Psalm 91

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Sometimes I read a passage of scripture and feel moved to post it. I’ve actually posted this one before, but this is the Living Bible transcription, and I love it.

 

Psalm 91

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We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.

This I declare, that He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I am trusting Him.

For He rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague.

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He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor.

Now you don’t need to be afraid of the dark anymore, nor fear the dangers of the day;

nor dread the plagues of the darkness, nor disasters in the morning.

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Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, the evil will not touch me.

I will see how the wicked are punished, but I will not share it.

For Jehovah is my refuge! I choose the God above all gods to shelter me.

How then can evil overtake me or any plague come near?

For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go.

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They will steady you with their hands to keep you from stumbling against the rocks on the trail.

You can safely meet a lion or step on poisonous snakes, yes, even trample them beneath your feet!

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For the Lord says, “Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name.

When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble and rescue him and honor him.

I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation.”

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Thankful

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Bud and I have spent a number of Thanksgivings alone during our marriage. During those times, we either went out to eat, or I cooked the whole dinner for just the two of us.

I’m thankful we had guests for Thanksgiving this year. They weren’t just any guests, but good neighbors and friends…people we enjoy and love…people who accept us just like we are, accept our house as it is, and just want to be with us. It was simple and casual, but the food and fellowship were good, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves.

As most of you know our house is in the process of being ‘refurbished’, to put it mildly. It was in a state of extreme disrepair when we bought it and 30 acres at a GREAT price. We are doing the work ourselves, and it has been slow… so we haven’t done much in the way of decorating.  We’ve been struggling to just get it ‘live-able’. That has entailed a lot of tearing down and cleaning out.

We hadn’t even moved our living room furniture in (and only recently moved our bed to the house). We just didn’t want to 1) Have to work around it 2) Worry about it getting dirty or damaged while we work. We’ve decided we are going to have to put in a new floor after finding so much rotten and termite-ridden wood, and that is another reason not to have moved in heavy furniture.

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Seeing that the process  is taking so long, we decided to go ahead and  move our love seat into the living room in anticipation of having guests for Thanksgiving. We also wanted to hang some pictures, so that entailed a trip to town (which usually always takes at least 3 hours (often much more) after running around town and the time to get there and back.) Also, after making 3 rounds of ‘practice rolls’ I needed more flour…so we took a trip to town on Tuesday after supper, and after the chickens had gone to bed and were securely closed in their hen house.

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I was anticipating a nightmare, but the Walmarts really weren’t that bad! I got a new tablecloth, some matching towels and bath mats (which I had been wanting to do for a long time), and I also found a turkey roasting pan that held a 25 pound turkey. They didn’t have this pan out when I went for my big food shopping trip just a few days prior. It fit the turkey perfectly! Praise God. It was a miracle in my book…and it was only around $11 bucks! It had a very nice rack with handles that came with it.

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I spent all of Wednesday cooking. I was at ease, not stressed and enjoyed it a lot! I made my third batch of practice rolls. One thing I learned is that the dough has to be just right…not too dry, not too moist, in order to achieve that light and fluffy texture. That means measuring the flour properly. Sheesh! I’m glad I practiced!

Bud took the middle section of the love seat (which would have made the love seat into a couch) back to storage. The couch was just too much for that little room. We have no place to store things here. I thought we could put it into our outbuilding, but Bud wanted to take it back to storage and get some more pictures. He’d spent the morning hanging the ones we’d brought back the night before. He has such an artistic eye and knows to put pictures where they will look the best, bring out other colors in the room, etc. He did an excellent job. The living room is starting to look like a home! We still need to put in the floors, scrape bits of glue and paper off the ceiling, shallac it, scrape and paint the window frames…and I decided I had way too much to do to think about curtains, so we left the temporary sheets we’ve been using hung.

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Our turkey this year was not a grocery store turkey…it was one of those organic, hand-raised turkeys, and I’d read that it needed to be slow-cooked for best results…so I found instructions on how to do it overnight at a low temperature. Sounds perfect, right? Wrong!

