Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tales of an Egg (or Two)...

So, since I found the 2 eggs (one broken, one whole) on Friday, I haven't found any since.  I was getting a little worried since it has been two days with nothing!  Well, we went out this afternoon around 2pm and when checking the newly lined nest box, my other half noticed two eggs on the roof of the coop!

The "roof" on our coop is flat and only has about 10-12 inches max at any given spot and most spots have only a 4-6 inch gap to access them from!  But, there they were...two nearly perfect eggs!  I suspect Gerty, our Barred Rock is the egg laying culprit.  But my suspicions aren't knowledge because I still haven't caught whoever is laying "in the act".  Gerty does like to climb though, she has climbed the fencing on the run many times when I'm on the outside and she really wants to cuddle and she climbs it all the way to the top!  I suspect that is how she is getting up there to lay her eggs!  Today, we went about bought a "mini bale" of Timothy Hay from the feed store because they had thrown all of the sawdust out of the box and had managed to knock one of the fake eggs out as well.

We have now added cardboard as a temporary "fix" until I can get out there in "not 90+ degree weather" and attach some hardware cloth to keep them off the roof, I never suspected they'd be able to get up there!  It isn't pretty by any means, but here's hoping it works!  Empty soda cases (12-packs) worked great for covering the ends, we just stapled them to the bottom of the deck boards and once at the bottom of the box to hold them on.  I think this is the most likely end she was using to get up there.

In "un-chicken-related" news...we went "Soybean hunting" this morning!  Well, we went Black Soybean hunting, but we have regular ones on sale for 99 cents a can versus the $2.99 for the Black Soybeans!  I have a recipe for a slow cooker chili using a can of these beans, I hope the "white" ones will turn out good, even if they don't "match" color-wise!  The only difference I could see in comparing the two labels was the amount of fiber versus amount of total carbs.  The ones pictured are 13g Total Carbs and 12g Dietary Fiber (so, 1g Net carbs), while the Black Soybeans were 8g Total Carbs and 7g Dietary Fiber (for a whopping 1g Net Carbs)...so no real difference there.

Also, we stopped by Best Buy on the way home from Red Robin (I am in love with their Grilled Chicken Alla Caprese Salad!).  We got a World of Warcraft subscription card for my other half because his expires the end of the month and he still isn't sure if he wants to let it lapse or not (not is a better choice) and, since I was there and I really wanted it...I bought myself Sims 3 Generations expansion pack!  I know...like I don't already have enough going on, right?  But, I enjoy the Sims and can spend time there when the online things are down for maintenance and such.  Yep....we are geek/gamers (in our free time)!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eggs!

Cleaned up and sitting pretty!
Okay, logically I knew this was coming...but after doing some reading earlier this week, I had decided I was starting my egg watch a little too early.  So, yesterday when I let the girls out, I did not look inside to see if they had left me an presents as I had been doing every morning for the entire week (Wednesday they turned 18 weeks).  However, when I peeked my head through the pop door with my handy "flashlight" app on my cell phone (looks like a Mag light, it's awesome), I found a broken egg under the roost!  Boo!  I was so disappointed that my first egg had been broken!  But, not wanting to give them any bad ideas, I opened up the large door to the coop, moved some pine shavings aside and climbed in to retrieve the busted egg.  From what I could tell, the egg had been broken in the process of the girls going to bed.  The "mass" looked fairly fresh and seemed to be "all there", so hopefully I managed to avoid creating an egg eater...  Much to my surprise though, buried in the shavings near to the broken egg, was another egg!  A tiny, very pale brown egg that was nearly covered in shavings!  Yeah, for putting down a deep layer!  Thre white egg is a store bought size Medium egg there for comparison.
Before clean up, the mess on the left egg is all from the right egg.

Both eggs were cold to the touch, so I really don't know if one is a day older and I missed it or if two of the girls started laying yesterday!  Of course, the broken egg was larger than the intact egg...the shell was maybe half an inch taller from what I could tell.  But, the whole egg weighed in at 1.3 ounces!  Very small for both Wyandottes and Plymouth Rocks (who both lay Large eggs - Large eggs should weigh around 2 ounces), but not bad for a first try!

I was curious as to what was the "official" size rank and found a decent answer, oddly enough, at Answer.com.  According to the "answer" there, the following is egg sizes by weight.

  • Peewee : 1.25 oz.  
Generally where I see egg sizes talked about, we call "peewee" eggs, "Bantam eggs", because these are the eggs laid by those tiny chickens called "bantams" that are basically miniaturized versions of all the other breeds (and two breeds that only come in a tiny package).
  • Small : 1.5 oz.
  • Medium : 1.75 oz. 
 This is what we currently buy from the store...only because that's what comes in the "bulk" pack of 5 dozen.

  • Large : 2.1 oz. 

This is what my girls should be laying...when they get "good" at it.

  • Extra Large : 2.25 oz.
  • Jumbo : 2.5 and above per egg.

I saw a post, here, yesterday of an egg that weighed in at 5 ounces!  I agree that the chicken that laid that egg had to have had a funny walk after that egg...

Also, in my search, I found this article, "United States Standards, Grades, and Weight Classes for Shell Eggs".  It's a good read if you are about how they grade eggs and such.  According to this, my unbroken egg falls somewhere between Grade A and Grade B, but more towards the "A" since there were no stains or anything on it.  I saved it to read thoroughly later.  The slight discoloration on the pointy end of the brown egg is a thin spot in the shell...I'm going today to get Oyster shell for them to up their calcium!

I'm still hoping for another egg or two this morning, I think I got them up too early today in my excitement!  But, while I'm here....check out my awesome ceramic egg tray!  This holds 9 eggs and I found it at Ross' almost 2 years ago.  I had been using it for finger food type stuff and the rare hard-boiled egg feast, lol.  Also, looked great with colored eggs in it too.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Pups at the "Pound"...

Well, I think it was a good day!  First thing I noticed was that both of my "black lab cross" buddies had been adopted!  Dudley and Rudy were both adopted on Wednesday, yeah!  Dudley is a Black lab/hound cross (the dude that ripped my shirt, lol) and Rudy was mostly lab, I think.

I almost got a guy talked into Cleo today, but he wants a young dog and at 5 years old and on pain meds, she didn't really fit the bill.  The guy was a bit of a turd anyway...but he is thinking about volunteering, so he can't be that big of a tool!  I tool Cleo out first this morning, she really looked like she needed to be out and about today!  I figured she had recently had her pain meds and was feeling pretty darn good since she practically drug me to the field were we did a lap that consisted of half of the giant figure 8 they mow for us to walk in.  We did the walk in about 20 minutes...this usually takes me at least half an hour, so we were really moving!  I fell in love with this dog when I used her to learn the tricks at Shelter School earlier this month. Cleo knows "sit" extremely well and will eventually do a "leave it", but she'd rather not, lol.  She really doesn't do "wait" but she does wait patiently anyway while you open a door for her, so she had that one down without needing the command, lol.  When I sit down with her in the grass, he'll sniff around a bit and then lay right down either in front of or next to me.  She is such a mellow dog!  However, in the kennels is another story...if one starts barking...they all start barking and Cleo is usually the instigator!  She has issues with the other dogs getting any sort of attention when she isn't!  Said gentleman (see above) started a conversation as I was putting Raspberry back in her kennel in the back of the rows, Cleo had all the dogs barking until I managed to wander up to the front while talking to this guy.  Once we were in front of Cleo's kennel, the whole place quieted back down to not a peep and I was able to have the conversation this guy wanted and show him some of the "tricks" we teach the dogs while they are at the shelter.  He was really impressed that I could make her sit with just a word and a hand gesture (hot dog in hand, raise hand above her head, lol)!

