Tag Archives: Outdoors

Winter, we are never, ever, ever getting back together

I’m out of denial.  Summer is gone.  Even though we are STILL playing baseball (some horrid thing called “fall” ball a fanatic dad probably created to continue living his missed opportunity through his son – yeah Baseball is awesome) my beloved summer has passed away.

I ignored the colder weather.  I pretended like the shortening of daylight wasn’t really happening.  I refused to look at the changing of the leaves screaming at me in all of their colored glory.  Until one crisp morning I almost did a pajama-wearing-butt plant (because PJs are what all of the real Mom’s wear) right in our driveway in perfect view of all of the neighborhood parents on bus patrol (and their children who would surely howl and ridicule my dear son for years to come).

Yep.  The culprit was several of the huge, wet, majestic, red colored leaves that came into contact with my rebellious flip-flop wearing feet.

As I flapped my arms around like ineffective wings and bent back and forth trying to stabilize the potential crash and likely fracture of some important bone, I finally screamed,

OKAY, IT IS FALL…YOU HAVE ARRIVED.  I ACKNOWLEDGE YOU!!!

And, almost immediately, I regained control.  Bam, just like that (which is a miracle for anyone aware of my level of coordination and control).

Don’t get me wrong.  I actually like fall.  I was married in the fall.  The fall is beautiful.  BUT it signifies the end of summer and eminent evil.  It is what comes after fall that I abhor….hate…dispise…detest…

Old man Winter needs taken off of life support where he can die a quick, painless or painful (I prefer painful) death.  Because each winter a small chunk (yes, chunk – I have more chunks in the winter) of me dies.  Dead.

Don’t believe me?  Have you tried pumping gas in the dead of winter?  I guarantee you my fingers had frost bite (I’m sure on the edge of gangrenous).  It’s torture!  You clench your teeth, groan a little, tap dance and giggle while trying not to draw unnecessary attention or trip over the gas pump spilling gas all over yourself (told you coordination wasn’t my gift but in my defense it was a very windy day).

Wait, what about cuddling by the fire-place with your honey navel gazing? Ha-ha. In what world? Harlequin Romance? Sorry, we are real world here.  By the time you make the fire, that is, if you can do so without smoking out your house, the desire to spend one more second by the smoke pit has long evaporated along with your intracellular fluid and you spend the rest of your evening in the kitchen guzzling water and getting stomach cramps.

Now, a gas fire-place does add a nice touch to a freezing house but don’t you dare try to cuddle beside me.  I like my space and two adults trying to cram onto a couch is not only uncomfortable but is also an unwanted chiropractic adjustment waiting to happen.  Blanket on the floor?  Ouch, no.  There is nothing romantic or cozy about winter.

Beautiful snow?  Give it a few hours and this “beautiful snow” becomes a nasty, sloppy, brown (or yellow depending if you have dogs) sludge that is dirty and messy and melts all over your faux hard wood floors creating a dreadful warped appearance.

I could go on forever so just trust me, winter is evil.  Granted I didn’t always feel this way.  As a gullible kid I thought I loved winter because my brother, cousins and I were brain washed to play outside in sub-zero temps for hours.  This time of extreme cold exposure (I KNOW I had frostbite as a kid) was created to give our housewife mothers a brief glimpse of sanity sans kids.

We found ourselves bundled up and shown the door.  And when we complained that our cheeks hurt or our lips bled each time we talked or smiled, we were slathered with vaseline and informed that cold weather was good for us and killed germs.

Just in case you weren’t aware, we were the first humans to develop extreme sled riding.  Our version of extreme sled riding was slightly different from most and involved a 100% grade hill…located in a functional cow pasture with barbed wire at the bottom.  FYI, frozen cow patties add quite a vertical lift and ample air time to any sled riding experience.  But if you accidentally hit your head or limb off of a patty be prepared for a concussion or fracture at best.

The barbed wire in our extreme sledding is a different story.  After a near decapitation incident, I decided that maybe extreme sled riding wasn’t the best sport for my non-coordinated body to partake in.  My brother offered to ride with me and promised to stop long before the decapitating barbed wire.  However, it only took me one ride (one ride too many) to discover that his idea of stopping actually meant hurling me off until I formed my own moving snowball avalanche.

Wait, what?!? Some of you guys actually enjoy Old Man Winter?  Seriously?  What do you like about the old dude who seems to find a way into each and every anatomical crevice regardless of the layers of wool or goose down?

Ok, well you can have him.   ’cause as Talyor Swift sings so well (no doubt, I’m convinced about old man winter)

We are Never, Ever, Ever Ever getting back together…like ever!!