I forgot to mention that earlier in the week, the Soap Lady brought over her bathroom scale and we weighed the turkey. It was a little over 27 pounds. I calculated that if I put the turkey in the oven at around 10:00 or 11:00, it would give me enough time the next day to let it rest, cut it up, and still have time to bake my apple pie. I had told Soap Lady and Son to come at Noon, and we would eat at 1:00. My hope was that by the time they arrived at noon, I could just pop in the things that needed to bake for 30-45 minutes and we could just visit while those things were cooking.

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(This is where my kitchen sink will eventually go. We bought a portable table at the Walmarts to put the Thanksgiving food on so we could serve ourselves from it. It worked well.)

After cooking all day, I was exhausted and my feet and legs hurt. At around 7:00, I was starting to panic thinking of all I had yet to do, including mopping the unfinished board floors. I was so tired and was having ‘symptoms’ flare up.

The turkey instructions called for roasting the turkey at 475 for 20 minutes to sear the outside and lock in the juices, but  when I went to turn down the oven, the temperature was not going down. More panic set in. This is a new oven. I was supposed to cook the turkey all night at 250 degrees, and the lowest setting on the oven was 300…but it wasn’t even going down to 300. I asked Bud what I should do, and he took over. I was ready to give up and defrost some chicken breasts for the next day, and chalk the turkey up to being a disaster. Bud volunteered to stay up with the turkey all night, turning the oven off and on to keep it at 250 degrees, knowing I was planning on getting up at 5:00 to finish preparations and cooking. HE STAYED UP ALL NIGHT with that turkey. 😦 That is true love. I was stinging all over , I had a headache, could hardly put a sentence together, and my muscles were all tight and wouldn’t relax (some of my symptoms when I get nervous and stressed) and could not get to sleep for several hours. The rest of my sleep was spent in a zombie state, halfway in and out of sleep.

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I got up at 5:00 and took over the turkey and started the other things I had to do. Bud went to sleep. (I’m back on coffee and -it’s bad. I was thinking of just hooking up the I.V. and getting my fix straight and quick, especially that morning. I’ll worry about that wagon later. One can only jump on so many wagons at one time.

I started to get nervous as the hours ticked down to Noon. Sometime around 9 or 10, I realized that my meat thermometer was still in storage (40 minute drive away). I called the Soap Lady to see if she had a meat thermometer. She had three! Bud (who had awakened and dressed by that time) went down to pick them up. When he got back, I put one in the breast and one in the thigh, and would you believe it? They were both EXACTLY at the temperature they should be! 180 degrees for the breast and 170 degrees for the thigh. Perfect. I considered that to be an answer to prayer and actually, a miracle. I didn’t think there was any way that turkey would even be edible, but it was good!

Soap Lady and Son arrived right on time. She brought me a gift. She always brings something, whether it’s something from her garden, or something she canned. This time, it was some applesauce, raspberry jam and some beautiful hand-beaded candle stick holders. I told her she didn’t have to bring something every time she came, and she told me I didn’t either…but we still do. I usually share some of our organic coffee beans with her.

Me and the Soap Lady are muy simpatico. We are similar temperaments, and in fact, she reminds me of my mother in many ways. She is about the same age my mother would have been, too. She came in and started helping right away. I liked having her in my kitchen. We fit well there together. She did a lot of dishes! I always feel bad for the dish washer who has to clean up after me (because I mess up a lot of dishes), but she insisted, and it helped so much!

I was very nervous. The thought of taking pictures crossed my mind only once, and I was so nervous and stressed, that the thought flew in and out in one minute and was gone forever. All pictures posted today are ‘re-enacted’ (i.e. taken today). I wouldn’t have posted pics of neighbors, anyway, but would have liked to have gotten pics of the food.

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Dinner was about a half hour late, but everything came out great. We held hands, said the blessing, and then dug in. The rolls were fluffy, the turkey was good, the dressing tasted like ‘Mama’s’, and everything came out hot at the same time. I think everyone enjoyed it.

I made three pies this year: Apple, Pumpkin and Pecan. I made a new recipe for Pecan. They both loved it. Soap Lady’s son said it was the best he ever had. It was too sweet for Bud and me. I’ve never been a Pecan Pie fan, but I like the recipe because it didn’t call for any corn syrup…and it did have a good flavor.

