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It’s not my fault. Really. 😆

It all started with a nudge from a friend. She pasted a picture of some shoes and tagged me. Not just any shoes. Nope.

Chicken shoes. ❤ ❤ ❤

Not only are you not surprised that someone would send me something chicken-related, but you’re not surprised to find that something was shoes, either. I mean, you already know about my love affair with Hobbit Feet, and you prolly remember my finding the flipper shoes and sharing them with you, in addition to some other interesting footwear.

So, I know you aren’t surprised that I’m sharing the chicken shoe offering with you, too. 😀 You’ve probably already seen them, but for the uninitiated, here ya go: Chicken Shoes!

chickenheel3

Now, before you roll your eyes and go gettin’ all disappointed on me since your love affair with chicken only involves eating them, I’m going to indulge myself you and share with you an entire gallery of chicken foot wear. You’re welcome. 😀

beehivechicken

chickenheel2

chickenheelchickensandals

bawk

Whilst I was very pleasantly surprised to find additional footwear, the original funky shoes that came to mind were shoes designed by an “artist.” Now, in my mind, these offerings are more like “taxidermy meets Halloween costumes,” but that’s just me. I mean, if Lady Gaga can wear a meat dress, why not?

meatdress

Here’s some of the gallery. The first images are from artist Iris Schieferstein. Her website is in German, and she’s been written about in numerous articles, including HuffPost, etc.

Y’all- this are actual taxidermy shoes, so go grab yer barf bucket before scrolling down.

horseheel

animalshoes

fuzzyhoof

moleslippers

birdshoes

There seem to be some here that may not be actual, wearable shoes. What do you think?

silverheels

shaggyhooves

deerhooveswithdewclaw

giraffeheel

goldenhooves

hoofheel1

hoofmule

hoofshoe

hooves

multihooves

metamorphis

paintshoe

spikeyboots

And, because I couldn’t help myself:

feet

😆 😆 😆

This weird shoe stuff sucks me into a serious time warp. I’m incapable of not sharing some of my favorites, so grab a snack and let’s go!

Living shoes?

fishheel

spiderew

Animal fun.

How much is that doggy in the window?

How much is that doggy in the window?

Kin to the mole slippers.....

Kin to the mole slippers…..

fishy

Gag a maggot!

Gag a maggot!

Stinky feet

Stinky feet

Whistle while you work…………….

Hmmmmm???

Hmmmmm???

Shovel while you walk!

Shovel while you walk!

workshoes

Janitor duty

Janitor duty

A whole category of dinner shoes!

Dinner or lunch?

Dinner or lunch?

I'm thinking lunch....

I’m thinking lunch….

Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp

Definitely dessert!

Definitely dessert!

gobananas

Back to breakfast.

I don’t even know what to do with these…………………

ladders

popeye

Rarrrrr!

Rarrrrr!

What's the point?

What’s the point?

Now these, though, I’m pretty sure you’d better have good balance unless you’d end up crashing and dying like me. Heh,

Early Heelie wheelie shoe?

Early Heelie wheelie shoe?

EEEK! Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!

EEEK! Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

skinnywheels

What they won’t have as inspiration…….. {cover your eyes, kids}

Bottoms up!

Bottoms up!

Fertility shoes??

Whew. If you’ve made it to the end here, I figure you should get a reward. Since I can’t give you cookies, how about this?

piginboots

If I’ve just managed to whet your appetite, search for weird shoes. That’ll get ya laughing!

Which ones are your favorites? Leave me a comment and let me know!

And, because we all need some tunes while we’re perusing these glorius gems, sing along, kids!

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5mtclwloEQ%5D

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I’ve been hearing Sarah Brightman {with Andrea Bocelli} in my head this last week; ya know, because life is a soundtrack and all that jazz.

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember that I hate shopping.  I hate shopping so much I’m seriously thinking about making a category, just so y’all can kvetch with me. Erg.

So anyhow.

June of 2011 brought me to a critical point in my decades of running when, thanks to my chronic illness{s} and my plantar fasciitis, I realized something serious needed to change if I was going to not only walk without pain, but continue running. I spent a boatload of time researching, as I do with all things. I am not prone to leaping into fads, and do what I can to avoid them. By the time I got around to ordering my hobbit feet,  aka Vibram Five Finger Bikilas, I was pretty much at my wits end, and at the end of options to try. Bikila VFFs

I knew there would be a period of time to transition into them full time, which I wrote about. I also promised periodic updates, which I managed to keep up with up to the point we moved. My last post about my VFFs was in May of 2012, when I hit 1,000 miles. I am sad to say, my running tanked when we moved. It was sporadic at best, and it’s taken me over 2 years to log close to another 500 miles. 😯

There has been SO much to do on the farm; not just chickens and horses, but painting the whole house, including doors, windows, and all the miles of moldings. I haven’t gotten a whole lot finished, but I did manage to get the really bad blood spatter painted over. I still have curtains to make for every room but one. And that’s just inside. I have a ton to paint outside, too.u

With Hunny away for work and me basically single-parenting day-to-day, I reached a point where it was time to get back to my running. In many ways, it’s been really tough to have to build my mileage back up. I started at 4 miles and worked my way back up to 5 miles {and some change}. Hah!

I think I’ll prolly have to hold steady through the summer, unless it cools off, because wow. I left late this morning at 7:15 and it was 80 degrees when I got home, with a 90 something % humidity. Coming from the desert, the humidity while running takes some getting used to. I make a point to leave early, but overslept today.