Peeka is another dog who has been at the shelter for a while...she was adopted but got brought back, I have no idea why though.  Probably because she has an issue with cats...  Peeka is also pretty rowdy in the kennels, but does wonderfully outside on leash and just loves being off leash in the big play yards where she can sniff about and run through grass!  I always forget to really read the paperwork while I'm there for her, I suspect though that she is part "cattle dog" and part Husky or some other thick-coated breed with a curly tail.  The first photo of her was taken under a tree near the play yards, behind her, Nikki was running about in the first yard and Peeka was just enjoying the breeze, lol.  I did go talk to Ruth, who was in the yard with Nikki for a little bit, Peeka did great and really didn't pay Nikki any attention for about 10 minutes before Nikki's running about just got to be too much for her.

Fancy is a new dog to me being in the kennels.  She is obviously the Momma to the puppies that were there today, but she was spayed a few days ago and her milk has dried up...her "puppy fun bags" though, are still hanging pretty low!  I don't think I have walked a dog yet that I can't say wasn't "Super sweet", this one was too!  She was pretty uninterested in any treats or anything to do with me when we first got outside and into the play yard.  Once she had given everything a good sniff though, she came over and does know "sit" when there's a bit of hot dog involved, lol.  The look slightly to the left in almost all of the photos I took today is due to said "Hot dog in hand"....what better way to get them to sit pretty for a photo op?

Speaking of "new dogs"...Mystique is another dog that has been brought up to kennel 1 (there are two kennels, but the second one is for dogs that are not and may not be able to be placed up for adoption, so no "general public" allowed and if asked if the dogs in kennel one are all we have, the answer will always be "Yes".  I generally stay out of kennel 2 because when you walk those dogs, you have to stay hidden in the back of the property and there really isn't any shade back there!  I like taking them into the play yards and out front where there are trees to lay (I sit) under in the shade!
Back to Mystique though!  She is a gorgeous big, cuddler of a dog!  Part German Shepard and part Greyhound, she has an interesting "look" to her.  Her body looks way too big for her head and I would wager a guess that a typical collar wouldn't be a great idea...a harness or the non chain collars that cinch like a chain collar would probably work better for her.  Our slip leads work great, they cinch like a "choke" chain, but are a cloth-like nylon lead/collar combo.  She is much bigger than Cleo as well, standing, she came to roughly my hip!  This was another dog who just wanted to cuddle today...it is/was a "colder" day, mid-60's this morning, so maybe they were just looking for body heat as the wind picked up, lol.  Her favorite place to lay under the tree with me was on top of my right foot and under my left leg, lol.  She actually nuzzled her way under my leg to lay on my other foot!  We tried the play yard so she could run some (I thought she might like to given her proclaimed breeds), but she was so intent on being where ever I was, that I gave up and we went out to the shady tree so someone else could use the run if they wanted to.

Bear is also new, or at least today was the first day I saw him!  This little guy has a lot of energy!  This play bow was meant as "get off your rump and come play with me!", I know this because he brought me a ball to play with too, lol.  Not great with giving it back, but he let me pick it up again if he deemed it time to drop it somewhere for me to throw again, usually at the opposite end of the large play yard from where I was!  I really like taking all of the breeds out on the days I'm there...I know there are people that concentrate on specific breeds or types of dogs (some only walk labs, some it's the pit bull terriers, others go for the smaller dogs, though we rarely have actual small dogs in there for long).  We aren't looking for a new dog "yet", we still have Rosie, but she is getting up there in age and almost 10 (she'll be 10 years old September 12th) and I really don't want to be without a dog...I prefer life with a devoted companion that doesn't go off to work every day, lol.  That being said...I'd love to get a dog that could "work" as a therapy dog in senior centers or hospitals, that would be awesome I think.  Bear is one of those breeds that I enjoy walking at the shelter, but isn't one I would personally take home.  Herding breeds are just too high energy for me on a day to day basis.

I did manage to sneak down to the end of the kennels to take Raspberry out for a walk today, but I stayed "late" to do it!  I can normally get through more dogs, but today I was moving slower and in the cooler weather, I wasn't as worried about the dogs over-heating, so we stayed out a little longer today.  I'm beginning to think the "not being interested in treats (hot dogs) until I sniff the whole place" thing is a pit bull terrier trait, lol.  Raspberry actually took my "see I have the hot dogs" treat when we first got in the play yard, but spit it out onto the ground to go sniff everything!  She did eventually sniff all she wanted to sniff and came over for pets and to see if I still had those yummy hot dogs, but refused to sit for a decent photo.  I really love her coloring, it is one of my favorite color patterns!  After this photo, she decided she wanted to climb up in my lap and play "lap dog" for a while (I was sitting on a wobbly bench)!

I actually took Charley out somewhere near the middle of the "pack", but since I had more to say about him and a video to link up...I figured I'd save him for last!  He is such a happy boy!  You can't really see it in the photo, but the end of his tail is actually about 4 inches beyond where his yellow fur stops, it just is doing a great job blending in with the dirt!  He has a serious case of "happy tail" (raw and bloody) from being int the shelter and living on concrete for so long!  For reasons unknown to me, he also didn't get walked by shelter volunteers for nearly 10 days  beginning a little over 3 weeks ago!  His tail looks gross...he chews on the end of it so it is always a bloody mess, but now, since he was left in the kennels for so long, he has sores on all 4 of his elbows!  It is getting better and they don't look nearly as yucky now, but mid-week last week when I found he hadn't been out in over a week, he looked pretty bad.  All it took to get more people walking him was to note on his walk chart that he absolutely loves playing in the pools!  He is to the point now (since he now gets out at least twice a day) that he drags whoever is hanging on to the other end of the lead straight to the play yards and the waiting kiddy pools full of cool water!  There is no such thing as a photo of Charley dry, it just won't happen, lol.  He also decided today was the day to let me in on his secret obsession with playing catch!  Now, he isn't a young dog...so playing didn't last more than 10 minutes or so, but he ran at full speed and thought it was great when I could manage a long toss!  I really could have used one of those plastic ball thrower thingies for Charley today, he would have loved that!  He also alternated between the pool and the ball for a few more tosses before deciding he was done and we should head back in.

Pardon the squeaky girl talking over the video...just mute and enjoy, lol!  If you do decide to listen...he chose to keep the ball when the camera was on, but had given it back on the first "drop it" every single time before that and after that as well!
video
The second video (again just mute it and ignore me...he wasn't listening to me either, lol) is Charley and his pool.  I really don't know how he got the water that dirty that quickly!  He was the first dog in the pool today...and the only one that I know of that took a dip past putting a paw in to reach the "good water in the middle"!
video

Happy Dance Time!