>>>Old Fashioned Pecan Pie<<<

Soap Lady’s son had to get home to take care of the animals before dark, so we ate our pie in haste. He finally decided to come back for his mother, so we had a little extra time to visit in the living room. I had a hard time not falling to sleep, but enjoyed the extra time to visit with her.

I sent half of the food home with them. I have reheated ‘Thanksgiving’ twice for me and Bud since Thursday. I’ve now frozen what was left. I decided that this is a ‘Holiday Weekend’ so I had rolls and pie on Friday and Saturday as well. I’m back on the wagon today. 🙂

When I finally got into bed, I was asleep by around 6 or 7 p.m., and I slept the whole night through for 12 hours! I was exhausted, and so was Bud. Though he came to bed much later, he slept just as long as I did.

I’m so grateful to have been able to spend Thanksgiving with our good neighbors and friends, and I’m grateful that the food came out so well. I consider it to be an answer to prayer that I got everything together, and that nothing burned, that the rolls came out fluffy and that the turkey was cooked through and not overcooked.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too!

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I Present To You, A Fertilized Chicken Egg

I mentioned recently in my S-E-X post that I wished I had a picture to show what a fertilized chicken egg looks like.

I finally got a picture this morning  of a fertilized chicken egg. Notice the white ‘bullseye’ looking thingee on the yolk. That there is a HOME RUN.

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Incidentally, that egg is frying in bacon grease…the ONLY way to fry an egg, in my own humble opinion.

Glutenous Maximus

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(The Rolls I made today.)

My rolls did not come out well yesterday. I forgot to put the sugar into the dough, but that was not the only thing I didn’t like about them. They were not fluffy, and were tough on the top. They were not ‘horrible’. I asked Bud if he wanted me to give them to the chickens, (who never met a bread product they didn’t like) and Bud said, “No!” (with a horrified look on his face.)

I also had one (*cough*cough*<Blushing>), and they really were not horrible. They just weren’t what I was trying to achieve. The recipe did not call for milk (which helps soften the dough), and I was not confident in how I shaped the rolls, either…so… I tried again TODAY with another recipe.

Oh my. These rolls are ‘to die for’. I’ve never made a bread product that was this soft and fluffy.

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Bud said they taste better than anything he has ever had in a restaurant! Though I know I will sound vain in saying so, I’m inclined to agree with him.

I used unbleached all-purpose flour in these. I also looked up how to shape rolls. Yesterday I tried rolling them like you would for ‘Play Dough’, and they never really seemed to want to properly form into a ball. After looking on the Internet, I found several methods for shaping dough for rolls, but I found the following link to be the most helpful, and this is how I did it.

>>>SHAPING DINNER ROLLS TO LOOK AND TASTE THEIR BEST<<<

The recipe I used is for the Bread Machine on the ‘Dough’ cycle. You take the dough out when the cycle is finished shape them, and then bake them in the oven. This recipe makes 16 rolls. It was very easy! The hardest part was shaping the dough.

Mmmmmm…Mmmmmmm….GOOD! I highly recommend these, and they will be a part of our Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

>>>BREAD MACHINE SOFT AND BUTTERY YEAST ROLLS<<<

Really. After my taste test just now, I was seriously considered giving in to the Gluten Monster and allowing myself to lose all control…but I know how bad it will make me feel if I totally fall off the wagon again…and I know how puffy my face will get, and I know how foggy my brain will get, and I know how funky my thyroid will feel afterward. It’s not worth it until Thanksgiving Day…but I might have to make two pans of them on that day.

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The Status of my Crown and Other ‘Turkey’ Talk

It has been pretty cold the past few days, but the sun is shining brightly. The wind is blowing briskly and scattering all of the Fall Leaves that are now on the ground. Standing in the sun, it’s tolerable. The house smells of yeast and gluten, and I hear the whirring sound of the bread machine and the humming of the washing machine. Bud has gone to a mill to look at some wood, so I am here alone today.

On such a beautiful Fall day, how could anyone feel ‘bad’? I have been back on the Flylady bandwagon. Flylady would say, “You’re never behind” and “Housework done incorrectly still blesses your family.” Let’s just say after all these years, I’m still ‘fluttering’…and I’m learning that ‘getting dressed to the shoes’ and ‘making myface’ and combing my hair, REALLY DOES make a difference in my day.

