Chickens, Journal Style Posts

An Overview of the Recent Insanity and a Chicken Update and a Bit of Bad News

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while. We had the in laws in town for two weeks, our youngest finished high school, Graduation happens this weekend, it has been just absolute insanity around here.

Where to begin, well I will start with the mixup that happened when we purchased chicks at Tractor Supply. They apparently had a mix up where meat chickens and bantam breeds were mixed in with the layers. Basically, all of the straight run chicks were mixed together on accident. I ended up with two meat chickens who were revealed to be Cornish X chickens. This news was rather upsetting to me because I definitely didn’t want meat chickens, only layers. I quarantined those two chicks because they were being brutalized by the rest of the flock and were bald in certain places. Well, they feathered back out and I tried to integrate them again. Everything went fine and no one was bullying them. We went to go buy a new dryer because mine finally bit the dust. (This was a nightmare in itself) Lowe’s was our first stop, I picked out a dryer, paid for it, and waited for it to be brought out so we could load it up and go home. That should have been a simple process. Nope. I am not that lucky. Lowe’s sold me a dryer that was NOT in stock. Then, they told me I had to wait 7-10 days for a refund because of their screw up. I lost it. Hubby took over the whole process when the manager of Lowe’s said if I didn’t leave he was calling the police. (Yes, I yelled at him. They screwed up, NOT me. I was not threateningly cussing, just yelling rather loudly. Had I been alone, I would have had police called on me all while trying to just get a refund because they were trying to get me to choose a different dryer instead of getting a refund and were refusing to refund the purchase of a dryer they didn’t actually have.) Approximately 20 minutes later Hubby came out to the truck and we drove next door to Home Depot. They had exactly one dryer in stock. Not one style, ONE dryer. At this point I didn’t care as long as it worked. I made that poor sales woman physically show me the dryer before I was willing to pay. Hubby explained the nightmare that had just occurred at Lowe’s and she completely understood why I insisted on physically seeing the dryer. Then, of course, something else went wrong. I end up having to stand at customer service for almost a half of an hour while they try to put an extended warranty on this dryer. The woman FINALLY figured it out and added the extended warranty. By this time, we had spent almost 3 hours trying to buy a freaking dryer. I just wanted to go home. We stopped and grabbed food on the way home. It was HOT, muggy from all of the rain, flooding, and multiple tornadoes that have battered the state of Oklahoma for the past two months so, I was miserable.

Finally, we got back home. (An hour drive each way to get to a city big enough to have a home improvement store is never fun.) It was also Memorial Day so those home improvement stores were having holiday sales. Total nightmare. Anyway, we get home and I go to Refill the chicken waterer and I am filling the pitchers I use to refill them and Hubby says, well it’s dead. I have no idea what is dead exactly so I’m hollering and asking. I lost a chicken. πŸ˜” One of the Cornish X chickens was dead next to the door of the run and of course it’s being pecked by another of the chickens so he thinks this chicken killed the dead one. Nope, not enough damage for that to be the cause. Just a few feathers missing. Then, I go check the other Cornish X and she’s panting like crazy and refusing to get up and go drink water. Whoever bred this breed into existence sucks. They will literally dehydrate and die rather than get up and go get water. So, I remove the deceased chicken, bury it and take the other Cornish X back inside to the dog crate. She has air conditioning and can reach water without much movement being required of her. So, the other one died of either dehydration and the heat or her heart gave out because of her weight (they are HUGE birds and just eat and eat and eat.) I don’t see the remaining one lasting much longer because of her sheer size, but I will NOT be killing her for food. She will pass naturally on her own. Until that happens, she is comfortable, living the high life with air conditioning and an extra large dog crate all to herself. I didn’t get chickens to have meat, I got them for eggs. I am not a meat eater. Hubby and the kiddos would rather not eat chicken so I rarely purchase it unless it’s in preformed nugget form or chicken strips. I feel awful about the first one passing from the heat and being too lazy to go get a drink, or her heart giving out from the heat, but I know she was comfortable during her short life.

I spoil the remaining one with ice cubes in her water when I have to run the dryer. (It gets really hot in the laundry room when I run the dryer.) She has air conditioning and when the dryer runs, she has a small fan blowing so she can lie under it or not, her choice. Usually she lies directly under it.

This photo was taken shortly after I placed them in quarantine. They were pecked bald on their backs.

As you can see here, her feathers grew back, tail feathers not so much.

She really is HUGE for a 10 week old chick. I make sure she gets plenty of sunlight. I have a small planter with whatever weeds and such grows outside in her crate so she can forage without really having to move far from the water. I open the windows when the temperature drops before the storms so she gets fresh air (70s F and 20s C) I bring her tiny grasshoppers and she gets mealworms (plenty of grit if she chooses as well) She’s probably the most spoiled meat chicken ever. I would love for her to be able to be outside and happily foraging outside, but she just can’t handle the heat. I have been told by the hatchery that she probably won’t live very long so, she can stay inside in comfort until her time comes. I realize this is very strange, but I didn’t set out to buy meat chickens. I don’t eat meat. I eat eggs and knowing exactly goes into those eggs is far more appealing to me than a month old dozen eggs from the grocery store.

Now that you know about the mixup with meat chickens, I had a few more questions for the hatchery. They were absolutely wonderful and answered every question I had with zero judgement on my keeping a meat chicken indoors and pampered. Chicken Little is NOT a leghorn or an Ameracauna. He, yes “he”, is definitely a rooster, and a Buff Sebright bantam. He was not supposed to be in that particular bin of straight run chicks either. He has begun to practice his crowing and I haven’t been able to catch it on video yet. It took me a week to find out who was crowing. I heard him all the way upstairs at the front of the house. (Chickens are out back.) I honestly thought something was wrong and a predator was inside. Nope, just Chicken Little trying out his voice.

He’s got an awesome little personality. He rules the coop even though he is half the size of everyone else. He has a rose comb, which is interesting to me because I have never seen one before. He also has green feet. He loves to flap his little wings and gets some serious height.

Rocky is out other surprise. Rocky now has feathers growing on her legs. This picture was about 2 weeks ago. So, I will need to take a few better pictures of her legs, but the hatchery has a strong belief that she is not a barred rock, but in fact a Barred Cochin. I will keep you posted on any updates regarding her breed identity. She is very curious and LOVES my phone.

They all love perching on the coop door.

My mother in law brought me these fabulous signs for the coop and brought two of each so when one sign gets sun faded, I can replace it with a new one.

She also found an egg basket for me. She always brings me the random things I cannot seem to find, but bring up in conversation when I talk to her. She’s amazing at her random gift giving because it’s always something I have been hunting for and cannot seem to find.

The cat litter boxes as nesting boxes have worked out rather well as far as durability and being able to keep them clean. I think I will take some wood screws or maybe bolts and bolt them to the coop walls because they tend to fall over when everyone loves to sit on top of them.

As for roosts, I got kind of lazy there because I couldn’t find an effective way to put in roosts and still have plenty of room for them to move around and enjoy the space. So, I had an old wooden ladder that was not capable of holding my weight, but they absolutely love it. The waterer hangs underneath the ladder on 550 cord (paracord)

It is also tied to the coop itself until hubby can go bolt it to the wall for me. I didn’t want it to fall over so 550 cord to the rescue. They love it because they can go up on the paint bucket shelf and look out the window. I am always greeted each morning by a handful of them peeking through the window at me when I open the coop each morning.

Chicken Little is still snuggly.

This also happens when I go to refill food and water. I become the best perch, I have had chickens on my shoulders, one loves to get on my back when I bend to clean up the feeder (bedding gets everywhere). The particularly love to perch on my thighs as I squat down.

In addition to the chickens, we have had some other feathered visitors. One has taken up residence in the sugar berry tree.

Before you yell at me about the red liquid in the feeders, I stopped filling them with the premade nectar and use just sugar water now. I didn’t know that it was harmful and was immediately made aware when I posted pictures and video on my Facebook page. I have fixed that issue.

My new phone takes really good pictures compared to my old phone.

This guy was found in the ditch heading towards the highway. I had a talk with him about how dangerous it was to cross that road and told him he would be squished and needed to turn around and go to the back of the property where he would be safe. Hubby of course laughed at me for lecturing the snapping turtle, but he listened and turned around and headed towards the back of the property. He was almost 2 feet long and lunged at me a few times. I was too close, so I don’t blame him. I am just glad he didn’t get squished.

