spectating participant

May 26, 2008

chicken sitting

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 9:18 pm

Wow, what a whirlwind weekend. Way too much was happening, but it was all worth it in the end. Instead of commenting on the traveling that wore me out - I figured I’d focus on our chickens. They are finally outside, woohoo! I wanna dance and sing about this accomplishment, but I’m pretty exhausted, so I’ll settle for a “Yipee!” cheer from the recliner.

One might think that this means that our chicken tractor is done, but it is not. It’s closer to being done, but the forces that be conspired against us and we admitted defeat. Defeat did not include returning the chickens to the house for another week, though, because I really was done with having them inside. They’re also way too big for their brooder and have been living in cramped quarters for way too long.

So, we developed several makeshift solutions and are crossing out finger that everything holds together well. I’m guessing that our solutions could have been even more thorough had rain not started to fall as we were scratching our heads for how to make it work. I must say, Chris really figured it all out - I just threw out random complaints that required new solutions, so I don’t know where I get off implying that I was a helpful hand to this situation. Beyond insisting the birds not come back inside, I was mostly just a motivating factor.

We got them all set up in their tractor, darkness began to fall, and they got whiny. Chris and I pulled up chairs on the outside of their new cage and chatted at them a bit. It took about 30 minutes, but they eventually started to settle down and the annoying drone of freaked out chickens began to fade. We sat there until the last one, a white rock, finally gave up her mission to cry all night, and finally joined the slumber party in the corner of the tractor. They all seemed determined to sleep in the same spot and there was a constant churning of bodies as one tried to settle herself on the top of the mass and the now-smothered one tried to get back out.

While babysitting the chicks, Chris and I enjoyed the first notice of the season of our local bats. It’s always fun to watch the three of them flutter about filling their bellies with bugs galore. It all felt like the first summer evening of the year, hopefully we’ll get a bit more spring though as I’m not looking forward to the heat and humidity.

May 20, 2008

naptime mandatory

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:20 pm

taking a daily nap used to be a nice luxury, now it’s basically mandatory if I’m to still be function after 3pm. Luckily, my usual 3 hour afternoon nap had whittled itself down to just 1.5 hours and I’m not waking up all groggy and confused afterwards. Now if only this meant I could stay up a little later in the evening — but I find myself pretty wiped out by 9pm with or without a nap.

May 18, 2008

once lost, now found

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 7:37 pm

Our missing chicken finally came home. She was missing from about 1pm to 7pm and during rain, sunshine, and sudden thunderstorm with hail and all. We’d went looking for her several time since the incident early this afternoon and I’d finally given up on her ever coming home. Chris wandered outside and heard her calling, rather loudly, from the other side of the house. Guess she finally got tired of hiding and was ready to be back home with her flock.

I’m happy she’s home.

ugly chicken just got uglier

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 1:48 pm

Our ugly white rock chicken has had splotchy feather growth and has certainly been out ugliest bird — mostly cause the rest of the chicken all feathered in so nicely. Well, today the neighbors dog got loose and went after our chickens. We found a whole trail of bright white feathers and assumed that chick was gone. We managed to round up 8 of the 10 chickens, missing one white rock and one rhode island red. Eventually, we found the white rock, sans many tail feathers but no other obvious damage. Sadly, we haven’t found the missing rhode island yet. We have some faith that she’s just hiding somewhere off by herself and the recent terror and the rain is just keeping her tucked away. But, after about an hour of all three of us searching, in the rain, we finally gave up and hope to catch a glimpse of her at some point in the afternoon. Maybe she’ll know enough to come back by the house, but then again, I haven’t given them much intelligence credit yet.

Sigh, stupid dog. Makes me wanna go do target practice with Chris sometime. But first, need to go talk to the neighbors and let them know, especially now that he knows the chickens are here (it was probably a surprise to him to find them). I have no sympathy toward any animal that escapes beyond it’s property and certainly have no positive feelings toward an animal that endangers or kills my food.

May 13, 2008

laptop lockdown

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 11:53 am

i need to lock my laptop away and send the key to work with chris. it gets in the way of me getting any work done. as does the overwhelming feeling of having too much to do.

but, i also need it to get work done, otherwise I’d need to print out a million things and don’t want to do that. catch 22.

alex is gone this week and you’d think that’d be a blessing, but I usually use her 3pm arrival as nice motivator to get moving on getting things done. now i’m stuck waiting for for chris to get home around 7pm, making the day long and my motivation no more motivating. is there sort of “get your butt moving” pill out there? well, something nice and natural and nontoxic and what not? yeah - it’s called just plain old self motivation. bah.

