Saturday, December 27, 2014

Posts From Our Facebook Page for the week of December 21st - 27th, 2014

December 21st  -

Happy Solstice - tonight is the longest night of the year, the shortest day. From here on out, the days start getting longer, making our progress towards spring.

December 24th -

Nothing like the night before finish! Cloak didn't get trim, but that's OK. Doll got a face at last! The blouses and skirts are separate, so she can play mix and match!

The Finished Doll:

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Posts From Our Facebook Page for the week of December 14th - 20th, 2014

December 20th - 

December 19th- 

What happens at our house when you try to vacuum:

December 15th  - 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Posts From Our Facebook Page for the week of November 30th - December 6th, 2014

December 4th -

Good morning - young rooster was very excited this morning, since "breakfast" didn't just include the usual, but some bread heels and leftover salad. He was chortling so much, I'm not sure he got any!

Cloudy day that is warm, but smells like snow. We'll see if we get any. Forecast says 20% chance, so we shall see.

Little dog felt betrayed last night - he had to have a bath after rolling in some animal's poop out in the yard yesterday. he gave very sad eyes to my husband during the process, then sulked in his bed for a couple of hours. he's over it now.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Posts From Our Facebook Page for the week of November 9th - 15th, 2014

November 14th -

November 15th -

Well, they said the snow was only going to 1-3 inches... we've already exceeded that, and there's hours more of snow due. I guess I'll have a new cover photo tomorrow.

Chickens integrated tonight - it's 18 in their coop, and they snuggled together tonight.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bus Done Right

Thinking of converting an old bus into something to live in all or most of the time?  Take a look at this blog - - this one is done right.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Last weekend, a dog from another nearby small town went missing. The owners of this lovely dog were seriously upset, made a Facebook posting about it, and as our community does, a lot of us shared the picture, upping the signal. And of course, mountain folk do know city folk (most of us work in the city) and so it finally got around to a family member of a couple who "rescued" a dog from said nearby town - it was the missing dog.

After much hemming and hawing, the "rescuers" decided to do the right thing and call the phone number and talk to the owners of the dog. The owners had to drive out to the far side of the city to get their dog back, and had to put up with all kinds of excuses from the people who took the dog in the first place.

Here's something to know about small mountain towns- small mountain towns have small mountain town dogs. Those dogs? They get to wander about, tend to be fairly friendly with everyone they meet, and they love car rides, so of course they'll get right on into your car.

THESE ARE NOT LOST DOGS. They are not starving, they are not abandoned, they have home they go to every evening, they have families who love them - we just have a different attitude about how our dogs get to live up here. If you, as a visitor, are worried about a dog you see out wandering about, GO TO A NEARBY BUSINESS OR HOME AND ASK. Yep, we do know our town dogs up here. Someone would quickly have told you that yes, this dog belongs here and has a home.

Now I do get the concern- all the time, dogs around here who like to go on a run get out of their yards, escape the house, take off - one of my dogs included. Most of them will come back within hours. Some, however, do get lost. And as a community, we pay attention to the posts on internet forums, and posted on the banks of mailboxes or in the post office and grocery stores.

And then there are dogs who come out of the city with their families, get away, and get lost, because they have no frame of reference to guide them back to where their family may be. More often than not, when they do get back there, their family has already left.

A few years ago, my son and I picked up a dog that looked lost and confused in the middle of the highway. Several people were trying to corral the dog; we pulled up, opened the car door and the dog got right in. Yes, I brought him home - about 3 miles from where he was found. I got out the camera right away, took pictures and got right on a community forum and posted the pictures and so forth. Within 24 hours, the owner was found, happy reunion.

But most of the small town dogs up here aren't on the highway. The really friendly ones you will find hanging out outside known tourist businesses in hopes of getting many pets and some food treats. Our dogs are attention seekers for sure.

But these dogs are not free to take. If the dog gets in your car, it doesn't mean he doesn't love his owners - it just means he hopes to get a car ride. Tell the dog to get back out of your car.

If you are worried that a dog looks wet, or dirty, or in your opinion, too skinny, then ask the locals. Call the police - they'll send animal control out. Or, what happens sometimes - they'll tell you the dog's name and that it lives there. If it's truly a lost dog, they take it to shelter and post the info themselves so people can find their dog.  Otherwise, we have creeks, and tall grasses, and lovely elk poop to roll in.  Our dogs love those things.

DO NOT TAKE OUR DOGS HOME. They don't live in the city, they don't know how to handle the city, and they are missed their family.

