Tag: Winter (page 2 of 3)

It’s heeerrrreee!

I’ts evening now, and dark is setting in, and the rain has begun … um, but it’s not water, it’s tiny ice pellets.

Forecast/current conditions has us at 34 degrees F. right now with 27% humidity and a feels like of 20 degrees F. with winds from the East at 16 mph. They say rain/ice late tonight, low of 26 degrees.

Well, it’s icing NOW! Frank was just about to make a fast run to the grocery store so that I didn’t have to make a meal tonight (we can warm up frozen stuff, etc.). He’s gone anyhow, even with the knowledge that it’s icing. It’s just started. It’s constant, steady, but light. It melts eventually, but does sit on the ground, deck, etc for a little while before melting. The temperature is just so close to freezing, but just above it.

We also had no sun today, so no heating of surfaces for the purpose of melting the ice faster from heat-gain on objects.

It’s a three mile trek up the road to the store, then three miles back. Country road, a bridge or two … and you know about that “Bridge freezes before road …”

We have the entire wood pile in the house by the fireplace. It’s not that much, considering it’s our WHOLE stockpile of wood :shocked:

We’ve bought it in loads as needed this Winter. Two van fulls so far. It’s not been so cold but in spots here and there. We are flummoxed out of cash to get more wood right now. We DO have enough for tomorrow, then the next day should be warm enough, and it’s a Chuch day anyhow [we won’t be home really].

Sure it was cold in the house today. But conservation of fuel meant conservative fire today and conservative fire tomorrow: or none today, tough it out. Nice fire tomorrow, crowd around it and enjoy the heat on ICE DAY! We can be troopers. I am just that on many occassions when it’s called for, just that every occassion doesn’t call for that. Just some. Like today, I could do this. But not everything.

Funny, it feels a bit warmer in here since the pelting of tiny ice bits started. That’s really not funny, kind of a standard “natural house” thang that I can comprehend when it occurs. Continue reading

Ice Storm Cometh

Brrr. It’s cold again. It was so nice the last couple of days. I was wearing a summer dress yesterday. Day before too. Now it’s back to BRRRR!

There is a Winter Storm Warning for our area. Should be rain coming later today, and with plummenting temperatures, Ice or Sleet or a Mix, and maybe Snow or Flurries. That should be all mostly on Saturday. Sunday it’s supposed to be in the mid-40’s.

This morning in bed I had the Weather Channel on and the temperature was going lower and lower. It was so warm most of the night, then whomp! It started going down. Other areas around here, to the east, in NC and SC were even lower temperatured, since the dew point was in the single digits there, but by us it was in the 20’s. That’s the difference in how cold or hot some other place may be in comparison to another place.

Currently it’s 34 degrees F. Feels like 27 degrees F. Dew Point is at 1 degree. See, it went down, so did our temps and feel’s like temps. Humidity is at 25. Dry as a bone cold.

Sure it’s colder up North in other places. So what. Dry Cold is still COLD different degrees are more dangerous, sure, but being cold is still being cold.

Living in one’s Freezer is generally not much fun. Living in one’s Refridgerator is cool, but not THAT bad.

Think of it: Refridgerator Door Opens, you look for something, taking your time …
Freezer door opens, Rushing to find what you want, slam the door shut fast.

In the Summer, the Fridge feels good. The Freezer offers instant cool down. In the Winter, the Fridge sends a chill your way, and the Freezer is no fun place to be near.

I speak of a nature regulated house. No Central A/C or Central Heat.

So I need to go find a wool sweater to put on. I’m wearing lesser clothing for this weather. Lots more than I was wearing yesterday, but it’s not good enough!

For now, it’s that my toes are chilly, and my fingers are quite cold. I have a big kitten in my lap keeping THAT warm as I type. If I wasn’t typing I could put my hands under said kitten, and get warmer fast! Continue reading

Many Things in One Post

This is my “many things in one post” post. Weather, books, hens, wild birds, etc.

The weather has turned mild again. Yesterday it was warm enough not to need a fire upon waking. Last night was warm too. It’s currently in the mid-50’s, and that’s without the sun’s aiding. It’s been mostly cloudy, morelike “light overcast” since sometime during the night.

Accuweather is saying that on Saturday high will be 39 and low will be 37. Rain possible.

Weather Channel on TV is saying there is a BIG chance of an “Ice Stor”m looming far enough South to hit us. Which to believe?

Time will show us. :LOL:

In any case, the last time the hens laid eggs is reported on January 22nd. Nothing has been laid since then. Nothing at all. πŸ™

I have listed the book I’m reading currently in this post. Redwall is a great book, the start of a great series that I only recently have become aquainted with. I found it in Barnes & Noble the other night and Frank let me buy it. I’d heard about it on an email list I’m on. I’m nearly done with it. It’s a large book, easy to read, full of lively colorful characters. I mentioned it on a Forum I frequent, and Kelly there said that it’s a great read-aloud series. I must agree, from just the first couple of pages I was thinking that, and now on page 253 I just think that even more πŸ˜‰

I’m looking forward to finishing it and starting it as a read-aloud to the children. Frank knew that when he said he’d buy the book for me he was getting into a big mudhole that’d reach high over his head. There are quite a few in the series. So the first one I have is in large softback format, my favorite format next to hardback. Most of the other books in this series in B&N were normal paperbacks and hardbacks. Can’t afford brand new hardbacks, but this first one in large format softback was do-able. Frank says that he’ll find the rest in same format … he knows I’m a stickler for “same format” books in a series. πŸ™‚

So then I thought it’d be nice to mention birds here too. I haven’t had much opportunity to spy any nice birds for months. My big binoculars bit the dust. Frank got me a little pair from Eddie Bauer Outlet. Children have confiscated them and I can’t ever find them. They aren’t for very far distance viewing well though.

Our big feeder fell over in a storm in 2004 and is all falling apart, out of commision this whole time. So in 2004 I didn’t really feed any birds. I had Hummingbird feeders out, but gave up on filling them up when I didn’t see any at all all Spring when they had been sighted elsewhere in this region. I only spied one here or there a couple of times. So feeders were out and just dormant and got moldy, but still, no interest in them was really evident ever all 2004. I put my really nice glass feeder out front later in the season, and it dripped empty with no hits at all. So I totally gave up.

2004 was also the nightmare year for animals and birds and me. The Bluebirds laid three clutches and lost all three. One: eggs didn’t hatch. Two: Babies died. Three: Babies died. It was horrible. I’ve written of this and the other deathy things before.

So it goes to say about the Bluebirds that they tried hard, but failed. I’ve seen them about lately, actually one female and two males. They are so beautiful. I missed them around most of the Summer, with them busy with nests (and not super visible then) and then the nestings failing, they sulked off eventually and only have been more noticeable the last few weeks.

Brownheaded Cowbirds weren’t around last year either. Maybe because I didn’t have a seed feeder out. But then, I don’t now and guess who’s lighting in our trees, screeching out their whistlepiercing sounds? Yup, Brownheaded Cow Birds. They sit on the Bluebird Nest Box too and try to mess with it. I do not like those birds. They are not like the Bluebirds, whom are gentle and sweet. Bluebirds stick around if you go on the deck. Cowbirds fly away if you do that. πŸ™‚

Just this last week too then we’ve been innundated with droves of Chipping Sparrows. Unfortunately I can’t ever see them very well, with no binoculars to aide my sight into the yard. They are very diminutive birds. Cute little fellas. I call them all fellas. They all look alike, pretty much, and all look like little guys.

I’ve seen a few Starlings, and they are staying clear of bothering my stuff. They are another kind of bird I don’t like. They might be responsible for some of the Bluebird Failed Nestings.

American Robins have been tottering around the yard too. Won’t be long before they are here in droves, no doubt.

I really want to get a new feeder and install it in a great place in the yard. Hopefully I can do that soon!

I lost many of my hummingbird feeders through neglect and then child destruction fully this past year. I have one remaining, my very pretty red glass arsty flower looking one. It’s gorgeous. I’m happy it’s stayed put happily and safe on the front porch. I left it there all Winter, so far, that is. I really should clean it and refill it, in case there are any Hummers around this Winter. I know they’ve been sighted in other areas in North/Central Georgia. I just don’t stay faithful enough to them to lure them in. πŸ™ I am trying to make myself say I promise to keep it filled and clean this year. I’m trying. I will try, how about that?

But I need to get a few more feeders just for the Hummers themselves. They are such fun birds! So acrobatic around the feeders in mid-Summer. A delight to watch, that is a sure thing. But you must put out feeders for them –to be able to witness these things so well from inside your house.

I went out front to where I have the peonies and iris and pussywillows. The irises are growing new leaves. The Lambs Ear there is starting new growth. The Pussy Willows are starting to plump up a bit, with a few of them unsheated already, too early though. The Peonies last year growth is still there, dry and brown, just winter texture, you know. I leave it there on purpose. I checked beneath them, and sure enough, there is growth occuring there.

