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Archive for March, 2013


Oh ya. I am totally trapped by him. There are days he interrupts what I’m doing and I fully fall under his spell. And then I have let him take over, which tanks me again for a while.

*sigh*

It all started today from going back and reading another post and discovering that a linked video had disappeared. The hunt was on to find the missing piece.

And one of the very first things I found was Michael.

Oh. My. Stars.

I had forgotten about him singing this one.

Wait. What? What am I talking about?

Not what. WHO.

Michael.

Michael Ball.

*le sigh*

If you don’t know who this is, let me hold up your rock so you can crawl out from under it. Don’t beat me for failing to educate you, because I’ll do a little to get started. 😀

It’s not just that I’m a sucker for curly hair and dimples. Nope. It’s not just that.

I am very sure I was crushing hard before I even got a look at him. That was just frosting on the cake.

Have you heard him sing?

The man has serious {and I mean SERIOUS} pipes. *sigh*

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHJ6EHlWuAg%5D

See what I mean? *sigh* I’ve watched this one at least 5 times today.

And it’s not even one of my most favorites. They’re all my favorites, but there are some I especially ♥♥♥.

You may remember he was the original Marius in Les Miserable. I’m sorry, but no one compares to him. Except maybe Ramin. But I digress. I’ll get lost in Ramin later. 😆

{If you’re a geek like me and totally get sucked into this stuff, here’s a good comparison of the various Mariuses: [youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMGarX9-WHg%5D

See where I’m coming from? Good, but not quite the same…..}

So. Michael. Marius. Les Miserable. *sigh* {I’m sorry, but Nick Jonas as Marius in the last anniversary special was just, well, terrible. No offence to Nick, but music theatre is just not his forte.}

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSzHAOkCDNU%5D

Obviously, he’s done all kinds of stuff, including another one of my favorites, Aspect of Love.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnLE0N87T6k%5D

In 2013, he received a Whatsonstage Award for Sweeney Todd.

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quctDawu_bo%5D

Even in this grim show, his dimples betray him. ♥♥♥ 😆

The kicker is that he followed with this role after his Olivier Award-winning spin as Edna in Hairspray, which I think is hilarious.

This year, Michael is again nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. And, while he continues to rock on with different roles and keep me trapped, I still have to say my favorite role was Marius. *sigh*

Well, I might as well move on with my day and try to enjoy escape to doing something productive. I’m pretty sure the kids are sick and tired of playing ‘name that tune’ with me. 😀

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He’d done it. He’d captured Magnus- the kingdom that had the impermeable fortress. On an island, completely surrounded by water, no attack was possible, due to the high walls and narrow drawbridge that protected it. FortressofMist

And yet he- as an orphan- was able to claim his birthright. His dead mother, Sarah, had taught him well.

Could he hang onto his kingdom? Whom could he trust?

His dreams taunted him. Were they real?

“Thomas, there is a great circle of conspiracy. Much larger than you and I…….and there is much at stake. Haven’t you wondered why this castle is set so securely, so far away from the outer world? Why would anyone bother attacking a village here? Yet an impenetrable castle was founded. And by no less a wizard than Merlin.”

Was she real? He’d seen Isabelle die. No, he’d felt her die; right there, in his arms after her skull received a crushing blow.

And yet, here she was, whispering in his ear, in his bedroom. He couldn’t reconcile how anyone had made it past the soldiers outside his bedchamber; much less someone who was dead.

No, he must be dreaming. Yet, he can still feel her kiss lingering on his forehead.

Who is she? Why is she here? Can he trust her? Is she really trying to help him keep Magnus?

Fortress of Mist is book 2 in the Merlin’s Immortals series. I had not read book 1; The Orphan King. If I ever get my “to read” list cleared off, I will definitely go back and get the first book.

Set in 1312 AD, this book has it all- magic, sword play, intrigue, mysterious women, and magic. Two sides are warring for Thomas’ allegiance. One one side are the Druids, with their magic and secret symbols.

On the other side? Thomas doesn’t know. They are nearly as mysterious, and their guidance is also veiled. Thomas doesn’t feel he can trust the one he’s trusted all those years, especially now that she’s revealed her actual face to him. Feeling deceived by her as well, he takes drastic action; despite the depth of his emotion.

I’m learning to really look at the author before I accept a book for review. There have been a few titles that confirmed to me that the author is not one I’m really interested in reading again, so I’m paying more attention to author than I was previously.

Sigmund Brouwer was one author I’ve read I have reviewed before. Because The Canary List was a pretty good book, I thought I’d give this one a shot.

My single complaint is that this book ends pretty abruptly. As in, I was shocked and wondered if I hadn’t gotten the entire download. Then I went online to buy the sequel, only to be bitterly disappointed to learn it’s not been released yet. Boo!

Did you gasp out loud at that last comment? I know I did, once I realized what I’d done. That is the absolute first time I’ve gone to order a sequel of any book I’ve reviewed. I rarely order sequels. To date, there have only been a handful of series I’ve gone and purchased, because it’s hard for me to justify when I have so many unread titles waiting to be cracked open.

One part of me wants to give it 4 out of 5 stars because of the way it ended. That’s just not right; to leave the reader so completely hanging and feeling entirely unresolved.

But. Because this book was SO good, I’m going to relent and give it the 5 out of 5 starts it actually deserves, dirty trick aside. Come to think of it, I’d probably give it 6 or 7 stars {out of 5} because it was that good.

