Friday, December 24, 2010

Visitors in the House!

Yes, my Christmas time guests are back again. Lyra and her mom boyfriend. (We'll call them K and M.) They got in Sunday afternoon after leaving Massachusetts pulling a U-Haul trailer stuffed with my mom's living room furniture.

(I forgot to finish this the other day so I'll write something quickly.)

In the few days they've been here Lyra, Luna, K and I have done a lot of walking in the woods. K and I have gone shopping, once for food and once for gifts.

It's Christmas Eve now and in an hour we'll be heading over to Uncle Butch's for a party. I made sweet and sour meatballs.

During this week Hal and M have been hunting and finally late this afternoon one has gotten a deer. They'll show up to the party later after they've hung it in the pole barn.

That's it for now, I am tired, and have to change clothes.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Family Christmas Party Day!!

Today  Hal and I will attend the annual Family Christmas party for his side of the family.I drove down with his mom 2 days ago so she and I and her daughter could just hang out together and bake. I made an egg nog cake I've never tried before, home made applesauce, and I have a pineapple stuffing ready to go into the oven once I retrieve it from my car where it spent the night as the refrigerator is full.

Hal is driving his dad down this morning and have already left. Will take them about 4 hours to get here. We'll all meet up at J & M's home where the party takes place every year as they've got the biggest house in the area. It will be great to see everyone as not all could make it to Thanksgiving up north. Only one family won't be present as they are now in Texas, being a military family and subject to moving about a lot.

Other food that I know will be there are "Mexican chicken", a spiral ham, pumpkin pies, the famous C's cheese ball, cheesy potatoes, and undoubtedly several other desserts. Soda, tonic, pop, coke, whatever you want to call the bubbly, effervescent, fizzy, carbonated beverage will be the drink of the day.

Besides eating there will be a gift grab bag, one for women, one for men, everyone participating provides a gift, this year, the price limit was raised to $10. The children under 18 exchange gifts with another cousin whose name was picked for them at Thanksgiving. And after all this there is a "White Elephant" game where everyone gets to choose a mysterious gift that another family member contributed because he/she didn't want it. Gets rather silly at this point because some of the gifts are really awful or even useless to the one who gets it yet now and then one is pretty cool. those risk being "stolen away" by someone else with a really lame gift. Can be funny.

Well, probably should go get that stuffing out of my car and turn the oven on. One of these days I'll update the blog again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Like My HDTV!

It finally arrived Friday. It has been held hostage since the 17th of November in a warehouse in Taylor, MI. The shipping company claimed they can only deliver to my area on Thursdays, and since last Thursday was a holiday (Happy belated Thanksgiving) they couldn't deliver till the other day. Oddly, they didn't deliver on Thursday, Dec 2nd, but instead Friday, December 3rd. Wonder what their excuse would have been had I asked why not Thursday?

However, what I researched and purchased was an LG 42 inch LCD HDTV 1080p 120 Hz. I must say it looks very, very good. Damn good in fact. Hal also hooked up all our speakers so we're getting Dolby 5.1 surround sound again.

We reoriented our living room to accommodate this set up. Essentially, rotated the furniture 90 degrees. The TV, as it's very thin compared to our cathode ray tube 24" TV is now on the bookcase against the staircase wall between our tall oak cabinets. Stereo remains on the left side and we moved all the TV components to the cabinet on the right. Hal removed the old TV cabinet to his camp and moved his 8 point deer head to that wall. Eventually, it will have a chair beneath it when my younger sister brings the family furniture here in 2 weeks.

Since we had to remove a lot of knick knacks from the shelves to make this rearrangement, I have to put them all back again with fewer shelves as those same components took those shelves over. So, slowly I am dusting and polishing and replacing. Might get it done by the time my sister, her BF and Lyra get here in 2 weeks.

Or not. But the TV will still look good!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bought a BIG TV and a few Other Things

At least it's big for me. A 42" LG high definition television. Looks nice, I've seen other LG's in person but not this one. Bought it from Amazon. It's supposed to be here by the end of the week. Bought it for $300 off list price. I was planning to stand outside a store on Black Friday hoping to get something similar, but Amazon has been having some pretty good pre-Black Friday sales. Can't wait for it to get here, our current TV is only a couple years old, and isn't a bad little TV, but it's only 24" and is not high def so can't take advantage of the HD signal we're getting from DirecTV. We'll have to pull the old stand out of the loft to set it on but that's no problem though a little awkward to maneuver down the stairs. The current stand will look very nice at Hal's hunting camp with the little 24" one.

