Thursday, September 30, 2010

Inquiring Minds - Part III

Good Morning!
Are you ready for installment three of 'everything you always wanted to know about the Coop Keeper and now wish you hadn't asked!?'

I'm runnin' around like a fool chicken with it's head cut off today.  A very busy weekend is coming up - company coming and going, us coming and going and a possible frost.  Amen.
Let me just add here how I would love to have all of your links on your names, and I would love to have photos for each answer, but absolutely no time for that.  I'm sorry.

Last night with the boy was wonderful and I only mentioned his homework four times last night and three times this morning.  Good gosh - it's so hard.  He's doing well, but seems to think that he can just get 'caught up' on his homework.  I have to let him face the consequences of his decisions I suppose.

I caught a glimpse-a premonition - if you will of the child yesterday.
As he was disembarking my 1995 Jeep, with his camera bag, overnight bag, and book bag - talking up a storm, talking about art school and photography courses - darn it if the boy didn't look like a man.  For a moment it felt as if he were a man, coming home from New York for a weekend visit - telling me all that was going on his life - and for just a flash, I had this warm blankety kind of feel going over me like - 'He's gonna be fine Jayme, relax'
I'm trying to hold that with me.

OK!  Here we go.  I have to tell ya'll (yes Lindy, I so know that I spell it wrong, and it's hard for me, and spellchecker catches it every time, but you see - I MUST spell it that way.  It's in support of a dear rebellious friend  - I'll say no more)

I want to tell you that your comments yesterday inspired a spontaneous song burst.  I hope that later today I can capture it on video for you.  Aaron left his camera bag here!  I still have to get mine from the Flower Patch Farm Girl.  It be up on her counter, and me here hankerin' for a picture taker.
Ya'll make me so happy.

OK - really - here we go.

Question #21
Mandy asks:
I'll ditto a previous question: Fav book and movie? Says a lot about a person!

I didn't answer this yesterday, since it was a repeat question  - but I'll address it here again - about my favorite books - Law - it's a mess.  It seems to be what ever I'm reading at the time.  I go to the library every week and bring home more than I can carry.  Mainly - like 99% of books on gardening, cooking, homesteading, magazines about the same - and as you know, I've just begun to delve into the world of fiction.  Now, you do know that I read The Help this past summer, and Lord have mercy on my soul if it didn't turn into one of my favorite books of all time.  I read it up in one day.  Honest truth - I feel nervous when someone asks me 'What is your favorite book?' - makes me feel a little stupid - cause I don't know that I have one.  Intelligent, normal people can spout off a big list, and even say whom their favorite author is. 
I can't.

Question #22
Poppies asked:
Do you have siblings? What has been your favorite vacation?

Why, yes, I do have siblings.  I'm the youngest of four girls.  My sister Vivian lives in a group home in Missouri, she's mentally handicapped.  My sister Glenda lives in Chicago, she is 52, my sister Cindy (Aaron's mom) 50, lives here in town, and then there is me!  48.  I was supposed to be a boy - in fact my mom was so sure that she'd have a boy the fourth time around that she's picked out the name James.  Ergo - my name is Jayme.
My favorite vacation?  It would have to be the time we camped and scuba dove our way through the Florida Keys with two other couples.  We flew into Miami with all of our camping and diving gear, sans the tanks, and rented a car.  Ten days of camping and diving - one Key at a time.  Other than the whole sand issue, and sand flea issue that caused me to lose a day of the vacation due to a Benadryl coma - it was a blast.  I love to scuba dive - it's like being an astronaut under water.

Question #23
jamieb asks:
What's in your attic and what does it look like? can you take a picture out of the window we see in the picture?

Well, I have two attics I suppose.  I have this little door that leads to the area over the kitchen, the one story part of the house.  In that attic, that I have to crawl in, I have my holiday decorations.  One winter, when Aaron was about 4 we got locked in up there, and luckily I had a box of old magazines from the 1930's and we sat and read those until Glen got home and let us out.  It was a might chilly.
The attic that has that little window you see at the peak of the roof, why, it's a magical place.  I keep wishing I could do something with it.  You have to use a ladder to get up there through the upstairs bedroom.  That window is colored glass.  When I get my camera back from Shannan I'll try to remember to take a photo of the area.  Just cool to see the old timber, and the way the house was built.

Question #24
Anonymous asks:
When is your first book coming out? Seriously, you write so wonderfully you should really consider it.
On a more mundane note: How many laying chickens do you have? On average, how many eggs do you get a day?  Please keep blogging, you really have a gift for it.

I'm in negotiations with my publisher now -
 The title of the book 'The Drivel Heard 'Round the World'
I'm joking.
Thank you, seriously, it humbles me that you would say that.  Every time I log on, I'm shocked to see that someone is actually reading my blog - and I bet seven times a day I think to myself  'what in the world am I doing?' and think I should quit blogging.  This is like the Seinfeld of blogs - it's a blog - about nothing!  Thank you, really - thank you.
You know - I don't know how many hens I have - not many - let me think - 8. I have 8.  And one large rooster - and then there is the Banty Gang.  I can't keep track of how many I have - six or eight...I get anywhere from 3 to 7 eggs a day - it really varies on weather and other variables.  When I let them free range, I have to go on an Easter egg hunt.

Question # 25
Maddie Lumpkin (I adore that name!) asks:
Can I come and stay with you for a week? Will work for my keep.Just kidding.(not really !)

I'm preparing The Squirrel for your arrival.  You have no idea what you are getting yourself into.  Due to my severe ADD there are many started, and yet unfinished projects about the house and yard.  I hope you are good with a wheelbarra and fork.  I have gloves.  Lots of gloves - you'll need them.  Are you a good painter?  Do have an aversion to mustard and lifeless forms?  Fretteth notteth thyself - you shan't find any here - just lots of chicken poo, weeds, and half finished shenanigans.