This mild weather is hopefully not going to hurt the plants. We had a very mild Autumn and only got cold weather finally near the end of December, and had mostly very warm weather in January. Some cold snaps. Maybe an ice storm finally this coming weekend, maybe not. But I hope that whatever happens with the weather, that we have a wonderful Spring bloom nonetheless. I really want to see the Yoshino Cherry trees is brilliant blossom. 2004 Spring was terrible for them all around the Atlanta area that we saw. Ours did so very poorly. 2003 was a grand season for them everywhere that we saw them. That’s why last year was such a dissapointment.

We have a Dogwood that we need to remove. It died last year. But the other two next to it are still alive, but all have some dead areas, and peeling bark. I fear we must remove them all. πŸ™ Well, our landscaping sort of slacked off the last couple of years. I really am itching to pick it up and do lots of work on it. That take money though. Also my garden is calling me. Frank is letting me order seeds from an heirloom seed company in February. This will be my first time growing everything from seed. I’ll be sure to have a second-season mid-summer planting.

That’s all for now!

It’s coming …

It’s cold today. Yesterday it was too, but the sun was out in full force. Overcast here today. So it’s decidedly colder feeling in the house today.

Here is our Fireplace from just a few minutes ago:

Ah, nice and warm. Well, IT is. Being right by it is toasty. πŸ˜‰

But I have a series of pictures that show that the sun IS coming soon! Here they are:

Continue reading

Cold Day – thinking ahead

On days like today we keep a electric space heater running in the “family room” which is the “basement” just a walkout space, a slab as otherwise known. On the main floor, over a crawlspace, we have to keep a fire going in the “dining room” which is what “is supposed to be the Living Room but we made an actual ‘dining room’ “since it’s too small for an effective ‘family/living room’ though we did use it as that for most of the years we’ve been in this house.

Days like today are the odd ones, most days are more mild in the Winter. It never got above freezing today, in fact didn’t even get withing a few degrees of that special temperature. Add the gusty winds into the mix, and it was in the teens or lower, single digits, all day, as “feels like” temperatures.

I wore socks and long boots, and a knit pant for warmth under my very long big tiered “western” denim skirt (which we got for $20 at some western shop last year … it was a much higher priced item originally), and a thin wool turtleneck longsleeve sweater. I’ve been alright all day like this. Not really cold, just cold hands on and off, but easily fixable. My feet, amazingly, have not gotten cold. πŸ™‚ That’s the deal killer for me. Oft times even wearing boots I do get cold feet.

I’m not complaining about today then!

I went out one time this morning. I put on my long lined raincoat, which is like a Spring Coat, sort of, and felt fine going out to the hens to check on them, etc. I came back inside and realized my face was the only cold thing, it felt like my sinuses were frozen entirely. πŸ™‚ Yes, that cold. Cold enough to do that, but that snippy cold didn’t feel so cold otherwise. Kind of like, very cold is like that. Dress for it and it only affects your nose and sinuses if left unprotected.

So even that though didn’t make my feet cold. I hate having cold feet. It’s misery of miseries.

Frank was telling me about a radio guy, Steak Shapiro, about when he got cold feet at a football game, as Frank had heard it on the radio today or yesterday or something. It was funny. Kind of like he turns into a totally different person. Yeah, I know about that firsthand, myself! I have the reverse in hot weather. Above 75 and I melt fast and become a totally different person.

So it’s important to have warm feet. Sometime in the last week or so there was a “cold” day and my feet got really cold. I had to go get in bed for a long time. Even then, they didn’t get warm enough. So finally Frank took us out to Barnes and Noble to read and be warm for the evening. I had to get my feet warm first though. If I have cold feet in shoes, then the shoes HURT horribly. Frank says he doesn’t experience that. Hmph. Figures. I do. It feels like any shoe I put on is pinching my toes, too tight, even if they aren’t, which none of my shoes really do anyway.

I had to fill the tub with hot water and soak my feet before getting ready to leave. I could have done that before, but really, having cold feet turns off your mind as to all the possible ways to get out of that predicament. Only the “lets go out” speech from hubby turned out that answer in my brain. Oh yeah, soak them!

Ah, it was so nice. It took awhile to get them there, but eventually they were warm. I dried them off and hopped in bed again to be sure to keep them warm for a bit, then put on socks under the covers and my boots. That did it. I was fine.

It’s funny how cold feet get. Just that once they are cold, they are cold. It’s a horrible cycle. In the summer my feet can’t get too hot. Only my neck and head can. It’s really my neck, the thermostat at the base of the head in the back. It’s the place that regulates temps. So that place though doesn’t make my feet warm in the Winter. Funny how it is. Cold feet make me nuts. Shut me down. But it doesn’t mean my whole body is cold. Just my feet is enough.

In the Hot Summer, it’s my neck that has to be fooled into being cooler to not freak my body out. If I can’t have ice or a cold bag or can of something on there, I go wacko, get mean easy, etc. My cold feet thing is that I can get mean easy, but it’s more or less that I can’t handle stress as easy, and I can’t function right. In Summer I can handle NO stress at all. It’s like I live for cool evening breezes, and on some days, there are none of those.

So here I sit in a chilly house, fine and warm, next to a fireplace fire, and I’m thinking of the miseries of Summer. πŸ™„

I say that cold can be dealt with, there are ways to get warm. But heat cannot always be dealt with. Put clothing on to keep warm, layers, wool, silk. You can have silk and other things on for wearing in the heat, but they don’t KEEP you cool when it’s 80 degrees. They only feel alright on your skin and your brain whigs out from the heat.

So Summer, Air Conditioning is a friend. But became a foe in our home when my allergies went through the roof in 2003. Turned it off and things cleared up. 😯

So since then we’ve lived au’naturel. It’s fine, like today, if we used the air system, it’d be a useless Heat Pump, and that doesn’t work once near freezing, it can’t pull any heat out of the air. So we’ve learned to live in a cooler house during the Winter and it’s mostly fine. Cloudy days are the worst when it’s cooler. What’s cold in this house? Inside, below 50 is cool. 60 is really nice.

Autumn, and Spring, are lovely in a natural air house. Nighttime in the Summer can be grand, but some nights are just stagnant and worse than that. Mostly though, in Georgia, Summer is hot, but nights are cooler, cool enough to be what gets one through the day, just to live for the night. πŸ™‚

Those days are coming. It’s January. It’ll just be another month before some of the Spring flowers begin to come out. Trees will start to swell their buds, and the air will sing with the coming of Spring. That pulse can be felt in January, yes even on such a cold January day. πŸ™‚

We are an Early Spring region. A Long Growing Season region. A very temperate climate. Well, except for Summer. See the lovely year round stuff keeps us Georgians happy to put up with Summer, for the lovely Spring, Wondrous Winter, and Awesome Autumn. Summer is bad and good. Thunderstorms are great. Melting hot days are not. But those nights are worth it. Ceiling fans are useful, but not worth a dime on those hot stagnant nights.

Oh what a wierd post this is. I had no objective to write this stuff, it just flowed out. You know how opposites attract, and extremes compare, etc. πŸ˜‰

Well anyhow, cold days like this are nice to sleep in on. And that we did today. We did miss church, and that’s easier to do on such a cold day, since staying in the house at all means we need to burn a fire. Besides that I’m sniffly allergic these last couple of days, and that’s miserable to go anywhere like that. Cold cold and baths for everyone didn’t happen on Saturday night, and Sunday morning was too cold and we’d just have had 20 minutes to get ready and go …

So day of this and we are tuckered out and just stayed home with the homefires burning. Nice, but we do miss going to church on such times.

Eggs for Jan 18 2005

1-18-2005 Egg Count:

11:15 AM – 1 Brown 1.6 ounces

Total Eggs Thus Far : 1

It’s cold. 18 degrees on the F. scale. Brrr!

I’ve not donned the gear to trudge through the backyard to check the hens yet. Once I do, this is the post on which any findings will be reported. πŸ™‚

12:00 PM Update: I went out to feed and check for eggs a bit after posting this earlier. No eggs in either nest box.

Frank and I went out after 11am, checked for eggs and looked at some things in the yard. There were no eggs in either nest box. Frank then moved the A-Frame over a quarter, he was going to move it the other direction but I asked him to move it the way he did — which unveiled an egg that had been laid in the corner of the pen, opposite end from the official “Nest box” loft. It’d been too difficult to see it in the pen. It was perfectly safe the way we found it, could have been crushed in other instances before being found :shocked: So we are thankful that we were led to do things the way we did.

This one egg so far today is brown, and comparing it to the brown egg from last week, it’s the same nice shape, weighs the same ounces, it’s identical except for being a darker shinier brown. Still light brown, but not pale brown as the other is. Hmm. Could be an Australorp, could be a Wyandotte. Could be the same Australorp as before, or another Australorp. Case is made for it being a hen that didn’t previously lay this year yet. Hawklady and one Australorp did lay in the lofty nest already. That’s the logic I’m going by, that either of them MOST LIKELY would use the nest box again, not lay on the ground.

The egg itself I deem from a morning laying, today, it’s top was clean and dry, the bottom damp as if it had been laid and the bloom had dried on top, but not on the area resting on the grass. It was cold, but so was the ground! The temp was the high 20’s at the point we found it, with a 38 “feels like”.

