Friday, November 30, 2012

Some Cute to Start the Day

I thought I'd take a break from the house posts and show you a couple of pictures of Bella's little ones, the Bella Johnny-Bobs.

They turned either 11 or 12 days yesterday, and are really furred out, so I snapped a couple of shots while Bella was outside taking a "mommy break".  They haven't opened their eyes yet (as of yesterday), but I can see they are about to.  They are very funny and soft as silk.  They are also black as black can be. 

And they wiggle a lot. So I'm keeping my hand close by so no one falls down and gets hurt.

Currently I call them Bunny, Bunny, and Kickapoo, because the largest one (top in this bunch o' pics) wiggles like a loon when I touch him/her. It doesn't matter where.  Huge, gigantic wiggles that land him/her 2 feet from where he/she started.  He/she has also peed on my twice.  Silly bunny.  The other two are less wiggly.

Bella is doing very well, as you can see.  She's an excellent mama.  They are growing very well and she's stopped completely covering them, I assume because they have fur and she feels they don't need the cover as much.  It's amazing how she knows that, isn't it?  She and I seem to be friends, and she has allowed me to feed her from my hand for the last couple of days.  That's shocking in and of itself.  She does not get upset when I touch her babies, unless she thinks I've touched them too much (ie; they grunt like little pigs).  Then I back off and she feels better.  I think we are making some great progress.  She is a sweet girl.

Have a great day, everyone! 

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

I Am My Home, My Home is Me

We have owned three houses.  That's not bragging, that's just fact.  I'm not proud of that fact, but it's there, nonetheless. 

Two of the houses I loved (this is one).  One, which everyone else loved, I didn't like at all.  No matter, though, because in each, I have left my mark.  I am not the type of person to live in a house just to sleep and eat and watch TV.  I will always change something somehow to suit what I like.  I don't know if this is because I'm such a homebody (and I really, really am), or if I just like to change things up.  I think it's probably more of the former, though.  I spend a lot of time in my house (and a LOT of time in my "yard") and I like it to be pretty to me.  So I change it.

In our first house, which I loved for itself, I stripped wallpaper, painted rooms, redid a bathroom, completely gutted a kitchen.  That house will always be special to me because my children were born while I lived there.  It was their first home.  It was the first home my husband and I owned.  We left because the house was on Long Island, and we couldn't deal with the people and their attitudes and living on top of one another, and so off we went to "upstate" New York instead.  The home we eventually bought I didn't like, but everyone else loved.  It was big and had a room or two extra and was set back in the 70s.  So I painted and redid a bathroom, stripped wallpaper, and renovated a kitchen.  It was a showpiece when I was done, even though I didn't finish.  We moved because my husband lost his job and we had to sell.  The ensuing mess that came from that and jerking my daughter out of school was a disaster I wouldn't wish on anyone.  But a year or so later we came home.

And here we are.  This house is the smallest we've ever owned, with the largest property.  I love this house.  I love this house.  I can't say it enough.  This house waited for us to be able to buy it, because when we saw it initially we couldn't afford it.  Months later, my husband had a better paying job, and the price on the house had dropped.  We knew it was waiting for us, as we were waiting for it.  We came back to see it again, and I didn't even have to go into the house.  I already knew it.  I stood in the back and listened to the stream and cried.  I was home.  I did eventually go into the house to look, but it was just to make our realtor happy.  I remembered every nook and cranny.  It was my house already.

We've been here 2 years.  I have painted bedrooms and a living room and a kitchen.  I have moved in, heart and soul.  But building a homestead means that most of the work is done out of doors, so I've been out of doors.  The outside is so different from what it was now.  It has a purpose, and I find that comforting.  The inside of the house is also very different, but some rooms haven't been changed because I just haven't had the time. 

Luckily, it's really cold out, so now I do.

This past week I've been working on the kitchen.  It truly is the heart of our home, save for the living room where we all sit together.  The kitchen is where I cook for my family, preserve food from our garden, correct homework, eat meals, come in from the outside.  There's truly nothing wrong with the kitchen, it's just not me.  But it will be!

This is my kitchen, as it was.