Nothing really earth shattering, but I'm now at my newest "lowest weight 'ever'"!  Pardon the icky photo of me...I was practicing taking photos of myself, lol.  This week has been sort of a blur of nothing really going on, but I got a few things done that I wouldn't have in any "normal" week.  I finally finished a crochet project I started about 5 years ago, I made three brand new projects (tiny) possibly for gifts, more than likely for my own use, I skipped starting volunteering at Spokanimal (it just isn't as structured as I want it to be), and today I will actually make it to a second day in a week going to Spokane Humane Society!  My goal is to go three times a week, but I just haven't gotten there yet...  I also started following a bunch of new blogs, but they are mostly the kind marked "18 and over only", so I won't share them here.  I wrote a review for a product (also not something I will share here) and am waiting to hear if it passed inspection.  I'm not the worlds greatest at this whole "writing" thing, my thoughts sort of jumble together and spill out in random order as a general rule.  So, we shall see...I'll let you know if I decide to start another blog for that sort of stuff (I believe most of my "audience" is over the required age minimum, but I did "sign" a thing saying I wouldn't post that stuff here).  Of course, in my head, my entire audience is my other half, my Mother, and my Sister...and two-thirds of that audience doesn't need to know anything about that sort of thing!

On to the stuff I can talk about here!  My birthday is next Friday (Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!).  Anywho, this will mark a decade since I became legally allowed to drink alcohol...this one is kind of funny to me.  For my 21st birthday, my Mother and  Sister (who is only 5.5 years behind me) made me a white (maybe it was yellow) cake with pale pink frosting (I think it was Strawberry, but it might have just been food color), covered in toasted coconut (I love coconut).  Anywho, nothing really special about the cake itself, just a normal, 2-layer round cake, but the special part was the "decoration" on the cake!  My mother had gone to the liquor store (located in the local grocery store) and bought (I believe) 21 little bottles of all different kinds of booze!  This cake was jam-packed with tiny bottles!  One was Seagram's (I won't ever buy that again)...I mixed it with Diet 7up...it made me ill.  I know there a little bottle of Crown Royal, but in all honesty, I don't remember drinking it.  I am a huge fan of the chocolate liquors...my favorite though is Vermeer! That is one chocolatey drink, served best chilled and straight from the bottle!

Being a "truly" adult child has it advantages...I remember one night while my sister was having a bunch of friends over, we went to the store and bought two mid-sized bottles,  one of Vermeer and the other was an Irish Cream, Coraline's (maybe?) I think.  We went home, chilled both bottles down and that spent that evening playing cribbage and drinking.  We finished off both bottles that night between the two of us!  It is the single night that I ever drank in that type of quantity!  I'm actually pretty surprised I can remember it in such detail, lol.

The reason I bring up the "drinking stories" is I still have two of those tiny bottles of booze tucked up in the cupboard with the rest of the liquor we still have in the house, a tequila that has gone from a caramel color to nearly clear over the years, and a little blue bottle of Skky Vodka.  I'm not sure why I've held onto the Skky for so long, I really like Vodka (mixed with other stuff), but the tequila...ugh, remember up there where I talked about the Seagram's?  Same thing here, tequila is not my friend!

This year's birthday will be a little different from year's past, first, obviously, I'm low-carbing life.  Of course, as I've already mentioned in an earlier post, we are cheating on our diet and going for the $50 per couple Moroccan meal at the Marrakesh!  One of the courses is this yummy pastry thing with egg and cinnamon and all sorts of goodies in it!  That is most likely all the cheating I'll be doing on the day (the entire dinner, not just that one course), but I could go all out if I wanted to!

In my email this morning I had a varying array of birthday emails from all sorts of places where I have joined their "birthday clubs".  I got 15% off at the Godiva store (online or here in town), a free Creation sized ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery, a free Grand Slam from Denny's (this one I might use), a free 12 ounce shake from Arby's, a free Cookie Cake Slice (with drink purchase) from Great American Cookies, and a free scoop of ice cream from Ben & Jerry's along with a $3 off coupon for an ice cream cake!  Yep, you can tell I haven't low-carbed it for very long, lol.  I may use the Denny's one, but only if I can get the "make your own" grand slam so I can have my meat and egg slam sans all those other icky carbs!  Of course, if anyone is in the Spokane area and wants a free ice cream or something...I'd be more than happy to tag along, lol.

As for the crochet projects I have done and/or started...first, my 5 year project!  Several years ago I crocheted scarfs for Christmas presents.  They were made from very soft "frilly" yarn and the feather yarn.  Of course, the labels have long been removed so I can't even begin to guess at what they're made from now.  But, after all the gifts were made, I started one last scarf.  Unfortunately, I didn't have enough yarn left to make a whole scarf!  What I had was a 28 inch piece of scarf and no more yarn to match it.  So, it went in the "unfinished project" bag and was forgotten about until I was moving all my bags of yarn into a newly purchased under the bed container that I bought to consolidate all my bags into!  I pulled it out, mulled over it a few times, took out the partially finished row, tried connecting it in a few different ways, and finally decided to just crochet the two ends together and form a cowl from it!  It isn't sized like your typical cowl though, it is 6 inches across and folded in half, measures 14 inches.  I think if I were to make it again on purpose, I would make it 10 inches wide and 12 inches across when folded in half.  It is a bit short as well as a wee too long to stay on if I  pull the back up to cover my ears.  I absolutely love how soft this yarn is though!  I'm going to start hunting for more yarn like this...I don't remember seeing it at the Wal Mart local to me now, but I know I bought it there in Central Oregon, they're craft department is huge there!

The other craft projects I worked on were all granny square stockings.  First, I followed the pattern, using worsted weight yarn and the proper size crochet hook.  For a pattern claiming to be a "mini stocking", 5" by 6.5" was not what I was expecting!  But, it could just be the color choice I'm not in love with...I made it from the yarn I purchased for the oldest nephew's puppy pillow, bright yellow and Banana Berry...very bright!  I made two more following the pattern, but I switched to size 10 cotton crochet thread and a size 6 steel hook.  The first ended up at 2" by 3" and the second was 2" by 2.75", my stitch "tightness" varies from project to project, lol. 
I really like this pattern done in the thread...however, I believe I will shorten the pattern a bit by doing double crochet instead of triples (like these have) and then maybe adding a row or two extra around the outside, these are only 3 rounds, so in DC they will be very tiny!  Also, I'll get red and green thread since these are supposed to be Christmas things.  My pretty color "5109" is a bit too "springy" for that!

I have also been working on my new knitting skill...I can do a knit stitch with no problem and I can Perl as long as I do the whole row without picking up any extra stitches.  I can do a "P,K" pattern as long as I'm super careful about the stitches.  I am in the middle of figuring out how to do a cable stitch, but my stitches are just a little too tight for it to be easily done.

Today is going to be a morning at the shelter, possibly a run to the craft store to look for more yarn.  Followed by some crafting this afternoon with maybe a load of dishes thrown in for good measure.  Then, this weekend and next week my other half is on vacation, so we will be weeding the rest of the backyard and cleaning out the garage!  It will be a busy, busy week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Week in Catch Up!