Question #26
A blog by the "Farmer" asks:

Will you come visit me? My gardens are weeping for you. I promise not to let my horse bite you, my goats eat you, my farm cats climb up you, or my roof cave in on you. Oh never mind - you better not come visit me... it's a dangerous place here. So, then... let me ask another question.How are you doing, Jayme? Are you doing okay? Really, I've been worried.

Oh dear Farmer, now ya'll gone and have me in a position to divulge yet another phobia.  Horses.  Law, they scare the dickens out of me.  I like them from afar - I was thrown off one as a teenager, and almost bit in the face by a pony at the Fair.  I wouldn't mind a goat chewing on me, or cats climbing on me - I've even fallen through the roof of our garage whilst re-roofing it, so that wouldn't make me no never mind - but the horses - law, the horses - do I have to get up close?  I've got an Italian mob of chickens and an alcoholic duck - but a horse - well, a horse is just up to all sorts of devilment.
You ask how I'm doing - and aren't you a dear for doing so - I am 'ok'.  I'm just saying 'ok' cause I'm still mending from a broken heart over so much change, so soon in my life.  I know the Good Lord done just ripped the Band Aid off in an attempt to make it hurt more now and less later - but law, I am afraid He done pulled a little of the scab off.  My eyes well up often, and I'm in a very pensive mood more than not.  I'm seeing my own mortality a little too close up and personal.  It's like the world is in high definition right now - the beauty of it, and the ugliness of it.  The pendulum is swinging a little hard now - but I do know - soon, I'll be right as rain, and all the better for it.
I really appreciate you asking - and don't you worry chile - I'm gone be just fine.  Just fine.

Question #27
Jen asks:
How/when did you decide to start raising the "funny looking" chickens rather than just normal egg chickens? I love them, their quirky looks, and your posts about them! Oh, and your duck....she quacks me up!! Love your blog, it's great!!!!

Jen - thanks for the blog love!  I have funny looking chickens?  I shan't let them read this, it would hurt their feelings.  Oh, I'm just a sucker for the underdog I reckon.  I don't think I could own a turken - I don't know - it's just a bird only it's mother could love....I find all the silly chickens so entertaining, and comical.  I'm rather in love with the duck Maude - she's just so plump and cute and I even put up with her poo on the back porch.  I love imagining that they have these little lives out in my yard - whether it be drug trafficking, ordering hits on other chickens, drinking too much, gossipping, knitting, and my personal favorite - rolling out pie crusts with aprons on, I just get a big kick out of them. 
Yes.  I know.  I'm seeing a Dr. every Wednesday at 10am.  I'm on meds.

Question #28
Happy @ Home asks:
Oh, how fun. First let me say that you look just adorable in the photo and your home and garden are gorgeous. I read about your garden tour and would have loved to have been in attendance. I am always amazed by the amount of things you accomplish in a day. Are you just naturally energetic or do you have some secrets that you could pass along?

Please re-read the last line of my last answer. 
Meds baby.
No - I'm totally joking!  Seriously - I'm on no meds.  Really - I'm not. Seriously.
I think that if you spent a day with me, you'd see that I'm rather normal, and have a rather normal energy level.  I get really excited about things.  Like life, and love, and beauty, and chickens and pie crusts.  This excitement seems to fuel a drive in me - to accomplish, to do, to create.  Then I crash and burn, and I crash and burn hard.  Dare I say, I'm a little all or nothing?  Some call it Bi-Polar.  Some call it 'mad' - I call it genius.

Question #29
Anke asks:
First of all I LOVE your house! Every time I see a picture of it I just want to move right in. Your house and garden are just so beautiful! The question I have is: If you had the choice to do one thing over in your life, what would it be?

First, I just want to thank you Anke.  You were one of my very first commenters on the blog other than real life family and friends - and you are here!  Still reading.  Thank you.  I so appreciate it.
I'm going with my gut here.  My first knee jerk reaction to your question was that I would have seriously addressed my weight problem much earlier in my life - I would have hoped to have kept the weight off permanently.  I would not have dieted.  I would have done what I'm doing now.  It still saddens me that at times my life seems stunted by my memories of my weight issues.  Sad.  I'm slowly realizing that the truth of the matter is, that I would have still been the same person, inside, and would have still had the same life - even if I were a smaller size.  I would have just been more scantily clad.

Question #30
Aimee asks:
When are you going to invite "fake accent lady" for lunch at the Tastee Top, take gangsta photos with her, and blog the love!?! LOL!!! :)

Oh my, the prospect of this has me so tickled!  Truth be told - I do believe that the real Fake Accent Lady be a bit scary crazy.  Not fun crazy like me.  But the kind of 'boil your bunny' scary.  Law.  I shan't be asking her up to the TT anytime soon!  They done be changin' up their burger meat too - so I'm a bit anti - TT now.  I just go for the ice cream!

Question #31
Anonymous asks:
When you were in middle school (or high school) What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you can/freeze the veggies from your garden?  Do you make your own jams/jellies to go with your homemade breads?

Oh dear anonymous - you see, I never really knew for sure what I wanted to be when I grew up - hence - I am nothing - nothing 'official' or definable.  No one can say, 'You know - Jayme, Jayme the Dr. or Jayme the Pharmacist'  etc....they can say - 'you know - Jayme, that lady that just does whatever shenanigans she wants to..'.
I remember going through a phase where I longed to be an actress.  I used to practice my autograph.  My first job interview, at Continental Bank in Chicago - when I was a mere 16 years old, in my last year of high school, I told the HR person interviewing me that I wanted to be an actress, and pursue a career on the big screen.  I did not get that job.  My Office Education teacher, a well-dressed, soft spoken, very tall black woman, told me 'Honey, you need to go in there and tell them you want a career in banking if you want the job.'  My next interview there, I did, and I got the job - as a Foreign Exchange Trader Clerk.  It was my first 'real' job, data entry, on the 8th floor of the Continental Bank building in downtown Chicago.  16 years old.  Still in high school.  Law, I wouldn't let Aaron do something like that now.  Lord, how times have changed.  For a while I wanted to be a pharmacist, cause I loved the idea of counting pills, and wearing a lab coat -but then I found out you actually had to be smart, and good at chemistry and math.  Now I have aspirations to be a Barista.  Starbucks in Schererville is hiring.

