Oh yes, people, I no longer have to arm myself with a shovel to go into my little chicken coop. Above is a picture of Bruce when he was a bit younger and slightly less of a jerk. My three, poor, sweet little hens can now begin the process of regrowing their feathers. I no longer have to hear crowing at 6:00 a.m. (or earlier). Life is good. As I watched this guy from a nearby community walking across my back lawn with both roosters in his arms (how the hell did he do that????) I was imagining the na na na na, hey, hey, hey, goodbye song...

Plans are now in place to call up a hatchery and arrange to pick up some "ready to lay" pullets. I'm wanting Barred Plymouth Rocks and Columbian Rocks. They are both pretty kinds of chickens and known for their nice temperament. After putting up with Bruce the bully, I'm ready for nice hens.

On a different note, I am looking out at SNOW again this morning. Dear god, will it never end? The wind was blowing like crazy last night, still is in fact, and I am well and truly ready for the real Spring. I always feel sorry for the crocus and tulips that are starting to come up and get blasted by snow.

I think the battery in my smoke detector is dying because every few minutes, it blasts a few blasts and then stops. It is in an out of the way spot in the kitchen ceiling, so I am putting up with it until husband gets up this morning and climbs on a ladder to replace the battery. It is scaring the cat, however.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Easter gathering and the lemon cake

Easter Sunday ended up being just lovely. The weather was the nicest it's been in a while. It's been raining like pre-ark times and husband had two pumps going in the basement (gotta love an old house). The weather cleared yesterday and you were actually able to be outside without a coat, enjoying the sun.

The meal turned out well with this year's  addition of a 1970's jello "salad" receiving mixed reviews. It was called Creamsicle Salad. The general consensus was that it wasn't bad, just didn't really have a place alongside turkey and stuffing. I don't think I'll do it again, and although daughter's idea of doing a regular post featuring a new retro jello-based salad each week was a fun one, I don't see me taking the time. The fact is that I don't even like jello, and I can't see me forcing my family to eat one of these concoctions each week. BUT  if I did, my first one would be the one we found in my old spiral bound church ladies' cookbook from my hometown called, Green Grotto Salad. Ready? Here are the ingredients:
-1  3 oz package lime jello
-1  3/4 cups boiling water
-dash of salt
-3 tbls vinegar
-1 cup chopped celery
-1/4 cup chopped stuffed olives
-1 cup chopped cucumber
-1  7oz can flaked tuna (!!!!)
-3/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
I am not going to include the directions because I don't want anyone to actually make this stuff. What the  hell were people thinking back then?? Please share your jello salad memories with me!

Anyway, the lemon cake I wrote about in the previous post was a success and a keeper. It was perfectly lemony and I will make it again. Here is a link to where I found it on Pinterest if you are interested.

       Here it is after coming out of the springform pan and being stabbed with my favourite paring knife. After that you brush it with a lemony syrup you cook up on the stove so it soaks into the cake.

The lemon butter cream icing was perfect!

Easter morning, I did have to wake both kids up (so different from when they were little and would eagerly wake up early to see what the Easter bunny left for them). I think they still liked receiving a little something.

We spent a little time chicken watching outside and giving them dandelion greens which are their favourite. We ate too much and enjoyed a good visit. Nana had a nice time and is always happy when she gets to see her grandkids. By the end of the evening, we were all completely full and lethargic, feeling much like this:

Friday, 19 April 2019

Easter weekend

I have a confession to make. I'm a binger. Let's just get that right out in the open. Easter is one of my favourite times of the year. I still get Easter treats for my two children, ages 19 and 22. Unfortunately that means that I have a bag of Easter treats in the house, over which I have no control. I do not understand those who can "just have one". I wish I could "just have one". But I don't, and then I hate myself, until the next time I open the bag. So, there you have it. That's my dirty little secret. I can't be the only one. You do not have to confess if you don't want to.

Today is Good Friday, for which I have a holiday from work. How am I going to spend it? I am going to clean, and purge. Sometimes when I feel like life is getting away from me and I am discontented about certain aspects of it, I feel the need to take control, even if it is in a small way. So, today I am going to take control of the cleanliness of my house. Here's another confession: I do not regularly clean my house from top to bottom (gasp!). I tend to spot clean, like an old person who has trouble getting in and out of the bath, I only do what's necessary.  Also, since we haven't had company for several weeks, I've not had to do that flurry of cleaning one does when company is coming.

