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Archive for March, 2012

Garden Salad


There’s nothing better for lunch than a fresh garden salad, is there? I, personally, am excited that spring is nearly here. I’m looking forward to planting the garden again, and hoping something grows this year.¬† ūüėÜ

I’m especially looking forward to the goodies that come out of the garden, and are a staple during the warmer months. And I’m not the only one. ūüėÄ

I’m particularly thinking about the most common kind of salad eaten during warmer months: grass.

Yes, indeed, my girls are looking forward to their fresh, garden grass salad.

ūüėÜ

I think it goes without saying that you can’t give them grass that’s been sprayed with chemicals.¬†Right, y’all?¬†No chemicals.¬†And don’t bother with the Roundup on the weeds, either. Nope.¬†Pluck those dandelion¬†buggers out and “recycle” them!

I know some people who eat dandelion¬†greens; however, I’ll save the spoiling for my girlies. They ‚ô•‚ô•‚ô• dandelions in addition to grass.¬†They can eat most kinds of weeds, and if nothing else, it keeps them busy for hours on end. Come fall, they also like eating leaves and pumpkin rinds, but I digress.¬† ūüėÜ

Last year, when J (15) was out mowing in the backyard, he noticed them pacing along side of him in the run¬†as he’d make his mowing passes. While initially he thought they were just watching him, he soon came to learn they were pacing and drooling……………

We have two different kinds of grass in our yards, and while the front needed to be mowed, the bermuda grass in the backyard hasn’t quite caught up and still is pretty darn dead. I have to say, there is nothing funnier than watching chickens come racing (and they can flat MOVE!) across the yard when they think they are going to get treats.

They saw J with his mower bag and knew right away what was waiting for them. If you’ve never seen chickens jump for treats, you have not lived.¬† ūüėÜ

Indeed, there is nothing they love better than a good, fresh garden salad! :mrgreen:

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Her mind pacing, Macy went through the options, as she fought for control. She needed a variation on a theme.

Frank needed to take a leak. They’d been here all stinkin’ day. Gas station coffee seemed liked a good idea earlier in the day, but now he was wishing they hadn’t brought their industrial size thermoses. Yeah. That had been her idea, too. Frank grimaced, as he wondered how the heck he was going to survive his partner.

Shifting his weight while trying to ignore his mostly full bladder, Frank nearly lost control as he saw his¬†partner’s motion out of the corner of his eye. For a minute there, Frank wasn’t capable of walking and chewing bubble gum. Mouth open, he gaped at her.

“Do you mind?” Macy asked, trying to concentrate.

“Shit. Do you have to do that here?¬†Now? And what the hell?”

“Really, Frank, your language? No swearing. We had a deal.”

“Yeah, well, next time warn me you’re going to put your legs behind your¬†head. Shit.” He paused. “Sorry.”

Turning away, Frank tried to get his mind back on the case. That pretzely thing, though, brought back memories of his last cheap date, over three years ago.

He’d figured he couldn’t do any worse¬†with online dating. He was wrong.

He really thought he’d get a keeper that time, he remembered. She said she was a dancer, and he remembered thinking, “Good.¬†This ought to be fun.” He’d heard dancers were bendy. He thought she’d be classy and refined; someone he could actually show off with pride. He never was good at reading between the lines.

This one brought her own, apparently disposable, pole.

And then used his¬†police-department-issued¬†handcuffs to leave him chained to it¬†while she robbed him.¬†Frank’s previous partner didn’t find him¬†until the next day. He’d pissed himself then, too.

Trying to ignore the inevitable, he¬†brought his¬†focus¬†back¬†to Macy. She was one freakin’ weird chick.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is my first entry for week 20 of Trifecta’s writing challenge. You’ve probably figured out I’m up for a good challenge. ūüėĬ† And being the way I am ;), I’ve decided to try a challenge within a challenge.¬† This being my second week of attempting it, it looks like it’s a go. Each week will bring a subsequent installment of an ongoing story, writing within the parameters set out by Trifecta.

For the beginning (Part 1) of the story, go to Clean.

For the next part of the story (Part 3) go to Brain.

