Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent

"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,

and they shall name him Emmanuel,"
which means "God is with us."

Matthew 1:23

Happy Advent, let us wait patiently and not rush
this most precious time of year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Do you remember the scene from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacay when they hear a 'little squeaky sound' and Clark sees the source in the tree?


National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

It was the only thing Dan could compare it to when we had our own Lampoon moment this morning.

See, I found some evidence of a PEST.  And yesterday morning I did some cleaning before I went out for Black Friday (where I added more bleach to our supply) and came home and did some more disinfecting.

We had a carefully baited trap, topped with a dollup of leftover Thanksgiving dressing, Grandma's family recipe, mind you, maybe I will share sometime.

Anyway, the trap was placed in the cabinet, near the point of entry where the kitchen lines up with the newer addition to the house.

Well, this morning the trap


The way our cabs are configured, they had to notch out a huge hole to accomodate our piping when they were installed.

I thought maybe the tripped trap flew down in that little area.

Dan went to investigate armed with nothing but a flashlight and a Hello Kitty mirror.

He could find nothing, so I took a peek.

Oh, I saw him.  I poked him with a bamboo skewer and that freakin' thing was ALIVE and scuttled towards the front of the cab where Dan's elbow is located above.

Ok, well, I got out of there in a big hurry, more like a bat out of hell.

  No one, needless to say, was willing to stick their arm down there to get him out.  I would've if it were dead, but...well, you know.  IT WAS STILL MOVING.

I've picked up birds galore, rabbits caught in fences, etc, but this was not my cup of tea.  You couldn't see where you were grabbin'.

SO, with one child armed with a plastic baggie, and Dan armed with a bent wire coat hanger (fishing pole AND hook of choice), AND the Hello Kitty mirror again...

..Dan the Man
once AGAIN.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winterizing a Chicken Coop

Dan spent some time this weekend winterizing the chicken coop.  If you have heavy drifts in your yard and are looking to winterize a coop or even a dog house, here are a few pointers.  This task can be accomplished with many leftover items in your yard.

Your animals will be most happy if their shelter is draft-free.  When Dan built this chicken coop, he re-purposed our pine baby crib in the process.  He built walls and added both sheet and spray foam insulation.  The coop itself is pretty snug for these hens.  However, their little outdoor run can easily get filled with snow drifts if precaution isn't taken.

Don't you appreciate a well-shoveled walkway?  We think little hens also appreciate a space they can get some fresh air in without having to waddle through snow.

Everything around the yard during fall becomes useful.  See baby's playhouse in the background?  It houses a few bags of leaves that will be used to add new bedding to both the coop and the run as it needs to be replaced several times over winter.  A warm pile of dry leaves is quite cozy for an animal.

Hay bales were used to surround much of the run to ward off drifts that would come in from the west.  We used our fall deco bales that we had out on display in the front yard.  When neighborhood folks put their fall deco bales out for garbage, well, we went and took those, too.  It's all extra protection for the chickens.

The cornstalks that decorated our split rail fance and bean garden will now act as a windbreak.  Winds come from the west, so a solid grouping of stalks tethered together help keep too much wind from entering their little run.

It was also time to bring out the winter watering can.  This waterer is galvanized metal and sits upon an electrically heated pan.  A little extension cord then ensures that the hens' water won't freeze during the night.  They will always have a drink ready to go.  Believe me, you don't want to be sloshing around a bucketful of new water every cold morning when you're headed out the door in your work clothes.

It's also good to tuck a little hay in here and there, or wherever you think snow might start piling up.

We also put our frost-bitten mums out by the coop to add the last bit if cheerful fall color to the landscape.  They no longer look ravishing by the front door, but their crisp curling petals add a little burst of fading color to this now browning landscape.

It is also important to keep the path to the egg door clear.  When snow starts dumpin' down, it won't be so bad if ya just have to clear this little walk-way.  If you had to dig the whole coop out so the girls could get outside, well, that's just tiring thinking about it.

So, here are the girls busy checking out their new landscaping!  They're prepared to get warm and cozy.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Somehow, we both feel we're really gonna get it hard this year, as forcasters are predicting the worst winter ever.  Dan said he feels like he got the girls ready just in time.  One more weekend might have been too late.

This post has been updated for

The Talent Scouting Party at WhisperWood Cottage
for C&B Magazine

And has been shared in the past with:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Poor Puppy

Little Ruby is as sick as a dog.  Literally.  A few days after we brought her home from the shelter, everything began to fall apart.

First she came down with kennel cough, which she immediately passed on to Sharkey, the boxer, and then she got really REALLY sick.  We're talking blood out the back end.  And lots of it.  And she wouldn't move.  Or eat.

We took poor puppy to the vet several times, each time trying a new medication, hoping it would work.  Poor puppy had a subcutaneous (sp?) IV last night, so she has a camel hump.  Mr. Puppy Doctor also gave her a vitamin booster to replenish the nutrients she has lost which has made her prone to more infection.

