Fox in the Hen House – Literally

Tonight we had the local fox visit our chicken coop.  It is one of the backyard chicken wrangler’s worst nightmares – predators.  We had lost chickens before and each time took another step to protect them better based on what happened.    This time unfortunately the fox actually got into the coop.   It was not a case of them finding our free range chickens.

We lost five birds, one of the bigs (last year’s hen) and five of the littles (this year’s 8 week old chicks).  I am sad and mad at the same time. A fox came in and cleaned house literally.  They were taken from the coop this time.   Yes the gate to the run and coop was open.    The fox took more than he could use at one time and ended up burying carcasses for later use. I am mad because as the keeper of livestock, my job is to ensure they are fed, watered, kept healthy and safe. We failed them.   I am sad because being a victim to a predator is not a nice way to go out.

Now the battle is on.   We are looking at options to improve how we allow our hens to have outdoor time without putting them at risk. This fox hit the jackpot today and we are fairly certain that he or she will be back soon.   There are lots of options for us to explore.   We are looking for something that can be done relatively fast, easy and inexpensively.   We will keep you posted as we work through solutions to this problem.

Yes I Own a Sewing Machine

It seems when people know you have a sewing machine they think that you want to do their mending, alterations and hemming.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked to repair or rework someone’s clothing. I almost always tell folks no I can’t do their little job.

I have been sewing in some form for as long as I can remember. I am not exactly sure when I started, but I know by the time I had my first home ec class in junior high school that the first project, an apron made out of a quarter-inch checked fabric, was too simple for my skill set.   There were girls who must have tore their seams out ten times.   The whole concept was new to them. I was done several classes before the other girls in my class. So I was expected to not only sew an apron but embellish it with embroidery.   Over the years I have made clothing, quilts, curtains, slipcovers and about everything in between. I like to sew. I have always had a place to sew and a nice machine.  That being said I hate rework…mending…alterations…hemming.

I have been short with a non-standard body all my life.    When it comes to store-bought clothing nothing fits off the rack.   When I worked a corporate job, all my clothing went directly from the department store to the lady who had a shop that did alterations.   She hemmed the sleeves of my jackets, linings and all. She not only hemmed my pants and skirts, but reworked the waist band because my hour glass shape was not what standard clothing manufactures expected, my bottom was way too big for my waist.  This woman was priceless to me and though I had a sewing machine, she did what I could not.   My tailor’s  skill was an art; she made my clothes fit properly and they did not look re-made.   I valued her more than I did my hair stylist.   There were many more stylist to pick from than tailors. I don’t have many tailor clothes any more, but when I put them on I do miss that perfect fit that she gave me.

Now I am getting ready for my new job that puts me out in the field.   I will be wearing cotton jeans every day. I have been scouring thrift stores for new jeans (I don’t want low rise or big legs for work).    I have already hemmed four pair and this morning I just cut off excess fabric on four more pair that I will hem today.   I still don’t like hemming but I am managing to get through the process.   I am not however adjusting my waist bands, I just plan to cinch that belt a little tighter.

It all has made me reflect a little about that tailor with her little shop back in Minnesota.   I had not thought about her in a long time.   She was part of a dieing occupation, like so many others like shoe repair, small engine repair and others.   It makes me sad when I think about it.   I bet there are lots of folks who wish they could make a living at those things, but in our changing society it just doesn’t seem possible any more.

May is National Egg Month! Do you know where your eggs really come from? Is

Looking Out The Window:

I have written on this topic before, but thought that with this being National Egg Month, it was worth repeating. This time I am sharing this well written blog post from Cheese Acres Farm on the topic of eggs.

Originally posted on Cheese Acres Farm:

Where do your eggs really come from? What do all those confusing terms and labels really mean? Hopefully we can clear up a bit of the confusion for everyone by answering some common questions.

Is there any difference between white eggs and brown eggs? Nope. They taste exactly the same. In fact some hens lay blue, green, pink and other colored eggs! They all taste the same and have the same nutritional value, depending on where you get them of course.
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I buy “cage-free” eggs from the supermarket. Doesn’t that mean the hens get to roam outside? Not necessarily. It just simply means they have unlimited food and water and roam around freely in their habitat which is usually indoors. Most likely they are very crowded.