If this era piques your curiosity, run, don’t walk, and get this title!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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I just found this! {Don’t ask me why I didn’t read it before- I must have somehow thought it wasn’t complete!}

Anyhow. Since I wrote this a year ago, the ideas of bees have continued to buzz around in my head. I’ve updated this post, so bear in mind that most of it was written before we moved and were still living in town.

What I need to check into now, though, is if I can get a hive to survive guineas. The guineas are a must, since ticks are such a huge problem out here.

If you’ve got guineas and bees, please share your experience with me!

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

Call me strange, but on my list of creatures I’d love to have around are honey bees.

Yep. Bees.

No, not the Africanized bees that will swarm and kill you; little ‘ole honey bees- by the hive.

Obviously, I can’t get away with that here. (Please, neighbors, I haven’t totally lost my mind :lol:) But that doesn’t make them any less appealing to dream about.

Most of us go through life not thinking about where our food comes from or what it takes to grow that food.  I will say that getting sick snapped me completely out of slipping into this mindset.

When I got sick, everything became suspect. It’s amazing what rabbit trails you’re willing to follow when you think you could really be dying, and you are just looking for some kind of straw to grasp at.

It was during this time that I started hearing about the world-wide bee population being in decline. I know for many, if not most, this revelation brings a sigh of relief, but I, personally, find it terrifying.

Why?

“The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 per cent of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.  bees

Human beings have fabricated the illusion that in the 21st century they have the technological prowess to be independent of nature.

Bees underline the reality that we are more, not less, dependent on nature’s services in a world of close to seven billion people.”

If you are anything like me, you’ll no doubt find this information startling.  And then, you might get to thinking, which might will mean you’ll end up scared. And if you’re not- you should be.

Think about that for a minute. 70% of the worldwide crops that feed 90% of the planet’s human population are pollinated by bees- bees which are in steep decline worldwide.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Here’s an article to get you started: Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

Is it a leap to think that GMO crops are killing off bees? My personal opinion is, no, it’s not. In fact, I think it’s likely. I don’t know about you, but it seems like common sense to think that insecticide-enhanced crops can kill bees. That just seems like a no-brainer to me, personally.

Think I’m joking? Start at the Center for Food Safety and get up-to-date information. Studies show that the majority of foods in the US have genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We know right now, for example, that The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving- Since you’ve entered this site at least 200 people have died of starvation. Over 4 million will die this year.”

I’m not going to go into specifics of the whys on hunger statistics, but I will say this: The world is struggling to feed its population right now; today. We may think modern science and technology can compensate for the loss of bees world-wide, but the fact is, they can’t.

The planet loses substantial amounts of people every day to starvation, and an essential component in global food growth is in serious decline?

GMOs are not mandated to be listed on food packaging in the US, and as a result, studies show that 58% of people in the US don’t know about this issue; and yet, they are in 75% of our processed foods.

Do you see the connection? Let me spell it out: Bees are critically needed worldwide to grow food. GMO crops have pesticide/insecticide in them. They’ve been killing bees. The decline in bees is critically affecting the world-wide food growth which is resulting in greater incidences of starvation.

Think I’m blowing smoke and/or being an alarmist wacko? Read Death of the Bees. Genetically Modified Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America. If that doesn’t convince you, I’m pretty sure nothing will.  nogmobees

While this topic might be overwhelming and make your eyes glaze over, there are a few things we individuals can do, past signing petitions and taking it to Washington, that likely won’t listen anyhow. There’s too much power and money wrapped up in this issues, with power players in key positions in the current administration {which, I am inclined to add, is nothing new- this power players from specific industries have played key roles in most presidential administrations……..}.

What we CAN do, as individuals, is support the local bee industry. Go to your local farmer’s markets and buy local honey.

If you have the availability of land, learn what you can about bee keeping. I’m a few years away from it myself, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start learning now.

I could tout the benefits of locally “grown” honey, but I’m pretty sure most everyone has a good idea of the benefits, particularly if you have allergies. I’d always been a fan of real honey, but honestly, I never gave any of it a whole lot of thought. Unbeknownst to many, however, is that the stuff you buy in the store isn’t often real honey, even if it’s labeled as such.

“More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey.”

The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world’s food safety agencies.”

More information here:

Fake Honey In Stores – Learn How To Identify The Real Thing

Honey Laundering

Study: Most Honey Is Just Fake, Pollenless Goo

Have honey in your cupboard? Take a minute and go get it. Turn it around and read the label. Then leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve found.  Please. 🙂 {The only honey I have in mine is local, organic honey, so I’m no help!}

Ok, I confess that I don’t have a label that has non-honey stuffs in it. The benefit of real honey is something I’ve known about since I was a kid, actually, and have always only bought honey from my local health food store or from local honey folks. I never really thought to look in the grocery store until recently, when I wondered why my honey was more expensive and wanted to compare cost.

This gets back to things like truth in advertising, and all that jazz. My point is- beware. Read your labels. When I went looking at my local grocery store, most of the honey products contained other stuff. 😯

You may even remember the fake honey from China scam a while back.

But back to the bees! 😀

We’ve probably all heard about large bee hives being found inside walls of houses or under the eaves, etc.  And, we’re probably all been relieved to hear about the extermination of those hives. Anymore, it just makes me cringe.

Happily, those with bee infestations can sometimes find bee removal professionals.  There’s even a bee removal network! I don’t know about you, but this makes my heart happy, knowing honey bees will be relocated instead of exterminated.

