Thursday, April 17, 2014

Theme Thursday: Bread and Wine

Well, I ain't got no bread and I ain't got no wine but I do have something Holy Thursday related!

On Holy Thursday we Greek Orthodox type peeps dye our Easter eggs.  We dye them red to symbolize the blood of Christ and in commemoration of the Last Supper.

Last years eggs
Maybe this year I'll make tsoureki and add a couple of the eggs.  Mmmmm.

a) I'm a goober and forgot to link back to Cari. So, hey! Go check out Cari's awesome post that actually includes bread and wine AND a baby chick!
b) My explanation up there sounds incredibly textbookish.  Snoozefest!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Preface: I obviously don't know how to schedule a post to post at a later date/time because it's Wednesday.  Fantastic!

As per the norm, I am catching up with pics and little blurbs.  I am crazy busy at work, again, and am so exhausted when I come home that I can barely function.  That, and the spring weather always throws me for a loop in an achy-grumpy-old-lady way.

1.  Happy Birthday Farmhouse! 
One year ago on Saturday we closed on the Farmhouse.  We decided that this would be our houses' birthday.

Happy 151st Birthday, my pretty!
The first time I saw the house (credit)

2. Um, we just had 3" of snow over night.
That's right.  After a weekend full of sunshine and 72 degree weather we got three inches of the devils dandruff and have now officially broken a record set 133 years ago.  Fantastic!
Oh Brandon Roux, why you give me bad news? (credit)

3.  Our "family" is growing - Kittens and Chicks!
As mentioned in my previous post, we adopted two new kittens - Flint and Flavia, in early March.  I will do them justice and write them their own post, soon. ish. Soonish.  

And since I want to start trying my hand at being a fo'realsy homesteader householder (I like this term better, I got it from this book The Householder's Guide to the Universe) we got baby chicks!

A little over a year ago I had a dream that I got three chickens and their names were: Prudence, Agnes and Clementine.  So that was my goal.  However in talking with my mother, who's an old pro at chickens now, said that we need double that number because invariably a chick (or two) would not make it.

So I doubled the number and came up with three more names.  When we got to the hatchery my Beloved decided that 8 was the magic number- mostly because it meant an even $20.  So I present to you: Prudence, Agnes , Clementine, Goodness, Mercy, Esmeralda, Emily and Lola.  A Jersey Giant, Black Australorp, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Easter Egger, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington and Leghorn!

Flint and Flavia

 4. Speaking of our newest additions - Goodness' eye
My little Easter Egger, Goodness, has some eye problems.  Or had, now.  I think.

When we brought them home and were putting them in their brooder box I noticed that her right eye was squinched up.  But didn't think anything of it.  However when she didn't open her eye the whole day I became worried. 

I was chatting with Cari via Facebook and being the kindly person she is, she said that she would ask the 4H group.  Awesomesauce!

After a couple of days of wiping her eye(s)- plural now, because sometimes it's the left and horrifyingly enough sometimes both- I am happy to report they've both been open for a few days in a row! I did buy the antibiotic to put in their water but my hubs has do it outside while I'm not at home because I am literally deathly allergic to it.  One anaphylactic shock was enough for me!

5.  Post gone crazy
Has anyone ever had a particular post go bat guano crazy? I wrote a post three years ago that is garnering so much attention that it's freaking me out.  Because, it's about nothing really but in the last few months it gotten 5,000 hits.  I'm so creeped out that I'm contemplating just taking it down.  

6.  Goodreads
Does anyone else use the Goodreads website? I love it! I am fascinated by what other people read.  I have accepted that I am an Anglophile because when I look at the books I've read thus far, 54% of them are British. 

They have a challenge where you say you're going to read "x" amount of books during the year.  I am a huge fan of reading challenges; I relished them in school.  In 2012 I said I would read 30 books and I read 33.  And last year I challenged myself to read 40 but only read 38. So this year I split the difference and said 35.

Only I need more friends so that I can get more book suggestions!

