Monday, August 28, 2006

Batten Down the Hatchlings!!!

No, theres no babies at this point, but one is sitting on nest, right outside my kitchen window in one of the aforementioned buckets. 15 more days. But there's a hurricane swingin round, and pretty soon we'll have to move her bucket and all, to a safer place... hmmmm ... probably in my art studio.

One hurricane we put all the animals except the horses in my studio and boarded it up. Goats, and turkeys on sawhorses facing each other over a tarp. Plenty of food and water for the 24 hours they were in there. NEVER AGAIN. We had goatie footprints 8 foot up on the walls inside, and the turkeys that sat facing each other on the sawhorses, they had no idea that they could get down, all they saw was each other. When I went to take the big tom down, his legs had fallen asleep. He was up and around in about 10 minutes, but I felt a little guilty that they were that um, dumb. Then there was the issue of all those little "smart pills" that the goaties left. They dry and roll under things, and we found them for years. Under file cabinets and anything low.

You know what smart pills are. My dad used to point to frozen rabbit poop in the winter, and tell me if I ate those, i'd get smarter next time. I never did take him up on it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Why I haven't written.

I didn't want to bum anyone out. BUT this is a farm. Things happen. Life swings in and swings out. Hawks swoop in and take food. Any food. Chickns are their favorites. Also, things get old. Horses. We had to put one of the horses to sleep a few weeks ago. I do know why people live in condominiums. I really do. Its sterile, and life and death ugliness never is allowed past the security gate. I know many people who are more sensitive to these type of events than I am, and many who are not sensitive atall. I like them both the same, its what you were raised with, and what you just plain got used to. I suppose that what i'm doing is living life for today,and documenting that day. We can't expect things to be the same forever, and we really need to talk ourselves out of that expectation. We've got our own hawks, and they chase us, but we get really good at hiding, and come out anyway, to face it. So thats what I'm doing, and altho I would like to portray everything as sunny and bright and all what I call "duckies bunnies and chickies," well, its not. But still, we plod on.

We had an elm tree, rare around here, and it went thru the hurricane well. Then, it lost its leaves, and we saw that it was all twisted up, all those long Y shaped arms were weakened. Then, when the leaves grew back, the weight of the new leaves dragged the arms of the tree down lower, and from the looks of it, the next hurricane was going to take the branches right off, and throw em. Cutting it back is the only thing we could do, andmy husband is a monkey. Has the tree climbing belts and spikes, and went right up, took a long string which he had tied to a chainsaw on the ground, and when he walked out on the now-horizontal limbs, pulled the chainsaw up, started it and went to work. It gives me a heart attack to see him on the end of branches, but he's the one in the family with all the grace.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Armadillos are Oblivious

It took all the nerve I had to stand outside my studio at 2 am last night and wait to see what was rustling in the bushes. I stood rock still and waited to see what it was going to be. At first i didnt know if it was a possum or an armadillo, the shape and that long tail...but it got closer, and I was relieved, the armadillo didnt know i was there. He walked right by me on the sidewalk in front of my patio, his toenails clicking as he walked. He stopped for bugs here and there, and wandered in circles for about 5 mins til he disappeared...I snuck off chuckling and went in to bed.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Chicken Elevator

One of the chickens in the buckets on the back porch decided to sit on eggs. The other chickens still wanted to lay eggs in her bucket, and you get one irritated chicken, aside from eggs that all start at different times... so during the day, we covered her up with a screen, and kept food and water in the bucket (which she never touched) and took off the cover at night. She stayed tight while racoons took eggs out of the buckets next to her, and only left every few days to stretch her legs and get some food and water. In time, 2 of the eggs hatched, and she spent 3 more days on the nest to make sure the others weren't going to hatch, and it was time to put the bucket down on the floor. The babies were standing on mom's back, and were eager to get out into the real world.

I put the bucket on the floor of the porch and gave them water and food, and they drank and drank, and mom showed them how to peck at the food, and scratch, all the while making the mom noises, so if they hear it, they come running back. We try while they're young, to pick them up, but unless they see a need, they avoid us. The need came that night, when they found out that mom could get back into the bucket but they couldn't.

