Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weekend Fun, Winter Guest and Halloween

Yesterday was a beautiful Fall day so we loaded the dogs in the back of the car and took them for a change of scenery to Terrapin Lake, about 5 miles from our house.  Needless to say, they thoroughly enjoyed themselves and usually take a good nap when they get home.  In fact, this is about all the strenuous exercise that Snoopy, who's around 13, can handle.  When he gets home from the lake he goes straight back to his bed and we don't see him again until dinnertime, although there's no escaping his snoring.  Loud. 

I spent Saturday night cleaning and getting my spare bedroom ready for our winter guest, Margie, my semi-feral cat who first showed up on my doorstep about 4 years ago, little more than a kitten and very skinny.  Having no experience with cats and nothing else to give her, I put a bowl of dry dog food out for her on the front porch.  When I told my husband  he said, "Now you'll never get rid of her - you know once you start feeding a cat they never leave." And I quickly responded, "Who said I wanted her to leave?" And that was that.  Fast forward 4 years later; she's still semi-feral, but has come such a long way.  After she'd been hanging around for about 6 months I trapped her (no way she'd let me pick her up!), had her spayed and got all her necessary shots.  It's been a little easier each time she needs to go to the vet for routine shots and general exam, but I still have to trap her.  Although she does let me pick her up and (briefly) cuddle with her, she'd still never willingly let me put her in a cat carrier. There's always trickery involved, which I feel bad about, but it's the only way I can get her to the vet. 

Margie's former home
Last winter was the first time that she actually spent the first of many winter nights in my house.  Because I believe she was living in the old abandoned house across the street, once someone bought the property and tore it down to build a new one, I was so afraid she'd never survive a winter without a roof over her head. After that I was on a mission. I had to get her into my house and stay in my spare bedroom. Not an easy task when you're talking about a feral cat, either.  Since I'd been feeding her every day for a long time she was regularly a fixture on my front porch when I got home from work.  But with my new plan in mind, instead of the front porch, I moved her bowl to the windowsill of the spare bedroom.  She was reluctant about the new location, of course, but once she figured that it was dinner there or not at all, she decided in favor of the windowsill.  That went on for about a week, then I opened the window and put the bowl on the windowsill inside the house.  Though she spent a lot of time pouting, pacing, and loudly meowing about this new dilemma, the hungry tummy won out and she moved again.  Couple of weeks after that, I moved the dish to the floor of the bedroom, right underneath the windowsill.  This whole process of getting her to trust me enough to come inside the house took at least a couple of months and by then it was getting really cold.  Although at first she would just eat quickly, then bolt out of the window as soon as she was done, she eventually began to hang out for longer periods of time in the room, where I sat just tapping away on the computer or surfing the internet - and wearing a coat(!), because I'd keep the window open so she could leave anytime she felt stressed about this new situation. It probably wasn't until late December that I was able to close the window and she didn't freak out about it.  Boy, the things you do for love!

I'm really glad she finally came to her senses because as it turns out, we had one of the worst winters in history, and a record amount of snow in Maryland.  I don't believe Margie would have survived all the snow we got.  She stayed in the spare bedroom from about January to March and went out very little during that time.  I was surprised when I put a litter box in the room and she knew just what to do - there were never any accidents.  So glad about that!

Now the room is cleaned up and ready whenever she decides it's time to hunker down for the winter again. She even came into the room on Saturday night while I was cleaning up and as you can see, made herself very comfortable surrounded by her old friend, Mr. Bunny, who I told her would be waiting for her when she's ready to come back.

In other news, look at this fat little bumblebee I found in my kitchen today.  Lilly is the only canine member of the family who doesn't object to getting into costume any time of the year.  She also  makes a pretty respectable looking pirate, too, don't you think?

Well, what do you know? Looks like Lilly's not the only one in the Halloween spirit.  Even little Peggy wants to get in on the act! Why that little DEVIL!! 


Friday, October 29, 2010

One Woman's Addiction

The holidays will be here before you know it and I'm already feeling a lot of anxiety about it. 

It's not the crowds at the mall  I dread, or riding around for hours searching for a parking space, or  even stressing about what unique gift to get my father-in-law for Christmas.  None of that bothers me, at least not yet.  My anxiety actually deals with an  addiction I've had for a very long time. I don't talk much about if I can help it, but since Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away, it's probably best to get it out in the open now.