DON'T ASSUME A WANDERING DOG IS UNWANTED - mountain dogs, plains dogs, country dogs, small town dogs - nearly every small town or rural area has their wandering dogs. Just because the owners allow them freedom doesn't mean they are unwanted.

DON'T ASSUME THE DOG IS NOT ON THEIR OWN PROPERTY - in a lot of rural areas, people don't have fences (or they have cattle fencing) and they potentially own a lot of property. That dog out wandering in the field? He may well be on his own land and he's doing his job - patrolling and keeping predators away. One of my own dogs gets this freedom, and as she lay outside on the deck at twilight last night, she suddenly took off after a fox. She was doing her job, protecting our flock. I would be unbelievably pissed if she was out back and someone assumed she was lost and came onto my property and took her.

That dog laying outside a business? Willing to bet that the business owners are also his owner. There's lots of dogs like this in mountain towns and ski towns.

DON'T TAKE THE DOG HOME AND ASSUME ITS NOW YOURS. It's not. I've seen it done before. Not cool. And now, with microchipping, most dogs are tagged with their owner's names and usually addresses. Your vet can get the code and look it up in mere seconds. THE DOG IS NOT YOURS TO KEEP.

DON'T MAKE EXCUSES when you give the dog back. We don't want to hear it. We are not grateful that you took our dog and made us travel to get our dog back. I'm sorry if your kid is now attached to the dog you STOLE - why sugar coat it? You stole that dog from its home. Just apologize and give the dog back.

You want a dog that badly? The no kill shelters are FULL of them. Two weeks ago, one of the bigger shelters in the Denver area did an "adopt for free" event where getting a new dog cost people NOTHING.

Go to a shelter to get a dog, not come to our towns, our homes and take our pets. We don't care if you don't approve of allowing dogs to run free - this is not the city, this is not your town, these are not your dogs.

DO feel free to come visit our towns, but respect our ways. Pet the dog, but leave him here.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Concepts of Sharing

Thanks for Facebook, I was able to read this article called "Why I Don't Make My Son Share"  . I linked it, you should read it.

Brief synopsis - the author talked about the policy at her son's school, which is basically a toy is yours until you are done playing with it.  Parents like and accept this, other kids accept this without a fit, all is harmonious. But the author did not find this to be true our in the rest of society; people expected that her son should give up what he is using so someone else can use it, whether at a public play center where the items belong to the center, or his very own personal toys.

I like the article. I agree with her. We taught our kids sharing was a nice thing, but that sharing did not mean the person has a right to demand to use what you are currently using.  I remember telling many a child (when we lived in campus housing in Iowa) that the toys belonged to my children and it was up to them if they wanted to share - and if they said no, that was the final word.

The interesting part is that we were surrounded by other families of different cultures - Indian, Japanese, Chinese, South American, Middle eastern - and all of those children to this kind of statement very well. They knew we left certain toys outside all during the summer and they were welcome to play with them until my child asked for it back.  And they handed it over without having to be asked twice.  My children liked playing with these children because they respected them and their wishes, and my children offered up the same in return.

My children did not always like playing with other American raised children, because while they also came over and played with our toys, they also decided that if it was left right outside your door, or in your foyer, that meant it was free for them to take and it was theirs now.  Umm, no.  A lot of these children also thought it was perfectly acceptable for them to demand a toy that my son or daughter was playing with. Even though my husband or I often had schoolwork of our own to do, we often spent time sitting outside in turns, defending our children's rights to play with their own toys. We had kids yell at US, the adults, because we backed up our kids rights to say no. We had parents yell at us because we backed up our kids rights to say no.  In the end, we just started taking stuff inside the four plex building's basement at night and when we weren't home; we had no issues of sharing with the other kids who lived in that building, and the basement was common space for us all.

Sadly, this punished our kids in a way - we didn't want to haul out the elephant slide and bikes every day, or the bins of outside toys- so some things just didn't get played with. It punished the kids who did understand our concepts of sharing, because they also could not play with those toys. And for them, this was often harder, because for a lot of foreign families, when they came over to study (most of them grad students) they brought the whole family - themselves, their spouse, their children and often one or more of their parents.  The four plexes were not big - two bedrooms, a small living room and small kitchen. It meant for those families, very little room was spared for larger toys like our kids had - the bikes, the slide. So for them, those toys only existed when we brought them out. Yes, there were playgrounds in the housing, but the same attitudes prevailed there - kids who told another "you've been on that swing two minutes, it's my turn!" and then proceeded to try to yank them off the swing. Yes, we as parents, enforced the rights of our kids - and others- to use that equipment as long as they wanted.  My kids learned patience and that sometimes, you just don't get a turn.