Last Wednesday we got our new dishwasher installed!  It's been a week of happily clean dishes with none of them having to go back for a second trip!  It was getting so bad with the old one that I swear we were running the same set of dishes through 5 or 6 times and they were getting dirtier with each "wash"!  So nice having this beauty in!  The buttons that control it are across the top of the door so it has a nice smooth face, so nice when compared to the gigantic knob on the front of the old one, and so quiet too!  I could go on and on about this new toy...but I won't because there is so much catching up to do!  I really should have sat down during the week to write down what I was up to!

First, I taught myself to knit!  Okay, the book and instructional dvd taught me how to knit...but, I have about 3 inches of a shawl now made out of this pretty pale pink yarn I brought home from my cousin's house!  This was a "sampler" that I was practicing on.  I ripped it out to make the shawl, lol.  I knew I might have an issue with my knit being "tight", I crochet pretty tight too out of habit.  My normal crochet of choice is doilies and such using crochet thread, that has to be done with a tight stitch or it falls apart!  I have managed to pick up a few stitches on my shawl...no idea how!  I think I can "fix" it though without having to start over, I'm 18 rows in!

As far as food goes this past week, I've been discouraged with my weight loss after several weeks (3 of them) of my weight climbing!  I haven't given up on the diet though, instead I upped the hours I've been volunteering walking dogs!  I now go to the Spokane Humane Society twice a week and starting this coming Thursday, I'm going to go volunteer some hours over at Spokanimal (another humane society facility here in town).  Also, since I spend multiple hours outside with the dogs, I'm drinking more water while I'm there. This in itself is a feat, I hate the way our water tastes!  The downside to living in the city is we have "city water" flowing in our taps.  To me, it tastes and smells of the chemicals used to make it "safe" to drink again, yuck!  But, I have been taking a 1+ liter bottle with me that's half full of frozen water and then I fill with cold water just before leaving the house, stays cold out in the 90 degree heat!  Otherwise, food is pretty normal. 
I made Fiery Skewered Shrimp a few nights ago, we were planning on getting big Shrimp from the meat counter, but apparently everyone in town had the same idea on Saturday and they were out of Shrimp!  Good thing too...after we walked off, the butcher went out and grabbed a couple of bags of the frozen shrimps and dumped them in the case!  Yeah, fresh my foot!  I won't be purchasing seafood from the meat counter anymore.  Stay away from anything pre-seasoned too...I used to work next to the butcher when I was working in the deli of a grocery store, the stuff they dowse in seasoning is the stuff they pull off the shelf because it's close to or past the sell by date!  Just get what looks the absolute freshest cuts or find a better butcher...I haven't made the jump yet to buying my meats in an actual butcher shop.  But, that being said, my other half's parents buy most if not all of their meat from a butcher and they have wonderful cuts every time we eat there, even the hot dogs taste better, lol.  Back to my Shrimp though!  I left off the skewers and grilled them in my new grill basket (grilling roasting pan) that I got for 50% off thanks to my birthday present from World Market (I have their "member card").  The bits of green are Pineapple Sage from my "garden", it is so, so yummy this way!  We went on Sunday to Costco and picked up another 2 pound bag of shrimp too...this cooks up so fast that it is quickly becoming a staple meal in our home! 
Last night's meal was nothing too special either, I marinated 4 thin pork chops in what was left of the low carb Teriyaki Sauce I made for the Orange Teriyaki Chicken I made while our nephew was here and a little olive oil (the staple oil in our house).  To go with the chops, I sliced up what was left of an onion (which was actually most of it) an tossed it in a sauce pot with a tablespoon or so of Sesame Oil.  I know you aren't "supposed" to cook with it, but I wanted the added "Asian" flavor in my meal.  I also added a tablespoon or two of butter to give the onions something to brown against.  Once the onions were cooked and slightly browned, I added the Marinade and brought the whole pot up to a boil for a few minutes while the chops were on the grill.  I have a side burner on my grill, so it makes doing sauces like this one very easy to time out with the meat.  Once the chops were cooked through and ever so slightly charred on the fatty end, I brought everything inside and whisked in a bit of Xanthum Gum to thicken the sauce.  It could have used a little more color, but the taste was awesome!    Tonight I was supposed to make Pulled Pork...not hard considered we got pre-cooked pulled pork at Costco that all I have to do is add our own sauce to!  However, I procrastinated my way through the day and didn't get the BBQ sauce made, so it was burgers at Red Robin tonight! 
I am also a card carrying member here, I like it when I can earn free stuff!  So, we both ordered burgers, sans fries (ordered side salads instead, they have a whole mini menu of stuff to go with your burger now!) and the (evil) bun!  You can get it in a lettuce wrap, but be warned, they give you a head of iceberg lettuce that appears to have been cut in half and hallowed out just enough to fit the burger inside!  I just get mine with no bun, it's still enough food to fill me up!  Tonight I got a "Pub Burger" which has Swiss and cheddar cheese, as well as sauteed mushrooms and onions that have been cooked in some sort of beer sauce stuff.  The onions are probably not as low carb friendly as I'd like, but they are yummy!  We sit in the bar when we can...Red Robin is a very "noisy" place to eat otherwise!  So, we over heard someone asking for a bottle of the seasoning salt.  Curious at what the carbs were like, I flipped the table bottle around and low and behold, no carbs!  The best part about the fries was getting to use this salt...neither of us really "liked" the fries, I don't think, but this stuff is good!  Since we knew one of our burgers was going to be free tonight, we asked what they cost...$3!  Yep, that bottle in the photo went home with me!  I'm going to try my hand at roasting some cauliflower and making it taste kinda sorta like fries, I'm also going to cook with it...Red Robin seasoned Shrimp anyone?  After dinner tonight, I made the batch of BBQ Sauce for tomorrow's dinner, no excuses now, just have to warm it all up tomorrow!  I may make some Oopsie rolls so we can make pulled pork sandwiches, but I really haven't had any luck making those yet...I think I need to let them bake longer or something.

I mentioned earlier that I upped the time I'm spending at the shelter, I just can't get enough of these sweet pups!  The cat room, well that's another story!  Not that I don't like the cats...I actually am planning on doing the majority of my volunteering at Spokanimal in the cat room, but the room itself is the issue for me.  There are two cat rooms at SHS, one is full of cages, each cat in their own "cell".  The second room (currently called Malibu Beach) is a large open room where the cats are free to roam about and interact with each other, cats earn a stay at the beach a few ways, first are the cats that came in sick and had to spend time in both isolation rooms (not open to the public and most volunteers are even banned from accessing them), once they have fought through their illness, they get to spend some time relaxing and getting a good stretch-out.  Others are brought in from the first cat room if they have been there a while (mini vacation while they look for a forever home).  Malibu Beach has lots of shelves in it, this is what I don't like about it!  If you kept up with my head injury tally during the construction of the chicken coop (built under the deck with a 5'1" door opening by your's truly who stands 5'6" tall...), you can add another to the tally!  I was picking up a kitten to cuddle after my shift last Thursday and stood up while my head was directly under a shelf that was chest height off the ground!  My head still hurts!