I am thankful that we have not experienced any flooding, extreme weather, tornadoes, or anything else that is scary and involves the weather. We have been really lucky. I did have to completely empty the coop bedding after one really bad storm because it was soaking wet near the window. Hubby is making a shutter for that window this weekend so it can be closed for bad weather. I just cleaned it out, used an old mop to dry it and put in new bedding. The old bedding is in the compost pile and the compost tumbler that hubby made for me when I began this blog.

I have it next to the coop so I have easy access to it for adding old bedding and chicken poo scraped off of the coop door. Yes the grass needs to be cut, but it is just way too wet. We need a few dry days in a row so the mower wont get stuck in the mud. You can also see my makeshift clothesline that I used when the dryer broke. Another instance of 550 cord to the rescue. It worked really well and held my king size duvet, which was dry in about 30 minutes because we had some insane wind that day. Hubby promised to install a permanent clothesline for me so I can hang up linens to dry. I love the smell of line dried sheets. I grew up without a dryer so, I guess I just got used to that smell and the crisp feeling of clothes that are line dried. We definitely have enough wind and sun for it.

Finally, for those of you who love my kitties, here are a few pictures of Fizzgig, Gizmo, and a few of Miss Mia (she’s an honorary kitty).

Until next time….

Reviews of Products and/or Companies

It’s Here!!! Fab Fit Fun Spring 2019 Box Review

I cannot even begin to explain how happy I was to see my box on the back steps when I let Miss Mia out to potty this morning. Giddy isn’t even remotely close enough to describe my joy.

Yes, I ripped it open as quickly as I could.

Before I dig through it and show y’all everything here’s a pretty picture of how nicely they pack everything into these boxes. If you want this box, click this link.

This is my box it is worth $414. (I added extra items from the choices and add ons galore, but this is the actual subscription without add ons or extras. Not to worry I will include the extras too.)

I am going to lay every single thing out and tell you all about it. I have used everything already throughout the day so, I will give my honest opinion on everything too.

This didn’t quite fit in the other picture so, I gave it it’s own picture.

This was a mystery choice item. A friend also did the mystery choice for her box and received a different product from the same brand. She received a lip crayon. I know the photo is terrible. I have another and I will post it later in this post with my review.

Ok so, I will go product by product and then delve into extras and add ons. Each box comes with eight full size items. With my link, you will pay $39.99 for your first box. The regular price for this subscription is $49.99 per box, which comes once per season /four times a year. I receive a credit, which can be used to purchase add ons or items during the Fab Fit Fun edit sales for each person who subscribes using my link. I am eternally grateful to everyone who uses my link. I didn’t spend a single extra penny of my own money aside from paying for my subscription because people signed up using my link and I had a nice amount of credits to spend. (I got to go shopping for myself and I never really shop for myself aside from my three subscription boxes and cleaning supplies from Grove Collaborative so, thank you very much, for funding my splurges.)

I am going to start with these super cute cat eye sunglasses from Quay Australia. I honestly would never have given these a second look in the store. The other option was a pair of aviator style sunglasses from the same company or a sleep mask or a picnic set (I added the picnic set) I was nervous about these because I have a hard time with sunglasses. I try on so many pairs and they are always huge on my face and make me look like a bug. These are super cute, a bit big compared to the style I normally wear, but no bug eyes. Yay!!!

Next up, Ouai leave in conditioner. This stuff smells amazing. It leaves my hair so soft and helps me with tangles. I have baby fine hair and combing through it, even with a wide tooth comb, is near impossible because my hair becomes one giant knot. Leave in conditioner is ALWAYS welcome. I had just recently purchased Living Proof shampoo, conditioner, perfecting spray (a leave in conditioner) and a few other products so, while those are my favorite, this bottle will go in the upstairs bathroom so, I can detangle after a soak in the tub. (Get the box here)

I didn’t have to open it to know I love it. I have a travel size already opened. 😁

This is a new one for me. I have never heard of Tula nor have I ever heard of probiotics being added to facial cleanser or skincare in general. I was pleasantly surprised when I removed my makeup this evening. It not only removed a majority of my makeup, but it removed the dirt and oil, sweat, and whatever else was on my skin and it did so WITHOUT drying out my skin. It didn’t make my skin angry either. (waterproof mascara and matte liquid lipstick usually require a makeup wipe or micellar water so, this isn’t abnormal and definitely not a reason to say no to a facial cleanser)

For my first experience, I am definitely happy and will use it for a week in place of my preferred cleanser to see if I have any reactions or if it actually improves my skin. So far, I like it and the bottle is quite big compared to most cleanser bottles. Get the box

Next up is a product I am VERY familiar with because I have been using it for a while now. Dr. Brandt Needles No More No More Baggage Eye Gel.

Here is my opened tube. First, allow me to explain that this isn’t your typical eye gel by any means. I don’t use this every single day. There are multiple reasons why I don’t use it every day, but the two main reasons are, it is expensive and it isn’t what you think it is because it isn’t regular eye gel or eye cream. It isn’t exactly a gel either. It comes out of the tube as a peachish colored pasty gel. I know that sounds gross and why would anyone put that on their face? I use it because it WORKS! It really does work and it works so freaking quickly and keeps working all day long. So, imagine you are having an extreme allergy attack and your eyes are super puffy and almost bordering on swollen, imagine you got no sleep and you are staring into the mirror at huge puffy eyes, imagine you just got off of a red eye and you look like you are having a major allergic reaction, this is the product you need. You basically smear this party stuff under your eyes and wait a few minutes. It dries to a powdery finish, but before it dries it feels like someone put ice cubes under your eyes cooling all that puffiness. Then after a few minutes you look in the mirror and BAM! What puffiness? It’s magically just gone like it was never there. This stuff is amazing and it works so freaking well. I just wish it didn’t cost so much. You only need a little bit so, the tube will last a long time. It is worth it if you are like me, allergic to everything and sleep like garbage. Get the box

Remember that mystery item, here it is again and with a better picture. treStique makes a very interesting line of stick products that are very similar to crayons for your face.

This bad boy is a chunky multitasker. It comes with a built in blending sponge on the bottom and the lid has a nifty magnet so it stays closed and you don’t risk taking a chunk out of the product when you are trying to remove the cap. It opens smoothly and closes as soon as the magnet gets close to the base. These sticks are so versatile. This one is basically a face stick. You can use it as blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, whatever strikes your fancy. I know the lighting is not helpful, it is a neutral peachy shade and definitely not as dark as it looks.

I was very excited about this product. I LOVE S’well bottles. I have a smaller one and it is purple. This one is much bigger than my tiny toss in your purse size. The color/pattern was completely random and there were some cute patterns available, but I was hoping for a neutral color and no pattern. I received a black one and I am just thrilled to itty bitty pieces because black means my darling hubby will take it to work because it’s not purple or loud. It will keep your ice cold water cold for up to 24 hours. You can use it for any beverage, hot or cold, but it really is the perfect water bottle because it really keeps your water cold. It is spill proof, leak proof, and made of metal so no BPA plastic is involved. You definitely need a bottle brush if you are going to use it for any other liquid. I want more of these bottles.

Champagne Charcoal Scrub by Manna Kadar. This stuff smells so good. I tested a bit on my hands just to see how good the scrubbing power was and WOW! It gets bubbly while you scrub, but it took care of the flaky dead skin on my hands and they were so soft when I got done. They weren’t in desperate need of lotion afterwards, but I put some on anyway. I can’t wait to use this at the end of a soak in the tub. Maybe, just maybe, it will help with the dreaded winter itch from dry skin in desperate need of hydration. I sure hope so. Get the box

This is the last item from my base subscription and it was chosen on a whim. It is the Deux Lux Demi Backpack and I thought it was adorable and would be perfect to carry snacks, drinks, and sunscreen when we go for hikes in the wildlife refuge. I wasn’t wrong. It’s a small little pack, I think it is meant to be more like a purse. It says, “for best results do not exceed 22 lbs” so, that screams purse to me. Also, the straps adjust in a very strange manner.

Those little metal buckles are how the straps adjust. They go right through those buckles, but the ends hang loose once tightened. Loosening or tightening can be done rather easily while wearing the backpack. So, all of these things mean it is meant to be a fashion accessory like a purse. It will work perfectly for what I got it for. It is made of very thick and sturdy canvas and vegan leather. Very well made.

Okay onto extras and add ons.

This was the holy grail item for me for this season’s box. A Show Me Your Mumu robe… I was so excited about this robe. I have washed it and dried it and then, I put it on. Get the box

I am 5 ft 1.5 in and the back came down past my knees. The front came just to my knees. Please, ignore my hair, I know it looks like it hasn’t been washed in a week. I have a mask in my hair and it just looks so dirty it’s killing me to post this.