Both of these concepts served them well as they grew older, and now as adults. They also know how to share - we all do. There's often a time when I'm doing research in the downtown main library when I take extra lunch, so I can share it with someone in Civic Park.  I always have a variety of lunch things when I'm working, because we never know ahead of time if the day's schedule will allow us to sit and eat a lunch, or if it's going to be snacking all day. Sometimes, my job is over much sooner than expected, and my lunch is unneeded because I'm going home. So if I pull up to a light and there's a homeless person standing there with their sign, I call them over and give them my lunch or whatever is left - bag of pretzels, carrots, a soda.  I've never been told no. I've never been not thanked, because these people get it. I don't have to share - this is mine, but I am, and now it is theirs.

I say these people get it, but not everyone does. Some people are still stuck in that thought that what you have belongs to them as well.  One of my last trips to the library and Civic park, I sat in the sun - it was still winter, but a very warm winter day like Denver often gets.  I'll take the time in the warm sun when I can get it.  My lunch was gone - a rare occasion when I actually ate everything I brought, and I was reading.  A woman came up and asked me for a pair of sunglasses and was quite put out when I said I didn't have any. I don't- I wear glasses, and don't have any sunglasses! Then she asked me for my cell phone. Yep, I lied. said I didn't have one of those either. (I do have what I call my "stupid phone" - it's a minimal style flip phone that does a unique thing - calls people- and not much more.  It is not a smart phone.) And then she asked me for a computer! Told her I didn't have one of those with me either.  She was quite pissed off with me at that point, and wandered off mumbling about how selfish I was and didn't know how to share.

Thing is, I do know how to share. I have shared my car, my home, my clothes, my food, I share my kids with their grandparents, other relatives, my husband.  I've even shared my husband for all manner of assistance to others (except sex)  and he has likewise shared me.  We ask each other first, however, and we have a unspoken code that totally allows the other to say no.  My kids have done the same thing.

But sharing doesn't mean everything I have is fair game.  You can have some eggs- no problem! But you cannot come into my yard and help yourself to one of my chickens.  You can borrow my car- or me to drive you somewhere - no problem! But that doesn't make my car yours.  You can have some of the food in my fridge, but you cannot eat it all. (Haven't all of us had this battle with college roommates? I know my daughter, my husband and I have- I don't think my son did in barracks, but they instill a different mindset in Marines)

You can share, you can say no.  I respect your right to do so, in any situation.  We're not doing children any favors by letting think they must give what they have to others, or that they are entitled to what others have.  Or your child will find out the very hard way, somewhere in life, that no one will help them even out of kindness when they need it because they made assumptions about other people and their things earlier on.

Basically it comes down to "Do not give to others what you cannot EMOTIONALLY afford to give."

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

#YESEVERYONE - Because This Is How It Should Be

Lots of people are talking about the young man who killed 7 people in California this last week, because he was rejected by pretty women and other issues. He wrote a manifesto and many videos on how it was the fault of everyone else, especially a girl he knew 10 years ago, when she was 10 and he was 12, and how she rejected him and it messed up his whole life.

There is no doubt that this boy had mental problems - big ones. But this has created a serious social divide; men who are siding with this boy, blaming women.  The hastag #notallmen is running about, and so is the hashtag #yesallwomen Each side trying to pass off the blame, or trying to defend their position without ever hearing the other side.  I got frustrated of facebook this morning over it, due to another blogger talking about how me must teach our BOYS not to do these things.  But once again, the girls got a pass.  So I started to write, first on Faceboook, and then on Twitter.  I created the hashtag #yeseveryone.  We'll see where it goes.  I could be talking to the wind.

We're talking a lot this week about "teach the boys different". Well, teach the girls different too. Some girls chase boys in Kindergarten and try to kiss them as well, and pin them down. Some girls stalk and harass boys - and other girls- too. Some girls think they deserve sex because they are pretty, and when a boy says no, she tries to ruin his life socially and even financially. Some girls make claims of pregnancy and rape that are truly false when they cannot get their ...way with a boy, or a man..
I agree that most women have dealt with a bad situation from a few men, but on the other side, there are a lot of men who have dealt with a bad situation from a few women.
I'm seeing both sides here - as a woman whose been there, and as a woman with a husband, son, nephews and male friends who've had to deal with as bad as I have, and worse. We're lucky - no one has taken a gun or knife to any of us - yet. But unless we change, unless we teach ALL the kids different social patterns, this will be a problem for EVERYONE- male or female.