After The Rain


Bethlehem to the West


Bethlehem to the East


Bethlehem to the South

Worse Cold of the Season

I’ve had some sniffly sore throat things this “winter season” but nothing like the one I’m enduring now.

Yesterday was the worst day since symptoms started, with it culminating with me hightailing it to bed just after 7pm. Too miserable to sit in a chair anylonger. Too miserable to stand around. Just needed to chill out in bed.

So it’s warm outside, but I’ve got a cold. Yuck. My throat is alright now, but my nose it’s a running, sneezing, stuffed up, and my chest is congested as well. It’s not THAT bad, just MISERY. It’s just the kind of thing you get out of bed after a restless night, and it’s good to get out of bed, then you drag yourself around and do some things, and feel yucky so sit down and surf the web for a LONG time, then do some more, up and down, and by darktime, it’s too miserable achyish to do more than dream of laying down.

So calculating how these things go, yesterday and today are the Zenith positions of the event, I estimate. So it should get better a bit later today, maybe, and tonight not be as miserable, and so on.

On Friday it’ll be cooler, and that night getting cold again. So I hope to be much better by then. A cold in summer is no fun, a cold in the spring is no fun. A cold in the WINTER is even worse, in my opinion.

What will transpire in this next “cold snap” of the weather? The 15-day outlook has some cold temps, but no ice or snow, thus far, is expected.

So I have my worse virus cold right now, and MAYBE the worse weather cold is coming … we did have some very cold temperatures in December, for a little while, but that info is foggy in my brain, this warmth washes it all away to distant lands. πŸ™‚

First Egg of 2005

Prize goes to — Hawklady!

I was sluggish getting out to the hens today, and just finished re-haying the laying nest boxes and feeding them.

This weekend I came down with a cold/virus, minor sore throat, allergy scratchylike really, on Friday, Saturday it was worse, but still not “cold like” but then woke up Sunday with it worse and a lightly congested chest. Monday was the day my voice started to get foggy sounding. This very day I was much worse and my voice is worse than hoarsy, it’s half-gone plus. At any rate, I’m dragging. Not totally bowled over, just blechy.

So I was late getting out there. Of course.

I put the grain (we now have Cert. Organic Soy-Free layer feed, it’s ground whole grain, not “crumbles” never “pelleted”. It’s nice stuff!) in the A-Frame, then went round the other side to check the “loft area” and low and behold there sat a nice blue/green egg. πŸ™‚

Someone in there is still sleeping nights and messing it up. Most all the hay was kicked out as well. But the egg was there safe and sound.

So I re-hayed and of course Hawklady got up there and immediately kicked out a lot of the hay. I have to figure out a way to put an entrance hole to the loft, instead of having a 1-inch lip in the front only.

I re-hayed the Leghorn box too. They are in the SuperYard, so they have a bungee cord installed cardboard box, as I devised for that pen in 2004. No eggs from there yet, but they are sleeping on top of the box, poopy remains give them away! Also in the box, kicked out hay and poopy remains in there too.

I hope that they’ll begin laying and leave the hay there. They LOOK like they are getting redder. Their wattles are still the really red I’ve reported before, and their combs are just close, still not fully that red. Any day now?

I’ve considered that the other hens were getting close, and anticipating Hawklady to lay an egg, since I thought her tiny comb and wattles looked nicely red. Her signs like that are so hard to read though, since really they are so tiny, so very tiny. All the evidence is in though, with that nice blue/green egg today.

It had more blue in it as her eggs do when they don’t come out with a shiny coat on the outside. Most usually there is one, this day it’s the kind that is moreso dry or chalkier, rough in comparision to the smooth shiny coated exterior her eggs usually have. The brownlayers have coated eggs too, the white layers don’t. So it’s interesting to see the colored layer lay without the coating sometimes.

I don’t know what kind of shell true Araucana’s have, the birds that lay true blue eggs. So that’s just interesting, to see Hawklady’s egg more blue without the coating, with it it’s a lighter definite green.

So we’ll see what the next week brings, more green eggs every other day would be nice, and something brown and something white as well! We have a few more days of warmth expected, then colder weather coming in Friday night. I hope that won’t stop them from laying. I’ll be getting a metal panel over the one “window” on the lift-off-side side of the A-Frame. This will give them some more warmth in the case of chilly wind, and help warm if the sun hits that panel too.

Weather stays mild; Hens

The weather has been so very mild the last few weeks, and it’s continuing on.

The current 15-day Outlook is giving us another week or more of this mild weather, with colder temps then coming in, but still only down to the mid-low-30’s at night, and into the low-50’s for day.

Last year we didn’t have any January ICE storms. They came in February, which was odd to us here, living here since late 1996 we hadn’t seen such a thing. So it goes that we don’t know WHAT will happen in January 2005, but that to the middle of the month there is likely no ice or snow. Or freezing of much of anything either.

I saw on the Weather Channel, on TV, earlier that the North and West are being hit with lots of snow, ice, mix, rain. We here are just mild. Low 70’s yesterday, supposed to be that again today. Friday is the day temps go down for a day or so, then back up again. Lows in the 40’s or 50’s is fine with me. I mean, I don’t mind Winter all THAT much, but I don’t mind being able to get out of bed sockless and feel fine either. πŸ™‚

We haven’t had the use of any heating elements for days continuing since I last mentioned [in any post] that phenomenon.

So with this weather I have been outdoors happy. Going out to check the hens frequently, as if it was Spring. :rolleyes: I’m hoping for some eggs from any group of the hens. They are looking close to laying. All of them to one degree or another.

I have a wild urge to garden, but I’m submerging that inside me, it’s just too early for that.

It’s not too early for the hens to lay eggs though, since they’ve had “Off” for so long now.

The Australorps and Wyandottes (including Hawklady the not-real-W) are together in the A-Frame now. It was Friday I guess when I put them together. Fighing between one A and Trinity the W. broke out very soon. They were fighting for top pecking order I figure. They weren’t trying to injure each other. It’s amazing to see such fights. It’s incredible really. I saw the Leghorns do this once, I wrote about it I think. It’s a silent wonder really. A chicken can get REALLY big, tall, immensely ethereally magical looking.

So with that happening with two hens in the A-Frame, I stuck the dog carrier into the unit, which effectively cut the pen in half with the only passthrough being on one side. When I say “effectively cut the pen in half” I don’t mean equal halves, it was angled. What transpired then was that the Australorps kept to the small side, which was under the nest box loft. The three W.’s had the run of the other side of the pen, much larger in area. No more fighting occured, they sectioned themselves off.

The next day I took the dog carrier out. Some pushyness occurred from Trinity towards the A.’s but not fighing as before. Obviously she had won top ranking.

So that day the hens stayed segregated mostly , with Trinity being the police woman and pushing the A’s back if they strayed out of “their area” for more than a second or so.

Since then they do mix, but the A’s are hestitant around Trinity. That’s not such a big deal now either, it seems, just an every-so-often kind of thing.

I’ve also found that one A. and Hawklady are able to get into the nest box easily. They both have visited me while I had the door open. Hawklady three different times, in fact. She’s the one that I had put into the A-Frame alone before. The A’s were pecking her and got her ear bleeding, so I took her out and kept her in the cat carrier in the house for some days. The A’s obviously didn’t like something about her, and it’s interesting that when she went back into the A-Frame with her W. buddies no one bothered Hawklady at all.

In the nest box loft when Hawklady was in there, an A. did come over and stand in front of the area and reach up and “peck!” at Hawklady, whom was sitting quite forward and nearly sticking out of the box. I guess that could be the A. that likes to go up there now. Or maybe it was any of the 4 A’s that pecked at her before, and figured with her up there with no W. protection, she was “fair game” for a peck or two. It wasn’t nasty, at any rate.

I knew someone had been sleeping in the nest box, due to poopy remains in there in the mornings. It must be Hawklady, and I think at least another bird, but maybe not.

At least some of them are demonstrating that they can get into the nest box easily. So now I’m just anxious for an egg or two in that box, or more. There’s a total of 4 A’s and 3 W-types. That’s a possible 6 brown eggs, and 1 green egg. In the Leghorn pen, they are in the SuperYard now, we moved them to it last week, there are 8 hens and they are getting redder wattles, and their combs are just not completley red, waxy yet. Looking close though. So that’s a possible 8 white eggs there. All these are possible egg totals in one day, of course. 50% production would be very welcomed. That’s a great score if you are talking baseball hitting stats. It’s great for egg laying too, just not the best, and totally they are capable of 70 or 80 percent production more often than not, IMO. Well the Leghorns we don’t know what size their eggs would be if they’d lay. Nor how often they’d lay. Older hens lay less, “they say” and so far they are doing that, none at all. They aren’t so old that they can’t lay. They are just now 2 year old, and a couple months from their Two-year-First-Egg-Laying Anniversary. So they’ve only had two egg laying cycles, which is enough for most birds, but they are capable of doing more. Old softie that I am.