Tonight I'm heading to his camp with a dinner of venison heart, a strawberry cake and a salad. Opening day of rifle season is tomorrow so I'll be out there with my dad's gun looking for dinner. Hal has already given a couple deer away to some of our less fortunate neighbors. They really appreciate it.

Luna will spend tonight and tomorrow at Uncle Butch's with her Uncle Yogi, Tank and whichever other doggie friends happen to drop by. Uncle Butch's granddaughter will feed and left my birds out of their coops in the morning so I don't have to rush back.

Did a little shopping last week, too. Bought Hal a new fleece hoodie. He liked it so much I went back the next day and got him another.

Eleven days till Thanksgiving. Many of Hal's clan will be up here for dinner at the farm, then holiday shopping on Black Friday. I'm looking forward to it. Plus I no longer have to get up at 5 am to wait outside Walmart in hopes of snagging a TV on the cheap.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good Time Downstate!

Spent a few days downstate last week with Hal's sister. We'll call her Sal. She was between terms in nursing school and needed a few days to unwind as did I. We had a great time. We went shopping. (Imagine that!) Saw the movie Secretariat which we both enjoyed immensely. I remember watching those races live on TV. I loved that horse. Been a long time since I've really gotten interested in horse racing.

On Friday night we went with one of Sal's friends and one of our sisters-in-law to a mystery wine dinner at the Portofino in Wyandotte, MI right on the Detroit River. The restaurant has had several multiple course dinners before but this was the first one they had where both the food and wines served were a mystery to everyone except the chef and the sommelier. Every thing was fantastic! Five courses were served, first course had a champagne from Spain and a warm watermelon salad. Second course was a white wine from France and curried, grilled prawn. Hickory smoked duck was served with a red wine from Israel, and the 4th and main course was a gorgonzola stuffed filet mignon served with a cabernet sauvignon from Napa Valley, CA. Dessert was a toasted almond creme torte and a sweet white wine from Hungary called a Tokaji. We had the best time with 28 other guests that night. I loved everything.

Of course, the weekend had us shopping some more. Besides clothes, most of which I did not need but the sales were great, I also got more beads for the jewelry I've been making. Haven't made a lot yet, only 3 necklaces, but I enjoy it and they made great gifts.

On Sunday night we had home made Mexican food at yet another SIL's home, the one married to Hal's youngest brother. Their 3 children were there and their dog Bailey, a rat terrier and their newest puppy, Cutty, a 10 week old beagle. I'm afraid I played more with the puppy than the little kids.

The entire time I was there, 5 days and 6 nights we spent little time at home, we were constantly running around. Also wen to "Always Christmas" a holiday store in Lake Orion, as well as several different restaurants to eat. We didn't cook for ourselves at all. I'm hoping we can get together for another one of these visits in the future.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Looked at a Puppy

And played with him too at an animal shelter in south east Michigan yesterday. He was about 5 months old, black, a probable Labrador mix they called Reggie. He really loved to retrieve. He didn't look me in the eyes but kept coming back to me over an over with his ball or toys. He was undernourished and his back legs were a little splayed which could be from being undernourished. His skin was a little dry and he didn't say much  probably due to having kennel cough. But he seemed to be a sweet little boy. I hope he finds a good home, he'd possibly be a nice fit with me and Luna and Hal, but I wasn't "feeling it". Possibly it's too soon since I lost Rocket.

One day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Out of the Internet Dark Ages

We bit the bullet this week and as of today had a satellite internet service installed. It's not as fast as cable modem or DSL, as far as I know, but it's much faster than the dial-up we've been using for years. The cost though is 8 times what we were paying for dial-up, but the last few weeks we've been having more and more problems, bad connection speeds, unable to connect at all, it's been very annoying. When it happened now and then no big deal but when this is your major entertainment and it's an hourly problem, time to upgrade.

We went with Hughes Net because it seemed to have the best value. I ordered the Pro plan rather than the cheaper Home plan to get a larger download allowance as well as slightly faster speeds. However, apparently, they still signed me up for the Home version though I had the operator repeat that I wanted the Pro version. Plus my discount seems not to be applied. So I get to call them again and try to straighten things out.