The guidelines for this week are:

Here, you have an extra day to write and up to 300 extra words to play with. We’re generous like that. This week’s word is cheap.
cheap adj \ňąchńďp\
1   a : purchasable below the going price or the real value

     b : charging or obtainable at a low price <a good cheaphotel> <cheap tickets>
     c : depreciated in value (as by currency inflation) <cheapdollars>
2   : gained or done with little effort <a cheap victory> <talk ischeap>

     b : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities <feeling cheap>

Please remember:

  1. Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  2. You must use the 3rd definitionof the given word in your post.
  3. The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  4. You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.
  5. Your post must include a link back to Trifecta.
  6. Please submit your post’s permalink, not the main page of your blog.¬† For example: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2012/03/trifextra-week-eight.html not http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In the event you were wondering what Macy was doing with her legs behind her head, this is called  Dwi Pada Sirsasana and looks like this: 

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Book Description

Rachel and Jordan’s feelings for each other are hostile at first, but angelic intervention helps the two discover peace . . . and perhaps love.¬†

The youngest and last unmarried of four sisters, Rachel Hartlzer spends most of her time helping with barn chores. Her role abruptly changes when her father hires Jordan Engles, the son he always wanted.

As Jordan takes on brotherly roles around the house, like escorting Rachel to the youth singing, the enmity between the two grows. Besides, Jordan has one foot in the Englisch world and is determined not to get involved with an Amish girl.

Neither realizes that God has sent an angel, Nathaniel, to help mend their hearts. The angel‚Äôs intervention helps them find peace and healing in accepting God’s will for their lives.

 

My Review

I have to say, this title was right up my alley. If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you’ve no doubt figured out that I¬†generally enjoy¬†Amish fiction.

This book is Amish fiction with a twist. ūüôā

Rachel is doing just fine helping her daed on the farm. Since her brother James’ death, she’s trying to ease her guilt, all the while staying away from the mundane tasks of cooking and sewing unmarried women of her age are usually afflicted with.

When Jordan unexpectedly enters the picture, Rachel is angry, being replaced by this interloper. He’s not even Amish! And her father is calling him sohn!

At 20 years old, Rachel is pretty sure she’s going to remain unmarried. She can’t cook anything edible, and her stitching and sewing abilities leave the wearer looking lopsided. She would much rather be out in the barn with the animals or out in the fields with her daed.

Jordan’s intrusion into her life leaves her conflicted. He’s¬†not Amish, and not completely Englisch. Either way it doesn’t matter, because he’s not staying.

When tragedy strikes again, Jordan is long gone. Rachel finds herself in a situation she could never have expected, and she’s not sure she wants.

Can they find their true paths in life before it’s too late?

This is a really nice story of love, tragedy, redemption, soul-searching, all amidst a backdrop of the war of good vs. evil. This was the debut effort from this author, and I’m excited to read the other titles that are planned for this series.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I’ll definitely recommend this to friends I know that are interested in Amish fiction.

To see all of my BookSneeze reviews, click on the badge on the right hand side of the page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze¬ģ.com <http://BookSneeze¬ģ.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with¬†¬†¬† the Federal Trade Commission‚Äôs 16 CFR, Part 255¬†¬†¬† <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : ‚ÄúGuides¬†¬† Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.‚ÄĚ

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This is kind of a combination post; book review and additional thoughts. Scroll down past the legal disclaimer to read the rest.

 

Book Description

December 1941 traces, day-by-day, the most important 31 days in the history of America’s participation in WWII, which snuffed out the lives of millions and changed history forever.

From December 1, 1941, until the morning of December 7, 1941, America was at peace and‚ÄĒwith the exception of the stubborn and persistent high unemployment of the Great Depression‚ÄĒwas a relatively happy country. By the afternoon of the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor, America was a radically changed country, forever. Its isolationist impulses evaporated, and both major political parties became more or less internationalist. The month also introduced food and gas rationing, Victory Gardens, scrap drives, a military draft, and the conversion of Detroit into an “arsenal of democracy.” From the moment of America‚Äôs entry into World War II, people of all kinds, but mostly women looking for work, flooded into the city. Instant apartment buildings sprang up, as did eating and drinking salons, all to the advantage of the massive increase in spending generated by the federal government.