Case in point: I was emailing someone and trying to tell them HOW HUGE the turkey I’ll be cooking this year is, and describing it just wasn’t doing it justice. I tried taking a picture, but the sheer magnitude of this turkey was not being captured.

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I finally asked Bud to take a picture of me this morning. Of course, with my hair pulled back in a pony tail, and no make-up on, I was a FRIGHT!  I hadn’t gotten ‘dressed to the shoes’ and I had not ‘fixed my hair and face’ like I ought to have done. You are so RIGHT Flylady! It’s easy NOT to do it, seeing how we are living out here in the country and might not see people for days. I sent the picture, anyway, but I doctored it up first.

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De-pressing! There is nothing like seeing a photo of yourself to give you a wake-up call. It was horrible. HORRIBLE, I tell you. So, I then began hearing Flylady’s voice in my head. I decided to see if I could still ‘clean up nice’.

Some of you reading my blog have followed my quest to grow old gracefully,  ditch the dye,  and let my gray hair grow in. Growing old is not for the faint of heart, but I’d much rather allow myself to be ME, rather than to feel like I’m in a race, and slowly falling behind.

When I was a child and I was being chased by the boys in our neighborhood (kiss -n- chase was a popular game in my hood), I knew I couldn’t win. They always caught me, no matter how fast I ran. I finally learned that it was much less stressful to just stop running,  let them catch me, and get it over with, rather than wearing myself out when I knew they were gaining on me and would catch me, anyway. (NO, I didn’t enjoy those slobbery boy kisses at that age.) Growing in my gray hair and allowing myself to go ahead and age has been similar to that.

I’m getting to be an expert on Gray Hair. Gray hair is like the little girl with the curl on her head. When she was good, she was very, VERY good…but when she was BAD, she was HORRID! Gray hair is very much like that. You really have to work to keep it looking good, because when you don’t…it’s witchy-poo time.

I know women of  a certain age aren’t supposed to wear their hair long, as it draws down their face, but when I take my hike in the Spring, I want to wear a Katniss Everdeen braid.

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(Photo courtesy of Fanpop.com)

That is my goal. Otherwise, I never would have made it this far. Growing out hair is like…like…ugh. I don’t know…but I hate it. Since I’ll go days and days without a shower when I do my hike, I figure that wearing it in a braid will be the best thing to do.

Ironically, I first got my hair cut into a Pixie to cut all of the dye off on my Birthday the year ‘The Hunger Games’ first showed at the theater. The reason I remember this, is that I treated myself to a movie that day, and I went to see the Hunger Games. I didn’t even know what it was about, but knew it was a popular movie. Is there a cooler name than Katniss? Maybe I should name one of my chickens, “Katniss”.

Here is a picture of that Pixie:

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Here are the pics I took this morning after I ‘cleaned up’ and got dressed to the shoes.

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The Moral of the story is:

  1. Clean up.
  2. Put some Make-Up On.
  3. Take a picture in some really bright, natural light so the crevices and wrinkles don’t show up too much. 🙂

We’re going to have neighbors over for Thanksgiving. (The Soap Lady and Son). I’m very excited. It’s so much more fun to cook for more than two people, and Bud and I really enjoy their company. I’ll be making the whole she-bang. I’m still debating on how to cook the turkey. It’s almost too big for the pan. Thanks to Sissy, I have an excellent potential fallback method to cook this turkey. 😉

Since I am non-glutinous and mostly Low Carb/Paleo, I haven’t been making bread products; however, I’m ‘practicing’ today…making some yeast rolls. I want to make sure I have a good recipe to protect against ‘flops’ on the Big Day. Bud will be the one taste-testing. On Thanksgiving Day, however, I’m throwing caution into the wind. I’m going to yell, “Wahoo!” and stuff my face with all sorts of forbidden morsels. 🙂

Hope you all are dressed to the shoes and are having a beautiful day today!

 

S-E-X in the Country

WARNING: This post is about S-E-X…so if you are offended by the mere mention of the topic, please don’t read!

(Prudes-Leave NOW!)

