Wednesday, December 2, 2020


Hyacinth dismounted from her tree on the other side of the fence which put her in an empty pasture. Sadly I couldn't help her as I have no access to it. Instead, she spent the day pacing the fence-line, wanting back in but unable to figure out the logistics. One scary moment was when a dog-owner let his loose and it raced for the fence, but my neighbor's dog wasn't having any of that and chased it out of her territory.

Pet peeve for people who own hunting dogs and keep them penned up all the time without proper exercise and socializing.

Anyway, Hyacinth was back on her roosting branch tonight, so hopefully she lands correctly in the morning. In other flock news, I hoped the culling of the roosters would encourage more egg laying but it's dropped right down to zero eggs. I hauled out the extension cord and hung a light in the coop. It was almost comical how many burnt out bulbs I found before getting one that works. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Surviving Turkey Day

 Since Turkey managed to survive her national holiday, I've given her a proper name. Meet Hyacinth.

Her wings make this loud swoosh noise when she flies up to her branch in the evening.

In other bird news, I filled the bird feeders again and when the sparrows were swarming them, I spotted a finch who still had a lot of his red colors. I also saw a flock of geese heading south; incredibly late in the season for them.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Hawk warning

 Right after I read MamaPea's post about the hawk, youtube put this in my recommendations:

Seriously brilliant. You can always tell a chicken person.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Chicken Matters

 What a weekend! Background: the young roosters were getting a bit too frisky so I had planned to cull the excess next week when the forecast was looking warmish. Then, the weatherman changed his mind on the warming trend and the roosters went into overdrive. It was so bad that the older rooster wouldn't even get off the roost and 90% of the hens wouldn't leave the coop. Culling day got moved up to Saturday.

This is how things look minus six extra roosters.

It will be awhile before some of the hens recover their feathers, but at least they are outside.

Kracken is not only off the roost, but is dominant again (helps when there is only one other).

This is Copper taking up his duties. I will keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't develop any mean streaks. His best friend, King, moved to the farm and has settled in happily.

A glimpse of a multi-generational meeting. The gray is an ancient. The white hen hatched out the two youths across the pool.

Turkey is still camera shy, but she is much calmer now that there isn't so much fighting in the pen. This morning she was trying to get back inside from my yard. Since I hadn't let the chickens out yet, it was easy enough to open the gate so she could enter on her own. People joke about turkey dinner, but I like her alive too much.

A side note for anyone else who struggles with killing birds they have raised from eggs: look into the broomstick method. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Recommended for winter/lockdown viewing

 I have a deep dislike of watching ads, partly due to not watching television so not being exposed to constant commercials. I run an adblocker on my computer, but I know ads do help support videos. If I really want to be helpful, I mute the speakers, run a video with ads and go do something else while it plays.

Now I don't do social media, but thought I could share some of my favorites here and maybe others will post channels they watch and I will get more to explore.

1. This is a young British couple who are restoring a 1920's French home. They have wonderful decorating taste and are doing all the work themselves. I'll admit to finding the voice-over on the opening and closing of the videos grating, but the mute button solves that issue and there's nothing annoying about them. 

Peter and Anna

2. This one is a German fixing up an abandoned lake cabin. Definitely start at the beginning to watch the transformation. He has a soothing voice and speaks excellent English.

Renovation East

3. Bird whisperer. I love birds, especially my chickens, but this guy makes me look like someone who barely cares. Something to watch when the world feels harsh.

A Chick Called Albert

4. Somewhat an acquired taste, but I'm a fan. The videos of him painting famous pictures in 15 minutes are a great way for him and us to pass lockdown. Not to mention it introduced me to many artists I'd never heard of. He also does walking videos all over England.

Marek Larwood

5. Time Team episodes in order. I began watching a random episode and was hooked so I started back at the beginning. If you are interested in history and archaeology this is a great show. They spend three days at different sites. Sometimes they know what to expect and other times they are following up rumors and legends.

TIme Team playlists

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

RIP Galahad/Gandalf

It wasn't until I started looking for pictures of my retired rooster that I realized how bad I am at getting the camera out and using it often. This was the best I could find of Galahad, head rooster for years until he retired to the farm with a few select hens to live in peace. There he lived in safety and pampered comfort; even renamed Gandalf until old age finally caught up.