I think there are all kinds of benefits to bee keeping. While I’m all for doing what you can in your backyard, I am not entirely sure I could get away with bees…………. {now that I’ve moved, though, I’m back in the game of exploring my options!}

Here are some links for your perusal:

Blogs I read that now have bees in addition to chickens :D: :

*sigh*  I really need to get to the country so I can work on getting more chickens. And Nigerian Dwarf goats. And bees.

I’m beginning to think I’m a lost cause…………… 😆  But if anyone asks, I’m going to tell them I’m the bees knees, honey.  :mrgreen:

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If you’re reading along, you are no doubt shaking your head, rolling your eyes, and probably sighing, thinking, “Here we go again. Will she never stop? Someone needs to do an intervention.” 😆

Ya, I know I’m addicted. It’s just not a “problem,” as far as I’m concerned. 😉

Last Monday, I added silkie chicks to the brooder. 😆 Can you see me doing the happy dance?

A pusher friend of mine knew I was going to order silkies, and suggested she knew a feller that had some silkies and regularly had them hatching out. She contacted him, and sure enough, he had 4 silkies- 2 white, 1 silver, and 1 black.

You may remember me ranting about wanting white silkies, which is how I ended up with my 2 boy Sultans when I came home with 5-toed bantams last year and 4 buff silkies. Turns out, we totally fell in love with our buff silkies, too.

This year, I had planned on getting buff silkies, in addition to blue, black and white. I was going to order them from the hatchery, and they would be here mid-June.

Then, my friend told me about this gentleman, and I thought, if I could get them locally, that would be better. Plus, I wouldn’t have to get as many. 😀

Because he charges more for the blacks and had silver hatching, I thought I would substitute the silvers for the black silkies. So. He let me know what he had, and I dashed off to go pick them up.

I came home with 2 whites and 1 silver silkie chicks. Squee! 😆

These chicks hatched, as I understand it, within days of each other. Here is one of my white ones. You can already see her crazy hair. We named her Mo. 😆

mo1

 

You can see her black skin peeking through; one of their unique, defining characteristics.

 

mo2

 

mo3

 

I love that round little poof!

This next fluffy baby is Silver.

 

silver1

 

silver2

 

According to the American Silkie Bantam Club, “The colors which are recognized by both the American Poultry Association  and the American Bantam Association are White, Black, Blue, Buff,  Gray, Partridge and Splash.” I’m trying to track down which category my silvers fall into. Two things I’ve learned about silkie genetics are that I don’t know anything and they’re confusing. 😆

He said he’d have 12 more hatching out in the next two weeks. Since I wanted 6 and came home with 3, I would wait for 3 more.

Yesterday, he let me know he had 2 more white and 1 more silver hatch. We made arrangements, and I went out to get them today. I didn’t bring the 2 whites home because I want an even number of each color, to up my chances of having a girl in each color. That means I have 1 more silver one to get, if it hatches out next week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Even though I won’t have buffs this year, I am thrilled to have the silvers!

I can’t wait to round out my silkies! I will say- things are starting to feel more “normal” instead of “new,” and most of that, I think, is due to the peeping coming from the brooder. ♥♥♥♥♥ 😀

 

 

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Most days start the same {we wake up}. Most days end the same {we go to bed}.

It’s the stuff in between that can take your day from a well-planned, uneventful day, to  total chaos a day filled with unplanned learning opportunities.

Yep.

You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? But, at this point, you are going down the checklist of possibilities; trying to figure out which is most likely.

Kids.

Kittens.

Puppy.

Dogs.

Horses.

Chicks.

What’s your guess?

If you took “Horses for $100, Alex,” you’d be right.

Blech.

So, I was folding my laundry in my room, and getting my day all lined out, all nice and quiet like, and then I heard the herd of elephants stampede.

Those of you who think only cattle can stampede haven’t had more than a single horse………….  😆

One thing to know about horses is that they get wound up when the barometric pressure changes.

Want to know if a storm is coming in? Check your arthritis or find some horses. Either of those will tell you.

We knew there was a storm blowing in, so we weren’t really surprised to find that everyone was sure feeling their oats this morning. {No, don’t worry, we don’t actually feed them that…}

It was cold, and the wind had started to pick up a bit.

Breakfast was, overall, uneventful. Once they eat, we turn them out into the big pasture. Normally, this is a relatively calm event…………..

So, anyhow, I’m upstairs, folding my laundry, mapping out my day. I needed to take Cookie Monster doggy to the vet to get her stitches from her spay taken out. After that, I needed to get back to the painting.

And then Magic went flying by, and I heard the stampede. I couldn’t see anyone but Magic, but I figured they were getting it out of their systems before the precipitation came.

And then I heard the door slam shut and the pounding of feet up the stairs.

The report, as it were, was that Boi had fallen and Angel had run into something. They thought there might be injuries.

“Well, go and check and then let me know,” I said, as I continued folding my laundry. “I am making good time this morning,” I thought, “I’ll be able to get to the vet and back by lunch.”

The door slammed again and an even faster pounding of feet came up the stairs.

“Angel hit her face and is bleeding all over!”

With instructions to go catch her, I flew around, changing my sweats into jeans and grabbing my hoodie. I texted Hunny on the way down, so he would have a head’s up.

WARNING! GRAPHIC PICTURES WITH BLOOD!

I didn’t want you to be caught off-guard.

Where was I?

Oh yes. I was headed into the pasture.

