Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Feel Terrible...

So, yesterday I come home, and go about my business. Did some computer work, some laundry, then headed out to check on the chickens. When I lifted up the feed bags that were covering the holes, I was amazed to see empty nests, and the regular chickens on top of the boxes. Apparently the bags had worked, and kept out the chickens. It just kept out too many chickens. I assume the sitters went out to get a drink or to eat something, then could not get back into the nests. I felt so guilty.

Then I went out to the tack room, where I was keeping the babies.

I had a meeting that morning with my crew leader, and I did not pay a lot of attention to the animals because I was running late. I had glanced into the tack room, and raised the heat lamp a few inches above the night level, because they don't generally need as much heat during the day. The ambient temperature rises, and they stay warm with that. What I failed to notice was that they were almost out of water. The chick waterer is a small round tray that screws onto a mason jar. When the jar is inverted, the water comes out into the tray. When I looked, I saw the tray was wet, but not how much water was in the jar.

Without water, chicks overheat.

I killed 10 little babies.

I thought more were going to die, but I removed the heat lamp completely, sat my guilty butt on the floor and started feeding the sickest ones drops of cool water with a small syringe. 5 were really, really close to dying when I found them. When I was done, 4 had recovered. It took the better part of 2 hours to make sure everybody was rehydrated, but I now have 17 live chicks. I better take care of these ones, because I don't know that anymore will hatch out after being cool without the hens.

Damn...Bad day...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mmmm, Mushrooms...

For those of you that don't know, these are Morel mushrooms. They have a very short life and can actually grow several inches in a day. They grow in warm, moist areas, usually on northward facing hills. And they taste PHENOMENAL! Coated in flour and sauteed in butter is the best way. Yummy!!!

Unfortunately, these ones are dry. The exterior actually feels like wood. I knew I was a little late in the season to find them, but I thought we would try anyway. My kids actually found them, with their sharp little eyes. Magdalena Scott and I were talking about Morels at the conference this past weekend, and my dad had said that a buddy of his was finding oodles of them up north, so I thought I would check. I keep forgetting though that Ky runs about 2 weeks ahead of Ohio, so where they are in the height of the season up there, it's past down here.

I have heard though, that if you soak the mushrooms in water and pour the water into the ground in a mushroom-friendly environment, they may come up there the next year. Something about the spores dispersing in the water. So, I'll try that later on today.

Chick count is 23 now. I think. They're pretty hard to count. How many heads can you count in this bucket?

Also, just a warning, ticks are out already. Be sure your kids and pets are protected.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Chickie count...

As of right now, it looks like I'm up to 20 on the chick count. The hens are still sitting, but there has been a lull in the action. I don't think we're done though.
I should be heading out to work right now, but I'm dragging my feet, bad. Kids are gone, hubby just left, and the house is quiet. Perfect time to write.
But I'm almost done with this job.
Once I get it done, I'll feel better about sitting down to write. Guilt free. Isn't that sad I feel guilty about not going to a voluntary job?
Anyway, get out and enjoy the sun today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

So, I returned from Dogwood yesterday, head full and heart warm. I met some fantastic people, re-met others and learned some interesting things. Our guest speaker was Tara Taylor Quinn, a well known and prolific author. I don't generally write suspense, but there were many items in her presentation that could be applied to straight romance. She was very articulate and gave wonderful examples of what she was presenting.
In this picture, Maddie James is on the left, Tara Taylor Quinn in the middle and Jennifer Johnson on the right. They were critiquing pages being read to them.

Unfortunately, I think I accidently deleted my notes from her presentation.

I was juggling 2 or 3 word programs, trying to e-mail another atendee's 2 page critique piece to the front desk, and somehow when I closed my Word program, I lost the three pages of notes.

That sucks. Big time.

She laid everything out perfectly too. My notes were neat and made sense, and I would have gone back to study them.


My dad and step-mom stopped by today on their way home. They ride a huge white Goldwing, and have put about 20,000 miles on the bike since they got it last year. The thing has every bell and whistle you can imagine, plus 'air conditioning'. This weekend they made a loop down into southern Ky , Va area, then came back up through. It's always good to see them.