I am a dessertaholic.  That is, I'm totally and helplessly addicted to desserts/sweets and baked goods of any kind, and the holidays just bring out the worst in me.  You see, I have absolutely ZERO willpower when it comes to turning down desserts.  This is true for most of the year, but especially during the holidays.  In fact, I would even say that it's  already started.  Since this is Halloween week there seems to be bowls of candy everywhere you go.  Yesterday was a good example. I stopped off at the library on my way home from work to pick up a new book, and as the librarian was checking me out, I couldn't help but notice a big plastic pumpkin that was half-filled with candy of all sorts on the counter.  I knew, of course, that it was meant for all library patrons, but just to be polite I asked anyway; "May I?" To which she cheerfully responded: "Oh certainly! Help yourself!" So I fished out a caramel square and a little Reese's peanut butter cup, collected my books and off I went, happy to fuel my addiction once again. 

Last year at my in-laws on Thanksgiving there was somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 different types of desserts; pumpkin pie, 2 types of apple (your standard apple and dutch), cherry, turtle pie, and of course, my mother-in-law's signature pineapple upside down cake (which is out of this world, by the way). That being said, guess who had to sample a piece of ALL the desserts - while downing a glass of egg nog, too?   

Cake is my favorite.  Devil's food with homemade buttercream icing, but I must admit that red velvet cake runs a very close second.  There's a company in D.C. who had the idea recently to start a business called "Curbside Cupcakes."  It's a little pink van that stops at various locations around town guessed it, cupcakes.  A mobile cupcake business? Pure genius! When I first heard about them I said to myself, "Why didn't I think of that?" and  the little voice inside me responded, "because those cupcakes would never make it out of the parking lot if you were driving!" Truth be told, they probably wouldn't even make it ON the truck in the first place. And Curbside Cupcakes appears to be hugely successful, too, because they draw large crowds whereever they go. Knowing what you do about me now it should come as no shock that I've been guilty of standing in line for 45 minutes just waiting to buy one of their cupcakes.  I know it seems silly (and probably dumb, too) that I've spent 3/4 of a lunch hour to buy a cupcake. But these are not just any cupcakes. They're not like Hostess or even Tastycake (which I wouldn't turn down in a pinch, either). No, these are TO. DIE. FOR.  Fresh. Moist. And a thick slab of buttercream on top that seems like it's a mile high.  I can almost hear a choir of angels singing when I think about them. And what they're singing is Rod Stewart's, "If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right."    

After Thanksgiving my dessertaholism will only get worse. Somewhere around late November, baked goods of all sorts will start to appear in our office kitchen.  I'll go in for my morning cup of tea and there, calling my name, will be some yummy cinnamon coffee cake or tempting little holiday cookies in all sorts of cute shapes like Christmas trees, snowmen, Santa, or holiday bells.  I think it's practically a law (or should be if it isn't) that you can't drink hot tea all by itself - there really needs to be something solid to accompany it.  It's probably better for your digestive system, too, don't you think? 

Don't get me wrong; I like fruits and vegetables and eat them, too.  But a salad doesn't make my heart sing with joy like devil's food cake or a hot fudge sundae. Or my mother's recipe for peanut butter cookies.   

Part of me feels bad in the sense that I know this is not the healthiest way to live and I really need to limit myself to maybe just one "treat" day a week.  But a bigger part of me (i.e., my inner sugar addict) is also shouting, "LIFE IS SHORT. EAT DESSERT FIRST!!"   

Monday, October 25, 2010

Haunted Eastern Shore

Since it's getting close to Halloween, I thought it would be fun to sign up for a "Haunted Bus Tour" sponsored by our local community college yesterday.  The tour was from 12:00 to 4:00 PM  and narrated by Mindie Burgoyne, who wrote the book "Haunted Eastern Shore."  I don't think my husband was that excited when I enlisted him on this adventure with me, but he was a good sport anyway, even though it was an absolutely beautiful day, and he was probably missing out on some good fishing.     

On this tour the author took us to various sites on Maryland's Eastern Shore that had been the subject of ghosts sitings, hauntings, and other paranormal activity, some that had been occurring for hundreds of years.   

