Friday, December 9, 2011

da bomb...but not in a good way.

We interrupt this joyous of all seasons for not one, but two bomb threats at my son's high school.
What the fire truck people?!!
The high school was shut down and searched yesterday by Central MA 
and State Police Bomb squads. 
The building was cleared but students were ordered to return to school with just themselves, 
no bags, backpacks, purses...
We thought good thing that was resolved since there is a play tonight.  
My son is behind the scenes tech guy working the lights and soundboard.
I was out for a sick day, trying to get over the typhoid my mother in law left in her 
wake from her visit last weekend.  
I took an afternoon nap, got up to shower and get ready to go to the play 
and my oldest was home.  He was supposed to be at school getting ready for the play.  
No such luck, there was another bomb threat!  
The High School was evacuated. 
They bussed the high schoolers to the Intermediate School where my youngest was.  
Then the Intermediate School was locked down. 
All the kids had to stay in their rooms while bomb sniffing dogs searched their school also.
Should dinner time discussion with your 9 year old include having
his locker and school searched by bomb squads with dogs?

Now I live in a small big city crime here. Just the usual small town stuff.
This is all days after Rachel's Challenge was presented at all of the schools 
in our town and in the wake of another shooting at Virginia Tech. 

Now we await for the rescheduling of the play and have our fingers crossed that whoever this really disturbed kid is, is found and helped before they really hurt someone.
I am convinced more and more that it 
really does take a village.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Get Schooled...Nun Style

One of our Christmas traditions is to go and see a show.
We have done A Christmas Carol and we've done the Nutcracker.
This year we tried something new.
We went to see Sister's Christmas Catechism.
It was a riot!
We took my mother in law and boys and we all had a blast.

Sister dresses audience members up for a manger scene.
The lamb has a toilet bowl cover on it's head.
The house lights stay on and there is a ton of audience interaction. 
I didn't go to Catholic school, but our church had Sister Ruth. 
She ran our CCD program for our church.
She ran a very tight ship and she stood all of 5' and weighed maybe 100lbs wet.
You did not ever cross her! I hadn't thought of her or the 
other nuns who worked at our church in a long time since I moved away from there.
It was fun remembering.

It was a great time and the show gets thumbs up from us.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck...

This is a Christmas tree...
It is not a holiday tree or a holiday bush or any other ridiculous names
the PC try to come up with.

Would we call a Menorah anything but what it is?
I see many communities who display Menorahs right along with 
Christmas trees.  I don't hear an
outcry to call them Holiday Candles.
Right along Christmas trees and Menorahs I have seen communities display
a Kinara for Kwanzaa.  
Now here is a conundrum for the PC...
if we change a Menorah to Holiday candles, what would we then call or how would 
we distinguish it from the Kinara?

and right there is the crux of the problem and my issue with it all.
How can we take all of these fabulous 'flavors' and dumb them all down to vanilla?
We are all different.  I am not offended by people who do not believe in my
Christmas tree and all it represents to me.  Just as I am not
offended by seeing the beautiful lights on a Menorah or Kinara.
Who does anyone think they are to minimize what these symbols stand
for to the people who believe in them and change their names to silly and ridiculous names.
Bottom line is, it's a duck!

Monday, December 5, 2011

living gifts...

one of my favorite things to do is to visit Overlook Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts.  They are a Heifer International farm.  Every December they have a weekend of living gifts.  I have made this a regular event for my cub scouts.  The boys bring in money from September to December to our den meetings for this cause.  We add it up and I match what they have collected.  I also have great parents who help out as well.  The boys really enjoy looking over the catalogue and deciding which gift would be the best...which could do the most.  This year they had enough money to purchase a hive of bees and a flock of chicks.  I love the idea of the sustainable living gifts and my scouts really seem to be understanding that donating food to a food bank is great, but also great is giving a family the opportunity to have animals that will sustain them long after a can of food is eaten and gone.

Who doesn't love barnyard animals with cute gift bows on them?

How could this chick resist a photo op with cute barnyard chickens?

 Part of what they do is set up small homes in a global village to show
how the people benefiting from the living
gifts live.
We went to Thibet where the gift of a water buffalo will help a family farm.
 While there the kids could make prayer flags.  There was also
an unexpected escape of one of their bison...
He didn't hurt anyone.  He just wanted to be in his pen with his other bison peeps.
We also visited Poland where rabbits
help families raise sustainable protein and fertilize their gardens.