7.  I am going to Greece!
The first two weeks of July my mother, mother-in-law, thea (aunt) and I are all going to Greece - let the shopping commence!

8.  The Barn 
Ahhhh, my barn. I love my barn.  The Amish guys came out a few weeks ago to look at it and give us an estimate.  Lewis, the Amish dude, said that he would get back to me in a few weeks with prices for replacing the roof, metal siding and wood siding.

I don't know... do we go metal which is more durable and doesn't have to be repainted for 30 years? Or replace the siding with wood which has to be repainted every 5-10 years?

I'm torn.

9.  Fish & Chips 
For the first time in my life, I went to a restaurant for the sole purpose of ordering fish & chips.

The impetus being an apron that I bought for my Beloved from the BBC.  Right there, big as you please, FISH & CHIPS! So I did it.  I put my big girl panties on and ordered them.

They were wonderful!

10. Make ahead meals
A coworker mentioned that she and her husband make 3-4 meals at a time and just keep them in the fridge as if they were leftovers.   Think about it! If I am going to dirty my cast iron skillet cooking ground beef I may as well make 3 pounds at a time instead of having to cook/clean it three separate times.  I was so inspired by this idea that my Beloved and I have been doing for a month now.

Typically we set up a production line and in an hour or so we have four meals cooks.  This works out fabulously since he works 12-14 hour midnights and I work the exact opposite shift.  Wunderbar!

This post is shared on Homestead Barn Hop

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Have and Have Not

Do you know what I have?

5,923,755 pictures.  We're talking fo'realsy pictures from a fo'realsy camera.  I even downloaded them to my computer!

Do you know what I don't have?

Any stinking time to write a post.

Yes, yes I realize that I am writing right now but this doesn't count because I am at work and am taking a mid-morning break before I delve into the insanity that is running the call schedule (my real job).

I have a list of posts I want to write, a gabajillion photos and no plan on how to mesh the two together!

Here's a picture from yesterday so that I feel better about myself:

Title: Droopy Laundry Line & A Barn

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Weekly Round-Up: Power Outage & Other Things

I would like to preface this post.  I wrote this post on 11/21 but never published it and  I'm not sure why, but I'll share it with you now!

The storm that rolled through on Sunday shed a lot of light on our complete lack of preparedness.  Ack! And while the power may have come on Monday night that doesn't mean that the TV, Internet or phone worked properly.

A generator has moved up on our list of "Get One Stat" and our list of must have's for emergencies is growing daily.

On to the post!

The pine/spruce tree below - 
This is the view of our house and the addition, that was added on in the early 1900's.  Someone told me that that majestic tree is a Norway spruce.  All I know is that it sways something fierce on especially windy days. That and it stands a little more than 10 feet away from the corner of the house where our bedroom it.  Sa-weetness.

Making Curtains-
My mom came over on Friday and helped me make curtains for our overabundance of doors.  Do you know what I haven't been able to find anywhere? Curtains for doors with huge windows.  So I went and bought some full sized drapes from the Salvation Army for a few bucks and we chopped them up and hemmed them to fit the doors.

P.S. That photo to the right of the door is of my Beloved's great-grandparents, his grandmother (the littlest one) and his great-aunt before they left to go back to Sweden for a visit.  What an incredibly cool picture to have!

The forgotten places.  We have many forgotten places here in our lovely old farmhouse.  You know, the places where you put stuff to get it out of the way and then you forget about them.  I just noticed this little corner in the dining room area of our eat in kitchen. Side note: pay no attention to the fact that we still haven't put the mop boards and quarter-round in. Thanks!

Have I ever told you about my love of the Salvation Army Store, it's sister store the Goodwill and our "local" store the Ann Arbor ReUse Center? If I haven't I should have because those places are the bombdiggity.  I don't know why people get rid of some of the things they do.  Like that mirror.  I paid $4.95 for the wavy glassed beauty and just look at how wonderful it looks in the "Harry Potter Room"!* Oh, and the living room door's sister curtain.

