Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I can do random

In fact, random thoughts are what I do best. And one such thought has been "who designated Tuesdays as random in blogdom?" Well, thanks to Captain Dumbass, today I found out that it is apparently Keely, the Un Mom.


So, let's start in this direction and then circle around, I guess. Oops, that might be too much planning for randomness! Which makes me think of something else- my total inability to plant flowers in anything other than straight lines. I'll have a flat of marigolds and plant them hither and yon, then stand back and see that I have merely placed them in offset rows. My brain insists on seeing patterns I guess.

Where I meant to start was with the hens. Haven't lost any of the new ones yet. Did you notice the qualifier? Yes, the barred rock that was hurt when Floyd bit the dust finally succumbed to her (apparently internal) injuries. Darn. So the hen count stands at 10, plus the rooster-that-may-disappear-if-he doesn't-wise up.

We were warned by his former owners that he had attacked the man, yet would eat from the lady's hand. He was all bowing and scraping to us the first few days, while he scoped out the situation. Then, after bringing out scraps for his flock, J turned away and the rooster attacked. Ameranth warned her father in time for him to deflect the first charge. Unarmed, J held his foot out to ward off the rooster, who flared his straggly neck feathers and shifted his head from side to side, like Steve Martin doing the King Tut dance.

There were two more encounters, but J had armed himself and the rooster seems to have conceded the Cock of the Walk title to him. We still hear eerie sounds once in awhile from the rooster, soft high-pitched cries which sound strangely like the music in a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, just before the showdown.

The Un Mom's post today mentions zombies, which is a subject that comes up surprisingly often in our household. Sectaurs, Ameranth and even Shoeshine have an inordinate amount of "zombie facts" in their strange brains, as does their father. I take no credit for this, he can have it all! Besides the movies, which we all know should be considered documentaries, not science fiction, J has a handy book (courtesy of Sectaurs, I believe) which exposes the weaknesses of zombies and gives helpful hints on how to survive an attack. I rely on their expertise to save me if hell freezes over when the zombies come. I think the fundamental rules are run (zombies are notoriously slow shufflers) and have a two story tower, since zombies can't climb. That, and from what I've seen on TV, have a shotgun. Check on the weapon, no tower yet.

Life with three dogs here has been....interesting. Two people walking the three dogs is reminiscent of road trips with 4 kids. No one wants to be in the middle and they bite and snarl if one 'accidentally' bumps the other. Boomer had to go back to his Gentle Leader since he was abusing his collar privileges.

You'd think we were torturing him! It's just a strap behind his ears and fairly loosely around his muzzle. The leash hooked under his chin cuts his pulling power and makes the dogs tuck their head instead of stretching it out. He spends half of his walk rubbing his face on the ground trying to get it off. Rosie accepts hers patiently, good girl.

That picture of  Anna looks a little squished- it's partly the angle and mostly her- She takes funny pictures for some reason. She is an only dog and has some issues with communal living. Such as being fed and expected to eat all of her food at once or lose it, spending a large portion of the day in the yard, and being left behind when Ameranth leaves the house. She makes me remember Ms M's complaint years ago about the cousins all being sent downstairs to play while dinner was being fixed: "You locked us down there like dogs!" (we did not lock the door). 

It just started pouring, so I guess my hope that the sun would burn through the overcast today are doomed. No, wait a minute. I looked out the west window and I see..blue sky and puffy white clouds? Hmm, interesting. 

I had an unexpected physical done yesterday and passed. Yay me! And by unexpected, I mean that I totally forgot that I made this appointment a year ago, until the Dr's office called me Friday. And by passed, I mean the Dr didn't yell at me for gaining weight, didn't find any suspicious moles, and irrigated one ear so that J isn't mumbling any more! I know, how great is that?

I was looking for one more picture to finish up with and saw this one. The umbrella had been in the corner of the porch for a year or two and that really bugged J. So he got a deal on an umbrella stand, got the table out of the shed and assembled it all out back so we have shade when we play bocce, or more often, just gaze at our yard.  Good job, J.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Beary Nice Day

Ameranth started a new job today (yay) at a girls summer camp nearby, and found a free treasure at the side of the road. She brought it home for the pups.

