Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Just Dropping By....

Girls - (and boys?) -
I'm here.
I'm alive.

I've been incredibly busy - and my beloved cousin came up from Missouri rather spur of the moment on Easter for a short visit.

We've been having a gay ole time, dodging rain drops, exercising, and general tom foolery - although it feels like all we've done is cook and do dishes.
Did you know that cauliflower makes a fabulous rice substitute?
Did you know that I've lost nearly 30lbs?
There is mounting evidence that I do indeed possess a skeleton.

Me and my cousin Jim.

Did you know that the Dr. told me today that I shant be gardening or lifting weights?
My eyes welled up with tears.
And they weren't tears of joy.

It's Tennis Elbow.
I like to call it by it's proper name:
Lateral epicondylitis
Cause I ain't never played tennis.
Perhaps it's vacuuming elbow - or knitting elbow - or gardening elbow - or coop cleaning elbow -
take your pick.

Thank you for your sweet emails and Facebook messages -
it's so nice to be missed.

I'll be back in a day or two dispensing my usual dose of an attempt at humor, wisdom and seldom known chicken facts.
And maybe a video or two.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Day the Chicken Died - A Repost

Picture of Helen - April 2009 - after raccoon attack

One of my favorite things about blogging is to be able to go back and see what was going on in my life a year ago - this is the post from a year ago today....
I'm happy to see that I've made changes in my life, and I'm taking care of myself now....
I was absolutely stunned by your outpouring of sympathy at the passing of dear Helen.
I'm here to tell you what happened.
I'm surprised at how saddened I was at Helen's death.

I really enjoyed nursing this little chicken.
She needed me.
I needed her.

Saturday morning started in the usual way.
Sleeping in til 7.
Tending birds.
Fabulous coffee.

As soon as I was coherent enough, I began doing yard work.
I've made this elaborate list, lining everything out that needs to be done, week by week, day by day, in order to keep my on schedule for the Lowell Garden Walk in July.
The next three weeks will be rough.

I noticed late morning that Helen was a little more to herself than usual.
Her tail was a bit drooped.
"I gotta keep an eye on her", I thought.

At noon, I went off to my Beekeeping Class.
Yes, folks, I'm getting bees.
Scary, isn't it? My cousin Jim tells me I might as well learn to juggle chain saws while I'm at it.
That really cracks me up.

Here is the president of the club, Mark, showing us how to use the hive tool.

Here we learned how to light the smoker.
Smoke - good.
Fire - no good!
(You have to say that like Frankenstein to find the humor)

The Vice President, Ed, taught us the proper terminology of the hive, so we didn't call him up and say....'Um, that little thingy on my hive is glued with honey, what should I do?"
Please note the observation hive behind Ed.

Aaron's been at it again with the camera.
He was so encouraged by all of your comments!
The rest of the pics in this post were taken by:

The following text will have nothing to do with the next five photos.
I hope it doesn't confuse you!
Keep up people!
I got home from bee class about 5:30.
I promptly put my hive together.
Although my sister-in-law and niece were visiting, I found it impossible to sit after sitting in bee class for 4 hours.

I decided there was enough time to finish cleaning the chicken coop before dark.

Helen was now in the nest box.
I thought she might lay an egg.
Her first egg ever.

You see, Helen has never layed an egg.
T'aint normal.
I really don't know why - but I'm assuming it had something to do with the raccoon attack.
She was barren.
Another thing we had in common.
We understood each other's pain.
She sat in the roost box, with her vent pulsing a little.
I picked her up, and even with my gardening gloves on, I could feel she was burning hot.
I do believe animals have a sense.
All the chickens knew.
I didn't know yet.

Aunt Jemima watched as I removed Helen from the coop.

Scarlett seemed extra worried.

No name (He's since been named Buddy) was even concerned, and he's normally quite aloof.

