Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Harvest

The tomatoes are starting to ripen all at once now.

You know when that happens?

It's too many to make salads...

Time to get ready to make some sauce.

We really need to get a food dehydrator.

Anyone have one?

Aldi's has a little one for $30

and I'm thinking I'm gonna get it

and try it out.

I could make some

(pseudo!)- sun-dried- tomatoes.

So how do you like your dehydrators?

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sun- Kissed

It's summer, so it's still hot,

but not so stinkin' hot that you can't stand it.

At least not today.

And today is good.

The sunflower heads are getting big,

and I love to take these heads to school

-when they are dried-  for my students to paint.

They make the perfect specimen

with their radial design and texture.

And they remind me of a favorite quote-

"Keep your face to the sun,

so you cannot see the shadow."

And we'll be having a county land use meeting soon,

in early August,

with restructuring the chicken permit fee

as a hot topic.

So I need to keep my face to the sun and remember

that St Joe still has my back.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sacred Heart

"As she envisioned an image of the Sacred Heart,

Saint Margaret Mary heard the words,

"Behold the heart which has so much loved men that it has spared nothing,

even exhausting and consuming itself

in its testimony of love.

Instead of gratitude I receive from most only indifference,

by irreverance and sacrilege

and the coldness and scorn that men have for me in the sacrament of love."  "

...from Novena- The Power of Prayer, by Barbara Calamari & Sandra DiPasqua

Sharing my newly found antique chalkware Sacred Heart of Jesus

--that I bought today from Dorothy
at the antique mart
(and He has a new home in my kitchen!)--

Knick of Time Tuesday at Knick of Time Interiors

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"Fear Not, I Am With You"

Last night I was at a friend's house
who's going through her own set of job and home issues.
She told me she's getting through it all on the Biblical verse, " Fear Not."

I've decided I really need to reflect more
and pray more
on this verse, because it applies to me too.

I've brought out my Infant Jesus of Prague statue
a few weeks ago to watch over my babies.
Every decision I make affects them.

Dan has called Him the big baby Jesus
since he first saw Him at my grandmother's house
about 13 years ago.

I think he likes Christ Jesus as the infant because
he feels He's approachable.

But I'm stressing.
I'm stressing about the loss of the chickens to the county, 
and because of something that Dan found:

Should we stay or should we go?
Go somewhere where we can
do all of the things with food and livestock
that we have a growing interest in?

It's a huge risk. 

But I need to learn to Let Go and Let God
and let it work itself out.

I've a lot to think about.

So I wrote, "Fear Not! I am with you!" on my kitchen chalkboard
to help remind me
 -in my daily preparatory tasks about these issues-
that I am NOT alone.
He will help us navigate through all of this.

Sharing with:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Roadside Rocker

Are you a little off your rocker?

Do you pick up garbage?

Do you then clean it up, prime and paint it, and put it in your home?

Me, too!

We're all off our rockers then!

Come join the fun at...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Going Rogue in my Vintage Dream

I remain disenchanted.

The *hoopla* is stressful and makes for

some sleepless nights.

I'm sick and tired of people telling me what to do no matter where I live.

We've had the real-estate rain cloud follow us around

for almost our whole married lives now.

When will it end?

Our last home that we had built

had a *protected* wooded lot that we paid a premium price for...

Red Pine

all the trees turned out to be infected and died within a few years.

Pine borer, pine tree infestation

We were at city hall every week for about 6 months straight

fighting over who was going to pay for the cut down and replanting.

I learned a lot about trees

and how dirty city hall can be --- and get away with it.

This home we have now has had its own share of woes...

including a broken sewer line right after we moved in

that caused a very bad flood...

we've worked so hard to make it a home.

Now we've lost our hens.

But I know why people go rogue

and become mountain men.

(do you watch this show?  i've been watchin' it...)

They just want to be left alone.

They get tired of all the b.s. in life

and bureaucratic red-tape

like the kind that is sucking the joy out of pulling up in my driveway right now.

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong time.

I know I wasn't... the sermon last week in church was about how

we were meant for this time and moment that God chose for us...


how would it have been different?

 How would it have been different if I was born
many years ago?

Where would I have lived?

Who would I have been?

Would I have been the farm girl dreaming of city girl peep toe pumps?

So tonight, my imagination runs wild...

What does your imagination dictate

when your hunkering for nostalgia runs rogue?

Who are you

and where would you be

in your vintage dream?

Linking with

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chicken Week: The Hoopla

Yesterday, I was completely overwhelmed with the hoopla of what we have to do
to acquire our "special use" chicken permit now that the ordinance has been *approved.*

Today, I am MAD.  Really mad. It takes about one day for me to get over
the emotion of it all and for my blood to boil.

Let me detail for you all the steps necessary:

#1) file for permit at county land use building

#2) mail file to 8 local agencies by certified mail (about $3-$5 per mailing)

#3) return certified slips to county office

#4) notify my 10 adjoining neighbors by certified mail ($3-$5 per mailing)

#5) pay $675 fee for permit issue

#6) pay $100 to run an add in newspaper for a hearing

#7) pay $100 to post a county sign in my front yard announcing the hearing (SERIOUSLY?!)
(this gets refunded if the sign is returned undamaged, but I still have to have the money upfront,
and who knows if my neighbor might damage it)

#8) attend two hearings for review in which
anybody can come to protest even if they don't live by us
(as if we had a flippin' tiger in the backyard)
and we get to listen to anyone or any anti-chicken person drag us through the mud even though
the county *won't disclose* who reported our chickens (but we know who it was)

#9) committee then decides if they will issue the permit

#10) if denied, nothing is refunded.