When I got there, this is what I saw:

1

You have probably figured out by now that I don’t really panic. I am pretty good at assessing the situation and determining what needs to happen.

As a rule, my kids freak out and think that everything is way worse than what it is.

This, however, falls into the category of “Absolutely Needs To Have Sutures.”

I don’t suture. 🙂

Nope, that is one of those things I feel the need to leave to the professionals because, well, they have the right drugs to go along with the experience. 😆

I was in the pasture and called the vet’s office, once I realized I didn’t have her cell phone number. Somehow, that number didn’t make it into my phone, and I couldn’t send her a picture to her pager.

The vet’s office texted me her number, and I texted her the picture.

Yepper, she’d be out today. She was currently in a barn full of horses, getting ready for the showing season. She would call me within the hour to let me know what time she’d be able to get here this afternoon, after she had finished with the others.

I should have time to head to the doggie vet while she was figuring it out.

I dashed into the house and got the puppy ready to go. Little dog is a riot, and every time we go, she wants to go, too, even to the vet.  It just means more barking when we get there, but she loves to ride in the car, unlike Cookie Monster who is always seriously soaked from her drool in the car.

So. Middle daughter J stayed outside with her horse to help keep her calm. Oldest daughter J went with me to the vet.

On the way home, the vet, K, called to let us know she was on her way. Daughter J texted Hunny, who was going to head home and meet us.

As it turns out, when she got the picture, the owner of the other horses saw it, too, and took pity on us. They had 2 horses sedated already, so they told K that as soon as she got done with them, they could finish the other horses another day, and please, could she go put our horse’s face back together sooner?

Isn’t that awesome?! The horse community is astonishingly welcoming and giving; at least the folks we’ve met.

We love our vets! This is the same vet that came and gelded Boi in the side pasture, so we were familiar with her style under {our} stress.

After some evaluation, she agreed that while Angel needed to be stitched back together, her eye was probably ok. She’d know more once she got to cleaning and working on fixing her back up.

The first step was to sedate Angel. Then she got to work shaving the area.

2

After she cleaned, it was time to prepare and numb the area so she could get to suturing it back together.

3

4

5

6

7

8

Did you do a double-take on this picture? 🙂 Are you now thinking we’re being barbaric with our cruel and unusual punishment of this poor horse?

Actually, there is a method to the madness……… this handle thingy is called a twitch. It’s wrapped up in her upper lip because there is a pressure point that will stimulate the release of endorphins, which helps the horse with pain. You gently rock the twitch, which releases the endorphins so that the stick of the needle won’t hurt as much.

I think that is awesome!

9

Just a wee little bit longer, and the anesthetized, clean wound was ready for the stitching.

10

11

Ta da! All done!

That last little bit needed a few staples, which we’ll have taken out in a few weeks unless they work themselves out in the meantime.

Whew. I love our vet(s), but I’d rather not have to see her like this.

I especially appreciate her willingness to explain absolutely everything she’s doing, including the anatomy and the whys of what she’s doing. She talks in terms that are clinical, yet are easy for us to understand. She has always answered the kids’ questions, and chuckles as they tell their stories.

She even took the time to show us the skull fracture; the bone bruise, and explain why we’re watching for what we’re watching for. She doesn’t think that there will be any problems with the healing, but if there are, we know where it will be.

Once she left, I stayed outside, wrapping the electrical lines connected to the poles in neon orange tape so they are more visible. We are going to cut up some pool noodles and give the lines some padding this weekend, but the tape should help in the meantime.

Now it’s evening, and the girls are out feeding. I need to go help with hay, and then I’m going to go put my feet up.

What did you do today? 😀

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With mostly empty pockets and a barely-hanging-on vehicle, Jessica Morgan made her escape. Packing her belongings in the back of her car, she left as quietly as she could; making the journey up the coast from California to Oregon. SecretsRJG

As she thinks about the job she’s heading to, she feels lighter already. For the first time in a long time, she is hopeful about the future………… and then disaster in the form of an accident- strikes; sending her over an embankment and into a ditch.

What happens next? Can Jessica survive the hospital stay, get to her job on time, and make a new life for her before her past catches up to her?

I’ll admit- the book description sounded tantalizingly good. The author did a relatively decent job of stringing the mystery along.

Spoiler alert: Stop here if you don’t want to know why I didn’t end up really liking this title.

For starters, there is nothing about this that is even remotely realistic. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll know that I don’t find books that aren’t science-fiction or steampunkish to resonate with me if they are so bogus so as to not even be remotely true.

In this case, there were problems near the beginning. We know Jessica Morgan ends up in the hospital. On the stretcher, after being delivered by the ambulance, she is hounded for her insurance information while being tended to by the doctor. Someone who knows these things, please tell me, because I am inclined to think they treat injuries first, before asking the actual patient for insurance information and driver’s licence identification.

Next, Jessica lies about her name, because she doesn’t want anyone to know who she is. Her purse got left behind at the crash site, so she’s pretty sure no one can check it.

Of course, this is the town where she’s going to be working, so she’s hopeful she can keep her assumed identity.

Checking out of the hospital, she’s able to make it to her new job just in time- as a school teacher.

So. Without a background check run by the district {because she personally knows the principal, who, ironically, was in the same hospital at the same time due to a stroke}, Jessica begins work.

As with most books, there is an antagonist, in the form of a really witchy temporary principal who makes no bones about finding out Jessica’s secret. And, there’s a love interest- the paramedic who arrived on the accident scene before the ambulance.