Mrs. Puffington nearly worried herself sick about Helen.
Even the cat looked on, a bit grief stricken.
I didn't think too much of this. Helen has been so frail, and has had to come in the house before, and even wore a diaper for a bit.
If you never read that post - click here.
In a sick way, I looked forward to babying her, and nursing her.
I put antibiotics in her water, put her in a nice, clean, warm place.
She expired sometime in the night.
I just couldn't believe my eyes.
Glenco handled the arrangements.
I'm still not really sure what exactly happened, but I'm tending to think that perhaps her body finally formed an egg, and she couldn't lay it.
I was so worried about the other chickens.
I watched them carefully all day Sunday for signs of illness.
They are all fine.
It was Helen's time.
Even in her death, she taught me a great lesson.
In the midst of the busyness I'm experiencing right now with the garden - which seems to be of paramount importance - in the grand scheme of things - it's meaningless.
I've been experiencing above average fatigue and joint pain.
I know I'm overdoing it.
I'll be doing a full post on this subject very soon (like - when it rains and I can actually be inside!)
Our days are numbered, and I really want to spend my days to the fullest, and that doesn't necessarily mean work. It's all in our attitude, our mindset. I'm so work oriented.
This must stop.

(I'm happy to report that is HAS stopped!  I am much better at managing my time - even though I stay incredibly busy - the stress is gone - my health has greatly improved over the last year - )
So teach us to number our days, so we may receive a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

Monday, April 18, 2011

Crazy Chicken Lady

Up in this house - this is completely normal behavior.

You see - it's a sad tale actually -
 a tale of heartache and woe - much too much for a Monday morning.
I was a bit of a neglected baby - I slept in a dresser drawer when I was first brought home -
the neglect wasn't intentional - just circumstances.

Ergo - I have an oral fixation.
I blame the lack of breastfeeding -
I want to put everything in my mouth.

And you thought I kept chickens cause I liked eggs.
Can I let you in on a secret?
If I eat another egg I swear I'll gag to death.

What's that?
Yes...I do live in that apron.
Wouldn't you?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Finding My Jayme Legs

I really need to have a stern talk with the person responsible for making my schedule.
I've had nary a moment to celebrate the moments of my life.
I don't cotton to being this busy.
Not one bit.
I was told today that the tendonitis in my right arm might be from me waving it saying 'I'll do it!' -
Now that's funny - I don't care who ya are.

I thought I'd finally tell you about the spectacular day that I had with Aaron a few weeks ago.
It was a splendid day in many ways.
I felt free, and calm and mentally organized.
My clean eating is paying off.

It was Aaron's day - I told him I'd take him anywhere he wanted to go -
It started with Starbucks, the AT & T store (he's obsessed with cellphones) and then the
Blue Room Cafe.
It's a little place we drove by one time, about a year ago - and Aaron wanted to go there.
It's in downtown Hammond, Indiana.

This is Bobby. 
He's the elevator man.
Read that again.
The elevator man.
Well, that just makes me swoon.  We had to take the elevator up to the bathroom.

I fell in love with this old building.
It had so much character and charm.

Y'all know what a hard time I had adjusting to Aaron going back to public school this past fall -
I honestly feel like I'm finally getting over it.
I'm finally finding my legs again.
I was so completely lost feeling.

photo by Aaron

I felt vacant.
Pregnant with possibility.

This 15 year old punk was my heartbeat.
Well - he still is.

At the moment that Aaron took this picture of us in a dirty old bathroom mirror - it dawned on me -
I'm ok.  He's ok.  We're ok.
Things are different now - but they aren't bad.
In fact, they are pretty good-and if I wasn't careful, I was going to miss it.  I was going to grieve away all the joy that we have now.
We have great days together now.
We have great talks, and we still laugh until we cry - or pee - which ever comes first.

This is John, and he's the proprietor of this wonderful cafe.
There was a wonderful vibe in this place - a pulse of peace that was palpable.
I could have stayed all afternoon.

While John prepared our food - I struck up a conversation with Robinson.
He was quite the chatter, but got shy when I asked if I could take his photo.
We chit chatted about music and life.