Oh - you asked about veggies and jelly!  Yes, and yes.  I make a lot of jams, jellies and butters on a yearly basis.  I can and freeze some from the garden, nothing like I used to, and nothing like I plan on doing next year.

I'm sure you are exhausted by now - and so am I.  I think we are half way through.  Are you sure you want to go through with this!!?

Hope ya'll have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Inquiring Minds - Part II

One of my goals in life.  Amen.

Good afternoon!  Back from all my running, lunch with the neighbor and a Dr. appointment (that I was actually ten minutes late for!)
I have to leave in about 20 minutes to get the boy child from school - so here we go -

Question #11

Dianna said...

Did you (or Glenco) do all of the painting of your trim work on the house? I've studied it and studied it trying to figure out how I could do something cool like that on the outside of our house.

Yes Dianna - we did.  We've done all the work on the house, and don't ya know the trim needs painting again.  I just went to the paint store and picked up an exterior trim pamphlet and used that for inspiration.  These colors were all together as a 'theme'.  I'd like to introduce another color in mix, but I don't know how other than shutters, and I shan't be putting shutters up on the house, so I do it with flowers, and chairs.  Speaking of chairs - why in the sam hill do we decorate with chairs that we know no one will ever sit in?  Don't get me started.

Question #12

Debbie said:
No questions today...simply de-lurking to say hello. I recently discovered your blog ~ thoroughly enjoy it...and I really love your fabulous house with all the windows!

I know it's not a question, but I'm a answerin' it.  Thank you for delurking.  Thank you for leaving a comment.  I do read all the comments over and over - and I TRY to respond to you, either in email, or reading your blog.  It sounds so lame to say that I just don't have the time to do all that I'd like to do - but please know - they mean so much to me, and they bring so much joy to my life.  If you don't hear back from me - please don't hate.

Question #13

JolieAnn said:
I love your blog...your sense of humor, your beautiful home, your love of a child that I am sure is better for your love, and finally the wonderful recipes you share. I, too, wish you were my neighbor.
I live in Florida and I miss Fall /or the seasons. I plan to keep reading your blog, especially since I love chickens, bees, gardens and your photography is great!

Again, no comment - yet I want to respond.  What a lovely comment!  Law, you make me sound nice.  Thanks.  Ya'll want to be my neighbor, and there is an empty house sittin' right next door.

Question #14
Amy said:
Hi! I'm pretty new to your blog, but already just love it!
I'm curious about the history of your home. I see where you said it was built in 1869. Do you know any of it's history? Any neat stories about the previous owners, etc.?

To the best of my knowledge, we are the third or fourth family to own the home.  Now that I have some time on my hands, I would really like to research this more.  The couple that we bought the home from still live up the hill, and it was in her family for 80+ years.  About 20 years ago, I met an elderly lady that lived in the home as a child.  We do know that there was a barn here at one time.  *weeps*  I do know that the lady that lived here last was named Mrs. Tucker, and by all testimonies of her character she was a fine woman that loved children and kept goats.  If that's not proof of me needing a goat or two, I really don't know what it.  They were meant to be here.  I digress - Word on the street has it that Mrs. Tucker used to go to the neighbors and ask to bathe their children.  By all my 'psychic' abilities, if I have any - it seems to be a very happy house - no weird feelings in it - no weirdness - just goodness, and light.   Thanks for reminding me to dig into this some!

Question #15

Cindy of Cottage Instincts Fame asks:
What's with the mustard hate.

Law, I'm never gonna live this down am I?  I've never been a big fan of condiments.  As a child - I wouldn't eat anything 'loose'  - example - gravy, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressing, ketchup, etc.  I think I was in my thirties the first time I had salad dressing.  I kid you not.  I've never tasted ketchup straight up and out of the bottle.  Or mustard.  I recently succumbed to putting mayo on my sandwiches since it seemed silly that I would eat it in a macaroni salad and not on a sandwich.  If you stick around here, you will really find out what a deep well of dysfunction I am.
Mustard - still to this day, makes me feel weak when I see it.  God forbid I'd ever have it in my mouth.  I can cook with it - a little - I don't like a mustard flavor.  If I get it on my hand whilst cooking - I have to run to the sink and wash it off before I fall on the floor.  I have no idea why - it's most ridiculous.  I was this way with mayo and ketchup too, but I can calmly walk to the sink with those condiments.  Perhaps it's just that mustard looks so much like a diaper mess.  Amen.

Question #16

Deborah, of the Fairfield House fame just had to ask:
What's with the mannequin hate?

If you want to read the whole sordid story that divulged my phobia - read this.  I've oft wondered how I acquired a phobia of a lifeless form - and I can only trace it back to the fact that I had to sleep in the same room as a corpse when I was five.  In Tennessee, 1969, my grandfather was 'layed out' in the living room.  I had to sleep on the couch that night.  Traumatized?  Um, a little.  Lifeless forms freak me out now.

Question #17
Mary Elizabeth asks:

What makes you the happiest?

