Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow Day


Snow shoveling




Snow sleddin'





Snow men



Snow ladies





Snow wrasslin'




Snow horse




Snow ponies







Snow dog




Snowy day board games
(Pay no attention to the empty wine glass)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I've committed myself .....

....to chickens.

Which, of course, means I should be committed .... elsewhere.

See, my friend, (who, for reasons of her own personal safety shall go unnamed) wanted to add to her tiny "garage band" of hens, but couldn't fill the minimum order requirement. Knowing the degree of my lunacy and that I live on a farm, she logically contacted me to see if I wanted to help her fill her order by taking a few egg machines myself.

"But of course!" I replied, knowing full well my barn is not sufficiently chicken-proofed at this time, but figuring this would light the fire under me arse to git 'er dun. If I know my little chickadees will be knocking down my door end of March, surely I will have said barn fully prepared.
Ha.

I've been looking forward to having chickens for some time. I have an arrangement with Henry, one of my Amish neighbors, to build me a chicken coop in my barn, but with the "no hurry" clause added on, which has resulted in he and I both biding our time for years now. But now the time is nigh (how do you spell nigh?) and we must accomplish this item on the To Do list.

Of course, getting the coop built, caring for near a dozen chicks, and eventually gathering eggs will be the easy part. The hard part will be dealing with the carnage that always seems to go hand in hand with chicken ownership. Between freak accidents, disease and predation, I'm hoping for a 50% one year survival rate. If I can do better than that, it will be the icing on the cake.
Or more appropriately, the cheese on the omelette.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shades of Trauma


I found myself with a rare 20 mins to spare between chores and pick-ups a few days ago, so I sat down and turned on the TV. In the middle of the day. Gasp.

I flipped throught the channels a bit and decided on Animal Planet. Animal Cops Detroit. There came a scene where the animal control officer and the vet were checking out a dog in the shelter kennel. The background noise of yips and barks and whines was deafening. Next thing I knew, our little dog Sophie came running in from the kitchen, jumped up into my lap and buried her head under my arm. She was trembling all over.
See, Sophie hails from a shelter. We brought her home from the Chester County SPCA about 2 1/2 years ago. I can remember going there to view the dogs. Amid all the pit bulls and shepherd mixes and mongrels barking and leaping about their cages, sat little Sophie, looking up out of her kennel with those big brown eyes that just melted my heart. She wasn't making a sound, but those eyes said it all.
When she first came home to us she was quiet and kept to herself. Over time she has blossomed and is now a friendly, loving little dog that the whole family just adores. I had almost forgotten about her past. Perhaps she had forgotten, as well.
But, like any being once traumatized, triggers will always remain. Triggers that can at once conjure up memories and emotions long forgotten.
As she sat shaking in my lap, burying herself ever deeper into my arms, I stroked her glossy black fur and told her it was OK. I turned off the TV, rubbed her ears, and scratched her tummy.
She was OK again after a bit. Soon it was time for me to go pick up my brood, so I ushered her off my lap and off she trotted, tail wagging.

It was a solid reminder to me that someone can move along day to day, for all the world looking like they haven't a thing in the world bothering them, haunting them. But when they cross paths with a lost sight or sound or smell, old worlds can come crashing back down on them, leaving them shaking. If not physically, then emotionally. And that emotional shaking can present itself outwardly in so many ways. Often, I miss what it is that's truly at play when I witness troublesome behaviors, acting out.

So thanks, Sophie, for reminding me that there are many things in this world that can trigger awful, unsettling feelings, in a dog or a person. Hopefully my eyes can be open to notice the trembling, in all its forms.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's My Birthday, I Can Bake if I Want To .....

Having a glorious birthday filled with wall-to-wall nothingness. After I got the munchkins off to school, that is.
I've caught up on my favorite blogs.
I've read all kinds of good wishes from my Facebook Friends.
I even began work on my New Year's resolution, which is to finish writing my book. I added to it for the first time since the kids let out of school last summer. All right, I only added a paragraph, but hey, I fulfilled the contract of my resolution by starting it.
I took a break to bake myself a birthday cake. Fred was planning to take this task on, but I've had my eye on a recipe, just waiting for a good excuse to try it out.

It's a chocolate sheet cake from the pages of my favorite cookbook. To the author, I must address this note:
Ree, you must leave the Marlboro Man and marry me. If you have kept abreast of current events you will know this is now leagal in some states.

It (my cake) looks scrumptious and I'm having a supremely hard time not digging into it. The only reason I've not done so yet is that I've had the pleasure of consuming a good bit of chocolate in the process of making this deliciousness.
Rest assured, no spatulas were harmed in the making of this cake. Batter was poured from mixing bowl to baking pan with the aid of gravity only. Whatever was left in the bowl was all mine. Not a soul around to yell out, "I call the bowl", "I call the scraper", "I call the beater". It was mine, all mine.
And when I caught sight of my reflection while washing up after this orgasmic baking experience, I looked like a four year old girl, with chocolate all over my face. I was literally bathed in chocolate.
Now that's the way to start off a birthday ....

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