I'm a mentally ill person raising another mentally ill person. With chickens.

Archive for the ‘chickens’ Category

A late giving of Thanks

I have fallen off the NaBloPoMo wagon this weekend. I hate to make excuses, but my wi-fi has not been working well and I have a sick chicken. But it was a good holiday. And I’m thankful for more things than I could possibly name. But I’ll try to highlight a few, in no particular order.

My husband, who provides for all of us, who puts up with more than he should have to, who mostly gives me whatever I want (even when it’s a third dog or illegal chickens), who cleaned the house with the kids over the past few days, and who makes all my stuff work.

My kids, who are my greatest blessings. Yes, they have their struggles, but they’re with me and they’re healthy.

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All the pets. My life wouldn’t be the same without them. I honestly don’t know how anyone lives without a dog in their life.

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My friends, who make me get out of my own head and out of my house once in awhile. I’m especially grateful for the girls who have known me for longer than I care to admit and who never think of me as “Mrs. Sea”.

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(so many pics I could have put here, ultimately went with one where I looked good too)

I’m grateful that all the things I complain about regularly are just first world problems and not real problems. Yes slow wi-fi and never-ending laundry are annoying. And I wish my boots were warmer and my gloves insulated. But I have a sturdy roof over my head, running water and electricity, a full fridge, and more clothes than one person needs. I am fortunate and I’m thankful, even when I’m yelling at the computer or have chilly fingers.

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Never ending laundry

I’m grateful for my health. I do whine about it more often then I should, but ultimately I’m lucky that everything that’s ever gone wrong has been more annoying and uncomfortable than actually dangerous. And the one time there was something dangerous I was too young and dumb to realize it. I’m lucky my body has put up with me so well for so long ūüôā

I’m thankful for every person who stops by to read my little entries, you keep me going and make me want to try harder to be interesting and entertaining.
Tomorrow is Christmas tree decorating at our house, so I’m off to bed. But here’s a funny little story before I go: my husband’s mom told us to get Cards Against Humanity for his 89 year old grandmother. For those of you who have played, I don’t need to explain why this is a bad idea. For those of you who haven’t, a picture:

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A bit silly

So today was pretty quiet until this evening. Everybody was gone for a chunk of the afternoon, taking my mother-in-law to the airport. She’s in Phoenix until Spring. Since she doesn’t baby-sit like a normal grandmother, likes to tell me how awful my house looks, and¬†demands very specific gifts while being the original re-gifter I’m fine with that. I don’t dislike her exactly, she’s just not a person I would spend time with if she wasn’t my husband’s mother. She’s much either to deal with from a distance, that’s for sure.

My husband and daughter went pheasant hunting after the airport. I’m kind of surprised she wanted to go with since it’s pretty cold out, but I guess she had fun. I don’t know how I feel about her hunting, but so far she doesn’t have a gun, she just walks with him so right now it’s ok. Also, they haven’t actually gotten any birds yet, so I’m not sure she’ll still like it after she sees the dead pheasant.¬† I don’t mind walking around in the country with my husband and the dog either, but I’m not fond of dead birds,¬† so no pheasant hunting for me.

She came home with a headache. She gets them once in a while, and unfortunately migraines run in my husband’s dad’s¬†family, so that concerns me a bit.¬† Hearing loss also runs in his dad’s family, but so far none of the grandkids seem to have ended up with it, which is lucky, but very nice.

So this evening I went out to check on my hens and change their water (I only have one heated dish, and it gets pretty nasty) and I noticed that Thelma was acting weird and not eating. So after checking her out I¬†thought that it might be Egg Yolk Peritonitis (where the egg ends up in their abdomen and gets infected) and decided to try treating it with Flagyl because I have a whole bunch of that and it’s one of the few things that works. Not having a chicken vet is hard, because you’re always kind of guessing, but when I called my vet-who is a FARM vet-his office said they didn’t do chickens because “they’re just chickens, there’s no money in them”, which I guess is true. They’re $1.75 at the feed store, but that doesn’t change how attached to them you get. Anyway, after looking at several chicken sites (thank you Poultry Pedia and BYC) I decided on Flagyl and figured out the dosage; the thing is, Flagyl is the foulest (ha, ha, I’m punny) tasting stuff on the planet and Thelma¬† hates being handled so this was not going to be easy.¬†¬† And it wasn’t, it was like the WWE in my chicken coop.¬†¬† If she improves I get to do it for the next five days, yay.