She knew they would love it. We buy stuffed animals for a quarter at the Salvation Army store for the dogs to play with. And by play with, I mean tear apart. Although Rosie had a strange reaction, she laid her head down on it at first-I think she thought it was a new bed. Then, she tried to ignore it, despite us trying to pose her with it on her couch.
The bear got a little too friendly with Rosie, Anna decided it was Rosie's fault and punished her.

                        Boomer helped.
At that point Rosie went to her dog bed and ignored them all. Anna took over the couch, but seemed a little creeped out by the bear, who kicked back and was watching TV.

 That's when Boomer stepped in.
                         The bear put up a good fight...
                         But Boomer persevered.
All 3 dogs had a victory nibble after the final takedown.
As of now, Rosie and Bear each have their own end of the couch and seem to be behaving.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

We have eggs!

The new hens are doing well so far. We are getting 5-7 eggs a day now, and I have gotten back into the lockdown mode each night. The 'unfriendly' rooster who came with them has been a perfect gentleman, and we have taken great care not to threaten his ladies, so everyone is happy.

The flowers are blooming nicely, but I have a mystery here. My roses on the trellis out front are red. They have always been a baby pink before. These are plants I got years ago from my mother's yard and they were always pink there too. .......Okay, I ran out to take pictures of the flat, red rose that opened on Monday, and found the flowers were now double blooms and pinker.

They are still much darker than previous years, but maybe they lighten up as they progress. I would have sworn that they started out pink and stayed pink, but so far have not found photographic proof. Ameranth and J back me up though. At least to my face they do. 

Here we are at the far end of our pasture, outside at the horse gate. The dogs would love to get in there with them, but no, we are meanies and only let them gaze. I love Rosie's patience, whenever we stop along our walks, the other two mill about and she plops herself down. "Don't stand if you can sit" is her motto, and a darn good one it is.

Monday, June 21, 2010

So that's what woke me up!

We had a tremendous thunderstorm here yesterday afternoon, complete with hail. Not round hail, but smooth flattened circles. Strange. Anyway, we enjoy a good storm (unlike certain members of my family) and kept moving from one vantage point to another.

That's when we noticed this.
And this.
Then, I remembered waking up around 2 and hearing a car trying to start, and failing, several times, before revving it's engine and peeling out. Turns out Ameranth heard it too. That driver was darn lucky, and so were we I guess. He hit that tree and stopped (hard, it seems) a foot away from the dog fence. He/she also missed a boulder by about 6 inches, and if the car had gone straight, it would have hit our well head. And, if it had flipped or gone flying- that's our bedroom in that corner. Good luck all around. Especially since the driver could still drive after the hit, I assume there was no serious damage.

I am hoping the presumed drunk driver was startled badly by the tree face sticking it's tongue out!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, B1

And Happy Father's Day to J too, of course, and Shoeshine- but to paraphrase J's mantra over the years. "you're not my father."

My father's name is Bob, but he signs his emails to the family either B1 (my brother is B2) or TorseyBob, after the lake in Maine where we spent so many summers. We all look forward to his daily notes telling us what the weather is in RI, what idiocy the state government is up to lately, and noting family birthdays and updates. My mother doesn't 'do' email, so if B1's letter doesn't show up by noon, we get a little worried.

He was a typical 1950's dad, he worked and my mother stayed home with the 5 kids, until we were a little older and she worked part-time now and then. I assume it was because they needed extra money, but I also suspect she was happy to get out of the house sometimes!

We have a lot of photos of my father and of us growing up because his father took photos and developed them himself. After Papa B died and everyone had the ones they wanted, I inherited the bulk of the old pictures because someone had to give them a home.

It's very clear when you see photo after photo that little B1 was used to posing, sometimes artfully gazing off into space, or grinning for the camera.
My father and his sister

This was in his back yard and that's the high school in the background,where my grandfather taught and later was principal. The next picture was taken from the roof of that school, where he and his parents would watch for enemy planes over the bay during WWII.

