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Tuesday, June 24, 2014


She has a name. Miri. It's a type of pretty little flower. But we call her Kitty. Perhaps it's because my octogenarian grandparents called their black cat "Kitty" when I was growing up. At any rate, Kitty is my first cat. I'm terribly allergic to cats and so is Dave.  I didn't want a cat. But Evan did. So when we moved into this house with it's huge window well right outside his basement window, I relented. The Broadbents had kittens. They would give us one. For free. FINE. It stays OUTSIDE.  That was the deal. Outside cat.

We've had her now for four years. And I like her. Granted, she does not do a happy dance when I get home like the dog does. I mean I get the happy dance from the dog even if I have only been gone 20 minutes. No, on the other hand, Kitty often looks at me like I am not very bright. But here's what I like:
She stays outside. She roams the fields and chases mice. She doesn't usually bring us the mice, which I appreciate. When I sit on the deck with my tea, she comes over and sits with me. Or flops over and lays on her back, showing off her white belly. Or she plays with the ties on the seat cushion of my chair. In the yard, she sits up on the fence post and curls her tail around the post. So picturesque. I love it.
Her relationship with the dog is interesting. Early on I had to coach the dog not to kill her. This took a while. But now Kitty can walk up and sit right next to the dog. Sometimes the dog is ok with this. And sometimes not. The dog growls at her. And chases her out of the yard. But every night, especially through the long cold winter, they curl up together in the dog's house. Sweet.

Often, when I'm at my kitchen sink, I look out the back door and see this:
Kitty is very low-maintenance and brings me lots of smiles. That's a pretty good bargain.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

All cooped up

So...the idea here is that all the chickens live in harmony together in this wonderful coop. Evelyn, however, is way older than the chicks and likes to throw her weight around. After she battled with Sunny D and bloodied his comb and attacked Puff and left her wing and side bloody, I realized that this was not going to work. So I now keep Evelyn separate. She free ranges during the day and at night I lock the Littles in the coop and let Evelyn into the run. She has a temporary box under the coop in which she sleeps. Sunny D is now the one on the roost at night and the hens snuggle together on the floor. I think he is pretty proud of himself!
So now the really entertaining aspect of all this is that the kitty stalks Evelyn practically all day every day. The kitty watches the Littles, too, like a cat watches goldfish. But with Evelyn she can actually have some fun, getting her to flap and squawk and run away.
Evelyn hangs around the run all day, wondering how to get in. We will try it again in a couple months when the Littles are as big as Evelyn.

Coop de ville

view from kitchen window

view from other side

removable back panel reveals the roost ladder... water and food hang below
nesting boxes - only need one box for every four hens

Sunday, June 19, 2011

This just makes me happy...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Finishing the coop

Evan and Sam Streeter shingle the roof.

Dave and Uncle Vern join them for the big move from the garage to the yard.

And on goes the roof...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I hate it when I turn out to be a rooster!!

The kids picked out my birthday chicks, two for me and one for each of them. Turns out that Hannah, Emma and AJ all picked roosters. Willie has been acting like a rooster from day one and has been crowing for couple weeks. Ernie started crowing this week. Sunny D has a handsome red comb on his head and crows... lots! Much as I like these chickens, I only want one rooster. The Billings Backyard Initiative group has the names of people who will adopt "hapless roosters." Due to his charming personality and cute cheek feathers, I decided to keep Sunny D. So today we packed up Willie and Ernie and are taking them to their home in the country. Emma and AJ are smiling bravely for the camera, but naturally they are a little bummed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chicken Pox / Chicken Coop


So, it seems that our family has come down with the chicken pox. Well, Dave and I have it, and so do Emma and Evan. Dave and I had chicken pox as kids, and I had a round of it in '07 along with Hannah and Evan. All 4 kids have been vaccinated. Yet here we are. There is much speculation about whether it is REALLY chicken pox. The doctor thinks so and the pox look and act exactly like chicken pox. No, we haven't all had fevers. And we can't be 100% sure. But the end result is that we are staying home, all of us, together, which is really quite nice. No racing about, just staying home. I'm rather enjoying it!

Dave and Evan are taking advantage of the clear schedule to build the chicken coop!

Day 1

Day 2

The little chicks are looking more and more like little chickens! They each have a unique personality and we could watch them endlessly.