In the midst of the secret-hiding, Jessica’s biggest issue is not her totalled non-insured car; no, it’s starvation. That’s right. In her haste to escape, Jessica only managed to take a few hundred dollars in cash with her, which, after paying her hospital bill, {including ER and overnight stay} left her with a whopping $12 until her first paycheck.

The paycheck, incidentally, can’t be issued, because her “file” wasn’t complete- as in, they didn’t have her last name, her social security number, etc etc.

By this point and time, I was literally rolling my eyes. There were entirely too many things that were not even remotely believable for me, and that started the turn-off. Once she got teaching, a good portion of the story revolves around her being hungry, and what she does to hide the fact that she has no money. One situation had her going to the grocery store and coming home with Ramen noodles, bread and a few other items, for $10; the bread having been something like 69 cents, if I’m remembering right.

This made me feel like the author hadn’t gone grocery shopping in a decade or more. Even day-old bread where I live is going to cost more.

Moving on, there was a mission trip to Mexico some of the students and a co-teacher and her love interest were going on, and they all wanted her to come- for free! Whee! Free mission trip for a non-church member and one who doesn’t really belive in God the way they do!

Maybe my experience is limited, but I have *never,* ever seen that kind of situation from any kind of angle. Chaperones are thoroughly vetted members of the church; not new people who no one knows anything about, high school teacher or no.

Finally, when the “secret” is revealed, it is so far-fetched and benign I actually laughed out loud. Yep. I did.

I was completely disappointed in this book. I’ve read other reviews, and many of them rave about this title. I just can’t. I’m giving it 2 stars, and that’s because I’m feeling generous.

One of the themes, relying on God to provide, could have been so much better relayed. The squash in the garden was a good start; the groceries left was another. What about the endless stream of dinner invitations from co-workers? What about the giving community she landed in doing casseroles for the first week at least? All of those would have been a lot more believable than what the author presented.

The storyline had so much potential, but in the end, left me not liking it much at all. This is the first in a series, and I can say, that unless there are absolutely no other titles to review and I completely bored out of my mind around here, I will not be reviewing any additional titles by this author. I had reviewed her Sierra Jensen Collection, and also had some of the same concerns with that young adult series.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Obsessed.

Strange.

Cuckoo.

Bizarre.

Insane.

Uncouth.

Demented.

Sick.

Nuts.

Happy. 😀

Euphoric. 😆

Bitten.

And those are just the single-word descriptions. I may have to make a new category. Because, you see, even though I *know* this happens every single time, whether I plan it or not, I continue to repeat the deed because I am, quite simply, addicted.

I am pretty sure if someone was mapping my brain at those times, the pleasure center would be lit up like a Christmas tree, and you could see those neurons firing the message to send out some oxytocin; maybe even some prolactin. {And it might be contagious, too, so watch out! 😀 }

Wednesday afternoon, I headed to Tractor Supply to get a stock tank and horse feed since they were out on Tuesday. They told me they were getting bantams on Friday, so on the off-chance that they got some silkies, I figured I’d get a stock tank since the brooder didn’t make the move. 😥

The stock tank would be fine, and we can reuse it for the horses when we’re done. It’s a good stop-gap measure.

So there I went, mostly to get food for the horses. You know you have to walk by the chickens, yes?  😆

I spent close to 2 hours there, talking to people about chickens. There was a very nice lady who had just gotten some, and she was taking pictures, trying to figure out which breeds she had gone home with. We started talking, and pretty soon, we had covered all kinds of things, particularly coop design and the space requirements per chicken. {A good rule of thumb is 4 sq ft per chicken; large fowl.}

I talked to some gentlemen, as well, and suggested they all go the Backyard Chicken website and forums. The forums have all kinds of sections, including starting chicks, breeds, predators, and coop design. Really. If you are thinking about chickens, start there. SO many people are willing to share their plans with you it’s not even funny. You won’t regret it!

I spent all that time jabbering and then realized Hunny was going to be coming home soon, so I needed to skeedaddle.

I was in the parking lot on the way out when I realized I had forgotten to get the stock tank. *sigh*.

So, Thursday, I headed back to get the stock tank. And, I wanted to check the time that the bantams for sure were going to be getting there. Turns out, they had literally just gotten there. They let me come back an hour later, after they had time to get warmed back up, and pick through them.

No silkies. 😥  😥

BUT. They did have other, four-toed, feather-legged bantams. Tractor Supply has a minimum of 6 chicks to take home……..

You can see where this is going, can’t you? 😆 You might think I would be thinking, “I just ordered 40 large fowl and 15 guineas the other day. I know I can order the 8 in the breeds that I want and get them here in June.”

Ok, I admit I was thinking that. 😆

Louder than that voice, though, was the one whispering, “You haven’t had these kinds of feather-footed chooks. Look, aren’t they cute? Look at how small they are! Awww, they’re so fuzzy! Aren’t they cute? And there’s only 6 of them…….”

Because we haven’t built anything yet, I thought, what they heck- let me text Hunny and see what he says. I explained to him that I would have to end up with 12 bantams total because I’d have to get 6 more; or if they didn’t end up getting any in, I’d have to order 12.

I could hear him rolling his eyes. 😀

I did mention, though, that bantams are so small that you really need 2 of them to make 1 large chicken, so you could get more with the same space.

Struck down again by chicken math! 😆

So we dug through and picked them out. 😆 There were exactly 6 feather-footed bantams.