Law, another comment that will make me late picking up the boy child if I'm not careful. I did read this yesterday and I've been thinkin' and thinkin'.  Sadly enough - or maybe it's not so sad - but I'm the happiest when things are in order.  When things are done.  When my friends and family are happy.  Then I'm happy.  I love those fleeting moments when the yard is all good, the house is nice, I have clothes on and my hair is actually fixed, and I know that at that moment - all the people I love are happy, with no troubles or worries.
I'm not happy much.

Question # 18

Anonymous - aka my friend Rrrrrrhonda says:
Ooooo, I know alot of these! I feel so special, here's my question, who's your favorite Hispanic friends? Dont' get this wrong or we'll b spray painting the front of your house like it's a side of the train! lol Love you! Me

You really want to mess around with a gal that has a gang of Italian chickens?
I thought not.
Since you are my only hispanic friend, by default you are my favorite.
Would be that way even if I had more.
Please don't paint.

Question #19
Amy of Verde Farm asks:
Ok Jayme, if your house were on fire and all your animals were safely away and no humans were in danger, what one material object would you take with you and why?

Photo albums for sure - but I've always said I would snatch my Kitchen Aid mixer.  Now, I know I can get another one - but Glenco got me this one for Valentine's Day one year, and it was so unexpected that it's just very special to me.  When I first got it, I would just turn it on every time I passed it to listen to the motor.  Mortgage the house if you have to ya'll - just get one.

Question #20
Anonymous asks:
How do you keep your chickens out of your gardens during the day? How did you learn how to sew things like the awning you made for your camper?

I have my chickens in a large penned area.  One or two often 'escape'.  When the garden is at it's peak, I really don't want the chickens rummaging about.  The last month, since the garden looked so puny anyhow, I let them run amok.  And run amok they have.  Hostas eaten, holes dug - law, it's a mess.  I wouldn't suggest letting your chickens free range in the spring when the garden is first planted - or really at any time you want the garden to look nice.  They wreak havoc on it.  I'm not sure how I learned how to sew.  I just did it.  I used to make Barbie clothes when I was small, and it just seemed that sewing came naturally to me.  I could just look and something and mentally deconstruct it to duplicate it.  Not very well mind you, but passable.  When I saw the awnings online for $300 - I realized I'd never have one unless I made one.  It was easy peasy.  Mine cost $60 to make.

This may be the last installment today, as I'm leaving now to get the child.  I'm going to try so hard not to nag him, but to just love him, and enjoy his company.  I shall not ask about homework.  I shall not.  No.  I won't.  I won't give him the 'be nice to everyone' lecture one more time.  I won't remind him that the choices he makes today will affect him forever. I will bring him home and feed him Pasta alla Formagio and salad, and we shall sing, and talk in funny voices and look at chickens.  We'll snuggle and watch a movie.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know....

Lord have mercy, I had no idea I'd get so many questions, I thought like maybe 10.  Ya'll done cracked me up and made me smile my head in half.

Due to an unexpected hormonal fit last night which prompted me to strip down naked and sleep in a chair for the few precious hours of sleep I did receive, I'm going to answer 10 questions now, and try to take them in 10 question chunks a couple of times a a day until we're done, k?  Some of the questions I don't even know the answer to.  Some of the questions will require long, drawn out, drivel, rabbit-trailed types of answers.
I may or may not end every answer with Amen.  I'm just in an Amen type of mood lately.  Amen.  Not to be confused with Ah-men.  Amen is more Midwestern, more nasally, and I'm liking that right now - perhaps cause I'm Midwestern and nasally due to allergies.  I say Amen, you say Ah-men, I say Ramen, you say Rah-men, Amen, Ahmen, Ramen, Rahmen, let's call the whole thing off.

Yes,  I'm singing.  I love singing - but then you didn't ask me if I did, but now you know, and you don't need to ask it.  I sing often, loudly, and in many genres.

OK - here we go. 

Question #1 -
Deborah from the Fairfield House asks:
How did you meet Glenco?

I met him in church, in 1982.  He was a guitar player in a 'Christian rock band'.  I thought he was an old, weird hippie.  Six months later, we walked down the aisle in the very same church.  Amen.

Question #2
Kent Island Red asks:
How long have you lived in that GORGEOUS house, and do you do all your yard work/gardening yourself or do you have help? (ie., a landscaping service)

I have lived here for 22 years.  Have you seen the whole post I did on the house?  Click on over to the labels and check it out.  I have done all the gardens myself. I became a Master Gardener in 1995, mainly because I was very interested in vegetable gardens.  In 1998, an Avon lady came to the door, and upon my answering of said door, replies "Oh, I didn't know if a woman lived here or not"  Game on.  I started planting flowers - completely wrong, in small beds right up next to the house.  It was in 2003 that I put in the beds that you see on the blog now. If you could see them at this moment, you would be convinced that I do the work myself.  They shine for a few months, but then they quickly decline.  I get discouraged and then we have a frost. Amen.

Question #3
Snappy Di asks:
Is that photo taken in front of your house, and if so, did you put all those rocks there? OR, are you standing in front of someone else's house just to make it appear that you put those rocks there.. LOL
Oh yes indeed, that is my house, and that is me with the farmer's tan and the fake accent lady hat, and those be my rocks.  95% of them came from the farm fields around the house, carried by yours truly in a five gallon bucket back to the 'job site'.  Glenco helped a lot too.  It was tedious, hard work, but I just love the look of it, and I like knowing it was local stone.  I did buy a pickup truck load of stone for the back gardens, just to get it finished off quicker.  I still hunt for stones in the spring.

Question #4
Patty Patterson asks:
Can I get a start of your shasta daiseys and brown eyed susans? They're beautiful!

Just kidding... I know you'd share if I lived close by, but I don't.. so I'll just have by my own. And really... I'm content not to know EVERYTHING!

If you were local I would say sure! Wait - were you the lady that stopped by wanting to buy pumpkins?  Spill it.