It was no surprise that our tour took us to a couple of very old cemeteries dating as far back as the early 1700's, including the cemetery behind St. Paul's Episcopal Church where the actress Tallulah Bankhead is buried, who lived a relatively short but troubled life, marked by alcoholism and drug abuse. Our group walked over to Ms. Bankhead's gravesite where we learned the legend that if you lay down on her grave at night with your ear pressed to the ground, you could hear her singing.  Suffice it to say that I won't be doing that anytime soon.  Or even thinking about going to graveyards at night for that matter.  

Though we went to several haunted sites, my favorite was the Kitty Knight House which dates back to 1773. The home still remains today and in fact, operates as a thriving Bed & Breakfast, as well as fine dining establishment in Georgetown, MD that overlooks the Sassafras River. As we gathered in an empty dining hall of the restaurant, the manager gave us a little history of the Inn, including her personal accounts of strange events that have occurred since she's been employed there (over 10 years now).  Apparently the ghost of Kitty Knight, quite a prominent woman of society in her day, still inhabits the place.  For example, the front desk will occasionally get calls from room 4, which was Kitty's bedroom during her lifetime. However, this happens even when no one is booked in that room. When they answer the phone, no one is there. When the staff has investigated, they find the room locked. When entering the room, they find it empty.  There have also been other reports from Inn guests, as well as members of the staff, of doors closing by themselves, shadowy figures of a woman on the wall, and hearing voices. The Inn even had to remove Kitty's rocking chair from her bedroom because guests complained about it rocking on its own. 
I reminded my husband that our anniversary was coming up in November and asked him how he felt about coming to this B&B for dinner, then spending one night in room 4 (Kitty's room), just for the fun of it.  He told me that if that's how I wanted to celebrate my anniversary, I'd be spending it alone since he was not at all interested in sharing a room with Kitty Knight.  

Not sure if I buy into all of the things we learned about yesterday, but I think my Irish heritage appreciates a good yarn and the folklore surrounding some areas of the Eastern Shore.  I had a great time and enjoyed the whole tour.  I bought a copy of the author's book because she did an excellent job in  researching this subject and collecting the stories she compiled into a book.
Besides, if I ever find myself in a situation where I need to tell some good old-fashioned ghost stories, I've got it covered - and can say I've been there, too.

Who knew the Eastern Shore could be such a creepy place?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Other Feathered Family Members

Aside from my 8 chickens, I'm not sure if you knew that I also have 5 parakeets; Sky, Pickles, Ollie, Eddie and Violet.   

Pickles & Sky
  I've had Sky longer than any of the other birds, since 2005, which I got to be  a companion for my first parakeet, Scotty, who has long since passed away.  Then came Pickles, to keep Sky company and a little over a year ago I adopted Ollie, Eddie and Violet from a friend of my brothers.  I wasn't really planning on adding any more parakeets to the family, but when my brother asked if I'd be interested in a "couple" (which turned out to be 3) more birds, in a moment of weakness I said yes.

Since yesterday was a really nice day, I thought I'd take the opportunity to clean their cage outside and give it a really good cleaning with the hose and dishwashing liquid.  In the meantime, because the weather was in the high 60's, I was able to put the birds in their outdoor aviary on the back porch.

When I had my back porch enclosed a few years back I decided to have the contractor also enclose a section of it as a bird aviary because I thought in the late Spring and Summer it would be nice for them to get some fresh air and sunshine and hear the other birds singing, as well as to be able to fly around more than they can in their house cage, and bring them a little closer to nature.  Needless to say, they LOVE being out there! In the summer when the temps are consistently above 70 degrees, they stay out there all the time. And its really nice to be serenaded by them and watch their silly birdie antics when we're eating our meals on the back porch.  It's like musical comedy dinner theater.

So around 5:30 PM when I thought it was getting a little too chilly for them to be out any longer, we put these little guys back in their newly cleaned cage and into the house they went.

Friday, October 22, 2010


The only good reason I can think of to live in the city would be that you would not necessarily need a car to get around.  Buses, subways, or taxis could pretty much take you where you needed to go.  

I've never been a lover of cars, but see them more as a necessary evil, and a hateful way to spend my money. 