But at least it is faster and I can have more online fun!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Luna

Luna turned 5 today. Bittersweet as we lost Rocket yesterday but we went for a couple of long walks and she got lots of special goodies and chicken in her dinners. She went for a swim in Mud Lake, chased sticks, and visited Uncle Butch's house 3 times today and played a little with Yogi. She's doing pretty well I think. We both are. It's hard to stay sad with her bounding around. She is such a sweetheart!

Rocket: August 21, 1997 to September 10, 2010

He's gone. Friday morning I got a call from Uncle Butch's wife, Rocket couldn't get up, he had an "accident" and was crying because he couldn't get up to go outside in time. I got there  in under 10 minutes, I called Hal, we carried him outside on his bed, I helped him up so he could pee. His rear legs kept collapsing, but he managed. We helped him back to his bed then carried him to the car. I called the vet's office while we were on the road. He rode quietly in the back seat, he seemed comfortable now that he had peed. We got there just after 9:30 am. The doctor was amazed that he wasn't jaundiced, that he had gotten into the wading pool the day before. I had spent that afternoon outside with him, it had been a nice day. He seemed to enjoy laying in the sun and sniffing the air.

They brought a gurney out to my car. We lifted the bed onto it, and wheeled him into a room. I signed a form and paid the bill. Then the doctor did it. I held Rocket's head in my hand and then he was gone. It was fast, it seemed too fast. He swallowed. His eyebrow twitched, his nose whiskers quivered. We wrapped him in a blanket and wheeled him back out through the side door and they bundled him into my back seat. We were driving home by 9:55 am.

Hal dug a grave by the lilac bushes near the pond. Uncle Butch and his wife came over, they brought Luna with them. It was all done by noon.

Rocket performing the biscuit dance at Uncle Butch's house.
So Rocket is gone and it seems very unreal. I expect him to appear around the corner and perform his biscuit dance. I'd so love to see it again.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Almost Went to the Vet Today

Would have been for the final visit for Rocket, last night he was breathing roughly, he was weak, falling over, and everyone agreed it was time. I went over this morning to check on him and he was breathing normally, looking around, being his normal self for a dog who isn't eating. Turns out the pain pills I was giving him for pain I thought he might have, were causing all the symptoms. Fourteen hours after I'd given him the last one he was able to walk outside, get in the pool, have a drink, come back inside and went to bed. He was a different old dog today. He's still not well and won't get better, but he's got a short reprieve.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beach Party!

On the last day of August I joined my friend at Jewell Lake with his dogs and mine to celebrate his getting Tink a year earlier. She's Mr Mike's little sister. He acquired Tink while on a trip to South Dakota where he goes every year for field work. Both his dogs are bird dogs of the pointing variety whereas mine are retrievers though untrained in that job. I certainly don't need my dogs to start retrieving chickens.

Luna Retrieving yet again.
It was a hot windy day and the 3 younger dogs had a blast chasing bumpers. They chased them over and over and over. Eventually, they did tire out.
Mr Mike pointing at something....

Tink Leaping

Rocket also seemed to enjoy himself though he did what he usually does which is simply lay in the shallows and just watch everyone else.

Rocket Being Rocket

It was a good day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It Must be the Water?

So the last couple of days I haven't seen Rocket drink any water. As far as I could tell the only liquid he was getting was what he was getting whenever I used a 3 ml syringe to give him honey, broth or water. He hasn't really eaten anything since Saturday.

This afternoon while he was sleeping in the driveway Uncle Butch and Mrs Butch came over in their golf cart to see him. After mentioning the water problem, UB decided he was going to set up his water dish near him. So he put out a couple of blocks to raise the level to Rocket height and I got his water dish. Immediately Rocket stood up, walked over and did what I've seen him do the last couple days, smell the water, look around, smell the water, stick out his tongue and taste it and then walk away toward the trailer.

Rocket loves being at Uncle Butch's
We figured he was going to his usual spot to eat grass or lay down where he could be alone as he has always been a loner. I followed him around the trailer expecting to see him go back around the other side but, no Rocket. Mrs Butch got up and we start looking around, then I see his butt disappearing down the power line trail. I keep following, Mrs Butch following further behind and then I hear UB start up the cart to follow.