Year End Update

It’s been mild again, weather wise, and it looks to hold out through the end of the year, as well as the first week of the new year. Very odd, very nice though.

Highs in the 60’s, lows in the 40’s … great weather for me! I’d love it to be like this most of the time, but alas, it’s not. It gets hot in the late spring, and then nicer again in the late autumn, with some times better than others during the summer-like months. It’s a rare treat though to get this lovely spring-like weather off and on late autumn and early winter. I mean, the last few days of the year being for yard work, no sweaters, and so on … πŸ™‚ It’s that we usually have cold now, and the fact is we have not had to use any heating for days, and won’t need to if weather stays as is said to be the next week+ … that’s up to Jan 6 being nice, nice, nice.

No chilly bathroom to use the electric heater in to take the “edge” off. No fireplace fire to take care of, to roast in front of to relieve the chill of the main floor. πŸ™‚ I like fires, mind you. I love taking care of them. Just the novelty of having some very cold days, and fires roaring, and thinking of Spring-Time, and then “here it comes!”.

So this year was our first FULL year without Central AC/Heating. This is our second “winter” without it. All is well. It’s been tough some times, but the worsed is definatly “SUMMER”. When temps get over 70 F. my body knows it. It gets very hard to stay sane. So the higher it goes, the worse it gets for me. Imagine any temp that YOU know is the passing point of comfort. Now understand that for many it’s much higher than my own is. Imagine that yours was in the range that meant most “normal” temps are too hot for you to function well under. I’m like photo’s, negatives, paper, books. I stay good in cooler dry places. 72 is the most, as long as it’s dry.

I don’t mind colder to a degree, it must be in the 50’s or 60’s for ultimate comfort. But there is a combo-with other conditions that makes or breaks that working well. If my internal is cold, I need warmer than warm, for a while. That’s why fireplaces are great. And hot baths. Just stay in or near long enough to get warm internally and than scat! I’m a reptile, I guess too. πŸ˜‰

People’s Thermostat is at the back of the neck. To fool mine I must, in heat, have ice on it. That’s really hard to make happen in the house at 85 F. But that’s something I am just thinking of since talking of Spring, and thinking over the last year. I feel like “hot times” are close at hand, but really they aren’t. We have more Winter to deal with, no doubt.

So then, our Hens. They have been a trial this year, in that they just went into eating and not producing too much. It’s time to end the Leghorns. They were born in Oct before we got them in Feb of 2003. They are two years old. Have gone through Spring 2003-Autumn 2003 as their first Laying Season. Then Spring 2004- August 2004, and nothing since then, just MOLT MOLT MOLT. No fun. We just are chicken to do anything with them. πŸ˜‰ A few have died, we have 7 now, 10 to start with, has the same first 10 with no deaths the first year. Amazing, so I understand from others.

We have two GLW (Golden-Lace Wyandotts) hens, and they were born Spring 2003 and started laying mid-Summer 2003 and layed into December, I think, but that was three of them then. They laid a bit in 2004, but stopped in August, as the leghorns did. They began molting too. So they’ve had two seasons of laying, but not FULL season as the Leghorns. I’m more forgiving of these GLW. Anyway, one of them died suddenly for who-knows-why just this past month, and so we are down to two of them, and they are LOOKING like they might be close to laying again. But one of them has a chunk of tail feathers missing now, so she has to grow them back before … laying.

We have one that lays green eggs. She looks GLW but doesn’t. At any rate that’s “Hawklady” and she laid more than the GLW’s this year. She’s a good one, but then again, not since she ALSO started molting and hasn’t given up much since Sept. 2004.

We got five black Australorps Spring 2004. They hatched early 2004 Spring. They started laying late and didn’t do a whole lot (but did for the times that they were laying). They have not had a full laying season, but started molting and did that for a couple of months, then laid again for about a month then quit again, which was just a few weeks ago. Sigh. We lost one of the Australorps during laying time, just a day after a HUGE egg had been laid. We figure that was her.

So we have had less eggs this year. I’ve bought too many store eggs. We JUST found a source not too far away for fresh eggs. As well as they being the distributors for organic layer feed. The only ones around πŸ™‚ So we have our first of that we’ll be using, and getting our birds onto that will be nice.

We got the A-frame hen pen finished recently, and the Australorps are happily content there, but not laying still. I just today got the three odd-balls out of the pen of leghorns, so Hawklady, Pointsettia, and Trinity are in the dog carrier today, sitting by the Australorps, for them to all get used to each other and that tonight or tomorrow night they can go in together.

I am tring to get a light out there for them, to supplement daylight and “fool” them into laying now, especially since they all haven’t done good enough all year from Spring to Autumn

Frank has started doing more work on his own, having some thing change this past year with his work. Too much confusing for ME to talk about it here, as if I have any idea … it’s just his thing. πŸ™‚ But it’s going better. We have a large hole to climb out of, and with The Lord’s help we are doing it and will continue to do so.

The Children each had birthdays this year. Russell turned 8 the end of April. He’s reading well. Asa turned 4 mid-September. He’s growing up, but still a young boy! Victoria turned 6 the end of November. She’s turning into quite a young lady, but has years to go, of course!

I also, of course, lost our 4th baby at 10 weeks gestation the end of March. It was a hard event, and still stikes horrible emotions in me to this day any time something strikes me that way. It’s hard to know when I’ll be that sensitive, when I won’t. It’s not a mystery, it’s just that sometimes baby stuff bugs me so much, all I can do is cry and run away.

Why? It’s just the horror of losing something living, that you longed to hold and love and see grow, but losing it before being able to feel it even. But knowing it was alive and it was there. Seeing it, but not in the way that one would wish to see their child.

Why else? This was our fourth child, not our first. We know what happens when a baby is growning and is born and grows up to crawl, walk, run, laugh, smile, talk, and so on.

This child was our last, maybe we will have another, but at this point it’s our last. We are older. It’s not impossible to have more children, but being older, I’m 38, Frank is 39, we have no surety of anything, but never did in the first place about children. God opens and closes the womb. It just hurts my soul to see things about babies. It’s nearly sufficating for me sometimes if I see a baby the last few months, or end up too near the baby section in a store, or read something that just sends me down the pathway of what is horrid.

My babe is with God. My babe is safe in His Arms. But my arms long to hold him/her. My arms ache at the emtyness of this season when the babe would be small and perfect, sweet to smell, cuddly to hold close. Warm, gentle, young. Youngness invading the household.

Instead it’s older-ness. Our youngest living is 4. That’s far from being a baby. He’s been out of diapers since turning 2 for the most part. So part of having a new babe is the delight of going through my diaper stock and getting them ready, I love cloth diapering! But for me it’s now sufficating to think upon almost. This is hard enough to write.

Through this past year I’ve stopped getting email-lists, each one just too much to bear the references and different attitudes that weren’t meant to cause pain for anyone, but definitely have done so for me. I understand ALL too well how just bragging or complaining about anything, seemingly innocently can cause others much pain.

I already know it about people bragging about their riches and all that comes with that attitude. I grew up in a poor family, always lower-mid class, or trying to be. Things in our marriage have been mid-class, but worse than that in many respects over the years, with the last three taking the cake.

But we have so much. It’s just that the lack of somethings or the loss of some things, causes pain when others pooh pooh about the good things they have, the things we don’t or have lost. It’s really no fun having money troubles. It’s no fun not being able to have a baby. I know both those. We struggled getting pregnant for the first time. I had two full years of anguish that nothing had happened already. That was after the anguish of the first many months of waiting to see if something would happen, as every young couple is promised “it’ll be soon”. But God did bless us with our first child eventually. The pain I had ceased, but the understanding of others going through that has continued. I know the pain of having no children and wanting them and waiting on God for Womb Opening. I understand the joy of motherhood. The joy of birthing children, and the joy of homebirthing, clothdiapering, the joy of natural approach to children’s health. I have had to add to my sorrow of understanding others though, and fill the niche of having children, but losing one early, and just feeling loss heavily. My first three children were 2 years apart. My last baby would have been more than four years junior to Asa. This was a special baby.

So I cry a lot still. I know it will ease with time passing. This is the first tough year, of it happening, baby should have been born about now dates, baby would have been this old dates. Baby’s miscarriage 1-year-ago date is still in the future, not that far away, but that date should have, if nothing had happened bad, been the baby being a cutie time. 3 to 4 months of age.

Baby right now would be newborn stage still. So sweet. So darling. So heartmelty. My heart is partially invisible now. πŸ™

I’m A-OK otherwise. Yes, I know, sounds weird.

That’s the quirkiness of it all. I’m alright with it, it happened, it’s alright, baby is with God. But I’m paralyzed by it, but yet not. It’s the way of it:

One day planning for babies arrival.
Next day mouring loss
Next day must put on happy face and pretend life just goes on as last year. As if nothing ever happened.