As for the dogs though, we have been having lots of fun!  I like going mid-week when there aren't a whole lot of "other" people running about, it means I can use the play yards without worrying about who is in the yard next to me (we are asked to avoid taking dogs in next to potential adopters because the dogs know us and loose interest in the "new" people quickly).  That means lots of time in the pools for the dogs!  Not all of them like going in, but they all enjoy the free access to that amount of cool water on a hot day!  On Monday I ended up taking 10 dogs for "walks"...which usually translated into running for a play yard, or meandering through the grass peeing on everything we came across (the dogs, not me) and heading straight for one of the three yards, all equipped with small swimming pools and mostly grass where the dogs can go off leash and just run around and play and do "dog things".  Last Thursday, it seemed like all of them wanted to play ball, or rather chew them into small pieces...I have never seen a dog demolish a tennis ball so fast!
Dudley!
Or a t-shirt for that matter...Dudley, the black lab/hound mix I have posted photos of before loves, loves, loves his tennis ball!  He likes playing fetch, but he doesn't really like giving up his ball.  I learned that lesson the hard way, first I didn't throw the ball fast enough and he nipped my hand (he missed the ball that was in the hand), the second time (yup, I kept playing with him), he lunged as I brought the ball up to throw and bit down on my shirt!  Luckily, it wasn't one of my "good" shirts, it was however, my brand new volunteer shirt that I had only worn twice before Thursday!  It is now sporting a big hole and I have a second shirt.  He is the sweetest dog ever, so easy to walk!  He also has the "typical" hound bark!  He spent a good portion of Monday just sitting next to his ball making "hound noises"!  Maybe it's just me...but this boy is so sweet!  He didn't really want much to do with the water, which reminds me of both of my Black labs (very not typical of a lab)!  Between my taking him out on Thursday and again on Monday, nobody took Dudley out of the kennels!  Shame on the rest of the volunteers!  I hear so many of them say they don't walk the labs "because everyone else is" and if they would actually look at the logs, none of them got walked between my taking them out!
Charley!
Then there's Charley!  Charley is most certainly a "typical" lab!  He pulled me so fast to get into the play yard!  He is no spring chicken either, Charley is roughly 8-9 years old!  But, he really loves hanging out in the pool on a hot day!  Charley didn't get walked for 10 days, according to the logs, before I took him out last Thursday...after my noting how much he loved the pools, he got a walk at least once a day!  He has bloody sores on all 4 paws and his tail is just mangled from spending so much time in a shelter kennel...this sweet old guy really needs a home with a nice soft bed for him to relax on!

Oso!
The last "dog" photo I have from this week is of "Oso"!  Oso is a pit bull terrier mix, super sweet and almost totally white!  Oso has a bad case of "happy tail" going too from spending so much time in the kennels.  I forget when he got there, but I do know he was born in September 2010 and has spent most of his life living in the shelter kennel!  He so, so sweet too!  In this photo, he was stretching out against the fence while Buddy was on the other side trying his best to get Oso to play with him!  Oso isn't really sure what to make of other dogs, but he loves people!  He's still a puppy too!

A few other things yet to note...my birthday, yup, a decade ago (in 10 days) I became old enough to drink alcohol legally!  We are going to cheat on the diet for dinner that night, we are going to go to the Marrakesh, a Moroccan restaurant where you sit on pillows on the floor and eat your shared meal with your fingers!  I met the owner, a friendly man who is from Egypt during my year at Spokane Falls Community College.  We haven't had the opportunity to visit his new location yet, but are really looking forward to it!

Henrietta, she looks mad here...
Also, the chickens are getting older too!  Tomorrow marks their 18 week hatch date!  I'm hoping to see eggs any day now, but know it might be another month before I know "for sure" they are all girls.  Either way, the nest box is going in the coop tomorrow!  I got a few god photos of them yesterday to share, the big red combs on Henri and Gerty have me a little worried, lol.
Clyde
Gerty, still loves cameras and cuddles...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Thing I Said I was Gonna Talk About...

So early this morning I mentioned my cell phone in a previous posting here.  What I failed to do was go back and explain my "small" issue with it.  You see, I was outside the day before yesterday pulling weeds from my "Hill of weeds" that also happens to be home to my Blueberry bushes and Raspberry plants.  These weeds have grown to be taller than I am this year, mostly due to the fact that we haven't been spraying and/or weeding them at all and so they grew out of hand, literally.  In this photo, you can see where I weeded, where I didn't, and the pile of now dead weeds I pulled up.  The majority of the weeds up there have dagger-like thorns protruding on the entire stalk!  Also, late last year we had a patch of what looked like grass growing up there, but when it went to seed (as plants will do if you don't control them better), they seed clusters are barbed with very painful hooks, barbs, thorns, whatever you want to call them.  The remaining thorny clusters are still up there under all those green thorny things too!  We apparently picked up the Morning Glory that is the actual noxious weed from somewhere too...as once I got to the top of that hill, everything was tied tightly together by a very similar plant to my vine I am growing on purpose, but the flowers were very tiny on this one.  Anyway, progress has been made here and I suspect it shouldn't take the two of us more than a few hours to completely clean up this hill this coming weekend (hopefully)...once we go buy a couple pairs of thick leather gloves so the thorns will quit biting into our skin through the gardening gloves we had on (the kind that look like they were dipped in rubber)!


I'm not too sure on what this little plant is...it looks similar to my Raspberries, but to me looks more like a Blackberry "bush"!  We don't have anyone anywhere near us that has Blackberries, or any other kind of berry, so I have no idea where this might have even come from!

Anywho, two to three feet to my left is the "pit" where I planted the Raspberries.  I've talked about this space before...when we moved into the house, there was a smallish water feature style pond there.  It was gross and did nothing for us except breed Mosquitoes and kill a bird.  After the bird drowned in it, I pulled that water out by the bucket load and pulled the black plastic liner out of the pit dug specially for the water feature.  Since then, in the last two years we have had a big, ugly hole in our hill in the middle of our backyard.  So, this Spring, I dumped 3 large bags of soil into the hole and planted 4 Raspberry bushes in it, 3 have survived and from those three, one has been doing great.  Long, run on story short, I moved to take a photo of that Raspberry bush.  As I leaned over the rock lined pit, the phone slipped from my hand and landed face down on a flat rock that was no more than 2 inches away when it slipped.  When I picked it up and flipped it over though...well, let's just say I was not happy!
We rushed to the Sprint store only to be told that they couldn't (read this as wouldn't) do anything about it and that I would have to go home and call in a claim to my insurance (phone insurance) and wait for them to mail me a replacement phone!  Very early on here I wrote about all the issues I had with my Palm Pre around Christmas.  Between December 10th and the 26th, I had to get my cell phone replaced 5 times because of mechanical errors in the phones!  They don't make the Palm Pre (original) anymore and so each refurbished phone they sent me had an issue all it's own...my original phone went in to the shop for a small graphics issue and came back "fixed" but the touch screen didn't work anymore.  If you cn think of an issue that would render a phone unusable, I got it!  Including the keyboard not working at all, one that only 4 of the keys didn't work (but the ones I required to be able to log into the phone, of course), no working earpiece in one...you get the hint.  So, in May, after months of dealing with a "finicky" phone that only worked when it wanted to, I finally got an upgrade to an HTC Arrive (Windows phone labelled, "7 Pro").  Now, as I wait for my "back ordered" phone to arrive today via FedEx, I am back to using the old finicky Palm Pre...which is what I had to take with me on my flight to Portland.  Long story short, we spend a lot of time and money (we have 4 smart phones on our cell plan and have upgraded 3 of them recently after many mechanical issues on all three) and it burns my cookies that they refused to do an exchange for a phone they had in stock at the store!  If they send me a refurbished phone, I am taking it back to the store and demanding to talk to the manager (who has handled our issues many times personally)!  Refurbished phones have more than just the "issue" that had them exchanged in the first place...and the repair shop only fixes the reported issue, they don't check for any other issues that may not have been mentioned! 