I see Rocket climb down into his favorite swamp pool/mud hole, lay in it and drink a little swamp water. Then he climbs out, stands in the trail a moment then starts up the hill toward UB's house. The 3 of us follow along strung out in a line, every so often Rocket pauses, looks back to make sure we're still there, and keeps going. We end up at Uncle Butch's house, Rocket walks up the ramp and we let him in where he proceeds to the dog dishes in their kitchen and drinks a lot of water. Then he walks away, let's Yogi have a drink, then drinks some more.

Then he lays on their kitchen floor and decides to take a nap.

I guess he likes their water better.

So I brought his bed over so he can spend the night. I'll take his pill over at 11. I hope he sleeps well.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Happy 13th Birthday Rocket!!

My little man is still with us and made it to his 13th birthday. I got him to walk home from Uncle Butch's yesterday and he spent the day in various spots in the yard or inside the garage. For a while I sat in my lounge chair reading with him. He actually tried to get into his old mud hole/pool on the walk home but it was empty of water since we've had little rain. I don't see a dog  that does something like that is ready to give up.
Today I took him and Luna for a ride to the vet, not so they could be seen by him but so I could pick up the metronidazole I had left there the day of the surgery. Earlier I managed to force a couple tablespoons of ground dog food down his throat and he swallowed it. He hadn't eaten in 2 days so I had to do something to give these pills a chance to work. He had his pills at 10 am then at 2 and 6 I fed him a little more.

He seemed to enjoy the ride, he always did like a nice car ride even if we didn't actually go anywhere in particular. When we got home he wanted to snooze in the back seat so I let him, eventually he got back out and we hung out together, him snoozing or sniffing the air while I read a book in between the rain showers.

I also took a few photos and I think he still is looking pretty good. So Happy Birthday RocketMan. I sure wish you could be around for more. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Roller Coaster Continues

Rocket is still with us this evening. It's not been easy. For the most part he doesn't want to eat. I've run through all kinds of foods; cheese, raw chicken necks, hearts and gizzards. All kinds of canned dog food, brown rice, hot dogs, venison sausage, canned mackerel, scrambled egg, cooked chicken, boiled and raw hamburger, ramen and oatmeal. Most of this he isn't interested in, he's completely given up on goodies of any kind. A few days ago he chowed down on 13 chicken hearts after a little canned food. Next day it was 7 hearts and 2 gizzards. Then a chicken neck and a few gizzard pieces. Yesterday all I could get into him was one chicken/pork hot dog. Today I had to force feed most of a chicken neck. I became very despondent today as he eats less and less. I know the outcome is inevitable but he's still alert, still seems interested in watching things around him.

Last night he decided it was time to walk to Uncle Butch's so I followed him and when he got there he performed his biscuit dance for everyone, though, unfortunately, he didn't actually want to eat and biscuits. (I suspect he wouldn't have eaten some if he thought they still tasted good.) I brought his bed over and he spent the night, not on his bed, but in Uncle Butch's room in front of the door. He spent all day there too and apparently, will be spending tonight there as well. I visited several times today and will be walking over at 11 to give him his antibiotics. A little good news is that he did eat a little food tonight, some brand name deli sliced roast beef and turkey. Perhaps a couple ounces. Not enough but better than nothing. it's been almost a week since the surgery. One week of the month the vet gave him. I don't think he has a month, but we're all trying to make his remaining time happy enough.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Rocket is Dying

There is nothing anyone can do. He has liver cancer and now I feel like a heel for putting him through surgery that accomplished nothing but a diagnosis for me. The doctor doubted there was a blockage, the symptoms weren't right, but because that stupid rawhide donut disappeared from the basement shelf at Rocket's height and right afterward he started refusing food, I like an idiot, latched onto that one hope that he might be fixable. Even though he's almost 13 and it was more and more unlikely.

Now he's in pain on top of the lack of desire to eat and I probably robbed him of his last few good days. I just gave him his antibiotic to prevent infection at the incision and those upset his stomach. After I'm sure he's keeping them down I'll give him his pain pill. Sometime after that he'll get his appetite stimulant. Same drug given to human breast cancer patients.

