Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snow Red?

We've added a few new faces to our crew. Five hens, a rooster, two rabbits. The crew already consists of 5 cats and a dog. It seems our flock is growing! Oh, don't forget about the five bee hives in the front pasture. I guess I should count them too.

I have always been an animal lover. And I especially love horses. Up until the last few years, I had horses for 23 years. But life was getting a bit complicated and with no more time left to take care of them, I had to find good homes for them and let them go. It wasn't fair to them. I still really miss having horses in my backyard though.

Back in the summer, a feral cat decided she was going to take up residence on our property. She was tiny, skinny, and very hungry. I started leaving food out for her, and she would sneak in a few bites before my other cats would chase her off. But she was a determined little thing, and after about 3 months, she decided I wasn't going to kill her and she became friends with me. She now sleeps in our garage at night, and sometimes comes in the house to sleep for a short time when the other cats are out. They're still not too crazy that we've adopted her. I named her Spice.

Now to the hens. We decided to make use of our horse barn and Bob built a chicken coop inside one of the horse stalls. We bought three hens and a rooster, with intentions of having them to provide us with fresh eggs. I didn't really want a rooster, but we decided to get one because of the predators that live around us (mostly my cats!) with the hopes that he would be able to keep them at bay. We're hoping the rooster gives them something to think about! The hens we brought home were about 3 months old, and need some time to grow, so we decided we are not going to let them out until they are full grown. After the first three days, Bob found one of the hens dead in the coop, after something had gotten inside and had it as a late night snack. Apparently the coop wasn't secure enough. So we spent the whole next day reinforcing it and it's been fine since. So I went and picked up three more hens; two from the same brood as the original ones and one hen who is older and is already laying. I named the hens Molly (for “Good Golly Miss Molly – she is the oldest & biggest one), Lucy (she's a Rhode Island Red), Hannah ( a very sweet, friendly hen), and Laverne & Shirley (they look like twins). The rooster is Roy. Miss Molly bosses everyone around in the coop, even Roy. He's petrified of her. Hopefully he will grow into his rooster-ness and tell her a thing or two!

We also got some rabbits. Rabbit poop makes the best fertilizer for gardening and we would like to start growing some of our own veggies. They also make a delicious stew, according to Bob. So he wanted to have rabbits down in the barn as well. I didn't name the rabbits. It's hard to name something that will end up at your dinner table...and I don't mean as dinner guests! Kind of like the oysters that thought they were invited to dinner with the walrus in Alice in Wonderland. Anyway, the rabbits are Bob's responsibility. I don't want to even look at their fuzzy little faces.

So what does Snow Red have to do with anything? Well, my neighbor says I'm just like Snow White with the way the animals react to me. She said they are just drawn to me. Except I don't look like Snow White. Strawberry blonde hair & freckles? Which is where Snow Red comes in; close enough. Anyway, there might be something to that. One time I heard a bird chirping down at the barn. I opened the back door to see where it was, and saw a parakeet flying around down in the trees by the barn. I stood at the back door and called to it, saying, “Cme'ere little bird, come on in the house”. And guess what? IT DID! It flew straight from the barn all the way up to the house and flew right inside the house through the doors I had open! I almost fell on the floor!! I ended up finding it a home, as my cats would never have let me keep a bird in the house. Then there was the time I was driving in my neighborhood and saw a horse galloping down the middle of the main road towards my car. At the last minute the horse turned down a street and just a few houses down, just stopped. I got out of the car and it let me walk right up to it and hold it. I called Bob and he came down with a halter and lead rope which I put on and proceeded to walk the horse to my house and put it in the pasture. It's owner found it later that day; it seems they had just moved to a new house in the area and somehow it escaped through an open gate. And then there's Roy, the rooster. He likes me. He meets me at the coop door when he hears my voice, jumps up on the box to watch me when I'm milling around the barn, and will stay near me when I go inside the coop. Roy is my friend. Then there's Spice. She made friends with me, mostly only me. She doesn't have much tolerance for anyone else. There's a possum living in the cabbage palm out front. He doesn't run away from me. He should, because if I find him anywhere near the chickens, well, let's just say I might become Annie Oakley instead of Snow Red! And now the turtles. Yesterday, I moseyed on over to check out the canal that's on the side of our house, and while I was standing there, two turtles came to the surface and poked their heads out of the water and just stayed there looking at me. So I went and got some food and fed them, and guess what? They were waiting for me this morning when I went over to the canal. Just knowing I was there to feed them. 

My neighbor says that she expects to see a line of animals just waiting outside my garage some morning. Just knowing Snow White, er, Snow Red, lives there. I'm ok with that; just as long as the seven dwarfs don't show up. I think I'm plum out of space here in our home in the woods!

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Time to Sweat

Well, 2013 is in full swing now, and it's taken me a while to catch up. I had all these good intentions of getting my act together, and getting back to doing the things I need to do. Which I haven't even started doing yet. So goes my life. I've been doing things that weren't on my list, like being on the front lines battling sickness. Getting the house back in shape after the holidays. Making doctor appointments. Eating Frosted Flakes. Taking naps.

So, today I will start working on my list. First is fitness. I am SO not in shape. It seems I have to get back into shape just to get into shape! I'm definitely not one of those people who LOVE working out; who love exercising, sweating. No sir, not me. It takes everything I've got to motivate myself into working out. I will admit, once I start, I really do feel better. And thankfully, it's in the comfort of my own home, because it's on the ugly side, me getting back into exercising. Not pretty at all. But my cats don't mind. And Comet actually likes it, because when I get down on the floor mat its full license to come over and jump on me, because I must be down there for his playing pleasure! And if I'm not motivated enough, well, I can be persuaded into playtime pretty quickly, especially when he brings me his favorite rope to play tug of war with. Less sweating for me, if you know what I mean. Ok, back to the fitness. See how easily I'm distracted??