May 11, 2008

time passing by

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 8:25 am

I’m pretty sure I’ve yet to mention that we’re expecting a little one at some point in July. For the longest time, July was a very long time away and it was easy to let that fact slip into the background. But, today we’re now just 7-11 weeks away (38-42 weeks is a normal gestation) from time being up and this new little being joining our family. This finally sunk in this morning in the most unusual way…

Yesterday, we stopped by a friends house and got to see their baby chickens. They’re a couple week younger than ours, but one variety already dwarfs ours: Cornish Rock crosses. These are a 100% meat bird and their soul purpose in life is to eat, eat, eat and get fat, fat, fat. Looking at them now, you can already see dinner on the table. Looking at our birds, you see fast growing chickens, but not dinner. The Cornish Rock crosses are ready for harvest in just 8 weeks — our dual purpose birds might not be ready for harvest until 20 weeks or so. Lots of people refer to these birds as “frakenchickens” and other derogatory terms - they’re not universally popular among chicken farmers because they’ve got lots of genetic problems. For one, they gain weight so fast that they often lose the ability to walk. Also, some will gain so much, so fast, that their tiny little heart will just give way and they’ll keel over. Some people find them to be a genetic atrocity and others appreciate the quick egg-to-freezer timeline. Also, the quality of the meat is often questioned in comparison to slower growing breeds. But, seeing them up close it’s hard to ignore their fast growth and the quick turn around available with this breed.

I’d seen these chicks the week before, so I wasn’t as surprised by their size and weight (most are already over a pound where only one of our 6-week old chickens has crossed that marker so far). Chris, on the other hand, was pretty impressed and came home with visions of chicken dances in his head. Our chicken tractor is about finished and the birds should be moving out within a day or so. We’d already discussed the idea of getting another round of meat chicks once this batch is outside and Chris is thinking Rock Cornish crosses now. This morning, he comments on picking some up, “And they’ll be ready to slaughter at 8 weeks.” 8 weeks, huh? I thoughtfully respond, “8 weeks is about when a baby will be showing up” and it’s then the reality hits me that time is passing. We’ve now hit the point that upcoming events are within the magical 4-week period of birth possibility.

Now, I find the agricultural connection to this realization rather amusing. Especially because today is also Mother’s Day - an important day in terms of planting and gardening. For the past 14 weeks, Mother’s Day has been on my mind as the commonly accepted last frost date for our area. Everything we’ve been doing has been a countdown to this date. This week, seeing Mother’s Day approaching, I couldn’t help picturing all the work that needs done and thinking how the past 14 weeks have flown by. And then, I was reading on one of my boards about the upcoming holiday - Mother’s Day. “Yes, yes, I know…” was my first mental response, until I then started reading about all the plans people were making for that day. None of these plans included tomato plants and squash seeds, not one. All of these people were talking about gifts and celebrations for their Mothers! “Oh crap!” It dawned on me that Mother’s Day was this week and I’d totally missed the “Mother” part of it. To me, it was all about plants, and I’m hoping my mom won’t mind when I tell her that, had she been a seed packet, I would have great things planned for her; but being that she’s just a mom, a celebratory phone call is all there will be this year.

May 9, 2008

so pdf isn’t happening

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 1:40 pm

there I said it outloud and that’ll make it true. It just doesn’t seem feasible with our current schedule and stress loads and financial stuff. So, there, we’re not doing pdf. We’ll still come out for a day, at least, to see some folk we like — though the only option is Friday or Sunday — most likely Sunday cause Friday will be getting ready for the show on Saturday! Argh, I so didn’t want to lame out of PDF, but I just can’t see making it happen either.

May 8, 2008

on account of the rain

Filed under: life — suzanne henderson @ 5:37 am

About two weeks ago, I learned about a natural living baby fair to take place this afternoon. In usual last minute fashion, I discovered that the usual spaces were already full, but that I could have a table outside, weather permitting. So,began a mad scramble to get things together in time, a scramble that was way overwhelming and unbelievably stressful. I’ve discovered that two weeks is not a sufficient amount of time to prep for a show, even one that was as small as this one. I could barely manage to get just a couple sample diapers assembled - which are still not done - and all my other planned-to-take projects are still in various states of completion.

The past two days, Chris and Alex have been putting in some hard evening hours helping me get ready. I’m very impressed with how well Alex has taken this extra responsibility and responded to my non-stop requests for assistance. I’ve learned that I can manage some stress fairly well, but overwhelming amounts of stress are almost impossible to get through. I’ve thrown in the towel more than once and broken down crying over little errors here and there multiple times. Luckily, I’ve got a good hormone excuse going on at the moment, but that doesn’t make the experience any more pleasant.

I was up at 4am to keep working in hopes of getting stuff finished up. To my surprise, rain was falling - oh how hard it is to get out of bed with the sound of rain and cool breezes lulling you back to sleep. Luckily, my stress over the day’s plan of action made staying in bed impossible. But, a check of the weather shows that what was supposed to be a clear week without any real rain, is now a day of rain showers, turning thunderstorms later. My “weather permitting” space seems to be nulled on account of the rain. This is a HUGE relief, by the way, and I would even celebrate if I wasn’t already so drained from the work I’ve already put in. So, in good news, I’m now fully started in terms of stuff for the show later this month. Thanks to this mad dash - I know have completed business cards, a services brochure mostly finished, items already assembled and labeled for sale, and a decent start on the stash I’ll need later this month.

I can now release the guilt that I don’t have more done for today. I can also stop worrying that I’d be showing up with embarrassingly little on hand for sale and have wasted the hour drive to the location, not to mention the stress endured by the entire family this week. I can also get some more supplies ordered which seem ironic seeing how more than 70 yards of fabric and 6000 snap pieces showed up this week. I’ll be placing some bulk wholesale orders today, including 120 yards of fabric as well.