Over the course of the past week, I’ve noticed spots on the bottom of my shoes getting really thin. I am not a fan of gravel, which my road in either direction is, for nearly 1/2 mile in the one direction I regularly go. I had been looking online periodically for my next shoe, and have been extremely disappointed to see that my beloved Bikilas are not made any more. They have the Bikila Lses, which have laces. And then they have the Bikila EVOs, which have a thicker sole and are for folks transitioning into minimalist running shoes. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I briefly thought about turning my Komodosport LSes KomodosportLS into my running shoes, but honestly, I’d rather save them for wearing for the rare occasions I’m not wearing flip flops or boots.

In a mad dash, I got online and ordered what I could find that looked like it would work. I ordered the See Ya Lses from the Vibram website. I was really excited when the See Ya Lses came today. I put them on, and then got really disappointed. seeyalses

Vibram has changed their US sizing. Instead of measuring your foot as before, now they ask you for your shoe size. I don’t know about you, but I notice that with traditional shoes, like clothes, the size is variable to the shoe. Frustrating! 😡

They are too big. Like, by at least a size. I tried them on and wore them around the house. Not only are they too long, but they are too wide. Any Vibram that has the laces are made for slightly wider feet, which I have, but the fit on these was just plain wonky.

Perhaps the most concerning feature was the heel. If you look at the pictures, you can see how the heels on the See Yas are pointy. That part right there is much taller, and digs into the back of my Achilles. I had them on for not even an hour and had a pressure mark on the back of my foot when I took them off. My plan is to return them for a smaller size and see if the right size makes a difference in that part of the fit.

Another thing I had read in some of the reviews, is that because they’re largly mesh {aka, “breathable;” and  is hard to see from these pictures, but is pretty clear on Zappos.com}, folks have said they are not good for winter running unless you wear socks. And we all know what my sock situation is like!

Earlier this eveing, I spent several hours online looking for other Vibram models; thus, my conundrum. I went back to the Vibram website to see what else they had. Right now it’s slim pickins’ because they just had a huge sale and are out of stock on numerous models. After hunting for hours, I ordered another pair from Zappos.

The Vibram KMD Sport Lses are, as near as I can figure, the updated version of the Komodo Sport Lses. kmdsportls How ironic is that?! I figure, if I still don’t like the fit of the See Ya Lses, I can send them back. If I like them, I can wear the KMDs during the colder months if I don’t want to wear socks. At the very least, they have the notched heel like I’m used to, with a bit of cushioning there, too. And, if I love the See Ya Lses, I can hang onto the KMDs and wear them when the others need to be replaced.

Of additional concern are the reviews that say all of these models wear out quickly. We’ll see.

My original Bikilas, as I mentioned, have lasted just over 1,425 miles. By the time the others get here, it will be close to or over 1,500.

1426miles.2

 

1426miles1

The foot bed in the right shoe has started to rip, and in that same shoe, the whole foot bed is wrinkly because the adhesive is shot. The upside is that it didn’t really bother me. Two days ago, I ran the last mile with what I thought was a pebble in one of the toes, only to discover it was actually a little black beetle that was still alive!

And then today, the gravel got me hard in the middle of my foot.  rockSeeing as that is not part of the foot that generally comes into hard contact with the road, you can tell I was distracted by one of the dogs who I to run back to the house because, as a border collie, she wants to run circles around the cars that pass us on the road. :/

So, as much as I hate to, it’s time to say goodbye. I am hopeful that I actually can find another pair of VFFs that I like as well, and is as well made. There is something really fantastic about not having to change out your running shoes every 300 miles!

Here’s also hoping I can get this song unstuck from my head…. 😆

 

[youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khznWuH3VTs%5D

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Of goodbyes. Really. Usually, I’m not. There have been a few times when ‘goodbye’ meant ‘good riddance,’ but those episodes are few and far between.

Sometimes, goodbyes come suddenly; unexpectedly. Sometimes, they come after a long period of languishing; dragging feet to delay the inevitable.

This episode falls into the latter category. *sigh*

I really, really did not want to have to. And I’m sure there’s a part of me that will always remember that sadness lingering, as it does today.

Ya know, another thing in this category is change. Change is not always good. I don’t mind change when I know about it; when I can plan for the variables. Sometimes, though, things change in the blink of an eye and there’s not a darn thing a person can do about it.

This episode falls somewhere in between those two poles. *sigh*

The thing that gets me, though, is when that change means saying goodbye, especially when you’re not ready for it. I’m not a fan of that. At. All.

We’ve been through a lot together in the last 17/18 years. I’ve shown my love; I’ve done my fair share of cursing. I’ve stayed up all night, making things right.

And last week, I had no choice but to sadly, say goodbye. 😥

My sewing machine died.  😦   😥

A few years ago, I began having problems with bird-nesting on light-weight cotton fabrics. I cleaned. I oiled. I changed needles. I diddled with tensions. I read and researched until I was cross-eyed. And then I put it away out of frustration.

If you’ve been reading along, you’ll no doubt remember that I’ve sewed some curtains since we’ve been here, and I thought my sewing issue had pretty much disappeared. So much so that I made plans to make curtains for every window in the house, and got the fabric for the living room.

Well.

Ahem.

Last Saturday, I got my machine out because desperate measures needed to be taken, and in a hurry. You can image my frustration when not only was I bird-nesting again, but then my bobbin casing popped out and refused to stay in once reinserted.

After several hours of cussing and praying, it was apparent the inevitable had arrived. And I was not ready.

Looking at my machine, I remember all the things I’ve made- pillow cases, throw pillows, bed sheets, other bedding, curtains, more curtains, and still more curtains, and baby clothes, etc. *sigh* And I was not ready to let it go. I have plans, after all!

