Sunday, December 10, 2017

The End of Deer Season

Well, another hunting season has come and gone without my even seeing anything that I could shoot at, let alone shoot at something.  It seems that it has been a fairly poor season for everyone concerned...except the deer.  Our neighbors were complaining that they didn't get anything, and my dad only got one doe during the senior season in October.  Oh well, as long as I don't hit any deer with my car this winter, I'll be ok.

JP and I took advantage of a hunting-free day today, and hauled more wood to store under the barn lean-to near the wood burner.  We also cleaned out the hen house, since the hens have been treated twice with wormer and have about 4 more days until we can keep their eggs again.

In the meantime, I have collected 5 feed buckets of eggs in the garage. 

JP, the girls, and I took them down by the creek and threw them across into the field.  We didn't want to dispose of them anywhere near the house or the chickens.  The girls and I took advantage of a tree and practiced our aim.  It looked pretty gross by the end of our session!

We finally got our trees decorated.  Our main one is in the family room downstairs, and the girls have a small one in their room.  It looks so festive!

J decided to get her hair chopped off.  It looks cute.  I'll post a picture when she lets me take one.  L decided to have a couple more inches cut off her tresses once she saw her sister.

Next weekend, I am hoping to finish up Christmas shopping and bake our Christmas cookies.  I only have 11 days until my Holiday Surgery, so I need to have things done ahead of time.

This week is L's Christmas Chorus Concert, and J's is next week.  There will also be one or two Basketball practices and some voice/guitar lessons thrown in as well.

I hope that all of your Holiday preparations are going smoothly!

Friday, December 8, 2017

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

It has been longer than normal since I last posted.  That is because there has been no end to the activity going on around here.

L started Basketball practice the week of Thanksgiving.  It appears that her team is quite small, so she will have LOTS of playing time.

We had a wonderful visit with a lot of JP's family over Thanksgiving weekend.  My parents were kind enough to allow us to use their house for sleeping a couple of the families.  We had SO MUCH to eat, so my nightmares where we ran out of food were moot.

On Sunday, JP, the girls and I went to see the newest "Thor" movie.  It was J's request, since her birthday was the previous weekend, and we really didn't do much, and it was quite enjoyable.

The following weekend was the premier of J's first ever HS show.  She had a nice little part, and even had a song or two that she sang with just 2 other girls.  The school put on "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," and she played Alice (the Sunday School student that ALWAYS plays Mary.)

L and I went both nights, and both shows were equally well done and fun to watch.  J had a cast party and sleep over Saturday night, so she was a tired girl when cast and crew were called back on Sunday afternoon to strike the set!  The director is not letting any time slip by before embarking on the Spring show - auditions are December 20th.

On Saturday afternoon, L had a presentation of her own.  She and another girl sang a few solos of Christmas songs at our local Historical Museum during their Holiday Open House.

This week hasn't been a cake-walk either!  On Monday, J's soccer coach called a practice "just for fun."  It seemed a bit sadistic to me, especially since L had basketball practice at the same time, and I was stuck in a Board Meeting.  J also restarted voice/guitar lessons, L had voice, and J had an appointment.

L also picked up her new glasses this week.  The school sent a letter home before Thanksgiving that she failed her vision screen at school, so I took her in to our Optometrist for an evaluation.  L requested that I cut her hair, so on Wednesday, she went in to school, sporting her new look - glasses and hair about 6-7 inches shorter.

This afternoon is L's rescheduled voice lessons, and now J wants a haircut too.  Both girls also want to go Christmas shopping.

I managed to get the Christmas trees up (but not decorated), and most of the other decorations up this week in between activities, so that is on the docket this weekend as well.  I had time to sit out for rifle season for 2 mornings, but didn't see anything that I could have safely taken.  I plan to go out one more time tomorrow morning.

We had a bit of blowing snow yesterday, and things were almost white up here on the hill for a brief time.  They are calling for more snow tomorrow - a coating to an inch.  It's about time that it starts acting like the Holidays around here!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Oh, the Weather Outside is...Wierd

I ran a 5K on Saturday morning to raise money for our Library.  It's been nearly 15 years since I ran a 5K!  Today is the first day since Saturday that I can walk without constant pain.  It rained for the entire race, but luckily the temps were in the high 40's, so it could have been worse.  I still had to have hot coffee and a hot shower, and snuggle up in my woolly socks and sweats before I felt warmth in my bones again afterward.  If only I would have run faster, I wouldn't have spent so much time in the cold and wet!

That evening we celebrated J's 15th birthday.  She wanted the BIG red velvet/white chocolate cheesecake cake again (which is honestly delicious, even if it does take a long time to make.)

On Sunday morning, JP and I got up with the birds and butchered 6 chickens in the midst of swirling snow flakes.  I think we found (and disposed of) the sick hen, but I treated the remaining 18 with wormer anyway.  I canned chicken all afternoon.

Today has been super windy.  A big pile of leaves blew up against the garage, so I gathered them up and covered my herb bed and the shade bed by the house with them.

Tomorrow JP's sister & husband from Japan will arrive at our house.  They flew into DC this afternoon, and are spending tonight trying to recover slightly from jet lag.  We are expecting JP's other 2 sisters and their husbands, as well as a nephew and his wife on Thursday afternoon.  So, we'll have a houseful for Thanksgiving, but it should be fun!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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! 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 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?