I had no idea what they were. Naturally, when I got home, I got down to business, researching to see if I could identify them.

I think I might have a clue what these cuties are.

chick 1

chick1.2

chick1.3

I think {and certainly, I am no expert} that this is a Black Cochin chick. I think I have maybe two them. One I’m real iffy on, because he’s somewhere between this one and the other suspected Barred Cochin chick. I’ll show pictures of them last.

chick2

chick2.3

chick2.2

This little cutie I think is a Buff Brahma. If feather sexing works on this breed and is the same for others, this baby is a girl. I only have one of them, but she is pretty zippy and is very, very active and busily trying to fly and get into everything. Her tail feathers have grown since yesterday. What a riot!

chick3

chick3.2

Rounding out my set of 6 are these plumpers. You can see how they have a fuzzy yellow tush and more yellow on their bellies. They all have a similar wing pattern, tipped with yellow. These actually look a lot like our Barred Rock chicks did.

The one I question is not as yellow-y as this little bug, but is not quite as solid as the chick I suspect of being a Black Cochin.

At this point, it’s a waiting game until they start feathering out and we can really tell what they are. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have chicks again! There is just something about hearing their little cheeps that brings a smile to my face.

I’ve also continued to be amazed at how fast they grow! You can literally see them growing tail feathers and getting their other feathers. You can see their egg tooth when you first get them, and watch as it gets picked off or worn down and disappear. And I have to laugh at them digging and scratching; doing all the “big kid” behavior, when it’s not something that’s been learned by watching other chickens.

Already, we’ve had some races {where they race and try to fly but end up just zipping all over} and we’ve had some hockey, when they thought a piece of shaving was a bug. They are hilarious- it really IS ‘chick tv!’

It’s been another unexpectedly busy day. At this point, I’m just tired. 😀

So now you know. I’m _________. 😆

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I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a drug. A heavy- hitting, fly -to -the moon, squee-all-afternoon kind of drug that leaves you high and darn near breathless with euphoria.

Raise your hand if you are nodding along because you know what I’m talking about. {I’ll pretend I see you :lol:}

When we moved, as you may remember, one of the primary criteria for the new digs was the ability to have chickens. You may also recall that we ended up with horses instead.

Hunny finally got tired of me whining decided that despite the chaos, it was ok for me to order some chickens. I had been looking online for a while and came to the realization that it was going to be a few months out before all the breeds I wanted were ready to ship.

I spent the entire morning shopping. While I generally despise shopping {as you know because you’ve been reading along all this time} the only kind of shopping I don’t completely hate is- {wait for it……} shopping for chickens. 😆  There is something about checking out your breeds and then finding the best dates and prices on them.

This time, we were going to do it right, without falling victim to chicken math. Every time I’ve gone to buy chickens, I’ve fallen prey to it. Literally every. Single. Time. {Like, the time I Almost Did Something Bad and then ended up with Babies anyhow…….}

This time was going to be different, though. “Why,” you might ask? Well, we’re in the country for one thing, and for another thing, I was planning on getting more than the 23 I ended up with last time.

So you see, there was no reason for chicken math to creep up on me this time because I was already going to get as many as I wanted. 😆

I spent all morning shopping online, and had my breeds and quantities picked out. The only real issue was that I couldn’t get them until the end of June, which is, well, meh.  😥  😆

I thought, “Gee, well, as long as I’m down at tractor Supply, I’ll ask them how their shipping works. After all, the hatchery I talked to this morning would mix large fowl with bantams with no problem.”

So I asked. And they told me no. No biggy; I can order my silkies in a smaller quantity.

In the meantime, my oldest daughter had found another cool looking breed that she though would be neat to have. And I thought, “No biggy; I’ll just order a few of those and tack them on to the order.”

Are you laughing yet? 😆

Come to find out, yes, there’s a minimum order of 25 chickens. BUT. You have to order the breeds in quantities of 5. I called Hunny and talked it over with him before I did anything. And bless his heart, he was fine with it!

Initially, I was going to have a total of 31 without the guineas; 8 silkies and 23 large fowl. Because I was not going to pay megabucks to have the 90% accurate DNA testing done, the silkies were going to be straight run.

When it’s straight run, you can figure on about a 50/50 mix of boys and girls. So, in reality, that means we would only end up keeping 4 silkies, unless I could con talk Hunny into breeding and selling down the road. {Keeping my fingers crossed, but not holding my breath!}

So, in reality, that would put me around 27 chickens, which is a good amount of chickens.  😆

One other thing we decided on was getting guineas. Now, you may be scratching your head and wondering why, since we would have plenty of chickens.

Guineas are great at getting bugs. So are chickens, but the specialty of guineas is ticks. And, they will eat the bad bugs in the garden without eating the garden {I’ve heard- we’ll see- I’m a bit skeptical on that one, though}. While I’ve heard guineas are messy and loud, they are very good at alerting to predators and other unannounced “visitors.”

Another primary reasons guineas are such a good thing when you live in the country is that they will help control the snake population. I could do without snakes, so this seems like a win-win to me!

One of my bigger concerns is that because they roam, they might get chased by hunting dogs and then shot. In theory, this land is off-limits, but since we’re new and some haven’t figured that out, we’ve seen hunters from the hunting club out here. I don’t remember if I wrote it up, but there was one set of hunters in the front pasture with my HORSES that went and dragged a deer carcass right in front of them and my daughter who was out there. Ya, things are going to change next year!