So then there’s my dog. This is Roxy. She needs a Twelve-Step program. She is normally a very well-trained and well-behaved dog. But she is addicted to sugary foods, particularly Twizzlers and donuts. When she’s in the same room with them she forgets all of her training and turns into a thief. She can surf a counter in complete silence, leaving no evidence of her crime except the empty package. Currently she is in doggy jail (her kennel) for stealing five cinnamon sugar donuts which are absolutely not going to agree with her as she normally eats grain-free food. And guess who has to sleep with stinky butt?!? Don’t be fooled by that face, she is an addict and everyone knows you can’t trust a junkie.

Roxy under cover

Chicken Sh*%

Ugh, today is the first day I’ve really had a hard time getting motivated to write anything. Or do anything for that matter. I just want to sleep and watch bad TV.¬† Maybe it’s the weather, which is not pretty.

snowy yard¬†That’s my yard under between 4-6 inches of snow, which is now blowing around all over the place.¬† We actually did work outside yesterday before it started snowing, but obviously we missed a few things, like the table and chairs and the tiki torches. Oops. We did put insulation in the chicken’s coop (it’s the blue and white shed) and put plastic around their run. There are still some bugs to be worked out in the coop, because a little¬†snow found its way inside the front doors and into their run. I opened the door to their fun for a while today, but they wouldn’t go out there, probably because the snow was right by their little door, and chickens are snow blind so they were most likely scared. I’ve spent most of my day worrying about them, honestly, because it is COLD. And because they aren’t usually confined all day and they don’t get along very well. I suppose they will have to learn, winter here is LONG. I have read a lot about chickens in winter, and some people don’t heat their coops or insulate them or anything. Even in Canada! They claim that chickens adapt, which I suppose is true, they’ve been on the planet, and domesticated, for thousand’s of years. But these chickens are my babies! So I’m worried, and I added insulation and a heat lamp, and I’m probably going to order a larger, safer heat source before the temperature drops below zero later this week (yuck!). I did get three eggs today, and found them before they were frozen, so that’s good, I guess. One of my big red chickens is sneezing which makes me nervous as¬†chickens have very sensitive respiratory systems, but I don’t want to give her any medication until I have a better idea what the problem is. Keeping chickens is fun, but it can be a bit of an all-consuming hobby too. And like parenting blogs and websites, there are a million chicken blogs and websites¬†out there too, most of which don’t agree with each other. I mostly use Backyard Chickens and The Chicken Chick for information, because if I start looking around much more I get overwhelmed. I have a friend in North Dakota that has been kind of a chicken mentor for me too, which is nice, because most of my friends think I’m a crazy person with the chickens.¬† I have no Me and Bernieidea what they’re talking about.

Sorry, that was probably more about chickens than you ever wanted to hear, but that’s where my head is at today. I’m a little worried because I have been sleeping a ton. It could just be the time of year. I know from experience that Spring and Fall are not good times of year for me as far as my mood goes, so maybe it’s just a seasonal low, but it’s frustrating to be so tired all the time. The doctor’s office said I need to exercise more, which I’m sure is true, but I am getting more exercise with the chicken chores than I have in the past. And I seem to have lost weight, because my clothes and bras fit better than they have. So who knows? Mood disorders are weird, and just when you think you’ve got it managed something new comes along.

Winter bites

http://www.keloland.com/weather/alerts/index.cfm?z=SDZ006

It’s official: we have our first winter storm watch.¬† Sigh.¬† I’m not ready. I’m never ready. I’ve lived here since 1996 (which was the worst winter in 100 years) and every year it’s hard to wrap my mind around winter. It’s just so LONG here.¬† There’s a good chance that the snow we get on Monday will still be here in April, and that’s a bit depressing. So is the fact that we regularly get more inches of snow than I am tall. I’m not ready mentally. I think for the most part we are actually ready physically. We got new siding and windows over the summer so our house is toasty. And my car has a remote start and 4 wheel drive, so I can get around in just about anything. Our snow blower works (I know that a snow blower isn’t a necessary thing everywhere, but it is here). I have a few more things to do in the chickens’ house tomorrow and then I think we’re all ready for a snow storm. I suppose I should go to the grocery store, but I’m going to try to avoid it.¬† It’s so funny, people hear the words “winter storm” and they flock to the store like they just heard of the coming apocalypse, even though they’ve lived here their whole lives, we¬†live in town, ¬†and they know that worst case scenario they’ll be stuck for 12 hours.¬† It’s just ingrained in everyone: winter storm = buy bread and milk, just in case. Oh that reminds me, I need coffee, because that is one thing I absolutely couldn’t survive a winter storm without.