Actually, there is usually a lot of decoration on the top of the cabinets--beautiful old jars and chickens (of course) and whatnot, but I cleaned that all up.  Note that I didn't clean the countertop, though.  I wouldn't want you to think I didn't use this room!!

It's little, but the house is little, so it fits right in.  The appliances have all been replaced, because they've all died, one after another.  They used to be black, too, so that was really dark.

All I've done in here so far is to a) change appliances, b) paint the walls a nicer (to my eye) green, and c) paint and trim out the pantry door.  But then again, I've painted all the trim in the house, so that's why.

The cabinets are wood, as is the whole house.  The whole house was done with stained wood trim and doors.  Beautiful, gorgeous, but dark.  I hemmed and hawed about it because it was all so nice, but decided at last to paint it all.  Yes, I felt bad painting over the $100+ stained pine doors, but in the end, it is so much brighter in here, it's worth it. 

That left the cabinets.  They are really nice cabinets.  Wood, solid, beautiful.  And dark, dark, dark.  Changing out the appliances helped to lighten the kitchen a little, but the house is so small, it really needs a boost to help keep it bright. 

But again, they are really nice cabinets.  The people who built the house spent a good deal of money on them, and I know that.  So I've really been hemming and hawing about it, but I finally took the plunge.


Naked cabinets!  Woo woo!




Above is where I left it yesterday.  The frames are completely painted out, and the doors are being painted today.  It is already 400x brighter in here, and 1000x more me. 

There will be a tin backsplash put in, a shelf added in a space under the counter, and then I'll trim out under the counters and cabinets.  Fiddly trim work is my favorite thing to do.  I hate building, but I love detail work, so I'm going to unleash my fiddly detail work genes to do their thing here. 

One fiddly detail has already been put into place, but that's because it had to be:

The rest will come along as I go. 

So there it is.  I am moving into the kitchen at last.  And yep, I'm super thrilled with it already.

Stay tuned for many more pictures to come.  I'm off to paint some doors!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hey Presto

If you've ever seen either Edwardian Farm or Victorian Farm, you're familiar with that expression.  It's the one Ruth uses when she describes something crazy complicated/time consuming and the result.  Kind of like "So, to make bread, you'd grow the wheat for 6 months, harvest and thresh it, grind it by hand and then milk the cow, gather the eggs, put it all together, let it rise and bake and hey presto!  You have bread".

Kind of like that.

It's an awesome expression, and cracks me up.

(I also love "Flippin' A", but that's not appropriate for this post.) 


On Sunday, I put on some Christmas music, because I refuse to listen to the "new classics" the radio station up here puts on.  No, Train did not make a fantastic Christmas album, and no, I don't want to hear it, thank you very much.  As far as I'm concerned, some people shouldn't sing Christmas songs.  They are:

1.  Rappers/Hip Hop "Artists"
2.  Adele (because she doesn't sing, she howwlllssss--and you can be mad at me for that if you want)
3.  Bruce Springstein
4.  Chicago
5.  Anyone "disco"
6.  Anyone with a current album out right now

I'm aware that narrows the field a lot.  I'm a sucker for the classics.  Give me Bing, Rosemary Clooney, some choral something or other.  Mariah Carey?  Not so much.

But I digress.

I put on some Christmas music and took down the Thanksgiving decorations:
note the chickenage

more chickenage

And hey presto!  Put up the Christmas decorations.

And it took me all day long, because I have too many Christmas decorations.

But it looks nice.

And I listened to Bing and Rosemary and some choral stuff and was very very happy.

The end.

Mele Kalikimaka everyone!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

This Seems Familiar....

There seem to be ducks in the house again.

I wonder if they get in through a crack in the foundation? 

Seems odd to have a duck infestation this time of year, don't you think?

I should probably call some pest control company or other.  Nip this problem in the bud. 

Oh hells!  They've gotten into the bathtub!  This is serious. I'll call someone.  It's obvious the duck repellant I put down in the spring is no longer doing it's job.

Wait...  let me see if I can get a cat to take care of it.  That's why they're here, right?

Thor doing his best impersonation of a rug
Um, that would be a "no".  Guess I'll have to take care of it myself.  Last thing I want is for this to get out of hand, right?  And you know ducks.  Where there's one, there's six. 

