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Garden Salad


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

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

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

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

😆

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have you looked?  Do you usually look? 

~~WARNING!!!! LONG POST AHEAD!!!~~~~  😆

Every year around this time, I end up laughing sardonically to myself.

“I just love a clean slate!”

“New year= new beginnings!”

<gag> I mean, really? Do people really believe this? Like, nothing from the past year is going to follow them into this year because it’s a “new calendar?” Or that because it’s the new year, things are just magically going to be “better” because the time meter has been reset?? The short answer is yes, apparently they must because every year, they say the same thing.

Ooooooookkkk- back to reality! I love history. I just don’t live there. 😀

Sir Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Yep. It’s true. The key here is learning.

So many times, people do the same things over and over, each time expecting a different result. Doesn’t work that way. Never has; never will.

Learn something from the past, get over it, and move on already. Play the hand life has dealt you instead of moaning and groaning about better days (like when you were in high school). Don’t let the past keep you trapped, because you can’t escape from self-imposed imprisonment. It’s just not happening.

Get rid of your grudges– they keep you enmeshed, even if you don’t think they do. Why are you continuing to let that/them/him/her/it continue to have that kind of power over you? They don’t care about your grudge, and it’s going to damage you far more than it will them. Let it go……. but learn from the experience- don’t forget it; protect yourself from something similar happening again.

This is why we need to periodically look back. For me, it’s a measure of taking stock- where have I been? What went right? What needs work? Were any of those things things I actually had control over?  😆

Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a minute so we can see what my frame of reference is:  2010.

~~~~~~~~~~Intermission music~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh hey. I see you’re back.  🙂

The big rant there, about the medical billing? Yep. It’s still broken. The one bit of information I redently learned from my insurance company was “All emergency room doctors are contractors. None of them work for the hospital.” <gasp!>  😯

That was news to me! I thought only smaller community hospitals were cursed with that! I have no real way of confirming this information, so if you have some kind of concrete evidence, would you point me at it, please? Thanks.

Why, you might ask, is that even on my radar? Well, in August, dd #2 (my now 10-year-old) ended up in the ER with a concussion. I kid you not when I say that the hand of God was on that situation from the get-go, because financially, it could have been a WHOLE lot worse than it turned out to be. (I mean, of course the hand of God is in everything all the time- this was one situation, though, where a person could see it really clearly and know it for what it was.)

Explanation: We here, in our rural community where a larger city is 200 plus miles away in ANY direction, have 2 hospitals. One is relatively new; a private, physician owned venture that is really, really nice. Thanks to the cuts in Medicare and Obamacare, it can’t expand nor can it sustain itself, so it’s being bought out by the other hospital. I’m not sure that’s happened yet, and it’s besides the point.

So, when J started vomiting after goofing around with siblings (something I did not witness), I knew it was time to take her to the emergency room. I’m pretty well convinced that the other hospital will kill you unless you are mostly dead anyhow (ya, this is the one where the head of ER services told me “Everyone has pitting edema in the morning- you are just fine besides the connective tissue disease issue. Get off the internet and stop trying to find something wrong.” Yes, really. Nevermind those pesky chronic illness that other COMPETENT medical professionals have diagnosed.  🙄  😡 ), so my thinking was to take her to the other ER because surely, it had to be better.

Indeed, it was. We were in and out in 2 hours; the CT confirmed a concussion but no bleed (which was a huge relief, because that’s an airlift out). In reality, we were the only ones there.

That was early August. It is now January. A few weeks ago, I got another bill from the emergency doctor’s contracting service, which turned into nearly 2 hours (yes, really) of time waiting on the phone. First, I had to call the service to find out why they hadn’t billed insurance again. (We had already had this conversation in October.) They said they had, and insurance said it needed more information from me.

??? I hadn’t gotten anything from insurance, so I called. Insurance said they couldn’t find a record of a claim. Interestingly, the hospital bill and the labs had been completely paid for by the end of September- apparently, the hospital, which took my information- was able to properly bill insurance with no problem. Somehow, the ER doctor service wasn’t able to take that same information and do anything with it. That bill was for nearly $750.

When I called insurance, it showed that it hadn’t been billed at all. The next logical step was for the insurance company to call the ER doctor service to try to straighten it out- all with ME still on the line……..Granted, most of the time spent was just being on hold, but still…. 2 hours later, it was finally determined that the ER doctors hadn’t actually billed the right place, but now it should be on the right track.

How does this stuff happen?!!! You give your information a single time; to a single person. This person enters that data into the computer, for goodness sakes. And every one but the one gets the billing right? Maddening!

But wait- there’s more!  😆 As it turns out, the new hospital doesn’t actually HAVE pediatric services.  Yep. You read that right. They can deliver the bulk of the babies for the community, and they treat adults, BUT, they cannot admit pediatrics because they are not equipped to do so.

AND NOWHERE WAS THIS INFORMATION POSTED OR OTHERWISE SHARED WITH ME

You’d have thought that when we showed up, there would have been a note or something posted- or the person taking our information would have said, “Please be aware that if she needs to be admitted, we are going to call an ambulance to transport her to the other hospital.” Had I known that, I would have taken her there to begin with (where a dear friend actually works in the ER).  It was a given that if she had had a bleed, it would have been a chopper ride out- but first, they would have transported her to the other hospital by ambulance, too, because they are not equipped to do that there for peds.

WTH?!!! Pardon my french, but really? You don’t think you should tell someone that kind of information when they come in with a child that clearly needs medical attention? But see, fortunately, this is where God was clearly *overtly* in charge, because there was no bleed and things went well, all things being considered (we didn’t come home with something like MRSA….).  But when my friend called and let me know what was more likely to have  happened- wow. Just wow. Do people not have consciences?

I think we can conclusively say that medical billing is broken. And while our medical system is broken, I’m still inclined to think it’s considerably better than other countries with socialized healthcare, where people have to wait for eons to get surgeries and other services. At least here, I, the consumer, have the option to shop for doctors, even if I have to fight the payment ring-around-the-rosey later.

I think we can check that off the rants for 2011.  😆

Let’s see- the Stuff issue remains, more or less. Getting a Kindle has been hugely helpful in not adding to the pile of books, so that is good. The other stuff- *sigh*.  Work in progress.

I will say, though, that unlike 2010 which I was glad was dead and buried, 2011 actually DID have some really good points.

I missed not doing our usual travels. I think we all missed not taking out usual vacations. This was due completely to the addition of CHICKENS! If you’ve been reading along, you have no doubt figured out by now that I am totally crazy chicken lady.  :mrgreen:

Not a *single* regret here for getting chickens! Santa even brought Mama some chicken lanterns for Christmas, which add to the chicken calendar, magnets, and ornaments for her birthday.  😀

We’re hoping to get the chicken arrangement more automated so when we do hit the road again, we’ll have it set to where our chicken sitter only really has to come once or twice a day to collect eggs and make sure they all put themselves to bed.

Of course, all of our girls are grown up now and they are all laying eggs. One of these days, I’ll actually get around to taking pictures of the chicken condo, the girls, and their gift of eggs!!  😆