He told me that he chooses happiness everyday.
He told me he leaves his problems at home.
I love Robinson.

And I love chicken salads -

and Aaron loves panini sandwiches...

and I love how my hair looks here - so I put this pic in...
I can do that...I'm the blogger.

John does latte art.
I didn't have a latte cause I've been dairy free - but I tell you what....
next time I see something like this, I'm drinking it - I think it would be worth the bloat.
Life is too short not to drink lattes in awesome coffee shops.

Life is too short to look back so much that you miss what's ahead of you.

This is the snapshot I took away from the day.
Taking the time out to enjoy.
Taking time.

Monday, April 11, 2011

'Spring Chicken' Skin Serum on Etsy!

Dear sweet sweet readers!

I'm tickled pink!

Ya'll busted my heart seams clean open -
thank you ALL so much for your support of my new business venture.
I feel like I have hope again - something I was beginning to lose -
I might just make that July goal after all!

There were a couple of you that commented that you wanted some serum, but there was no way to get ahold of you - so I've gone and opened the Etsy Store a wee early, even though it's not really 'ready' - but at least the skin serum is there.

I ordered more lip balm tins today so next week I should have some of those for sale as well...

here's the link:

If you haven't heard from me regarding your skin serum purchase - please go ahead and click on the Etsy link to purchase (Debra, Talia)

Sorry to make it so elusive at first, I was just too excited!

If you missed the 'infomercial', make sure you check out yesterday's blog for it.

Again, thank you - I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Official Skin Serum Infomercial!

I finally did it.
Completed it.
Bottled it.
Be-ribboned it.

Aaron even made an ad for it -
I can't get over how much I love this photo.
That kid never ceases to amaze me.

Here's the official infomercial....
Watch for it on CKTV - (Coop Keeper TV)

Of course, there are bloopers here.
 I've come to greatly admire people that can talk live on TV and not make a fool of themselves. bloopers?
Well, the cat attacks the tripod - I misspelled 'infommercial' in the title - which is still troubling because 'infomercial' doesn't look right either- and I say there's 'nothing natural' in this product, when it should be there's nothing UNnatural.  And then of course I never do say what the product costs.


If you find yourself up in the middle of the night - watching this - wanting this product - please send me an email with your info -
I accept Paypal, checks and money orders.
It'll be in the Etsy shop soon - which is still in the works - but I couldn't wait.

The cost?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Amazing Janie Fox Pt. 2

Do you know what I think of someone who would put a door like this on the interior of their home - probably taking a perfectly good door off to do it....?

I think that person is spectacular.
I know these things.
Someone that would do this is an old soul.

I count myself most fortunate to have croseed this lady's path.

Once I arrived at her home - I felt...well...home.
I really have never seen such a place.
The pictures won't do it a bit of justice - but I'll try.

To die for.

This spot tore me up.
It was so perfect, it was tinged with grief.
She had plenty of bed rooms, but I wanted to stay here - I longed for a rainy day and a good book - and that spot.
I'll be back.

We had such a great time - staying in our pajamas more than anything, with endless cups of tea, talking and talking - crying laughing, crying crying -
She be a soul mate.
She be a kindred spirit.
She be my friend.

I got to meet her entire family - and I do believe they may have been shocked at my shyness.
I met Ollie.  Oh yes, I did!
I met her niece Ellen (hi Ellen!)
I met her husband Stu.
His kindness actually made me cry.
He was the utmost gentleman - making calls - tracking down a tire for me.
When I was leaving - I guess he called Janie, and said to run by the barn - he wanted to hug me bye.

You can't do that kind of stuff to a perimenopausal woman.
You just can't.

Do yourself a favor and go meet Janie.
But don't even think about taking that window spot.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bedtime Silliness

Crippled at Hillbilly Haven Version 2.0

Busy editing photos from my trip to Janie's -
Here's a repost from last year - and it's exactly how I feel right now!