One thing that really annoyed me (the whole situation annoyed me, but) was when the gal working asked me why I couldn't just use it as-is until I got a replacement phone...shattered glass, with little shards falling out of the touch screen cell phone...I wonder!  It does have a slide out keyboard that can apparently be used to navigate as well, but I really doubt I would have been able to get that beauty through airport security, lol.

For my trip yesterday, I had to take two batteries for the phone and a car charger...I burned through both batteries and had recharged both batteries during the day.  I got home with less than 20% on the "fourth" battery of the day.  I will be very happy once FedEx gets here with my phone today...

Well, I think I only got side tracked a few times there...hope everyone else can read or at least understand part of it!

How Lucky Am I?

Yesterday was a great day to travel for me!  Yes, we had to get up at 3am...hence the child sized person sitting at the gate holding a child sized cup of "coffee", it was hot chocolate.  Pardon the huge white blog of whatever that is...I think it's finger!  We were all packed and ready to go the night before, even though I had to take time out before dinner to try and remedy a "small" issue with my cell phone (I'll get into that in a minute).
July 2011
July 2007



With "coffee" applied liberally, or as liberally as you can get from an 8 ounce cup of warm milk, our nephew did seem to wake up before our flight departed Spokane!  He will not fix your computer, but he probably could if he wanted to, lol.  That shirt was a gift from us at Christmas last year, his Uncle has one just like it, but much larger and older.  When he was younger, he preferred "Uncle's shirts" to his own pajamas and so he slept in a huge tee instead, lol.  You can tell I give him the same haircut every Summer, ha!

We had a fairly uneventful flight up until the pilot (whom our nephew insisted was called the "co-captain", he saw that there were two pilots, lol) announced that we were descending into Portland and that we needed to stay seated and buckled.  What better time is there to have an emergency bladder situation?  When this little guy says he has to go, it is an emergency now!  Not to be the one to get yelled at to get back in our seats, I told him he had to wait...I'm a mean Aunt, I know it.  He did manage to make it to landing without an accident, but I had told him that as soon as he was allowed to unbuckle, he could run to the front of the plane and ask to use the restroom up there.  The lady directly in front of us was nice enough to let us blast past her and the seats around her (she spread the emergency news) and we managed to get ahead of most of the first half the plane.  Everyone that blocked our way to the bathroom was a man...apparently they don't care if a little boy has an accident on an airplane.  The flight attendant was nice enough to let him use it, I was afraid he was going to pee on the tires of the plane waiting for his luggage if she didn't!  I wonder if I would have been arrested for letting him...anyway, he dropped his backpack at her feet and rushed in, not even bothering to shut the door (which she held shut with her foot).  As we emerged from the plane, the ala carte cart arrived, we found his bag and were off!  Breakfast at Denny's...while I am not impressed with the one out "here" in Spokane Valley, the one we have visited in Portland (I believe it's on Washington), is very good!  I had 4 eggs, 2 pieces of Bacon, and 2 Sausage links for $5.99!  That is a good deal!  In comparison, I ordered my meal as individual items from Shari's the other night and got 2 Eggs, 4 pieces of Bacon and a scoop of Cottage Cheese for $5.58, so I think it's a good deal, lol.  While we had planned on going to OMSI again yesterday, it just didn't happen.  Everyone was really tired so we hung out at my cousin's house and did the "visit" thing instead.  It gave our nephew many chances to show off the video I made of him getting this year's birthday present...his laptop!  I think he watched it 10 times yesterday!

My cousin is a very crafty person, as in, she does a lot of crafts!  SHe has so many "projects" though, she has decided to downsize.  So, she offered my some of her yarn!  We couldn't find the box she was looking for, but did find one box and she sent me home with 6 skeins of beautiful pink and mauve yarns (4 pale pink, 2 mauve)!  Of course, I hadn't brought anything big enough to hold all that yarn, so I went and bought a large purse at Wal-Mart (I plan on using it to hold my current project as I can feed yarn out of both sides of the zipper and not worry about tangles).  I also picked up "Appletini" and "Margarita" Crystal Light!  I haven't been able to find these in Spokane!  And yeah, I bought a new shirt too, lol.

We went with my cousin and her husband to their normal pizza dinner on Mondays...a pizza parlor/bar that has 7" personal pizzas for $2.35 on Mondays called "Pizza Baron" in southeast Portland.  I should clarify that my "cousin" is really my Father's cousin...but she's more like a "favorite Aunt" to me and my family, lol.  So, we had dinner with her family, her brother (also my "cousin), one of his kids, and a ton of the next generation!  So there were second, third, and fourth cousins all ranging from ages 5 to nearly (or past) 60 all together!  The kids pretty much took over the game room, lol.

My "day" though really didn't start until I got back to the airport last night!  I got there with no incident, through security and off to my gate to grab a giant cup of coffee and wait to board around 8:30pm.  As soon as I sit down, I get a text from my other half...he says to me "Wil Wheaton is at the airport, go see if you can get a pic with him!"  As a general rule, I am a very introverted person...I didn't want to pester or bother the man just because we happened to be in the same space!  So, after much proding, I ran to the other end of the airport...  I have to say, I am really glad I did!  I spent roughly 30 minutes chatting with him, just like he was an old friend.  This guy is super smart (and probably has more in common with my other half), but I was able to hold a very animated conversation with him as well.  I must admit, I am not very familiar with what he's doing "now", but my boyfriend does follow his twitter and blog and has been a huge fan since his "Wesley Crusher" days on Star Trek Next Generation.  As a kid, he was one of my first "celebrity crushes" too, but not because I was geeky then...my Dad loved Star Trek and watched a lot of it, so I saw it a lot, lol.  I enjoy watching him when I am lucky enough to come across something he is in these days, but don't generally seek out specific actors just to watch them act (just not my thing).  I'm a hug Big Bang Theory fan, so loved him in that...anyone that gets a rise out of "Sheldon" is awesome, lol.  I'm also a huge fan of "The Guild", but again...a "bad fan" as I think I am now 1 or 2 seasons behind!  Oddly enough, at dinner earlier I was exchanging "you have to watch "this"..." ideas with my cousin's husband and we had discussed Eureka and it was on my "go home and add this to my queue" already!

Wil Wheaton and ME!

As for my plane home...I very narrowly managed to make it aboard!  I spent a little "too much" time chatting and had I not run back to the other end where the gate was, I really would have missed my flight!  Honestly, for getting the chance to talk and get to know Wil Wheaton as more than just a face on a screen, it would have been worth it!  We traded stories about our dogs, and trains trips, the price of flights (and how he nearly has enough air miles with one company to get their "crazy number of miles lifetime platinum card"), his kids, my nephews, we even talked about chickens!  Yep, I brought up my chickens whilst talking to a celebrity, lol!  He said his brother (or possibley brother in law, I forget which) has them and that he would love to have some too, but he can't because his dog would eat them.  The crazy things that come up in conversation!  He has a beautiful black and white dog that he showed me a photo of...half pit bull and half Great Dane!  Gorgeous dog though...  We talked about so many different things and shared stories about pet and kid antics that I can't even begin to remember them all!  All in all, it was an awesome night and I thank him for sharing his time with me and his wife for letting him call her back after I left (she called as we were attempting to take a photo for me)!  Yeah, okay...mostly for my other half who was totally jealous that he wasn't there to meet him...but he gladly took my recount of the time I spent!  And as a side note...I loved his shirt, I need to find one of those for my other half, it is totally his style! (And I am also glad I hadn't chosen to wear "grubby" clothes yesterday!)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last Day of Vacation...