I briefly thought about getting it repaired. As I learned, anything over ten years old is technically considered vintage, and not only are many parts not made anymore, but if replacement are found, they are usually salvages, which means at some point, they are going to wear out because they already have some of the life used.

Plus, I really didn’t have time to wait. No, really. My chickens needed clothes, and they needed them NOW! 😆

Ok, really, it’s only the girls that needed something.

Ok, well, not really ‘something’ in general- something in particular. My girls needed saddles!

If you’ve ever done an internet search for ‘hen saddles,’ despite the feathery ones, I can tell you, those are not the right ones. Besides being for fly fishing, they are much too small. 😀

While I personally prefer to call them “aprons” or “capes,” saddles is more appropriate. As in,

“Move ’em out, head ’em up,
Head ’em up, move ’em on.
Move ’em out, head ’em up:
Rawhide.
Cut ’em out, ride ’em in,
Ride ’em in, cut ’em out,
Cut ’em out, ride ’em in:
Rawhide!”

Ya. That kind of saddle. :/

Have I mentioned I have 12 crowing boys? Yep, I do. The suggested ratio is 1  male per every 10/12 females. This is not to prevent the boys from fighting. It’s to prevent the girls from getting worn out.

20131214_095840

Jumbo, Silver Laced Wyandotte cockerel

My head roo-in-in-waiting (he’s not quite a year yet, so he’s not “officially” a roo), Jumbo, is a gentleman. He is very gentle with the girls, and they adore him. He does his morning ‘hello,’ his evening ‘goodnight’ and in-between ‘just so you don’t forget me’s.

One of my silkie girls is terribly smitten with him, snuggling with him on the roost when she’s not broody. 😆 And he, bless his heart, tries to be accommodating to satisfy her loving desires. So far, he hasn’t killed her, but it is hilarious to watch, if not a bit concerning. 😆

Sparkles is another handsome cockerel, but he’s really nice, like Jumbo.

Sparkles, Silver Spangled Hamburg, and Jumbo, Silver Laced Wyandotte

Sparkles, Silver Spangled Hamburg, and Jumbo, Silver Laced Wyandotte

They often hang together, and can be found tag-teaming the girls during the day. We have no run, which means unless they are in bed for the night, they are free-ranging.  Together, they take the large groups of the girls out and about, which is fantastic to watch.

I think one of the real culprits, though, is Snowy, our Easter Egger cockerel.

Snowy, Easter Egger cockerel

Snowy, Easter Egger cockerel

You may remember the Mayhem in the Coop many months ago, which left both he and one of my Cuckoo Marans with cross beaks.

While his cross-beak is not as severe as Betty’s, it does interfere with his extracurricular activities, because he can’t hang on with his beak very well. This means he uses his feet *a lot* more, which is rough on the girls. And, he likes loves them allllllllllll. 😆

In addition to our three large fowl boys, we also have a plethora of bantam boys; 9 more, if we’re counting.  The worst culprits are my pair of black Cochin bantams, Bob and Snickers.

Black Bantam Cochins Bob and Snickers; Birchen Cochin Bantam, Coconut

Black Bantam Cochins Bob and Snickers; Birchen Cochin Bantam, Coconut

Despite having mostly large fowl girlies, I can say without reservation that these boys are successfully fertilizing the big girls, because my newest hatchlings have feathery feet and 4 toes, which means it’s most likely that one of these boys made it to home base. 😆 And yes, while the mama is a Silver Spangled Hamburg  {same breed as Sparkles; aka “The Polka Dotted Chickens”}, she is a large fowl bird, even though she’s the smallest large fowl breed we have. Make sense?

So anyhow.

My girls are getting too much love, and are starting to look a bit rough. The problem is that once those feathers are gone, there is no protection from toenails or spurs, and numerous hens have been laid open by super-duper amorous boys.

The fix is to provide them with some protection, a la hen saddles. I prefer to call them ‘aprons,’ myself. There are gazillions of patterns out there; most of them are free. Of course, there are lots of folks selling completed aprons, too, but because I know how to sew and had all the required materials on hand, I figured I’d give it a shot.

In a pinch, I had tied a scrap of fabric shaped like a bandana around one of my girls, but obviously, that’s not ideal. I wanted to find an easy pattern that wasn’t labor-intensive, because I had a lot to make.

In my wanderings, I found a thread on the BackYard Chickens forum that had a pattern. The poster originally found it on http://www.homesteadingtoday.com, from “Wisconsin Ann”.

It looked easy enough.

Hen apron or saddle pattern

Hen apron or saddle pattern

But when I got started, not only did I start bird-nesting, but then the bobbin case came flying out and refused to let me seat it back in, despite unscrewing the lever to keep it in place and then tightening it down again. The icing on the cake, though, was when my hand wheel got jammed.

Since you know I research everything, I asked on Facebook 😆 , knowing all my sewy friends would help me out. In the meantime, I researched, and narrowed down what features I wanted.

I like a top drop in bobbin as opposed to a front loading bobbin. Computerized machines just leave more for me to break, with my magnetic personality and all. 😆 That meant mechanical for me. I also like stitches, because even though I don’t use many, I like to have the option. It goes without saying I wanted the one-step buttonholing, because I do actually use that.

I found a brand that came highly recommended, but the nearest retailer was 70 some miles away. 😦 Then, because even though we’re in a much more populated area, it seems there are not a lot of sewing/crafty stores here. That left me with big-box stores like Wally World, Target, etc. The following day was Sunday, so I knew Hobby Lobby wouldn’t be open.

And, since I don’t really want to buy a sewing machine from Wal-Mart, despite the large selection (including Singer, Brother, and Janome), JoAnn Fabrics had one of the models I had settled on; at least online.