He spent the night outside. First he collapsed in the patch of black-eyed Susans in the front yard when he went outside to pee. He refused to get back up. Hal said he's been sleeping outside, let him. I placed beds and water bowls outside. Hal checked on him a couple of times, I had to go to bed and try to sleep. Rocket ended up back in front of the garage, where he spent many of the last few days. He drank some water while I sat with him this morning. Luna is now laying near him in a hole she dug in the sand. I'll leave him alone for now, he's always been a loner, never enjoyed anyone hovering around him. He likes to know where you are, but wants his space. Even now. I'll give it to him, it's about all I can do for now. If he doesn't feel better in a couple days, show any sign of enjoyment of life, well.... most of my pet loving friends tell me I'll know when to do the right thing.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rocket is Ill

I mentioned in my previous post Rocket wasn't feeling well. He's been losing weight. He's not eating. He slept a lot more than usual. When my neighbors and I really noticed in July he seemed thinner and now and then was turning down his favorite treats. Also, he never really stopped shedding since spring and his fur had become dull. He used to gobble food easily grasping with his front teeth. Now he seemed to be licking the food. So I thought perhaps he had a tooth problem. I took him in to see our vet near the end of July. Not a tooth problem and everything else looked fine although in 3 months he had lost 8 pounds. He's been on an arthritis NSAID for almost 2 years, I took him off of it and within a couple of days his fur stopped falling out in chunks and he became more alert and went for a few short walks.

See how good he looks in this photo taken a few days after going off that pill.

His blood tests came back normal except for one thing, his pancreas enzymes were off the charts. One was doubled and the other was 9 times higher than normal. The vet then had him checked for pancreatitis but that test came back negative. So that left pancreatic cancer but at the time my vet thought against it as other symptoms weren't there.

So we left it there and we would retest his blood in a month. In the meantime I fed him all sorts of canned foods and found some treats he enjoyed, even boiling up burger and rice for him. I also tried to find lower fat foods which are supposed to be better for pancreas problems. A week ago, 2 weeks after his vet visit he seemed to be going downhill again. The canned foods no longer interested him nor did the burger. I took him back to the vet 2 days ago. In just under 3 weeks he'd lost another 6 pounds. He was given a Lower GI test with barium as he'd been straining with every bowel movement. Nothing obvious appeared. So I took him home again and he was put on 2 drugs. One is metronidazole, it's mostly used as an anti-inflammatory and has been known to help digestion problems. The other is an anitbiotic, cephalexin. I'm not sure why he's on that other than to counter a possible unknown infection. But that one is harder on the stomach and after last night's pills he threw them up. Today he kept them down longer before he threw up. Today thus far he's refused chicken, beef and venison burger.

I called the vet again and really the only option seems to be exploratory surgery. I really hate to put Rocket through this but there's a remote possibility the doctor will find something he can fix, although he's really expecting to find a tumor somewhere. If it's on the pancreas it's probably cancer and there won't be anything we can do. Of course, if it's cancer anywhere else that will be it as well. I'm not putting my dog through weeks of chemo or radiation. The only question is then whether I allow him to wake back up after the surgery tomorrow morning. I guess it depends. As of last night he still ate chicken although he threw it up with the pills 90 minutes later. Today he won't eat anything.

Here is a photo taken today. I hope I can take another tomorrow.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's August!

I have been negligent in my blogging. But I have been busy. Many things have been going on but I won't go into detail yet, just highlight a few things and come back later to elaborate.

Rocket's been ill, he seems better now but we still aren't sure what's going on for sure. Cancer has been ruled out for now.

Hal is tearing up the front deck to replace the rotted joists and add new deck boards. The original builders did not seem to use pressure treated lumber.

I have picked many cucumbers and zucchini and grean beans. Pickles are forthcoming.

Working on making beaded jewelry on and off.

Reading large books. First one was Drood by Dan Simmons, current one is Raptor by Gary Jennings. Half way through that one now.

Had a couple guineas and a chicken disappear. The guineas while nesting, the chicken in broad daylight, no idea how.

Lost 6 pounds, probably gained back 3.

Been to the beach (Lake Huron) twice with my neighbors, took Luna the second time. She had a blast.

Only kayaked the Au Sable once so far. Lovely day.

Eleven ducklings hatched in June. Moved them to a separate pen from mom, hoping she'll lay some more eggs and do it again.

Waiting for the bread machine to beep so I can spread out the pizza dough for dinner tonight.

I think that's good for now.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More than a Month!