I seriously just tied it as quickly as possible so, I could get a picture. Notice you cannot see my pajama shorts. It is definitely long enough for me to run around the house in my shorty shorts and not accidentally show my son my rear end. It is polyester but feels like a cotton sheet. I may adjust where the belt loops are because it just feels strange tied there. It says one size on the tag, but that is pure BS. There is no such thing as one size fits all. I would say this would fit up to a size 22 (US sizes) or so. Maybe a bit larger, but the sleeves would be the hardest part about this robe fitting properly. They are quite roomy on my body, I know it doesn’t look that way because my arms are down. I am a size 8-10 (US) if that is helpful. Now, for the downside…. I know I suck for this.

It’s rather sheer. Not completely see through when worn, but it is thin material and if the light hits it right, all of your bits will be seen. As I said, I was wearing a tank top and a pair of short pajama shorts under it for the above photos. Do I love it? Definitely. It is exactly what I expected. I will adjust the belt loops and it will be perfect.

Remember that picnic set I mentioned at the beginning, well this is it. It has everything needed for a picnic for two. Isn’t it adorable?!

It’s made by Sunnylife and comes in an adorable little zippered case.

Picnics in the wildlife refuge are definitely in my future.

My son’s girlfriend asked me to add this because she doesn’t have full customization because she is a seasonal subscriber so, I got her this body sander thing. πŸ€£πŸ˜‚ Seriously though, it is a Daily Concepts body brush and she is thoroughly excited about it.

Now for add ons. I don’t normally spend much on add ons unless they have Living Proof hair products on sale.

These were in the Winter Editor’s box and I wanted them. They are Pier One mini prep bowls. They hold about a cup and a half of whatever you need them to hold. Also, super cute.

I know the writing is difficult to see, I’m sorry about that. These are Corsx Acne pimple master patches. They are hydrocoloid bandage dots for acne. they are clear sticky dots that suck the grossness out of a pimple. I know, that sounds truly disgusting. It is, but they can heal a pimple almost overnight. You can either pop the pimple or stick it with a pin when it comes to a head. Then, stick on a patch, go to bed, and wake up to the dot that was clear, turning white. They work amazingly well. This is a 3 pack of the patches and well, I use them and my son uses them. They are amazing little things.

I love the Ahava brand. Seriously everything they make is amazing. This is a one bath package of dead sea salt. Dump the whole package into the tub and soak. Perfect evening in my mind.

This little bar is amazing. It demolishes acne on your face and body. The instructions aren’t like normal soaps, you lather up and let it sit and work its magic.

During warmer months, I break out on my chest and back and this deals with that issue.

This was a freebie. It was a sponsored product and everyone who had at least $15 worth of items in their cart could add this until the supply was depleted. It is apparently available at Target. I will be giving it to my son’s girlfriend because I don’t like deodorant. I prefer antiperspirant because I don’t enjoy being wet. I am always sweating even in the middle of winter.

GlamGlow youthmud (this is the best clay based mask ever)

St. Tropica hair growth vitamins

I have been taking these for two months and my hair has grown in far stronger than before and it is beginning to thicken up a bit. They have biotin, but there are a bunch of other natural ingredients and any vitamins are worth taking when you are like me and forget to eat during the day. πŸ˜‚ I am trying to get my hair past my butt so, hair vitamins are worth trying for a few more months. (I am pretty close, my hair is to my butt.)

These are pretty self explanatory. The green one is for my son, the blue one is mine. Corkcicle cups keep drinks cold in the Oklahoma sun.

A giant round towel by Sunnylife. (It is really a towel, Terry cloth and all.)

A giant XL towel from SandCloud. (This is not Terry cloth) It is very tightly woven, almost like canvas. It is supposed to be sand proof meaning sand won’t come through the weave and won’t stick to the fabric. I will be using it as a picnic blanket. I can’t wait. It is approximately 7 ft Γ— 5 ft. (Approximately) It’s HUGE.

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, I am in awe. I am also going to reward you with kitty pics.

They love whenever any packages come because they get to play in the box and play with packing materials.

If you would like to subscribe to Fabfitfun, you can click here for $10 off your first box.

Until next time…

Barn Kitties, Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

A Rundown of December and January

So, my last post happened before the holidays and my house has been a whirlwind of absolute chaos since then. I am currently purging the house and organizing everything, but before I get into that, I will get you all caught up on the whirlwind that was December and the beginning of January.

We had a lovely holiday with just the three of us, the kids were all supposed to come home this year, but life happens and they were all unable to come home. I would have enjoyed having everyone here together and actually being able to get a recent family picture, but I completely understand that life is harder when you are a young adult and usually living paycheck to paycheck. The kids will all be visiting this year, but it will be at different times. I did get to see my daughter in law and grandson this month so, that was amazing and stressful at the same time.

I guess I will start with the pictures I took in December and January as a little bit of brightness to this post. Fizzgig and Gizmo thoroughly enjoyed the tree.

They didn’t climb it this year, but they loved hiding out under it and sleeping on the tree skirt. Fizzgig loved the lights when I turned them to twinkle instead of constantly staying lit. He would lie under the tree and just watch them twinkling. He was definitely being quite photogenic.

We also saw snow at the beginning of January and some ice as well.

It began snowing and I honestly didn’t expect much because it didn’t look like it was going to be much more than what is on the ground in this picture. Boy was I wrong. We saw almost a foot of snow by morning.

It was absolutely beautiful and the perfect snow for snowmen and snowballs, but it was brutal cold and while we invited the neighbor’s little ones, and the other children who were visiting her, to go sledding, we didn’t play in it aside from helping the little ones go faster down the hills on the back of the property. (Our neighbor’s property is completely flat aside from the edge of her fenced backyard which sloped towards the fence dividing our property.)

The barn kitties stayed inside of the dairy building aside from a few short trips around the front of the property. I am guessing they went to see if any small critters were out and about for a quick warm meal. I warmed their wet foot and placed their wet food and water dishes on waterproof heating mats. They also have special beds in the dairy building rafters that hold warmth when they lie on them so, they are kind of like a heating pat that warms them using their body heat. They were all being used, but I couldn’t get pictures because of how the beds are set up in the rafters. I have pieces of plywood across the beams to create an attic of sorts so they can be up high and not be in danger if a predator manages to get into the building somehow. Additionally, they are out of my reach unless I climb on stuff so, they feel safer if I come into the building and don’t have to bolt out of there. The pawprint pictures are all around the dairy building. The last one is at their entrance and there were at least seven cats inside the building when I went to feed them. I am glad they were safe, warm, and had free access to plenty of food (both kibble and wet food), water, and warm beds. They do such a good job keeping the mice and snake populations in check. I just wish they would let me pet them.

These pictures are before the second round of snowfall. We had approximately six inches of snow at this point and about a 1/4 of an inch of ice formed that night on top of the snow. The pawprint photos are the only ones I got of all of the snow. We shoveled the snow away from the door and entrances to the dairy building for the barn kitties so, there wasn’t as much snow around the door thankfully. We didn’t want them trapped from snow.

I know this is a terrible photo. It was taken from inside the house the day after the snowstorm. The barn kitties walked through the raised bed outside the window. It was in the 40’s F the following day and the snow was gone by the third day after the snowstorm. I am hopeful that we get one more good snow before spring. I will get better pictures of it snows again. I wasn’t feeling well and the last thing I wanted was to be cold and wet as well as feeling icky.

Fizzgig really liked the table linens and took quite a few naps on the runner. He had just woken up from one when I snapped this picture.

At the end of December or very beginning of January, we got some new neighbors. I am not sure when they arrived, but they sure are adorable.

I had taken Miss Mia to check the fence line and once I was done doing my checks, I took her back to the house and spent a bit of time greeting these sweet babies. They were fascinated with Miss Mia and kept sniffing me because I smelled like her. I can’t wait to get a few calves of my own, but we still have a ways to go before that happens. The previous owners had 100 head of cattle on 10 acres. This is insane because the suggested number is one cow per acre. We are leaving the property alone. We mow the yard, but have only really mowed the property once or twice a year because we wanted it to grow back. It was pretty bare when we bought the property and it finally has a good layer of grass. We boarded horses so they could give the soil a bit of fertilizer without destroying everything like cattle tend to do when they are grass-fed. It’s getting there, maybe in a year or two I can finally get some calves.

Gizmo has been regularly stealing Miss Mia’s bed from her. Miss Mia is not a young puppy. she has arthritis and she’s getting old. Gizmo has no shame. Miss Mia will NOT throw Gizmo out of her bed because she thinks the cats are her puppies. Fizzgig and Gizmo were bottle babies (bottle fed and very tiny at 2 weeks and 4 weeks old) and Miss Mia loved them, groomed them, and let them cuddle with her anytime they wanted. She would rather sleep on the floor than kick her “puppy” out of her bed. We have placed another bed right next to her bed so, she now has another bed to sleep in if Gizmo steals her bed.

