Spring is in the Air

I am thrilled to report that at least one of our hens is laying eggs again. I found my first egg in the nest box in nearly a month.    This year we kept nine hens over the winter.   We had failed to cull our flock before cold weather set in so we made do with more than we normally keep in the winter.   Initially I thought it would not be so bad as it would mean our egg production though less, with the shorter days,  should be acceptable over the winter.   Silly me as soon as the cold weather set in all but one of my laying hens went into full molt.  Molting along with the shorter days meant that no matter how careful I was with my precious eggs, in January I did end up buying a dozen store eggs.


Yes my coop is sunshine yellow inside.  I want my hens to feel sunshine everyday.

For those of you not familiar with chickens, molting is when all their feathers come out, like a dog or cat’s shed.   During the molting process chickens do not lay eggs.  All their food and energy go into making new feathers rather than eggs.   Molting can be a long process of months and my hens did not disappoint.   They started in late October and early November, and some of them are still working on replacing their feathers today and look pretty sad.

I have caught two different hens in the nest boxes  last week.  A couple more look pretty filled out feather wise and their combs are starting to perk back up.    The days are getting longer.   The chickens are starting to lay again. Spring is in the air in Montana.

Life Isn’t Fair

it_20may_20have_20escaped_20your_20notice_20but_20life_20isnt_20fair_originalI have tried in the six years I have blogged to avoid religion and politics, mostly because I believe you have a right to yours and I have have right to mine.  Odds are I am not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine.   Today I was pushed around the bend when the news coverage this morning was all about a candidate who felt he was being treated unfairly.

When a small child replies “That’s not fair,” most of us ignore the child until they get over it. Children need to learn things don’t always go the way they want.   I have on many occasions felt that life was not fair.   Yet I got up and went to work. My employer and co-workers depended on me.   I had bills to pay.   Just because I felt something wasn’t fair, opting out was not an option.   I have had times when I made a commitment assuming something and later discovered that wasn’t what I had though.   It did not seem fair that I may have possibly been misled, yet I showed up.   Just because I think something isn’t fair doesn’t make me right or what I think true.

So to the press who thinks giving lots of air time to someone because they think they were not treated fairly, I would prefer you stop it.   Treat this circumstance the same ways as if it was said by  a five-year-old and ignore him and this too will pass. To the man who refuses to participate because he perceives he was not treated fairly here is the reality:  Life isn’t fair.  Suck it up and get over it.  You will not get to do this if you get the job you are asking for.  I am sure that each of the 44 US presidents had many a times they thought things were not fair to them or our country.   Lastly to those who are evaluating this man as a possible candidate for our highest office,  really do you want someone who does not understand you can’t check out because life isn’t fair?

My hat is off to all of you who have had those moments of life feeling very unfair and persevering and moving past it. It stinks and sometimes it is hard,  but the reality is life isn’t always fair.   We all move on in spite of that.

Six Years and Counting

It seems impossible that as of today I have been blogging for six years.   Yet I just got a notice from WordPress that today is my anniversary.   Thanks to everyone who has supported me in this endeavor.


By Diana who is Playing Without Limits. Posted in Odds & Ends

Is It Valuable to Me?

RangerSir and I would like  to retire sooner than the system is rigged to allow.   With that goal in mind one must be a saver and frugal as well.    That said we  are like everyone else and like to spend money.  This should be a built in daily struggle, but most of the time it isn’t for us, because we ask “Is it valuable to me?”

