The first rains

It’s the first day of fall and, fittingly our first real rain. We’ve had over an inch today and the ducks are loving it. Chickens not so much.

It’s been dry (by local standards) and though I’m always a little sad to see summer go I’m ready for fall. I’m ready for mushrooms in my forest. I’m ready for fires. And, perhaps I shouldn’t have admitted this to my husband, I look forward to the rain because it lets me laze around indoors with relative lack of guilt. Rainy days are for cuddling and slipper socks. And husband is indoors more too- he can work in a drizzle but not in a downpour. In the summer months he’s outside from mid morning to sunset most nights trying to get what he can done before the rains come.

Fall and winter are a time to embrace hibernation and slow down. They fit with my current goals.

The new job is going well so far. I’m working slightly less, but not a whole lot less so far. What matters is me and husband agree we seem to be seeing more of each other home, and that’s wonderful. The stress and work is different but so far of a better kind at it’s been so nice to have nothing more to say than “it was fine” when he asks me “how was work” when I get home. And having frequently had much more to say to the point that I told him to stop asking, I can’t tell you how nice that is.

Little Chicken’s Big Adventure

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I don’t think I mentioned our current menagerie yet. Mid August we acquired (finally) 4 ducks, 5 hens, 2 roosters and 1 chicken of undetermined sex. Our “undetermined” has been slowly moving from the hen to rooster category… “It” has spurs. That was all “It” had that made us wonder at first. We thought it was a hen. She’s a big girl with big comb and wattle. She’s very friendly… Though they’re all seeming to go a little more feral now that it’s been a good month since we got them. But It didn’t crow. Then we started to notice that after the rooster (one of them, we removed the other to a bachelor pad and he free ranges by himself all day) that’s penned with her mates someone, It would run over, during or at the end, bite the hens wattle and try to mount, sometimes pushing the rooster off. So far he seems to put up with all this. I figured oh, ok, it’s some sort of dominance thing. Then we started noticing It attempting mating without the rooster doing anything, but It always seems more violent about that business, so we still figured dominant hen. This week my husband noticed It crowing… Kind of. So now we’re unsure. I know in the absence of roosters a dominant hen will emerge and sometimes take up all the rooster functions including crowing, but we’ve got a rooster. Two in fact. And they were getting so nasty with each other that we had to separate them- and our “It” and rooster seem to get along just fine. I haven’t seen rooster mate with It, but I have seen him do his mating dance to her/him (I call it his flamenco routine).

This is our first go at chicken or duck keeping. We’re learning as we go.

The other news is regarding my longtime pet cockatiels. I came home from work and Husband told me “little chicken doesn’t look right.” Yes, she was already named chicken, or rather Chicken Junior, CJ for short. I acquired her with that name (apparently named after her mother, Chicken Senior, and apt naming as she has proved to be an avid egg layer). Inspection showed CJs vent clogged with stool and she didn’t look that happy. I soaked her butt in some warm water to clean it off, and noticed it was distended. Put her in her transport box with towels and watched. Then I saw the straining. Poor thing. Pushing and pushing and you could even see the shape of an egg.

I’ve always worried about egg binding having a bird who loves to lay. I’ll let you know now, you know it when you see it. So I steamed up the bathroom and got her some heat packs. I took some mineral oil on a Qtip and did my best to lube up the vent. I forced some water down with a syringe in case she was getting dehydrated. Then I watched and waited. Nothing. Straining or pathetic-ness. My poor little bird. I gave her some food and millet and she picked around at what would normally be her favorite treat.

Please keep in mind THIS IS A BIRD EMERGENCY. I made the decision that since we live rurally and the “bird vet” I found in town isn’t really a bird vet (he’s more comfortable with big chickens and livestock or traditional pets), that I would wait it out and take her in in the morning – egg or no egg. It’s risky and I barely slept all night.

Luckily I woke up to a live bird. She even hissed at me and on we went to town and the vet. Less than two hours with him in the heated ICU box with humidifiers and KY jelly up her butt and out came the giant egg. Poor thing. He confirmed I did everything I could but couldn’t quite achieve the conditions that he could for optimal egg passage.

Little Chicken must be hearing those big Chickens laying eggs everyday and decided she’s gotta keep up! Let’s just hope this doesn’t happen again.

If you’ve got any input on transsexual chickens or egg binding episodes please share!


The Chicken Chick

Why are we here? And about me

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Well I haven’t quite figured that out yet. It’s part of why I kept the blog title a little vague.  I can tell you that me and my husband are pretty good with our money.  We try to live frugally. We do our best to stay debt free and save so that we don’t get ourselves into any foreseeable tricky money situations. We hope to have the home and land we purchased last year paid off within another year (which would be easier if we didn’t have quite so many home projects to do), (or if on the first day of my new job someone didn’t back into my car and smash a tail light…) and that is our only debt.

Having planned before we purchased a home and saving for it have put us in the position that I can now try my hand at this new not working quite full time thing and leave my husband to “retire” and take care of the homestead, which bring up other potential topics.   Please don’t get me wrong; WE ARE NOT HOMESTEADERS.  At the most, we might eventually qualify as some sort of hobby farm. But we are learning to be more self sufficient.  