Plus, please be forewarned that there are not many picture thingees in this post.
(…but that might be a good thing, given the topic.)

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Let me tell ya ’bout the birds and the bees
And the chickens and the trees
And the moon up above
And a thing called ‘Love’…

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I don’t think  EVERYONE was offended with my last post… so I’m going to try it again.

Since my blog topic yesterday touched upon the subject of S-E-X, I thought it would be enlightening to talk about it in more detail today since it was, roundabout, the reason that Wally-Roo had to go.

The bulk of a Hen’s existence is spent eating, pooping, and laying eggs. If there is a rooster, S-E-X will be part of their day as well. Hens can lay eggs without a Rooster, but the eggs will not be fertilized, thus, no hatching of chicks without a Rooster in the picture.

In order for an egg to be fertilized, a hen and a rooster must have S-E-X. As you can imagine, a Rooster is driven to have S-E-X. He is hardwired to procreate at all costs. Hens lay eggs. Roosters fertilize. Roosters also protect the hens (from predators AND other Roosters) so that the hens can lay eggs and hatch chicks, thus, procreating.

I would like to interject something right here. What your Mama told you was wrong. That red, bloody-looking spot in the yolk of an egg does NOT mean the egg is fertilized. It can be caused by a number of different things, but it does not mean the egg is fertilized.  A fertilized egg looks like a tiny white bulls-eye on the yolk. (Right now, I’m sorry I don’t have a picture-thingee.) YES, seriously! A Bulls-eye. Kind of comical, isn’t it? It’s a solid white spot with a ring around it. In order to hatch chicks, a Hen has to sit on and keep the fertilized eggs warm for 21 days. A fertilized egg doesn’t start turning into a ‘chick’ until it has been warmed consistently and constantly by a hen or artificial means.

Are you still with me? Now lets get back to the S-E-X part.

Some Roosters are ‘gentlemen’. Others are ‘rapists’. Some Roosters woo the ladies, doing a little dance for her with their wing outstretched. If the lady likes what she sees, she submits to the Rooster by crouching down with with her wings slightly away from her body and her tail up. The Rooster takes that as a signal that she likes him and is ‘agreeable’ to do the deed. He climbs on top of the hen and…they have S-E-X.

“What does Chicken S-E-X involve, exactly?” you might ask. A Rooster has no external appendage. “IT’ is on the inside of his Cloaca, and it ain’t MUCH. The ‘Cloaca’ is  the posterior orifice of  both male and female chickens, sometimes called the ‘vent’ in chickens. Chickens do not urinate. The urine is mixed in with the poop, and both exit the Chicken’s vent. Eggs also exit through a Hen’s vent. And…as you might have guessed by now…S-E-X involves the vents of both parties.

In order to have S-E-X, the Rooster stands on top of the crouched Hen. He grabs the feathers on her neck, or sometimes will grab her by the back of her comb in order to steady himself while he is on top of her. He steadies himself atop her and quite simply, touches his vent to her vent. Once their vents touch, that’s IT! It’s over. Done. El Fine…The End. He gets off of her, and goes about his business. She then gets up and shakes her body and ruffles her feathers to get everything back in place and goes on about her business, too. No cuddling afterwards.

If the Rooster mounts a wiggly, struggling, unsubmissive Hen, or if the Hen the Rooster is trying to mount is too big for him, it is often NOT a simple act. Too much struggling and wiggling by the Hen, or too much of the Rooster struggling to stay on top or stay balanced can hurt the hen. Some (not all) Roosters have spurs on their legs that can dig into the Hen’s back while he’s struggling to maintain his balance, but often, just his claws can dig into her back. Rough S-E-X can cause feather loss on the neck or back of the Hen, and can eventually cause bleeding in that spot once it is bare of feathers. This also occurs if the Hen is being ‘serviced’ too frequently, meaning there are not enough Hens per Rooster, or there are too many Roosters per hen…which brings me to… ‘The Rapist.’

Hens choose to belong to certain Roosters. Who knows why they choose a Rooster. Maybe they sense He will be a good protector…or maybe they like his ‘moves’ when he does his little dance. If  a Hen is part of a Rooster’s clan, that Rooster will protect her from predators and other Roosters.