It’s the pain of silence. A suffering alone, comforted only by God, and the people He sends to comfort, true empathizers. No one else offers much comfort. And it’s the quizical ignore/don’t ignore condudrum of don’t do either . Don’t ignore the baby loss, don’t talk to me about the baby loss. Both apply. 😯

So on to cats.
This past year we lost Samantha, my dear pet of 12 years. It was a hard loss, having lost as well a puppy from a dog attack, and some hens as well. I mean, couple that with my MIL dying in February, puppy dying while DH at funeral, me losing baby about a month later … it hasn’t been so good.

So recently we got two new kittens. They are on my lap right now. They love to cuddle on me as I surf the ‘net or type on the computer. They are gray blue kittens, brother and sister. So sweet. They’ve had colds though, twice since getting them. They are recovering now. But it’s so sad to see precious fluffies miserable.

The boy has longer fur. He’s messy looking a lot of the time. He looks so big because of it. But he’s just got longer fur. His sister looks a lot like him, but her fur isn’t so long. It’s the easiest way to tell them apart. Their eyes are the same color and shape. Her pupils look different at times though, much smaller than his. That’s another tell-apartism.

These kittens are a joy to have to fill empty spots left by all the things in the last year. But they don’t ease all pain. They just help a lot.

Ok then, the house. The house is clutter-flutter needs de-cluttering and organization, which is a major chore of way-too-much for me alone with three little tornadoes living here with two organizationally challenge adults. Lack of money is very apparent in this venture, as money aides organizationally challenged individuals, buys them gadgets that work, drawers, shelves, furniture, boxes, baskets, do-dads galore. We sometimes are able to waste money in that direction, but being organizationally challenged makes for bad choices sometimes, but not so much that but that it’s not enough to help … KWIM?

We have a house that needs painted inside and out. Outside really needs it. Inside parts of it really need it. We live on sub-flooring having taken out the carpet due to ickyness, and allergies and wanting to install wood flooring, so just living on this until we can get wood flooring installed. It’s not bad at all. Just transitional. I have much decorating I’d love to do, but shabby chic is too expensive to do even. 😯

We just have stuff that needs to be tossed, but the energy to sort that out of the good stuff, and what to do with this and that … and clean daily, well, stuff goes undone, and things like Christmas just add to the load. It’s sad how much poor people can accumulate! πŸ˜‰

I’m not complaining about being poor. Just talking about the challenges it presents to “organizationally challenged” individuals. I like the thought of living minimallistically. It’s just hard to implement. One needs to be on HGTV’s “Mission Organization” and have someone gift you the funds to do what the expert tells you to do. I actually have plenty of ideas, plenty of brain power, just not enough physical resources or physical power to implement. It’s just that my creative way or organizing is one that needs raw materials or materials to re-transform, and in a house with no ageing attic full of stuff, we have no materials of worth to work with. So our visual-spatial gadget happy family just accumulates stuff that needs to go places but have no where to be put. It’s a curse. Have thing, it’s sure to be something with no home spot to live in.

Have thing with a home spot to live in, something else will take up residence in it. Or maybe it’ll just be a space that dissapears into thin air … and the thing will be homeless and that leaves less space in the house.

Rule Number One. Stacking is important. If one sees an empty flat surface, immediately fill that with whatever is in your hands, or what one can get their hands on soonly thereafter. And be sure and repeat often on top of that. Stacking on flat surface is number one.

Second Rule stack on non-flat surface for balancing games and fun. Same as above, only more challenging.

Oh, just imagine the fun. No need to go on. We are stackers. We are absolutely classic Visual people with all the classic symptoms of Messy/Organizationally Challenged People.

One must understand it’s not fun, it’s just the way it is. To be organized and stick with it day in and day out is stifling. What so tough about it is that it’s like living in Boot Camp when I try to get it happening here. It’s not worth the stress. The stress of mess is easier, softer stress, if that makes any sense.

So there are rules I have printed out and posted on the wall, more than one place in the house. Rules that everyone must follow. They are largely ignored.

So this is it. I will be devoting time and energy to de-cluttering as I can, but largley doing a Lite Boot Camp and instituting executive decisions about stuff left, stuff not cared for, junk dropped on the floor, clothing not cared for, etc. Lose it, must do something to get it back. Not take care of something, won’t get new something until care for old somethings. And so on.

It’s something that we are trying to do, is get better bookcases to fill up with books and papers and supplies. Frank got me a new one today, on sale at Target. It’s not solid wood, but better than the bookcases we used to have, that found their way into the garage to be filled up with stuff that NEEDS to be organized πŸ˜‰

So eventually it’s my desire that we’ll have enough tools to build out own stuff cheaper and better, or just better. We now have a circular saw, and a jigsaw. Big improvements to add to our cordless drill and screwdrivers and manual saw. πŸ™‚ We need a few more things, saw horses, work table, miter box at least, etc.

I’d love a Dremel tool set too. It’s just my size for doing lots of projects. So that’s a dream gadget of mine.

We have much to do in the coming new year. Rooms to get fixed up, painted decorated. Rooms to organize and make nice and shabby chic in a french or italian country way. I also like some Japanese elements to furnishings. What an ecectic mix, and throw in the perfectess of Victorian decorating as well. :veryshocked:

We are so thankful for the Life God has given us. For the marriage God has given us. For the Children God has entrusted us with. We are thankful for all He has taught us and the things He will teach us. We seek to follow His paths. We are grateful for His Complete Choosing of Us, for the sacrifice of His Son, Christ Jesus, and all He did on the cross and rising from the dead to conquer death so that we may Live Eternally in His prescence.

Thanks be to Him for this Visual Messy Life. It’s ours and we love it. It’s from Him, we know that. It’s for our perfecting to live and try to gain more, but it’s not that gaining that earns us salvation. Salvation is through Christ Alone. πŸ™‚

Happy New Year Y’all!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

It’s Christmas Eve, the tree is trimmed.

It’s just a little trimmed, it’s a little tree. 4Ft. Tall, it looks like a minature Christmas Tree, it’s like a Full Fledged tree, just small.

It’s also ALIVE.

Alberta Spruce, of some sort, it’s going to get a couple or so feet taller, and end up about 4 to 5 feet wide. We’ll plant it in our front yard somewhere.

It’ll be something in future years for us or someone else to decorate for the season outside. We’ve not really had anything to do that with before.

I have a long strand of cranberries on it, and mini-white lights, 1 and a half strands of those. Also a couple of other little things. Most of my Christmas stuff is just too big for that tree.

I made a paper star for the top. [It’s a kid’s site, but the star was the only online directions for anything that’d work for a tree that I could find]

http://www.dltk-kids.com/usa/fold_and_cut_star_shape.htm

I made two of them, pooked out the fold lines of the stars after cutting the folded paper, to give it more depth, then used a stapler to attach them together, bizarre, but I figured at night it’s not visible, and even if they are, in day or at night the tree lights will add sparkle, hopefully πŸ˜‰ At any rate that’s the only way I could figure to get them together with what I had available .

It looks alright, kind of nice. I have a light from the light strands inside of it.

The Gigantic Star atop our Huge Tree is nice. πŸ˜‰ That what it looks like if one doesn’t think about it being a minature tree in the first place. I don’t have any other large ornaments on it, just a few smaller things, but most of my stuff is in the garage. It’s just too much, too big and heavy for this little tree.

So that’s that. Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Presents to open. Then in the afternoon we have a present for the whole family, we’ll be going to see “The Incredibles” at the theatre. Last Christmas we did that for the first time, we saw Peter Pan, so it’s a new tradition that we will “try” to keep each year. We don’t have any family around here, so it’s just us and since we love movies and are visual, it’s a nice thing to do. I used to think it a terrible thing to go to the movies on Christmas Day. But after all I always didn’t like Christmas Day much past the morning, it was dull and boring. No more excitement. No mystery about what presents you might be getting, or about the ones you are giving to others. The pleasures were had and gone. They linger, not entirely gone, but the newness of it all wears off, and a little time together seeing something new at the theatre seems to get our attention off of the “Stuff” and onto enjoying the time together, without being sprawled out in front of the TV or something like that.

Since we hadn’t seen The Incredibles yet, it was the one we decided to do this year for Christmas. We are looking forward to it!

Christmas is closer, ready? Not us!

It’s Wednesday evening, well, still late-afternoon, but FEELS like evening, or has for the last half-hour plus. It’s 5:15pm right now.

We are into Winter now, but it was kinda warm today, up to the mid-50’s. The house moderated out the last few days, with a space heater in our upstairs (master) bathroom, that seemed to help the whole of the three bedrooms and hallway up there, for some reason, but that was coupled with having the fireplace going down in the “dining room” from at least 6am until 8pm, if not earlier and later. Today I felt fine dressed normal for Winter, denim dress, slip, silk shirt, cotton thick tights, and sneakers, so I didn’t light a fire … but by 3pm I was a little more chilled that desirable, so I set to making a fire, and it was nice. It roared, I sat down to watch it, catch some heat, and make sure it caught well once the initial rush to consume paper and bark and small wood died down.

I called “here kitty, kitty, kitty” a couple of times to invite the cats to enjoy the fire with me, and in short time I had a cat and a kitten on my lap, and Victoria sat down by me the other kitten and another cat climbed on her lap. I ended up with THAT kitten climbing over to my lap a few mintues later, and we all snoozed cat nappedly in the glow of the hot flames. It was nice.