I can't say that I've been very busy since my last post but things have been happening around here. About 3 weeks ago my Muscovy duck hatched 13 fluffy yellow ducklings.

edit 7-4-14: Apparently I never finished this post and I don't know why, these might be the ducklings that were later killed when the mink got into the garage. I do not remember. They were awfully cute though. I didn't see these photos posted elsewhere though I didn't look at every post in this year, but what the heck, they are/were. Then again this may have been the year later as I am looking at the door to the duck coop. Who knows?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More Planting and Miscellaneous Stuff

I've done a bit more planting since my last post. Three kinds of lettuce, a few more potato pieces and a bunch more snow peas. In peas I have Dwarf gray, Oregon Sugar Pod II and Melting Sugar. The ones I planted have started to emerge. 

Rained a lot the other day, I wouldn't be surprised if we got more than half an inch. Good that I got the lettuce in the day before.

Yesterday a friend and I went to the local nursery and I got several varieties of tomatoes; Sweet 100, Goliath, Jelly Bean, Red Cherry and an orange cherry I can't remember, Roma II, 2 peppers; Gypsy and a jalapeno, and a yellow marigold, a pink sensation cosmos and a pink cleome. These were all in 4 packs so the plants weren't any higher than about 6-8 inches. I need to get some potting soil for the veggies as they will mosly go in pots on the deck. As there are 12 packs in a flat, I seem to be missing another plant, probably a tomato. When the weather stays warm I'll plant them outside, probably in 2 weeks.

We also went to the library, the honey store where I got some flavored honeys and BBQ sauce made with honey. The owner said she lost 80% of her bees over winter again. Whatever is killing the honey bees just isn't stopping.

I also went to St Vincent de Paul's and donated quite a few bags of women's clothing. Some of it fairly new, I'm tired of wearing shirts with sleeves that don't reach my wrists.

Had a bit of a scratchy throat yesterday and it hasn't gone away today. I don't feel ver well, hopefully this won't get any worse. I'm supposed to go to a banquet tonight with Hal and just don't feel like it. Doubt he would go alone though and I can't find anyone to take my place. Maybe I'll feel better by then but it's doubtful.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Was Beginning to Wonder...

..if I was going to get logged in. I tried both my user names and none of the passwords were working so I reset it for one of them. This one, obviously, don't know about the other one yet, have to see if I can remember how to get into that email account first.

We finally got some much needed rain last night after 2 days of 80 degree weather. Only in the mid 60s today and cloudy. After dinner I planted some more snow peas  and spinach. Earlier today I finally got a couple trenches dug and planted 28 pieces of Yukon Gold. Hopefully, they'll grow though the pieces became black and fuzzy from the unexpected humidty overnight after I cut them and left them out to dry.

Today the washing machine pump died while I had a large load of clothes washing. Had to drain the tub with a hose twice (we partially refilled after the clothes were removed) and remove the pump. Its innards are frozen solid. Hal found a generic replacement on line this afternoon after much searching on line and on the machine itself for the model number. It's an old Whirpool Imperial Seventy, at least 24 years old. My parents gave it and its drying mate to us for a wedding present way back in '86. They've worked well for us that whole time. I'd hate to have to buy a new one, they don't last as long. Hal already repaired the dryer a couple years ago.

Had to take that load of wet, somewhat dirty laundry over to Uncle Butch's to finish the rinse cycles. The clothes are all hanging up drying now on the rack in the garage. The part is supposed to arrive by next Wednesday. I've got lots more clothes to wash, too. This is what I get for letting the laundry build up. If I'd washed a load a couple days ago, we'd have ordered the part already and it would have been here before I ran out of clean clothes. I think we will survive.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yard Work

The other day I dug 5 holes along the fence in the front yard for the forsythias I am picked up Saturday from the county conservation district people. I think they'll look really nice down there in a few years. I also planted a few flowering bulbs and an aster my sister gave me from her garden. Still have a bunch of what I think are alium to plant. I also have a forsythia as well from her, I planted another on the west side of the house. This time it's surrounded by large rocks and wire mesh to keep the guineas and chickens from destroying it with dust baths. The hollyhocks near the chimney are no more but there are plenty of dusting holes.