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Forget the chickens, you just might be a redneck if….

….you have a doggie door that looks like this

dog made doggie door

It seems that once we installed the invisible fence the dogs have developed excessive boredom with the great outdoors (now sans exploration) and long for the comforts of our home.

The little rat decided to take matters into her own paws and create her own doggie door.

I warned you to Let me IN or BAD, BAD things would happen!!!

For once the destructive power house was innocent and we captured her bewilderment and surprise at the newly created doggie door.

What the…how the…when…?? I didn’t do it!!!!

Now AS IF chickens free ranging in our home (this is no longer occurring) and dog made doggie doors isn’t redneck enough, take a gander at our son-made swimming pool.  This baby is guaranteed to provide hours of fun on hot summer days as our youngest demonstrated.

A boy and his dog. This is the redneck life!

Who needs a pool when you have a 50gal rubbermaid container that previously housed chickens?????

Ahhhh, this is chill.

I don’t know about you but (other than being a little grossed out – you should see WHAT that dog rolls in!) the swimming pool tub is giving me the frontier vibe and I’m suddenly thanking God for my showers and running water.  I’ve heard my grandpap tell stomach churning stories about having the disgusting misfortune of being the last person to use the bath water after his umpteen brothers bathed.

Gross.  I think I’d be tempted to forgo the bath and remain in my filth… At least it would be my own.

Speaking of filth, my chickens are calling and the little neighbor girl is squealing (I can’t tell if it is with fear or delight).  The run is still not finished and they are free ranging through the neighborhood.

Time for this redneck in denial to round ’em up and then maybe take a dip (sans dog) in the pool when I’m done!

Buffalo Farts. A name too fun not to revisit.

I’m on my way to the landscaping store to get rocks for the chicken coop run and had to look up an older post I wrote.  I did not want to repeat an extremely awkward experience that I had there a couple of years ago and required the correct language for my purchase.

I’ll post more about the coop run update and the rapidly growing mutants (i.e. chickens) but while I’m working on yet another hot and humid day (I seem to have a self torturing pattern of doing this) you can simply….

….Read on.

July 7th 2010

I, with the mandatory assistance of my young helpers, are embarking on a shed clean-out project and it is taking place on the HOTTEST days of the entire year.  Why?  Because when I get an idea I just have to move on it.  Plus, the tale-tale odor of death and decay along with killer African Bees (I’m sure of it) swarming the shed hinted to me that some TLC was in order.

We have made some interesting finds…from old stuff we forgot we had to critters in various stages of anatomical decay.  This project has become a huge biological lesson.  My kids are quite the experts at sniffing out “death” and have been known to loudly shout “I smell death” as soon as they get that familiar whiff.  Although, shouting this sentence truly becomes awkward when the elderly are around.

For the sake of those with weak stomachs I will not post the pix of the maggots having dinner ‘with’ the mouse.  But here are some more appropriate finds…..

The killer African Bees

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
The ‘rat pile’ mouse nest my husband fosters
                                                                                                                                                                                
Awww, now this little baby bunny we can deal with                                                                                                                                                                   

After experiencing heat exhaustion and dehydration I had to make a trip to the local landscaping store.  Mr. Pavlov thought it would be a great idea to lay down a rock floor in the shed to help with moisture and really show some shed TLC.  I was apprehensive when he told me the type of rock I wanted to ask for was called “Buffalo Farts.”

Buffalo Farts? [I echoed].

Yes.  He absolutely assured me that this was indeed their proper name.  But still my gut was twisted…somehow I could not envision the landscaping business advertising Buffalo Farts to the manicured lawns of the rich and famous. I can just picture the conversation:

Hey Bob those are really nice rocks you have there.  What are they called?”  Bob (having great difficulty): “Buffalo Farts.” 

But ok, I get that I am a landscaping ignoramus so Buffalo Farts it is.  I confidently walked up to the counter in my sweat pouring state and declared,

“I need a half ton of Buffalo Farts.” 

As awkward as this may sound, the real humiliation came with the extremely long pause, followed by the quizzical looks, and ultimately the deep belly laughter from big burly, tanned men.  Big burly, tanned men who attempted to repeat my statement but were unable due to their fits of hysterics.

The moment turned into a prolonged comical session of partially spoken sentences – “A half ton…..A half ton of Buff…..Buffa…Buffalo Far….half ton of Buffalo Farts” followed by more hysteria while I stood in fake confidence self consciously soaking the floor with my sweat.  Once they regained their composure and questioned the ignoramus they determined that what I actually required was #3 gravel.

Yes, #3 gravel has a nice ring to it and I can totally see Bob (fictional guy from my imagined conversation above) proudly proclaiming,

“Well, thank-you it is #3 gravel.” 