And finally, lace curtains.  I've never been a fan of lace curtains.  That is until we bought a 150 year old farmhouse.  They just kind of go.  Of course new lace curtains look so... new and cost $20-30 a panel and for a few measly dollars you can snatch a panel at, wait for it, the Salvation Army Store! This panel I picked up for a $1.50 because I thought it would look perfect in the "Harry Potter Room", which it does!  

*When I get my poop in a group I'll do a room by room "tour" and I can explain the rooms name.

Friday, March 14, 2014

On My Cat Nike and Answers

This is a twofer post, lucky you!

First, rolling in a day late - I am linking up with Cari for her Theme Thursday.  This weeks theme was answer.  Here is my submission, it comes with a both a question and an answer:

Question: Is Spring ever coming?
Answer: No
Uh, do you see that?!? -3 air temp and -16 windchill.  And that was AFTER the 6.75" of snow that was dumped on us in a short 10 hours on Wednesday.

Moving on because I can't stand my own whining any more.


My poor, neurotic, OCD, sweet, crazy cat.
My favorite picture of her.  Her keeping watch.
So Nike has some issues.  She has been diagnosed with OCD and her one vet wanted to put her on Kitty Prozac.  Say what?! No way.  I figure I can deal with her little neuroses if she can.  She was the runt of her litter has some medical problems that aren't mental too.

Nike's life has to be set to her own regimen.  She will only eat her wet food in a certain spot.  We play together at the same time every day.  She spends the same amount of time walking all over my Beloved every morning when he lays down, being petted.  The list goes on and on.

We do the same things every day.  That is the way it has always been for her.  We're okay with that.

Then, we moved.  I don't remember her reaction being as severe when we moved to the condo but, she did have Icky and he was laid back, carefree and all "Whatevs".  He was the Yin to her Yang.

Then, in September he got sick.  And in October her big brother went away and never came home.  She was depressed, she licked all the fur off her belly, her thighs and the back side of her front legs.

Then, in December I brought Gandalf into her life.  He was locked in the library for a week where she could smell him but not interact with him.  The next week he was roaming around the house playing with her toys, sleeping in the only cat bed she's ever slept in and just generally being in her life.  The next thing you know he's gone for a week, then back for a week before being gone forever.

Then, the very next week, my Beloved and I went on our yearly Road Trip Anniversary Vacation.  We had a pet sitter come once a day to feed her, scoop her litter and play with her for an hour but for the most part, she was all alone in that big old farmhouse.  According to Dawn, her sitter, she was very good and there was no vomiting, only one accident where she aimed high and missed the litter box a bit.  When we got home- Woodoggy! She would not leave our sides.  Literally.  And she has never been a lap cat or an overly affectionate one but, all of a sudden she was sitting next to us on the couch touching one of us, sleeping in our bed, following us around.

And now? Now I've gone and done it.  Because she was so incredibly lonely and she is still acting depressed I went and rescued not one, but two kittens last Friday (their story another day).  They're locked in the library so she can smell them and she knows they're there.

This past Tuesday her aim was way off and that little cat managed to leave a Lake Superior sized puddle mostly outside of the box.  I emptied the box in the trash, washed the bejeezsus out of it and put it out on the deck. I got one of the litter boxes out that used to be hers and Icky's and is much deeper.  I was hoping that with the higher sides her bad aim wouldn't matter.  When I got home from work on Wednesday I was glad to see that she had done at least some of her business in there.

One of our "routines" is her chasing/pouncing on my hands as I fish around beneath the covers for my rice heating pads and again after they've been warmed in the microwave and I'm putting them in the bed.

Tuesday night she was acting odd and instead of playing she was sniffing.  That's when I got a sinking feeling in my gut.  I knew.  Sure enough, she peed on the quilt.  I didn't get angry, I just stripped the bed and put everything the washing machine.  I thought it was just the change of litter box and maybe it was too high for her to step into.  Wednesday was uneventful except she did only some of her business in the box again.

