Occasionally, Something Great

It’s a small thing, to be sure, but its potential is great.  Not only for the life inside of it (well, actually Emily at that sunny side up this morning) but because it means I at least have ONE laying hen!

I know Turkey Day has passed already but as I have some pictures to share and I am still so excited about our first egg yesterday I feel compelled to share my gratefulness!

For those of you who know use or who are regular readers, you probably already know that we are “cursed”.  Not that I am sure I really believe in the whole voodoo/black magic/stink-eye kind of stuff, but more along the lines of thinking that Mr. Murphy had me in mind when writing his law.  Anything and everything that can go wrong, will.

For instance:

*We ordered a part for my car so that it would pass inspection, but the seller took well over a month to ship it out and now my car is way past due.

*We bought a bus in great condition and a decent price (but not so decent that it should have anything major wrong with it) only to have it break down just south of the capital beltway a month later.

*I brought home 6 adolescent female chickens only to have 4 of them turn out to be boys.  Add this to the fact that half of the chicks I bought in March turned out to be roosters as well.

*Oona turned off the chest freezer this weekend and no one noticed until all the food thawed and the frozen berries leaked dark red juice all over the wood floors.

*I had this post 100% written and ready to go and when I clicked on “Save Draft” it deleted it instead.

You get the idea.  This is just my life, day to day.  We have accepted this and try as much as possible to plan for all of the failures.  It tends to make one grateful for all of the little things; sometimes little victories are all you have.  BUT I do have 3 very significant victories – all 3 of my girls were born healthy, on time, and without complication.  I’ll take a lifetime of Murphy and his bad luck if that’s the payment required.

And with all of that in mind, on to Turkey Day!

Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go……

It was funnier when we actually did have to go over a river and through the woods to get to my mother’s house.  Now it’s really just “down the road and through the gates”.

Emily dressed herself all in polka dots.  I wouldn’t do that, I promise you.

I’m thinking that if Maddie sees enough of these pictures of herself on the internet she might stop making that face.

Eric made the fried turkey, as per tradition. (And pumpkin creme brulee – the likes of which shall haunt my dreams forever).

Master chef dad, whipping the potatoes.  I am starving just thinking back on it.  My brother will be happy to know that this was the first year we did not run of out masjed potatoes.  Dad said it was because he made “an ass load of them”.  And yummy they were, with the mashed squash (acorn?) stuffing with sausage (oh droooooooool) green beans, gravy………this is torture.

My kids gnawed on the drumsticks, caveman – style.

Paul was……..Paul.  Actually, to be fair, that’s my Blackberry he’s messing with there, not his.

Everyone loves Sadie dog.

We ate so much food that once the dessert was passed around and squeezed in all we wanted to do was lie down and sleep.  I think we were all in bed by 8 that night.  I didn’t want to eat again, ever.  But now that it’s been a few days and I am thinking about it again I think maybe I could use another such feast.

Hey, dad?  Want to whip up another feast for me?

Dad?

Hello????

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Dislike

For those of you (and all 2 of you know who you are)  that are not on Facebook, you get little “Like” buttons you can click when someone says something you like.  There’s no “dislike”, but there should be.  Anyway I’ve noticed that when I read a blog or am listening to people talk I now have this deep urge to click that button.

Today is a “dislike” day.

While I was in the shower Oona crawled halfway into the litter box and made it her personal sand box.  Nothing like getting out of the shower and being greeted by that.

Once I cleaned her up and went downstairs I found a nice puddle of dog pee on the dining room floor.  She’s *this close* to becoming an outside dog.

ALL of the Barred Rock hens I got last month are actually roosters.  They were 17 weeks old when I bought them, which means that all of their rooster-y qualitites should have been apparent by then.  Not one looked the least bit boyish.  No pointy feathers.  No enlarged combs or wattles.  No crowing.  Yet here we are.  Must be something in my water causing them all to spontaneously change genders.

This means I have 7 roosters and 6 hens.  That is such a bad ratio I can’t even tell you.  It should be more like 1 rooster for every 10 to 12 hens.  No wonder I’ve got no eggs.

I’m going to have to post those boys on craigslist and hope someone takes them; otherwise it’s the stew pot.  Then I need to find me a bunch of actual female chickens.

You wouldn’t think it would be so hard, would ya?

Whoa, Oh, Mexico…………………..(LOTS of pics)

Can I just say – WOW!?  It’s been quite a whirlwind and I have yet to recover.   Thursday last we flew down to Cancun with a group of about 65 other employees from Paul’s company and their spouses / significant others.  After passing through customs we stepped out of the airport……and there was a bar.  Right there on the curb, next to where our buses were waiting to pick us up.

