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.

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.

Trying to Change the Outcome

In spite of all the changes going around here, we are still backyard chicken wranglers.   We decided to get some chicks again this year.

Last year’s chickens  for some reason were the worst foragers we have ever raised. We would open the door on the chicken run in the morning for them to head out and be free ranging chickens eating seeds, bugs and scratching in the dirt looking for all sorts of tasty morsels.   This was something every previous flock was gun hoe and very good at. Instead this flock insisted on staying in the coop, lazing around and eating chicken feed.   It made no sense to me,  they were breeds we had had before that had demonstrated their ability to get most of their diet in the summer out in the pasture.   I seriously thought about locking them out of the coop, but they would need access to lay eggs, so that was not really a feasible alternative.   It was frustrating as the locally milled organic food was not as inexpensive as commercial chicken chow was, and they went through more than twice as much as prior flocks have.  On top of that chickens who stay close to the coop make for more clean up.   If they free-range out in the pasture, no one cares where or how much poop a chicken can generate.   And chickens do generate poop.

The chicks are showing interest in eating the grasses already at two weeks.

The chicks are showing an interest in eating the grasses already at two weeks.

This year I have ten chicks and I am hoping for good free-range foragers who like to get out and look for their dinner as much and as long as they can.    To this end they are just two weeks old and I am already pulling little cheatgrass plants and feeding them to the new chicks roots and all.    The chicks are showing interest in picking at the grasses and do lots of chirping and digging around when I add that to their cage each day when I clean it.

If you are wondering who cares if they free range or not, here is a little information that you may not know about free-range, pasture raised eggs according to tests done by Mother Earth News comparing commercial eggs vs. the eggs from chickens that actually get out and free-range in the pasture.  My chickens who get outside daily to eat grass, dandelions, bugs, grubs, seeds, and what ever other goodies they can find and with a good dose of daily exercise produce eggs that have • 1⁄3 less cholesterol• 1⁄4 less saturated fat• 2⁄3 more vitamin A• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids• 3 times more vitamin E• 7 times more beta carotene.   Yes there is a difference in eggs.

Keep your fingers crossed that this year’s finds their natural instincts and the become the mighty forager’s that commercial chickens can not imagine is even possible.