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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reusable Bags

I came across this image today. I think it is pretty funny even though that is not necessarily how I feel. I do take my own bags to the grocery store. Although, once in a while if have to run in for just a couple of things and don't have them with me, well, we get poo bags. You know, for picking up messes Charlie leaves in other people's yards on our walks.

Between paper and plastic bags, my preference was for paper for their structure and handiness when tossing junk mail. (We recycle too.) One time I asked the lady doing the bagging if should could "throw in some paper bags too." As in: mix it up please, don't give me all plastic. She bagged everything in plastic and laid the paper bags in the cart.

Everytime Aaron or I register for a race, we each get another bag. Anytime Aaron goes to a conference for work, he gets another bag. Right now I'd say we have upwards of 20 reusable bags. I have already donated some to GoodWill.

Here is the thing about reusable bags- they are REUSABLE. It is not necessary for them to be created in such mass quantities. Almost every grocery store has its own line of reusable bags. Small. Medium. Large. Plain. Pretty. Beadazzled. I have seen reusable bags in department stores. They can be, after all, a fashion statement.

I started carrying mine (back when we had 2 or 3) because I wouldn't have to deal with all of the plastic bags overflowing from the plastic bag sock and remembering to take the excess to the recycling center. Also, because I have a tendency to be lazy, hauling 2 heavy (or really heavy) bags once appeals to me more than 8 trips back and forth to the car and kitchen with plastic loops cutting into my skin. But that is just me.

Maybe there is a way I can reuse my reusable bags not as bags. Dismantled and fit together they would probably make a pretty nice weed blanket, or a kite, grill cover maybe... Got any ideas?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hen on the loose!

Last week I was driving into the neighborhood from a different street than I usually take. Charlie was in the car with me. We were probably 3/4 of a mile from our house when I spotted a red hen beside a brick house very close to an intersection.

"Charlie!" I said, "Is that my chicken?"

A lot of internal dialogue followed:

That can't be one of mine.
How would they get so far?
Did I leave the door open?
It looks like one of mine.
That is such a long way though.

I made my way to the coop as soon as I was out of the car.
There they were, Kathy and Eleanore, content as could be.

(Why is it if one person is speaking it is a monologue, but if one person is speaking/thinking to themselves it is a dialogue?)

Friday, May 20, 2011

War of the Roses

For the last week or two getting in and out of my car at home has been a really nice experience. Usually, I don't really notice anything special or take time for reflection. However,since the honeysuckle has been in bloom the hurry-up-get-to-work routine gets interrupted by a deep breath. And the ok-now-that-I'm-home-what-pile-of-clutter-should-I-stress-about fades into ohhh-its-nice-to-be-home.

The majority of the delightful scent comes from where Violet and Ginger hang out. There is so much there, the fence is hardly visible.  Some of the aroma makes its way over from the neighbors on the other side. The honeysuckle over there has to fight for existence and potency, it is up against roses. It is so nice of the neighbors to share their blooms.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

If at first...

something eats your seedlings...Plant. Plant again.

Zucchini and squash are by far not my favorite vegetables (although they are closer than beets). At this point though, that is all that is in the "garden". Zucchini and squash.

Maybe you are saying to yourself, "Why does she plant these vegetables if she doesn't like them?"
There is just something gratifying about producing produce. And besides zucchini bread is delicious.

I bought another seed starter kit yesterday along with cucumber and carrot seeds. I planted them last night while watching a movie. I had no idea how small carrot seeds are! At first glance I thought I bought a packet of sawdust.

I'm struggling with this: "I had no idea how small carrot seeds are." Carrot seeds are still small even though my knowledge has changed... but using "had" suggests I should use "were". Mom, you're a linguist - got anything for me?

I suppose I could also plant fruits. It might be too late to start strawberries, but I could go crazy and try my hand at harvesting watermelon.

Ah ha! Would be. I can say "I had no idea how small carrot seeds would be!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stop! Thief!

Something has taken my
seedlings from the garden.