December 1941 is a fascinating and meticulously researched look at the American home front‚ÄĒher people, faith, economy, government, and culture.

‚ÄúCraig Shirley‚Äôs December 1941 is a riveting narrative history of America in the crucible of the Second World War. A real page turner. Highly recommended.‚ÄĚ –Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and New York Times bestseller of The Wilderness Warrior.

My Review

This is not the book for people who are short on time or just want an overview of the events of December 1941. To date, this title took me longer to read than any other book I can remember. Ever.

Normally, I’m not keen on books that drag on and on and take significant amounts of time to get through. This was not a title that kept me hanging on the edge of my seat- I assume this is because we already know what happened that horrible month, so there wasn’t a push to stay up and find out what happened next.

In hindsight, I would have really loved having this book as a hard copy. I thought I was making bookmarks on my Kindle, but apparently none of them stuck. And that is really disappointing, because there is some really good stuff in there!

What’s unique about this book is the scope. The author literally took headlines from newspapers and publications from around the world, and infused the¬†them and content exerpt¬†into this book. The result is a comprehensive look at the world at the time; rich with anecdotes, like

“Americans dressed up in suits and ties and dresses to go to the movies.¬†Everyone wore hats, and they always put on their “Sunday best” to go to church, out to dinner, to take a train or an airplane. The whole idea was to make people think better of you as an individual;”¬†

“FM radio was not unheard of in 1941, just very expensive; an FM radio could cost as much as $390, more than most people’s wages in one month; ”

“Everyone smoked cigarettes in 1941, and everybody smoked cigarettes everywhere. In the movie theaters, in restaurants, on airplanes, in trains, at sporting events, at the office, even in the classrooms, Americans smoked ’em if they had ’em……………The average American in 1940 consumed 2,558 cigarettes, double that of ten years earlier, ”

and

“A cartoon in the Greeley (Co) Daily Tribune¬†women’s page depicted a beat-up young woman, one eye blackened, head bandaged, and sporting a broken arm as she cheerily told three friends, “My boyfriend always starts a little spat just before Christmas.” But dozens of tamer cartoon strips were enjoyed by American parens and children. “Li’l¬†Abner,” about a hayseed in Dog Patch; “Alley Oop,” a cave man in present times; “Blondie,” a ditsy¬†wife and her equally ditsy¬†husband Dagwood; “Prince Valiant,” a knight of the Round Table; and “Bringing up Father,” about Jiggs and Maggie, two socialites seemingly caught up in the time warp of 1922.”

Can you see¬†why I got hooked? I honestly don’t remember the last book I read that I sank so completely into. I can’t imagine the amount of time it took the author to research this, but the end result was well, well worth it.

Some have said that this felt like a sports cast, with a play-by-play being announced. I won’t go that route, but I will say the comprehensive look at what was happening in the US and around the world left me feeling like *I* was in a time warp, and had been transported to that time.

The research that went into this book is simply astounding. Each chapter was a day of the month, and as I was nearing the end of the month, I was still only about 60% of the way through the book. Fully 35% of this title was reference and footnotes. That’s what I’m talking about, when I say this is a comprehensive overview of the world at-large during this month. Astonishing!

Because there were some editing issues, I don’t feel like I can give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I’m going to settle on 4.5 stars, though, because the content is just that good. If you love history like I do and want to be thoroughly immersed and engrossed in a title, this is the book for you.¬†Be sure to pack your rations, though, because you’re going to need them!¬† ūüôā