Take yesterday for example.  There I sat at home, waiting to hear from my mechanic. Why? Because on the way home from work night before last, my car overheated.  I happened to glance down for some reason (thank you, guardian angel!) and noticed the temperature gauge needle ALL the way over in the red section - as far over at it could get.  I pulled over to the shoulder of the road as soon as I was able and immediately turned off the car.  It was then that I noticed smoke coming from under the hood.  Scared me to death.  I made a panicky call to my husband first, and once I told him where I was and he assured me he was on his way to "rescue" me, I then called AAA so they could send a tow truck to get the car. 

Seems the car lost all it's coolant because my "crossover pipe" which connects the coolant hoses to the radiator (new one on me!) had cracked, which meant there was nothing to cool down the engine. Guess you learn something new everyday, huh? Although I may come across as a "dumb woman" to some of you when it comes to mechanical issues, the truth is, I just don't care!  All things mechanical bore me to tears.  God bless the people (like mechanics themselves!) who find this stuff fascinating, but I'm certainly not one of them.  In any event, after talking to the mechanic later in the day, he also broke the good news (can you hear the sarcasm?)that I was also going to need new front and rear brakes, rotors, as well as tires and a front end alignment.  See? This is why I hate cars.  I know nothing lasts forever - including brakes and tires - but I just HATE spending my hard-earned money on this stuff. Especially when I don't even like cars to begin with! In fairness to my car, however, it's been pretty good to me (other than the pipe that cracked).  All in all, I've had very little work done on it since I've owned it, other than routine oil changes, which I'm good about getting done every 3,500 miles. It's just everything else that I don't want to be bothered with.  But what can you do? You can't ride on bad brakes or tires.  In fact, there are just SO many expenses associated with owning a car which you can do absolutely nothing about; renewing your tags, insurance, emissions inspections,  and God knows the oil companies can crank up the price of gas anytime they get the notion to, using one of their lame excuses.  I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that cars are money pits that depreciate in value every day that you own them!

But car companies continue to spend ridiculous amounts of money on advertising campaigns that deceive consumers into believing that "we are what we drive." And it works, too, because sadly, a lot of people actually fall for this nonsense.  As if their worth as a person depended on it. Some even believe it to the point that they get themselves into needless debt with car payments in an effort to live up to the image associated with driving a certain type of vehicle. I think this is awful.  For me, a car is a utilitarian object, designed to take me from point A to point B.  A collection of metal, plastic, rubber, etc., does not define me as Madison Avenue would have me believe.  I define me.   

I remember car shopping as a young, unmarried woman.  What a nightmare.  My experience with car salesman has been that they seem to think that every woman who walked through the door without a man by her side could be conned into making an emotional decision with no regard to price, a car's reputation, or consumer reports about its reliability.  I actually had one salesman say to me, "This car would look GREAT with your hair!" I just looked at him and didn't say a word, then turned right around and walked out.  I was completely insulted that anyone would think I'd be stupid enough to make a big decision like buying a car, based solely on how well it complimented my hair.  Still makes me mad to this day when I think about it.  GRRRRR!  

This is my current car.  Very average as you can see.  I guess I'm really showing my age, too, to have chosen a wagon.  But for my lifestyle, it's totally practical.  With 3 dogs in the family, it's nice to have that extra area in the back so when we take them to the lake near our house, there's plenty of room for them.  Or if we take off for the mountains there's more than enough room for all our stuff in the back.  I've pretty much driven Fords since I've had my license. This one included. I don't know why they get the bad rap they do either, because I've always gotten at LEAST 200,000 miles on all of them - run them into the ground actually until they won't run anymore - and never remember any of them being lemons. In fact, the most mechanically unreliable vehicle I owned was a Chevrolet (my first and last), many years ago.  I'm sure it never made it to the 200,000 mile mark like my Fords, who all died of old age and natural causes ;-)  

This one's got another 60,000 or so miles to go before I send it out to pasture - but first it needs new tires, brakes and an alignment. Sigh... Remind me again why I don't live in the city? 


Monday, October 18, 2010

Come Join Us At the Party!

In case you're looking for me, I'm at Patrice's barn party
(  She's having a Blog-aversary and we're celebrating in the barn and was kind enough to invite me.  Come on along with me and don't be shy! She would LOVE to have you!

My husband, who always likes to be where there's LOTS of food!  I'd also bring my little dog, Lilly, who, if you've seen her pictures, also likes to be where there's LOTS of food!