Thrilled to find it open on Sunday, I did a quick looky-loo at Wal-Mart before heading there. I was surprised to find a single brand in-stock; the others had to be ordered online. The one I wanted was in-stock, and even on sale! So home I went, with more fancy stuff than I really needed, and a DVD to boot.

It took me a few days, and we had some rain, so the chickie kids weren’t as active, which meant I didn’t get to it until yesterday. I made my template from a cereal box, and got to work.

This pattern called for heavier fabric, but I wanted to use cotton. I thought, though, I would try a few other things first before using the pattern. Using the general shape, I did a single layer. I also made the elastic a lot longer, because it just didn’t look like it would fit

FAIL! The general shape was ok, but too short, and a single layer was not going to work because a breeze would flip the fabric right up.

Several other patterns I had seen called for doubling the pattern; folding, and then sewing. I gave that a try and tweaked the elastic length.

In the end, I made another template from the other side of the cereal box, kind of sort of using the original dimensions. I lengthened the end-to-end length by about an inch, and added about 1/2 an inch to the side lengths. I made 4 of those, tweaking it as I went, and adjusting the elastic to fit some of the smaller, large fowl birds, like my Lakenvelders.

The biggest difference was that I doubled the pattern; folding it over on the neck line. This made the fabric heavy enough to defy the wind; but not so heavy as to be hot. We are in the South, after all. 😀

My total was 16; 15 are on birds now; another we’ll have to do in the morning. Initially, I read it would take about 30 minutes to make one. Yesterday, while I was still diddling with the fit, I was cutting and then sewing each one. This time might be about right.

Today, I  traced and cut out all the fabric ahead of time. Once I got to sewing, it took me about 10 minutes per apron. I will say, though- this are not professional grade. 😆 Had this been for people, I would have taken more care to carefully watch my seams, etc. I knew I had to get them done and on my girls, so I was blowing and going. 😀

The fabric I had on hand was last used making baby dresses for my oldest daughter. 🙂 I knew there was a reason I had saved it all these years!

aprons1

On that neckline, be SURE not to sew the elastic stationary. When you put the wings in, you’ll want to slide the neck piece to the side; particularly on the second wing.

The elastic piece was 10 inches for my big birds; 9 3/4 for the Lakenvelders. I think it probably would have been ok, but I didn’t want it too loose on them. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking, “There’s NO WAY that is long enough!” but I promise you, it is. 🙂

One of the first girls to get one yesterday was one of my Silver Laced Wyandotte ladies. pink1

pink2

Snowy in hot pursuit!

Snowy in hot pursuit!

pinkginham1

flowers1

purple1

yellow1

yellow2

I wasn’t planning on a fashion show, but there you have it. :mrgreen:

While I don’t like saying “goodbye” most of the time and this was no exception, saying “hello” to my new sewing machine got me back on track, and got my girlies covered before they got scabby backs. Totally worth it, in my opinion!

Because life is a soundtrack, I’m going to leave you with two songs that are stuck in my head. {Ya, can you hear that mash-up? 😆 }

Not quite the Frankie Laine original, but I love me some Clint!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShOiHPrwtHk%5D

And, because I can’t part with the old sewing machine….. {don’t laugh, you know you do it too! 😆 } and of course, it goes without saying I love me some Jon BonJovi, too!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifm00JEjSeo%5D

 

:mrgreen:

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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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This should probably go into the “Ooops, I did it again” invisible category. If you’ve been reading along, you’ll remember me mentioning the untimely demise of our beloved kitty that went missing and was finally discovered when her body started smelling.  😥  😥

When Yin’s brother, Yang, passed, we got Little Dog. This time, we got our Oreo.

And still, my middle daughter kept going on and on and on about wanting barn kitties. We kept trying to explain that barn kitties are not going to be very loving. {To be fair, her experience with barn kitties was out at my dear friend B’s house, and all of her barn kitties were snuggly even though there were technically feral…………}

We thought the puppy would be a lovely distraction. And it was, for about 2 minutes. 😀

{Yep. You know where I’m going with this…….}

Thus, the hunt was on. We had the chance to get some sweet little boys, but Hunny deemed them too old and in need of too much medical to be around the kids and the horses.

A few days before Christmas, we went looking. While I think it’s generally a very good idea to not have animals available for purchase/adoption around the holidays- because, yes, they really do make terrible long-term gifts for unsuspecting folks- we, on the other hand, were looking high and low for kittens for our own daughter, knowing full well that it’s Mama driving them to the vet and going and getting food, etc, and ultimately, being responsible for the health and well-being of said creatures. 😀

We totally struck out. I did, however, get information from a pet store on a rescue group that has periodic adoption events, and had some kitten available.

I worked on this thing for two weeks! First, we thought about a single kitty. “But, but but,” I protested, “kitties are better in pairs!”

Really. The only time we had a single kitty was when we went to animal control for a dog and I saw a cat that was an owner release and was slated for being put down the next day. She was fixed and declawed already………

We had her for several years as an indoor kitty, and she never did do well with kids. They really stressed her out. One day, she got out of the house somehow, and the mailman came to tell us she was laying in the road. 😦 BOOO!

{You already know this, but I’m going to tell you again anyhow- if you are in a populated area, the number one cause of death for cats is cars.}

It wasn’t too long after that we got Yin and Yang from the Human Society. Smart people, they are, to have the Humane Society right next to Animal Control…… there was a litter of kittens and a mama brought in; all of them sick. We waited a few weeks before they were both healthy enough to go home; Yang was touch-and-go several times in those two weeks. We loved him, and were really very upset when he got sick and succumbed to intestinal cancer 6 years later.