On my way home yesterday to pick up the kittens to take them to vet for their last distemper and general checkup, I stopped at Petco and picked up a gigantic litter box that is low in the front but is high in the back and along the sides- better to prevent poorly aimed urine from reaching the floor, yet not difficult to get in and out of.

That obviously wasn't the answer because last night was a repeat of Tuesday night.  I calmly stripped the bed and had a good quiet cry.  I woke up this morning to Coke can sized pile of "scarf and barf" vomit right outside the bedroom door.  And when I came out of the kittens room this morning she was busy in the living room producing hairballs because she's licking herself bare again.

My heart is breaking for her that she is so stressed out and is so miserable.  I cried a lot this morning, I am crying now.

My poor Nike, she's had a horrible week.

I wish I had an answer on how best to help her.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Farewell Gandalf

This is one of the unfortunate events that I mentioned.  I am finally able to talk about it.

New Year's Day

In December I decided that my heart was okay with getting a new cat.  I wanted an older cat.  Someone who was laid back, a go with the flow kind of cat.  I decided a senior male cat would be just the ticket. Someone just like Icky.

I scoured looking for the perfect cat that would counteract Nike's special neurosis.  There were a few that I thought could've fit the bill but none that jumped out at me.  And so on December 30th I may have accidentally gone into my local Humane Society.  I promised myself I was only going to look.

I cried as soon as I stepped into the room with cages stacked one on top of the other, three high, lining the walls.  I wanted to take every last one of them home.  My heart was breaking as I remembered the day I went to the Humane Society and Icky, that tiny ball of furry love, picked me out.

An employee asked me if there was anything they could do to help me and I explained what I was looking for.  He told me that the senior cats (7+) were in special rooms and that I needed to fill out paperwork in order to go into the rooms and visit with them.

Paperwork filled out, I entered the first of the Senior Rooms and there he was.  I sat down in the chair and he immediately jumped up on my lap.  A few of the other cats came around and I petted the ones that did but, he never left my side.  I stepped out and went to visit the other Senior Rooms and he sat by the glass door watching me the whole time.

My Beloved, on his lunch, called me and hearing the cats meowing in the background patiently asked "So, we're getting a new cat?"  I assured him "No, no.  I'm just visiting.  Getting a lay of the land." He repeated himself, this time as a statement, "so, we're getting a new cat."

It's a good thing they have boxes of tissue everywhere because I cried and cried as I thought of Icky and finally admitted to myself that I was going home with one of the senior cats.  And I had to choose.

I sent my Beloved a text saying that he had better come up with a name, as Smokey 3 (they obviously had two other Smokey's there) was not acceptable. I said only "He's gray and white".  I didn't hear back from him for a few hours and when he did text me it was "On my way home to meet Gandalf the Gray and White".

His first portrait, he was already sick of me sticking my phone in his face

We kept him separate from Nike in the library for week, she never really got used to him but there was no fighting or posturing, just a few hisses from her on the first day.  When he was finally released she kept a very wide berth of him.  He was Mr. Cool and all "hey, whatup. I'm going to go sit over here."

He wasn't much for playing, just hanging out.  He would sleep in bed with us, right next to our noggins.

Exactly 3 weeks to the day after we brought him home I took him to the vet.  Something was very, very wrong with guy.  Saturday and Sunday he hadn't moved.  At. All. Hadn't eaten, hadn't had anything to drink, hadn't gone to the bathroom, nothing.

The vet was alarmed when she came back with his lab results.  She said she wasn't sure he was going to live. She asked to keep him for a few days, for IV's and the like.  They kept him for a week.  I called every single day.  I stopped by to visit him in his hospital cage.  He was hooked up to an IV 24/7 and they had to force feed him.

After a week he came home with me, things were looking up.  For the first few days he was okay but he quickly started refusing to eat or drink.  And so, five weeks to the day that I brought that sweet boy home my Beloved and I went back to the vet and there, the three of us decided that Gandalf wasn't ever going to get better, that he wasn't feeling well and his quality of life wasn't going to be good and it wasn't fair to him.

