Monday, June 23, 2008

Did she say chickens?

Yes, I did say chickens. Denis and I have several friends with chickens and love getting to eat very fresh eggs from healthy hens. We have been thinking very seriously of getting some of our own. In fact, we've pretty much decided that we will do it... eventually.

Here are the steps involved:
1. visit your friends who have chickens

  • ask them lots of questions
  • examine their coop design
  • ask about the breeds they like and why
We have done this step. We've picked the brains of my former next-door neighbors, my friend AMG, a family from our church and one of my coworkers who all have chickens.

2. research chicken coop designs
or fancy?

Knowing Denis, this phase will take quite a while... He is looking at all kind of designs online. I particularly like the AMG's advice to build the nesting part up at shoulder height so that egg collection and clean up are streamlined. Once Denis has figured out the precise design and how much material is needed we can move on to step 3

3. build coop in the area between our house and my mom's
Again, this is Denis' realm. Once he gets to it, I've no doubt it will be perfect. Part of the yard will also have to be penned in so that we can let them out to roam a bit.

4. decide what breed of chickens to get. Should we get adult hens? or chicks? AMG swears by getting adult hens. My coworker has an organic farm and gets chicks each year of all different breeds. They are so funny!

5. buy supplies and chickens.

6. collect and eat eggs!

Are you surprised by my thoughts about chickens?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More flowers

Is anyone getting bored with flower pictures from me? Above are our roses in bloom.

Below is our rhododendron that we planted last year. This is the first year that it's bloomed for us.
Here's a close up of the flower. I like it.

I'm getting some suggestions for a new post. Here are the options:

  1. more about our plans for Australia
  2. something about the cats
  3. something that I've read lately
  4. a movie that I've seen
  5. a project that I'm working on
  6. a friend coming to visit
  7. my thoughts about chickens
So, what's your vote? What shall I write about next?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A very good sign

Our renters decided to plant a garden! They asked our permission first and we said, "go for it". They have plans to make some changes in the front yard as well. They've been mowing, watering and even offering to do some of the yard work that is not really their responsibility at all. They seem to be "putting down roots" so to speak. Ha! Pardon the pun.

Below you can see some more of their handiwork. The deck badly needed new stain. Denis was planning to just do some minimal prep work, so he purposely bought stain the same color so that it wouldn't be obvious. Well, then we thought, why not ask if they would like to do the work in exchange for a reduction in the rent for one month? They did, and boy a job they did. They sanded the entire deck and really did a good job. We're hoping they stay for a while.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I win!

Ever since I became a cat owner, I have not been able to have flowers around my house. I really like to have a cheerful boquet of flowers on a table top or counter, but whenever I do, curious cats always manage to get up when I'm not looking for a sniff. They don't stop with a sniff - then they have a nibble and before I know it, my beautiful flowers are not very beautiful anymore. Petals fall off, greenery disappears. Not only that, I'm not really sure what plants are safe for a cat to eat, so I worry about them

Well, I found this tiny vase at a local street fair a few weeks ago. I thought it was a rather ingenious solution to my problem. Last time I checked, my cats were not able to scale a refrigerator!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Future Veggies

Here is the new planting bed that Denis built this year. It is not up off the ground, but rather just an improved area in the grounds with the wood border around it. It's for our larger vegetables and the vines that want space to spread out.

Here is a close up of the corn, beans and green onions sprouting up.

One of the raised beds from last year is now occupied with maturing garlic. This is our first attempts at garlic and I'm so excited to taste and see how different it is from the stuff that we buy in the store.
The other bed has the old familiar folks from last year - tomato, carrots and lettuce, plus some new comers - radishes and broccoli. I also picked a head lettuce this year instead of leaf. A friend gave us a "ground cherry" plant. Apparently, it is a relative of the tomatillo but it's sweet. Should be interesting.

I didn't take a picture of our two strawberry plants or our raspberry plants that were put in last year. Hopefully we'll get some nice berries this year.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's about time!

I added a few new songs to my music playlist and changed the order around a bit. Don't want you all to be getting bored by the music. I'm so happy to know that some of you open my blog while you link to others' so that you can listen. :o)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Big changes coming...

Denis is making a big change in his employment - it's a change to benefit his sanity rather than our pocketbook. He is changing his status in the Emergency Room to on call only. That means that he loses his full benefits as an employee and will go on my insurance. We'll pay a bit more each pay period for that.

He's been working some shifts at two other jobs for the last two months and this change will allow him to accept more work for them. One is for a local pediatrician and Denis really enjoys that one. When I ask him how his day was his reply is generally, "it was great fun!" Such a change from the stress of the ER. The other job is in the Occupational Health department of our same hospital. That job involves caring for people who have had on the job injuries as well as doing work-related physical assessments. There are some legal details to be learned in that job and it's not quite as fun, but it is a low stress environment.

Denis will still fill in with shifts in the ER, but he'll be able to pick and choose, which will be nice. He hopes to cut down on or eliminate working on Sundays so that he can attend church. Eventually, there is the chance (and we hope that this happens) that the Occupational Health job can become a half time scheduled job. That would give Denis back his benefited position. This was a bit decision and a long time coming. The big change happens in July. Now he just has to get through June... Prayers are welcomed. :o)
These are some photos of some of the more noteworthy flowers in our garden this year.


How can two small people generate so much laundry? It seems like the basket is overflowing every other day. I think I probably do about three loads of laundry each week. I'm sure that is NOTHING compared to you with families. How many loads do you do in a week?