Over the years, I've tried many different things when it comes to working out. I used to love Tae-Bo, with Billy Blanks. He's got many different workout routines, all pretty much ballistic. And I used to be able to keep up with him. Not so much any more. But maybe, once I get back into shape....well, we'll see.

I've done Pilates, but after being used to Tae-Bo and the frantic pace of exercising, I just couldn't get into the Pilates thing. And Yoga. Now, I've tried yoga a few different times, and I just can't do it. I have to think too much for yoga. The instructors are constantly talking, naming all the different positions and talking about breathing the whole time; well, it's just too much distraction! By time I finally get a position, and think about the breathing, well, I'm way behind the instructor. I just end up sitting and watching the DVD. Then I get ticked off and shut it off. So much for yoga.

My last fitness routine was with the elliptical. We have one we bought off Craig's List, and I have used it quite a bit. It's not ballistic, gets the heart rate up, and burns calories. But it's SO boring! I even have it in front of the TV, but that doesn't help much. I tend to want to stop and watch what's on, haha! It's hard to concentrate when you're sweating, you know!

So today I found some free workout videos on YouTube. I tried a kickboxing one, but I'm afraid to start with that one. I don't want my back to go out on me. Then Bob would have to take over my kitchen again, and I know he's not ready for that. Neither am I. Then I looked at Yoga Meltdown with Jillian Michaels, just for kicks. I browsed through the beginning thinking maybe I could get through her workout, but she scares me. She's a tough cookie. After browsing some more, I actually found one I think I might be able to get through, with Denise Austin, called Ultimate Fat Burn Workout . Not too easy, not too ballistic. And she's got a nice, gentle, way about her. Not scary. So I got through the 30 minutes and didn't keel over. Woo hoo! Maybe I finally turned the corner and am back on track into getting my act together for 2013. Now, where's Comet & that rope??

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year - Finally!

The holidays are officially over. Finished. Kaput.  I don't know about you, but I'm ready to move on. I love Christmas and all that it entails. But after all the shopping, wrapping, visiting, eating, cleaning up, eating, Christmas break for Derek, eating, well I'm ready to get my life back!

I thought I had a good head start for this Christmas. I got most of my shopping done early; wrapped the gifts way ahead of time (usually I spend all of Christmas Eve wrapping) and bought all my baking essentials so I'd be ready to go. Then real life happened.

I really wasn't finished shopping. I kept thinking “maybe I didn't get enough”. And I left the stocking stuffers for last. So off to the fight the crowds I went. Then I started the baking. And you all know what happened with my baking. In case you didn't read that post, see “For the Love of Baking!” I guess I should be happy the baking flopped, because I kept the obligatory holiday weight gain down to a minimum this year!

The biggest challenge during the holidays: Derek's vacation from school. No two ways around it, Derek is a lot of kid. Non-stop, full-charge ahead, all-day-every-day-for-12-days kind of kid. Waking up before 5 am almost every day, it made for some long days. He normally gets up early, but when he gets something new, well, then he hardly even sleeps at night. He can't wait to get up and get his day going. And forget about taking a nap. If he's napping, he's sick. Derek has one speed – fast! He even sleeps fast, haha! He's also still like a toddler in so many ways, even though he's now 29 years old. He wants my attention, all of it, all the time. If I leave the room that he's in, well, that's license for havoc. From touching the TV, DVD, Wii game controls to tormenting the dog or whatever else happens to be in the same room, havoc will be wreaked. All day, every day. For 12 looonnnggg days. And of course, he has to be right on top of me. If I'm in the kitchen, he comes and stands behind me, just looking at my hair and breathing on me. Right behind me. All day, every day, for 12 loonnngg days. He does the same thing when we go to the stores. Bob says the Bible says that “hair is the glory of a woman”. Well, I guess I must be just full of glory in Derek's book! He's enthralled with my hair. All this, in addition to managing mom all day, every day, well, let's just say it's a wonder I have any mind left at this point. But there's hope for recovery: Derek went back to his regular routine today at the Hab center!

So, today is the beginning of my new year. New resolutions. I don't usually make resolutions, because then I don't have any to break! But there are things on my list that are high on my priority list to do, and some of them are so I can keep what little sanity I have left. Like playing the violin. I must get back to it, as learning it and playing it really does soothe my soul. Completing the book I've begun writing about Derek and all the life lessons I've experienced in the last 29 years. This has proven to be painful at times and sometimes I have to put it aside because it's hard to go back there in my mind. But it's also a journey that has so many good things in it, and it's a joy to experience those again as well. And don't forget exercise. It's a great way for me to release the stress that builds up and helpful to my family so I don't explode on them! But first on my list of things to do every day is to have my quiet time with God. When life gets busy crazy, unfortunately this is usually the first thing that is the easiest to skip. But it really is the best way I know to get my head in the right place at the beginning of every single day, and with His help, I can face whatever challenges that are thrown my way. On my own, they're pretty difficult to manage. But with His strength, well, anything is possible.

Philippians 4:13: For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Happy New Year and may your year be filled with peace, love, happiness and many blessings! Now, I think I'll go take a nap!