It was over an hour from the airport to our resort, which is located in Playa del Carmen – it’s south east of Cancun, and you can see Cozumel island from the beach.  We all stepped very wearily off the buses, walked through the front door of the resort and were greeted by an open bar and a nice man taking orders.

The main lobby

Here’s the thing.  I don’t really drink.  But since they offered, and I had a headache from the long flight and bus ride, I accepted something blue and full of rum.  It was the first of many.  You see, while we were waiting to check in we were told that we’d be given bracelets to let everyone know that we had an all inclusive package.  That meant wherever we went, whatever we ate or drank, it was all included.  No tipping required.  We also had the same privileges at the other Palace resorts, should we wish to ferry to Cozumel or head north a bit.  Honestly, they kept us so busy and happy we never felt the need.

Our room.  I already miss waking up to the sounds of tropical birds.

The first night we were expected on the beach with the rest of our group for a welcome dinner.

Wait………….

W

here’s Paul????????

Ah – he found the coffee.  Even in this tropical paradise where it’s sunny and 85 every day……….he’s gotta have his java.

We had a mariachi band for entertainment.  That was rather awesome.  Paul and his boss were debating how many drinks it would take to run up and join them.  Paul would have done it sober.

Day 2 was Friday – we had most of the day to do as we pleased, and we discovered just how wonderful all – inclusive is.  We ordered all kinds of room service for breakfast and stuffed ourselves to busting at lunch.  The buffets had to be seen to be believed.  I even tried octopus!  But I digress.  We spent the day exploring the resort and lounging by the water.

This is the yoga hut, facing the ocean.  Our room was to the right of it.

There were all kinds of cool fish in the lagoons.  And btw, check out that water!!!

I spent the day like this.  Every 10 minutes or so a waitress would ask me if I wanted a drink.  I can’t even tell you how many frozen strawberry margaritas I consumed.

Don’t worry.  I don’t think they put as much alcohol in their mixed drinks as we do in the states.  Otherwise by all rights I should have passed out.  Instead we got showered and dressed up for the awards dinner.

I clean up pretty nice, right?

As for Paul…….

He was back to the coffee.

Saturday was phenomenal.  We toured the ruins of the Mayan city Tulum in the morning.

The city was built on a cliff over the sea.  There’s a staircase that we took down to test the water…..

That beautiful, beautiful water.  For those paying attention that is the dress from Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing I am wearing there.  It was perfect for covering up my bathing suit .

There are also iguanas everywhere.


Paul said I couldn’t bring one home.

After Tulum we were bussed over to the Ecological Water Park called Xel-Ha.

I have but 2 regrets from this part of the trip.  One – we didn’t get to swim with the dolphins (it was extra, and after snorkling and tubing we didn’t have enough time) and two, I didn’t get my picture taken holding a bright red macaw.  Xel-Ha employees were all over the place with huge birds for photo – opps.  It was funny seeing each of them holding onto 3 or 4 of them, just hanging off their belts.  We did however have a blast.  Another couple joined us as we made our way down the mile – long inlet into the lagoon.  Aimee and I started off in the tubes and had to make ou way through some dense mangroves to get out into the spot where the guys were starting their snorkling.  They took a few breaks from that along the way to do some cliff – diving.  Us ladies were not so much into that.

And how does Paul cap off a hot day in the sun and snorkling?

He heads to the outdoor restaurant to wait for his coffee.  I had a frozen daiquiri.

A siesta would have been nice, had we had the time.  At Xel-Ha, there aren’t park benches.  There’s hammocks.

On our war back to our bus we donated blood to the Mex-quitos.

We capped off our long and happy day eating authentic Mexican food brought to us by a waiter who made fresh guacamole at our table.  Ole!

Sunday I designated as a day of relaxation (massage at the spa!) and beach lounging.  The drink of the day at the resort was a concoction of passion fruit, amaretto, coconut liqueur, cream and ice, all blended together.  So good.  I don’t know how many of those I had.  For dinner we gorged on sushi before heading to our group’s dessert reception and farewell.

I was relaxed, content, full of amaretto and loving the ocean breeze.

And Paul?

You guessed it.

We had one long final night of uninterrupted sleep before heading back home.  The one blip was that right before we boarded the plane at Cancun they decided to search our bags by hand (after we’d already passed through security).  The agent handling my bag pulled out my knitting (a sock in progress) and looked too panicky for my taste.  I had to explain to 3 of them what it was.  Of course I was thinking that I would stab him with those dang needles if he tried to take away my wool and my dpn’s.  They finally let me though, with my knitting.  And hey, we saw Cuba from the plane as we were flying home.  I told Paul I’d be more than happy to throw him down there so he could get his Cafe Cubano.  He declined.  Oh well.

Maybe next time.

And We’re Almost Outta Here…..