In other chicken news: last night when I went to close up the coop I heard squawking and found an opossum had two hens on the floor. After rescuing them, I didn't want to leave it alone in there while I went back for a gun so I called my neighbor and asked if she wanted to come over and shoot it. Naturally, as a farmer's daughter, she jumped at the chance.

Fun fact: in Norwegian chicken is kylling.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Ye Olde Chair

This is my ratty old reading chair. My elbows have worn right through the leather and all the internal mechanisms have long since quit working. So why do I keep it? Besides that I hate change, it's comfortable and functional. It doesn't have to be pretty.

Something I have changed recently though is to add some boards under the chair base to raise it about 3 inches. This makes a small yet significant difference to how easy it is to stand up when my hips are being arthritic.

We are expecting a week of autumn temps instead of the nasty winter temps we were dealing with. I've got a few outdoor items to cross off my list and this is my chance.

I don't know what this week will bring so, if possible, stay home and stay safe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Oh, yes...winter

 Tuesday was the first snowfall here. I did not take any pictures...grumble, grump, fuss. It's cold, heavy and sticking around. The solar panels are still 95% covered. 

My friend is complaining that we've skipped the autumn season and gone from 80s to 30s. She's not wrong. I find myself already slipping into firewood habits that work best for me and today had to empty the ash bucket for the first time. What a relief that my foot is so much better! Hauling in wood would be a trial otherwise.

Last night I put flannel sheets on the bed. Ahhh, very cozy. Although I'm still using the summer comforter; it will need to drop another 20 degrees before that gets switched. 

Curl up with a warm cat and a good book. Winter has arrived.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Not understanding

 I'm writing this out as a way to try to understand what is happening. I live in South Dakota; infamous for not mandating masks nor shutting businesses.

Besides the early blip from the meat-packing plant, there really hasn't been much happening until September. My first thought was the return to school and universities, but the local college is only reporting two active cases and the talk is there isn't much happening in the younger classes either.

Hospitalizations and deaths are way up also, which doesn't mesh with either young, healthy people catching it or increased testing being to blame. 

Would love to hear your thoughts on why it's developing this way now.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


 Well, maybe or more likely a hint of what is to come. The weatherman has started to use the 'snow' word but I haven't seen any yet.

Guess who is still here? My turkey visitor! Before she was roosting in my tree and spending the days in the empty pasture beyond the fence and now she has been staying in the chicken pen all day. As you can see she tolerates me enough to pose for a photo. Today was opening day for the pheasant season and the guns began popping before 7 a.m. Perhaps she realized it's safer surrounded by pesky chickens. 

Speaking of which: the babies are getting so big!

And the young adults have such pretty feathers:

On a more personal note; my foot is much better although not 100%. What has been more troublesome is the hip and back pain, which I suspect might be blamed on the odd walking gait from the boot. Anyway, I'm going to try with normal shoes and see if that improves. I finally applied for my driver's license renewal online. I was really looking forward to updating the picture, but not worth the risk.

I've been spending my evenings watching Poirot. Fine acting and excellent characters.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Talking turkey

 Sorry about the poor picture, it was the best I could do.

Yesterday I found this turkey trying to get into the chicken pen. I finally let her in so she would be safe from dogs and get some food and water. She spent the night in a tree and flew out again this morning. I wish her safe journeys.

Sadly, that's the most exciting thing to happen lately. I had completely recovered from the stress fracture in my foot from early summer, but didn't know the other foot was jealous of the attention. I've been hobbling around for a couple weeks; back in the boot. :(

Other than that I am slowly bringing in the apples and firewood. Stay home. Stay safe.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Rain dance?

 I'm watching the radar tonight. There is a respectable storm building out west. Please, please, please send rain.

Yesterday I got a text from my neighbor that some of the chickens were out. Confirmed; five teenagers were running amok in the sheep pasture. Of course they weren't going to listen to me so I waited for dusk. Back and forth I went with a flashlight and couldn't find them until...I looked in the coop. There they were, innocent as could be, roosting for the night. I tightened up the fence where it had sagged a bit and today the miscreants stayed in. 

The first batch of chicks are young adults now; there was even a pullet egg today. The second batch are the aforementioned teens and the latest are children, still hanging around mom, but also exploring on their own.

It's a pretty good life.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020


 If this is global warming, I hate it. Day after day of scorching heat and no rain. The grass is brown and crunchy and I spend the smallest amount of time outside that I can. Even inside my little window air conditioner can only bring the temp down to 80. Since anything over 74 is uncomfortably hot, I am not happy.