Yin was never really right after that, and she was pretty lonely for him once he had passed. Ironically, she loved living in the rv. She loved hopping from bunk to bunk, and there was always someone right there to walk on love her, even though we were always at home in the house. Go figure.

When she passed, we got Oreo, and were cat-free for the first time ever, really. There might have been a month or two 20 years ago when we didn’t have some kind of cat, but I can’t really remember actually not having a cat.

So, it was time. Even though we now had 3 dogs, 5 abandoned horses to feed and take care of, 1 rescued horse of our own, and chickens on the agenda, we thought, “What the heck. Why not?”  😆  😆

Initially, we were going to get the 1, as I mentioned, but my gentle reminder put us into the “2” category. We were looking for a gray kitty and an orange kitty; both boys. When I saw the pictures, the two gray kitties were boys and the orange kitty was a girl. Awwwwwwww………………………… 😀  😆

If you’ve figured out the puzzle, yep, we’ve got 3 kitties. 😀 One orange, one gray, and one black. We got them during an adoption event at our local PetCo. These babies had been fostered, so we were able to meet their wonderful foster mama, who was very, very sad to see them leave.

Fostering is so, so important, as you can imagine. We can tell that they have been much loved, and have been completely socialized. They are a total riot! 😆

I introduce to you The A Team- Apollo, Athena, and Ares.

kittens1

At this point, the kids are not liking their names. I am, however, holding firm in my ode to Greek mythology. {We briefly thought about Edward, Jacob and Bella, but I thought we’d be better off to follow Yin and Yang with something more intellectually subtantial. 😉 } I am confident the nittens will grow into their names.

Because life is a soundtrack and I’ve had it stuck in my head {thanks to my kids singing it!} for the last two days, I bring you “Soft Kitty,” courtesy of The Big Bang Theory’s crew’s Sheldon and Penny. 😀

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIp77PUvLTE%5D

Or, if you have nothing better to do and want something worse stuck in your head, here you go. You can thank me later. 😀

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoF1fX1sgpk%5D

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Do you believe in magic? I think I might……………………….

It was purely an accident, us becoming horse people. This wasn’t something we set out to do; yet here we are.

And we are loving it!

It didn’t take us long to figure out that horses are awesome. And then we started looking at our land and coming up with ideas. In a perfect world, everyone who wants to ride would have a horse. At some point, that means lots and lots of fencing redos.

In a perfect world, we’d get the surrounding land {and barns} and we would just have to deal with repair, instead of making new and also clearing some land to accommodate all the horses.

I’m not sure we’re living in a perfect world just yet, but we are still working on it.

The abandoned horses are doing well, all things considered. We’ve gotten halters on all 3 of them, including the two Saddlebreds. We’ve learned that Flicka has been ridden, which we assumed she had been, given her price tag. It’s just going to take a bit of time and effort to get her back to where she was years ago. When horses have been abandoned for so long, it takes a bit to get them trusting people again.

I’m thinking I might need a new category; you know, a “Ooops, I did it again” category. We seem to keep falling into those kinds of situations. 😆

For example, we’re not really set up just yet for horses. You may have learned by now that some of the best things we end up with are not planned, and come on a totally different time-table than we had been thinking of.

Yep. You guessed it- we got a horse. Another horse. That actually belongs to us. 😀

Just over a week ago, I got a phone call from our friend D. He knew of a horse that was being given back to the Diamonds in the Rough Equine Rescue group. The horse was *exactly* the kind we were looking for, and even better, the price tag was unbelievable. She was totally trained and vetted, with a clean bill of health. Did we want her?

I started emailing Hunny, and D sent me some pictures. !!!!!!!!!

By the end of the day, we had it worked out to go get her in Va early the next day. We loaded up the next morning, and off we went, in the rainy cold.

Several hours later, we were home, and getting Magic settled in. It was a rough start; she had been moved around several times in the previous days prior, and was a bit stressed out. We were counting on her being trained the way she was promoted, despite her having gotten loose and having a little bit of a challenge to get her trailered.

But she doesn’t live here yet, because I have a stallion in my front yard that needs to get dealt with so he’s not jumping fences trying to get nookie. Our fantastic friend down the road is letting us house our girl there until we get fencing and get the situation with Boi settled. He’s going to get sick of us, because we’re there twice a day now, for both feedings.

Yesterday, many of us went Magic riding. Well, sort of. We rode around while being tethered to the lunge line.

When you get a new horse and you don’t know much about them, you have to figure out their cues. Obviously, since we’re new to horses, we’re pretty much clueless. Thank goodness for our awesome neighbors!

Because she was a breed that D hadn’t dealt much with personally, he called his neighbor, T, to come on over. She helped figure out Magic’s cues, and we’ve come to the conclusion she was a show horse.

Several things lead us to this thinking. Her tail has a tendon cut so she’ll hold her tail higher, and she primarily uses finger cues for steering. In some ways, I’m glad we’re all “learning” on her!

This is our Magic. She’s a Spotted Saddle Horse and is double registered; also as a Tennessee Walking Horse.

Magic1

Do you believe in Magic? We do! 😆

Because life is a soundtrack, there’s no doubt you know where I’m going with this…….here’s the Lovin’ Spoonful!

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaqRwFyoGgQ%5D

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Another thing to know about me is that I have chronically itchy feet.

Yep. I do.