I am glad that at the end of his life, for five short weeks, he was here, in my home, being loved.  I am sad that I never got a chance to really get to know him.

 Farewell Gandalf the Gray and White you were a great cat even though we didn't have a lot of time together.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Theme Thursday: Dirt

Taken 3/6/14 @ 16:00 after a warm day of 23 degrees

Somewhere, under that 5 feet of snow (I'm sticking with five.  It's my story), is dirt.

I think that's where it is at least.

Rant On: if I see or hear one more person blather on and on about their crocuses and snowdrops coming up? Oh, wait! Maybe it's the irises, or the hyacinth? I will throw a conniption fit worthy of a reality TV star.

I planted five quadrillion bulbs and I don't believe I will never see them actually bloom.  I Honestly gave up all hope on Monday when I went out to my car to go to work and the dashboard read -4 (air temp).  Sweet Mother of All Things Holy and Good in This World, it's March.  I just want to be warm again.  And for it to stop snowing.

Okay, I'm done.  I'm going to go crawl back into my den and wait out the winter.

Go check in with Cari over at Clan Donaldson for the scoop on other peeps dirt.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Theme Thursday: Barn

GM Chrysler! (another of my Beloved's favorite non swearing curses)

It's been awhile, hasn't it? I have two completed blog posts from November that, oddly, I never published.

December and January have been a long, drawn out series of mostly unfortunate events and I had been too wrapped up in feeling crappy about it that I purposely avoided blogging.  Or even looking at my blog roll because I didn't want to have to log in and see my own dithering staring back at me.

But, Cari is good.  Very, very good.

She reeled me in like a big ol' Walleye with her theme for today.


I have a barn.  Like a for realsy barn.  A 150+ year old barn.

We had a barnwright come out this fall and give our beaut the once over.  He said that structurally she's in great shape!  Visually though, she's a mess.  The barnwright believes that since the property was purchased 6 years before the house was built that the barn was built to house the animals along with a smaller house until the "big house" was completed.  Sounds legit to me!

I have a liaison (sounds a lot cooler than coworker) who has an Amish gentleman, or "the Amish dude" as I call him, doing all of the woodwork in his new house - cabinets, stairs, fireplace, etc., so I asked him to find out if the he was interested in re-siding my barn.  Unfortunately that isn't Amish dudes' field of expertise.  But! His friend Lewis, also an Amish dude, is a barnwright by trade.  So, I'm thinking this summer of somehow getting Lewis down to Howell to have him fix up my barn, or at least give her the once over and price it out!

Would you like to see a half-million pictures?

I do.  I love my barn.
This is the first time we ever saw the barn
A couple of weeks ago - taken from an upstairs window
"Bunny Track in the Snow" after a snow storm that dumped 15+ inches of the white stuff

Looking up at the roof

Missing boards make for nice light streaming through

The track for the big door, which is missing.

White Wash - which I am told was mandatory in dairy barns in the 1930's

I've never braved that ladder to check out the loft

Head on over to Clan Donaldson and enjoy some more pastoral and agrarian photos of barns!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Power is Back On!


It's party time at the Richards Household - we have power and consequently, heat! Woot! Woot!

Which means I'll write that long awaited ::snort:: post after work today.

Until then, y'all stay warm.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Sunk Costs Fallacy

Have you guys heard about this?

My cousin posted the below video on his FB page:

Um, wow! That's what I'm struggling with right now.  I am, according to my Kindle, 19% and 12% of the way through The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop and These Is My Words respectively.

I don't like either of them.  

It is just not happening.  I'm tired of trying to read these books and I have SOOOO MMAAANNNYY books, ten on my Kindle alone, that I am anxiously waiting to read.  It's actually making me cranky.   

I've sunk weeks into trying to plow through them thinking "maybe it will pick up in the next chapter!", "It had good reviews!", "Maybe I'm missing something here?"  Dagnabbit, I want these books to be good and worth my time/money.