Hal turned my old vegetable garden over with the spade shovel, now I just have to dig out the weeds and smooth it out. As usual I am planting snow peas and beans and perhaps a tomato or two though I've been planting them in deck pots. Won't matter where I plant them if we have another lousy wet, cool summer. Right now it's been very dry. Early warmth in the 70s had the morels popping early and the leaves unfurling on the trees 2-3 weeks early. Hopefully, there won't be any severe freezes though the temperature last night did drop to 30 and it's supposed to go a little lower tonight. Not even 50 degrees yet today, and breezy.

My old veggie garden will be 4 feet shorter as the old fence was moved last year to raise young chickens. I've got 25 feet of plastic 42 inch tall snow fence that I am going touse with a piece of 12 foot chain link that Hal supported between two cedar posts. It will give me a roughly 12 by 8 foot enclosure. Should be enough to keep out the rabbits and the deer don't tend to bother me, must be the dogs.

Speaking of morels I managed to find enough for one small dinner of them, sauteed in butter, salt and pepper with some wild leeks also known as ramps around here. Uncle Butch's son showed Hal where to find them. Hal took me there yesterday and dug up a few more, he wants to plant some here. I looked for morels since it's supposed to be a good are found them. In an hour I found 2, a tiny yellow one and a 2 inch black one. We really need some rain up here. The predicted rain for Saturday stayed just south, so all we got was the clouds and gloom.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

All Mucked Out!

The coop, that is. Today I performed the biannual mucking out of my chicken coop. It took about 4 hours with a few breaks to relieve my nose of the stench. Technically, the deep litter method of keeping chickens is supposed to prevent the stench but I had too many chickens over the winter and their droppings overwhelmed the floor. It did not help having the 3 remaining ducks in there with them but it was the only way to still be sure I had live ducks this year.

I shall mitigate this problem soon. Hal will be lopping off the heads of half of my chickens and also half the guineas. We will be moving the ducks into their own pen as soon as we get a fence built around it. Otherwise I may want to muck out the coop a little more often to prevent such back breaking work.

Of course, tomorrow I still have to take all the muck away. It's sitting in a large pile outside the coop. I still need to charge the lawn tractor battery, hook up the small trailer and fork the chicken droppings into the trailer then dump it on the compost pile at the bottom of the driveway, downwind from the house. That should be fun.

At least the birds are enjoying the day. They got to free range while I was cleaning their house. But now for me, a nice trip to the hot tub will do nicely.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Back Home

I'm back home in Michigan. I had an emergency trip to MA a few weeks ago. Mom was hospitalized and then passed away at age 84. All 4 of her children were there and at one point Lyra as well. My older sister's husband was also there. I told Hal to stay home.

It's very strange. She isn't around to talk to any more. I don't feel as though it's really hit me yet but I'm trying not to think about it too much. She was a very sweet lady and a wonderful mom.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Uncle Butch is Better

I'm a little late, but UB came home from the hospital last Monday. He's feeling better, looks better and is less tired. He still needs at least 2 more stents, apparently they can't do them all at once, something about the dye in the blood to make the veins visible in X-ray can kill you.

He goes back in about 2 more weeks to get another. One of them needs to be placed in his shoulder. All this time we thought his lack of arm movement and pain was stroke related. Weird. Medical science can do cool things now though.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Uncle Butch is in the Hospital

My dog sitter, neighbor, friend has been in the hospital the last few days, having some mild heart attacks and a little pneumonia. Found out tonight he's got a 90% blockage in at least one artery and some sort of leak in the heart. I got my information 3rd hand so I don't know what kind of leak they're talking about. I do know they want to insert a stent into the artery and are going to send him across state to Munson Hospital in/near Traverse City. I think that's where he had his quintuple bypass almost 10 years ago. I sure hope everything goes well.

In the meantime I am going over to their house several times a day to take care of Yogi and Tank. They don't know what's going on, only that mom and dad aren't home. It's a waiting game now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Beautiful Day

Another fine, sunny blue sky day today. Temperature reached 39 degrees fahrenheit, a good 7 degrees warmer than the prediction the other day. Took a couple long walks with Luna, a shorter one with Rocket to drop him off at Uncle Butch's, of course. It was such a nice day I closed the gates to the front yard fence and let the chickens and guineas out to free range. Not the ducks though, I'm not sure I can trust them to come back inside yet.

The birds enjoyed their freedom, making a bee-line to the chimney on the west side of the house where they found dry, fluffy dirt and had themselves a bath. Could they pack themselves in any tighter?