To see all of my BookSneeze reviews, click on the badge on the right hand side of the page.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the¬†publisher through the BookSneeze¬ģ.com <http://BookSneeze¬ģ.com> book¬†review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The¬†opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with¬†¬†¬† the Federal Trade Commission‚Äôs 16 CFR, Part 255¬†¬†¬† <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : ‚ÄúGuides¬†¬† Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.‚ÄĚ

~~~~~~~~

As you know by now, I am a somewhat of a history buff.¬† I firmly believe that knowing history-¬†REALLY knowing it and understanding it-¬†is the key to avoiding¬†repeating the same mistakes over again. History is one of the easier things to manipulate, because as generations pass, it can be re-written and no one is around to remember and complain. (if you think I’m joking about this, open your kids’ history books and read about these events with a critical eye, from an American point of view……)

Folks that were around on 9/11 have a frame of comparison to the attack on Pearl Harbor; December 7, 1941, a “day that will live in infamy.” (FDR)

I am blessed to know a survivor of the USS Arizona. His twin brother, also on the Arizona, died that day.

If you have the opportunity to get to know a WWII veteran, take it. Spend some serious time with him/her, and record the memories. You will not regret it, I promise.

 

This was the first attack on US soil. There were lots of other firsts going on, too. FDR was the first president elected to 3 terms. The US was emerging from the first economic depression.

US war bonds were being issued for the first time, and Daylight Savings was put into effect for the first time, to accommodate a work day punctuated by nightly black-out periods, so the enemy flying overhead couldn’t see cities. Women went to work in factories for the first time, doing more than secretarial duties, mostly because of the draft.

And yet, despite these striking differences in generations and technology, I can’t help but to see the parallels in the government today, with the exception of unity and patriotism.

Read the book.¬†Then come back and leave me your thoughts.¬† ūüėÄ

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For your prompt this week, we are giving you the first 33 words of a story. You need to complete it with 33 of your own words.

This weekend’s Trifextra is community-judged.
  • For the 12 hours following the close of the challenge, voting will be enabled on links.
  • Come back to this post to vote.
  • Voting is open to everyone.
  • Encourage your friends to vote for you, if you wish, but please don’t tell them to vote on a number.¬† The numbering of the posts changes regularly, as authors have the ability to delete their own links at any time.
  • Due to the limitations (our opinion) of our linking service, you are unable to vote on a post from the same device from which it was submitted.¬† You will have to find another way to vote for yourself, and we hope you do.
  • This week, in an attempt to break the massive ties that we have seen in the past, we are allowing you to vote on your top three favorite posts.
  • Yes, you really only have 12 hours to vote.¬† We’ll send out reminders on Twitter and Facebook.

Did you all catch that?  Click on the link to vote for me!  :mrgreen:

Here’s the prompt, which I’ll include before my ending:

‚ÄúThere‚Äôs nothing cute about it,‚ÄĚ he said. The register of his voice indicated decision more so than discussion.
She disagreed heartily and privately, staring past his head and out the window behind him.

~~~~~~~~~~~

‚ÄúThere‚Äôs nothing cute about it,‚ÄĚ he said. The register of his voice indicated decision more so than discussion.

She disagreed heartily and privately, staring past his head and out the window behind him.

Gears grinding, she knew her time was limited.

The starkness of the answer hit her like a load of bricks retrofitted with GPS.

If she couldn’t convince him,¬†he’d have to die. Again.

~~~~~~~~~

Now, go vote!¬† ūüėÜ

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In the midst of the sneaking around, they weren’t paying attention to the details. She didn’t see the hidden cameras and microphones in the store. He didn’t see any, either, not even the ones barely concealed in his office.

And no one saw the inky mist in the back, which took the form of their young, new employee.

His business, he said publicly, was clean. There were no skeletons in his closet. Then he invited people to look………….

She told everyone he operated that way, too. She should know, shouldn’t she?

Could she keep the past hidden? Could she keep the present locked away from prying eyes?

Who would suspect a flower shop of that kind of thing?

It was an ideal cover. No one would look twice at a flower delivery van. No one would question the long boxes, coming in the back door, from all kinds of countries. Anything they acquired they presented as legit.

Macy was on a mission. Dashing in between two coolers, she stilled, huddling silently in the back room. Under the cover of dusk, she hoped no one would see her while she waited for them to leave, biding her time.

People were going to die if she didn’t get the evidence. And the clock was ticking……. tick tock…… tick tock…….

‚ÄúHey! Turn OFF that damn alarm,‚ÄĚ Frank hissed.

Macy started, cracking her head against the window as she abruptly jerked upright.

Frank was none too pleased. His new partner was questionably narcoleptic, which resulted in a weird, but probably necessary intervention: she carried around a pocket alarm, set to go off every half hour while they were on stakeouts.

Frank was sick of hearing it. It rattled his nerves just as much as it jangled its casing.

Macy cursed quietly. If she didn’t get some solid sleep soon- something that was unlikely until they got their evidence- she was bound to fall asleep at the most inopportune moment and blow the whole case.