Long ago when I worked in the corporate fast lane I attended a week-long  seminar about women in business and leadership positions.   It was a great seminar because at that time women in management were few and far between.   There were not women to emulate and the rules were still being written for women.   One of the topics they talked about was corporate dress of women leaders.   The leader talked about how men bought a few  good suits had them tailored and wore them over and over.    She said that women did not do the same. We tended not have our clothes tailored and bought many more clothes and wore some of then just a few times. We were  not trained to look for classic well fitting clothes.    A man’s suit could cost hundreds of dollars, lets say $500.   If the man wore it once it cost $500.   If he wore it once a week, then it cost him $10 a wear.   If he wore it a second year it cost him $5 a wear.  Then she translated it into the hours you worked if you made $25 an hour you had to work 20 hours for that suit.      That meant after wearing the suit four days you were in clear.   It mean in year two you should probably be sending the manufacture money each time you wore the suit as it had more than paid for itself.   On the other hand if you had a green Saint Patrick’s day sport coat that you paid $100 for that you only wore once a year.   It would not have paid for itself until year four.    That idea of translating things in to work hours to determine value became a measurement stick that would stick with me for years.

One of our favorite things to do is eat out, but we seldom do it because we often ask ourselves is that dining experience worth working three or four hours to have.   Is the food that good?   Is the service and ambiance worth it?   Sometimes the answer is yes, but if we think the food is just so-so then we skip it.   I love to be creative.   I ask myself before I buy something is this one use or can I use it multiple ways.   If it is just once odds are it stays on the store shelf.   If I can see three ways it is getting close to my cart,  if I can see six it is likely in my cart.

This whole post is inspired by a blog I follow where the writer talked about how much a $15 monthly bank charge came to a year, $170.   $15 a month doesn’t sound like that much but if you look at it as groceries for a week, or the fact that one hour each month you work just to pay the bank for your checking account it sounds outrageous.    So think about what you make in an hour and the next time you want to go grab a quick lunch from work think about how long you had to work for that lunch.   It may be right for you that day, but do you want to work 30 minutes of every day to pay for your lunch, that is 2.5 hours a week and 10 hours a month….working more than one day just to eat out.   Would your rather spend what you earned working those eight hours  on a new shirt, a new sketch pad, a movie, a book, or saving for a vacation  make you happier?   I don’t know for your circumstances or interests.     For each of us it is different.   I am sure that if each of us ask ourselves “Is this valuable to me?” before we spent we might spend our discretionary income differently and likely be more happy with how we spend it.

Read the Old-Fashioned Way

I am a die hard reader.   I read daily at least an hour, sometimes more if I can fit it in.     In the days before the e-reader I had piles of books beside my bed, beside my chair and they filled a whole bookcase  in the family room.    Since I made the conversion to the e-reader my pile though invisible to RangerSir is larger than ever.   I still keep one shelf of books in the case of a power failure.    It is full of those lifetime keepers, but also a few books that are  pulp fiction, because if was an apocalyptic event we would need some levity.   My paper collection of books  is more discriminating than the collection on my e-reader because I am limited to one shelf since I seldom read hard copy any more.   This week for the first time in a long time I am utilizing my safety net of real books.


I am rediscovering the paper book right now because I am without an e-reader for the first time in many years.   My current reader after years of daily use for at least an hour was starting to need to be charged more than once a week.  It wasn’t at the end of its lifespan, but for the first time I was becoming aware that there will be an end in the future. As a result I was toying with upgrading, but nothing had gotten me off the dime to do so.    E-readers are not like computers or phones, they are simple one use devices.  There are few changes and most of they don’t make a big difference so we tend not to upgrade as often as manufactures would like us to do so.   This week Amazon gave me the push I need they were offering to buy my device and give me an additional $20 e-reader credit.   For me that was $55, more than half of the price of a new one.   The sucky part was that they did not give you all this wonderful credit until they first had the old one in there hands.   This was major stupid.   I sent my old one back last week and now I wait for it to arrive at Amazon, credit to appear on my account and then I can get my new one.   I suspect I will be without an e-reader for a little over a week.   I realized the inconvenience already when I was in a waiting room and realized  my reader wasn’t in my purse and I had not brought my book along because it would not fit in my purse.  Last night I put a paperback in the Goodwill box because the font was just too small. The book had potential but event with cheaters reading was a struggle.  I did not realize until I was holding a book again that the Kindle really was much easier to manage than an 800 plus page book.