But didn’t last, mind refreshed from short nap sitting up, I had to get up and had to interest the cats in leaving. A nudge here and there and they got the picture. I hate dumping a cat unceremoniously off my lap πŸ˜‰

The fire did the trick and warmed the dining room space fairly well, taking the edge off, that had been starting to get to me.

The temps out today were fine for no fire to be made, but since the sun didn’t make a good appearance all day, we lacked in solar heating on the South Side of the house, which is the room next to the dining room, the kitchen. So once moderate turned to bitey, fireplace is the nicest thing to be next to in the house, except for a warm bed, but even flannel sheets are warm when one first gets into them in a cold room! 😯

So it’s just a few days until Christmas.

We MIGHT be getting a LIVE tree. Might. Not sure yet. At any rate, we have no Christmas tree at this point. Frank’s been busy doing work stuff out of the house this week so far, and we’ve not been able to make any joint decisions about that and other Christmas Day stuff yet.

Maybe we’ll be able to get dressed up and go see what the Methodist Church around the corner is doing on Friday Night. Maybe we won’t. We don’t know if they are hosting anything. (Our church practices Regulative Principle of Worship and doesn’t do Christmas in the church, as Christ is worshipped each Sunday as His Birth, Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension are part of that in confession and creed and word.)

We haven’t done much Christmas, except get some gifts for the children already. But no tree, and no special events. I didn’t send cards, didn’t last year either. It’s just a job I gave up on. I used to send them, but you know, two years in a row not sending [maybe more!] we got the same amount of cards as always. Just the relatives who send cards, and a couple of friends.

I will send some kind of Season’s Greetings in return to them, if I can make myself do that! I’m so disorganized with all my writing stuff. I did used to be better with it, but the rubbermaid boxes I kept some of it in have broken and that messed the organization all up, as well as some stuff buried with other boxes … ho hum.

I need to buy something new to send anyhow. I used to make my own cards, on the computer, or that plus rubberstamping and embossing. My embossing things and stamp colors were *hrum* destroyed in series of unfortunate (for me) mishaps with children. Urg. But that’s that.

I still have my heat gun, and … well, stamps that aren’t applicable to what I’d do, always need new ones, you know? Maybe I can garner enough sympathy to get some new stamps, powder, stamp pads … and of course, blank cards.

OK, already made cards is cheaper and quicker.

I have holiday paper for letters, but it’s so gaudy I don’t know why I ever bought it. I mean, it’s definitely the kind of thing to print out a nice family letter at Christmas time, if one has good news to share. We don’t have anything particularly wonderful to say, and really me, I’d just drone on about the misery of losing a baby, dog, favorite cat, MIL and blah, blah, blah. Everyone knows the only reason to write a Christmas letter for mass mailing is to brag up the family members. That’s just not me in any case. πŸ™‚

Christmas is dull this year, and was last year. We tried harder other years. It’s just hard to make traditions alone, IMO. Christmas runs on my power in our household, I mean the “decorations” the “way it feels” the “way it sounds”. My disorganization has only grown as the children have grown, of course! Visual-Spatial people struggle with organization and I can attest to the truth of THAT!

We need to find outlets for cultural Christmas is we want to get revved up. We just haven’t done that. We don’t view Christmas in the way that many Christians do. So it’s an odd mixture of Celebration of Christ coming to earth so many years ago, but not only that also it’s a cultural celebration for the cold dark part of the year. It’s mostly that. We have our identity in Christ daily. We don’t put him back in the manger once a year, but have no problem in reading Luke 2, etc. It’s hard to explain, so I’ll leave it at that.

I’ll be putting Handel’s Messiah back in the CD player tomorrow. (I overplayed it for months on end the other year, and took it out finally, literally listened to it for hours and hours and hours for the better part of a year, most days. :veryshocked: ) The full story of the Messiah, that’s worth celebrating πŸ™‚ All Year Long, every year.

So, I am thinking for a tree, if we get one, I’ll make some gingerbread shapes to hang and we have a partial red/brown/green paper chain I had the children make yesterday and today. That and who knows what else.

A LIVE tree can only be in the house 3 days, the store people say. A cut tree is cheaper this late date. A LIVE tree would be planted outside to live and grow. A cut tree would become a leaning things for wildlife to shelter in and let it age until it crumbles to nothingness over the years. A LIVE tree is more money, a cut tree is less money, so a cut tree MIGHT be something to go for if I can go to, say Cost Plus and get some nice old-world ornaments … I love that store. Cost Plus is it’s name, but it has “World” and maybe something else in it too. It’s a neat import store, if you don’t have one that you can visit. It differnt IMO from Pier One, for instance. Cost Plus is an affordable store, for one thing, just different too.

Well the final about the tree is that a LIVE tree would probably live and grow to be a big tree in our yard somewhere. Frank looked at some today, but made no decision. A dwarf spruce something-or-other is available, 4-ft high, will grow taller, but also end up being 10-ft wide. Not too big, just nice, I think about 8-10 ft tall, maybe just 8ft. Anyhow, he liked it, said it looked GREEN. I couldn’t determine how green, if it is anything like I require [a blue-green, not anything lesser, yellowy, emeraldy, not me!]

We always, when we have had trees, which is every year since our marriage, Christmas of 1992 through 2002 we had a Noble Fir once, maybe a spruce once, but I don’t usually like those in stores. Every other tree was a Frasier Fir, and that’s my prefered look, High Victorian-ish, yet style with minimalist classic decor. I’ll see about gathering past tree pictures and post about what my ideal way to decorate would be, given my druthers of money and time and energy to gather the right ingredients together.

My tastes have changed over the years, but have been the same basically since marriage, but I haven’t had the means to explore and extract that dream in my visionary mind. I’m not very resourceful with no resources to exploit πŸ™‚

So for me, I settled on having a year ornament every year, since 1994 we’ve done that, minus last year. Black-hole Christmas that one was, in a way. Descriptive of how it was in some angles, not all. Just the dullest of all of them at that point.

September of that year we lost our cat Cinnamon suddenly, she up and died. That settled a fog over me, but it wasn’t depression. It’s lasted as well, since losing so many other things since then. But again, it’s not depression. I’m not depressed about losing the baby in March. I’m totally at ease with it, My emotions have utter loss attached to them forever though, and the dicotomy of that emotional-me/normal-nothing-wrong-me is distinctly super weird. I’m fine then crying, then fine, when faced with something that reminds me of the whole affair. My problem too is my vivid imagination has created indepth films and horror shows that no words could describe. So it’s a totally different me since the end of March, I’ve molded, I’ve aged, I’ve changed for the better, lost a little gloss but gained another type of gloss and glimmer over there. I’ve mellowed, I’ve grown an old soul where I thought I had one but must not have. I’ve learned much more and more than that, and have so much more to learn. Sigh. I’m just so different, and Christmas has suffered in the midst of it all.

Well I tried with making cookies, got one batch baked on Monday, and two fridge chill batches, but haven’t gotten them out yet. Too much cleaning to do that I can’t quite conquer. So yesterday the paper chain idea I got I implemented mid-afternoon, and that made a huge mess and continued into this morning. I let the children do it after a couple of hours of it yesterday, meaning, I let them do it all themselves and I did other stuff. They did fine, having never made one before. So today, they finished up the strips I’d made, and we had no more brown paper to continue the pattern, so that was all of the chain. They got more paper out without asking and started cutting other stuff out, and that led to me making “Crowns” for them all. Something I’d not done before. So this all ended up being a kind of creative time that I’d snuffed out for so long.

I also cut out some hearts joined, cut out of one piece to get several in a row, like any other shape you can do that with, people, stars, whatever. I tried pasting it on a ribbon, but they dried and ending up falling off. Dark Pink, I was going to hang it in Victoria’s room.

In any case, it awoke a paper decorating monster in me, and ideas are flowing to get wacky stuff made for our cheap decor, at least until we can get other “REAL” stuff going. In any case, it’s perfect for the children’s rooms to make paper decorations out of whatever paper we have. So that’s not Christmas stuff, but flowed out of a Christmas thang.

First Day of Winter

Happy Winter Season!

It’s official today. πŸ™‚

Cold and Hen Pens

Oooh it’s a cold morning, and will be a cold day, just getting out of freezing maybe, maybe up to 38 degrees F. but then again, who knows. This is the country! I do mean: we are out in the boonies, ok? Weather people don’t have the snuff for what it takes to measure weather here as accurately as they do in cities πŸ˜‰

If the weather is sunny and not too brutal later, and warmer than the now below 20 F., then I’ll see about taking some pictures of the nearly finished but occupied A-Frame out back.

Since we put the Australorps in it on Saturday at dusk, and were at church yesterday and didn’t spen much time in the back yard, I haven’t had much of a chance to look at it all, admire it, take photos, try and fix up a few more things, etc.

I really wish we could have finished this thing on a moderately temped day, but so it goes as it did.

I need to come up with hardware to fix the doors and such closed.