~~~~~~~~~~

This is my¬†second entry for the 19th week of Trifecta‚Äôs writing challenge.¬† Because¬†my first offering could¬†be a wee bit¬†subjective, I thought¬†it might be prudent to write another little ditty.¬† ūüėÄ

To see the second installment of this story, read Cheap.

This week’s word is: clean (adjective)

1: free from dirt or pollution

2: unadulterated, pure

3 a : free from moral corruption or sinister connections of any kind <a candidate with a clean record>

  b : free from offensive treatment of sexual subjects and from the use of obscenity <a clean joke>

  c : observing the rules : fair <a clean fight>

Please remember:

  1. Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  2. You must use the 3rd definitionof the given word in your post.
  3. The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  4. You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.  (No cleaning, cleaned, cleans, cleaner, cleaning lady, etc.)
  5. Your post must include a link back to Trifecta.

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Yep. We are in full-¬†on baby mode, baby!! But don’t tell anyone, k? :mrgreen:

Now,¬†don’t go all lecturing me.¬†I mean, I was really good last time, wasn’t I? ūüėõ

This wasn’t entirely what I had planned, but I think it’s going to be ok.

These are all bantams (which means they are small), so I figure it’s a 2-for-1 deal. And, since they were straight run (as in, not sexed)¬†they could all be boys, in which case they¬†will then be rehomed somewhere not here.¬† ūüėČ

Chicken math strikes again!

They laugh at me down there.¬† ūüėܬ† I had her go digging and counting chicken toes.

Yep. Toes. Not all chickens have the same amount of toes. I know you are shocked to learn this. ūüėĬ† The ones I wanted¬†had to have 5 feathered toes.

She counted toes and put the ones that had enough into a separate little box. Then, I picked the ones I wanted and home we went. It only took us about 30 minutes or so. ūüėÜ

The original plan was to get 3 more full-size girls; one more Production Red (so Roxy won’t be alone any more)¬†and two more Easter Eggers (to balance out the ratio of blue/green to brown eggs), and¬†get 3 Silkies. That would be my 6.

Because I am Kobayashi Maru Option 3 Girl, I called the other livestock store and they said that I could tack on my Silkies after chick days. Every year, they run out of chicks. They order around 2,000 chicks and last year, they were completely sold out by 10 am of the first actual day. When I got down there the day before, over 300 chicks were already gone. So I wasn’t surprised to learn the following afternoon that they had sold out in the morning.

When that happens, as it does every year, they put in a huge order for those that missed out, and that allows folks to get smaller numbers of chicks. Hatcheries have a standard number for orders, depending on the size and the kind of chicks. Some numbers also vary depending on where they are shipping.

Most places, though, have a standard order of 25 chicks. And, as a rule, bantams require more because they are smaller, and chicks need higher heat to survive, particularly when shipped.

Now, my dilemma was this: chick days are nearing an end. Even though the livestock store said I could order a few bantams, chances are good that they would place the order and get a call back from the hatchery telling them they couldn’t ship that few bantams.

That would leave me with Tractor Supply getting a single remaining shipment of chicks, which might not include Silkies.¬† ūüė•

I really had settled on white and blue Silkies, but given that there was a chance I might not be able to get any at all, you can easily see why I ended up with the ones I did, right?¬† ūüėÜ

At this point, the best guess is that I ended up with two different breeds;

Buff Silkie:

And then the two that are the lighter are probably Sultans: 

Nope, that is not a Silkie. Can you see the difference?

Silkies¬†have dark skin, while Sultans are yellow-skinned. Silkies¬†can also be bearded and/or muffed whereas Sultans are both bearded and muffed. They basically have all the throw off traits of all the other breeds of chickens, which, while they may not be breed standards, are just fine by me! ūüėĬ†They also have a standard size, and aren’t broody like Silkies can often be.

I figured they are close enough, which made it worth the risk. I figure if half of them are female, I’ll be really happy. I’ll be a bit annoyed if they all turn out to be boys, but that could very well be the way it goes.

But, for the time being, I’m very happy to have babies again!¬†Squeee!¬† :mrgreen:

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