Winnie is huge and we are certain he is a rooster. Sunny D is smaller, but he kind of acts roosterish. Since Hannah picked him out, she will argue vehemently that "he" is a "she." But boy or girl, Sunny has these crazy cheek feathers that stick straight out, so you can't help but crack up if he/she looks at you head-on...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chicken Coop Plans

Dave and Evan review their materials list. They plan to build the coop soon as it quits raining!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Best Birthday Present Ever!

Six weeks ago, on my birthday, the kids and Dave gave me 6 adorable chicks! This is fantastic for several reasons:

  • they are adorable and fun to play with...                   
  • they will grow up to lay eggs if they are fortunate enough to be hens....
  • and....the fact that Dave gave them to me means that he also intends to build me a coop, requiring little or no begging on my part!!

Allow me  to introduce...

                      April 15                                                                               May 30                                                  



Sunny D

and then there's EVELYN.


Evelyn belonged to Hannah's horse coach, Amy. Evelyn was Amy's smallest chicken and was being picked on by the other chickens. Amy asked us to take her. She has found a nice place to roost on Dave's bike. She seems to be doing well...she lays an egg every 1-2 days.

Now the big question is...are any of the little chicks roosters? We can't tell yet!! We think maybe Winnie (aka Willie) and maybe Puff. Possibly Ernie and possibly Sunny D. No way on Piper and Suey (formerly Stewie.) Stay tuned!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cornrows + extentions (by Lana)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

and that's the TOOTH!

When AJ was in Ethiopia, we noticed with dismay that in every picture they sent us, AJ was missing one more tooth! Now, in the year he's been home, he hasn't lost ANY! Until today!! In Ethiopia, apparently they take the tooth outside and "trow" it up - I've heard "we trow it on the roof" or "we trow it at the moon." So today's tooth is AJ's first one that the tooth fairy will find. Hope the tooth fairy is on the ball!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home Sweet Home-School

I started homeschooling AJ today. He started at Independent School in the fall as a first grader. All summer long I kept talking to him about going to the "big school." He said he'd rather not. I assured him again and again that it would be fine. I met with his teacher soon after school started to make sure he was doing fine and was placed in the right grade. She said he was doing great, learning lots, and making friends. The teachers and kids just loved him.

So what went wrong? He continued to not want to go. He started to become obsessed about the time. Whenever we went somewhere, he'd ask "What time is it?" "What time will we be home?" He'd ask this over and over. The seven hours away from home every schoolday seemed to be taking a toll. In addition, AJ's anxiety about going to school increased. On every school night at bedtime, his stomach was knotted up. Same thing on the way to school. He wouldn't cry or get angry, but would sadly sit in his seat clutching his stomach with a dismayed look on his face. By the time he got out of the car and got in line, he was smiling and talking to the other kids. I began to see that he was coping. Coping very well. Just like he has coped with all the other situations into which he has been thrown. But I don't want him to cope. I want him to thrive. I could see that his feelings of security were wrapped up in being at home. So I began to make arrangements to homeschool him.
AJ is actually very fun to teach. He is internally motivated to do a careful job with his work. The main challenge is getting him going in an activity. Once engaged, he wants to do the job well. We had a good first week. We were at co-op on Monday and at home on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. On my work day, Thursday, AJ went to Grandma's and then to Sue's. As much as he loves both Grandma and Sue, he still wanted to be at home on Thursday. It's going to take a while to get this ship turned around and to re-establish that he is safe, even away from home.

Friday, December 10, 2010

By the chimney with care...

My dad's older cousin, Marnie, made me a stocking when I was little. I loved it because it was big and could hold lots of treasures! When I married Dave, Marnie made him a stocking. And when Hannah was born, here came her stocking. And then one for Evan, and then Emma. Marnie is in her eighties now. "Hey Dad?" I asked earlier this year, "can you ask Marnie to make AJ a stocking?" And then I waited. And worried. What would I do if no stocking arrived for AJ? I could get one for him that doesn't match. Or switch everyone to new stockings. But I love the retro look of these stockings. And they are nice and big. Sigh.

Lo and behold the new stocking arrived today! I hung it on the hook we put up last year as we waited for AJ. The fireplace looks great with three stockings on each side.

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