Now for the pictures of my grandson’s visit.

He is 15 months old and he’s huge for his age. His momma had no idea what to feed him for snack time since I was in the shower he got a little bit of everything. He enjoyed it thoroughly.

Lunch was cooked for him. (He had a spoon when I gave him his food. It was immediately flung across the kitchen and he chose to eat with his hands.) Lunch was ham cubes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and noodles in a cheesy bechamel sauce. He ate three servings and I had to teach his mother how to make it because he tends to play with his food more than he eats it and he destroyed this meal. He did wear some of it, especially in his hair. πŸ˜‚

He fell in love with my Boston Red Sox blanket and slept with it for every nap.

Nonno stopped on the way home from the airport to buy his grandson some Batman clothes because he was wearing Captain America clothes and that was unacceptable. We chose to be called Nonna and Nonno because hubby and I are both from Italian backgrounds and these are the Italian versions of Grandma and Grandpa. I am 39, I am not old enough to be called Grandma. The wonderful thing about choosing to be called by these names is that he can say them.

He was so much easier to take pictures of when he was eating. He had French toast and sausage for breakfast and wanted cheese too. (I made omelets and French toast for everyone else)

He was laughing so hard the picture was blurry. He was laughing because his momma had hiccups.

He fell asleep holding onto her after giving her a serious leg workout.

My legs hurt just watching. He weighed 25.6 pounds (He loved the scale and stepped on it multiple times a day.)

He loves taking pictures.

He used me as a bed quite often. He sleeps like his dad.

Deconstructed taco salads were a hit too. We tried a plastic spoon because he didn’t like the toddler spoons or the baby spoons I had. He still ate mainly with his hands, but he tried really hard to eat with his spoon. I told him if he ate all of his food, I would give him an amazing dessert.

Needless to say, chocolate cake was a hit. (It was a TastyKake chocolate bell) I also gave him a bath. I wasn’t mean and I cleaned him up instead of just handing him back to momma and making her clean him up.

I also made him tiny pizza with tiny pepperoni when we had pizza and calzones for dinner. He had never had his own pizza before. He did exactly what his dad does, he picked off the pepperoni and ate those first then, he ate each slice.

It was definitely messy. (He had refused to drink from any sippy cups so, I bought some and got him drinking out of them. He still has his bottle, but this is a good start towards toddlerhood.)

I discovered that he loves snapchat so, these next few pictures are all snapchat filters. Some are a bit ridiculous, but those of you who haven’t managed to add me on other platforms will actually see my face.

We enjoyed being silly.

I am glad he came to visit. I said stressful earlier when describing his visit. He and his momma were both sick with the flu for their entire visit. Also, my house is NOT childproof. We bought a baby gate on the way home from the airport because we have stairs and stairs are dangerous for little ones. He also doesn’t sleep through the night so, I woke every time he woke, and he woke every 2 hours. Makes me glad my youngest is 18.

Fizzgig does NOT like tiny humans. He had a bad experience with our friend’s 5 yr old so he hisses, growls, and runs away from tiny humans. He does enjoy their comfy accessories though. He really liked camping out in the stroller.

So, that was a fairly quick rundown of December and January. I am purging and organizing the house because I realized just how much clutter we have after having a toddler locating chokable items and having to take them away and put them out of reach. While I will not be childproofing unless a grandchild is living with us, I do need to reduce clutter and get the house more organized. I realized I have a bunch of junk that needs to go. Maybe I will take some before and after pictures while I am purging the house. I am really glad we have a dumpster and not just a trashcan. I can throw out so much stuff without having to wait a week for the rest.

Until next time….

Holidays, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

More Decorating…

When I married my husband, we both decided to get rid of our decorations and such from our previous marriages. We had both been married once and those marriages ended badly. I kept a handful of things that belonged to the kids and he did the same. The rest was tossed. I bought our tree during our first deployment together. I remember when I told him about my purchase, which happened after Christmas during one of those sales where EVERYTHING is marked down super low because the store needs it gone to make room for the next holiday or seasonal shipment. He went into full panic mode because it was pre lit and he was absolutely terrified that I had bought a tree with colored lights. I grew up with a real tree being put up each year and colored lights. I don’t like real trees because it takes like seven years to grow them that size. Then they get chopped down for someone to put in their home for a month and then tossed in the garbage. It’s like cut flowers, wasteful. I prefer white lights on my own tree, but I don’t think colored lights are ugly. They just don’t match with silver and purple, which is my theme for our tree.

The tree is 7 feet tall and it was pre lit. Over the years, the pre lit part stopped working and now it’s partially lit. I add extra lights each year, but we plan on buying another tree, without the pre lit feature, during this year’s clearance sales.

I have added bits and pieces here and there, never really adding too much because moving with the military meant you were only allowed a certain weight for your entire house. I was terrified of the contents of our home being over that weight limit.

He is retired from the military now and we own our home instead of renting or living in military housing so, I have started replacing our furniture, since I was never allowed to have heavy furniture because of the weight limit, and collecting seasonal decorations. We went out on Friday evening to get salt for the predicted snowstorm and I wandered down the seasonal aisle. I sought out penguins of course and found a few, but the real treasure I found was Fall themed.

There were exactly six of these adorable Fall themed placemats left in the clearance section. I paid $.60 each, for a grand total of $3.60 for six cloth embroidered placemats. I was giddy about this and my hubby couldn’t understand why I insisted on buying something for a season that had already passed until I explained how much they would have cost me if I had bought them when it was still Fall. He quickly understood and decided we were going shopping after Christmas for decorations. He did let me buy placemats and a table runner that wasn’t Fall themed.

Fizzgig launched himself across the table so, the tablecloth was wrinkled. (I fixed it so it’s straight again.)

My mother in law brought me a bunch of old table linens and such when she came to visit in May. This placemat was part of a set of 4 and came with foam coasters too, butI have 6 chairs and only enough for 4 spots so, I have to find another way to display them. I was determined to have at least one on the table because she took the time to pack up all of these lovely old linens and some quirky placemats and bring them to me when she came to visit. The white tablecloth came from hubby’s great grandmother and the white napkins match the tablecloth. They soaked in oxiclean for a week to get them bright and stain free again.

I am deciding on a centerpiece, but until I do, the placemat stays. I need to get out to Dollar Tree for wine glasses and charger plates so, I will likely use upside down wine glasses as candle holders with ornaments or glitter ribbon inside of the glass itself as a centerpiece. This blog has some examples of what I am thinking of doing, but I will make it match our style.

I put my tabletop tree up in the living room and did remember to take a few pictures, but I didn’t take one after hubby put the topper on this tree. I will take a picture of that tomorrow and add it in the next post.

Fizzgig of course, had to check it out and sniff it to be sure it was not harmful. This tablecloth is also from my mother in law. I love old linens.

He also had to taste it by chewing on a branch. I guess he didn’t like the way it tasted, because he left after this picture.

I got it all decorated with jingle bells, snowflakes, and a strand of acrylic crystals because I don’t light this tree. The crystals reflect light. The topper is on the table next to it.

A closer picture of the penguin behind the tree.

This little box holds everything that goes on the tree, except the topper. It doubles as a decoration because it’s cute.

One of the kids bought me a penguin snow globe one year.

Throughout the house, I have random little decorations such as this adorable little guy.

This very round snowman is next to the router for the wifi.

This snowman is on the other side of the router.

I have penguin potholders for every season, but this picture is about my aloe plant. It is in a perpetual state of confusion. It bloomed about two weeks ago and I was waiting for the bloom to die back so, I could cut it back and it bloomed again….IN DECEMBER!!!! You can see the old bloom next to the new one. It has to be senile or something because it is cold outside and that window is a greenhouse window, but it gets cold because it is cold outside. So, now I’m waiting for this next bloom to die back so I can cut them both back. I hope it doesn’t bloom again.

Finally, I have these on the door and I just got a new door hanger with bigger bells so, it will be extra jingly.

As for that huge snowstorm we were supposed to get with about a half a foot of snow, well, we got about a half an inch of ice and a little bit of rain. It was rather disappointing to say the least, but this is normal for Oklahoma forecasts. One day it will be 70Β° F and the next day, 20Β° F. We are supposed to get some snow on Thursday so, hopefully we do and I can go find some critter tracks. I adore finding animal tracks in the snow. This is how we discovered we had a fox living in a little den under our willow tree near the back of the property. We never noticed until I was following the fox tracks and they led to a small hole near the tree. I started watching the tree at sunrise during the spring and got to see kits running around with their momma.

