Monday, November 30, 2015

Donate chickens and bees AND ART?

Well this is just the coolest thing! You may or may not have heard of Heifer International. This organization doesn't just give a handout to the hungry in other countries. Nope...they do one better. They give something tangible...something that will give back!  (What a concept!) Rather than giving milk, they give a cow. Rather than just handing out food, they give chickens and bees and goats and pigs and rabbits and on and on this goes.  This isn't just about feeding the hungry's about helping families help themselves. states, "The goal of every Heifer project is to help families achieve self-reliance. We do this by providing them the tools they need to sustain themselves, and it's thanks to the generosity of donors like you."

I LOVE this concept!!!! 

Sign me up! So I just donated two flocks of chickens, some bees and also towards a special art project geared toward empowering women.  SO COOL!!

If this is something that strikes a chord with you too, check it out.

For as little as $20 you too can send chickens or many other such cool animals.

Wonder if this is something we will ever see here in America?
I hope so.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The one's that got away....

Was on my way home this afternoon and look who was crossing the road in front of my truck? These guys are at least four of some area wild turkeys who were the one's who got away! Missed the Thanksgiving table again this year!

Such beautiful thin and agile and can FLY too!

I've seen this same group of wild turkeys crossing a neighboring cornfield one morning recently. So fun to watch their interactions with one-another and their skittishness and mis-trust of the goings on around them (probably why they are all still alive).  Glad to know they're still in the area...maybe they will move in when they catch on that we have two of their kind in our barn.

Red rover, red rover...send wild turkeys right over!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Tom, our turkey probably has no idea how blessed he really is right now...nor does Sugar Pea, our female turkey.  Both are beautiful birds. Sugar Pea came to us from the wild two springs ago...Tom we purchased from a neighboring farmer shortly before.  We dig em both and nope...not gonna be in our oven this Thanksgiving. (Not even sure if Tom would fit in our oven...he's that big!)  So here's to turkeys that make it through Thanksgiving!

Why do we have turkeys to begin with?  Because...their shear size seems to intimidate the local chicken said...they are our private terrorize the terrorizers!  

And on an even happier note....PUMPKIN PIE!!! Tis the season my friends. I figured out some years ago...the best way to insure that you get to eat pumpkin pie for the holiday is to bake one yourself.  So here's this years addition of pumpkin pie season!!  YEAH!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Art, the Holidays, and The Blue in Archbold, OH

I recently stumbled upon an upcoming local (Northwest Ohio) holiday art event...and was invited to participate! 

ART in Archbold!
a one day show and sale of area (Archbold, Ohio) artists work,
Monday, December 7th

at the Blue restaurant located in downtown Archbold, Ohio.

The simple scoop is:
This is basically a holiday art party open to the public, hosted by a locally owned restaurant/bar (The Blue, Archbold, OH) that truly appreciates art! So much so that they've partnered with the Black Swamp Arts Council and regularly feature local artists work on their dining room walls...all of which is for sale.
But on Monday, December 7th, from 4:00p to 7:30p you can come and enjoy meeting many of these artists who will also have MORE of their artwork on display and for sale just in time for the holidays!

Sounds pretty cool huh?  If you live in this area....add it to your calendar! If not...look for similar holiday art events in your local artists!

Friday, November 20, 2015

pffft. Winter.

I have this very shemagh and about four others...and I'll tell you why in a minute...

Well, here it comes....ready or not. Winter! Ahhhhhhh! Saw that areas near Chicago and heading this way towards Toledo have a Winter weather advisory tonight and tomorrow...what??! But...I IS November...and these things are supposed to happen.

One of my new favorite quotes is by Sir Rannulph Fiennes, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing."

YES! Exactly!

Applies to wet, hot, cold and anything in between. Since having moved up to Northwest Ohio after having lived in Tennessee for 19 years...and having now survived 3 HELL-AY-tious winters up wardrobe has been BEEFED UP!  Complete with underarmor shirt (which I pretty much live in December thru February), shemagh (live in this too! have one in like 5 colors now. shown in photo above), knit hat, and gloves (of course).

So naturally...I have a little "winter stage fright" and in the spirit of staying warm while experiencing....what I call.....stupid cold (-20 wind chill) ....I respond to mail-order catalogs that can add additional help in the area of keeping warm.
Yesterday I ordered a couple things that I think will accessorize my need for warmth quite nicely....and keeping the snow out of my boots, etc. (Since I work outside a lot)
1. Wool leg warmers (which I ordered mostly for the fact that they will keep the snow out of my boots while at work...but I'm sure they'll double as an excuse not to have to wear bibs...cause let's face it...bibs are warm in "stupid cold"....BUT...they are also bulky and sometimes TOO warm.
2. Wrist warmers. Now this is more of a cool fashion thing for me. I think they just look cool. And...double as wrist can you go wrong. Right?
3. Gaiters.  Yet another proven way to keep snow out of your boots.  I had this happen a number of times last year while trudging through deep snow with "rubber over-boots" covering my leather work boots. The short version of these over-boots don't actually go up above and cover the top of your gets down in between the rubber over-boot and your boot. Gonna try these gaiters and see if this does the trick.
4. I ordered a jeep-cap too. One can never have enough knit hat options! Especially when you sport short hair.
All should be delivered in the next few days. Stay tuned because I will post whether these things are crap or if they actually help.