The other “big” thing for me this year came in the form of running shoes. The change to Vibram Five Fingers has been absolutely monumental for me. Because I’m not running with as much pain, I’ve been able to increase my mileage and enter races. 2011 brought me 2 10k races. 

Year end totals for running: 935.76 miles. At the beginning of the year, my goal was 500 miles. At some point, that changed, and I was looking at 800 miles. When that goal got close, it changed to 900. The last few weeks, I had changed the goal again, to 950 miles. 😆

The last week bit me in the rear, though, as I hit a pretty major flare on Christmas Day followed by a tummy bug. I only logged 43.5 miles for last week; my monthly total for December was 205.

How does that break down with the shoes? 308.56 miles were run in my Asics, which leaves 627.2 in my VFFs. I’ll continue to update periodically on my VFFs, as a measure of keeping track of the longevity of these treds. The Holiday Challenge finishes today, so stay tuned for the update coming soon!

Overall, 2011 wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. In fact, it was considerably better than I had hoped! That being said, I can’t confess to having unbridled enthusiasm for 2012.  While I’m cautiously optimistic, I’m probably just too cynical.  😆

2012- looking forward to good things and firsts- like going and collecting eggs, because we haven’t collected eggs at all this year.  😆  And then a run, since I haven’t run at all this year………………. 😆

What are your goals for the coming year?  Do you set any?  Have you looked in your rearview mirror yet?  😀

 

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SQUEEE!!!!!!!!!!  Can you believe it? 100!

Um, what? 100 what?

Ya, posts. Hard to believe I’ve had nothing to say 100 times, especially this time.  😆

In other news, I have admitted defeat.  I don’t think the house gremlin is going to respond to my letter.  And I can’t say that I blame him.  Heck, those toe socks are S–E–X–Y!!!

I did order my new shoes (and freebie toe socks!) today. They come with some pretty serious stipulations, though. Even though these are going to replace my regular tennis shoes, Hunny has expressed his desire not to be seen in public with me wearing them.

Yes, he thinks they are that ugly. Initially, I am bothered by his response.

Since when does he care about what I’m wearing, particularly on my feet? Really? There’s never been a single item of anything he’s been unwilling to be seen with me wearing in the last 20 years. Why start now? 

In this case, I am convinced that my ethereal beauty is so overwhelming that people will fail to notice the hobbit feet. 😆

He wouldn’t have had an issue with Z-Coil shoes. 

 

 

 

 

 

He wouldn’t have had an issue with the rolly shape-up shoes. 

 

 

 

 

 

He even laughed and told me to go for it when I said I wanted to find the flipper heel shoes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But he has a problem being seen in public with me while I’m wearing Vibram Five Fingers Komodosport LSes?

 

 

 

Ppffffffffffffffftttttttttttttttt !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to say, I am surprised. Shocked, even. But daunted? Intimidated? Chicken? Thwarted?

Not on your life!  😆  I think he’d better get used to it!  I supposed, if it’s really a hit to his perception of respectability, I will cave and wear heels with my jeans as I have done for the last several years.  But the thought of no foot pain while on vacation?!  Comfort?  No foot pain? Did I mention consistently not having foot pain?

Ya.  I think that trumps his reaction and “need” for fashion. (Like, when did he even start caring about that anyhow?!) 🙄   😆

Now, if I can just figure out how to combine my fashion love of VFFs with chickens……… 😆

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Yesterday, we brought Cocoa into the house. She’s 20 weeks and 4 days old today. We brought her in for a few reasons- she was plucking others and screeching. Yep. Screeching. If you’ve ever had the power steering pump go dry or go out on your vehicle, you know this sound.

Ear. Piercing. 

Louder than my roo was. 

Funnier than heck.  😆

But very, very loud.

We let her out with the others as usual for the evening and let her spend the night outside. This morning, she wasn’t as noisy, but still pretty loud, and still thinking about plucking. So in she came again!

All of the girls are at the POL, or point of lay. Basically, this means they are technically old enough to start laying eggs. This is not a precise science, of course, and some don’t start laying until they are closer to 40 weeks.

Cocoa, you may recall, was one of the second batch of chickens, the result of chicken math (read Oops, I Did It Again to see how chicken math got me again!), and was a mystery chick. We had been told they thought she was a Dominiquer. However, we know for certain that she is NOT a Dominique; she is another Barred Rock.

This morning, she was still pretty screechy, which is good for lots of all-out laughing. She was also going in circles and squatting. Really, they are pretty much all practicing the squatting. Just for grins and giggles, I was going to try to find a shoe box for her (for a nesting box). Never got around to it.

Right as I was getting ready to head out this afternoon, I heard the news: there’s an egg!! Cocoa is the first to lay an egg!

One thing to know about new layers is that the egg may be thin shelled and quite small. Generally speaking, it can take a few months of consistent laying to get the larger eggs. I’m not picky.  😆

Here’s the surprised chicken with her new egg. 😆  Since I was on my way out, I took a picture with my phone. I had an appointment, so couldn’t linger to get my camera.

Interestingly (and a relief), she hasn’t screeched since. She quieted right down into her sweet, clucking self.

I wonder how she’ll be the next time she needs to lay…..

I have to say, I never thought I would be this excited- nay- giddy– over an egg. I mean, really, this is what they are supposed to do! Still, I can’t help myself! It was a perfect little egg; good shell and all. 

Hooray!

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Milestones are bittersweet.  Reaching a new one means growth, but also never a return to this point and time. You can never go back; only look forward.

Tonight, I am pleased to share, my girls put themselves to bed by themselves.  Why is this important? It means we no longer have to play football to get them where we want them. 😀

Yep, my chicken girlies are growing up.  😆 

The past two nights, we had to hustle them around, scoop them up and pitch them through the spring-loaded door. This was a 3 person effort: me scooping and chucking; my oldest dd blocking the open door with her arms and keeping them inside, and Hunny on the outside, manning the door control.

