Saturday, January 28, 2012

What The Heck?

This is January.  In southern New Hampshire.  Am I the only one that's nervous that this is all the snow we've got left? This is the backyard at our house, where the garden sits.  It has been the warmest winter here I can remember in the 34 years I've been a New Englander.  It has its lower heating bills and not having to deal with our hella driveway every day.  But on another hand, New Hampshire is ski country. You can imagine what that means for our tourist dollar that our state relies heavily on for income. 

I know, I know there are those that still think global warming is a fallacy.  I am not one of them.  I'm wondering what all this will mean for our apples and maple syrup.  Both types of trees need extended cold to put them in a true dormant state so they can produce our food.  Our FOOD.

I'm feeling this is truly something we should be fretting about.  A lot. 

Uneasy in New Hampshire, ~Peacemom

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So Ready

Good Day All,

I was over on my friend, Julie's, blog at Dog Trot Farm this morning and she gave me a nice idea about a short blog topic to try next blog.  Today, I'll just say this.  My motivation for blogging has given way to something akin to blah-dom.  In fact, most of my days have given way to the same.  I'm still working through all the harsh things we've been through recently.  I'm doing okay most days, and then...not so well on others.  It's a process, you see.

My dear friend and mentor Laura lives on the road where our failed attempt at the farm-to-be is located.  And Maestro's Cub Scout leader lives off that road.  So, we have to drive by the farm at least a couple of times a week.  No choice in the matter if we want to see our friends.  This is tough on both Music Man and I.  I don't let my eyes wander to it as I'm driving by, mostly...sometimes I dare to take a glance and it pounds my stomach like a punch.  And seeing our friend and realtor's sign on the front lawn...well, that's tough, too.  He put so much work into that barn with us, knee deep in it all every weekend.  We hope he gets something from the deal in the end.  He deserves it.  The sorrow we feel at not being able to make it not just for ourselves, but for our friends that helped us, is hard too.  The whole thing is one big giant suck pill, truly.

Music Man back on the unemployment, job hunting train is painful, too.  He truly loved what he was doing for work, and there are not as many solar job opportunities out there right now in New England.  My theory is because all the federal funding was cut.  That coupled with jobs being sent to China like his was.  I feel for him in having to do this again and again.  It's stressful and aggravating.  Some of the most stressful things people have to endure in their lives are birth of a child, purchase or sale of a home, losing your job and death of a loved one.  Last year brought us 3 of those 4. And we didn't even end up with the house after 5 months of work and stress to have it.  I'm failing to see the lesson in this for us beyond don't bother to dream.  This is not the first time in the length of my life that I've worked very hard for something I did not get. No, not the first time indeed.  But it is right up there for the one that hurts the worst.

Each day brings me a tiny bit closer to getting over it, I'm sure. Most days, I find my motivation is lacking to do much of anything beyond the necessary.  Yes, I know, still feeling depression sitting on my shoulders.  Most of the time, I just don't think about it.  I just go from one thing to the next that needs doing and do that.  "Just lean forward" is mine and Music Man's motto in things like this.  It has served us with many uphill battles in the 14 years that we've been together.  What else can you do?  Most days, we focus on other things because we can't look back, we've got to look forward.  No way to change what has been.  The two boys currently sleeping in the other room are my reason for getting out of bed some days.  I always know I will move on from sorrow because I have to for their sake.

Lean forward with me, ~Peacemom

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In Another Life

I was going through some old pictures looking for some of the boys and came across a blast from the past.  In 2006, I was hired by a jewelry designer to photograph her pieces for her new website she was developing. I had never photographed jewelry before and had a lot of fun doing this. 

She did use a lot of my work for her website, but didn't find that my pictures were really showing all of every piece, so didn't use them as much for her catalog.  She did love the ones I took for the website, though.

I am much more an artsy person then not, so when she stipulated that she wanted  backgrounds to be in nature for the website, I decided to take the job.   I had a fun time wandering around my property with almost 100 pieces of jewelry and placing them in different areas. 

I also discovered that we had quite a variety of natural surroundings in your 3/4 acre yard! 

It was a unique experience, and I guess techinically made me  a "professional" photographer.  It makes me very much miss my Nikon N65, it's a great camera.  I'm hoping to be able to get a digital camera that I can use it's lenses on.  Developing pictures and film seem so expensive now that digital is free and easy. 

I also miss doing anything creative.  These days, my life is consumed in working, taking care of all the boys in my house, the house itself and carting everyone back and forth to their events.  I'm definitely feeling the need to pick up my camera again.