Anyway, I think I'm going to write for a while. Hubby and I took a nap today after Pop and Nee left, and I'm feeling guilty. Must have been the tryptophan in the hamburgers we grilled out.

Oh, up to 20 chicks now too. I gave six away to the sitter, and we have twenty now of our own. And still hatching.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Damn Chickens!!!

So... I have chickens sitting on eggs right now. Like 500 hens sitting on three nests. No, just 10 of them. On three nests. But it's still a lot.
Can you see the 4 hens on this nest?

The stupid things are crushing the babies. Because they don't have the sense to go to another nest and give the eggs room to hatch.

I have bruises all over my hands from these nasty wenches pecking at me as I'm trying to rescue the babies. So far I have 12 live babies and 4 dead. With a couple pecking their way out now. I'll go out in the morning and rescue the live ones. I put feed bags over the openings to the nest boxes, and removed 2 hens from each nest. Hopefully they'll have enough space now to spread out a bit. The nests were only designed to hold one hen at a time.


Then, my lovely neighbor down the hill bought a horse. To be his lawn mower. Because he has 4 mowers and not one of them works, he says. And of course, the horse is a MARE. Female. My quarter-horse stud is going to love her as he tears through the barbwire fence to introduce himself when she comes in heat.


And you know what's great about these two problems? I don't have to deal with them this weekend. My wonderful hubby does. I'm going to The Dogwood Workshop in Ashland Ky.

Have a good weekend everybody. I'll be back Monday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just ...sublime.....

So, to catch everybody up, the weekend was wonderful. Mom came down Friday afternoon, and we took the kids to the sitter. Hubby promised to pick them up by seven, and he said he actually got there at 5 minutes till. Yay. Can't make the sitter mad, especially when she's watching them past her normal hours.

After we dropped the kids off, we headed into the Man O' War area for dinner. I told Mom she could pick our dinner spot, because I was probably not going to see her for Mother's day. She chose Logan's Roadhouse, and we had a very nice dinner. Sirloin over a grilled bed of onions. Yummy!!!!

Rupp arena was not as packed as I expected, and the show was absolutely sublime. We were about halfway up the rows, and we really had a great view of all the horses. Actually, we could even see the horses in the holding area before the show started. They were absolutely beautiful! Actually, 'beautiful' is too tame of a word.

I learned that this group was not acually from the Viennese Spanish Riding School, though they were affiliated. They had purchased several of their horses from the school, and communicated on training issues regularly. It also made me happy to know that several of the horses in the show were actually adopted out of abuse situations.

This is a demonstration by an Andalusian, which was one of the base breeds of the Lippizan. I apologize for the brightness. These bright white horses just got brighter the closer they got. This one is gray, and even he got brighter with the spotlights on him. If you'll notice, about 48 seconds into the clip, the horse starts across the ring diagonally. If you watch closely, you will see him change leads every second beat. For those that don't know, this takes serious talent. The ringleader advised that the horses are only trained 45 minutes a day...........for 9 or 10 years. Not one of the stallions in the show was under 10 years old.

This is another demonstration, this time by a Lippizan stallion.

I don't know about the Spanish Riding School, but this demonstration had mostly women riding, which I thought was very progressive.

Mom and I enjoyed the show soooo much. There were many people there who were obviously not horse people, but everybody was talking about how much they enjoyed the show. Next time I'll be sure to take my daughter with me.

Saturday was devoted to building fence around my garden and relaxing. Mom left early sunday morning in the rain, and the family finally got one whole day to just veg out.

Hope you enjoy the clips.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The New York Times...

So, I don't normally read the NYT, but one article was mentioned in the RWA magazine, and I had to look it up. Basically, it said that romance purchases were up, again, 32% in the fourth quarter of last year as compared to the year before. A lot of people expected romance sales to flag, as the economy did last year, but it didn't. Conservative estimates claim that romance sales increased 2.4 % in the first three months of this year, as well, where regular fiction decreased a bit.

Personally, I think it's more than that. I think its escapism.