Tomorrow morning, very early, I fly out with my nephew thus ending his 2011 vacation to our house.  I'm sure he is ready to go home and we are ready for some time without having to worry about how an almost 7 year old will behave, but it feels like we didn't get to do anything and these last three weeks have just flown by!

On a brighter note though, I was finally awake when my Morning Glory bloomed!  I have about 30 buds, but have only seen evidence of one other flower blooming (and that one finished the life cycle of a flower without me ever seeing it bloom)!  I was so excited to glance up at my pretty little vine and actually see color this morning!  And what a pretty color it is!  I have grown Morning Glories a grand total of once before...that plant was only 4 inches tall when it started blooming and had a very pale, soft pink color.  I love how the white seems to actually glow against the blue of the flower!  Of course, after I planted this and had (at one point) two very full hanging planters of the stuff, I found out it is a noxious weed in my area...oops!  Well, there went my plan of using it to create a natural screen for the chicken coop!  Which is okay in the end...only the one vine survived out of both planters...I suppose I should have just kept them in the house where they were doing so well!  I may just try these again (inside) in much smaller planters, it might be a good mid-winter pick me up, lol.

The side view isn't nearly as impressive, but I still like the way it turned out...it was a good morning to take a few greenery photos!  As you can see, there were vines on all three strings that the plant hangs from, there were also ones trailing down from the open spaces.  Sadly, I think it's my fault they all died, they started dying right after I put them outside.

This morning was a bad morning for us to be out of Heavy Cream too, I did get a yumy Starbucks coffee out of it though!  This time (since my other half was bringing them home) I got a Venti Latte and requested it be made with mostly half and half (not so good, but fairly legal on Atkins) and just a splash of Heavy Cream added to it to "thicken it up" a bit.  The barista told my other half they "always" make the lattes with half and half and just tell people they added cream (his word for half and half I suppose).  So lesson learned there...watch your barista
Once home, I added my own flavoring, today was feeling like a "Toasted Marshmallow" kinda day!  So yummy, thick, and sweet!  And totally (mostly) legal to drink!  Also, with using mostly half and half, it isn't giving me the sick feeling in my stomach that all Heavy cream has given me in the past.

Still left to do today...a little grocery shopping (can't be out of cream for two mornings in a row!), pack (oh what fun...not!), probably clean a few dishes (I believe the nephew will be eating his cereal with a fork this morning!), and figure out a couple more "kid friendly" meals.  Of course, since he has gotten older, that has become easier...he loves Shrimp!  I have cooked Shrimp twice for dinner recently, the first was the Fiery Skewered Shrimp I made last week (he loved those but for him they were a little too fiery) and then on the 4th of July, I made Chicken kabob pieces and barbequed them as well as what was left of the Shrimp bag.  Our nephew chose to eat only Shrimp that night too!  Other meals he has enjoyed this trip have been more "normal" kid foods.  We tend to eat out more than we should, especially when there is company around (who wants to stop having fun to cook or clean?), so he has had many a "happy face pancake" at Denny's (what a let down here) and Shari's.  Last night I ordered ala carte...I got 2 eggs, 4 pieces of Bacon, and a side of Cottage cheese, not exactly low-carb "perfect", but the cottage cheese just sounded so good and my portion of the bill was $8.58, which is about $1.50 less than ordering a meal and asking them to sub in stuff for the carbs!  Oh, and we have to get dressed and go to the Library today too.

General consensus on the chickens yesterday was, um, un-consensus-ed, lol.  One person said that one f the SLWs (Henri and Clyde) had to be a roo because the coloring was so different (I've heard that multiple times, but that is generally going off assuming these are birds from breeders...mine are hatchery birds).  Another said all three look to be roos (another thing I have heard before), and two posters said they all look like pullets (woot, lol).  This is about the same results I've been getting since I brought them home at 2-3 days old, so I wasn't surprised by the varied results, lol.  I did mention their breeds when I asked the question, but I don't think anyone paid it much attention...I got a lot of "some breeds don't start crowing until 5 moths" posts too...but I have been told in other posts that my breeds, should any of them turn out to be roos, should have been crowing by 10 weeks.  Well, I guess we wait and see!  Only a few weeks left before I start getting worried that I haven't seen any eggs yet, lol!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It's Saturday!

I have a class this morning at the Humane Society to learn how to train the dogs to do "puppy tricks" like "sit", "wait", "leave it"...should be fun!  Also, on;y an hour long so I can enjoy the last weekend with our nephew here!  Since he's been having another bout of "play WoW all day"...I have gotten another pup made and a third one nearly done!  This pup has shorter ears (by 14 rounds) and a shorter neck (I only did the first 2 of 5 rounds there).  I think he's even cuter this way!  And more "durable" for giving to a 5 year old...

The girls endured a "photo shoot" this morning after I let them out of the coop,  but only after Henri decided to leap from the pop door, smack me in the face with a wing, and land at the top of the run door, where she hung on to the fence for a good 10 seconds before pushing off again and flying back across the run to land on the ladder leading from the pop door!  I guess they were hungry this morning and that was my punishment for waking up a little late (I woke up at 8:10, they normally get let out right before 8am, lol)!  First though, they have switched ends on the roost!  This really makes it easier to stick my head in the pop door and count heads...before I had to stick my cell phone in and take pics because I couldn't get myself turned around enough to see up in the corner!  I really need to get the video surveillance set up out there!  Anywho, last night they swapped ends and this is what I got to see!  Don't mind all the feathers in the litter...

Henri this morning!  Yep, they were hungry enough to hole still for semi-non-blurry photos!  This is a good comparison shot of the feather differences in my two Wyandottes too...  If it wasn't for the fact that Henri has a definite laced pattern on her back, I would suspect she might be a Columbian Wyandotte (I think I spelled that right)!  They are typically all white though with just the black feathering like she has around her head and neck.  Who knows...maybe she's half and half, lol.  We all know hatcheries aren't that picky as long as both parents are the same breed (good color isn't a priority).  Very, very pretty in my opinion though, I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to tell Henri and Clyde apart when they got big!  Clyde is in the very back of this photo, she has a very nice laced pattern!

Speaking of Clyde...here she is from the neck up!  While no one is crowing that I know of, both Henri and Clyde "complain" to me the whole time I'm outside!  They are really talkers!  I get "bawk, bawk, BAWWWWWWWWWWK'd" at from the minute they see me at the base of the stairs, until I go back up stairs, lol!  And all three have taken flying leaps at me in the last week or so.  Once our nephew goes home, I need to spend some serious cuddle time in the run...I think they're mad at me for not spending as much time with them (or rather I feel guilty for not spending as much time with them).