They were very well behaved birds and followed me back into the run a few hours later when I shook the food can. For once it wasn't any yelling and chasing and trying to get them off the coop roof to get them inside.

I made a pizza tonight. It had pepperoni and broccoli and venison sausage and mushrooms for toppings. We had some red wine with it.

The birds are now shut into their coop for the night, Luna and Rocket are asleep on their beds, Hal and I are watching a fairly bad scifi movie on the SyFy channel (taking a break from the Olympics tonight). When it's over I may go read my book by Kelley Armstrong, Haunted. Yes, that's what I will do. I think I'll start on the afghan for a twin bed tomorrow. (I have started the chain, but I'm still thinking about what stitches to use.)


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's the Winter Olympics

Been watching the 2010 Winter Olympics. Been pretty interesting, didn't really paid attention to the last one or the world championships in between. what I've found nice was while it would be cool if an American won an event, I'm enjoying it more just watching athletes perform their best. I thought the Chinese pairs in ice skating who won first and second last night were wonderful. It's too bad the gal in the snowboard cross from the USA got disqualified in the semi-finals, but the winner turned out to be Canadian and since it's in Vancouver, "the crowd went wild"!

Oh, the poor skater from France just fell more than once. He looks devastated. Neat, the third Japanese skater skated to music by Jimi Hendrix. Did a good job, too.

I'm taping the skating events for my neighbor because she doesn't get the channels showing them.

There's been a lot of rain in Vancouver which has been messing up the skiing events. Lack of snow is something we've been having here in Michigan, too. Been a dry warmer than normal winter for here.

Well, so much for the Olympics.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Well, Well, Well Massachusetts!!

I didn't think it would happen but a Republican beat the Democrat in the special election senate race for the late Ted Kennedy's seat. There hasn't been a Republican senator in that state since Edward Brooke, the first African American in the senate. Hopefully, this will make it a little harder for Reid and Pelosi to ram a health care deal down our throats without actually THINKING about the ramifications. I know that's a lot to ask for from any politician, but I'd like to believe a few of our elected officials actually care more about the public than whether they can have nice cars and planes and perks and pork etc.

Now the question is will they try to ram it down our throats before the new senator is seated? Or play something other than dirty politics?

Yup, I'm jaded against politicians. There ought to be term limits.

Friday, January 8, 2010

After the Holidays

Christmas and New Years flew right by. ~~whoosh~~

I've had no time to blog, or at least no time to blog intelligently. So let's have a quick synopsis and some photos.

DH's family Christmas party was the afternoon of the 19th. There was food, beverage, Santa, presents, the white Elephant exchange and the guy/gal gift grab bag. DH drove his parents down the day before, I drove down the morning of and then DH drove us home later that night to arrive home just before midnight.

Mom, little sis and her BF and Lyra arrived on the 20th. We proceeded to watch a million Christmas movies, eat too much, drink a lot of egg nog and apple cider, listen to Christmas music, and cut up and process deer whenever the boys showed up with one. Then we made Italian sausage.

Christmas dinner was roast duck and chicken. Sis made cookies, I made pumkin pie.

Sis and I went shopping, I bought myself more sweaters. I think I got myself 5 this year. Thank goodness they were on sale and mom's gift mostly covered it.

Sis also decorated my tree since I didn't even get the lights on till the morning they arrived. In fact the tree is still up as are the outdoor lights, I haven't had the time, energy or desire to get around to taking them down. Its a nice blue spruce Hal found on our hunting land. He'd brought home a different one first that was "in his way" but it was not even worthy of being called a Charlie Brown tree. This one is much nicer. It's also the first year I used LED lights. Six strings and 2 strings of regular mini lights.

It rained like crazy Christmas day, but we still had a white Christmas and very cold temperatures the rest of the time.

New years eve was spent watching Thin Man movies, eating shrimp, scallops, cookies, etc. Champagne was toasted a little after midnight and we all went to bed before 1 am.

Everyone left for home on Jan 2nd. They got home safely despite running into the end of a snow storm. Rather appropriate since they left before the teeth of a different storm.

I think Rocket looks adorable in this photo. As though he's worried someone may take his bone away from him.

It's really easy to torture Lyra. I didn't leave her that way for long. She's a sweet dog, a little rambunctious but she is only 15 months old.

So that's it for my synopsis.

Happy New Year.