Maybe there are not enough ladies to go around. Maybe the Roosters are just not attractive to the ladies, or maybe they are just plain mean…but sometimes, the ladies just don’t like certain Roosters. Roosters who have no ladies, still want to have S-E-X, and they are often NOT Gentlemen, but Rapists, and will ‘take’ the ladies without them submitting.

Sadly, these ladies do not even get the courtship dance. The Rapist Roosters are rough and grab them violently while the Hen struggles to get away. A Hen does NOT like having S-E-X with a Rooster who is not her man, and she cries out in distress. Often, the Hen’s man will come running to try to save her, but often, he is just too late. The deed has been done. She shakes herself off, a soiled dove, and shamefully follows her man back to the group.

Rapist Roosters stress the hens OUT because they are always being stalked by the Rapist Roosters, and are constantly having to be vigilant and out-run the Rapist Roosters before they get caught. Stressed Hens are not Happy Hens. Unhappy Hens do not lay eggs.

So there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about Chicken S-E-X, but were afraid to ask. I think I’ve pretty much covered everything I can think of.

Are there any questions?

Morning Has Broken…

WARNING: There is talk of killin’ in this blog post! Proceed at your own risk!

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I woke up at 3:00 a.m., wide awake, so I decided to get up, get dressed and crank up the heat…both the wood stove and the propane heater. Our excitement over using our wood stove vs. the trouble and time to get the firewood has equalized.

Bud cuts down the dead trees, and cuts the tree into logs. Then, he splits them into smaller pieces. We have an awesome gas-powered log-splitter, which saves so much energy and time! I’m right there with Bud when it comes to stacking the wood or moving the split wood, but Bud is doing the dangerous, really heavy part.

Though we still love our wood stove fires, we’ve decided not to light a fire this season unless it’s really cold. At night, when we are under the covers, we really don’t need to heat the whole house. We are nice and toasty. Right now, our house is not air tight, so it’s pointless to keep the heat cranked during the night in other parts of the house where we don’t need it…and it saves some time, trouble and energy used in getting wood.

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It has gotten close to freezing, and we had our first frost the other night. I picked most of what was left in our garden…some tomatillos, a few tomatoes, and some bell peppers. There are some sweet potatoes I planted late, and though the leaves have not yet started dying back, I did notice that the frost got some of the leaves, so I guess I’ll go ahead and dig those up soon.

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Grace has already caught two mice in the house this morning. Honestly, we’ve seen no signs -whatsoever- that mice are living in the house. It’s just part of living in the country. Everyone around here has them, in spite of their best efforts to keep them outside. In Houston, we had huge Grandaddy Cockroaches. Here, we have mice…and I’ll take mice ANYDAY over the Flying Wallenda Cockroaches from Hell.

At first, I always tried to save the poor mice that Grace catches. They are so cute. Honestly, I can’t stand to see her ‘play them’ to death; however, lately…if I hear the typical rustling sounds in the house in the middle of the night that tell me Grace is in ‘hot pursuit’, I don’t get up to save the mice anymore. (I think I am finally turning into a hardened ‘Farm Girl’…more on that later.)

This morning, I had gotten up early, and saw Grace in ‘mouse-stalking mode’. I let it go on for a while, but the poor thing kept squeaking and I finally got a hand towel, caught it, and put it outside. Then, the episode repeated itself. Grace is just doing what cats do. She’s a good cat, and she’s finally mellowing out of her kittenhood rowdiness –most of the time.

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Last Spring, we got 6 Rhode Island Red chicks, and we raised them, rather than going with a broody hen. If you want to read the back story, >>>HERE IT IS<<<. Anyway…one of them turned out to be a rooster.

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Wally. Wally turned out to be a mean ol’ cuss. He was terrorizing the ladies, and most especially Betty and her chick! Over and over…he would repeatedly rape her…it was like she was the only Babe he could get or something. There is not much I hate more than when the vulnerable are taken advantage of. I hate bullies. Betty and the chick were traumatized. I took to penning Wally up in the fenced off garden, to give Betty and her chick some peace..to learn that the world CAN be a peaceful and loving place.