Question #5
marytylermotorhead asks:
Are you a fan of goat cheese?
A very timely question!  A few days ago I would have said no, but on Monday, I ate the most delicious concoction inspired by God.  Fried Green Tomato stacks with Goat Teet Cheese and Tomatillo Sauce.
Now, it's still hard for me to get past the fact that the goat cheese has in fact come from a goat teet.  I'm still processing that image and I don't like it.  Luckily, this goat cheese was mixed with a lot of cream cheese, thereby diluting the image of the goat. 

Question #6
Jemm asks:
What's your favorite book? What's your favorite movie?  How long have you and Glenco been married? Where are you from originally?

Technically four questions, but I'll answer them as one.
I'm originally from Chicago.  Born and bred.  I've been married (doing mental math now-) going on 28 years.  How did this happen?  I barely feel 28 years old - well, unless I'm nude in a chair having a hot flash - then I feel rather old.
My favorite movie?  I'm just going with my gut on here - I have three - It's a Wonderful Life, Moonstruck and Shawshank Redemption.  For me I rate movies by how much I want to see them again - and most movies don't make the cut.  I just can't watch many movies more than once or twice.  It's a Wonderful Life - I do just watch during the holidays, but it just evokes such wonderful emotions.  Emotions of what's important in life - the fact that you can take a ramshambly old house and make a home out of it, proving that dreams do come true, and the fact that riches are indeed in your friends and family.  Moonstruck - landsakes, that movie is awesome.  I have seen it at least 15 times.  I can almost quote it word for word.
The jury is still out on my favorite book.  I haven't read enough fiction to give a good answer for that - I tend to read all 'how to' books for the most part.  One book that does prick my mind now is 'A Short Guide to a Happy Life' by Anna Quindlen.  It's a short little read and it just makes my heart smile - again, great reminders about what's important in life.

Question #7
Mama Hen asks:
Will you move to AL and be my neighbor? How did you meet Glenco and what is your favorite thing about him? If you could go one place in the world for one month, where would it be?

Alabama huh?  Well, from what I hear it's awfully hot down there.  Are there poisonous snakes?  I would like to be your neighbor - but I'm feared of snakes that can kill.  I've already answered the where of Glenco - so what do I like about him best?  Hmmm....I think it would be his steadfastness.  He's just always the same temperament.  I can't imagine living with a volatile personality.  He puts up with my shenanigans and oftentimes helps me with them. If I could go anywhere for a month - I think I would like to go to on a whirlwind Coop Keeper Tour and meet all ya'll.

Question #8
Carissa asks:
Hi Jayme, First of all your home is beautiful!!! Do you happen to sell your chicken eggs??
Thanks!  No, I do not sell my eggs.  I give them away to friends.  I don't sell them because I don't feel that I get enough to make it worth while.  I wouldn't want the interruption to my day with a sign in front of the house.  So - nope, not selling them right now.

Question #9
Goat Girl asks:
I want to know how in the heck do you keep your house so clean and your yard work done?!
Oh dear, I had to wipe the tears of laughter out of my eyes on that one.
My house is clean-ish.  My yard is done-ish.
I follow a regime - I talked about it this winter - under Frugalicious Domesticity.
I have a personality disorder.  That's how I do it.  I'm obsessive and compulsive, and I can't rest in a mess.  Now, that's not saying that if I came to your house I would be all up in your business - I'm so not like that - it's just at my house.  I can't rest in a mess.  So if you are normal - and not diagnosable - I really don't have much wisdom for you.  I just follow my routine to the best I can, and the house stays in order - for the most part.  My yard is a mess right now - and ergo, I'm up sleeping in chairs in the nude.  I rest my case.  Amen.

Question #10
Vintage Girl at Heart asks:

Hmmm now for some questions??!! A few were asked above did you decide to keep bees?? Did you research it?? My daughter dreams of doing that one day and we are fascinated by it!!
       How is the The Polish GF doing??? If you could do one thing what would it be and why??? Career?? Trip?? Bungee jUmping?? You are so much fun!! Wish I lived in your neck of the woods!
Oh dear, this is a doozy.  I may be late for my annual "Blessing of the Crotch" appointment if I answer it - but here goes.  I just up and got bees. I don't research anything, cause I have ADD.  Plus, if I did research things, I would convince myself that it was a bad idea.  I'm a firm believer in putting the cart before the horse.
Law girl - I put the Godfather back out in the coop yesterday, and just now reading this question, I realized I didn't notice him this morning.  I'll have to go out in a minute and check.  His cold seems much better.  Thanks for asking!  If I could do one thing?  The first thing that comes to my mind is relax.  If I could just learn to flippin' relax.  I think it would feel nice to sit down and not have anything on your mind, or just feel that there wasn't anything more important to do than just to sit there and sip iced tea.  Another thing that comes to mind is to travel the world.  I'd love to pack a suitcase (full of anxiety meds) and travel the world.  So many places I'd love to see. I'd also like to complete a 100 mile bike ride, or a marathon. 
Ok!  Ten more questions to follow later today.  I get the boy child today!  Yay!  I have a bunch of runnin' about town to do as well - so please don't check back anytime too soon....
Ya'll have a good day!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ask The Coop Keeper

I can't imagine you not knowing something about me.
You already know too much.

But, I just thought that just maybe there was a burning question that you'd love to have answered.

Ask away.
I will answer.

You can ask in the comments, or send me an email.
All questions will be answered here tomorrow.

Ok, please ask me somethin' - I'll be feelin' a fool if you don't!

(6:15pm CST amendment - please don't stop asking questions cause you feel like I already have nearly 50 - I'm LOVING this!  You are asking great questions and I can't wait to answer them!  Thank you!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

This Ain't Yo Momma's Mac and Cheese

Well, technically - it is.
It's from Betty Crocker.
Aren't you frustrated now?
I made you wait weeks for a flippin' Betty Crocker recipe!