The egg door and the big door next to it are key, and then the lift-off back needs some securing mechanism as well, but is heavy enough not to be a problem per se, for now at least.

A-Frame is really cool. I love the way it is in looking through the door or side with chickenwire, much nicer than crouching down to the two-feet above the ground level and peering over and down from there, especially when it’s COLD! πŸ™‚

I don’t mind laying in the grass in the spring and summer and watching the birds at the low ground level, but crouching, nah, ugh!

Once Winter is finished, we’ll go ahead and get the pen outfitted with green bird net instead of chicken wire, and make a door for next to the one big one that’s there now, both will be “screen doors”. We may also make a screen change-out for the back side where the Cypress-Side now resides. That’ll be nice for super duper clear moderate times.

Internal things we need to do is get a hook and chain to hang the waterer, and maybe devise a feeder box to attach to the side of something … right now we throw the crumbles on the ground, which I dislike having to do. Once the waterer is hung though, it’ll mean no having to get it out before moving the pen. πŸ™‚

We also have to get a roost in there. We are thinking of drilling round holes in the handle end of the pen, and inserting a new large dowel, aka broom/mop handle.

Then we will get an artificial light in there too, and modify the nesting area as it presents problems … which I’m hoping it won’t.

The best thing about this A-Frame though is ACCESS to my birdies! I can open doors and touch them, grab them if I want to, pet them. πŸ™‚ Thus far the past has had my birds fairly free inside barriers that kept me on the other side. Not my plan from day one, but how it happened to play out.

So we are online with our third pen, and it’s a grand one compared to the other two.

We will be moving the three remaining Wyandotte-like birds into the A-Frame, if they can live with the Australorps, that is. The A’s are bigger than the W’s, so we shall see.

Then the scrappy whities will go into the superyard, and then Frank will tear apart that old first hen pen and re-invent it. Then back in the whities will go, maybe, if they aren’t stewed or dog food by then. πŸ™‚ I really am hoping just to keep them a bit more for a few big eggs. I could really use them.

New Hen Pen coming soon!

It’s a fine day, sunny with a few clouds, supposed to get up to 59 degrees F. So the day is come that Frank and I will finish the old project for the “new hen pen” which began last Spring, and fell away to do-nothing-status as it became a giant that I couldn’t move anyhow, and was just “overkill” IMO.

So we are now fitting it out with finishing touches for Winter use, and plan on making it so useful as to be more “modular” friendly, a super proto-type for future better building practices.

I did some work the other week, and I was well pleased with it.

I made a lift of side for the back of the A framed unit, out of our fence extra pieces, cypress.

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The Cypress wall is only over the top half, and below that is ugly chicken wire, bulking out, not flat. πŸ™ I couldn’t get it right all by myself that day, but it’s just there and can be taken off and made better in the future. Over that we’ll be putting a metal roofing panel for Winterization.


I also fitted on a piece for a door to the egg laying nest area. It’s hinged.


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Here’s the big door into the unit, the other side of the A frame from the cypress “wall” I made. It’s hinged.


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We still have to trim out some pieces inside to cover gaps by the doors, and also make another door-like structure to fill in the space on the other side of the big door.

Complicated sounding, moreso that it really is.

Here are the two ends of the untit. First this one is the handled side. It’s not totally done yet.


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And this end is the side with the wheels. This is the side that will be changed to have a “hatch” to mate it to other pen pieces. It’s only temporarily sectioned off for winter.


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Don’t be impressed, it’s a mishmosh of everything. I’m only proud of it by the standards of it actually WORKING soon, and being better than what we have done in the past. πŸ™‚

Some of the future residents, the Australorps today:


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Bad photo of them … they are much prettier than that! The lighting and angle were both bad, I just stuck the camera inside the pen under the roof and chanced it.

We may divide the middle to put ALL the hens in the pen but not mix them. I want to get them all in there somehow. The Australorps were laying again, but the last few to four or so days they haven’t laid a thing. So I want them in there with a better laying area, and protection from the elements, and someplace where we can run a light out to them easier.

The side with the nest area is where I want to put them. And the other side I just want a door there where there is nothing currently, so that I can put the other birds there in a sectioned off area and get to them for feed, water … eggs? Yes I want them to lay!

It’s a winter thing, just want to get them in there so we can rip apart the old pen and make something new out of the remains. And reclaim the Super Yard for some chicks in the spring too.

I have many ideas for making modular pieces of A-Frame and rectangular shaped pieces, merging them together modularly as desired. Just getting them working is what we need to do.

Yes, there are plans for pens out there. But they all come about from people doing what they need to do. That’s what we are doing. Not really re-inventing the wheel, but using stuff we have for proto-type usable things, and making things as custom as we can to really work, and make that something to market sometime, hopefully. With cheap products … fancy looking, but not really fancy to make or expensive to buy, tools to use general tools. My desire is to make things that are ergonomic, esthetic, and fun to use (for people and birds). All within an Agrarian, Conservationist mindset of principles.

This A-Frame isn’t put together as the basic parts of it, as I want future A-Frames to be made [I didn’t build this, DH and FIL did] . It’s too heavy and just redundant use of big pieces of wood. It should be light, and that makes it movable, and it should then be able to be staked to the ground, hooked onto other pieces to increase weight as a sitting product, but unhookable for moving to another spot on the grass.

I think from the prospective of being small and a woman, in need of moving things myself, which would mean that younger folk could also move what I would be able to move. I am what is generally refered to as an average 12 year old’s size … in height. That makes for challenges in a giant world. Making something to the highest denominator means it’s out of my class, whereas lowest adult denominator in our family means it’s accessible by all adults and older children πŸ™‚

The weather and all that

Last night/this morning it got cold, was supposed to be around 25 degrees F. but here is was about 18 degrees around 8am or so. Considerabley colder than “city” areas around us. πŸ™‚

The day warmed up to the low 50’s and it was SO nice. But it’s to get cold again over night. Low over tonight/tomorrow morn is supposed to be 35 at this point, so they say … but right now they say it is 30 degrees … that’s now. That’s colder than it’s supposed to get at all … πŸ˜‰

Well that’s all from who-knows-where-and-who-is-taking-temps … as it’s not US at HOME. Our thermometer, the only one we have had … broke this last year. It was a digital dude that had a probe to go outside, and took that temp as well as the indoor temp, and saved low and high temps, etc. Nice, below $30 at Dillard’s some years back around this time of year (you know, all the junk the department stores have for sale in the middle of the aisle during “holiday season” for Christmas mostly …) Oh, it talked too. It’s history now though, and I try to believe what the folks in the paper, on the internet, on TV, are saying about what it is, and what it should be in the future.

I can tell relatively what temps are myself, by going out, of course, and feel good enough about my “close to nature” self to know I’m right about stuff. Like this morning, it was so frosty, I knew it was below freezing, but WAY below was my idea and when I saw they said it was 18 around this little part of GA, I believed it was about that. Below the 25 that was predicted, at least.

I can tell when warmer weather comes in and it’s just warmer weather, or when warmer weather comes in and it’s telling the tale of cold a’coming behind. Or some other kind of storm. I’m not 100% sure. Just get the feeling and come out right more oft than not. Well, I get good practice on this all in GA, with the way things go up and down, in and out. Weather changes more often in winter than in summer. But still, it’s not always hot, not always cold, not always mild, not always anything … it’s so variable here. It’s sort of always hot in the summer, but then, it’s not on a day to day, hour to hour basis, and same with the winter, it’s mild here, but not on a day to day, hour to hour basis. It really gets cold here. It was just as cold here last night, as it was in some northern towns that are cold all winter, usually.

OK then, I looked at Boston, MA on accuweather, and they had the same over night temps as the area around here last night, but today they got to 40 degrees about, but we were at 50 degrees and above. But are the same temp now again, about 35 degrees … which is what Accuweather is NOW saying about now, instead of the “30” that is said it was then as a now then πŸ˜‰

Always changing, and then that’s just it, where’s the temp from? Not here, some remote area 20 miles away, no doubt.

I’m judging house temps by how cold it feels in different areas, and seeing what the thermostat up in the hallway says it is. Lately it’s below the 50 degree mark over night, and creeps up to 53 or 55 by midday, it’s warmest and hovers then goes back down. That’s the coldest spot in the house. The back of the house gets the full day of sun, if it’s not cloudy, which helps greatly. The fireplace now in use helps to get the dining room nice, and seems to help a degree or so up the steps to the thermostat, but doesn’t get overly hot since it’s a high catherdral-ish sealing in there, and the down and up hallways are open to this area, with the kitchen right next to it with a small wall dividing it. The kitchen gets the full sun. Front dining room with fireplace gets no sun at all in winter, just a tad of late evening sun in summer. (we live with the main directions pointing through the corners of our house, visually speaking.)

