Friday, August 12, 2016


Hooray! Rain! Such a delight to see the rain barrels full again and all the plants happy.

This morning I've been picking chokeberries. These will be frozen and used by my parents for smoothies all winter.

The young cochins are growing well.

And, while the garden won't be epic due to the late start, it's filling in nicely.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gardening 2016

Made a major change in the garden arrangement this year. The process set back my planting drastically, but hopefully will be worth it in future years. I built raised garden beds to alleviate back pain.

I'm leaving the corner posts tall in case I want to go higher in the future, but already...what a difference! So much easier to tend.

Lovely rain this morning. Even makes the ensuing humidity worth it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Growing like weeds

The mail-order chicks are doing good. Not the brightest creatures; some of them can't figure out how to get back into their coop, but healthy and cute.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

When authors lose it - a rant

We've all seen it happen: a favorite author suddenly takes a nosedive in quality. Is it just a factor of aging? Are they burnt out? Under extreme pressure to keep producing? No matter the reason, the stench of a bad book can change the flavor of everything they've written before.

One British mystery author had a fascinating series then went off on an extreme tangent and spent an entire novel shrieking about the evil of a medication for hot flashes. Definitely a 'huh?' moment for her fans. I've never gone back.

Another long-time cozy mystery writer completely changed her style of writing. I'm still convinced they brought in a ghostwriter for that one.

What brought up the subject? Lois McMaster Bujold. Brilliant author. Books that made me laugh, cry and cheer. My all time favorite book is her Shards of Honor. In all honesty, she never hid the fact that she was tired of that series. What she really wanted to do was write Fantasy, not Sci-Fi. And she did, occasionally producing one of the first series to placate her fans, she wrote the books she wanted. And I bought them. I didn't enjoy them as much as the others, but I prefer Sci-Fi.

In 2012, she released another from the original series and there was something off about it. The character didn't seem to match and the whole thing felt weak and disappointing. To put it into perspective, I've read all the others many, many times; but this one I've never picked up again.

So, when she published another this year, I held off. Judging from the reviews, it was the right decision. She took the original characters from 30 years ago, people who have played more of a supporting role ever since, and twisted them around; completely changing them and losing the humor and any semblance of a plot along the way.

Now, if the author had been developing these characters through the last three decades, putting out an occasional novel focusing on them and having their personalities change along the way, that would have been one thing. Or if she just wanted to pound in some social commentary, she had an entire universe to work with; she could have created any number of new characters.

Honestly, it feels vindictive. As if she's lashing out at the public for not embracing her Fantasy books and asking for more of something she no longer enjoys. Well, I'm asking her to STOP writing. As far as I'm concerned, the series ended in 2010 with the last decent book. I'm even tempted to say it really ended in 2000 with the last incredible book.

End rant.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A new generation

It's that time of year again...chicks! I wanted to introduce some new bloodlines so bought some mail-order chicks. 8 buff cochins, 3 black cochins and 5 black langshans plus one mystery chick. I kept them inside for the first week then had to move them out to the old coop because my incubator eggs began hatching.

They're a bit shy and are taking full advantage of the extra room to hide. One arrived with a splayed out leg and I'm happy to report that after using the rubber band/straw method to fix it for a day, I can no longer tell which one it was. A full recovery.

These are the first incubator hatchlings. Twenty healthy, one with closed eyes (which I can't find a treatment for) and one with crooked toes. I've got the foot in a bandaid cast and am hopeful that takes care of the problem.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October update

I seem to have slowed to monthly posts. There always seems to be too much else going on. So, stuff to update...

Well, the windows finally got installed. Very expensive, but the weather has tested them with strong winds and the curtains don't move at all. Hooray!

My car decided it had done enough after more than 227,000 miles and was replaced with a 2009 VW Passat. Not as nice as the Audi, but I had to find something that fit in my budget. As my son said, I'd be a hypocrite if I went back into debt.

The garden is almost finished. I'm still digging potatoes; not a great crop this year. Other than that, some kale and leeks, everything is out. I'm making a real effort at seed saving for the first time. I've got beans, broccoli and marigold.

My other big 2015 project was having the cattle shed at my parents' farm sided. All the windows were replaced as well. The old wood siding was deteriorating fast and I hate to see a good building fall to ruins. Someday I'll get the roof redone, but it's still solid.

It's getting cold at night. We've had our first frost. Very dry which helps the harvest, but I had to rinse off the solar panels. Too much dust. And that's about it for now.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Alarums and Adventure!

Sitting peacefully in my house, I hear a loud bang and the fan stops. Everything on solar power is fine of course, but the grid power is gone. My neighbor and I go looking for the problem - it's a squirrel (very dead) on top of a transformer. Power is out only on our side of the street. Sadly, the computer is on solar so no excuse to stop working.

The other day a very strong wind from just the wrong direction closed the chicken pop door. When I went out to close it after dark I found chickens everywhere! Poor things locked out of their home at night. The first thing I did the next morning was add a latch to the door.

Another recent adventure: I was entering the chicken pen when Pippy slipped out the gate. They probably heard my shriek "Pippy! What are you doing?" in the next county. She only went a few steps before changing her mind. I stood back and swung the gate open and she scampered back inside. Phew!

Everything is bone dry and dusty. We have a chance of rain tomorrow, but less than a tenth of an inch is forecast and that's it for the next week. A long, slow drenching rain sounds heavenly.