My daughter is brushing my hair while I type. It’s not as pleasant as it sounds because my hair is evil and full of snarls. So it will be relaxing for a few seconds and then all of sudden “ouch”. ¬†I’m just going to¬†let her keep doing it though, because¬†at least she’s not doing an “experiment” in my kitchen. She informed me that the whole top of my head is gray hair. I suppose it has been a while since I’ve been to the hairdresser. I normally have blond put in all over to hide the gray (my natural color is sort of brown) but I haven’t had it done in a while because its expensive and honestly, no one sees me. Sadly, my daughter isn’t the only person to imply that I’ve let myself go. I ran into a friend of my husband’s at the grocery store and he commented on my hair and no make-up saying he was “concerned” because I never used to go out like that. And while its true, I didn’t, I don’t know that it was his–or anyone’s–place to comment on it.¬† I don’t think it’s a huge big deal:¬†If you know you’re going to go home and clean up chicken poop you don’t put a whole lot of effort into your appearance.¬† I can look nice if I need to, I just don’t think there are that many occasions where I really need to these days.

So before I go shop for snow pants for myself (weird, right?), I wanted to share this:  http://aeon.co/magazine/health/the-shame-of-poor-teeth-in-a-rich-world/?Src=longreads

I came across it the other day and it really spoke to me, because I, like a lot of disabled and retired¬†people, do not have dental insurance. I haven’t for years, so I have “Pennsatucky” teeth too. Not from meth use (although I have been asked about that at the dentist!) or lack of brushing them. Just water without fluoride growing up and¬†a LOT of strep infections and¬†antibiotic use as a child. It’s not something that bothers me a ton, unless one of them hurts, but whenever I’m asked “what would you do if you won the lottery?” my first answer is always: Fix my teeth.

Good stuff

Posting from my phone, should be interesting. But I’m doing one of my favorite things right now: watching my daughter’s dance class. This is the first time I’ve watched her Jazz class in awhile because parents aren’t invited to every session in this class because there’s no observation room and we’re actually IN the gym with kids, which I guess can be distracting. And really, she’s 9, she doesn’t need me to watch every session anymore. She’s a very independent little person, but she likes it when I watch, and I was in the mood for something fun today. We have an hour between classes today and there me be a frozen yogurt break too. I sound like a crazy stage mom, but she really does have some ability. Not like those girls on Dance Moms, this isn’t competitve dance. But she points her feet and she learns choreagraphy quickly and she looks beautiful. I’ve let her take 5 classes this year, more than other kids her age, but she doesn’t do any other sports and she is keeping up with school just fine, so I figure why not? Right now in Jazz they’re learning to do the “Running Man”, which is hilarious and is taking me back to high school. Audrey went as an 80’s pop star for Halloween so it’s extra funny.

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Trying to be positive today and focus on stuff that I enjoy. Like Audrey’s dancing, and chickens, and dogs. I have backyard chickens, five hens. I guess they’re technically illegal, but I didn’t know that when I got them. But I didn’t check very carefully either I guess, because I figured since we live in an agricultural community and they sell the baby chicks at two stores in town they must be legal. Luckily I have nice neighbors who like eggs and no one has complained. And I keep things VERY clean, so there’s no smell and very few insects. My neighbors fish guts in his trash cans smell worse than my chicken coop. Keeping chickens has been a bit like having babies: more fun than I thought and more work than I thought. I really didn’t expect to get very attached to them, I actually named two of them Thelma and Louise, because, you know, they die at the end. But we’re heading into winter and I’m figuring out how to winterize my former shed and how to keep my waterers from freezing. I’ve treated them for worms and coccidia and mites. I’ve given one a course of amoxicillin (that I had leftover from a dental infection) and one a dose of Diflucan (also a left over). I’ve explored sections of the feed store that are a bit scary, and called my vets office with questions that make them think I’m crazy (come to think of it, that’s what the feed store guys think too). But I love it, and I love the birds! Who knew they had so much personality! I’ve never really had a hobby before, besides reading, but oh my do I love these birds. Even though I have never looked at so much POOP in my life! Chickens produce an absolutely obscene amount of poop, and like babies, you have to keep an eye on it.
I’m keeping it short today. Alex had a good day at school, I had frozen yogurt, and I even did some laundry. I’m going to do my chores and veg in front of my TV.