I am pretty sure in a former life I was a gypsy. 😆

What a contradiction, eh? An introverted traveler. 😀

Seriously, though, traveling is in my blood- so much so, that one of my more frequent dreams {besides running when I’ve been slacking; like now, for example :lol:} is driving. Usually in the dream, it’s highway driving. Before we moved, that highway driving was the single highway driving out north east; the route to anything northeast of here. That was the road “to the green,” as I fondly thought of it. And I was driving it in my dreams a few times a week. 😆

It then, should come as no surprise that I’ve been known to drive around seemingly aimlessly; just for the point of driving. 😀 In reality, there has always been a method to my madness. 😀

Before we moved, I spend serious time on the local roads, trying to find the right spot to build. We actually had found a 5 acre plot several years ago, that we had decided to build on until we tested the water. Yikes.

Having a whole-house RO (reverse osmosis) system was not what we wanted to do with a large chunk of the budget, because that was in addition to the other necessary water treatment processes.  Replacing all the pipes in a few years due to the off-the-chart mineral content in the water –IF you could get water- wasn’t in the budget, either.

Nonetheless, I did what I could to obtain quotes. One of the only groups who did those kinds of things gave a cost somewhere around $40,000 {if I remember right} for the necessary systems, and then went on to seriously advise me against it. Turns out, the water in that rocky volcanic part of the country was very nearly untreatable if you had to get an Artesian well.

Now, there are some that may argue, but honestly, there is a REASON no one is building out there, AND there’s a real reason that the city hasn’t gotten permits to set more water meters. Basically, you are on your own and it’s a crap shoot.  And YES, we had the water tested by a professional who just happens to be a good friend, {waving to J :lol:}

It was probably a given that we would have also had to have an Artesian well. Did I mention that one of the deepest Artesian wells in Roswell is a mile and a half deep? I doubt we would have had to go that deep, but it was still a crap shoot that we would even hit anything {despite the surveys being provided}. The combination was unfortunate, and we decided not to build.

You might be wondering why, if there is nothing out there in the desert and the water so bad on that side of town, why not build on the other side of town?

We had a few requirements. We didn’t want to see junk. If you’re anywhere out in the country, you no doubt know what I’m talking about {and this is no offense to those living in trailer homes! :D}. One of the biggest things when you buy and sell a home is location. You can change your house; your neighbors can change, but you cannot change your location. You also can’t change the people around you who are living on their country properties.

And- it’s important to protect the value of your investment, unless you plan on living out the rest of your days in the home, which we, of course, we were not {as in, first chance we had to get out of the desert, we would take- even though it didn’t come for 17 years :lol:}. So yes, we were {and are} picky about what kind of a view we have. It’s a priority that the surrounding homes are similar in structure so that appraisals come back right.

On the west side of town, the water wasn’t so much an issue, but there the issue was the ground. The ground was notorious for moving, based on the high clay content. When I say ‘moving,’ you can assume I mean ‘causing your home to crack terribly.’

I remember being freaked out when we first moved there, because all the houses had cracks- cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings. Every single house had cracks.

In fact, the one main pool installer’s company had said they would no longer put in any fiberglass pools on that side of town because they had a tendency to, um, lift and stuff, which meant they had a ton of warranty work to do. They weren’t also keen on doing gunite pools, but it was better than the alternative.

But I digress. The main point there is that the water was better on the west side of town, but the ground moved more. And after years {yes, literally years} of driving around and around the country roads, I pretty well knew them all inside and out.

Did I mention that they are mostly straight lines? When you are in the desert and don’t have things like trees and water to build around, it’s very easy to lay roads out on grids. 😆

Yesterday, I decided to get familiar with my surroundings. 😆

I don’t mind saying that I went out with the intent of getting lost and seeing where a few specific roads went.

I am here to say that my sense of direction is non-existent, even if the compass in my truck tells what direction I’m going in. 😆

The roads out here are wind-y, y’all! They start out in one direction, and before you know it, you’ve gone all the other 3 directions and you haven’t seen a cross road! It is bizarre!

I started out my travels on a road that headed north. Somehow, it totally turned east and south and then I turned around, made the loop, and went right past where we started. I kid you not.

The ‘big thing’ of the day that I was looking for was the lake. When we were out at the house the second time, the lovely elderly neighbor man came to see what we were doing say hi. The realtor hadn’t gotten there yet, so we got to talking a bit.

Apparently, there is a lake out here somewhere that is private, but if you lived right around it in the area, you could join the private club. From the sounds of it, you could do a lifetime membership for cheap and because the original members were all near his age, it sounded like we’d pretty nearly have the place to ourselves. He didn’t draw a map, but he gave us directions.

Ya. Like I knew any of the road names by that point? We hadn’t even been here a week! 😆

But, I was bound and determined to find it the day before yesterday. Off I went, with a full tank of gas and two little girls in the back seat.

I’m very glad to say I found the state park 13 miles away after close to an hour of driving. 😆

I did, though, finally find the lake. At least I think it’s the one he was talking about.

It is fantastic!

There was even a little waterfall {didn’t get a picture}, and there was not just the lake, but also river access. I can see some kayaks in our future!

As I was making the pass numerous times, I noticed the bones in the road. I had never seen such a thing; a whole skeleton picked clean and lying in the middle of the road. Finally about the 5th time, I stopped and took pictures. Because the head was missing, I’m not really sure what this is.

Any guesses?

Sadly, by the time Hunny and I went back to the lake after work, someone had driven through them and smashed them all up. 😦 I’m glad I took a picture when I did.

Because life is a soundtrack, I bring you Roll The Bones, courtesy of Rush…………..

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VzAKpPJTqQ%5D

{Although, honestly, ‘bones in the road’ kept making me think of “Pants on the Ground” so you’ll have to suffer through that one too. My gift to you:  😆 }

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw0a12geN3Q%5D

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You know how it is when you have a plan and you are determined to stick with it because you know you don’t have any other feasible option? And then something comes along and turns the whole thing on its ear and you end up doing something else entirely?