Buffalo Farts or #3 gravel…same thing yet solid proof that “A good name is more desirable than great riches” Proverbs 21.

You know you’re a redneck when…

Alas, the evil pink eye bug has left our abode.  I think the chickens and all their filth scared it away.  You know, germs like it at the top of the filth hierarchy and these chickens have that market cornered.  There was no room for promotion for Mr. Pink Eye so he left to find another clean home to infest.

How are the chickens you ask?  Ok, because YOU asked I will fill you in on all of the latest happenings but don’t palpitate, I promise not to make this a chicken blog.

I think pictures (even crappy ones taken on my cell phone) speak volumes so here ya go:

These dirty (notice the film of dusting on the light? That's mild people) suckers are escaping!

Oh yes they are!  They fly now and the big 50 gallon rubber maid container is an easy escape!

Now, do you notice that there are more chickens than the originally planned eight?  Why?  Well, you see I have become quite the chicken whisper during this experience.  And I just knew (who cares that it is near impossible for the experts to determine) that some of these babies were roosters.  I just knew in my knower that they were.  One look in their beady eyes and I was screaming “I have at least 4 roosters!!”  So I did what any insane reasonable person would do.  I went out and bought 6 sex links (guaranteed hens) for a grand total of 13 chickens (I know 8 + 6 = 14 not 13 but I could only get 7 chickens to start with not 8 so I’m doing the right math but thanks for your concern regarding my IQ).

Here’s another voluminous photo:

Now how did that little sex link escape? If she can do it so can I. I'll just use this water dish as a stepping stone to success!

After waking up to free ranging chickens in my HOME I decided it was time for Mr. Pavlov to get his cute little rear in gear and build me the run.  We have the coop but just needed the outdoor run to complete their palace.  He obliged (and called a friend to help…Thanks JIMMY!) In the meantime, I placed a crib rail over the container halting all future free ranging.

The palace. Sorry to the neighbors down wind of the palace 🙂

Even Diva constructionista is at work! When she works you know she must want 'em chickens OUT!

I’d rather allow the chickens to free range but I’m quite sure that a neighborhood lynching would occur so we decided to build a nice sized outdoor run.  Plus the girls (roosters free to good home) would most likely get into these…

My precious garden beds getting ready for planting!

The weather has not been cooperating and the run is not finished.  Yes, that means the stinky chickens are still in my home although I am contemplating other facilities.  On the positive side, one these things leave, my home will seem imaculate!  I cannot even begin to describe the layer of pentrating dust they create.  It gets everywhere and on everything…think dry wall and you have an idea!

How do I cope?

Drowning out dust, filth and smell one sip at a time!

And Mr. Belvedere helps me cope with the realization that I am becoming a redneck.  You know you’re a redneck (maybe even Queen redneck) when you have chickens free ranging in your home.

I need another sip.

Spring has sprung and so has my brains!

I think my battle with the evil pink eye super bug has left me mentally compromised. If not the wicked bug then it was the massive amount of eye drops I’ve absorbed but either way, I’ve gone bananas.  And if you need proof just look….

Image

In case you can’t make out the little specks those are chickens people, fowl feathered friends.  Somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted farm fresh eggs but didn’t exactly want the farm.  So, much to my neighbor’s dismay, I settled for eight super charged egg laying peeps, four of which we got last week and the other four are due to arrive this week.  I figure eight layers should keep my food devouring kids egged up and happy for awhile.  And when they get sick of eggs? Well, I’ll come up with some creative recipes or shove eggs down their throats.  Whatever works.

I tried to be a considerate suburbia neighbor and bought these peeps from a place that could guarantee these downy babies would be hens and not annoying roosters.   We’ll see.  If any should happen to be roosters did I mention I have a retriever bird dog?  Just KIDDING (not about the dog but about the fate of poor rooster).  I’m sure I’ll find a farmer who would be happy for Mr. Roaster to take up some table, I mean, yard space.

The coop is up and ready to go except for the outdoor run.  I have been nagging gently asking Mr. Pavlov to finish the run because these peeps are growing quickly and pooping a lot!  N a s t y.  I’m told the run will be completed this week which, is a good thing considering how filthy these egg layers are.

While we wait they eat, sleep, poo, pick, poo, flap their wings, poo, flap their wings and actually fly, poo, peep, poo, poo, poo and they are still small.  If the amount of poo is any indication of what I can expect to come then I am in WAY over my maximum lifetime poo limit. Plus we still have four little poo makers to come.  Yikes.  Let’s hope they produce as many eggs as droppings and then maybe we’ll call it even.