                Later on, he became a wizard

          No, sadly he did not. He was a mailman.

That black station wagon is the car I remember most growing up. I'm sure we had more than one of them, since I also remember learning to drive in one. My father doesn't like thunderstorms, and would often pack us all into the car and drive around for the duration. I think the theory was the rubber tires would keep us safe from lightning- either that or just a moving target is harder to hit.  I remember lying in the wayback, in the warm summer darkness, watching the lightning, and trying to guess where we were by the turns and looking at the tops of  the trees.

We needed a station wagon with our 1960's family.
In the back, #2, me and #3. #4 is on the left and #5 on the right. I assume you can tell the big people are my parents.

My parents taught J and me a lot about building, as did J's dad. Here we are helping them build their camp on Torsey Pond. This was right about the time he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, which was successfully treated. Yay!

My family has a collective great sense of humor and I so appreciate that. This is one of my favorite pictures. I took this at a family reunion/50th wedding anniversary party for my parents. This is (either first or middle names):

                     Bob Bob Bob, Bob and Fran.
                     Did you say the names out loud? Ha!

Anyway, even though we don't say this aloud often in my family (shades of stoic Yankee and reserved Swedish ancestors) I love you and Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Whoa-oa-oa! I feel good, I knew that I would

I finally got a chore monkey off my back and my heart is soaring. Okay, okay that's a little over the top- it was just something I had to get done and put off all week. Amazing how things kept cropping up that I just had to do first.

The last few days were very achey ones too- stress (over serious stuff or not) does not play well with fibro. The weather has finally gotten to summer-like and I am very ready for that too.

Speaking of getting distracted, having Ameranth and her computer in the same room as me and mine can lead to major detours! She apparently reads forums where she feels the contributors are wrong, very wrong- on the Internet, can you imagine!- and she sputters a lot, to keep herself from setting them straight.

This afternoon I heard: " Oh, I have problems- ooh, what's that?"  So her moments of angst are short-lived, as are her productive moments. It's like little birds are circling her constantly and sometimes the black, angry ones land on her shoulder, then a pretty bluebird comes to chase them away. More happy birds than sad ones, thank goodness.
                         Ameranth and J on our back porch
We are off to get some replacement hens tonight- not sure exactly how many, since I was told he could do a better deal than advertised if I took all 9 instead of 6, so he could be done with it. J is upset that I didn't ask him what the deal would be, but I figured I'd wait and see, since the guy was a rambling talker and if I don't like the deal, I'll only pay for the six.

I have now gotten into the summer pattern of me shutting the hens in at night, so we should be fine. During the winter J does it, but the hens stay up later than he does now!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another Random Tuesday

RIP Floyd
I didn't want to talk about it, but the Weasel won another round last weekend. Floyd seemed to be the only victim, but we noticed yesterday that two hens were not their usual perky selves. When I let them out this morning, they just stayed on the floor, and this afternoon J found one had died. I like to think Floyd took one for his team.

When I came downstairs and Ameranth informed me we had no eggs, I asked her if they had checked the coop.
A: "Yes, that's when Dad found the dead hen- oh, and he didn't move the body"
Me: "Oh  poo- he never likes flinging the dead hens"
A:"Well, who does?"

Turns out J had a reason this time. The horse owners had their little girls up at our end of the pasture and he didn't want them to see the dead bird. He did dispose of it later.

J scored a hole saw holder that the store was throwing out, so he installed that today. He took some pictures and asked me to resize them for emailing. Busy with supper, I told him I would do it later. 

J: " Okay, I just want to send the email tonight to show off the new saw rack. I'll just send it to my brothers."
A: "What, your sisters don't appreciate a good rack as much as they do?"
Ba dum dum.