Farm Fresh, that means I can be sure my eggs are fresh right? Only if you know your farmer and you get them straight…

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What A Difference A Day Makes

Today was a polar opposite to yesterday.   Yesterday was nothing short of miserable.  I did get out and walk, but wore hiking boots in the snow and slush and left the dog at home.   Our dog is  too close to the ground and too old to be walking in the miserable cold.   Today he was once again walking with me in the Montana sunshine. harleytrains

Harley is our Cairn Terrier and he walks regularly with me.   He is a tireless terrier and still sets the pace for our walks even though he is 11 years old.   We are in training for him to once again do the Tails on the Trails 5K though he already does three miles easily currently, so the training is really a moot point.      Last year it rained and snowed on us, but we finished in record time  This year’s walk is on the 9th so who knows Harley may set a new personal best again this year while raising money for dogs and cats still looking for their forever home.

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Spring in Montana

Oh this week has been a classic spring week in Montana.   We have had unseasonably warm days and now we have had snow and ice.

Taken Tuesday.   Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Taken Tuesday. Things were starting to green up, though Mt. Fleecer will have snow until August or September.

Tuesday was absolutely a beautiful Montana spring day.    Friday we had rain all day and I could see the snow line slowly creep down as the day passed.   By dinner we were above the snow line.   Saturday we woke with overcast and by late afternoon we were back in the snow belt.   Sunday It was winter again no holes barred.

By Friday we had rain and then snow.   This was taken Saturday on my walk.

By Friday we had rain and then snow. This was taken Sunday on my walk.

Spreading Yourself a Little Thin

I am one of those type A personalities who functions best when have 2 or 3 more tasks that I can reasonably do.  Right now I have one of those moments going on in my blogging life.   I took on challenge in the blogging world to post each day a new letter.   I chose to do this on my creative blog thinking it would be the easiest place to follow some kind of them for 26 posts.   I have just finished the half-way point and I am happy to report I have managed so far for the first 14 letters.   It has been harder than I imagined, but  it got me posting regularly there and also got me thinking about the whole idea of creativity.

It takes time to not only write a blog post but you commit to visiting five or six other folks who are participating in this challenge.   This has been a very good exercise because I have found lots of other neat bloggers, writing about lots of fun and new things out there.

The thing that I did not imagine would happen during this challenge is that it would leave my brain a little dry over here on my primary blog.   It was like I already shared something today and now you want me to share again?

So if you are looking for something a bit of of the box, or wonder why I have not been as active here are in the past stop over and visit my creative blog: Creative Play Without Limits

Siblings

sibling-quotes

Today is National Sibling Day, another made up holiday.   The best thing about this is that it gave me pause to think about my siblings.    I grew up in a blended family, though in though days we did not call it anything other than a family. We were all treated the same when you were in our household, same rules, same expectations, no one special.  A kid was a kid.

Today I want to thank my siblings because you made me the best I could be. You all contributed to what I am today.   I like who I have turned out to be and you, my siblings, were part of that.

Sometimes I was the oldest child and sometimes I wasn’t.  Sometimes I only had brothers and other times not.   It allowed me to take the best from multiple birth orders and incorporate it in to my being. You were there in the best of times and the worst of times. You taught me why it is important to be competitive, because if you aren’t you get what is leftover and no one wants only black jelly beans. I quickly learned life isn’t always fair, because I still think you were not above cheating to win,  and you don’t always get what you want.  You taught me empathy and compassion for others, when you shared your jelly beans when I lost for the umpteenth million time.   You taught me how to be strong and the feelings of helplessness.  You taught me to never ever give up and how to be a good leader and a graceful looser.   You taught me that fair and just is not always the same as equal.   You also taught me how to think and be creative because we were not all created equal.  You taught me  to use the skills I had because I would seldom be the tallest, fastest, have the experience or knowledge I thought I needed.    Together you taught me the value of teamwork and the importance of working together.   You taught me that we were never going to be the same, so respect differences.  With you I learned how to make do with what life dealt me, because you were not always going to share or help.

Some of this might sound a little whiny, but it isn’t meant to be.   I persevered not in spite of my siblings and because of them.   Being their sister I ended up with a great set of  life skills, a sense of reality and knowledge of my personal and civic responsibility that have served me well.   I would not want anyone else for my siblings.   Love you all.   I am telling you this today because someone moron in Washington DC declared today your holiday when they should have been fixing the budget, preventing war or saving the world.   Had that moron been in our family then adult or not I promise that one of the siblings would have called them and reminded them of what they had learned about life growing up and to get down to work and get things done.