Ya. It’s like that.

When we got our second house in NM, we still had the one we had been living in for 7 years. Before we could put it on the market, we had to repaint inside and replace the carpet. None of that could even begin before we got moved out.

Moving took about 2 weeks, before I was able to get in to paint. Then it took about another several weeks before we could carpet. All told, it was about a month after we had moved out before we got it on the market. And then, it took another 45 days to sell; this in the midst of the inclining housing market.

Did I mention I very nearly went insane? Yep. For reals.

The baby at the time (#3) was 14 months old, and that was the last year the oldest went to school. He was in 1st grade. So I was driving back and forth to school 2 times a day in addition to having a baby and a toddler and trying to keep them entertained while I was painting and moving all the stuff I could move into the other house.

That wasn’t what was making me crazy. Nope.

What made me bonkers was the stress of having 2 houses and 2 house payments. I could see our financial future swirling down the drain.

I swore at the time- and for the subsequent 10 years- that I would never, ever, EVER do that again. Never, ever, ever, EVER again would I buy a new house without having the other one sold; I would never, ever, EVER again have 2 house payments.

Apparently, I lied. 😆 And I’m totally, completely nuts. 😀

When we got here, I went and saw 5 houses I had seen online that seemed to meet our space requirements; had some acreage, and as best as I knew, would allow us to have chickens.

In that group of houses was a house that I had only seen online a few times. The few pictures I had seen left me really confused. And, it was a foreclosure, which I didn’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole.

To get a feel for the market, though, I put it on my list of houses to look at initially. I’m pretty sure it was the last house we looked at that one day.

I remember saying out loud when I got into the master bedroom and saw the fireplace that we had a winner. I really was joking, of course, but told my realtor that the house went on the really short list. I mean, after all, it was missing a Jacuzzi in the bathroom and it needed *a ton* of work- work that we had decided we’d rather not have to do if we didn’t have to.

It didn’t have a garage, either, which was a major strike. I had 2 freezers, an extra fridge, and all of our tools in the garage. We really needed a garage, even if it wasn’t tall enough for Hunny’s truck to get inside. Otherwise, the space was good, but it wasn’t perfect.

The next few weeks brought a lot of other houses. I think I looked at somewhere around 20, which for this area, is not a huge amount, but one of the defining “must haves” was the ability to have chickens.

I’ll say, I was really surprised at the number of houses that had acreage but didn’t allow chickens. One house that really fit the bill only allowed a total of two pets- even though the current owners had 3. The other knock against a lot of the houses was location.

I’ve been spoiled for forever, because Hunny has been coming home for lunch nearly every day since we moved to NM. One of our ‘most desired’ wishes was that the new house be close enough to work that he could continue to do so, but we realized going in that this was going to be a very slim possibility.

Over the course of the last few weeks, I learned a few things. I learned that the bulk of the houses that we looked at all needed the same amount of work, yet cost around $100,000 more.  😯 I also learned that the market here, unlike where the other house is, is still moving quite nicely.

The other thing I learned was that interest rates had hit another, new low. It baffles me, honestly, that people are not jumping all over this, since the housing market in many locations has slowed, as I understand it, due to the impending presidential election.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. It won’t matter WHO is in the White House if your mortgage rate is locked in. Could jobs be lost? Sure. That possibility is not going to change from where it’s at now, imo, regardless of who is sitting in the big chair.

What *could* change, however, are mortgage rates. And it’s my supposition that with as low as they are now, they are most likely only going to go up. NOW is a fabulous time to buy a house and get locked into a stunningly low interest rate. Just sayin’. 😉

You’ve probably figured out by now that we did actually do the thing we swore we’d not do. 😆

The day I went in with the offer, I was having a hard time keeping my stomach contents in. Too much was unknown, but the only way to get actual numbers was to make an offer and see where things were going to land.

We’ve also figured out that long-term with 2 parents, 4 kids, 2 dogs and a cat in an RV really of any size leads to a whole other kind of stress.

The kids are crabby. The dogs are crabby {well, not little dog so much, but big dog has been going after her, and it really is a matter of time before little dog gets injured} There is a substantial increase in the cost of food for buying smaller amounts and not being able to shop sales, in addition a HUGE increase in gas when you have to drive 50 miles round trip every few days to get food. It became apparent that something needed to change, because this situation was absolutely not sustainable.

This basically left us with two options: either I would need to go back to NM and take a few kids with me, or we needed to buy something here.

The other end of this was the knowledge of knowing you’d found the right house, and knowing it would not be there come spring, because of the moving market. Surely, someone else would see the value and know they needed to snatch it up.

As scared as I/both of us was/were, I have maintained from the beginning that this whole thing has been divine providence- if the house was meant to be ours, it would be. It wouldn’t be, though, if we didn’t DO anything to make it happen, and we needed to seriously look at all of our options.

So. We’re closing on November 8. 😆

Interestingly, I am not stressing over the financial end of this. We’re still hoping the NM house will sell soon, but the back-up plan is to rent, which we absolutely did not want to do. We have never aspired to be landlords, but with the property management group, it’s going to be better than if we had to deal with everything ourselves. If we get folks in for the short-term, we can get the house listed back on the market come spring, when things pick back up.