Don't make ANYONE go through a process like this, take their money, but then deny them.

This is why I am so mad at government today.
And you know what, I don't want to hear that there are rules everywhere you go...

I am confident we can acquire a permit at a hearing
because no matter what anyone says of us, our property is in order and maintained,
but it is still too much money they are asking of families
who want an eco-friendly and educational experience for their children.

This is not a commercial enterprise, this is for personal use.

If I were erecting a GAS STATION, an ADULT THEATRE, or MOTEL
which might attract questionable characters to my community
I would have to go through the same process.

There are several municipalities in Illinois that are nearby and
do not require a permit for chickens at all.

They include:
Chicago, IL
Plainfield, IL
Batavia, IL St. Charles, IL
Oak Park, IL 
Mount Prospect , IL
to name a few.

They just ask that the coops be humane and no roosters be onsite.  TOTALLY FAIR.

So I say the county should WAIVE IT ALTOGETHER.

We have made the decision to attend the next Land Use Committee meeting in August
to continue to address these excessive fees before we pay any money down.

Some county board members DO AGREE this is too much for families.  Thank you for your support,
I hope you will continue to stand by that.

Others feel everything *comes at a price.*
(is this a shared and rehearsed quote among my elected county officials?
Because I called all of you.  You know what I feel about that?  Some people don't
count the cost, they do it because it is the right thing to do.)


There is discussion that they may lower the fee, or reclassify it to something other than "special use,"
but nothing is promised and nothing is ever done quickly.

We still hope to have the girls back by October.

We will certainly do the hearing process if nothing gets changed.

Thank you to my readers for your support.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chicken Week: The Inspection, The Vote, and Aftermath

I'll be posting some old photos of the girls today

as I update you all on our chicken news.

First, we had our -inspection- to come into compliance on Wednesday, and it went great!

The coop is in storage.

We are all in the clear and avoided court (and possibly the fine- but we will see).

Second, THE VOTE was today.

The GOOD NEWS is the ordinance passed to allow chickens to people in our area.  YAY!

The AFTERMATH ensuing is that the law takes effect October 1st.

Also, the *special use permit fees and requirements*

are extremely excessive.

We are talking about $1000 when all is said and done

and when you go up for your review, you can still be


 depending on who comes "to protest" at your hearing.

Well, we all know what can happen here.

TOO MUCH government regulation at its finest, folks.

So we are sleeping on it.

I have made thirty phone calls today.

We have a stack of paperwork ready to go...

and tomorrow morning we decide to either move forward

or wait to see if they will reduce the fees (which others have complained about, too).

But, with government, nothing ever really goes down...

in fact, it goes up, which one county board member did predict.

So with that said, if we go forward tomorrow

to get our chickens back by OCTOBER

(they'll be staying at Grandma's longer than anticipated)

then we will be getting mentally prepared and

relying on St Joseph to get us through the war,

which I feel, in all honesty, is an attack on our home.

I think we can do it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chicken Week: Girls on Vacay

Continuing on with my updated chicken posts,

(please read my prior post if you are confused, as we have an ongoing saga

on the Town and Prairie),

the girls have gone to stay with Grandma for a few days.

Here is what the chicken yard looked like before:

And now after:

We have removed all chicken paraphanalia from the yard

and stored them away in the garage so we can be in compliance

for the inspection tomorrow morning.

St. Joseph is STAYING (he's in the red rum lilies).

I have complete confidence this will all work out.

Wish us luck!

Thursday is THE VOTE!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chicken Week @ Town and Prairie

I said there was a 
coming soon and I wasn't kidding.

Our not so lovely neighbor... who lives yonder on the other side of my

"I hate you," hedge...

(let's be frank here, she planted a crummy one first, so I had to show her how it was done...)
(see 6 foot tall flowering shrubs below)

...decided that she was going to call the county on us about our chickens.

This person has failed to mind her own business since we moved in.

We have done nothing but clean up and beautify a property
that had been overgrown, dated, and vacant for a year.

But you know the type.

And you know what...

we are not the only people that keep chickens even though it is "not allowed."

It is SUSTAINABLE to teach your children how to grow a garden...

to use what you grow at your table...

and have your own sources of food in your backyard.

It is important to know what goes into your food
because it goes into your body.

The way people create so much DRAMA over it all you would think raising a handful of chicks
is equivilant to having a crack lab in your backyard.

It wasn't so long ago that many people had
their own self-sustaining forms of agriculture
and it was a normal way of life.


for educating my children about what goes into food.
Four hens on almost an acre of property aren't hurting ANYONE.

Well.  We DID get a letter from the county. 

We DO have to have an inspection to show that the chickens have been temporarily moved.



YES.  Enter St. Joseph who has been watching our backs (and the coop) this WHOLE TIME!

And the remarkable backyard miracle that is about to evolve
right in front of us.

She starts battles but we DID NOT lose the war.

In my doings with the county to resolve the issue, I discovered that

a new ordinance has been drafted by our county and is up


this Thursday.

There is a lot of support on the "YES" side!!

The new ordinance will allow people to have chickens AND goats AND pot-bellied pigs.


After THE VOTE on Thursday (which we will be attending),
(assuming it all goes our way)

and after our official -inspection-,

(the girls are going on vacay to Grandma's for a few days)

we can purchase a brand new special use permit

and bring the girls home permanently.




I will continue to update this week on proceedings.
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