The figures they were using did not plot popular chain stores, like Wal-mart or K-mart. The average woman does not normally cringe at spending five bucks on herself, as many impulse romance buyers do. Big ticket items are suffering overall, but smaller, more manageable product sales are on the rise. I saw the other day where even chocolate sales are on the rise. Rather than buying themselves large, big money things, women are compromising with smaller treat items. They actually feel justified in purchasing the smaller items.

I do anyway.
The books themselves offer a way to get out of their normal, hectic, often times worrisome lives. It gives them a chance to relish in somebody else's trials, rather than their own. And it gives them hope that there is light at the end of the dreary tunnel.

Congratulations to Lora Leigh. Her book cover made it into the NYT article. Congrats also to J.R Ward, who had a mention in the article itself.

If you want to read the whole article, go here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Horse-crazy? Well, of course...

So, I was reprimanded recently because I haven't updated my blog. "Now I have to call you to see what's going on!" Ok, Lurkers, here's my update.

This weekend, we headed north to visit hubby's family. We had a lot of fun. My sister-in-law has two kids about the same age as mine, a little younger, and they don't get together very often. They absolutely love to play together, and of course it helps that my kids have a whole new choice of toys to play with. Friday we had pizza and socialized, and Saturday we colored Easter eggs with the kids. They all had a blast. We went for a hike in the woods on their place, and wouldn't you know it, that darn Easter Bunny was at the house while we were gone with the kids. Amazing that the bunny knew when exactly when to be there, huh?

Sunday we headed to the eastern part of the state to see my mom, whom I haven't seen since I took Moose up in the Tahoe. Right now, she's waiting on tenterhooks. One of the mini mares she bought recently is pregnant, and if the seller gave her the correct dates, the mare should be foaling sometime this week.

I hope it doesn't happen. For selfish reasons, of course.

My wonderful, awesome, fantabulous husband bought me tickets to see the Lippizaner Stallions at Rupp arena Friday. To a horse lover, this is such a coup. I remember years ago, they came to Columbus, and I really wanted to go then, but didn't. My wonderful, awesome, fantabulous husband also offered to babysit the kids if Mom wanted to go with me.


Mom is one of the few people in the world who didn't think it was strange to put Moose in the back of the truck, or take a horse in my basement when he was wounded, or any other crazy animal thing I've done. She's probably already done it. This is the same woman who used to deliver mail on horseback.

Although to be fair, my dad contributed a large part to the fascination as well. I remember him riding this bright, shiny horse on the dirt road in front of our house. And trying to save an orphan foal's life. He used to shoe his own horses, and I have his leather apron for when I work on my own now.
Yep, I'm horse-crazy. Always have been and always will be. And where Dad has gotten away from horses, Mom never has. She literally gasped when I told her what hubby had done and offered to do.
So now I guess we're both kind of waiting on tenterhooks to see what happens with the mare. Hopefully mom will come down either way, but we'll have to see.
As thrilling as the weekend was, the only downside was: my lack of computer. Tonight is the first night in DAYS I've had to do anything for myself on the laptop. And I'm enjoying it while I can. So, off I go to surf land...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Meetin' the County...

So, I didn't realize how many dogs are in Nicholas county Kentucky. Today was my first day canvassing, and I probably went to 60 houses (in the rain/snow crap coming down, but I'm not complaining). Probably 80% of those houses had at least one dog, most two. Throughout the day, I think I met 10 times more dogs than people today. Probably 50 dogs, and maybe 5 people.

Most were friendly, some were skittish, and one was pretty scary, until I realized he was on a log chain. Whew!!! One of the scariest incidents I ever had as a cop was a call in a little podunk town for a dog bite. When I arrived, I spoke to a woman who had been bitten in the breast area by a pit bull bitch. A little boy had been riding his bike in an alleyway and the dog came out and bit him on the ankle, knocking him to the ground. The woman ran out to save the little boy and got bitten in the process. The dog ran off into a garage. When I arrived, the dog had gone patrolling, and I unknowingly parked between her and the six puppies she had in the garage. There was a chain link fence between she and I, and I saw her running at me as fast as she could. Of course, she thought I was after her puppies. I wasn't of course, but there's no talking to a mad pit bull. I didn't want to shoot the dog, because I knew she was only acting like any other mother, so I pulled out my Asp. An Asp is a metal expandable baton, about three feet long. I hit her once solid across the face, and she did not like that at all. She disappeared around a vehicle in the driveway and tried to sneak around the opposite side, but I thought she might and I was ready for her. I struck her a second time, and she ran down the alley. The owners pulled in about then and got the dog under control. Needless to say, that was one of the most scary times of my career. If I hadn't hit her just right, she'd have been on me.