And in case anyone cares- all those yellow things are his hole saws:

My peonies are blooming and haven't been mashed by rain as they usually are. I got these and 4 blueberry bushes from #5 two years ago and they have settled in well. 1 blueberry died, but the others have new shoots this year and I saw one cluster of flowers.
Here's J's garden goddess:
And this is an older peony being overtaken by the evil multiflora rose.
I guess that's all the random I have today.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Focus, focus!

This week has sort of been treading water- not a lot got done. Working out a new routine fitting Ameranth and Anna in. Ameranth isn't a problem, except we end up keeping each other company as we sit before our computers for way too long. And Anna isn't really a problem either- she's polite and trained well.

Boomer is the problem. I admit it.  He has energy control issues and is easily over-stimulated. He loves Ameranth and doesn't think much of Anna. He likes to grab a toy and flaunt it by parading back and forth. Rosie ignores him, Anna either stares blankly at him, or does her version of playing, which involves pouncing near his precious,  head down, rear up and sometimes growling. Boomer takes this seriously and launches himself at her, snarling ferociously. Teeth never get close to each other, but it sounds dreadful. If it gets too bad, Rosie comes over and tries to distract them, which usually backfires.

They do sit nicely for their treat when they come in from outside. Eating is serious business. Ameranth was amazed to find Rosie had eaten her muffin wrappers this morning, along with the paper napkin. The dog was in a hurry, didn't have time to be selective and scrape the food bits off!   I told her that was why we keep them on top of the fridge- Rosie sneaks in the kitchen and cruises at nose level around the counters. She's gotten several of J's ripening tomatoes in the past, as well as eggs, and rolls.  Oh, and the plates of leftover spaghetti he is prone to leave out.

And now I've spent another half hour writing this, avoiding the real work I should be taking care of. I meant to get on and off, but I was distracted by the front page, glad to hear that 16 year old  girl who's sailing around the world was alive, then seeing pictures from the Awkward Family Pictures book, and that lead to photos from the Cake Wrecks book.

While in RI last week, one of my sisters, #4, said that she has concluded that her children come by their ADD honestly, since she finds herself constantly going from one unfinished chore to another. I must agree, my kids didn't fall far from the tree either. Or as J's family would say, they didn't lick it off the ground! Isn't it funny that families grow up using the wrong different versions of the same old sayings? We say someone's nose is out of joint, J's says their nose is broken. And I think I am the only one who says Damn you, Enoch! and I had to Google that to find out where I heard it, years ago. I have no idea why that stuck with me, when much more productive stuff leaves my head daily.

Another 20 minutes of my life gone, trying to find the origin of "I shake my fist at you" which Ameranth, Sectaurs and I use with some frequency. No luck. Probably a quote from some movie they've seen.  And with that I am finishing this up and going back upstairs to do some sewing. Or to move furniture around for Ameranth's stuff. Or maybe get the towels out of the dryer. Whatever.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We're home again, and so is Ameranth

It was a very nice weekend in R.I.. It didn't rain too much, and we didn't have to be outside when it did. (Apparently home got a lot of rain Saturday, with a tornado touching down about 30 miles to the west of us) The baby shower for a niece was fun- we didn't have to play a single game, just eat and watch her open gifts.
My nephew is in the Army, and they know it is a boy, so there were camo sleepers and Boston Red Sox onesies that were really cute. Plenty of size ranges too so they shouldn't need to get much more than diapers when he shows up next fall.

This photo is blurry but I wanted to show a family trait. This sister-in-law gave me this not-so-candid shot, and then I went around the corner to get a picture of the grandmother in waiting. See if you can pick out her sister in the next photo.

Re is the one above, and the past 12 months have been quite a trip for her. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and successfully treated for that, her son got married and is now expecting a baby, plus he got a 6 year old son as a bonus with the marriage.  Definitely started off low and improved as time passed!

I'll end with a picture of J and Ms. M taken at the house where he grew up. A 3rd sister lives there now, and it is still a family gathering place.