It was a great afternoon with some of my favorite boys.

Everyone has there own thing they believe in and give to.
What about you?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

my grinch...

he is not so much a grinch, oh no he couldn't be.  for many years he would spread Christmas cheer, singing loud for all the world to hear...

however an odd thing has occurred...see if you can spot it...

It wasn't here in 2005...

or in 2006...
he even posed for a picture with his little bro...

Clearly it was not here either in 2007...
but an odd thing happened for the first time this year... you see, the boy standing in the wreath is not an only child.  He is a younger brother...of a 14 year old. No pictures to be taken, he would prefer not to pose, even 'retired' from this years Christmas card photo...

Can you spot it here...

and maybe a littler here...

yes it is the green of my grinch...though he isn't really.
he plays the role and very well at times of the dejected, misunderstood 14 year old, 
though he really is a good sport.
tree cutting, cranberry stringing...even breakfast with Santa.
he did it for his little brother you know.

he is now taller than Santa...I never thought I would see the day.  He is however very much a 14 year old boy and is not above chatting up the Big Man still for the huge and yummy cookies he gives out.  His hair may be grinchy...but for a 14 year old he is anything but(as much as a 14 year old can possibly summon themselves to be)

now you may ask...what happened to his hair?  
What kind of mother would let her son color his hair that way?
a story for another day...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Operation Rooster Relocation

I have read that often times the favorite hen of chicken keepers many times turns out to be a rooster.  I hate to say it, but it happened to me.

Big Bossy

It became clear in the past month that my favorite girl was actually a boy. Big Bossy was bossy AND was violating my girls all over the place!

Then there was Perry.  He started out gender confused, if you recall.  The chicken we thought was Katy Perry who turned out to be Joe Perry.

Then there was Clyde who started out as Cruella but then clearly was a he.

We had 2 issues at hand, really 3...actually more but who's counting.  Issue number 1 was that the  hens in the house were mercilessly plucking the feathers from the heads of Perry and Clyde.  The crazy crested head feathers were just too much to resist and every time they put their head down, any hen nearby would pluck away.

Clyde's head, he is supposed to have a full crest of white feathers.  He was picked bald and bleeding.
The next issue was the constant attempts of Bossy trying to get busy with all of the girls.  They were getting skittish and on edge.  They would be minding their own business and then Bam(literally).  Then came the day when my 9 year old came to me and said,"Mommy Bossy needs to go. He grabbed a hen by the neck with his beak and was standing on her!"

So began the relocation quest. 4-H clubs, no dice. Fellow chicken keepers, no dice. Then I found Vinny.  Vinny is an old timer who lives a few towns over.  He promised that my roos would live a happy life(until they ended up in his pot). As long as they didn't end up in a cock fighting ring I was fine.
The day came.  PC was ok with the decision to rehome them.  He did love them, but they, especially Bosy were getting a little intimidating.  We crated them up and loaded them up in our SUV.  As you can imagine, 3 roosters in the same vehicle... a little loud and very funny when they seemed to be crowing to the music on the radio.

We got to Vinny's.  It was a winged paradise, full of chickens, geese, ducks and a bunch of other winged creatures. 
Vinny put the roos in cages to acclimate them to the run before letting them go.
It was easy, I hate to say it, but it was.  We had all become a bit anxious with the goings on in the coop.  We said our goodbyes and headed home.  We were welcomed by very happy hens.  The dynamic had changed almost instantly.  Hens that didn't like to be picked up suddenly did and they were all...happy.  It was a few days later, I believe in their way of saying thank you, they began laying eggs. 

Life is good...   

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'mmmmm baaaaccckkk and I'm Thankful...

Happy Thanksgiving!  I can't believe it has been almost a month since I have been in the land of the blog. I am thankful for the emails checking in on me.  I have not been in my chicken coop all this time, but there sure has been a lot of action in the coop. (more on that later)
I am thankful for so much, but right now and in no particular order...
I am thankful for the cup of glogg I am enjoying while I type this.

I am thankful for cinnamon rolls and the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.