Wishing you a creative spirit of your own, ~Peacemom

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Afraid of the Snow

I had written a post about my chickens last, and I do try to give a bit of a break from that with other things, but this one I've just got to share with you.  We finally got some snow that's gonna stick around here in New Hampshire.  I've not been in a big rush for it because, well, our driveway is a nightmare...vertical and death defying at best in slippery weather. Not to mention that at the bottom of the driveway just across the road is our neighbor's house, right next to the road.  I often have visions of my car not stopping and having 3600 pounds of minivan sitting in their living room.  I know, it's scary, and for those of you that have been here, you know I'm not lying or exaggerating.

Well, along with that snow comes a new joy to behold.  My chickens are afraid of the snow. My normally brave and aggressive roo won't come off the ramp onto the snow.  I let them out the morning after it has snowed, and he jumped down without a care only to stand stock still and not move.  His head movements and eyes-wide stare showed just what was up.  He was terrified of the snow.  He stayed like that for minutes, I imagine trying to decide what the heck to do next.  He tried picking up a foot and stepping, but was having none of that.  He finally stood still and then flew back up onto the ramp and strutted himself right back into the coop...where he, along with the girls, remained for 3 days without coming out.  The girls figured if Pete Rose was not okay with that horrifying, crunchy white stuff, well neither would they be.  Funny, funny stuff. 

After a bit I went in to shovel a path for them (see previous post about how pampered my chickens are, yes Laura, okay, you might be right).  I got it down to the leaves in the also afforementioned post, and they would finally come out onto those.  We've had some warming since then and all that I uncovered has give way to earth again. So, they are outside now and again.  They had been in the coop for the better part of a week without coming out much.  We had a cold snap in there too and 2 of the days I kept the doors closed to let them preserve the heat and try to keep their featherless backs warm enough.  Needless to say, the coop was not shall we's rosy best.  UGH.  So, I finally got them all out of it yesterday with trickery and bribery. I'm not above it when the situation calls for it, I firmly believe that's what "scratch" feed was made for.  It's like candy for chickens.  I was able to get them all out so I could take a rake to the coop and scrape out all the bedding that needed freshening.  When I opened their coop this morning, I was not met with a chicken poo stench, but the fresh smell of pine shavings and a clean waterer.  That's the way to start a morning, happy chickens make happy owners.

I know, but I take my joys however they come to me these days. It's the nature of my life.

Wishing you pine scent-iness and happy chickens of your own, ~Peacemom

Friday, January 6, 2012

What a GREAT Idea!

I was reading along in a blog site that I follow called Community Chickens.  One of the bloggers on the site suggested that she never needs to compost her autumn leaves.  She just piles them in her chicken's pen and they compost it for her.  Well, a lightbulb went off in my head.

Betty has taken to just picking the feathers off the backs of Tulip and Victoria.  And not only that, but she's taught Pete Rose how to do it as well, so now the two nearly bald-backed girls have two feather pluckers to contend with.  I've tried a number of things to alleviate Betty's boredom.  She's actually quite a smart little chicken and she's plucking not to be mean but to give herself something to do.  I've hung a cabbage in the pen to give her something to peck at, which she does use, but it's not worked.  I bought a ridiculously expensive "pecking block", which is rock hard made with seeds and such.  Though Magnolia does love this thing, she's not a problem with the plucking, and Betty doesn't pay it any mind.  It's mostly gone and I can't see that Betty or Pete Rose have used it at all. 

The girl's pen has been rock hard dirt for a while now.  They've eaten all the grass out, and the soil is so compacted by them and now frozen that it's basically almost asphalt hard.  Mostly they wander around in there aimlessly.  I read on the Chicken Community blog that a couple of people have taken to throwing their autumn leaves in their chickens pen.  Apparently, the chickens will make compost out of it for you with no shredding or anything required.  They mulch it up with all their scratching.  BINGO! Something to give the girls that will provide hours of scratching pleasure.  And, it will make me compost for the garden.  And, it doesn't cost me a cent?  Sounds like just the ticket!

So, I went along the driveway and raked up two wheelbarrow loads full of fallen oak leaves.  Then I slogged them across the yard and heaved them over the fence.  The girls were a bit nervous to say the least!  They did not know what to make of those leaves.  Until Tulip, my brave girl, ventured over and set in the first scratch-and-pluck.  Then, the others, seeing that nothing sprung from the pile and ate her all up, came and did the same.  The piles I had put in were soon spread to all corners of their pen with much happy clucking and chatting from the girls.  They were able to forage, just what they were meant to do!

It remains to be seen if it will make any difference in the problems with Betty's feather plucking, but they sure were happy to have a new diversion for a while.  Even Pete Rose got in on the action, though he kept a wary eye on my "Big Bad Black Boots".  He's convinced they are only out to get him, for some reason, they have become the enemy.  Like I've said many times before, they are not known for their brains, and roosters even less so.

Wishing you scratchy leaves and happy clucking in your pen, ~Peacemom