Sportsmans Guide!

This is where I ordered these things from. Go check it out! They are running a "free shipping" deal right now (Nov 20, 2015) Hurry because I think it's only a one day deal.

Happy prepping for Winter!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What on EARTH is happening to the chickens?

Walter, our rooster announcing his presence.

I realize it's been months since I've posted anything here about adventures in the chicken yard. Certainly NOT due to the fact that there has been little going on out there.  Where to begin?

Basically I've been sucked into "Operation vigilant watch" by no desire of my own.  We started this Spring with the purchase of 57 chicks.  Last I counted we have a remaining total of about 25 birds now.  Why, you may ask? What has happened to them all?

The Local KFC drive-thru
Therein is the great mystery...hence, "Operation vigilant watch."
Wildlife. It's the local wildlife that have stumbled upon our local "KFC drive-thru." Why take out a challenging-to-capture wild-rabbit when you have dozens of local chickens to pick from. (guessing this is where the term "sitting-duck" came from?)

Bath hour. Yep, chickens take dust baths.

Determined to Prevail
I feel like I'm on continual security detail now...constantly looking out towards the barn and throughout our backyard for predators.  I have had some victories and some not-so-victorious moments on overwatch.
There have been times (like the day we lost 4 birds in one pop) where it did cross my mind to throw in the towel on this struggle. (It's not really cool to walk out into the barn and find the remains of your birds from the attack the night before...especially when this was happening WEEKLY). But I'm determined to prevail! Our surviving birds have also learned from these experiences. Their behaviors have changed quite a bit. They choose to perch higher up in the barn at night, they are more vigilant and aware when scavenging around in the yard for bugs and such, and they seem to be tuned into the sounds of the local wildlife (the songbirds, especially the bluejays and crows tend to sing warnings when trouble is nearby).

"Hokey Toe" is chicken to immediate left of white hen. She is our oldest bird.
Has survived all the attacks. We should rename her "Lucky"

Five Lessons Learned thus far
1. Fried-chicken from Wal-mart makes BRILLIANT live-trap bait. Makes sense right? If you're killing chickens, you probably like to eat chicken.

2. Nature will tell you when danger lurks nearby if you know what you're hearing and seeing. Songbirds make a certain chatter and some just scream at the top of their lungs when something threatening is nearby. Or if you see like 5 birds just take off for no reason...that's also a good sign something's up.

3. Just because you hang netting over one part of your chicken yard...doesn't mean your chickens will notice this and stay under there.

4. Using the dead-bodies of the chickens you have lost as bait for whatever it is killing your birds may be self-defeating because it's a big fat invitation for them to come back and keep on killing.

5. Chickens while may appear very dumb at times...seem to also have accumulative learning skills. I figure if you're hearing your neighboring chicken being offed by probably take notice and your survival tactics advance a notch or two. Their behavior definitely adapts to actual experiences.

Our last surviving white hen. She doesn't seem to mind,
but we're going to be getting some more white hens next Spring.

Stay tuned for more chicken updates. There's always some adventure going on out there!! spite of the impending winter season, here's something to get excited about!

4 Bridges Art Festival, April 15-17, 2016
Chattanooga, TN

4 BRIDGES ARTS FESTIVAL 2015 from Capture Chattanooga on Vimeo.

This here my friends has become one of THE most TALKED about art festivals in the southeast! If you're an art collector or simply an appreciator of great art...mark this on your calendar and GO!

Here's a fabulous description of this great art weekend as quoted from
4 Bridges Art Festival website:

"AVA’s 4 Bridges Arts Festival™ kicks off Spring in Chattanooga and draws thousands of people every year to the First Tennessee Pavilion located in the downtown Southside District [Chattanooga, TN].  Guests enjoy a full weekend of exceptional art and craft, live music and local foods.  Artists from across the country apply for the juried show because they know the vibrant atmosphere draws a great mix of buyers and patrons, families and friends.  Please join us for the 16th annual 4 Bridges Arts Festival April 16 & 17, 2016 with a Preview Party on April 15.  Come experience Chattanooga’s most vibrant, significant cultural event!"

If all goes well...I will be there this year (Chris too)! After having missed the past two years...definitely making this year a priority!!  And....of course, the 4 Bridges Art Festival is a BRILLIANT excuse to visit my favorite city on the planet!

SUPER excited!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

a picture is worth a thousand words...

I came across this ole photo today and it was hard for me to keep a straight face.  Here I was at 3 years old.