I am thankful for my favorite Christmas decorations, even though you can see our
 fall decorations out the window.

I am thankful for the beautiful little brown egg we found in our coop this week.

I am thankful for the little reminders of my grandparents I have when I put out my Christmas decorations.

I am thankful for family traditions and
my family to share them with.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Who turned on the lights?

 Predawn at the coop...
We are crossing our fingers our girls are going to start laying us
some eggs.
They will be 20 weeks on Friday.
We have set some lights on timers.
We are hoping 14 hours of light will get some eggs out of these girls.
They were very curious looking out the big door into the early morning.
This picture the girls are just standing there, looking out the pop door. 
It reminded me of early morning commuters waiting for their train.
So glad to be in the coop than standing waiting for a train.
Mornings like this I do love working from home.
 Bossy and Perry looked out the pop door to be sure the coast was clear.
The girls then began venturing out in the early morning light. 
Hoping this wooden egg in the nesting box inspires one of our girls...
and the egg watch continues...

Monday, October 31, 2011

The storm that just keeps on giving...

The snow began to fall Saturday...

Cut to today.  Trick or Treating cancelled until Friday.  Our town is old school, you trick or treat on Halloween, no changing the night.  Except this year.  Still half of our town is without power.  We have been blessed that we got our power back on Sunday... Yes just in time to watch the Steelers run circles around my boys.  What a train wreck... Speaking of train wrecks...

My MIL arrived today for an indefinite period of time.  She lives in western MA which was hit very hard in the storm.  No phone or power up there for who knows how long.  It has been quite the roller coaster of a ride since last week. She has had a very difficult time believing she was scammed and still I think wants to believe that her ship has come in.  She has been entering all kinds of 'sweepstakes'.  Spending over $100 a month on these bogus sweepstakes that you send in $5 here or $9.99 there.  They are the kind of 'contests' that take your information and bundle it with others and sell it to scammers.  She also 'invested' in this green company for a gas additive.  She was supposed to be getting $1000 a month after her initial $4800 investment...guess what? That one didn't pay off either and all it has left her with is a maxed out credit card.  We are doing a subtle intervention while she is here to get her out of this cloud she has been living in that she is going to win a million dollars from all these scams and schemes.  It is a sad situation for her, but she is a competent adult.  She is not and elderly person with dementia.  She has made her choices and now has to live with them.  For someone who will use a tea bag twice to save money, I just don't understand how she has literally thrown money away at these scams. Enough about that.

This is what I woke up to Sunday.  I didn't get out early enough to get those beautiful snow covered tree pictures.  The snow began to melt so quickly that my 9am the snow had melted off the trees. It took a little longer to melt off of my mums.
Looking at the top of this photo, it looks like a beautiful fall day with the leaves turning. Look at the bottom and it is any given January day in New England.
This is my favorite tree in my yard.  It is a maple and always has the most beautiful color this time of year.  It was short changed this year and most of the leaves were lost in the storm.

Trees and snow are great, but what I love most of all is the sight of a kid in a snow suit going out to enjoy great adventures in the snow.  It really brings me back.  I have great memories of many snow filled days followed by hot chocolate with tons of fluff plopped on it.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trick or Treat?

No power...
8" of snow...
The day before Halloween.
I have lived here all my life,
never snow like this before Halloween.
Luckily we have a gas stove,
perked some coffee this morning.
Will be listening to the Pat's game on the radio.
National Grid is saying it will be days
before we get power back.
Didn't we just do this not even 60 days ago?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Coop Keepin' in the Rain and in the Snow

This week we got a lot of rain, cold and heavy rain.  We have been spoiled with good weather. 
The coop seems so far away in the cold rain(really it isn't but...)

 The girls just watch as I stand in the rain filling up their waterers...I think it is going to be a long winter doing this...good thing we have some time before the snow...

We are also on egg watch...we know with the days getting shorter our girls may not start laying just yet but they are 19 weeks old.  PC got the basket out for luck and wishful thinking...

Then just after the rain stopped...
We got our first snow on the coop and all over our Halloween decorations.

Big Bossy didn't know what to make of the dusting of white stuff...
Well Bossy, the weather man says we are getting 6" of the white stuff tomorrow...
The joys of New England weather.
Put a log on the fire, bake something good and I am making Pumpkin Soup.