Image

As we await the other four peeps and their completed home, they bask in the heat of their red glo lamp.   This photo was taken just minutes after I changed their bedding…wanna take a guess what a few hours looks like?!?

Didn’t think so.

I’m going to collect my brains now.

Just another brick in the wall, or not.

I know think I keep Snapfish in business.  Yes, just me and me alone.  No one else.  Just me.

I stock pile all of my photos until I have a mother of a picture load to develop.   As I was going through this mother load I came across this fun end of summer concert in the parking lot (yes Parking Lot not Park because we are that raw) that the Botut crew attended.

What? It's our duty to hold up this wall!!

See a lot of people will die if we don't do our wall holding duty!!! People hug walls.

There were other non-wall holding males there.  Well, they were the performers and kind of had to step away from the wall.

Look Ma, No Wall!

And the cook….he couldn’t wall hug.

Bob making perfection on a grill!

Ok, ok so males aren’t the only wall huggers at social events.  I found a female and Mr. Pavlov was all too happy to admit her into the club.

Welcome to my wall young grass hopper!

And once the euphoria wore off Mr. Pavlov was actually able to watch the concert with his new wall buddy.

And still another female keeper of the wall.

ACTUALLY, I'm not really touching the wall....

In addition to all of the bricks in the wall and music there were other things that caught my camera.

Like wild hair.

Check out these quills!

And child torture.

Pull!!

A cute, sweaty, non-wall hugging male.

Got any A/C on you Mom?!?

And somehow it caught this kiss.

Busted!

And since I was already yanked from the safety of behind my lense, I took up a wall spot with my newly recruited baby girl.  However, I was not ready to be just another brick…yet.

Ok, you're beautiful honey but give me back my camera now!

But as I went to get the camera from my cute, sweaty son I caught a whiff of something and my beloved daughter was there to capture the innocence on his face and the contortion in mine.

Whewf! Where's the Axe now???

I quickly forgot about my singed nasal hairs when I saw two cuties splish, splashing away.

Kids are water magnets!

I have a tendency to get into the photo capturing moment and forget about anything else….like say, safety.  I’ve been getting better and actually thought to look around for electrical wires this time after snapping only one, single, solo photo.  Once determining that the coast was clear for these splish, splashing babes to continue with their puddle play, I snapped another photo.

It's ok, that wire is several feet away...we can still have parking lot puddle fun!

Two members of the Botut crew thought they could slip away.  But the camera always knows.

Huh? What? Us? Going somewhere?

They just kept walking….

Go away Mom!

You can't stop this!

I didn’t even try a counter move because I’m at the age where I would likely displace my bladder.

I decided to take a rest. By the wall.

All in a year

I am amazed at the difference a year can make in the lives of my little human beings.  Sometimes even in mine (if I’m not in an omigosh this phase is dragging funk).

Last summer you may remember this post where my youngest was apprehensive (and bordering the indications for therapeutic intervention) of our little Tiki Man water toy.

365 days later and wa-la…he discovered the pure joy of Mr. Tiki:

He was content with the quality time he and Mr. Tiki were having

Yes, this is safe but thanks for asking Mr. Tiki

Dancing the Tiki

Drinking the Tiki

Constipating the Tiki

Wait, this constipation is fun....let's put him in the grass and see just how much pressure I can create!

Until….he discovered the raw power he held in his hands….

I'm holding a weapon!

Let's kill some grass

But grass killing is boRRRING!

It all began with this look

And there was not a sibling in sight to “bond” with.  Well, not a human sibling anyway.  He did spot a sibling of sorts. And off he went.

C'mere my sibling!

And our fur child entered into some forced bonding time with the Tiki possessed being.

MOMMY HELP ME! I'm TIED down!!!

I know I'm a water loving Lab but this is grounds for animal cruelty!!

See, sometimes I am just too engrossed in my footage that I forget to intervene.  Happens. all. the. time.

Eventually I came to my senses and called off the Tiki weapon wielding child.  It was this intervention that brought the realization of my interactable human status into the equation. Before this, I was just a camera holding prop.

But no longer…

Ready....

AIM...

SATURATE!!!!

I believe you can even see the splatter on my lens with that one. After he was content with the status of my saturation he went on to the enivitable.  In fact, being a boy, I was surprised that this was not the FIRST and possible ONLY activity he engaged in with Mr. Tiki.

Mr. Tiki, the appendage

Then in true boy fashion he turned proudly to face all of creation (who, after watching what happened to our Lab, screamed and hid in horror).

Look out world. Here my appendage and I come!

I can’t wait to see what happens next year.  Or, maybe I can!