Until next time…..

Holidays, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

Holiday Decorations Have Begun

Fizzgig was so excited to see a gift bag that he could play with.

Gizmo immediately claimed the tree skirt as her own.

She got quite comfy.

That is, until Fizzgig decided she needed to share it with him.

This is my elf. He goes on the front door. I haven’t finished decorating, but he has been hung. I don’t hang outdoor lights because we have a two story home and I don’t like heights and neither hubby, nor myself want the electric bill that comes with hanging oodles of lights. We may get some led lights that don’t use a lot of electricity in the future, but as of right now, we decorate indoors and a few things hang in windows or on the front door, but behind the storm door. No decorations on the porch because I have not figured out how to keep them from blowing away or falling over from the wind. Eventually I will figure something out.

This was before hubby came home from work and added the tree topper and before I had finished. This is important because the final version looks different.

A bit better view from the side with more lighting. (Again, not even remotely finished)

My dining room table is covered in decorations and GLITTER!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

My daughter made this in elementary school. It is made using a coat hanger and plastic sandwich bags (no zippers, just the fold ones.) Then you just add ornaments. Over the years, ornaments have fallen off or broken because they were super inexpensive plastic ones so, I added some ornaments, a stocking, and some silver glitter ribbon because glitter makes everything better.

Hubby put the tree topper on and I set up my penguin. Fizzgig ran under the tree as I was taking this and knocked over one of my stuffed penguins that I had set at the bottom of the tree. (Have you figured out my chosen theme yet? Penguins 🐧🐧🐧)

There are quite a few on the tree. I took some close up pictures of them.

I mailed this one to Iraq during one of the many deployments. He shockingly still has his tag and is in perfect condition after being mailed to Iraq every time Hubby was there in December. He made the trip 7 times.

This is our first penguin ornament. We buy at least one penguin each year. Sometimes we buy a few.

One of the kids even made a penguin foam ornament in school. There are two in this picture because they were right next to each other.

This is our disco penguin. He has a switch on the bottom and he flashes colored lights when turned on.

This one came with a pair of fuzzy penguin pajamas my fabulous mother in law sent me one year. There is a year on the back, but I didn’t think to take a picture of it.

Another penguin and a sprint car ornament. (Hubby races sprint cars on dirt so, the sprint car ornament was rather necessary. I bought it on Etsy and it is a Matchbox car.)

I told you we have a lot of penguins. And these are just the ornaments so far.

Sometimes it is EXTREMELY difficult to locate a penguin ornament. So, sometimes they are rather small ones. Other times they are large.

This one makes noise every time the cats go under the tree. (It has a jingle bell on it) I have quite a few bells too.

Not a penguin, but how many people do you know who have a batman ornament? πŸ˜‚ Batman belongs to Hubby.

This one came in a boxed set with penguin ornaments and silver glitter ornaments. They are hand painted and glass so they are up high and I have them on special hooks because Fizzgig liked to climb the tree last year. (I will find the pictures of him in the tree.)

One of the stuffed Penguins I was talking about earlier.

This is the one that was knocked over when Fizzgig ran under the tree.

One of the kids won this one in a claw game machine and gave it to me.

And this is the final tree for this evening. (I still have ornaments to add, another tree to decorate, stockings to hang, etc. etc. )

Miss Mia in her antlers last year. She ran and hid upstairs when I pulled them out this year. πŸ˜‚

Found it. Fizzgig playing in the tree. Oh this reminded me to get candy canes. There were some amazing ones last year, hot chocolate, salted caramel, and Espresso were the assortment that I ate every single candy cane from. My son loves the ones that taste like skittles, sour patch kids, or starburst. I had different curtains and almost forgot about them. Hubby went somewhere and came home after dark and realized he could see right into the house and was not thrilled about that so the lace curtains came down and the plaid ones went up. (The plaid ones block the cold from the windows so, it’s quite toasty in the dining room now.)

A friend of mine made these for me last year. Aren’t they adorable?!

I also hung some of the cards up. In the entryway to the dining room. It isn’t a doorway because there are no doors. So, I guess it’s an entryway. My son was laughing because I used cinnamon dental floss to hang them. He said, ” Mom, why didn’t you use plain floss? Is it because it is red and you think red is more festive than white?” Nope, it’s because I couldn’t find my kitchen twine and that was the flavor I had in my purse. πŸ˜‚ It worked. I will get a close up of my tree topper tomorrow and take more pictures as I continue to decorate.

This is what my weekend looks like. Just a half a foot of snow expected. Nothing major. If we get that much, you will also get oodles of snow pictures. I love going out and looking for animal tracks. I especially enjoy the barn kitty tracks because the tracks tell me where they go when they aren’t close to the house.

Until next time….

Everyday Activities, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

Life Happens Sometimes.

I apologize to all of you for being missing for so long. So much has happened so, I will do my best to bring you all up to date in a single post because tomorrow is decorating day and I plan on making an entire photograph post for that.

If you have been following along, you know that so many things have broken and been “repaired” and then been broken again. Well, the air conditioning is fixed. The heat is working just fine and we are looking at snow and ice this weekend, which I am hoping doesn’t knock out the power. If it does, we will be just fine. We have a generator and an amazing kerosene heater, which I can place a pot or pan on top of and actually cook on it. They would be simple meals, but hot food is so much nicer than eating whatever I can quickly cook on a crappy hot plate plugged into the generator. I can also use an outlet on the generator for my crockpot so, we will be eating like normal. I just prefer to have my oven and stovetop.

The well pump was acting up prior to my hiatus and that turned out to be a MAJOR issue. It wasn’t just the pump. We ended up replacing all of the PVC piping from the basement to the well, the pressure tank (we upgraded to a 100 gallon tank from a 45 gallon one), the pressure switch, the pump itself, and all of the wiring from the basement to the pump. It rained just before the pump went out and I am so glad it did because it made the rock hard Oklahoma clay soft.

This is the old pressure tank. We replaced all of that PVC because it snapped when we removed the tank.

This is the new pressure tank and that funky looking piece right next to the tank makes it EXTREMELY easy to remove the tank. The end allows for drainage in case of sand building up in the tank. We will switch to a different filtration set up next summer.

This picture shows where the wiring was originally going through the well housing pipe. As you can see the hole isn’t very big and it was shredding the insulation on the wiring causing shorts to happen. We drilled out this hole and added a fitting so the white PVC pipe fits snugly and protects the wiring instead of shredding it.

Originally there was some metal conduit coming from the basement wall and when the pipe from the well to the house sprung a leak, water flooded through the metal conduit hole into the basement. The wiring was coming from the house through a hole and about a foot of metal conduit the rest of the wiring was just buried without protection and there were so many electrical tape patches. We replaced the wiring and it is now inside of the white PVC pipe. The black PVC is the water line. It’s flex pipe not rigid pvc so it is an upgrade from the random bits of patched together pipe that was in the ground. No wonder it sprung a leak.

This end is where the pipes meet the basement wall. As you can see, no more metal conduit. (Inside the white PVC, is a copper pipe that fits through the basement wall and the space between the copper pipe and PVC has been sealed with silicone so, it is water tight, but the pipe can be easily removed if needed.) The water pipe is connected to the old metal pipes for the house, which are original to the house, but most of the pipes in the basement have been replaced. We just didn’t want to cut a hole in the cement block that makes up the basement wall so we left this metal pipe section in place and connected it to the flex pipe with copper fittings, which have hose clamps as a backup measure for securing the copper fitting inside the flex pipe. I wish I had taken a picture of that fitting because I know that’s confusing. There is a screw in side going into the metal pipe and the side that goes inside the flex pipe has these ridges that dig into the flex pipe if you attempt to remove it. We just weren’t taking any chances and added two hose clamps for extra peace of mind.

So, that’s everything for the well that I took pictures of and still have the pictures. It took almost a week to complete everything since hubby still had to go to work every day and my son still had school. We had water except for one full day. Hubby had everything situated for temporary measures since we got muddy daily working on the well. Showers were a must.

Next up is the drafty doors. I REFUSE to get rid of the original front door. It is absolutely beautiful. I was tracking up thick blankets each year making the front door unusable and the back door, it’s a French door and while new (previous owners put it in) it has a serious draft and the glass just allows cold to permeate the living room. So, blankets were not cutting it for me or hubby. They looked terrible and we were forced to use the mudroom for coming and going. It was not fun.

I decided on a more permanent solution, which blocks the drafts and cold, but we have use of the doors and it looks much nicer than a blanket.