Oh, yes. Ameranth got a ride from a nice woman who was going to Boston from Rochester Sunday evening. She was nice enough to drop Ameranth off at Ms M's house at 1:30 AM, and we swung by and got her on our way home.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Short post before long weekend

We are off tomorrow to RI to help celebrate a sister-in-law's retirement and a baby shower for her daughter-in-law. J is packing tools since he has several requests for repairs of leaky faucets and running toilets. He likes helping family out but as we get older, the jobs seem to take longer and cut into our visiting time.

We are hoping to hear that Ameranth has lined up a lift to Albany, as that will make it much easier to get her the rest of the way home. She's heading here for awhile to earn more money and decide where/when her next trip might be. 

It's supposed to be rainy day/sunny day/rainy day here, so we aren't too worried about our newly transplanted veggies. Still deciding what to do with the chickens. I think with their smaller numbers, they will be comfortable left safely in the chicken house. J hates to keep them 'cooped' up, and would like to let them into their yard. I don't know.

I was going to mow the lawn last evening after J went to bed (he gets up at 2:45 to be at work at 4, so is in bed early- I wasn't mowing in the dark) but the tractor sputtered and made a strange clinking noise, so I gave up. I think something came loose on the lever to engage the blades, and that's as far as I go with a mower. I don't like having to get down in the dirt to look under it, or lay in the dirt to loosen/tighten stuff, or get greasy. I will pull out matted clippings, but that's it. So, our lawn will be a jungle when we get back Monday.

We are planning to fence in a bit more of our field to make a bigger dog yard, since a friend of J's has gotten a deal on 5 foot fencing and will sell us some. If we can get what we want to, we will be able to add a 30' by 200' section next to our current yard. That will let them run! It will be especially nice to have when Ameranth adds Anna to the mix here.

Not as short a post as I planned. I am heading off to bed, and hope everyone has a nice weekend.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tuesday and I'm still pretty random

It's rainy and cold today, but at least we didn't get snow, like they did in Canada, per In Real Life. Speaking of Canada, we've been getting the smoke from forest fires in Quebec for the last few days. In fact, we had an "air advisory" yesterday due to the smoke. Not blaming you, Canadians!

J doesn't often get the camera out, but he caught me last weekend, during one of the periods the rototiller was working.
The garden is going to be so much better this year, since it now gets sun all day. When it's shining. Which it isn't today. But! the rain is good for the tomatoes and squash which are in there already. J's massive pumpkins are still in the little hothouse we have on the porch. 

I wasn't going to mention this, because it's embarrassing to lose hens each year. Don't call the ASPCA on us- we do try to keep them safe. The weekend we were remodeling the bathroom, J and I each thought the other had closed the hens in, but neither had. In fact, our outer door was left open too, with just the screen door keeping out intruders. 

Short story, weasel(s) got in and killed 6 hens. It is bad enough feeling like you let them down, but then to see bodies which are untouched except that their heads are missing is infuriating. Why not kill one if you must to feed your weasly children? I did find this info: 
The weasel's mode of survival involves killing whatever it can, whenever it can. When confronted with an abundance of mice, the voracious weasel follows the only pattern it knows and will kill more than it can eat at one time. 

We threw the 5 bodies we found out in the woods, figuring something could benefit from our loss.  The next night I heard an unearthly shriek outside and went to the window. At first I thought it was the hens screaming (believe me they can scream- try moving one at night from a tree to their house- it sounds like a person screeching their heads off- ooh, unfortunate comparison in this case) but then I remembered I'd heard that sound before.

A couple of years ago, Ameranth and I were startled to hear loud screams coming from the sump pump pipe. It turned out to be an immature weasel who was very confused and angry. We left it alone to find it's way home, after recording the sounds and our careful exploration. Sadly, I couldn't find that video on my computer just now.

So, Floyd has just 6 girls now. And some of them are still slacking in the egg production department, darn it.

I did find this in my files (linky to You Tube)while searching for the screaming weasel video. Since it makes me laugh I'll try to upload it to share. Ameranth and Sectaurs had each dyed their hair and were posing for pictures, but I had it on video mode. I told them to move and immediately they each did the same thing.
Wacky kids!

I guess that's all I got for now.