The spring is taut keeping it open, but lax when the door is closed.  In theory, this means that it would take a team of raccoons to wrangle/slide the door open; one or more on the outside, standing up (or a racoon ladder of one standing on the other’s shoulders standing on another’s shoulders) at least 4  feet off the ground, while the others (who would have had to dig under the run) got through the door on the inside of the run.  Did I mention that once the door is open, because of the tension, the cord has to be wound to keep it from springing shut?

So, I feel pretty good about them being secure at night.  The whole back side opens, but that would take a bear to rip it off, as long as the screws are that close it. I don’t think anything is getting in that way. 🙂

Tonight, we put their little solar light inside and waited.  As usual, they were mashed into one corner of the run, waiting for us to take pity on them and bring them inside the house (They used to wait outside the back door, and when we’d open it, in they would come inside-  except for Rocky, who always flew up and hitched a ride on someone’s back or shoulder.  I know, I know, I should have gotten a picture, but we moved them outside a day before I expected, and now it would just be cruel to tease them :lol:). 

Hunny pitched a bolillo roll in their coop and then we waited.  The run and coop is outside my window in the office, so I can see them when I’m sitting at my desk. By 8:15 pm, they were all inside playing hockey with the roll.  I could hear them clucking and banging around while I crept around the backside to shut their door, hoping they wouldn’t notice me.

Anyhow. Just had to share.  My girls are growing up.  *sigh*  😆

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I’m looking for more.  I need more. I never have enough time to do the things I love to do. So, the only thing I can really do about that is to complain.  😀

The passage of time is something I am acutely aware of. There is something about becoming seriously chronically ill to realign your sense of time, particularly when you have literally no idea about what is around the corner.

As in, will I be healthy enough to do what I want to do, when I want to do it?  How much time will it take?  Will I need a nap? Will I be alive a year or more down the road?  😆

Really.  Seems like “time” is on my mind a lot, and yet I am finding it slipping away in large chunks. My days are flying by. My weeks are flying by. Before I know it, summer will be gone, and I’ll be looking at the necessity of getting organized for schooling again.  Fortunately, my plan is already in place, so I won’t have to spend a lot of time planning, because it’s already been done.

I have noticed that with our intense heat (it’s been 100+ for more than 2 weeks; tomorrow will be 108, and we will finally get some respite supposedly next Tuesday when it hits a much-anticipated low of 98), I am spending a lot more time in the garden watering.  I’ve done another planting, which means keeping the ground moist while things germinate. Seedlings don’t do real well in intense heat, so the continued watering is necessary.

When you are out watering at least 3 to 4 times a day in addition to keeping an eye on chickies, time slips away from you pretty quickly.  That’s why I need more.  I’d be happy with another 2 hours a day.

On second thought, I am not sure 2 hours more a day would really cut it.  Hum. Maybe I should get rid of the clock completely……  😆

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It is with a terribly, terribly sad heart that we say goodbye to Jasmine.  We took a gamble and lost big.  😦 😦

It didn’t take long to figure out Jasmine was not a Black Minorca.  Nope, Jasmine is a Blue Andalusian splash. This breed as once known as the “Blue Minorca.”  Both are Spanish Mediterranean breeds, and are therefore closely related.

According to the ALBC (American Livestock Breeds Conservancy), the Blue Andalusian is a “threatened” breed. 

  • Threatened: Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the United States, with seven or fewer primary breeding flocks, and estimated global population less than 5,000.

Had I known the name of this breed when we were there, we certainly would have gotten more.  We have one other conservation breed (Dominique) that is on the “watch” list, but had I known the status of the Blue Andalusian, I would have opted for more of those instead of the others that I got.

From the beginning, we were captivated by Jasmine.  The biggest issue – once we figured out the breed-  was not knowing the sex.  As Jasmine grew, I searched all over for pictures of BA pullets and hens.  I found several, which led me to continue scratching my head.

                      

                

You can see why I wasn’t sure.  Red combs and wattles for this breed don’t mean “boy” because both sexes have them!  Early on, I was really, really wishing I had gotten more than one so I would have been able (in theory) to have some comparison.

Saturday morning, we woke around 6:30 am to strangled sounds coming from the living room.  Jasmine tried to crow- twice.  After giggling, I went right away to research whether or not pullets will try to crow.  And yes, they sometimes do. I set out to find a home for Jasmine; you know, just in case. Arrangements were made with the stipulation that I would call the next day or in the future if Jasmine really was a boy.

Sunday morning came. Jasmine started exercising his lungs around 6 am. The 13 other girls seriously were rolling their eyes, like “What is up with him?!  We want to sleep!” After about 1/2 hour, he stopped, but I knew Jasmine would have to go out to the farm (literally, a farm with 60 acres).

I called my contact after church, and we made arrangements for her to come and get him in the afternoon.  She called about 1/2 hour out, so we would have time to catch him and love on him.  Catching wasn’t hard, since all of our chickies are very tame and friendly.

We’ve all been pretty sad.  It is hard to let go when you are unsure of where your pets are going for sure, especially when it’s a real concern that they will be eaten.  If he had not been a rare and threatened breed, I might not be as concerned, knowing it’s usually an inevitability with roos.

We are extremely attached to all of our birds.  I had a hard time thinking about the exchange; his squawking and unease.  It makes me sad to wonder what his new home is like.  I know she doesn’t do fighting, but will he be picked on by the bigger roos?  Will he have the company of some sweet girls?  Will he get treats and be given ample accommodation in this heat?  Hopefully, he will be prized and loved, and be allowed to live out his days safely, mating and being “the man” he was born to be.

We all miss our pretty boy. We are already trying to find a way to be able to get a small number of Blue Andalusian pullets next year.  I’d do it now, but don’t know of anyone who I can combine an order with in small numbers.  In the meantime, I’m going to sit with a chicken in my lap and wait until next year.  And then we’ll let Chicken Math take over again!

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