Without further adieu - I shall put the recipe on the bottom of this post.
Don't even think about making it with anything other than Velveeta.
I've made so many fancy mac and cheese recipes - you know, the kind that cost you $20 in cheese alone?
I always come back to this - it's Mom's Mac and Cheese.
It's home.
It's me being 12 again.

In other Coop News:
A young chicken - one of Phyllis's spawn-  was found headless in the coop last night about 7pm.
A fox is suspected.
Stay tuned.

The Italian Polish Godfather Chicken is ailing and is up in my kitchen as I type, recuperating from a cold.
Yesterday I thought he was a goner - today, I have hope.
Thank the Lord for antibiotics!
I've read that these Polish birds aren't very hardy.

 Fake Accent Lady was spotted at a yard sale this past Thursday.
I began to speak to her, when I looked up and realized it was - her.
I made a quick exit before things got out of hand.
I'm finding out that a few of you thought she was a made up character. 
Au contrare - she be real!

A woman stopped by my house today wanting to buy pumpkins.
That's odd - I don't sell pumpkins!
Have I over decorated for fall!?
I don't think so.
It's just so odd - so odd!

I didn't get up til 4pm today.
Feeling quite under the weather.
Had my 'morning coffee' at 5pm.
Heading to bed as soon as I hit 'publish post'.
Thought I had the flu, but come to do some Googlin' about, it could just be allergies from the soybean harvesting going on around me.

Aaron and sis came by for a visit tonight.
He wants to spend the night once a week with me.
Thank you for all of your kind, heartfelt comments on the last post.
You guys made me cry all over again.
This kid - that is so the life of me - is going to be the death of me.

Before I start thinking about it, and bawling - here's the mac and cheese recipe.
I sure hope ya'll think it was worth the wait.
It tastes just like I remember dear old mom making it.

Macaroni and Cheese
1 cup dried elbow macaroni
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 T butter
1 T flour
Dash pepper
1 1/4 cup milk
6 oz Velveeta
Optional - bread crumbs, tomato slices, bacon crumbles

Cook macaroni according to package directions.  Drain well.  Set aside.

Cook onion in butter until tender, but not brown.  Stir in flour and pepper.  Add milk all at once.  Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Add cheese, stirring until melted.  Stir in cooked macaroni.

Transfer to a one quart casserole dish.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until bubbly.
Top with tomato, bacon and bread crumbs if desired.
Bake an additional 5 minutes.
Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Get a cozy blanket, a good book, or your favorite TV show.
Prepare your favorite chair.
Serve in your favorite bowl.
Sit in your favorite chair,with your favorite bowl, with your favorite show or book.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Story of Aaron

I'm not sure why I'm torturing myself this way, but I decided to tell you the story of Aaron today.  Aaron was born to my sister on 12.19.1995.  I have to be completely honest with you - I wasn't excited about it.  At that particular time in my life, I was working full-time, a good job, and taking care of my elderly, ill parents, and trying to make a home out of this old farmhouse.  I felt my life full enough.  At the time, my sister was living with us, and making a lot of life choices I wasn't in agreement with.  It was a difficult time.  She'd just been divorced and was living it up, so to speak.  Who's not to say I wouldn't have done the same thing - I'm not judging in anyway.

When she came home with the news that she was pregnant, I was in denial and wouldn't believe it until I went to the Dr. with her and heard the results for myself.  Good God Almighty.  She was really pregnant.  All my mind and heart could think of was that I was now adding my sister and her unborn child to my 'to do list'.  Nice, huh?

I tried talking her into giving the baby up for adoption, telling her she was in no frame of mind to be raising a child.  I even searched out adoption agencies and places she could go the last trimester of her pregnancy and meet the adoptive parents. 

I'm not sure when my heart changed, but change it did, and within three months, our whole family was anxiously awaiting the birth of this child.  Anxious in many ways - and let me tell you - cause I have to be honest.  I'm sure ya'll know that Aaron is bi-racial.  We live in a very 'racially non-diverse' area.  My parents are from The South.  The Old South.  Need I say more?  We waited until mom was in the hospital, like she was every month or two from emphysema, before we would tell her the news.  We figured it would put her IN the hospital to hear it, so we'd just wait til she was already there.  We were all very anxious to see what he would look like.  I am embarrassed NOW to say this - but I just again, have to be gut honest - we hoped he wouldn't look 'too black'.  Isn't that just the most awful thing you've ever read?  My stars - after he was born, it wouldn't have mattered if he were green, or blue, or purple.  I'm so ashamed of myself for ever feeling that way.

My sister was in labor for 36 hours before they finally did a C-section.  Now ya'll, I have other nieces and nephews, and I love them dearly - I do - but this - I wasn't prepared for this.  The first time I saw Aaron - I fell to my knees and started crying.  I hate to sound like a lunatic, but it's true.  I did.  Something tore my insides out.  I was flat out in love.  My sister still swears she was just the surrogate mother.  I told my Busy Bee girls today in a morning email that Aaron was the balm that soothed my barren womb, and now that he's not here it feels all chapped and dry.

Whilst being pregnant, my sister found a nice little apartment and moved.  She completely turned her life around, and can I just say, she has been the most responsible, straight up mother around.  That child was the best thing that ever happened to her. 

She stayed home with him for two years, and then one day, she came to me saying she just couldn't be a welfare mom any longer, and needed to get to work.  We were trying to pool our minds and money together to pay for child care.  Seeing that I had a husband and a source of income, I asked Glenco if I could indeed quit my job and take care of Aaron so that my sister could go out and work.  He agreed, and so I became a full-time babysitter, parent sitter, and soon after that - sister sitter for my eldest, mentally challenged sister.  It was at that time that I re-started my country priimitives business and began sewing primitive curtain valances.  I was making them by the hundreds and let me just tell you - life was busy.