And if you're getting this idea that I'm sick of the man blaming I see going on this week, you're right. If you get the ide that I'm also sick of the woman blaming going on this week, you're right.
Yes, some people are socially awkward - that's just a fact. Some outgrow it, some never do. And being socially awkward is not just limited to the "geeks" and "nerds"; I've seen some very socially awkward popular kids, usually in a way associated with a sense of entitlement. They just cannot fathom the word "no", they cannot handle any sort of rejection. And when it comes, it is clearly the "fault" of the rejecter.

Here's a fact - not everyone will like everyone. Not everyone wants to be your friend. It's something most of us learn - painfully, that's true- in Kindergarten and first grade. It's also something some people never learn.

Those are the potentially dangerous ones - like this case we've been talking about all week. People who cannot take no for an answer get pushy, and bossy, and angry. Some don't just go away, they persist, they stalk, they get violent. Men AND WOMEN. They make it a goal to ruin your life.
We've seen this on soap operas and nighttime drams for DECADES. We have songs about destroying someone's car, we've seen celebrities burn down houses over not getting their way. On Craigslist in any town with a military base, there are women selling positive pregnancy tests to trap soldiers into marrying them!

Yet for some reason, socially, we accept this behavior from women. WHY?


Start changing it. Start changing how you react to a woman doing these things vs a man doing them. Start changing what you think I s "cute" from small children - because if you let them know it's all good at age 4, they remember that and continue to do that. Start teaching them WHY this is not acceptable- and they will also grasp it at age 4, even if not fully.


And stop blaming everyone BUT the perp for their actions. People cannot make you do anything you do not want to do, if you don't let them.

Like I said, I could be talking to the wind.  But even in talking to the wind, the sounds carry on it to ears that are receptive.  The wind, and I- we'll keep having these conversations.


And if you wonder why I've put THIS on THIS blog- THIS blog is about me, and my family, and how we are changing our lives. This subject is about changing life, changing perceptions, changing our world.  Change doesn't all have to come from growing our own veggies or spending less money or raising chickens or home cooking - it is ALL Encompassing.  Think on it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Introducing New Birds to An Established Flock

A follower on our Facebook page asked about introducing new chickens to an established flock; she is concerned that her new ones will get a beating from the older hens.  It is possible, but here is what we did.

. We waited to introduce them until they were about 3 months old last year, and introduction came by way of everyone free ranging. The littles were kept in the front yard in what my husband calls the playpen - a wooden frame with chicken wire around it. The older hens could walk around and check them out.

After about a week or so of this every day, we let the littles out. Of course, they immediately tried to challenge for position in the flock (which is hilarious to watch, BTW - these tiny hens coming up to a big hen and puffing up at her) One hen took a dislike and did try to attack all the littles she could. We'd give her a thump on the head with our finger, move the little away from her, move her to different parts of the yard. The bigger they got, the less she tried to attack them. her reasons? She was omega chicken - lowest on the hierarchy of chickens - and was trying to move up her place. She never did - she stayed lowest even when the rest were full grown.

The leader of the flock would just look at the little challenging her, give them a quick peck on the head - just one - to teach them their place. Everyone else ignored them.

Now this is while the older hens were still in the garage coop, so we put the littles "playpen" coop in the garage as well and we'd let the older ones out first, then the younger ones.This way, they got used to the idea that they must share the space- this space being the garage. Note, this was ALL fully supervised, so that we could come to the rescue of the littler ones if need be.

Then about two weeks before the big coop was finished in November, we put them all in the garage coop together. By now, the littles were full adult size, so while there was some jostling for position, there were no real injuries- and any bleeding pecks were cleaned and tended asap. Having a brand new coop to go into also helped - clearly no other chicken had been there before, so it was neutral ground for all.

Now, the girls will run about together, but when they roost for the night, the older girls sleep together, they younger girls sleep together, and they do not mix for sleep time. I'm guessing it will be the same for this round when they get to the coop.

Our plans are - introduction under tight supervision, started this week - Brown Myrtle appears interested in them and may mother hen them, Bird Flu already pecked one and been chased off. Everyone else is fully uninterested. Next, playpen in the yard, then they go to garage coop and everyone ranges together during the day, then introduction to the big coop and run. This will be different than last year, since the older hens already have an established place in the coop. We will have to see how that goes.