I have the luck of having a pretty handy husband. So he gets to tend to the property while I work. He’s also got a much greener thumb than me. He’s also a better cook (though I took up canning and he didn’t, so food preserving is one of the few tasks I get to feel I’m helping with). So he’s earned the title of “house-husband.” That not entirely correct though… It’s more like retired. He did have a career. Do you say tradesmen have careers? Anyway, he had a career but there’s just no industry to speak of suitable to his talents where we live now. We knew that when we moved. But I do get tired of people asking what he does for a living. Simply put, he’s MUCH more cost effective at home. When I count up all the things he does… And the trust of knowing he’s doing it and doing his best for his home… The choice is simple. And he doesn’t seem to have any of the typical male inadequacy issues of the wife being the bread winner. So it works well. I put my fancy degree and big brain to work, and he takes care of home. And he’s always got a number of project to going at any given time, so you can expect to see updates on our never ending small tweaks and improvements.

As I said, we’re not farmers. Since I work for a living, and we don’t really intend to be self sufficient (we’d LIKE to be, but dreams and reality are two different things) we’re by no means experts on any of this. I don’t feel comfortable planning to show any one “how to” on much. It’s more like “hey, check out what we’re up to and maybe get some ideas.” Our geography presents some unique challenges. We’re a half mile from the ocean and our property is mostly tree bound. And our non tree bound area is a bog most of winter. So with heavy rains in winter, mild temperatures (tomatoes don’t love it here! I was not happy to learn this!), and limited sun were totally learning as we go. It’s certainly not like growing things in the high desert! At least there, in a short growing season, all you had to do was provide enough water at let summer sun do the rest! So, we’re learning as we go to grow our own food in a unique locale.

I hope that gives you an idea of where I hope to go. No promises though, who knows where I’ll go or if I can even maintain a theme. But I’ve gotta start somewhere!

I have no idea what I’m doing

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While I’m on a small posting spree (two in a row, whoa!) can I point out I have no idea what the heck I’m doing here!

This isn’t my first shot a blogging. Albeit my other go’s lasted less than 10 posts. And were sometimes for family when I was traveling. BUT I could figure relatively easy how to pick a template I liked and kinda make the site look like I wanted.

It all seems to have gotten terribly more confusing. I think it’s been about 4 years since my last go round. Has something happened where it’s somehow assumed everyone understand the internet and HTML? Let me rephrase that. I haven’t had to understand any HTML, but there is a complex set of lingo even associated with using certain templates. The barrier to entry here has grown and again seems overwhelming to a tech novice.

There was a time in my life where I could have been a computer whiz. I played with some code and scoured the chat rooms as a preteen. Then life got complicated, I started moving around and didn’t really have a computer again until college (I had access, but to archaic junk that made tasks cumbersome… I limited myself to school work and shopping on ebay). Ce la vie, no career in Silicon Valley for me.

So here I am again and a little pissy at all the offers to pay people to do things for me because it’s too complicated to do it myself.

I will admit one thing and addend this later if this is entirely my fault. I’ve been doing this all on my ipad. Come on! We’ve got tablets now, no one needs computers anymore, right?!

So I guess it’s time to dust off the MacBook. It’s a little old by technology standards… 2007 or 2008. I kind of put it away after I downloaded snow lion or lion or something and it slowed to a crawl (the update said for ALL versions… And it’s apple so I just assumed it would make it better not worse). I just pull it out now when I need word to edit my resume.

So, please stand by and be patient with any technological troubles I might have. My goal is to be simple here. By simple that means (unless by some freak accident I make money off this venture) I don’t intend to pay anything other than for my domain name and hosting and I don’t want to sign up for a community college class on making your blog successful. It will be what it will be and I hope some people find it interesting, though likely not flashy. It’s about the content, right!

Hello world!

First things first. I commit to making an entry a week, ANY ENTRY, for a month. There, that’s sounds simple enough? I feel the blog title and my first small statement go hand in hand. I want to make my life simpler. And fuller. That doesn’t mean I want to do less… But I want to mentally declutter. I want to distill. I want to make the most of things and the things that count.

I had a plan in mind for how I wanted this first entry to go. But, I’ll let this free flow form take me where it will. My goal to live simpler isn’t really new. I think the inherent need is natural to me, but recently I’ve felt the actual motivation and conscious thought of what I’m doing come to mind more. I have long felt the need to live honestly, and be who I am. I don’t have many friends, having chosen to nourish those few relationships which seem true and fulfilling. Admittedly, I’m not very good at nourishing new relationships and have had almost no success at closing the “acquaintance gap” since being a young teen.

So here I find myself finally settling in as an adult. By this I mean, I’m happily married, and we’ve settled in our “new” home (of a year and a half) in a new place. I can finally start focusing on getting back to what counts. We’re done moving around and finally have all of our (too many) possessions in one place.

Yesterday was my last day at my full time job 25 miles and 40 minuted from home. Tomorrow I start my new job 5 miles and ten minutes from home and with less guaranteed hours, less benefits, less pay. I’m giving up a lot to be closer to home. I’ll have to travel on occasion, but I’m hoping it’s worth the “monetary” sacrifices. I’m hoping it helps in my goals to lead a simpler more fulfilled life. I must keep reminding myself that it’s not all about the money!

So here I go. SIMPLE OR BUST

Get there or die trying…