Okay, this is the back door. As you can see, theres a blanket still partially tacked up over it. (I think those are called French doors. Both open.)

This was my solution. (This is the front door) It is a sliding glass door curtain and it’s thermal as well a a blackout curtain. So, it’s pretty thick. There are single pane windows that are decorative and they don’t open, they are just panes of glass, which surround the door. It is lovely in the summer because it let’s in a ton of light. So, the curtain needed to cover all of that glass as well. (The glass is also original and I am not destroying the history of my 100 year old home.)

These are the best pictures I have of the front door and the surrounding windows. I don’t normally take photos of the doors because they aren’t exactly a needed thing usually. We discovered that Fizzgig knows how to climb a ladder while installing the curtain rods and the curtains. I do normally take a ton of pictures of my animals. So, these give some idea of how much glass is actually there. I am currently searching for someone to actually fix this door as well as searching for a solution for all of the single pane glass. I was thinking about using clear film as a bit of insulting. (Like tint for car windows, but it is clear) I am just not sure how it would hold up to the Oklahoma sun.

Finally, if you have made it this far, I am grateful for your patience. I will now reward you with some cute pictures of the critters.

Gizmo has claimed my fabric basket as her new bed.

Here she is checking out the tree, just after it was brought up from the basement. (Yes, I know the lights are uneven and it is completely crooked. I will fix it tomorrow and I will fluff it back out.)

Fizzgig sleeping in the empty fish tank, which used to house my Guinea pigs. I put an old sheet in there for him to snooze on once he learned how to get inside of it. He is dreaming about being a catfish.

This one is a bit older but they were both snuggled up to Miss Mia and it’s adorable.

Time for daily ablutions while nestled in hubby’s sweatshirt. Fizzgig loves coating his clothing in luck fibers. (Aka fur)

He also has a thing for heater vents and doesn’t care if we freeze as long as he is toasty and warm.

Miss Mia supervising the Chewy.com delivery. This is where I buy their food, treats, kitty litter, sometimes toys, and even the new leads I got for Miss Mia to go outside alone since she can get through all of our fencing. It’s just not safe for her to be outside without a lead since she will holt after a squirrel or rabbit and chase it for miles. We live on a state Highway and semi trucks are a real danger. She has 100 ft of freedom and she gets to explore the rest of the property on a leash with us taking her for walks.

Tomorrow, hopefully I will get my decorating completed and get the pictures posted tomorrow night. I will do my very best.

Until next time….

Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

General Homestead Update

It has been an eventful few months to say the least. The air conditioning is fixed. (It freezing up was probably caused by the fact that the unit was trying to go from 78Β°F to 65Β°F and it just couldn’t keep up.) We shut it off, set it to 72, then to 70, then to 67 and left it at 67. We haven’t had an issue since. I received an email from Sears parts direct about the lawnmower deck, low and behold, its delayed until September now. I couldn’t help but laugh when I opened that email. Hubby is going to check out a riding mower on one of the local buy, sell, trade Facebook pages tomorrow after he gets off work. As long as it’s running, not a piece of junk, and isn’t smoking or something, he will buy it and I can go mow. Then, we will have two riding mowers, which will make 10 acres go much faster.

I haven’t even bothered stressing over the dishwasher. It phased me the least. I don’t mind doing dishes by hand and I do them immediately after cooking dinner. Once everyone has eaten. I finish putting food away and clean everything else.

Because it was so hot today and will be even hotter the rest of the week, I have been doing my normal spring cleaning routine because Miss Mia started blowing her coat and there is fur everywhere. She has been brushed, washed, and brushed again. there was so much fur, but after her bath, it was the same thing all over again, fur everywhere.

During my deep cleaning, I had hubby move the entertainment center so I could clean the fur from underneath it. I cant move it because the TV is too heavy for me to hold it from tipping over while I move the entertainment center. (It really is awkward and I’m too short to reach the top of the TV.)

I made the most amazing discovery when he moved it away from the wall. There were about 40 AA and AAA batteries under there, which I immediately threw away because of how they got there. So, here’s some of what we found.

He looks so ashamed. (And he looks super tiny. He is a normal sized cat. He looks like a kitten.)

He looks normal sized again and of course he can’t resist batting at a toy. Yes, that is a beauty blender. He steals those constantly so, I hide them now.

He was thoroughly excited to see his lost toys again. I walked out of the room and Hubby said that he immediately started picking them up in his mouth and putting them under the loveseat. He’s so weird.

The above video is of his absolute favorite toy. He adores bouncy balls. They are really difficult to find unless I want to buy them in bulk, which is crazy. So, I hit gumball machines at every store or fast food place that has them. He goes crazy when he hears the ball bounce.

The video was taken in the entryway. (There is a curtain over the door, but it’s a sheer curtain) the wood floors and the staircase to the left, which is also wood are original to the house. The front door and the wood and glass surrounding the door are also original to the house. The whole downstairs is wood flooring aside from the kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom. I despise wood floors because they are so difficult to keep clean and shiny. I will probably end up carpeting the downstairs (it will help keep it warmer in winter) but I will do so in a manner that protects the wood floors. I walk barefoot and I can’t stand feeling sand, dirt, grit, etc when I walk through the house. I don’t allow shoes to be worn inside, but Miss Mia doesn’t wipe her feet so, dirt, sand, grit, and sometimes grass are all tracked indoors. Also, stickers are the bane of my existence. I loath stickers. I always seem to find them with my bare feet. We have goat heads and sandspur type stickers. Goat heads are evil. They always break off into my feet when I step on one. I realize many of you will suggest slippers or shoes indoors, but I hate shoes. They make my feet feel like they are being strangled. Instead, I sweep, then vacuum, then use a dustmop, then, after all that, I mop the floors. Every single day, just so I can be barefooted and a bit crazy. πŸ˜‚

I realize this is insane, which is why I want carpet. The floors are beautiful, I fully appreciate that, but I still hate them and they are brutally cold in winter, no matter how high I turn up the heat. I grew up in an old house with wood floors and skeleton key door locks. This was one of the aspects of the house I fell in love with when we first saw it. It felt like home. It still feels like home. The upstairs is carpeted with double padded, hideous hunter green carpet. It’s in great condition so, we will keep it until it needs to be replaced. Another thing I want carpeted is the stairs. I love the stairs, but they don’t love me. I slip and fall down them on a regular basis. So, I want, not full carpeting, but the long runner held down with bars. I honestly dont know how to describe this. It looks like this, but not that pattern. Just enough to keep me from falling down the stairs so often.

One day, perhaps I will take a photo of my purple kitchen πŸ˜‚ No. I did not paint it purple. It came that way. Previous owners had terrible taste in color schemes. Until next time…

Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

Bad Things Come In Threes, But The Air Conditioning is Fixed

The air conditioning is fixed!!! I cannot even begin to explain how happy I was to see the AC repairman pull into the driveway today. One air conditioning unit was low on freon and the other needed a tiny little part that he called a fan start capacitor. Both are blowing super cold again. Neither of them has shut off or begun blowing hot air so, they are officially fixed. (He left his personal cell number just in case something else happened with them after he left.) As of 10:13 pm, the house is basically a polar cave, just the way we like it.

I am still waiting on the lawnmower deck. I keep looking outside and hoping it doesn’t rain a whole lot before the deck arrives. I am trying to find someone with a tractor and a brush hog who is willing to cut it for us for about $100.00 or so. (I would even pay 200 if they would do it just before the new deck arrives.) The deck is apparently back ordered until late August even though the website said, “In Stock”. I seriously cannot catch a break. With the Air conditioning, the lawnmower deck, and the dishwasher, that’s 3. They say bad things come in threes and that’s 3 things. (I am not counting the chicken coop because it just needs the cover secured again. It’s not broken, just slightly damaged.)

The dishwasher needs a new heating element. That can be repaired and does not mean I need a new dishwasher thankfully. I am just fed up with things breaking. I realize this is part of owning a home, but it still sucks. It raises my stress levels, which in turn raises my pain levels and by that point, I just want to flop on the couch and no longer more for the entire day. I simply cannot flop on the couch doing nothing. My household would fall apart rather quickly if I did that.

I am making the best of the stressful situation. I have no issues doing dishes by hand. I drive hubby crazy because I have a dishpan with sanitizer in it and I dip the dishes after washing and rinsing. I didn’t use my dishwasher to wash the dishes, I used it to sanitize the dishes. Therefore, sanitizer is necessary. (Yes, I realize that most people do not sanitize their dishes.)