I thought this picture was a good representation of how I'm feeling at the moment.
A hillbilly.

Please don't get me wrong. I do love hillbillies.
I'm from a long line of fine southern people.
Wouldn't change that heritage for anything.
There's just something about this time of year that makes me feel like
a hillbilly on an episode of 'American Pickers'.
I walk around wondering who brought all of this junk onto my property.
Things just seem dirty and messy during the month of March.

The weather has been fantastic the last few days, and today promises the same.
I've been working in the yard non-stop.
Cleaning out sheds, the back of the garage, etc.
It's madness.
I'm crippled.
It all seems overwhelming at this time of the year.
The work that lay ahead.
Almost seems impossible at times, and I start looking at moving to a condo.
Last May I actually called a few places!
In June I come to my senses and love my home again, until August hits and the garden is weed filled and burnt by the hot August sun.

I'm so glad that you all enjoyed the Vintage Camper post!
Remember my idea to make a Bed & Breakfast out of campers?

This is what I've come up with:

Knowing I'm going to be much too busy with the garden to run
the B & B, I hired this
gal to take care of that for me.

Selma Jenkins.

It's all good.
When you call for reservations, please ask for her by name.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Fox Hunt - Pt. 1

I'm back in my own coop, with no idea how to begin to tell you what a fantastic time I had whilst at the Fox House.

House is the wrong word.
With a capital 'H'.

I found out in the lick of time that I was actually going to Illinois, not Indiana.
Funny how completely unprepared I am for road trips, with not a care in the world.

The wind here on Sunday was indescribable.
I've read that pioneer women have gone insane living out on the prairie, listening to the howling wind.
I'm wishing I had that excuse for my insanity.
Alas - I do not.

With Shirley Bassey blasting, and a full supply of water bottles, I set out on the open road to meet a gal that I've only known via the Interweb.
It was a ridiculous 81 degrees out with a wind so strong blowing in from the Gulf, I swore I smelled crawdads.
Right in the middle of a rousing rendition of Goldfinger - whilst talking to Janie on the phone letting her know my ETA - I had a blow out.

No...not that kind.

My tire exploded.

As I'm posting this now, I wish I had a picture of the tire to show you - but it's really the last thing I thought of when I was on the side of I-57 with a flat.  The wind was so strong I could barely open the Heep door.  When I did step outside, the wind almost blew my glasses off, and my shirt went over my head...
Shirtless - and yet - no one came to my aid.

I got in the car and started to cry.
I'm embarrassed to tell you that - but I did.
And then - I sucked it up - and thought about how I'd just told Glenco that I wanted to learn how to work on cars - and that I wanted to take our 1964 Chevy down to the frame and restore it - and learn how to do body work and fix things in the engine.

So then - I put on some lip gloss - and dabbed my Clinique Happy cologne on and set out to fix the flat.  If there's one life truth that I know for sure it's this:
Lip gloss is empowering.

I've never changed a tire before.

Got the lug nuts off - jacked up the car as far as I could - got the flat tire off, got the spare out - but couldn't get the Heep jacked up enough to slip the spare on.
All the while - I have on no glasses - (I'm blind) and my shirt is over my head.

I tried in vain to get the car jacked up higher. 
Luckily, I was close enough to Janie's house that she dispatched her son-in-laws to my aid.

I'm determined to learn how to do it myself, and perhaps I'll have Glen start timing me.
I liked getting my hands dirty - and I'm really looking forward to learning how to do body work.
Glenco says I'm invading his man space.

I can't imagine what Janie thought when I showed up - dirty, sweaty and a windblown mess.

I think I have a pretty good feel for people - and I'm so happy to say - I was right.

She's a gem.
In fact - I'm moving to Southern Illinois and I'm going to be her full time gardener and confidante.
We are negotiating my salary as I type this.
Glen will drive a grain truck for her husband.
And I'll sleeve a cow yet - by golly.