Daughter is being picked up by husband today. She is wrapping up university for another year and will be arriving home with various boxes and bags. Her room is largely unused while she is away, apart from me setting up two drying racks for my clothes that I don't put in the dryer (which is mostly all of them). So I will be freshening thoroughly cleaning her room, stripping and washing the bedding, maybe even squirting a little Windex on the windows.

I'm planning on washing everyone's bedding today. I wish I could hang it all outside on the clothesline, because there is nothing better than sheets that were hung outside, but it is raining today, and the bungalow-sized mountain of turkey manure that's been steaming away for the past several months in the field beside our property has been spread and to say that the air around us is "pungent" is an understatement.

So I shall clean and vacuum and scrub and dust (my least favourite part) until my lower back screams at me. And then I will be content and perhaps stop eating Easter candy.

On a different note, I have an influx of tiny ants. This sometimes happens. I have put little dollops of Antout (ant poison) on their little highway system and have watched them gather to drink like miniature wildebeest at the watering hole. What I really want to do is squish every single one that I see, but the idea is that they take the poison back to wherever they came from and share it with all their friends and relatives thereby wiping out the whole community. It hasn't happened yet. I've had ants now for about a week. I might start squishing soon.

I bought a pre-stuffed frozen turkey last week to have on Easter Sunday (my secret weapon for all large gatherings - the cook-from-frozen pre-stuffed turkey!). It actually won't be all that large of a gathering: our four, daughter's boyfriend, maybe son's girlfriend if he ever gets around to actually asking her if she's able to come on Sunday, and of course, we'll spring Nana from "the home". I'm planning on baking a lemon cake (love lemon desserts in the Spring - maybe it's the colour?) using a new recipe I haven't tried before. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Pets and Others

I commented on Rachel's blog when she briefly posted about all four of her cats being in the house at once. (They are all lovely black cats, by the way). I thought I would chime in that I found feathers this morning. In my kitchen. And that I hadn't found the bird yet. Sigh. Let me tell you about it.

As you may know, we thought it was a good idea to install a cat door.

Right, so, I'm always the first one up in the morning. I came downstairs and saw little fluffy downy feathers on the kitchen floor. I think I said something like, "Oh god, where is the bird? What have you done with the bird?" Scooter had no reply and just wanted to be let out (yes, I realize what I just wrote - yes, we still open the door(s) for the cats even though they have a cat door). I did a quick look about and did not see any bird, or part of a bird. I pondered about the possibility that the bird was eaten - completely consumed- and thought that was highly unlikely. Trust me when I say I have a variety of stories about body parts found on our porch mat, and in the hallway, and in the kitchen...

After a shower, doing my face, fighting my hair fight, coffee, raisin bran, and reading a few blogs (and commenting on Rachel's), I went upstairs to get dressed for work. As I came up the stairs and rounded toward the front hall, I saw a bird on the windowsill. It was a little brown wren. It jumped up and bounced off the window. My husband was in the bedroom and I told him what I saw. I was all ready to grab a shirt out of the laundry basket, creep up to the little bird, and catch it in the shirt, take it downstairs, and take it outside. Husband suggested we just open the window and take out the screen. Fine. Do it your way. His way worked fine.

The bird seemed totally fine, by the way.

As I was bemoaning the whole cat door decision, husband then shared with me that  he had been sitting in the livingroom,  alone, very quiet, no tv or radio on, no clanging about in the kitchen. He was on his laptop and heard a meow. This was a meow he did not recognize. He heard the "clinking" sound of a cat eating dry cat food out of a bowl. He got up and quietly walked out to the kitchen. That's when he saw "orange cat" eating cat food, as calm as can be.

We don't own an orange cat.

He looked up, saw husband, and ran away, undoubtedly out the cat door. He obviously gets the concepts of going in the cat door. We've seen orange cat around. In fact, he has been in the house twice before. Once when just our son was home, and once when husband came home from something and walked into the livingroom to see him on the windowsill, inside, looking out. Both times he took off in a hurry. I'm not a fan of orange cat. We already have two cats. We are not looking to adopt. But I think we've been adopted. Who knows, maybe he's the one who brought the bird in the house!