If it's in the 60's during the day, I'll be wearing a long sleeve Gap tee-shirt (I think I have one in every color they make!), Levi's jeans, then slip on my barn coat when it gets chilly later tonight. Oh, and my cowboy boots, too, in case Patrice allows me to saddle up and ride one of her horses :-) 

I'm most looking forward to meeting Patrice and her whole family.  They seem like such nice people...and then all of her animals, of course! Especially the horses wearing the scarves and hats that Patrice has knitted for them.    

I sure hope Patrice has an electrical outlet in her barn because being a native Marylander, I'd like to bring a big crock pot of ... 

Maryland Crab Soup

2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
3 cups water
1 cup fresh lima beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup sliced carrots
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning TM
2 cups beef broth
1 pound blue crab crabmeat
10 blue crab claws, steamed (optional)
1 gallon water 


1.Place whole tomatoes, water, lima beans, corn, sliced carrots, chopped onion, Old Bay seasoning, and beef broth, in a 4 quart pot. Heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.

2.Bring 1 gallon water to boil. Add crab claws and boil 6 minutes. Drain crab and set aside.

3.Stir crabmeat (and crabs claws, if desired) into tomato and vegetable mixture. Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes longer. Serve hot.

I liked Kim's idea at  of bobbing for apples.  Haven't done that in forever, but think it would be fun. Great idea, Kim :-) Or how about a group of us making caramel apples? Haven't had one of those in forever, either. YUMMY!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Let The Moulting Begin

Look at this pathetic girl.  It's that time of year and Lucy, my white leghorn, is always the first to start moulting, then the others girls follow suit. 

Lucy is one of the first chickens I got about 4 years ago, and although she's at the top of the pecking order, you'd never know it to look at her since she's so skinny and scrawny now.

I can tell that during her moult she loses her confidence, too.  Normally she marches around the yard with an attitude like a rooster.  She's always in charge with a very determined look on her face that says "Stay out of my way! I'm on official business and have NO time to talk!"

But I notice that in this condition she's needier and wants to hang around me more - not like her at all. She's always been very stand-offish and refuses to ever let me hold her. 

Twinkie, my Buff  Ameraucana, is also starting to moult, but doesn't look quite as bad yet. 

This is Twinkie's first moult so I have no idea if she'll lose as many feathers as Lucy has. 
Along with their regular food this morning, I also made them a treat of cooked oatmeal and threw in some raisins, diced strawberries, and a  crumbled up waffle, too.  They went NUTS for it!
Two moulting girls in search of bugs.
Happy Sunday Everyone :-)!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This is my first Thankful Thursday  post (thank you, Kim, at My Field of Dreams), so last night I started to write down all the things I felt so blessed for in my own life, but after watching the TV coverage and reading all the news stories about the miraculous rescue of the 33 Chilean miners, it seemed like a no-brainer to dedicate today's post to these men, as well as  their families.  I am SO  thankful that these men made it out alive and safely into the loving arms of their families.

I have no relatives, friends or any connection to Chile whatsoever, but as a human being, when I think of how I'd feel if my husband or any family member were in this situation for the last 69 days, I can't help but cry (and cry, and cry...).  It's such a wonderful/inspiring/thrilling story and a bright light of hope in this dark world. I truly believe that this happy ending would not have been possible without God's intervention.  There are NO limits to his power! Praise God for another job well done! 

Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
       O LORD, be my help."
  You turned my wailing into dancing;
       you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
  that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
       O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.
Psalm 30: 10-12

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Walk For Farm Animals

 In case you think I spent the whole weekend decorating my yard and building scarecrows as mentioned in my previous post, allow me to set the record straight.  Last Saturday I did my part for the animals when I participated in the "Walk for Farm Animals" sponsored by Farm Sanctuary whose mission is to "protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living." Although there were organized walks all across the country for this purpose, I walked in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where our group walked up and down the boardwalk, holding up our signs and distributing pamphlets and literature to educate and raise awareness about factory farming and Farm Sanctuary.    

Battery Hens: NO way to live!