It took some patience to coax the babies from the back of the bucket, it took a fast grab the first night, a slow grab the second night, and by the third night, they individually waited their turn for the chicken elevator.

I leave some eggs in the other buckets that are still up on the pass thru bar, just in case the raccoons wander back in, I dont have to cover her at night, because if the 'coon has the choice between an easy egg and an angry chicken, they'll pick the latter. I also leave the back door open, and Mona the poodle patrols. There are 2 other chickens that sleep on the back porch as well, but thats another story for another day. (the chicken coop out back holds the other 13)

Friday, May 05, 2006


We have decided that armadillos are not to be scorned, as are the racoons and possums. They eat bugs, and altho they make little holes all over your yard and garden, I have the reassuring feeling that because they were there, there are now several less cockroaches and waterbugs on the planet.

I came out the door of my studio the other night, and quickly stepped back in. There was riotous leaf-disturbance going on in the bush to the left of the door. I called Mona.. she came over to me, and gestured that she wanted to play. CANT YOU HEAR? There's a monster under the bush! What animal in its right mind would concentrate so hard on getting bugs that it wouldn't hear me talking to the dog? This thing was practically under my feet! And what was with the dog! I eventually called Bud, the old black lab. He took off after it, and when it popped out of the bushes, and beat a hasty exit down the driveway, I called off the dog. He came back dejected, but the thing looked to me like a half a watermelon running down the driveway, cut the long way. Half a football. Somewhere in that range. At least I knew the monster was an armadillo.

I'd seen him 6 months before, on a night like this, balmy and nice. My husband had seen him in the driveway and called me out, to stand like a wall, while he tried to catch it. I did my job, he flushed it out of the bushes, and the darn thing ran right between my legs. It was trying to see who was chasing it, and truly, they must be not all there, cause it went slow enough for me to have grabbed it. I had no intention of picking it up, but did touch it, and what a hot little football it was. His temperature was like a dogs, must have been 102, I had expected, i don't know, maybe snake-ish, with that hard shell.

Next time I just might get the nerve to pick it up. (Just to say hi, then let it go) I might just have a formal introduction to the dogs, with firm instructions not to chase or bother. They do really well with the chickens!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

This was a gift from my friend Smartypants

Raccoons had learned every which way to enter my chicken coop. I put rocks under the footer board, they jimmied the handle and opened the door. Possums learned how as well, so we were actually, with 13 chickens, having to buy eggs! Sacrilege!

That Christmas, my mom gave me 5 Pottery Barn Buckets, and I decided to fill them with hay and seed them each with an egg and let the chickens find them. I set them up on the passthru to my kitchen on the back porch, and it's not as messy as you'd think, the chickens only go there now to lay eggs. The other stuff they do, well, they dont do it when they're going to lay an egg. The chickens are now safe to lay their eggs and I have eggs by the back door!

My standard poodle Mona has taken to guarding the henhouse at night, so damages have been cut there as well.

I took a picture of this, and posted it on a message board, and this is what I got back from Smarty. Thanks!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Friday, April 28, 2006

Who would post a recipe
on their first post?

I would.

Debralee's Chocolate Crumb Bars

Estimated Times: Preparation - 15 min | Cooking - 35 min | Yields - 30 bars

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips, divided
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. BEAT butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 2 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan;
reserve remaining mixture. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. COMBINE 1 cup morsels and sweetened condensed milk in a small, heavy-duty saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla
extract. Spread over hot crust. STIR nuts and remaining morsels into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle over chocolate filling. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack.

I have to admit it, this is a huge love of my life, and a huge part of my butt, cooking.
Whoever thought, that at this point in my life, I would desire to become a domestic
goddess. SURE as hell not me. Domestic. hehehe We don't call it Scheitstreun Acres
for nothin.

How we got the name....I have this friend, Stevie from Maine. He has a way with words that defies prediction. I can always second guess most people, yes, its annoying, but not Stevie. He came in the driveway one day, looked around, at various cars, piles of vegetation (I cut and run) and said, "Man, this place is Shitstreun!" and there you have it, thats how this place got its name. We did, out of shame clean it up. Foxworthys quote about mowing the lawn and finding a car, well, that hit too close to home, so we did tidy a bit.