"What a jovial time I must have been having in this moment," I thought.

At grandma's house. I remember always having such fun at grandma's house! This one of of those times...obviously.  Hard to believe I was that young once.

My how time flies. But here's to the photographic evidence that laughter is a GRAND thing!  So I'd thought I'd pass along some smile your way today. Yep, sure is hard to look at this photo and not crack a smile.

Thanks grandma for those grand weekends of fried donuts, pringles potato chips and grandpas old black-n-white movie hour with big bowls of ice cream.  Not to mention that FABULOUS lawn chair that rocked. (I wish they still sold those somewhere.) Sitting outside and while listening to the bluejays cry hearing grandma all but curse them. (not sure why she wasn't a fan of the bluejay.) Or could just be that someone cracked a joke just before taking this picture?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ode to a coat.

You ever have one of those articles of clothing that you just didn't want to part with? Well, that applies to my brown pea coat. Gosh, I think I've had this thing for over 10 years. Maybe even 15. The tattered edging and totally blow out lining reflects that now. (Can't begin to put anything in the pockets...will basically fall through onto the floor. But come on! I can't seem to find a suitable replacement. So...if you see a brown pea coat for sale anywhere....please email me. rachel (at)

Brown pea coats like THIS one are hard to come by.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

...and furthermore....a salute to the women!

We all know that women have served in the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Whether as reservists, national guardsmen or full time...women who served or are serving now have earned as much credit as anyone else as a Veteran.

Happy Veterans day to Women Veterans!!

I've recently read a book titled "Ashley's War," which is the story of a unit of women hand-picked from across the army, and the remarkable hero at its heart: 1st Lt. Ashley White. Their experiences encompass fighting in the Middle East as ground troops right along side male Green Berets and Special Forces.  This story is most certainly worth the read as it sheds new light on the possibilities for women who truly understand what it means to be a combat soldier.  (And who, by the way, also agree that lower standards for women is a crock-of-shit.  I concur!)

There are so many different stories of women who serve in the US Forces...but today, let's not forget THEM! No matter what war, no matter what service...I salute the women today!!


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Snicker's satisfies...ain't lyin!

While making a stop at a nearby gas station a few days ago, the Snicker Bar labels caught my attention on the candy shelf in front of the check out counter.

What is THIS, I thought? What's with the goofy labels? And THEN...I saw something that was clearly not right. In the box of candy bars was one with something like 3 bites out of it. Wrapper and all bitten through. I picked this bar up and set it on the counter for the cashier to see and said, "uh, apparently someone wanted to test this out." 
The cashier, complete with astonished look on her face touted, "This is the THIRD Snicker's Bar in TWO days!"

I was intrigued. So I looked closer at the box these bars were displayed in. Woop. There it is...simple explanation. Little mouse poops scattered about. Mystery solved. Ironically enough...I couldn't help but notice that the ONLY candy on this ENTIRE shelf touched by said mice were the Snicker's bars. Hmmm, this seems telling. I wonder what fake, synthetic crap must be in all that OTHER candy?

Needless to say...not but a day or so later...we discovered some pretty serious mouse action going on in our kitchen...judging by the mouse buds found in the cabinets and so forth.
(Useless pets! You'd think that with TWO cats and TWO (basically rat terrier) dogs that THIS would NEVER be a problem in our house.  Nope.  So after some verbal scoffing and scolding of our pets (basically informed them they were failing at their jobs and they better start doing their part) out came the mouse trap. (hah! and I scoff at myself for even thinking just one trap would do the trick...but I digress)
Taking a lesson from the Snicker's Bar incident it is pretty obvious to me that the best thing to bait a mouse trap with is crunchy peanut butter. (The proof is in the Snicker's bar, right?)

Goodness! Not 10 minutes later...snap! Success. Reset, repeat. Now it was fairly late in the evening at this point so I decided not to bother reseting this trap until morning. (bad choice). I opened the cupboard in the morning where I had set this trap and the dead mouse had been eaten on, brains chewed on! WHAT?! GROSS! We have ZOMBIE frickin MICE??? I've never heard of such. They eat their own now?  ugh. ick. bleh.

The moral of the story here is...I should have set up some mouse traps about 3 weeks sooner.  I now have two traps going simultaneously and the snapping sounds have tapered off. We've cleared the house of about ten mice now. Did I say, EWWW?  Gross.  Yes, this is gross.  But I insist on keeping these traps set until we go for like a WEEK without catching anything. Maybe longer.

Note to self, apparently it's true that as the temperatures change outside the rodents move inside seeking shelter.  Well, next year maybe I'll try just posting a sign on the door, furry rodents not welcome.

Oh, and the fact that I was dumping the mouse bodies in the backyard seemed to attract a male Northern Harrier Hawk...which was perched outside our kitchen window the morning after mouse bodies had been scattered about the yard. Great. Just great. 

Gotta love some country living.  Living and learning here. Every day is an adventure.