I asked my mom what the summer equivalent of hibernating is and she said 'coma'. It's true. All day I sit doing needlepoint. It was after midnight when I finally vacuumed last night. Sigh, still haven't done the dishes. 

Someone remind me of this if I complain about the cold this winter. :) 

Sunday, August 16, 2020


I've been reading the Little House on the Prairie books. It's a nice escape from our modern world.

When Laura is studying for her teaching certificate I'm always fascinated by her ability to do math in her head and the words they can spell! My spelling is atrocious, as you would know if spell-checker stopped working. 

Often, young people complain that they must learn things they will never use. Personally, math is something I've always used, but parsing a sentence still seems like the most useless skill ever. I love to read and write, but dissecting sentences... just, no.

On a bright note: I'm still slowly learning Norwegian. I don't know if I'll ever be able to pronounce bread and figuring out where to put 'ikke' hasn't sunk in yet. :)

Monday, August 10, 2020

Sweet potatoes and books

 When I picked up my bag of sweet potatoes today I found this happening:

Normally, I'd be annoyed, but not today! I was planning on growing sweet potato leaves as a spinach substitute and here they are, already started for me.

I was asked what reference books I keep on hand and it's easier to take pictures than to list them.

Some books were gifts, some I bought from personal interest, and some for writing references. I like having the ability to flip through a hard copy when looking for answers.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Aronia, Baby!

 I finally got a good harvest this year!

This is from just one aronia berry bush. I took them over to my parents where my mom will rinse out any stray spiders and the odd stem before freezing them. She uses them in muffins, cookies, smoothies... pretty much anywhere the fun purple color and boost of anti-oxidants are welcome.

This is a bumper crop. I don't remember how long ago I planted them, but this is the best yield I've seen. There are two more bushes to harvest but they won't be as prolific due to being shaded by the lilacs; I'm guessing another two gallons full.

If you are interested in growing these there are some good points: 

1. The rabbits don't chew on mine, even in the middle of winter.

2. The birds leave them alone. 

3. I haven't seen any fungi or disease signs.

4. No pits to deal with.

5. No thorns. (I'm thinking of you, gooseberry.)

Highly recommended. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Stuff and Fun

We've been enjoying this bizarre phenomenon called cooler weather for three whole days! Combined with the extended dry phase, I was motivated to begin moving firewood into the woodshed. The last delivery never got stacked and has been sitting in a pile all summer...not anymore! The whole thing is stacked inside and all the bark and small pieces raked up and put away for kindling. My yard looks so empty. 

Oh, no! A headless chicken! Not to worry, it's just dustbath contortions.

These little cuties were hatched out and are being raised by a hen.

And here she is: Angry Snowflake. Apparently the key to being a good mom is the temper of a Klingon.

Friday, July 31, 2020

It's only money

I had to take my car in to be worked on today. It took them five hours so that gives an inkling of the cost. I was also the only person in the dealership wearing a mask and I didn't feel at all bad about wearing an N95 with a vent. If they don't care enough to mask up then I'm not losing any sleep about my mask not protecting them.

After a couple hours crocheting, my son came to take me out to lunch. We wore masks inside then sat in the outdoor eating area. This was my first time eating out since January! And I suspect it will be a very long time before it happens again. Afterwards he drove me around the vo-tech campus he's attending and the hospital campus where he works. It was lovely to spend time with him again; he's normally very busy and can't isolate so we must be cautious.

The first thing I did when I got my car was roll down the windows so the wind could clean out any infected air. Then I wiped down the seat and everything that might have been touched before I got in.

What I've discovered about masks is after the first 20 to 30 minutes, I don't even notice I'm wearing one. And that's with such a snug fit that I have pressure creases on my face (a tight seal is necessary to get the most out of an N95 or else why not just use a cloth mask?) BUT, in the fifth hour I began to get a headache from the straps. It didn't matter how I moved them, the pressure was painful. The good news is that as soon as I could safely take the mask off, the headache went away immediately.

So, that was my day. The chickens were thrilled to see me home again and I have some nice pictures of them to share soon.

Saturday, July 25, 2020


Just kidding. What's the opposite of brrr? Maybe splat as I melt.

Today I sat in front of the air conditioner and shredded zucchini. Enough for six batches of bread!

And that's about it. Minimal chores and watering. Another evening of feeling the pressure of another weather system move through, knowing it will probably not rain.