I know my sister feels that she's missed alot being a single working mother - but I hope that I've helped in some way - giving her the peace of mind that Aaron was being cared for by family.  I'm sure I did.  I was the one that picked up Aaron after school - tended him on his sick days, watched him during summer break.  Homeschooled him the last two years.  After my parents passed on, I got a job working nights and weekends so that I could be with Aaron during the days.  Two years ago I took a part time day job so that I could actually see Glenco once in a while!  That first year was probably the toughest year yet - trying to work and homeschool.  Not a good idea - after losing my job last year (bestthingthateverhappened) it was much easier.

Fast forward to today.

I sit here now - at noon o'clock up in the day.  I can hear the clock ticking, my ears ringing, the wind blowing, the ice falling - I'm alone.  No one to 'take care' of but meself.  I'm so not used to this.  Since I was 20 years old life was always about someone else.  Someone else's needs over my own.  Someone elses agenda.  Now - today, it's my choice.  My decision on how the day is spent.  It feels as uncomfortable as underwear to me - bunching up around my soul - going into places that aren't too comfortable.  Smothering.  I used to have Aaron about 11 hours a day - sis would drop him off at 7:30 in the am, and he'd be here til about 6:30pm or so, after we'd all had supper together and visited with my sis abit.  I see Aaron about three hours a week now.  I know!  I'm dyin' ova here!  I wish I would have had more of a notice.  I wish we could have done one more science experiment, read one more book together - golly, how I miss the laughter, and the singing - and the funny voices.

I find myself feeling horribly guilty at times.  I feel so self absorbed while I spend time at the library, peruse the garden center and plan lunches with friends.  It's so self-indulgent.  I lie in bed at night and decide I'll do things like this:

Finally answer all my emails.
Become a hospice volunteer.
Become a triathlete.
Start a business.
Be a bum.
Plant an heirloom apple orchard.
Go back to school.
Start a daycare.
Learn a new language.
Hike the Applachian Trail.
And on and on and on. 

The reality is that I have a list of things to do so long that I shan't ever finish it.  Big plans for finally doing things around the house that need doing.  I'm awfully scattered at the moment, but friends assure me that it's normal.

Aaron is doing very well in highschool.  He is absolutely loving it.  I'm so excited for him.  I'm so excited that it was his decision to go, and that he is adjusting so well.  I'm glad to see the wings of his independence are working so well for him, and even though I feel the sting of the wind from them - I hope that I had a small part in helping those wings develop.  Even though in some creepy old Aunt way - I want him to stay here and need me forever, I know that this is truth, and right, and life moving in a healthy direction.  I don't know if he'll come back to homeschooling next year - or ever.  It's been so hard to let go.  It's been so hard to find my alone legs.  It's been hard.  Every morning I wake up with a little less sadness and a little more excitement of the days ahead.  It was just all so sudden, this change.  I find myself crying alot - like now - as I type this.  They are bittersweet tears.  Tears of longing for the time when he needed me - tears of knowing he always will - but in a different way.  Tears of life passing by much too quickly - tears of excitement over the things to come. 

Life is so incredibly beautiful - and my prayer and hope for all reading today's post is that you will take the time to see it - to feel it - to let it sink deep in your heart and mind.  

And to realize that a happy life is made of small moments, that seem insignificant at times - a look, a laugh, sharing a dream, eating something delicious.

Life is much better shared, I find.
Open your heart today my friends.
And share yours.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

this is why I blog.....

The Dented Can in Wakarusa, Indiana

I'm sitting here watching the blinking cursor.  It's indicative in many ways of the way I'm feeling right now.  Feeling like life is an empty document - waiting to be filled with the words and paragraphs of my new life.

But that's not what tonight's blog is about.  Tonight's blog is about three of the most genuine, funny, talented, tough and tender hearted gals I've ever had the pleasure to keep company with.  It's going to be downright impossible to put my thoughts into any type of cohesive form - but we'll give it a go.

My pictures are all willy nilly and mixed up (much like my heart right now - but again - this isn't my whiny post about life's recent changes - you will have the pleasure of that drivel soon!)

Shannan of Flower Patch Farmgirl fame pulled into my driveway in early July of 2010 and pulled into my life and heart forever.  We'd been commenting back and forth on each other's blogs for about a year, and then started emailing, and the rest is history.  Going to her house felt like going home.  Visiting kinfolk.  She's just a seed spit away from me, and for this - I'm gladder than glad.  I'll be back there soon!  Cory is an absolute dream.  What a wonderful father.  It don't get no betta.  It was all I could do not to steal all of her children.  Calvin and Ruby entertained me to the moon and back.  Law have mercy - I could talk and sing with those kids forever.  Silas is even more beautiful in person than his photos let on. 
Her home is full of life and love.  She is who you think she is - and that my friends, is saying a lot.
Sign at the Flea Market in Springfield, Ohio

It was through Shannan's blog that I found sweet Jen of The Cottage Nest.  I won a giveaway on her blog with my first comment.  It was an instant connection between the two of us.  After meeting her in person, I know why.  She makes my teeth hurt - she's so sweet - and she's funny with a great wit about her.  I keep mentioning how beautiful she is too - it's the kind of beauty that is coming up from out of the well of her spirit.  Hearing her talk to her husband on the phone was so precious - you could just feel the love.
She's also a seed spit away, and we already have plans for an immediate visit.  I'll stroll The Village with her, and eat cupcakes and ride scooters.  We'll laugh and hug and share life stories.