I sanitize my dishes because I have a compromised immune system. I clean my house with bleach and a disinfectant called Cavi-cide. I love bleach. Bleach kills almost everything that floats around the typical home. Cavi-cide is normally reserved for the bathrooms. It’s a hospital grade disinfectant, which needs to be rinsed off of surfaces after letting it sit for 3 minutes. It kills stomach bugs, flu germs, the common cold, MRSA, TB, HIV, etc. It keeps me from getting sick and ending up with a week long hospital stay. (I hate hospitals.) Hubby will be replacing the dishwasher element when it arrives. Apparently it is an inexpensive and simple thing to change out. Until this happens, I will continue to sanitize my dishes with sanitizer tablets.

Aside from the onslaught of breakages, everything seems to be going fairly smoothly. I will be spending tomorrow cleaning up the side of the basement we plan to turn into two bedrooms. It is currently cluttered with holiday decorations, Army fungus (uniforms, gear, etc.), and boxes I never unpacked when we moved. I will have to wear a mask while I am down there cleaning. There is a section between the two large areas of the basement, which has a dirt floor. This is the location of the old coal chute for the coal furnace, which was removed long ago. The dirt is an extremely find dust and I don’t want to be breathing it in while sweeping it back to the dirt floor area. Once everything is organized and swept up, we can figure out exactly how we want to remodel the basement. I will take some pictures while I am down there. The wall has names and birthdays for the boys who were members of a Boy Scouts Troop/Den back in the late 1950s or early 1960s (I don’t remember the exact dates.) The original builder’s wallpaper is also in patches on the walls. The builder’s wallpaper was calendar pages from 1918. We plan on preserving these bits of history even though we will be remodeling. Hubby plans on filling in the dirt floor section with concrete once he has it checked out to see if it’s still dirt for a reason. I will be taking the metal detector down there before he fills it in. The area is approximately 12 ft. X 7 ft. and I am bringing the metal detector down there because there was a Boy Scouts Troop/Den meeting in the one side of the basement. The entire square footage of the basement is about 1000 square feet. The attic is another 1000 square feet, which we would love to turn into usable space. Right now, the attic is about 120Β° Farenheit (It was 165Β° Fahrenheit earlier today when the AC guy was up there checking the upstairs air handler. Both units are heat pumps, and I have no idea what the difference is between a heat pump and anything else.)

Looks like an AC unit in my opinion. I apologize for the dark picture. It was 3 am and I was taking pictures because it froze up. I will show you what that looks like.

The first picture is the piping for the freon. And the second picture is through the top where the fan is and the entire compressor was frozen in a block of ice. In order to keep the AC going somewhat, I would have to turn it off, allow it to thaw out, then turn it back on, I repeated this process every few hours. This was the upstairs unit and all of the bedrooms are upstairs so, this one was pretty important at night.

This is the downstairs unit and it needed a capacitor replaced. For this one, the fan in the top wouldn’t turn on. To keep this one going, I had to reset the breakers until the fan kicked on every few hours. The air handlers are located in the basement and in the attic. They kept blowing air. It was hot air, but both kept blowing air. I really am glad they are fixed.

I am sunburned from being outside while both units were being fixed. I stayed outside and watched because I wanted to know how he was fixing them. He was so awesome, he explained everything, showed me the readings when he tested freon levels, told me what normal levels were, and showed me when he tested the old capacitor with a multimeter. It was showing zero for a reading and the new one was showing a much higher reading. He also flushed the drain lines in the basement for the air handler. He explained how to do it in case the water started to show on the small section of concrete again in the future. (Basically, he blew air through the lines with a handheld air compressor. I really want one of those, but they are stupid expensive.)

Fizzgig was being especially cute and snuggly this morning while I was drinking my coffee. I hated to get up and disturb him, but I absolutely had to get dressed today.

He has been really snuggly lately and I am not sure why, because he rarely wants to snuggle with me.

He has even been snuggly with Gizmo. (Pardon my couch. I am married to a mechanic and he doesn’t always change out of his work clothes before flopping on the couch. Motor oil and other mechanical fluids have destroyed my tan couch.) I vow to get a black leather/pleather sectional when I replace the couches. They are 9 years old so, they are actually in pretty decent shape for surviving oodles of kids a grandbaby, other people’s babies, cats, Miss Mia and hubby and I sleeping on them for several months when he had his knee surgeries. (He has a titanium knee now.) Miss Mia is not allowed on the couch, but that has never stopped a dog before when no one is home. They have also survived a move across the country and another across the state. I still want to replace them. They are a two piece sectional and I want a “U” shaped sectional with recliners.

Miss Mia also got brushed this week.

The birds had a field day collecting the fur that blew away before it could be bagged. They will have super comfortable nests when winter comes. The small family of Finches, who live in the tiny birdhouse on the Hackberry tree in the backyard have been stuffing the birdhouse with her fur since they moved in the same time we did. The first decorations I hung was my birdhouse and then, my windchime. The windchime has seen better days. Hubby finally rebuilt it using lacing wire to hang the chimes and a large metal washer on a nut and bolt to hang against the chimes because the Oklahoma wind ripped the chimes off and the part that bangs against the chimes. It will definitely survive any wind that blows on it now.

This sunburn has made me feverish. I used my favorite sunburn remedies because I didn’t want to be in excruciating pain. Yes, I was wearing sunblock and I was covered, but I was outside for far too long and burned anyway because of the photosensitivity caused by one of my medications. Those remedies have been working EXTREMELY well for me for as long as I can remember and I added a few over the years. First, is the vinegar bath. I mix about a quart of white vinegar in about two inches of water in the tub, the water is lukewarm. I cover my whole body with this mixture several times and let it dry. Then, I keep aloe gel in the fridge so it is cold. Aloe is a wonderful thing for burns. I make my own gel now, but I have bought many bottles in the past. A few hours later, I take another bath. This time I grew a gallon of very strong black tea, (about 8 quart size teabags for a gallon of water.) I let it cool and with the tub plugged, but empty, I cover myself in the tea several times and let it dry. I add more aloe and sleep in super soft pajamas. (A tank top and shorts with flat seams and EXTREMELY soft fabric) by morning I have no sunburn symptoms aside from some light redness or pinkness. I am extremely pale so, I burn easily. I ALWAYS wear sunblock, but sometimes I still burn. It’s nice to be able to stop the heat and pain rather quickly. I am sure these old home remedies are probably NOT recommended, but they work for me. Please don’t take any of this as medical advice. I am NOT a doctor. I am just telling you what I do for myself and my kiddos. See a doctor if you have a severe sunburn as it could be sun poisoning or even a 2nd or 3rd degree burn. Blistering of any sort should be treated with medical attention.

With that being said, aloe gel is super easy to make. Just cut open an aloe leaf, scrap the gooey inside out, add a bit of witch hazel (just enough to thin to your desired consistency) and mix in a food processor, blender, or mash together with a fork. Pour it into a bottle and keep it in the fridge. Keep in mind fresh aloe will mold because it doesn’t contain preservatives. I have also made a spray by adding a bit of distilled water along with the witch hazel. For this, you definitely need to use a food processor or a blender and then, strain it so, your spray nozzle doesn’t clog. I firmly believe all aloe marketed for sunburns should come in spray form because rubbing it on can be painful when your skin is tight and hot. You can easily water down store bought aloe with a mix of witch hazel and distilled water to make a spray form as well. No matter what, the best treatment for sunburn is to avoid getting one in the first place. Sunblock is a wonderful thing. Reapply every 2 hours and after sweating or swimming. You should be using a shot glass full of sunblock for a child and 2 shotglasses (a shot glass is an ounce) for an adult. Use more if you feel that isnt enough. The lotion provides better coverage than the sprays simply because you can see exactly where it has been applied. I am a huge believer in sunblock. Skin cancer is deadly and terrifying. Also, sun damage to your skin causes your skin to age faster. You will see more wrinkles and more discoloration when you don’t protect your skin from the sun. Even the bottom of your feet can get sunburned. Apply sunblock EVERYWHERE. Remember, even waterproof/water resistant sunblock needs to be reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. 😁 you can also buy clothing with built in sunblock, which is especially awesome for kids who hate sunblock or anyone with a sensitivity. This is the brand, Athleta, which I have personally been using. It is not terribly expensive considering that it will help protect you from UVA/UVB rays. It’s also cute and comfy. (I have ZERO affiliation with this company. I am simply sharing the brand that I have been personally using.) Their clothing is soft and pretty durable. I was expected something itchy or heavy feeling because its sunblock clothing. I am very happy with my purchases. I can’t wait to get more.