The key is gradual introduction with supervision, taking away from the group any who decide to attack, and immediate tending of all wounds.  These techniques work with introducing new adult birds as well - a period of being inside fencing but close to the others, then ranging together, then coop introduction. 

However, when bringing in new birds, you must also keep them isolated from the main flock  - completely, no contact, wash your hands between handling of each. Why? Because each flock has its own bacterial microculture that members of that flock are all used to, that does not make them ill - their immune systems can handle all things within that microculture of theirs. But new chickens have their own microculture, as well as being used to different food, environment, etc.  Isolation and gradual introduction allows for any new disease the new members have to die off or be treated, and allows for acclimation to the environment of your yard. It helps keep the flock as a whole healthier.

We are also handling this set of babies more - they will be my batch that goes out for demonstrations and talks. They need to be used to people touching them all the time. Most of my flock tolerates touching; these need to welcome it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

If you Give a Moose a Muffin Day

Have you  ever seen those stories - If You Give a Moose a Muffin, A Pig a Pancake, A Mouse a Cookie, etc?  A series of "If's and "Thens".

Yesterday was like that - actually, it started Friday. If you go grocery shopping to use up all the coupons for free stuff and money off if you spend so much total, or on this thing (I got $95 of groceries for $34), you have to clean out the fridge.

So Saturday, I clean out the fridge.

If when cleaning out the fridge you find a partial onion that is actually growing, roots and all, you have to plant it to see what happens.

If you get out the pot and potting soil to plant the onion, you also need to get out more pots and huge bag of potting soil, because you really need to replant that aloe plant that has many babies in the same pot and is partially dying off.

If you get the aloe out of the pot on the kitchen floor, you're going to need to vacuum - cause dirt, everywhere!

If you vacuum, you have to vacuum several rooms at the same time.

If you repot the aloe, you need to move the bigger table over underneath the window to accommodate the new pots as well as the newly potted onion.

If you take the aloe that is not going to survive replanting out to the composter (too squishy to use for anything else), the chickens will come around you to see what you have, and you will help Husband get them back into their "fort".

If your house smells like fresh dirt, you stat planning other things you are going to plant and start looking at seeds.

See how it goes?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Snow, Sun, Snow, Sun - Welcome to Weather in March

This last week has been a round of sunny and warm, then snow, then sunny and warm and melt, then snow... repeat. This coming week seems like more of the same.  Now toss in travel time, and you get my past week.  But I'll tell the story mainly in pictures.

Work had me traveling through a bunch of mountain towns and staying overnight rather North of home.  I went through some new towns for me - or at least relatively new; I've not been up that way since the summer of 1983 and a lot has changed.  So I went through Empire, Berthoud Falls, Winter Park, Fraser, Tabernash and Granby.

While we were getting green sprouts here, North of here is still very snow covered.

This was Tuesday:

Went up in the very dark of the very early morning, so didn't see much until we were finished with work.

An old church in Granby

A "lean to" somewhere between Fraser and Tabernash.

Coming into Winter Park. Doesn't it look so inviting?
I did stop and turn back for this unique cabin in Tabernash.

Since we had two jobs in the area, the boss allowed us to stay overnight rather than brave Berthoud Pass yet again in the early morning hours. Good thing too, since Winter Park got another 6 inches that night - and so did the pass!  The 5 am  alarm plow woke us up, and as we ate breakfast, the snow started falling again. Sigh.

But then Yay! Around 10 am, the sun came in through the windows of the school, and the rest of the day was sunny and even warm!


Just a wee bit of snow up there still.

Leaving Winter Park.

I stopped at the top of Berthoud Pass to get some pictures - look at the snow blowing off the top.

Some unique buildings and some just good pictures from between Berthoud Falls and Empire.

House leaning on a house.

A still running private resort lodge near Empire.

And a sign of Spring - a running creek!

Peck House of Empire - in operation as a hotel and restaurant since it opened in the 1862.

And back home. Thursday is quiet; I have work but I also have a stomach bug.  Lucky me.
And Friday, it snows.

And Snows

And snows.  Literally all day.

But this is a spring snow - here's photos from 9 am:

 I clear only a small space in the chicken run - I know this is a spring snow.

Around noon, daughter goes out and builds a snowman.

Look behind the snowman - that's the road already.
At 3 pm:

The snowman isn't faring too well either:


9 am Sunday.

It's now evening, and thanks to a near 50 degree day, even more snow has melted, and poor snowman has lost his head.

Tuesday, we do it all again.

Happy Spring!