We’ll have to see where we land with that.

I did a lot of looking online, and I finally ordered 15. Tractor Supply had a minimum of 25, and I just do not want that many.

Which ones did I settle on? I ordered 5 of each:

Lavender guinea: lavenderguinea

Royal Purple guinea:  royalpurpleguinea

and White guinea:   whiteguinea

Now. Onto the chickens! 😀

I actually did not order silkies today. Tractor Supply is getting bantams on Friday, so I’m going down there first thing in the morning to dig through them like we did last time. Hopefully, they will have a good variety, or else I may order the ones I want in a few weeks. That would put them here late June.

I did, however, order 5 Buff Orpington pullets. eggs and grass 010

The two big yellow chickens were our BOs, Butternut and Daisy. Butternut was the flock mistress, and would protect the chicks from the dogs. She would even peck Little Dog, who learned she didn’t like having her nose poked. Butternut was huge, and it was awesome to see her fluff her neck feathers out.

This was one of my absolute favorite breeds because of being a dual-purpose breed: good for meat and eggs. {We don’t eat our friends, though. 🙂 }

They are good all around- good in confinement and heat and cold tolerant. It’s also listed as a “Recovering Heritage Breed” with the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Blue Andalusian.   BA3I got 5 Blue Andis, too.  After having our hearts broken saying Goodbye, Dear Jasmine, I vowed if I ever got the chance, we would get more Blue Andalusians, but all girls {pullets}. So we did. 😀

Andalusians are a “Threatened Heritage Breed,” and they are simply gorgeous! They are medium layers of nice white eggs and are heat tolerant.

If you’ve seen pictures of my eggs before we moved, you will no doubt know that none of my flocks are ever complete without Easter Eggers. EEs are commonly found at hatcheries listed as Ameraucanas, but because they come from hatcheries, they are actually Easter Egges. This is because hatchery birds don’t meet the breed standard all the time; some of them are rumpless; some are muffless and/or beardless, and of course, some of them lay brown eggs.

Out of our last flock, we had one that laid a brown egg; two laid olive eggs {yay for olive eggers!} and the rest laid the typical blue/green eggs.

They are SO cute as chicks because they look like chipmunks! chicks1

EEs are an all-around great chicken- they do well confined and are a cold and heat tolerant breed. I can’t say enough good about this breed. I settled on ordering 10 of these girls.

As I was choosing breeds, I was looking for a balance of egg color. I, personally, like to see a nice variety of egg colors in the carton. A very nice brown egg layer that is something special to look at is the Silver Laced Wyandotte.

silverlacedwyandotte

SLWs are another breed that are cold and heat tolerant and do ok being confined. While I was happy to see that this breed is listed as “Recovering,” it didn’t deter me from ordering 5. 😆

Before getting chickens, I had no idea the wide variety of colors chickens could come in. I admit to going a bit hog-wild this time. 😆

One of the egg-colors I have always drooled over was the really dark brown chocolatey eggs.  cuckoomaraneggs

YUMMY!!! Marans lay these eggs, so I got 5 Cuckoo Marans. I was particularly pleased, because Cuckoo Marans look a bit like Barred (Plymouth) Rocks, and since we weren’t getting any, I knew my middle daughter would be thrilled, because her favorites were the BRs.  cuckoomaran

As I was thinking about breeds, my daughter noticed the Silver Lakenvelder, and I remembered that it was also listed as a “Threatened” breed. I thought, “I’ll just add a few of those” and that’s how we ended up ordering 5. The Lakenvelder lays a nice white egg and does well in confinement and is heat tolerant.

silverlakenvelder

One of the more interesting and unique chicken breeds is the Silver Spangled Hamburg, also known as “the polka-dotted chicken,”

silverspangledhamburg

When I discovered these a few years ago, I swore I’d get some if I didn’t have to order a boatload. So, I ordered 5. The Silver Spangled Hamburg is on the “Watch” list. It lays a white egg; does best free-ranging and is heat tolerant.

So. Let’s recap:

Brown egg layers: Buff Orpingtons (5), Silver Laced Wyandottes (5)

Dark chocolate eggs: Cuckoo Maran (5)

White egg layers: Blue Andalusian (5), Silver Spangled Hamburg (5) and Silver Lakenvelder (5)

Colored eggs: Easter Eggers (10)

Regular math: 23 large fowl + 8 silkies= 31 + 8 guineas= 39. {I probably would have rounded to an even 40.}

Chicken math: 40 large fowl + 8 slkies + 15 guineas= running afowl of 63 birds! 😆

Ahhhh, my loves, I’ve been waiting! 😆

**pictures courtesy of Google, My Pet Chicken, Meyer Hatchery, Feathersite, Backyard Chickens, etc etc

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Yep. I think I might be certifiable. chickencuckoo

I spent yesterday in bed. I am pretty sure old people like me are not made to bounce off the ground. I’m going to be really bruised, but the upside is that I didn’t break a collar-bone or an arm or a leg or my spine.

I can say that not only am I not cut out for getting bucked off horses, I may not even be cut out to ride them. We’ll see.

We did a change in strategy over the weekend. I just didn’t have it in me yesterday to fight.

So, because I didn’t sleep last night worth a hill o’ beans because I was too sore, I did what most people would assume I would do: I went for a run.

After nearly 6 months off, I figured I was so pea pickin’ sore that I might as well tackle it now, so the new soreness will be absorbed by the stuff that’s already here. I’m pretty sure the turkeys across the road could have lapped me had they wanted to, as slowly as I was going.

