Tuesday, November 14, 2017

More Poultry Problems

I discovered this morning that one or more of my hens has roundworms.  I'll spare you the extremely disgusting photo, and just say that I saw multiple live worms in fresh poop.

I've done quite a bit of research today, and was reassured by the information that this is an extremely common problem, although I've NEVER, in all my years of caring for chickens, seen this issue.  Some of the biggest carriers of the roundworm eggs are earthworms, slugs, and grasshoppers - all of which my ladies have access to since we allow them to forage.  (If you are really eager to see that picture of worms in the poop, check out this link.  There is also an even more disgusting photo of worms INSIDE an egg.  Gross!)

They are easily treated too, just give them medication twice - once now to kill the adults, and again after 7-10 days to kill the ones that hatched from eggs in the intestines.  The only problem is that it is not necessarily safe to eat the eggs while they are on treatment, and for 2 weeks after treatment.  This means that we will have to throw away a LOT of eggs over the next 4-6 weeks.  (I am estimating that we will lose at least 500 eggs.)

That hurts!

It is also not safe to eat the meat during that same period, so I think I will wait until this weekend to treat the hens, AFTER we have the chance to butcher another half dozen (so that I am down to my preferred over-winter number of 18.)

In any case, I feel dirty.  I'm going to go wash my hands another 6 or 7 times, regardless of the fact that I didn't touch either hens or poop, and definitely not worms.

Monday, November 13, 2017

All Day I Dream About Soccer

J tells me that this is what the soccer team believes that "adidas" stands for.  I can tell you that it is not only the team that is sleeping-eating-breathing-dreaming soccer these days, the parents are too!  I have been frantically searching the internet for statistics regarding our standings and for predictions regarding how we would do in the State Playoffs.  This only got worse after the girls won their first round playoff game last Tuesday.

What I found was that we were in second place standings, just behind the team we were scheduled to play in the semi-finals.  We were also slated to place second overall, with that same first place team coming in third.  Based on this, I thought we had a good chance of making it all the way to the finals in Hershey next weekend!

Unfortunately, our girls lost to that 1st place team last Saturday, with a final score of 1-0.  (That team that was predicted to win the States overall also lost on Saturday!)  It was a big let down after this long, long season of wins.

We didn't have time to mourn or sulk, however, because the Cinderella Ball was scheduled to begin just 3 hours after the game ended!  We rushed J home to shower and primp, and I drove her off to the ball looking much different than she had 3 hours earlier!

She had a nice time at the ball, and arrived home just before the Subaru turned back into a pumpkin!

So...no soccer practice tonight (J ate dinner with us!), no soccer game tomorrow, and a free weekend for her Birthday this coming weekend!

We did celebrate my mom's Birthday yesterday, by taking her out for lunch at Red Lobster, and having cake and ice cream at our house afterward.

The soccer dreams have ended.  In fact, I did no dreaming last night, and very little sleeping.  I seem to have caught the virus that L had a few days ago, and feel as lousy as she must have then.  Ugh.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Soccer Fall

Instead of "Soccer Sunday" like we used to have with County League ball back in the day, we now have "Soccer Fall."  It's like the Energizer Bunny, it keeps going, and going, and going...

J's team won the championship title for Western PA on Saturday!  They played at the professional soccer stadium in the big city, and beat the team that had been undefeated for the past 39 games. 

It was a very nice day for a soccer game, considering that it is November and could have been REALLY COLD.

Photo by Darnell Graham
Instead, it still looks like Fall around here.  Lots of leaves are still on the trees.

The girls head to the first round playoffs for the State Championships on Tuesday evening...here we go!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Soccer Mom

Here is the headline from the front page of the sports section in our paper today:

And boy, oh boy, was that game COLD!

So  J's soccer team will play for the Western PA Championship toward the end of this week, and will automatically advance to the PA Championship playoffs, which start early next week.  This is the first time EVER that the soccer team from our school has made it this far, so we are all understandably proud of these girls.

But...the soccer season continues for another couple of weeks...AND I ended up with a giant bag of smelly soccer balls in the back of my car for the day!