She lost three pounds in three days.  When you were only 13 lbs, that's a whole lot of weight.

But!  The puppy booster turned out to be synonymous with puppy crack!  He said some dogs respond to it very well.  She was pushing us out of the way to get to this liquid vitamin you pour in a bowl.  It must have been like the best pizza you've ever had.  She will get this super expensive medicine every day until it is gone.  He gave us three big bottles.

He didn't make any promises.  In fact, he said she could still make a turn for the worse.  He believes she has Corona, a potentially fatal virus that she most likely picked up from the shelter. 

If puppy's mommy had been properly vaccinated, baby puppy would not have been so likely to contract it because she would have had antibodies from momma's milk.  But, since puppy's mommy was given up BECAUSE she had puppies, prior puppy's mommy's owner probably never took her to the vet either.  Bad puppy's mommy's prior owner.  SHAME!!

But, this morning, puppy ate her puppy food for the first time since Tuesday (it's Saturday).  So we called Mr. Puppy Doctor and said- thank you for saving me, we think I'm gonna make it after all!  But boy, it sure is exhausting being a puppy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ruby Sue

Welcome, Ruby Sue, the new baby.

A remarkable little puppy, we don't even have to wait when we take her outside.  She goes immediately and in-house accidents have been surprisingly minimal.

Half black lab and half something else, she is.  We found her at the shelter with her litter mates and her mama.  Everyone got adopted ( I checked back).

But in this house....

....she's 100% baby.

(And, edited back some brown in the blog updo.  I do prefer it).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Header for Winter!!

Well, Dan was updating my header as a surprise, but I caught him in the middle of doing it, so I spoiled the surprise.  Here are some quotes from him that I thought you would all be interested in hearing:

"110 friends?  Those are MY friends!  I got this blog going!" response to the chickens on the prairie

"I CAN and WILL shut this whole blog down because I know how to do it!   I brought you into this world, I can take you out!  I'll block access so you can't do anything about it!".....when I complained that the photo he edited didn't fit the sceen at first, only half of it.

"Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, CAN serve a purpose." (That's from an all time fav movie, "Dumb and Dumber") response to his superior technological ability over my own meager capabilities.  AND he is over 50% gray.

Doesn't it look pretty?  He used a mirror trim photo of some wood detailing for the background and our header now is the view out of our front window after last winter's big blizzard that snowed us in.

Hey, we had huge and chunky snow flurries on Thursday and newscasters are predicting this will be one of Chicago's worst winters EVA.   Mr. shoveler is already anticipating this winter's worst and celebrated the news with a new pair of boots from Farm and Fleet yesterday.

Sharing a beautiful family addition tomorrow!  :)  Happy Saturday Night!

Jubilation and Joy

Last night, it was time for more pre-Christmas.  We decorated our 'tchotchke tree,' our basement tree.  It is a small little tree just loaded with ornaments from Martha's Kmart collection several years back- they are very vintage European and ethnic in styling.  Some are straw, some are felt, and some are tin.  All the colors are very bright and reminiscent of Polish folk art (to me, anyway).  When these came out at K, I went nuts buying every ornament in the collection, and the ribbon garland and the felt skirt. 

There's also some grammar school kiddie trinkets that made their way onto this tree, too!  We love this little tree because we watch a lot of holiday movies together in our little basement in the winter, snug under blankies.  We spend a lot of time with this tree as a family.

Our big tree will be making her appearance soon, but the time is not ready yet.  Just the baby trees have started making their way out.

Tonight is our church Jubilation, a huge annual fundraiser for our school.  Dan is voluteering tonight at the auction table, so hopefully the school fundraiser will be succesful!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Buffet for Your Holiday

I just have to say that 'Patrice' turned out to be a class-act.

Oh yeah, when I first picked her up out in rural Indiana, she was in bad shape.

(Oh yeah, and the ride out there- sheesh!  HALF of the roads out there weren't marked.  I had to pick my way and got lost several times.)

I found her on Craig for a song.  She was being stored in a garage without a door to keep out the moisture.  Because of that, she was succumbing to the elements.  Her drawers had all swelled and stuck (as you can see by the drawer front that CAME OFF when I pulled on it).  This 1940s baby was crying out for help.

Mr. TP fixed her up nice for me.

Then came the cosmetic makeover!

A little white paint and some distressing later...

we are one classy country buffet!

Thanks for visiting!  I will be linking up this week with:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Welcome November

Well, the Halloween decorations have been packed away, and now it is time to welcome November with open arms.  It is quite brisk outside today.

My son decorated what he likes to call 'The Hope Tree.'  It has a little ornament that says, 'hope.'  He put some fall leaves on it so we're still in stride with the end of fall, but we are so transitioning into holiday mode around here.

As Thanksgiving approaches, snow is on its way in the midwest.  I like to start bringing out what we call pre-Christmas decorations.

Here's that beautiful sugar maple you saw out our front door.  They are one of the last trees to turn and drop.

It's like a sky cathedral.

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