Until about a year ago, I'd never heard of Farm Sanctuary until I got a piece of literature in the mail. Considering all the mail I get on a daily basis from all kinds of charities requesting my financial support, it's a wonder this didn't end up in my recycle bin, as much of it does in my house. Don't get me wrong; there are many, many worthy animal and environmental charities out there, and I contribute to a lot of them, but I simply cannot afford to give to everyone that asks. Believe me, I'd love to, but I can't. In any event, I clearly remember opening up Farm Sanctuary's mailing at the kitchen table and it not broke my heart, but it opened my eyes to the horrors of factory farming, which is where the majority of the meat, eggs and dairy in our grocery stores come from. When I read and saw the horrendous conditions these animals are forced to live in for the sole purpose of human consumption, it made me sick. It also made me question my own eating habits. I've never been a huge carnivore to begin with, but I have to be honest; I did enjoy the occasional cheeseburger or a couple of strips of bacon with my eggs and loved smothering my Thanksgiving turkey with big helpings of gravy and mashed potatoes. Never again. Please don't misunderstand me; I'm not sitting in judgment of ANYONE who does eat meat (my husband, for example, will never go meatless and I wouldn't even attempt to win that battle) but it's something that I choose not to do anymore. And I don't miss it or crave it at all. That is, I guess you could say that I don't eat mammals (beef, pork or chicken), but I still eat seafood (fish, shrimp and crabs). I don't think I can ever completely go the vegan route, which would also mean giving up dairy and eggs. I think if animals are treated humanely and live in environments where they can thrive as God intended them to (case in point; my chickens!) and are not shoved up against each other in tiny cages and shot up with growth hormones and antibiotics, as they are in factory farms, then drinking organic milk from a happy cow who is allowed to field graze, not a confined, stressed out one, doesn't make me feel like I'm contributing to what I consider a crime against animals. In fact, I'm now drinking more soy and rice milk than I am cow's milk, which is truly not as bad as it sounds. Really. As for eggs, I only have to walk as far as my backyard for those and if you've seen some of my earlier posts,  I don't think I have to convince you as to what spoiled queens those ladies are! Maybe this logic sounds completely looney to you, but so be it. I feel better - or should I say that my conscience feels better about living my life this way. Remember the "just say no" campaign started by First Lady Nancy Reagan back in the 1980s to discourage kids from engaging in recreational drug use? I guess this is my own personal campaign where I will "just say no" to animal cruelty in factory farms.

A Compassionate World Begins With You.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How I Spent My Sunday

I've kicked the bug that rendered me almost helpless for a couple of days and I'd like to send a big THANK  YOU(!) to all my blogging pals for your kind words and well wishes for a speedy recovery. So now that I'm back to my ornery old self, it seemed like a good day to start my Fall/Halloween decorating.  I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, something cute but simple, so I ran around the last couple of weekends and got 2 bales of straw, mums, pumpkins and gourds.  

I also had the idea that I'd like to build a scarecrow, which I've never done before, so I was just flying blind about how to put it together.  I used a big branch that I got from our woods in the back and nailed a board across it in a "T" shape so his arms would be up in typical scarecrow fashion.  Not as easy as it sounds - at least for me, anyway. I had to use my husband's handsaw to cut the branch to the right height and the electric jigsaw as well for trimming the little branches that were attached to the big branch (another first for me today).  All this took a lot longer than I anticipated, but it was a beautiful sunny Fall day, so I took my time and tried not to get frustrated when it didn't all didn't come together instantly.  I stuffed a pillowcase with straw for his face and body, and covered his head with my favorite gardening hat.  In fact, his whole outfit is from my closet; overalls, flannel, bandanna and hat.  After I put him together, keeping him upright was another challenge, but I stuck with it and finally got him to stand on his own. Once he was upright and we no longer looked like we were slow dancing together in the front yard, I stood back to look at the whole thing and decided that his face was too blah with just the pillowcase, so to give him a little more of the Halloween spirit, I ran up to the Dollar Store and came up with this skeleton mask, as well as the crow, which I think adds a nice touch.
Believe or not, the whole process took me around 2 hours. I bet you're thinking "WHAT?! Wow, you must really be inept." Okay, guilty as charged.  I know it would have taken less than half the time if my husband was around to lend a hand (i.e., do 95% of the work), but I had already given him a day pass to go fishing with 2 of his buddies, so this was a solo effort by yours truly at my first ever scarecrow. Besides, I was in the mood to do this today so I didn't want to wait until he got home - or until next weekend.