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Thursday, November 22, 2012


Normal routine for this morning.  Get the feed, let everyone out.  Enjoy the chaos that ensues.



The world is brown and grey again, but it's still so colorful.

I sometimes think that I should have named our home "Abundance Acres".

Because we don't have much, but we still have a whole lot.
Dulci deciding whether or not there's a better breakfast to be had somewhere else.  Maybe she'd like pancakes?

Lilly and Min are not that picky.  They dash to the feed troughs and plant their faces right in.
And yes, I count my blessings.  Today and every day.

Chickens bust into the goose pen
And there's none of this,
But a whole lot of this.
Yep, she's keeping two. 
We are blessed, indeed.
Many blessings to all of you this Thanksgiving Day.  May you spend the day with family and friends and not on some line somewhere.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spring Already???

If you didn't notice the temperatures, or the lack of leaves on the trees, or the frozen water all around, you might think it's spring here.


We seem to have babies.

Not only do we have Bella's babies (not necessarily springtime littles, I know),

Little 3 day old baby kit.  They complain a lot now if they are disturbed.  Grunt grunt!

Safe in their warm nest.

Mama watches wearily
 No, I don't take them out and touch them every day.  I don't like to bother them too much.  I do, however, peek in the nest once a day to make sure they are all fed and warm (and alive).  Then I cover them back up.  Mama watches me but seems to know I mean no harm.  Bella and I have an odd relationship, and winning her trust at all has been hard.  Me looking at her babies is a true test, and maybe because she's accepted it so far, it means we're sort of friends.  I have always been gentle with her, and I'd like to think she understands that somehow.  It's hard to say, though, so I don't push it.
I took a picture today to do a comparison of their growth.  The pictures are bad, but I can see that mama is feeding them very well.  They are very chubby, and though you can't tell here, they are getting fuzzier.  They are blacker this morning than before. 
Today:  A three day old fat sausage link with ears

Then:  A little chubby sausage link with ears
That's pretty exciting, as the baby front goes.  But then yesterday I got a bit of a surprise.  To backtrack a little here:  Ginger is an American Buff goose who was injured a few months after moving here.  A dog got her, and as a result, she can't lift one wing anymore.  It no longer bothers her, and Ginger and I have a special relationship, so I don't care.  She can manage just fine with it, but since she was injured and Ferdi went insane and went to live elsewhere, she is shunned by the rest of the gaggle.  Therefore, she has her own house, which she lived in alone until she hatched two eggs this spring, and since that day, she has insisted that her babies live with her.  So there have been three in her little house, which can accomodate them well.

And then....

I let all the noisy ones out yesterday morning, and all three came out of Ginger's house as they normally do.  But in the midst of the din, I heard "peep peep peep", from Ginger's house.  Hmmmmm....

Turns out Ginger's girl (Ginger hatched a girl and boy in the spring--both ducks) has been sitting on a clutch of 11 eggs.  Yes, 11.  And there were six hatchlings in there yesterday.  There are 8 today, with another pip I expect to hatch later today.  And two more eggs to go, which are about ready.

Holy crap.

How did I not know?  Mama duck looks like this:

which is to say, exactly like 3 other ducks that live here.  Anyone who owns ducks in a larger number knows that they don't hang out all together, they have "cliques", and they never hang out in one spot all day either.  So I don't bother counting them at all, I check them by color.  Grey duck?  Check.  I move on.   Most live in one house, two live with Ginger.  They come out in the morning to eat, and then I don't bother with them until I lock them in at night.  Whoever shows up gets locked safely away.  There are 20 of them, and they are skitsy, so they are too hard to track.  So yep, she snuck it past me.  Sneaky little devil.

These are the little blessings, as of this morning.

The nest was WAY back in the dark corner of the house, completely covered.  I never even saw it.

Three eggs left; all viable. 

The nice thing?  Only two look like Charles so far.  That's better than last time.

Charles spawn
We can't keep them.  It would be 31 ducks, and that's more duckage than I'm prepared to keep or house or feed.  So off they will go.  If you know anyone who'd like some duck-mutts, let me know!  Buy 1, get 10 free!  What a bargain.

And that's all the news here that's fit to print.  Until next time, friends, I will be swimming in ducks.

Take care!

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