By the way, this is my 1000th post.  Who knew I had this much to say?

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Despite all the soccer craziness that has been disrupting our lives for the past several weeks (J's team won their section, got a first round bye in the championships, won their quarterfinal game neatly, and are headed to semifinals tomorrow), we managed to fit in a few moments for carving pumpkins on Friday afternoon.  Our friend, C, came out to join us, and the girls even created a Halloween channel on Pandora, which featured "Monster Mash."

Afterwards, L went to the Halloween dance at the Middle School, and the rest of us watched "The Sixth Sense."

The Jack-O-Lanterns turned out great!

They look good in the dark too.

L even carved a tiny face on the back of hers - kinda like
a cheerful Voldemort!
Yesterday was a cold and rainy day.  I took the opportunity to roast the pumpkin seeds.  My favorite way to do them is with the classic "Chex Mix" seasonings:

"Chex Mix" Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- 5 T salted butter, melted
- 2 T Worcestershire sauce
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1/2 t garlic salt
- 1/2 t onion salt
- 2 cups pumpkin seeds

Dry the pumpkins seeds, spread out on a cookie sheet, in a 250* oven for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  Mix all seasonings with butter then toss well with pumpkins seeds.  Spread on cookie sheet and continue to roast for another 45-60 min, stirring every 15 min.  Cool and enjoy!

In my attempt to prove that Pumpkin Spice Lattes actually contain no pumpkin, I happened across a recipe for such that I actually really liked.  (Yes, it does contain a small amount of pumpkin!)

PSL - makes 2 servings
- 2 c milk
- 2 T pumpkin puree
- 2 T sugar
- 1 T vanilla
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 c strong black coffee

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over med heat, and whisk until hot.  Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice.

In the midst of all this Fall Fun, we had another tire incident on Wednesday!  One of the tires blew on the way to school/work and looked like a splatted pumpkin.  Luckily it happened just past our driveway, so JP was able to return, reload everyone in the Subaru, and head out again.  Another lucky break came when I remembered the used van tire in the barn, so once my dad was able to help me take off the flat, I was able to drive to the tire shop on the "donut" and get it changed out.  Whew!

I hope you all are enjoying Halloween-ish-ness!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017


I dug my potatoes on Saturday, and was very pleased with the harvest this year - the best one yet!

It beats last year's harvest by a mile.  Actually, just this one spud beats last year's harvest!

I weighed them all, and got almost 48 pounds worth of really nice looking taters.

I'm pleased.

Thursday, October 5, 2017


I am SOOO thrilled that we just started a 4 day weekend, thanks to Teacher In-Service at the schools, and JP thinking ahead to take the days off work.  We all need a bit of a break - J & L, especially J, have had a lot of late nights lately.  Yesterday, J was at school from 7:30 AM to 9:30 PM due to various activities.

Yesterday I spent 7 hours standing in the gym at the middle school, shouting over a bunch of tweens about density, mass, volume, and "excited molecules."  I volunteered, with a bunch of other moms, to help out some folks from the local Science Center who brought an assembly and hands on experiments to the school.  It was fun, but it wore me out! 

Another thing that makes me tired is that even though the regular soccer season is over next week, our ladies are awesome enough to make it to the WPIAL playoffs - and I have no idea what that means, except that this 2 practice a day thing with the play and soccer is going to continue for some unknown period of time. 

I'm also tired of things that break, and I'm tired of spending time at the repair shop.  I don't think it's a good thing when the manager of Quick Lane knows me on a first name basis.

Both tires on JP's mower blew out 2 weeks ago, so I was in charge of obtaining new ones. 

Just a few days later, the low tire pressure light went on in my car, and I found this in a rear tire (new in February, and which of course couldn't be repaired):

Last week I took one of the trucks for inspection.  It didn't pass because they say it needs 4 new tires.  I think we've driven it less than 200 miles in the past year, and don't plan to increase use of it any time soon.  This is also the one that I just had the windshield replaced on it because it wouldn't pass due to a chip in it.  Ugh.

But, for the next few days, I plan to just put those things on the back burner and try to relax.  It looks like rain, which would be lovely as well.