In other news today, around dusk after all the scarecrow building and decorating was finished, I decided to wind down in the backyard and enjoy my favorite form of therapy, better known as  "watching chickens" when I noticed a movement in the corner of my eye.  When I looked over and focused on it, I saw it was a lone wild turkey spying in the fence on all of us.  He was a huge rascal, too! I slowly walked up to the fence to get a better look, wishing I had my camera with me, but when I got about 4 feet away he took off.  I don't think wild turkeys are all that common around here, although I know they do exist, even if in small numbers, since I remember seeing a group of them a couple of years ago coming out of the woods across the street, so I was pretty excited about another appearance.  

The only other thing I enjoyed watching today was Lilly run herself ragged up and down the yard when she'd see various squirrels perform their  acrobatics, jumping from one tree branch to the other. I personally found it very impressive, but she literally loses her mind when she sees those squirrels! Must be the terrier in her.   You'd think she'd be used to them by now, but oh, how she hates them with a passion!  Age has not mellowed her at all in that respect. 

All in all, it was a very good day.  The only regret I guess is that since I spent the majority of my day outside, I didn't get the kind of housework done that I was planning on today. Rats! Of course I justify this by telling myself that there aren't going to be many more days like today in the coming months, so I might as well enjoy the great outdoors while I can.  When the temperatures drop below 50, there will be plenty of time to stay inside to vacuum, dust, wax, etc. Yuk. I can't wait.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No Rest For the Weary

Out of nowhere I seem to have caught some sort of stomach bug/flu/yucky thing that started last night after I got home from work and caused me to be up just about every hour on the hour until the next morning. No fun whatsoever.  Normally, I would just call in sick the following day, but wouldn't you know it, today of all days  I had a project to finish that required me to be there at least until noon. Luckily, before my husband left for work he found some upset stomach medicine in the cabinet and thankfully, the "good until" date had not expired, so after downing that and waiting for it to kick in, I went about my normal morning routine of feeding the animals, then  rallied enough energy to shower, get dressed and then head to the office. 

When I got there I told my boss I was feeling a little under the weather, got no sleep the night before, and as soon as I finished what I had to do, would be out of there to go home to let this thing run its course, as well as catch up on the sleep I missed and needed.  As planned, I was able to leave by 12:30 and when I walked outside, it was an absolutely spectacular day, with temps in the mid-70s and sunny with a light breeze. As perfect as you could ask for. On the way home I daydreamed about falling asleep on the chaise lounge in the backyard with the sun on my face, and the girls and dogs close by keeping me company.  Before I got home though, I thought I should make a quick stop at the grocery store to get some chicken broth and crackers since my stomach was completely empty and it would probably be best to ease back into eating with some bland food. 

After wolfing down the broth and 6 crackers (I hadn't eaten since the day before!), I headed for the chaise lounge all ready for an afternoon of rest and recooperation. I was feeling a little better, just really tired, and thought this is great; I'll just lay here and listen to the birds sing while the sun and the breeze lull me to sleep.  I wasn't there long before Scarlett and Peggy wandered over and decided that my lap was a good place for their afternoon nap, too. It was all very cozy with the 3 of us, but being the fickle young ladies they are, that only lasted about 10 minutes and
then they were off for bigger and better things in the yard.  Kids. So I closed my eyes again waiting for sleep to overcome me when a thought came to me: "Now would really be a good time to clean out that hen house." The (logical) part of my brain  said, "Forget it! Stay where you are, RELAX and don't move. No more working or thinking about work today!" But I couldn't help myself.  My guilty conscience (which curiously always sounds like my mother's voice) won out when it said, "How can you just lay there being unproductive when there's a million and one things to be done around here?" Get up! You're not dying!" So after retrieving the shovel and wheelbarrow, I cleaned out the girl's house, followed by ...

Filling up the bird feeder...

Changing the house flag... 

Then tearing down the tomato vines and giving a few rogue tomatoes I found to the girls.

I really need to get over this guilt trip I put myself through about laying around "too long" - especially when I actually DO need the rest!  

I should learn to be more like Lilly, who watches the world go by until she dozes off, completely unconcerned about what did or didn't get done today...

Or even Loretta, who slips away from the rest of the girls for her "me time" dust bath without a care in the world or a trace of guilt to be found on her.