Tag on Busy Bee Society Gifts
 It was through Jen that I found Teresa of Meadowbrook Farm fame.  I'm sure you had the same reaction to her blog as I did .  Her home is magazine worthy, her photography - life changing.  I didn't get to spend too much one on one time with her this trip - she stayed with Shannan and Jen since they are closer to one another and I'm a bit too far north to have made it work - but let me tell you this.  Teresa is the real McCoy.  There was such a clarity to her spirit.  I got the idea that she was a no nonsense kind of gal that could do anything she would set her mind on.  The kind of girl that would give good solid advice.  The kind of girl you could always count on.  She has some of the prettiest hair I ever did see, and I adored her clothes. Next time she's in the hood, she's stayin' here, up in the Squirrel.  I'm going to take her to the big city and to the National Lakeshore.  Can't. Wait.

Playing a prank on Teresa of Meadowbrook Farm
Over the past year - the four of us have become good friends via the Internet.  We've formed what we call the Busy Bee Society.  We chat back and forth, and support each other, and I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this group.  We are all in different stages of our lives, all so different, yet when blended together, we form a force to be reckoned with.
My Sweet Rubies
 If you would have told me when I started this blog - that I would be driving off one day to hang out with women I'd met up on the Internet - I wouldn't have believed you. 

Flower Patch Farmgirl Lane
 If you would have told me, when I posted that first post of my goofy Easter desserts that I felt the world needed to see - that my world would be changed by the kindness of strangers - leaving comments - supporting me - making me laugh - encouraging me - teaching me - I wouldn't have believed you.

Beautiful Jen of The Cottage Nest
If you would have told me that I'd be up in a hotel room making french toast, and sleeping at the Flower Patch Farmgirl's house - meeting a blogger from Montana - and loving every minute of it - I wouldn't have believed you.
My Dented Can Stash
 It's these beautiful recent turn of events that give me so much hope for the future.  So much hope for the things yet unknown, people yet unmet, places yet unvisited. 

Enjoy the rest of the photos - cause I'm just too filled up inside to type anymore.  To Shabby, Atresha and JenJen - thank you from the bottom of my bottomless heart for making room in your hearts for me.  I feel a lifetime friendship evolving with ya'll.  May we all end up at the same nursing home foreva!

To all of you wonderful gals out there that I haven't met yet - thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your comments.  They mean the world to me.  You mean the world to me.  This is why I blog -

Flea Market Shopping

Fabulous Old House Detail

Bread to pretty to eat

No caption needed!

Gifts I made for the gals

A sight you rarely see....

Lunch at the Bakehouse in Tipp City, Ohio

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Left Behind - With Lemon Sugar Snap Cookies

This morning I awoke with a feeling of being left behind.
A dear friend is heading back home.
A young man is going to high school.
And here I am, in my little farmhouse, with the Italian Mobster roosters crowing, Phyllis clucking, and me, vacuuming.

Oh, don't get me wrong - it's all good.
It's all right, and the way life should be.
The reality of me with time on my hands is starting to sink in.
I like it.

I've always thought it easier to be the leaver instead of the leavee.
When you are the leaver, your mind is occupied with your trip ahead, you are busy thinking about all that needs to be done when you get home.
When you are the leavee - you are left with a bit of emptiness and forlornness that needs to be filled.

With Cookies.

Lemon Sugar Snaps

1 stick of soft butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t lemon peel
1 T lemon extract
3/4 cup of flour
1/4 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add egg yolk, zest and extract.
Mix well.
Add the flour and salt and blend on low speed until all ingredients are blended.

Place teaspoon size balls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake until very lightly colored around the edges.
Cool five minutes on the sheet.

I've not had luck doubling this recipe - it seems to lose 'something'.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Pear Crumble -

Photo by Bryan S. Chen

I'm back from my great adventure!  Suffice it to say, I had an absolutely wonderful time.  Jen, Shannan and Teresa are three of the most interesting, beautiful, genuine gals that you'd ever want to meet!  I would love to show you some photos - but alas, I've left my camera up at the Flower Patch Farmgirl's house!  I know!  I'm at her mercy now.  I have my old camera charging up on the counter now. 

We all went to the Springfield, Ohio Flea Market Extravaganza.  I've never seen so much fabulous junk in one place.  I needed a tractor trailer to get everything home that I wanted.  So not fair.  So. not. fair.

Photo from Springfield Flea Market Website
Truth be told, I didn't take that many photos.  I felt that worrying about pics too much would interfere in the time we spent together.  We'd been planning this visit for several months and I wanted to savor every moment of it.  I think that I got at least one embarrassing photo of each of them - so my work was done.

Until I get my camera back - I thought I'd share this recipe with you!  (Yes, I know that you are still waiting for the Lemon Cookies and the Mac and Cheese! I totally promise to get them to you this week.  Totally.)

I only make this recipe a couple of times a year, and it's usually in the month of September, when I get a sack of pears from my friend's tree.  When pears are up in my house, I really know that the days are numbered to get out and enjoy the weather.  Realizing this - we spent the morning at the Uncle John's Flea Market in Cedar Lake.  I have to say I was more than disappointed.  All I brought home was a headache and sore throat from all the mildew up in those buildings.  Aye law - I shan't go back. 

Photo from June 2009 - before my sackcloth and ashes haircut
Today was a great day to shoot things.  Did you know my nickname is Dead Aim Jaym?  Whilst I love the idea of dressing all in camo, and hanging out in the woods in the wee hours waiting for turkeys to shoot at - I couldn't shoot them with anything but a camera.  I just want all the gear - and want to walk around looking like a hunter - but I really don't want to kill anything.  Too bad - I'm a good shot!

After an afternoon of shooting - there was nothing better to come in to than a bowlful of warm Pear Crumble.  This recipe is from EatingWell, and there's not a smidge of butter or bacon in it, and it's still delicious!

You'll find the recipe here.  Just a note - I didn't use pure maple syrup, but just used the 'fake' stuff.  I'm sure that this recipe is going to go into your 'favs' file!