I did find a fun gardening video:

Other than that I'm blah. I hope it's better where you are.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Daily Dahlia

I only wish I had enough dahlias to feature a different one every day! I only have one but it's pretty special.

I'm going to keep a look out for dahlia bulbs on clearance to save for next year.

These coleus are growing strong. Definitely a win in the starting from seed group.

Zucchinis are starting to produce. I processed the first two today. Hooray!

Now I'm waiting to see if the weather system moving in will do some good as in rain or just be a headache maker.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Crochet project

I've been working on this one for quite a while. Luckily the pattern is simple enough I could pick it up after weeks of neglect and go right back to work.

 I did enjoy it, but am glad to start something different.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020


I hoped the young chicks would bond with the broody hens and be adopted. It didn't work. The hens were too aggressive with the mothering and terrified the chicks who hid as far from them as they could. I ended up bringing them back inside until they are bigger.

In other, not so interesting news, I've given up pop to save money. Not a big thing in the larger scheme, but going through caffeine withdrawal is always a pain.

Thursday, July 2, 2020


Just came inside and checked the weather; yep, 100% humidity. That fits.

My parents live on a farm so I've been taking my chicks over there to raise during the summer. Sadly, the raccoons were killing them.

Last night I rescued the remaining chicks and brought them home. Quite an adjustment for them to come to a big, busy flock. I kept an eye on them today and nobody was harassing them. A couple hens wanted to foster them, but they're too independent although I noticed they tend to stay in two groups. The one thing they couldn't figure out was where to go tonight, so I spent half an hour in the dusk coaxing them into the coop. Such a feeling of relief when the last one hopped inside!

Thursday, June 25, 2020


Yes, it's 2:00 a.m. and I've been vacuuming. I don't know why I've got this drive to do stuff late at night lately; last night I even dusted my bedroom!

Temps are supposed to hit the 90s again which means if I don't water the garden, the storms will go around us in the evening. Funny how I can be so practical, but am basically superstitious about the weather.

My thoughts are starting to ramble so probably time to go to bed.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Peep peep

This is definitely, no arguing, my last batch of chicks this year.

And this is the star of the hatching, popping out at an unprecedented Day 16!!!! I would have expected a preemie to be sickly or undeveloped. Not this guy. A little lonely waiting for his siblings to catch up; I gave him a stocking cap to snuggle with. There are 10 other chicks also now and today was only Day 20, so there's still time for more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Ahhh, rain

We had a lovely rain last night; so very much needed. Only 1/2", but it helped.

This was the first time I tried growing pansies from seeds. Very happy with the results.

Getting some lovely salads.

I think I might need to thin out the volunteer dill. :)

It's been a great start to the summer here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

For the bees

I had to take pictures of the lilacs before they were gone for the year.

 Both the white and purples were heavy with blooms and smelled amazing.

 Of the young bushes I planted to start a new border with my neighbor's yard, three bloomed for the first time this year.

 The snowball bush is just coming into it's time.

 Of course, no spring season is complete without rhubarb.

The garden beds are just filling in nicely. Yes, there is grass to be grubbed out as well.

The last two days were hideously hot for early June - 90s!!! I felt good just getting the yard mowed this morning, still disappointed the rain didn't show up. My house is 77 degrees; I feel like I'm melting, but I'm stubborn about putting in the air conditioner this early.

I've been indulging in escapism by watching Downton Abbey. It really is a different world.

Lastly, I don't want to talk about what's happening in the world right now, but will say that I am extremely disgusted by the book-burning morons who destroyed Uncle Hugo's/Uncle Edgar's in Minneapolis.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Greetings, Visitors

This was a first for me: rose-breasted grosbeaks visiting my feeders. Two pairs became three and the latest count was five. They can clean out the feeders in a day and they're not too fond of sharing, but what a beautiful song!

Thanks to my mom for looking them up in her bird book.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

One of those days

My foot hurts; bad enough that I'm wearing the boot again. We have frost warnings for the next five nights. It's cloudy and rainy. And all that has caused a severe case of the grumps/ borderline depressed.

I've tried to shake it off, played with Legos, ignored the sink of dirty dishes, cuddled the very friendly cat, watched Firefly; nothing has helped. I can only hope a new day will be better. Cue tomorrow.

Monday, April 27, 2020


I'm on the computer so I can post pictures, mostly out of date, but still...

When you can't wait to be served:

But your coop is clean:

So that's where all the poop went:

I made this for my great-niece:

Now the pattern is available as a whale! So tempting. :)