Incidents like that make me love staying home with my kids.

Anyway, I'm wandering. Canvassing...
I think the job will be fine, but it's really going to add miles onto the vehicles. I totalled 106 miles just today. The biggest problem is, there is a certain way you have to count the houses, and you end up lapping yourself on the blocks. It's been 10 years since they did the last major address check, so things have changed a lot. Roads overgrown, new roads, falling in houses. It's interesting though, surprisingly.

Different subject, The boys had fun at the gun show. Hubby brought home this ... stuff that explodes when you shoot it. This is Kentucky, and there's a lot of shooting around. But I'm sure the neighbors probably think we're freaks with explosions going off on our hill.


Well, I'm trying to catch up on writing tonight, so this one's gonna stop here. Night all...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Refreshed... Kind of...

Finally today I'm getting a chance to recharge. We have no training today. Yahoo!!! And due to the weather and my boss being over on her hours, probably no work this weekend. SUPER YAHOO!!!
Yesterday was a trial though. It was the first time we were out on our own canvassing a block. Basically all we're doing is confirming addresses, and that there is a physical house at that address. If it's an apartment building we have to make sure all the apartments are listed. If the streets are mis-marked or not on our computers at all, we have to add them. The census itself doesn't actually come out until this summer, I believe. We're just getting ready for it.
That part of my day was not the trying part.
At 10:00, I got a call from my son's teacher. He had already gotten two sticks, and he had only been there two hours. For some reason he's been going in the pre-school rooms and playing blocks, so that was one stick. Then he got into an argument with a little girl he can't seem to stay away from. I can't tell if he likes her and doesn't know how to tell her, or if he actually dislikes her. It seems like a little of both. Anyway, that was stick two.
"Do you want to talk to your son?" Sigh... "Yea, put him on..."
Every question I ask him gets a response of ,"I don't know." At least I think that's what he's mumbling. So of course I warn him, and tell him he's not going to be able to go see Pop this weekend if he doesn't straighten up. And I cross my fingers for the rest of the day.
I explained to the teacher before I hung up that this weekend he was going to a huge gun show called Knob Creek. They're going to have machine guns and artillery and canons, all things all of the men in my life love. My dad, Pop, is going, as well as hubby and son. My step-brother and cousin are tagging along with the group now too, I believe. My son has known this was coming up, and I've repeatedly warned him that he was going to lose his weekend if he didn't straighten up.
But it was not to be.
His poor teacher called me yesterday when I got out of training, telling me there was too much to talk about to put in a letter. (Great...) Son seemed to be testing her to see if she would give him sticks. She had told him that she knew about his weekend, and she told me that after that , he seemed to be tempting her to give him sticks. He did everything bad he could do, then just looked at her when she got after him. He did everything from killing tadpoles in the stream behind the playground to running in the halls to lying to the reading teacher about having his work done. Teacher said, in total, she could have given him five sticks for the day. It only takes 10 to get suspended!!!
Needless to say, he was not happy when I told him his weekend was cancelled. Daddy was going, but he wasn't. Bawling, crying, pleading, bribing, he did the whole gamut. Then he switched tactics. I've been getting after him to clean his room for 4 days. Suddenly it was done in 15 minutes. Chores he hadn't done in weeks, he was suddenly under my feet trying to do. He was begging me to give him chores to do. (Which was kind of nice actually.) But he always does this. It's how he missed going four-wheeling with my husband a couple months ago, and how he missed the circus a few weeks ago. But I was standing firm in not letting him go.
Until I got that e-mail from Pop. 'He's done his penance. Let him go.' And the second one from Nee, my step-mom and my son's grandmother. 'Make it easy on yourself and let him go with the guys.' I told Nee he would have to have an exceptional day today in order to go. He gets home in about 2 hours, so I guess we'll find out then.
Nothing like a little extra pressure.