Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Ducklings!

On Monday the 22nd 12 ducklings hatched from 13 eggs. Unlike last time when the garage was much colder, these guys hatched within a few hours of each other instead of over a few days. Mom has already taken them swimming in the trash can lid I provided. She would prefer to take them to the big pond but last time I allowed that 4 ducklings became 3. If I can manage to keep them in the garage for a month at least they should have a better chance at survival.

This morning after momma duck flew to the pond and back for a swim she couldn't figure out how to get back in so persuaded the panicked little ducklings to escape and make a break for the pond. Fortunately, I caught them in the act before they got 15 feet. They are now safely back in the garage and the holes in the fence blocked.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Eleven Fewer Chickens

Took 11 chickens to the Amish yesterday, including Mr Chicken. He was a good rooster but he beat up on Mrs Chicken a little too much and I am interested in hatching buckeyes and other brown chickens next year instead of barred rock mutts. I picked up the birds today and all are cleaned and in the freezer except for the 2 smallest ones which will become fried chicken for Sunday dinner. I sort of feel I ought to feel bad for Mr Chicken, but I don't really. Must mean they really aren't considered pets by me. I feel worse for the beta rooster, Mr Buckeye. He hasn't crowed all day. Maybe he's in mourning?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BTW, the Hot Tub Works

I neglected to mention that the non-functioning spa/hot tub/jacuzzi knock-off works again. It took a lot of re-plumbing and electrical work but Hal got it working just before the end of August. It's hooked in to the new outdoor wood furnace. Hey, I may have neglected to mention that, too! Nope, just checked, it had a short mention in July.

It's sort of weird burning wood in summer but it's heating the domestic hot water and that saves on propane. As soon as the outside temps drop low enough to cause the propane powered basement furnace to come on the heat exchanger installed inside the plenum will heat the forced air with hot water from the wood stove boiler instead of propane flames.

Last year we bought $3000 worth of propane. This winter we've ordered only $500 worth. If propane prices jump again we'll be sitting pretty. Wouldn't it figure that prices would drop after we buy the stove? Just lucky that way. I am sure they'll go back up again, eventually.

But we've been using the hot tub almost daily. It's great for soaking those aching bones and muscles strained from too much firewood cutting and hauling, or other strenuous activities. Or just nice for the fun of it. It's especially nice with a little coffee liqueur and cream, in a glass of course, not to sit in. Tonight though, we just drank cold water. We're not lushes, you know, no matter that we live in a small village with a big bar downtown.

Now if I can just wire some nice outdoor speakers out there.

Romance Novels?

This is an odd topic for me to bring up since this site is mostly about chickens, dogs, ducks, guineas, kayaking and the occasional hobby, but really, how much can one say about these animals all the time? While I love my dogs and lots of time want to strangle the guineas they just don't lead exciting lives. I also am not one who can pretend my dogs are talking. I have never referred to them as furbabies, that's just too weird for me. I'm weird enough.

So lets talk about something different that I've been toying with all summer (at least since July) and that is romance novels. Hal's sister loaned me a bunch (at my request, I must admit). In fact she'd loaned me 3 in the past, one I had returned years ago. I did read it, the plot was set in medieval times and the hero was some guy named "wolf" or some such thing. It was amusing and the hero was 'hot". I had not read the 2 others that she'd left me, however, because if memory serves they just didn't interest me, and the one I had started left me thinking "how silly"! and I gave up for 2-3 years.

Generally my reading runs to the occasional mystery (I have read quite a few historical ones at my mom's, she loves mysteries), police dramas, the odd Grisham, Jane Austen, etc, but science fiction is my first love, starting way back as a teenager reading my dad's Analogs, galaxy, and F&SF magazines and his small collection of books from Asimov's Foundation to E.E. Smith's Grey Lensmen. Dune by Frank Herbert, of course, goes without saying.

The past few years have seen me reading Dan Simmons (Hyperion, et al are great!), Neal Stephenson, The Killer B's, Vernor Vinge. Currently, I'm reading "In the Courts of the Sun" by Brian D'Amato. It's all about the Mayan calender end of the world thing in Dec 2012. Lots of descriptions on how the Maya may have lived and a little time travel with a twist. Interesting. Much more interesting than my attempt at reading "Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon. God how verbose! I valiantly kept slogging and got to around page 120 but his descriptions of minor things went on and on ad nauseum! (And the premise is so interesting!) Yes he writes well but get to the point damn it I have things to do in this lifetime! Hal is trying to read it now, he's been reading it for weeks. I take pity on him. Only one other book have I never finished (as far as I remember) and that was "Gone with the Wind."I tried to read it in high school for a book report. The movie was better.

I think it was Pynchon that drove me into the historical romance thing. Now there's an excuse! I needed some light reading. So I acquired several books from my SIL by Stephanie Laurens, some random samplings of the Bastion Club (spies) and the Cynsters, (cousins who look like Greek gods). These all take place in England shortly after Waterloo in the Regency period of the early 1800s for those who are clueless.

These books are laced with sex. Oft times I found myself wishing the sex scenes would just find themselves a quiet room and let me get on with the story, which was usually some mystery that put the heroine in danger by the end of the book. VERY formulaic and once you read the first 2 Cynster novels the rest are pretty much the same. The Bastion club's are a little more interesting as there is this sinister traitor hiding just out of reach of the heroes. But my gosh, why are these guys always so tall and drop dead gorgeous? The women get to be all different heights but they are even more gorgeous! (Still, at least the heroines don't go on and on and on about how handsome their men are as did Bella in those insipid "Twilight" books.)

But I digress. Thinking that there must be better written romance novels out there (you'd think I would have discovered these long ago since I so like old B&W movies with Bette Davis, Kate Hepburn, etc), I googled and found some fun websites. One in particular I loved so much I joined this morning and I don't join many things on line. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. These ladies are hilarious. They and their minions review romance novels and there have been some doozies! My particular favorite review is the "playboy sheik" novel. Just follow the Greatest Hits link under the "Who are We?" section. I can assure you I'll Never read the actual book.

I don't expect that I'll delve any deeper into romance novel discussions on this board, it is a family blog after all, but I thought it important that I update my blog with what's been going on lately and that's pretty much been it.

Time to walk my dogs.