I had hoped to close a little sooner, but there is a load of stuff that needs to happen, like getting my move settled. I’ve also got to get the new carpet arranged, and get the floors refinished, if it’s in the budget. I have to get utilities arranged, and hopefully get better internet out there than we get here. {I’m not holding my breath, though}

Here’s the short list of why we love this house:

  • The space. The main house is 3603 sq ft and 3 stories. The top floor is the bonus room with attic that we’ll completely finish down the road. It actually has all the right spaces- 4 bedrooms, plus office, eat-in kitchen and dining room. It has a large living room, which we much prefer over a smaller ‘great room’ and formal living room. The office is actually an office space, which we love.
  • Fireplaces. It has 3 in the main house. 2 of them have gas inserts. I think we might leave the one in the dining room alone, but the one upstairs we’ll change back to wood-burning like the one in the living room.
  • It’s got gas for the cooktop. As I was looking, that was one thing that was next to impossible to find out here. All told, there were a total of 2 houses I looked at that had gas.
  • It’s got the floors that I absolutely adore.
  • The porch/balconies are awesome! We have our own door off the master bedroom.
  • Great storage space.
  • Property. Have I mentioned HOW MUCH I adore this location? ♥♥♥ We’re working on getting the surrounding acreage. It was chopped up when it went into foreclosure, and when/if the other acres get taken back by the bank, we’re going to snap them up. Both surrounding pastures are being leased, as we understand it, to someone who has horses. I love seeing the horses- I’ve seen 3, including a baby.

And then there’s Moo. Moo is the cow that lives across the street. The rest of the surrounding plots are active hay fields. You simply cannot beat the location and the view, imo.

  • It’s about 2.5 miles from the campground. That means it’s absolutely no problem for Hunny to come home for lunch.
  • And, one of the main selling points was the guest house. Yep. It has a whole second house. 😀 It needs some work {like getting rid of the acoustic ceiling, painting, and repairing the deck}, but getting a second 1,084 sq ft house wasn’t even on the radar, so it’s a huge bonus.

It has the same reclaimed floors {from some ‘historical’ building- probably a barn is what I’m thinking}; full kitchen, large master bedroom, etc. The walk-in closet in the little house is bigger than the one in the big house.

There’s also a loft for short people up top, and another fireplace that has been plumbed for gas. Apparently, the folks who built the big house lived in the little one while they were building. It has a fully functioning kitchen including a dishwasher {which needs to be replaced} and utility hook-ups,

Obviously, I could go on a good long while about this house. 😆  I’ll be sure to take before and after pictures, because this house needs a *ton* of work love.

But- and this goes without saying- I am ESPECIALLY excited to get in and get to work on getting more chickens. We’re going to try and get the bulk of the other stuff done first, so that may well put us at springtime for chicks, but that’s great motivation to get {and then stay!} crackin’.

For the first time in a really, really long time, I am looking forward to decorating for Christmas. I am looking forward to going all out and doing the big holiday meal for Thanksgiving, too. There is always plenty to give thanks for, but this year, we’re feeling especially blessed.

Here are some pictures to share my excitement.  😀

Because life is a soundtrack, I leave you with Defying Gravity, from the Broadway show, Wicked. I quite feel like this at the moment. 😀

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g4ekwTd6Ig%5D

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“I wanna free fall, out into nothin’

Gonna leave this, world for awhile

And I’m free, free fallin’

Yeah I’m free, free fallin’”

I’ve totally got Tom Petty’s song running through my head. If you’ve been watching the news, you probably know why.

If you haven’t been paying attention, you have missed out on a record of epic {and I do mean EPIC} proportion that happened yesterday Sunday in my former home town.

I have to admit that this was probably one of the only times I wasn’t there that I kinda wished I would have been.

Why, you might ask? Yesterday  Sunday was the day Felix fell from the sky and broke all kinds of records- records like:

• Largest manned balloon

• Highest ever manned balloon flight

• Only skydiver to ever break the sound barrier

Did you get that? HE. BROKE. THE. SOUND. BARRIER.

As in, Mach 1.24 with his body, in the sky.

And not just the sky. He was literally IN the stratosphere,

24 miles up- on the very precipice of outer space – and then he jumped.

On his way down, he hit speeds of 833.9 miles per hour.

And he lived to tell the tale.

WOW.

Interestingly, this record was set 65 years to the day that Chuck Yeager first broken the sound barrier. But, it wasn’t planned; this particular date.

Nope. Last week, he had two delays. One was wind and a combination of other factors, as I heard from friends on the ground; factors like some people who were supposed to document it weren’t there or something along those lines.

The past week has been filled with friends posting pictures of themselves with Felix around town. And this is why for the first time in recent memory, I was actually wishing I was in my desert of 17 years, Roswell, NM.

I would have like to have watched that. Schools had been set up live for the kids to watch, but alas, the jump happened on Sunday.

You may be wondering, why Roswell? You might be surprised to learn that in addition to yuccas and mesquite, Roswell actually has one of the longest runways in the world, and the second largest {commercial} runway in the US. It was known, too, that it was a suitable {although not preferred, obviously} landing site for the space shuttle. So, Roswell made a good launch site for not just the final jump, but also for the other test jumps.

This doesn’t translate to passenger flights, though. But if you fly over, you’ll see a ton of planes on the ground. Not only is a giant parking lot for planes, but it’s also a graveyard for them, too. They land and then get parted out and taken apart. Pretty interesting stuff, really.

I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, in addition to the annual Alien Festival resulting from “the crash” on July 3, 1947, Roswell will also be remembered as the site of “when the guy fell from outer space.”

Felix. Amazing, amazing {and maybe slightly insane :lol:} man and an event to remember.

Here are some links:

Red Bull Stratos on Facebook

Red Bull Stratos with media

The whole jump

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNn4sPqLnNI%5D

And, because life is a soundtrack and I really need this song out of my head, here’s Tom Petty with Free Fallin’.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gqT6En2O78%5D

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