And then there's Gerty...she had a serious issue with the food this morning!  Talk about giving it the evil eye...lol.  She is my cuddler...she loves to be held, but it is hard to hold her while I'm bent over in the run, so she will get extra cuddles come next week!  Her comb and wattles are so big and red!  At 16.5 weeks old though, I'm hoping they size/color changes of late are in preparations for eggs in the near future!
 
On our way home from dinner last night, this is what happens when your dishwasher sucks and you know the new one will be here in a few short days, our nephew was excited to realize we were driving behind a fire truck!  Even more excited when an ambulance pulled up along side of us!  They must have been returning from a call, as the fire truck turned towards the firehouse that is a few blocks from our house (awesome for when I was having all the extreme lows last Summer, great response time) and the ambulance continued on towards the hospital that is a few blocks on the other side of our street.  I did capture the moment to share with you lot though.  Probably more interesting if you'd actually been in the car with us though, lol.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Morning Ramblings...

One Pillow Pal Puppy down...only 5 more to go!  For this pup, I followed the directions as written...for the one I'm working on now (I have the head, nose, ears, and one foot done) though, I shortened the ears to round 22, cutting off the last 14 rows of stitching, most of which are rounds of only 8 stitches!  To me, these ears aren't very secure, but it could also be that I know who these pups are going to end up with too!  I also plan to eliminate most of the "neck" rounds as well when I get to the body portion, again it ends up with only 8 stitches and feels "not kid-proof" to me.  This Yellow dude, though...he ended up getting a black beanie with a bright yellow stripe on it to hide his poor misshapen head and where the ears attach, lol.  I still need to make him "toes", but that's hard to concentrate on when his future owner is running around the house!  He knows it's for him...and he's equally excited to see what the rest end up looking like too...I suppose I should find out what color would be good for the other side of the family soon too, I'm making one for that nephew too.  "My" side is getting one in Yellow, Blue, Red, and probably Green...  I only have the yarn for two of the four at the moment, lol. 

Oh, and I've learned to knit, sorta!  I can now "cast-on" and do a "knit stitch" with fairly accurate results.  I cannot for the life of me figure out the danged Purl stitch though!  My brain just won't wrap around it, lol.  I'll most likely go looking for a better tutorial than the book I have been working out of, but not until the nephew goes home, next week.  I almost bought myself a "sock set" of knitting needles yesterday...but I decide I should learn the stitches before I start dreaming too big about what I might create with my new found hobby (like I really needed another hobby).

I am at this point assuming something happened last night with my computer.  I got up this morning to do my normal "internet-crawl" while my nephew is still asleep (he wants on my computer to play World of Warcraft almost constantly) only to find my mouse "playing dead" and my keyboard only half working.  I say the mouse is "playing" because the software for monitoring the batteries in my mouse and keyboard both say everything is holding a "good level" of charge.  Yet, there my mouse sits, hooked up to it's little life support cable, with a red battery light blinking furiously, and not one "mousey movement" coming out of it.  I miss my mouse...  I am currently "stuck" using a corded mouse (shudder) that is one third the size of my nice mouse.  I did a lot of looking and test driving a new mouse before I shelled out (or rather begged my other half to buy me) the $90 (on sale) for my wireless keyboard and mouse combo.  Of course, that was long enough ago that my "w" has a dent in the top of it from where my fingernail hits it...(it's the "walk" button for WoW...yep, girl-gamer here!)  so, it may be that it's time to start thinking about replacements, but I don't wanna!  I love my setup!  It "fits" me!  Anywho, I got most of the keyboard to come back with a quick "turn off, turn on" with the switch on it...everything but the multimedia buttons on the top...so no volume control for me right now!  The mouse is still hooked up to life support and showing no "brain" activity.  When my nephew wakes up, I'll ask him if something happened and/or what he was doing when they stopped working.  It could have been something overnight as well...power surge that only crapped out my mouse/keyboard?  My text in to my local tech support (aka my other half) has yet to be answered, so we'll see what happens later today.

And the chickens!  I haven't talked about them in a few days...  They are all doing pretty well, I have noticed some pecking scabs on the bridge of Gerty's "nose", right at the base of her comb and on her comb right above her eyes, looks like my Wyandottes are picking on her comb (they must be jealous).  I haven't noticed the pecking, but the other two are uninjured, so I'm thinking they are finally getting around to deciding who the "queen of the roost" is...  Never a clear picture of all three at once...the first photo, with Henri sitting between Clyde and Gerty, is the best I could get last night of all three together, lol.  Henri was sitting on top of Gerty's foot!  All three are really getting red on the face and combs and wattles are coming in big time!

In the second photo, I'm not sure if you can see it, but Gerty has really pointy ears!  To the left is Henri, I know this because of the giant white blur, her chest feathers are almost totally white!  Gerty's comb is standing tall for the most part...it does have a funny "curl" to it though that makes it "flop" to both sides, lol.  The front leans one way and the back half leans the other.

Clyde is always the last to bed...she was still running around inside the coop and popping her head out the pop door when we went outside to put them away last night.  A few nights ago, I went out very late and she was still popping her head in and out of the coop while the other two were fast asleep on the roost together!  It wasn't totally dark out yet...but it was well past sunset!  I really like how Clyde's pattern has turned out, I was worried when she was little because she had a really funky, nearly all black, pattern!  Her lacing though is awesome now!  Henri's got a nice "back half", but her chest is mostly white with only a few flecks of black...no where near what a good quality Silver Laced Wyandotte should look like!  Not that I should expect any of my girls to be good quality in coloring...they are hatchery birds and hatcheries are notorious for the poor quality they turn out just to have the numbers they need to sell.  I hope to get some good quality hatching eggs next spring to add a bird or two to the flock from, I just don't know what I want to get yet!  Black Copper Marans lay dark, chocolate brown, eggs...or there's the Green and Blue egg layers, Easter Eggers are the mutts of that group, but there are two other "true" breeds that lay colored eggs...or Olive Eggers!  Yep...and that's just the egg color choices...if I lived where it didn't matter how many pets I could have, I could really go wild with "chicken math"!  I want an Orpington, a New Hampshire Red (like a Rhode Island Red, but different), a Wellsummer...and I really want a Salmon Faverolle!  Yeah, not anywhere near deciding on what I want for next year, lol.

For now, I'll settle in to count down the days until I get my first egg.  I know it isn't an exact science and each bird is different...but if we go with the "typical" 18-22 weeks for first egg, that's between July 20th and August 17th!  Still no crowing, though at times all three act "rooster like" and once about 2 months ago, while my Mother was here (she had a pet rooster as a kid), one made an attempt at a crow.  But, nothing since or before that...I would hear something wouldn't I?

Well, by request of our nephew, tonight's dinner is going to be "Orange Teriyaki Chicken"!  Another recipe to try from the slow cooker low carb cookbook!  Except...the two stores I went to yesterday do not carry the no sugar Orange Marmalade, so I bought a jar of no sugar Apricot Preserves to use instead.  I may make another attempt at a few more stores this morning before I go ahead with that substitute though.  I'm actually trying out 2 recipes from the cookbook today...the other recipe is the recipe for low carb Teriyaki Sauce!  I actually got carded yesterday while buying a bottle of cooking Sherry, lol.