Nonetheless, I got 3 miles in. While I’ve had a have a hard time lifting my arms the last two days, I figured my legs should be ok.  Any new aches I’m going to get will just have to join the others……………

Ya. Pretty sure I’m crazy. 😯

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Sorry, but I’m pretty sure there’s not. It’s probably a futile effort, but I’m going to try anyhow. You can thank me later. 😀

“What’s this?” you might be wondering.

A summary, that’s what. I am pretty sure that I can’t summarize what all has happened since I last wrote, but I’ll try. You’ll most assuredly get the Cliff’s Notes version, full of stuff that I didn’t forget to include. 😀 Hopefully, you’ll enough of the gist to pass the test at the end.

When I last bored you with my drivel, we had just moved 7 horses in a single day.

Magic, Angel, Halo, Blondie and Doodlebug {formerly known as Elia} all went down the road to our friend’s house. As a trainer, her goals were to make sure we could ride both Angel and Magic. Halo needed to continue gaining weight, and Doodlebug needed to be weaned.

Score on all of the above points, more or less. I say more or less, because Magic and Angel both have attitudes, and there have been days where we couldn’t even ride because they were too squirrely. {And yes, I DO know it’s mostly us and not them ………….. :lol:} Combined with an uncontrolled full-out gallop back to the paddock resulting in throwing off my oldest daughter and having her arm stepped on, we can 100% say that a drug drop makes us really stressed out which in turn stresses out the horse and can be a less-than-ideal situation. Ya. Really.

Anyhow.

Horses have been trained, and we’re taking it one day at a time. I am not giving up.

I have, however, learned that show horses and rescue horse, like other rescue animals, come with their own sets of learned behaviors that may or may not be conducive to trail riding.  You might have figured out by now that we’re a particularly stubborn kind of folk, that, while listening to thoughts, opinions, and recommendations of others, may or may not take said advice. We’ll take it all under advisement, but at the end of the day, we’re going to do what we’re going to do.

Clearly, there is a learning curve, but if we’re in for a penny; we’re in for a pound. And there are *lots* of pennies involved here.

Since moving day, all the horses have had the farrier come and do their feet. Boi, for the first time, and Flicka in who knows how many years- both did well, all things being equal. And the day the farrier came, Boi had gotten gelded.

Yep. He did. Right out in the side pasture, our awesome vet laid him down, took off his parts, and off we went on our merry way. Because she didn’t suture, there was no concern about ripping his sutures open to lift his legs for the farrier. We also trotted him the following days as told, to keep him draining.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and all the girls came home. Boi was thrilled to see his love and mother of his children, Halo, and didn’t waste any time mounting her since she was in heat.

Much to his disappointment {after numerous times trying}, as you can imagine, he was unable to complete his business. He hasn’t tried again since that we’ve seen, but he’s been in a pretty foul mood until we separated him out from the girls and started spending a lot of time with him again.

Where do we go from here? I’m not sure.

We are planning on riding again today, since we haven’t put in a whole lot of time since the runaway episode over a week ago. We’re giving them time to adjust. I’m hoping getting back into riding consistently will get Angel to stop cribbing and air/wind sucking. Honestly, she is not bored and is not lonely and is not stabled; we’ll get it figured out.

Halo has taken to getting picky with what she eats. I guess since she’s not starving anymore, she figures she can let her particular palete run wild.

In the meantime, not a lot of painting has gotten done. We’ve had a visit from my parents who had to laugh at the chaos that is 5 horses, 3 dogs and 3 kittens and 4 children.

While the girls were being trained, not only were we heading over to feed twice a day, but most days we were there for training as well. Add to this that during this time, we still had heating contractors in and out on a weekly basis, it’s not an understatement to say it was chaotic.

I have to say, it was *awesome* having the ability to be present for 98% of the training and see what was happening. Depositing a horse off for training and then picking them up at the end of a month is not the kind of training that settles well with me. Clearly, I am too much of a control freak. 😀

Those few weeks, we were feeding 15 horses twice a day. It was all-consuming. We were not home a whole lot. Since you already know that I’m a hermit an introvert, you can imagine what kind of state I ended up in. And I got sick, which is probably no surprise.

Out of everything, I have gotten to the point where I realize the deep-seated need for running and getting back into more of a normal routine. I probably won’t be doing my 8 miles a day for a while, because painting still looms, but I have to find the balance, because my body is revolting against me. My pain level has been consistently higher lately, which tells me I need to get off my rear and get back at it. No matter how much a person tries to not to think about it, chronic illness simply will not be ignored.

In the midst of this, Hunny has managed to get most of the office put together, which I’m hoping means a return to more active writing. Goodness knows, I’ve needed it.

The underlying, recurring theme as I bang my head with the horse stuff is this: “All I wanted were chickens…………..”

So. Let’s recap, shall we?

Horses got moved out. Boi got gelded. Girls got moved back home. Magic and Angel have been giving attitude. Painting has been slow going. Office has been mostly put back together. Unpacking still looms. Despite the horsey issues, no one has gotten seriously hurt {praise God!} and we continue on our merry way of sticking to our plan, which may be sheer folly.

Because you got the edited version, the following test will completely consist of identifying each horse by name. {No cheating by looking at the caption! :lol:}

Horse #1

parked out

Boi

Boi

Flicka

Flicka

Halo and Elia

Halo and Elia

Who’s first? 😀

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