Anyway, I think for the first time ever, I am going to give up on a book, or in this case books, and walk away.  I am going to call it a day and admit that just because I have sunk time and money into these books they aren't worth it any longer.  Especially since I have so many others that I am chomping at the bit to get to! (You can't tell that I am trying to make a case for myself, can you?)

Has this ever happened to you? Have you had to give up on something even though you've sunk your valuable resources into it?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weekly Round-Up: 3 days behind schedule

I was supposed to write this post on Sunday - but instead did chores out in the yard.
I was supposed to write this post on Monday - but instead took my mom to the hospital for a procedure.
I was supposed to write this post on Tuesday - but instead after work did a multitude of things I had been neglecting (luckily the guy at the oil change place didn't scold me like last time).

But, whatevs.  I'm writing this post now! Aren't you the luckiest ducks ever!?

On Saturday my Beloved and I went and helped his grandmother move.  She's moved into a Senior Living Apartment and so has been whittling away at her possessions.  She's lived half her life in this one house.  You accumulate a lot in a lifetime.  Even more when you haven't moved in 41 years!

We scored some super awesome stuff - my Beloved got a lot of his grandfathers tools and a fire in his belly for organizing our pole barn.  His grandfather, who I never had the chance to meet, had everything organized and labeled which has inspired my hubby.

I spotted this bad boy when we were doing the actual moving a month ago.  Yes! Yesyesyesyesyes! It's her wrought iron bed from her childhood.  The only, wee bitty issue is that it's missing one of the side rails.  However investigation on Ebay has turned up quite a few, even some with, what I believe, is the right end! It'll be perfect in a guest room!

Also, scored from Grandma is this beaut! Isn't it fabulous? I had never seen a ceramic canning funnel.  Searching the intergooglewebz I found out that it is from the late 1800's.


At one point her and I were sitting around taking a rest and chatting when she said "Don't anybody tell me about the "good old days" - there was nothing good about them!"  She told me about growing up in the midst of the Depression.  And many stories including one about how her and her mother would can green beans using a large copper cauldron to process the freshly picked beans.  She said they would have to boil the jars for six hours to stave off the botulism (don't try this at home, kids!).

On Sunday I did some tea dyeing.  I've had this on my nightstand for eons and in the move, in its box it somehow got a stain on it.  I tried and tried to get the stain out but it wasn't budging.  So I decided to dye it. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

It came out perfect! (Yeah, I know, no picture.  But I will get one.)  All of the "recipes" that I found on the internet were for dyeing large things, or vast quantities of things so I made up my own.  I used hot water that I nuked (do people still use that term?) in the microwave and three teabags.  There are two English Breakfast Tea bags - from England and a Chamomile one because I like the way it smells.  

Not that after the soaking, rinsing, washing, air-drying you would be able to smell it...

And lastly - Biscoff Cookie Spread

I have had to pray for help in avoiding eating the whole jar by myself, in one sitting.

I've been eating it straight off the spoon however, I briefly did consider eating it on something like toast or an apple.  But have decided that they would alter the heavenly perfection that it already is.  

I bought a second jar and hid it in the house in case my Beloved decided he needed to help me eat more than I think he should eat.

Also, I need to buy more spoons.  Because even though I am in my own house, I haven't been double dipping (?).  Maybe if I run out of spoons it'll help temporarily curb my addiction.

Or not.  There's always my fingers.

This post shared at New Life On A Homestead

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Theme Thursday: Thumb

Linking up with Cari for today's Theme Thursday which, because you're astute and read the title of the post you know, is thumb.  

Three weeks ago while I was going through the 9,721,895 boxes that are still clogging up the house and driving me crazy I found this picture that I took in 1990 in photography class.  We had to take a series of Black and White photos, develop the film ourselves and make prints.

From L to R: My thumb, My sister Ali, Michelle and Cari
However much I would like to blame age and abuse, I didn't do so well with the developing and printing. Nonetheless it's a great picture of a great time!

Head over to Clan Donaldson for more thumbs than you ever thought you would see in a days time!