Now, that I have lectured everyone on the importance of sunblock, I sincerely hope, if you take only one thing away from my blog, this is that thing. It truly is important to take care of your skin. Until next time…

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It’s So Unbearably Hot…

The temperature has stayed in triple digits here and I swear the thermometer outside is lying and it is 300Β° F instead of 102Β° during the day. I have no choice, but to go outside into this hellish weather during the day. I feel like I am internally combusting each time I step out of the shade and into the direct sunlight. It is simply too hot for humans and animals. I always feel sorry for black cattle because black attracts heat so they must be miserable.

The field across from my house was cut down and baled this week.

I am of course allergic to hay so, that just makes going outdoors even more miserable on top of the high temperatures. The only things growing on our property are weeds, which I am sort of happy about because we are waiting for the new deck to be delivered by UPS.

This weekend, I get to go to one of my favorite places, Harbor Freight. (it’s mostly a tool store, but they also have things like yard tools, food dehydrators, ceramic knives, etc.) We are going for hose clamps for the chicken coop. The PVC held up rather well considering, but we don’t want a repeat of the damage from the last storm.

Yes, everything looks super green and lush, but its mostly weeds shading the dead grass. There is some grass still growing. This particular section is green grass, with tons of lamb’s quarters all in the run. (I am not mowing them because they will die off just before winter and seed the ground. The chickens will have a field day with them and they grow super fast.)

This is an overgrown lamb’s quarter. I am told they are edible and taste like spinach. I was told the same about Poke weed. (Aka Polk salat. Poke salad, and just Poke) However, Poke weed is poisonous unless you cook it a specific way and I am just not risking it when I can grow or buy spinach. Lamb’s quarters are not poisonous. I researched it, but I have no urge to eat them. I will forage for sand plums, morrels, and a few other native species, but they are worth it in my opinion. Something that tastes like spinach simply isn’t worth it. They are one of those plants that thrive in these miserable temperatures. It is very strange how weeds can survive almost anything, but plants that produce food are EXTREMELY finicky.

Fizzgig and Gizmo are enjoying the cooler temperature indoors. (The air conditioning still is not fixed, but I manage to keep it going just enough to keep it cool indoors. The parts came in so the company should be out this week to fix it finally.)

Gizmo has taken up residence at the foot of my bed. She is thoroughly enjoying the fan next to the bed blowing on her nonstop.

Fizzgig prefers the window in the mudroom. There is a vent that blows a small amount of air behind the curtain so, he has a nice cool breeze and a gigantic sunbeam to enjoy while looking out across the backyard. The backyard has a perfectly clear view of the sunset each evening while the front yard gets the sunrise.

The reason I was outside in these miserable temperatures was to fill in holes in the backyard.

We have a dog sized armadillo digging holes all over the yard. I am quite certain that this is also the culprit behind the gigantic holes that are randomly found across the back of the property. These are very deep holes. I saw the armadillo the other day, but I didn’t want to wake hubby to deal with it because he had to get up at 5:00 am and it was 2:30 am. He told me he didn’t care what time it was, if I saw it again, wake him up. It is destroying our yard and he says it is a chicken predator. (I honestly don’t know if that’s true, but I don’t want it digging under the coop or run and leaving holes for chicks to fall into.)

There is rain in the forecast for the rest of the week and I honestly hope it rains so it will cool down, but I don’t want the humidity that comes with the rain. It’s a lose-lose situation. Until next time…

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If It Can Go Wrong, It Will Go Wrong….

I swear, we take one step forward and three steps backwards every time we try to do something to improve the homestead. We had a very nasty storm roll through and then, another nasty one immediately behind it. The coop and run survived the first storm and held up rather well. Nothing flooded, the inside of the coop stayed fairly dry considering there is a large open window on the north side of the coop. The floor was dry and I was shocked. The second storm came with 85 mph winds and hail. The coop stayed intact for the most part. Some of the plywood is warped and will need to be reinforced. The run was demolished. The entire cover ripped off and two of the PVC pipes were ripped out of the ground and the lacing wire snapped from the force. Hubby and I took one look at the destruction and decided that we were going to wait until March to get chicks and try to find a way to keep the run intact during storms like the ones we just encountered. I have been trying to figure out some way to secure the PVC piping to the fence posts that will survive our destructive storms.

I have come to the conclusion that hose clamps may be our best bet for securing the PVC. (Most held fairly well with the lacing wire, but I want to be certain that every single one will hold in the future.) As far as the dump truck cover, I am still trying to figure out how to secure it without cutting any holes in it because that will just cause rips to form over time. Zip strips are not strong enough to withstand the extreme wind. We will also be setting the fence posts in concrete because they were pushed by the wind and are now leaning inwards instead of being straight. I have never seen such destruction from storms and wind, aside from hurricanes and tornadoes. These were just our normal springtime storms.

Aside from the chicken coop and run being destroyed, the air conditioning is still not fixed. The company that is supposed to be fixing it told me a week ago that they ordered parts. Yet, I am still waiting for them to come fix it. It has been in the 100’s and its brutally hot outside. (For those of you across the pond, that temperature is in Farenheit. Today, it is 39Β° Celsius, which is 103Β° Farenheit.) It’s hot and miserable outside.

Nice and frozen isn’t it?!

On top of the Air conditioning being messed up and the coop being destroyed, the lawnmower deck broke today. They say bad things come in threes, well, that’s three. I ordered a replacement deck for the riding mower. Thankfully we live outside city limits so we cant be fined for not mowing our grass. Hubby managed to mow the front before the deck broke. I didn’t bother planting a garden this year because of the lack of rain in March and April. We have had 5 days of rain since March. I would have lost everything I planted because of the temperature and drought.

I did plant some herbs in pots in the kitchen window and they are thriving. My aloe plant I was given 3 years ago by a friend in Florida bloomed again this year. She mailed it in a ziploc bag in the middle of summer. I am still shocked it survived the mail. It takes up most of my kitchen window now and will definitely need a bigger pot next spring. I have also been attempting to sprout avocado pits. They will be indoor trees if they survive, but I love avocado. My kitchen window extends outwards from the house by about a foot (30 cm) and it has shelves. It is a greenhouse window and I love it. Fizzgig makes it difficult to fill with plants because it is one of his favorite napping spots.

This is my little greenhouse window. I know it looks like that house is fairly close, but it is an acre away. This is a photo I found in my phone and my aloe plant is much larger now, but it gives a better idea of what I am talking about when I say greenhouse window. I love this window because the sun never shines directly in my face. It’s a north facing window so, it receives great light, without the harsh glare from the sun. On the top shelf, you can see a lumpy shape with points on top. This is one of my favorite finds from the attic. It is a handmade clay owl, which was made by one of the Bowlin children. (The Bowlin family were the second owners of our home and the house stayed in the family from the 1920s to the early 1980s.) I adore this little owl. It makes me smile even when it seems like everything is going wrong or falling apart. It makes me remember that nothing is perfect, but the imperfections are what make things both unique and beautiful.

We will get the coop and run situated and it will be able to withstand whatever Oklahoma weather can throw at it. (Hubby thinks he wants to make it bigger since he has until March to fix the run and work on the coop itself.) I am EXTREMELY happy that the wind didn’t rip the dumptruck cover completely off and take it away from our property. It has been removed, folded up, and stored safely until we can go get some hose clamps to secure it to the PVC. We are also going to secure the PVC to the fence posts with hose clamps. This seemed like a logical step for stability during storms. A few bags of quick settling concrete will help ensure that the fence posts stay in the ground during storms with high winds. The whole run will go up like a kite if the wind is strong enough and the fence posts dont have concrete. (Another reason Hubby wants to make it bigger is because concrete makes it permanent in his mind.) Some of the plywood warped from the winds so he will probably end up taking the whole thing down and starting from scratch knowing him. I am perfectly okay with this because I know no matter what he does to it between now and March, it will be the safest and most secure coop possible.

While I am a bit disappointed, I am also EXTREMELY patient. Things happen and you just do the best you can to continue forward and work towards finding a solution.

While writing and editing this post, one more bad thing happened. We lost one of the ginger kittens. I have no idea what happened to the little guy. I went to the dairy building to feed them and I found him outside of the building. The building was secured and there was no sign of anything trying to get inside. Mrs. Weasley moved the remaining three kittens and I don’t blame her. I buried the kitten and placed a very large chunk of rock over where I buried him. I didn’t want coyotes or anything else digging him up. He was killed by another small animal. I feel so bad for his siblings and his momma. She still comes and eats, but there has been no sign of her kittens. I have no idea where she stashed them. I only hope they are safe and sound wherever she has them. πŸ˜”

I think that is enough bad news for one post. Next time, I hope to have MUCH better news. Until next time…