I think it was probably a

It looks like the
were spared, though.

Speaking of the garden. It is kind of in pitiful shape.

The method of
gardening that I was loosely following,
only loosely worked.
Go figure.

Good thing the
laying is left up to


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Last installment - Little Known Facts

10. In Gainesville, Georgia, (the chicken capital of the world), a local ordinance makes it illegal to eat your chicken with a fork.

11. The waste produced by one chicken in its lifetime can supply enough electricity to run a 100 watt bulb for five hours.

I wonder if that is the lifetime of a factory or  free-range chicken.  Those lifetimes are years different.

12. China has the most people in the world, *and* also has the most chickens. There are over 3,000,000,000 chickens in China! (The United States has only 450 million.)

13. The longest recorded distance flown by any chicken was 301.5 feet.

14. The record for laying the most eggs in one day was seven.

Facts from: http://www.poultryhollow.org/chicken-facts.htm

Monday, May 9, 2011

Home Sweet Home for Sale Bittersweet Sale

The third house I lived in while I was growing up is officially on the market - again. There are some attributes  that you just can't see from the photos... you have to step inside to experience it.

Walking through the front door into the little foyer feels very comforting. It is like crossing the threshold from the porch into the house changes your status. If you make it past the welcome mat once, you are welcome anytime and this is where we will greet you. Unless of course we are already on the porch waiting for your arrival.

Even before I was commissioned for light demolition in preparation for a renovation, I could always feel a sense of history and longevity to the house. When we found newspapers from the late 1800's insulating the walls the history came more alive. The feeling of longevity may be that my dad was making it stronger and more durable with each renovation. It had been there at least one hundred years before we moved in, so why not one hundred more?

You have to be standing at the kitchen sink (which usually isn't that much fun) to appreciate how lucky you are to be washing the dishes surrounded by mountains.

The field beside the house is big enough to make you feel small. Small enough to recognize how much sky there is, even just in this little area. And although there isn't a welcome mat, the feeling is similar to the foyer. If you make it into the field - for a party, to walk your dog, to ride go-carts, whatever it is - if you aren't stopped at the property line (or questioned about your presence) consider yourself a friend and enjoy your time.

It was a little sad to clean out the last of my belongings, but I realized that the town wasn't going anywhere. The mountains weren't going to dissappear. I would still have my mom, my dad, my sister. The memories of our pets...  Change can be good.

Check out the house!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Birds and the Bees

...and other flying, crawling insects.

A week or so ago - it may have been the same day as the encounter with the black snake - Aaron was at the coop with me and witnessed one of the hens snag a mosquito out of the air and enjoy it for a tasty snack. I have heard hens were good for that kind of thing, but had not seen it for myself.

Yesterday evening I was returning with fresh water. Before I set the basin down I noticed a bug crawling beneath some hay. I noticed one of the ladies was watching me and thought she might be interested in what I just saw so I pointed to the bug and tapped the wood floor beside it.

PECK! Peck. Peck. and that bug was gone.

That little bit of successful communication made me kind of happy.

(Which reminds me... I am no hen whisperer or chicken psychic. That whole Elton John song about plumage plucking - uncalled for. Apparently it was just a little grooming between friends. That also makes me happy.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dancing Queens

I got to witness the Fresh Hay dance again on Sunday. It certainly is a sight to behold.

Instead of separating out tiles of hay like I had done before I just tossed a stack between the feeder and the door to the coop yard, then stood back and watched the games begin.

I watched for a couple of minutes and then continued on with some yard work. By the time I went to collect eggs yesterday evening the place had been completely redecorated. They must have danced danced danced all night long. (Steve Miller anyone?)

Monday, May 2, 2011

April's Arithmetic

for the birds...
2 Birds
45 Eggs (that I remembered to tally anyway)
1 Traumatic Event - not my fault. Scary weather.

for me...
221 training miles logged
16 weeks of training
1 toenail lost during training
13.1 mile race
4Blisters formed during race
1finisher's medal