Finally, I hiked up my Farm Girl Panties and gave Bud the ‘okay’ to do ol’ Wally in. Bud took him down the trail, did the dirty deed, then skinned ‘im…so that I wouldn’t have to pluck ‘im. I admit it was a little hard to see the skinned Wally lying in the sink when I came inside. Even though the head was gone, it still looked like Wally. It was hard. I tried cutting him up, but his tendons were just too tough. I asked Bud to cut him up, and then I cooked him in the crockpot. I deboned him, put the meat in the freezer, and made stock with his bones.

Days later, I made ‘Rooster Soup’. It helped to have some days distance between the time I last saw him alive, and the time we ate him. He tasted pretty good. Before we decided to do him in, Bud wrote a piece of music for Orchestra called, “Wally’s Song,” based on Wally’s crow, which is a motif throughout the piece. Though Wally has long since passed through the draught, he has been immortalized forever.

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We let Helen hatch a brood of chicks shortly after the raising of the Reds. We named them Bonnie, Sadie, Gretel and…and I can’t remember the other one’s name. Unfortunately, they ALL turned out to be roosters, and we have taken to referring to them as ‘The Terminators’.

For those of you who don’t know, Too Many Roosters = Bad News For the Ladies. If there are too many roosters, the ladies get serviced too frequently, and they get ‘toe up’ (torn up), not to mention stressed, which means NO EGGS. The Terminators will soon be going into the pot, too, because they are MEAN suckers, too. They peck me when I go inside the hen house in the evening to get them settled for the night and it hurts!

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Betty went broody for the first time, recently. She is part of my original flock. I was going through some old pics, and found out that we got our first hens in August of 2011, so Betty is getting on up there. She’s no Spring Chicken anymore. We put a clutch of eggs under Betty, and most of them died in the shell or shortly after they hatched. It all turned out for the best, though. It left Betty with one chick to raise. It was a nice ‘breaking in’ for an older mother. She has been an excellent mother! Betty and her chick are ‘best buds’!

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Usually, the mother hen detaches from the chicks starting at around 6 weeks and runs them off. Sometimes, it happens later than that. Betty’s chick is almost 3 months old now! They are now both roosting together at night. Though the chick is taking care of itself, and Betty doesn’t come to it’s rescue if it gets into trouble, she is allowing it to ‘hang’ with her. Though the chick definitely is lowest on the pecking order, the older hens don’t run it off and out of the pack. I have been so relieved, seeing how the chick didn’t have any hatch-mates to buddy-up with like the other sets of chicks have had.

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Lucille went through a particularly horrible molt this year.

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The shame of it all! I confess, we laughed at her sometimes, poor thing.

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She is back to normal now, and looking mighty fine!

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Henrietta molted pretty badly, too…lost her ‘personality’ (her tail) for a while, but it’s coming back now. She always feels a little insecure without her tail–her one speck of beauty.

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The ‘Red Set’ (as we’ve taken to calling the Rhode Island Reds) are laying now. Though we’ve been getting lots of eggs, I’ve been worried that some of the new girls might be laying outside somewhere, instead of the nesting boxes. Yesterday, Bud was out around the log cabin where he keeps his chain saw, and called me outside to look at something.

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There was a little Rhode Island Red on top of them. I promptly took her to the nesting box and showed her where she should be laying, but based on the varying shades of tan and bown in the clutch of 11 eggs we found, I’d say it’s more than one hen that has taken a liking to that place for laying.

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At the risk of sounding like a psychopathic killer Farm Girl Monster from hell…since we didn’t know how old the eggs were, I scrambled them up and fed the eggs back to the chickens. They love eggs, and it’s a great source of protein for them.

To end on a lighter note, we had a visitor to our yard for a week or so. It showed little fear of being so near to humans and chickens…not to mention Grace, the cat. We often see deer at a distance, but this one came really close in different places in our yard for about a week. It even ate some of the leaves off of our peach tree (which we were not too happy about).

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Thankfully, it’s just bow hunting season right now. In a few weeks, it will be ‘shootin’ season’, and Bud will climb up in the tree, hoping to bag a deer. I actually don’t care for the taste of deer meat that much. I’d much prefer it, if he could shoot a wild turkey.

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