For reals this time.  We’re taking the girls up to New York tonight so they can stay with my in laws while we are in Mexico.  Then we’ll drive back down to DC tomorrow and catch our flight out Thursday first thing.  Riviera Maya, here we come!

I am insane busy so here is the scoop, in bullet format:

1.  I hate packing and laundry.  It took me several days to tame the piles down enough to get everything sorted, into suitcases and put away.  I don’t want to even think about the explosion of dirty clothes that will occur once we get back.  For now I am focusing on what’s left – getting the dog to the kennel, picking up feed on the way back, putting clean sheets on all the beds and vacuuming.  I can’t relax if I am returning to a filthy house.

2.  I am packing a bunch of sock yarn.  I don’t particularly like flying, so the knitting and the ipod will be my panacea.

3.  We’re touring Mayan ruins on Saturday!  Yay!

4.  Emily is going to miss her animals.

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Really, really miss them.

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I am trying hard not to think about it.  Especially that little goaty face and her plaintive little “maaaaaaaa” and the little wagging tail whenever she sees me.

At least I know my mother will be here with them and they won’t be all alone.

5.  I still don’t relish the thought of my pudgy white self stuffed sausage – like into a bathing suit.  It turns out that I know exactly who I can blame this on, though.

The pie fairy.

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Seriously.  The pie fairy swoops in on a way – too – regular basis, takes control of my body and turns out multitudes of pies, like this chocolate cream one that flew into my belly over the weekend.  Curse you, pie fairy!

*Note to all of those who will be at our house this christmas – oh yeah, there’ll be lots of this!!!

6.  I have to go change a very stinky baby now.  Then I must finish all my chores and shove off for warmer (hopefully not rainy) weather.

See you on the other side!

The Wooly Llama of Wooly Mama

I actually don’t have too much to add today.  We’re still working on the pen.  Mom and I worked hard to get it done only to discover (once we’d strung all of the electric wire) that one of the corner posts had come loose from its concrete mooring and basically brought all further work to a halt (have I mentioned my rotten luck?  Nothing ever goes right the first time around here).  We’ll attempt to fix it and get Jerry and Milkshakes into their permanent home tomorrow – just in time for Hunter the Saanen goat to be delivered.

So far the two newbies are doing well.  Jerry is rather aloof and does not like to be approached (which is fine for a guard llama) – but if you hum at him he will hum back and he has been eating hay I hold out to him.  He almost ate some grain out of my hand today but little miss piglet goat bucked at my hand in an attempt to ge the grain all to her cute greedy self and it spooked him.  Ah well.  Tomorrow’s another day.  As for miss goaty – she is like a little dog.  She calls to us when she sees us, she wags her tail when we pet her and she likes to lick our skin – and maybe take the occasional nibble on our clothes or arms.  The chickens have gotten used to their presence and have been sharing the hay with them.

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See Roo standing there?  I wouldn’t be surprised to find any of them sitting on Jerry’s back.

Speaking of hay….I think I may have ordered a *tad* too much of it.

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There’s two of them.  But, you know what?  I’ve never ordered hay before, and I didn’t realize how big they’d be.  It also didn’t help that I could barely understand the guy I bought them from, and since he was hard of hearing as well I am amazed he showed up at all, never mind with the hay.  On the plus side, it is nice to open the kitchen door into the garage and have the heavenly scent of hay waft into the house rather than the usual burning oil, paint, cleaning chemicals, etc.

And they LOVE the hay!

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Yummy hay!

My mother has become our farm hand – and it’s a good thing – our Mexico trip is back on and we leave next week.  Mom will be caring for the chickies (still no eggs!!!) and the goaties and llama in our absence.

Paul’s company is sending us to the Riviera Maya to a resort where we also get to tour some ancient Mayan ruins – I am very stoked about that.  Not so psyched to be stuffing myself into a bathing suit in November, but still.  Think of the photo ops!

Lastly, and I don’t really like to get too political here but I just had to express my dismay that Virginia has taken a huge step back with regards to womens’ rights with this election.  And I am not even talking about any hot  button topics. Ah well.  I’ll spend time with my growing herd and all will be right with the world.

Welcome Jerry and Milkshakes!

*Please note that I was not involved in the naming process.  Emily and Neve came up with the names.  I kind of think they’re hilarious.

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This is Milkshakes – our little Cashmere nanny goat.  She is very happy and friendly.

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See?  Big goat smile!  We are awaiting a mate for her – we have a lovely Saanen boy on his way this week.  But just to be sure she doesn’t get too lonely waiting for him, say hello to Jerry:

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He’s our guard llama.  Good thing llamas like the cold and rain, because it’s awful out there today.  Otherwise I’d have lots more pictures.  For now, these’ll have to do.  We’re working (in the driving rain) on getting their pen and shelter completed today.

Cheers!