I am hoping today my UPS tracking tag tells me that Amazon has received my old e-reader and I soon get a new one.   I knew how much I liked my e-reader, but never as much as now.

Time Flies but Life Doesn’t

A year ago I was heading to my employer’s conference for the last time before I was off onto the next chapter of my life.    It seems impossible that year has passed. It feels impossible that much time has passed because I thought things would be much more clear than they are a year later.  I would be at my new destination whatever that was.    Instead I am still on my journey.

This year I have been reminded and have had to remind myself more than once: “We tend to gravitate to the familiar even if it is not what we say we want. “

When change comes we tend to worry about the impact of the unknown  negatively to our lives. We  allow ourselves to get knotted up in the worry about the possibility of experiencing failure.   Change can also feel like the  loss of part of our identity, especially when the change is our job, something that has filled more than eight hours of our life daily.  Change is often the loss of control.   We tend to think the familiar no matter how good or bad for us is better than the unknown.

I am still moving through the continuum of a major life change.   I have surrounded myself with lots of new people who don’t know me from my previous life.   New people in my life have  instigated some of the greatest growth for me.  As a working adult most of our new social acquaintances and friends are as a result of work.   When you hang out with work friends there is a whole list of taboo subjects, because you seek a certain amount of peace and harmony in the workplace.  When you no longer have a job, you  realize, if you did not before, that the connection to these people was your job and without that you don’t seek one another out.    It sounds a little cruel an uncaring, but I don’t think it is bad.  It is when you take the work commonality out of the equation that you start to seek out people who you are truly interested in or have a commonality central to your core. I call it seeking your tribe. There are all sorts of definitions of a tribe, but this one from Ainslie, really captures it for me.

I define a tribe as a group of people who share similar values and interests.When you’re a part of your ideal tribe you feel a great sense of kinship. You’re surrounded by people you can genuinely connect with and you can comfortably be yourself. A tribe is also a supportive space in which you can grow and thrive.

This year I will be sharing some of the experiences that go along with seeking your tribe.


I imagine my tribe will just get plain crazy more than once in awhile.

Zip is the Bottom of the Pack

In September we adopted/rescued Zip our dog.  Based on past experience with the pets we have had over the years, we knew it would be awhile as he and the cat sorted out their relationship.  We have watched at times unsure where this relationship was going.   This week it became clear how it was going to work.

Our cat was a ten-year-old rescue when we got her.   She had been in the shelter for six months and had no front claws. Corabelle was not a fountain of self confidence or assertiveness.   Her relationship with Harley, our previous dog, had been one of an quiet truce.   Neither acknowledged one another more than necessary and when they did it was usually with a snarky look.   CoraBelle did not have much use for dogs, and would prefer that they not be there, but would tolerate them if we insisted on one.

Zip had lived with a senior woman and two senior dogs before she passed away.   He had not lived with cats and by all accounts had a sedentary indoor lifestyle.    After living with us, he has decided that there should be some times of intense play and zipping around the house.   He has also shown interest in playing with the cat and  sleeping with the cat. Up to this point the cat is unsure why she should allow either of these.  To Zip the cat was his friend, who cared that she was a cat, she was an animal that was good enough for him.   We were not sure how this was all going to fit in with CoraBelle’s idea of life at home.


But….but….but…that is my toy

This last week CoraBelle decided she was the top of the pecking order.   She decided  to hog the dog toys and making the dog watch as she slept on his toy stash.   Zip is fast enough he could have made his way and stole his toy back but instead he deferred to her.    I am guessing that she thought enough of this running around and she was going to a stop to it. Zip, though he had nothing to fear from a older clawless cat, gets it and has recognized her as the top of the pecking order in this house.  It appears that the cat has chosen to interact with this dog and by controlling the dog toys control the dog.    I can’t wait to see where else this takes them.