At any rate, chilly inside temps of below or just above 50 are what we are getting accustomed to, and when the outside day turns to the same temps, we see it as “so mild” πŸ™‚ It’s all about inside air vs. outside air, and how much water is or isn’t in one or the other. As I’ve mentioned in another post resently, dressing modestly, for winter, means dressing warm enough to get through it fine. I like it cooler, it’s breathable air any how. πŸ™‚

What do I usually wear? Well, I wear dresses and so does my DD. We wear long skirts, as like me: I’m usually wearing one of my two Eddie Bauer thermal weave cotton long sleeve dresses, slip, with cotton tights, and tall leather boots with 1-1/2 to 2-inch heels. I may wear a denim dress instead. That’s my usualy though inside the house wearing. I have some other things to wear out, but that’s not where I need to keep warm, most places we go it’s TOO WARM in them. I do not like fake heat, no I do not. It makes me unable to breathe well. It seems to suck my breath right away, as one can imagine what it would be like if the old wives tale about “cat’s sucking babies breath away” would be like. Yes, I visualize that “old wives tale” always have. I understand what it should feel like, if it was possible … πŸ™‚ Cats don’t do that. At least I don’t think they do, they never did it to me, nor to my children, and attempt no such thing night or day here, and we have had enough cats to know.

Oh speaking of cats, that’s part of our night warming stuff on the bed. One or two or three pile around our legs and sleep all night. One gets on our legs, or goes to someone else, another takes it’s place, and on and and on. I like it. It’s great during the winter, a bit too much in the summer, but they seem to like it in the winter more themselves as well. It brings on more heat to huddle together with other living things, so I consider that we are helping them feel comfy, and they help us feel warmer, if not truly “comfy” , but I tolerate it, and so does DH, and we all live happily.

The kittens have fitted right in, spawling out on Frank’s side of the bottom of the bed most nights, moving up closer later, and sitting on my chest sometimes for part of the night. They are sweet. Think Blue, Count Two. Getting bigger, -F is a spitfire lovely cat, becoming a lap sitter with me during the day. -M is so cute and just loves belly rubs. -F is a fighter when it comes to belly rubs. -M has lovely longer hair, looks messy usually. Looks super great if he gets spooked! Bushed out to the hilt! They’ve brought young play back into the house, and from the 12 year old down to the 3 year old, all those cats are more active now. πŸ™‚ Love those youngsters.

We saw some other kittens in Petsmark last Sat. Getting kittylitter, we saw all the animals there, of course, why not?! Two brothers, one a choc. point siamese and the other a black and brown something … both mixes (and litter mates), but the one was so pretty, and they pulled my heart strings … but we already committed to Think Blue, Count Two just two weeks prior. πŸ™ Sad for them, but happy for TB,CT and so happy for us to have them too.

Fire’s down for the night. Time for bed!

The Weather outside

The Weather outside is delightful, but it soon will turn frightful … it may not snow here down South, but it’ll get very cold no doubt.

There’s a cold front that will be moving in soon, and the weather outlook for the next 15-days is … much cooler than it’s been. It’ll be getting below freezing most nights, and in the 40’s or 50’s at the highest for days, if not that on some (just staying cooler).

There is actually freezing rain “on the schedule” for Dec 22 time-frame. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. πŸ˜‰

We’ve been in this “area” since winter of 1996/97 (end of Nov.) and we’ve seen cold and snow in December, but not snow every December. Ice, that’s the thing we often do get in January. Last year we got our first Ice Storm in February. It’s interesting to watch the weather, and see the patterns that emerge.

Weather of late

December 8, 2004 brought this interesting effect, low lying fog burning off so visually appealling as it moved toward the sky:

As well as this glorious BLUE above the fray!

First lovely blue sky in so long, it seemed.

Only to have that late night turn cloudy then to rain by early am, and the rest of today rain, rain, rain, rain, rain …

Here are the stats for the last three days:

space
Day
7
8
9
Actual
H/L
69/50
69/46
66/47
AVG
H/L
56/37
56/37
56/36
Departure
from normal
+13
+12
+11
space
Precip
0.06
0.00
0.56

Also this for December thus far:

TOTAL PRECIP 1.53
TOTAL SNOWFALL 0.0
NORMAL PRECIP 3.71
% OF NORMAL PRECIP 41

And compare that to November:

TOTAL PRECIP 7.95
TOTAL SNOWFALL 0.0
NORMAL PRECIP 3.71
% OF NORMAL PRECIP 214

We’ve had a lot of rain lately. This month on Day 9 1.53 inches so far. But previous month we had 7.95 inches. These are approx. for our area, but really just the readings about 20 miles [East] away, so we may have had more or less. I say more, based on what kind of storms passed over, the amount of rain on the ground, and how soggy it’s been relatively forever at one degree or level of something or other somewhere in the yard the last month plus.

In the last 12 days of November about 5 or so inches fell. So add 9 days to that and you have closer to 7 inches in 21 days, which is almost more than November in total, which means — we are in a very rainy season.

Plus the last few days, as documented higher above, have been Spring Warm to the umpteenth thinking. I mean, warm, barefoot warm inside and out. We haven’t had a real “cold snap” yet. A few nights of lower 30’s, but barely, just getting down there the last two hours of dark or right at sunrise.

We’ve had times when the house has gotten chilly, but only due to mid-lower temps coupled with overcast skies, and a few rains that have been COLD RAIN. Most of the rain storms have been very warm rain.

I’ve remarked here before about being chilly with the very day of chilly getting a storm come through that brought super balmy temps and air humidity overnight, I mean, during the night it transformed the inside the house temps to “just too hot for even one blanket” when we went to bed wanting that blanket.

Some predictions for the Winter Season I saw on The Weather Channel on TV some weeks ago, had the South being Wetter than normal, not warmer though. So far the pump is being primed for wetter indeed. Any additional rain we get seems wetter, as it has very little place to go, being so saturated. I forsee a cold winter, as has been somewhat predicted to occur in the South. We will see about that. It just feels to me that this ultra warmth coming in again and again is a predictor itself of chilly air and maybe some interesting snow/ice patterns. Last season we didn’t have snow and ice really, I re call that the actualities of it was FIRST big storm: February 2004. Absolutely weird. Snow of some variety in December is usual, with temps cold enough for fireplace usage by the end of November mostly, with odd days off during the winter for warmer into the 50’s days of full sun.

But we are almost 15 days to Christmas, and it’s not been fireplace weather yet. It’s gonna hit sometime and that sometime is coming. “Avg” temps are supposedly around 58 the first few days of this month for highs, gradually lowering to the low 50’s by mid month and beyond, and hovering just above freezing for lows. That’s only “average” though, based on more than I would consider as wanting to base comparisons on. I like to compare ACTUAL data from the last year or two to the same time this year. Since I don’t collect data from year to year, though I mean to, I never do so I don’t have that data, not wanting to subscribe to any PREMIUM services online for weather data either.

Some things about these late autumn storms, we are having lightning from them, something those Tropical storms that passed through earlier this season lacked entirely.

December is Here

Happy December! I find it funny to say that and then to say that today is warmer than the last day of November, so much so that on that day I wrote about how “chilly” things were.

All day yesterday I was chilly, so it was in the house. Last night it wasn’t so much as chilly, but not that noticeable, since I was SOOO very tired. At any rate I knew it might rain, and “felt it in my bones” or rather “in every bit of me” as I seem to be a total “human barometer” –plus I knew via the internet weather site I have on the side-bar here that it was supposed to rain maybe.

I awoke in the middle of the night, with the TV still on and right then it [DSS] started to brake-up, so I knew it was raining, and then I awoke more-so and heard it outside, then realised how “warm” it seemed to be. I was too warm in bed, acually, when the night before I was “cold” on night mostly, just warming up before morning enough to not feel chilled totally in my toes. Weird, yes, just the way it is for me.

So I got up and the bathroom was warm, just enough so to say “no shock” to do anything there πŸ˜‰ as it is when it’s COLD out. What a change it was, from mid-day that day to mid-night, totally opposite temps and airy things. No sunlight to warm the back of the house yesterday means that the front that came through had balmy air in it and it transformed the inside air to be nice and comfy — just a few notches up the temp scale is all the differents in the world, and the moisture helps too, of course.

But really it’s so talkable about since it’s that the house and me and the other family members were so chilly on Tuesday, last day of November and that night it became Spring again. This is so since we have NO A/C or Heat running at all for over a year. We have experience with nature out side as the “olden-days” folks did in their houses. I know others in the US live without A/C or Heat, but it’s just that this house, built in 1997, is not tight, like many modern houses are. It’s built crumby, IMO, and no air- system going makes that very apparent.

It’s the last month of the year. Just a few weeks until “Winter” is here on the calendar. Christmas is less than a month away, just 25 days and it’s here! And it’s Spring-y and it’ll be cold again, and then warm again, and just like the South as usual. Up and down, and then Spring and Summer again in full. Winter here is soft. It’s hard for a week at a time, or a day here and there. But balmy and nice most of the time.

Early and late growing seasons … with mild winters. Ice or Snow a few times on average makes it “just enough” for a nice Winter feeling. Then it’s time for Baseball Season and planting gardens. πŸ™‚

Happy December to y’all! We have it mild, others have it hot, others have it cold, wet, dry, icy, snowy, sunny, dark, cloudy … but we all live where it’s December πŸ˜‰

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