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More trouble with chickens….


My sister is entertaining, too! She’s building a zoo; come over to Cook’s Country Connections and check it out. Chop chop.

Cook's Country Connection

This farming stuff is tricky business.

I like having my chickens free to do as they choose during the day.  They eat bugs and seeds and they look kinda cute bopping around the farm.

The problem with chickens being loose, is that a few of them have it in their heads to lay their eggs outside of their nest boxes.  This makes every other day a bit like Easter.  We have enlisted the help of local kids to stalk the chickens like little ninjas to find the day’s haul.

Once the nest is located it is best to put a “dummy egg” or two in the nest .  Chickens are dumb, but they aren’t that dumb.  If they go to lay a second egg in a nest and find the first egg gone, they will move on and find another spot to lay….this results in more  ninja neighbor kids stalking…

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Another Visitor!


This time, the visitor is  Bambi!! Or Faline…I’m not sure which. Either way, this is an adorable baby. Unfortunately, there is no sign of mama. She (or he) visits almost every day, filling up  on the trefoil and clover in our yard.

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Rooster Noodle Soup


I am very nervous around poultry.  (See “Guinea Monsters From Hell”)   And I used to hate cooking. So this Martha Stewart-esque-ness is new to me. I have been growing, canning, cooking, drying and freezing food a lot more the last few years. Now, being unemployed AND on the Low Child Support Diet has encouraged me to do even more, and to do it better. It’s been a slow process, and many people have contributed along the way. Here are two that I remember.

One of my favorite bloggers is Jackie  Clay.  (Check her out here. Chop chop!) We are lucky to have this awesome lady in our community, and I have learned so much from her books and blogs about living off the land in this area code.  I subscribed to her blog for several months before I even attempted canning on my own.

I vaguely remember Anthony Bourdain saying that the poorest people had the best-tasting food, because their seasonings could make even the cheapest cuts of meat and other ingredients taste good. That’s when I started growing herbs, tomatoes, etc. in containers and finally a garden.

As I mentioned, I am scared of live poultry; however, they are delicious, especially roasted with organic herbs that we grew here on the hill. Growing rosemary, sage, celery leaf, red onion, garlic and thyme makes me happy.  So as long I have Lois and Jill next door to raise chickens, I will cook them.

omnom, thyme, sage, celery leaf, rosemary, funny farm, organic

By the way, does anyone know why when they are alive they are hens & roosters, but as soon as the heads come off they are just chicken?? Same with cows, bulls, steers, heifers, and beef… What the hell?Roosters, Funny Farm, Pajari Girls, Food, Soup

I believe it’s important to know where our food comes from.  I like that the chicken (fka: rooster) was grass-fed next door, not in a cramped factory “farm.”

Rooster, Banty, Food, Pajari Girls, Funny Farm, chicken

And better yet, the next day I made the leftovers into soup and paired it with homemade bread.  Note to self: next year, grow a LOT more carrots and potatoes.  As far as fast, cheap and easy goes….it was super cheap and really easy…two out of three isn’t bad.

omnom, rooster noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, homemade soupPS: Thank you Ant, for the title! You’re right; Rooster Noodle Soup sounds way better than Chicken Noodle Soup.

Bear Photos


We had some excitement on the hill yesterday. Ant (Danny’s buddy and Spare Spawn)  was the first to notice our visitor. Click on the first pic to start a slideshow.

And then Mama Sharon and Papa Willard stopped by!! He told us black bears can sprint up to 30 mph, so we kept our distance and he modeled his new hat. 🙂

BEAR 078 BEAR 080

Dancing in Graveyards


I made a Fairy Cemetery for Halloween this year. It seemed appropriate, considering what a year of loss 2013 has been.

I’ve always liked cemeteries. We grew up close to the Cook (Owens Twp.) Cemetery. Micki, Melissa, and I would meet there on bicycle and ride around the circular drives, marveling at the children’s stones and looking for relatives.

When we got older,  Lois and I would take dad’s pickup for an unauthorized joyride, we’d be forced to go to the cemetery’s circular drives (because it was a standard and finding reverse was tricky.)

As an adult, I spent some time mapping, cleaning, photographing and transcribing stones at a few small local cemeteries for a genealogy project.

This year, unfortunately, has been a year of visiting friends and loved ones at Hillside, a beautiful local resting place. And you know what? The closer I get to 40, the more names I recognize on the stones.

Saying Goodbye--Harley and Katherine 017 Saying Goodbye--Harley and Katherine 023

This year we lost Karla A., Katherine L., Vanessa C., Cindy P., Mrs. Oles, Rich W., & Dave B., and others in our little town.  And though they are not human, the loss of  Mr. Stinky Droolface and Mad Bird and The Dollar Barn  has been hard, too.

If you or someone you love is grieving a loss (and really, who isn’t??), maybe something here will help:

Delta Rae, Dance in the Graveyards  is a song our friends Kris and Dan shared with us. It helped them; it helps us. I hope it helps you, too. Please,  please, please watch the video!!  “When I die, I don’t wanna rest in peace. I wanna dance in joy. I wanna dance in the graveyards….And while I’m alive, I don’t wanna be alone, mourning the ones who came before, I wanna dance with them some more, let’s dance in the graveyards.”

Bertram’s Blog is about grieving, and I have found the author’s writing to be empowering and soothing.

It also helped me to be able to know that all these fricking FEELINGS will pass. It’s all part of the process. Check out The Five Stages of Grieving. Chop chop.  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance will come and go, usually when you don’t expect it.

This week, I started decorating for Halloween. I don’t feel like it. I hurt physically and emotionally, but am trying to do something I would normally do were I not grieving. 

So back to my Fairy Cemetery…  A year ago, I found this lovely old Planter’s Peanuts cookie jar (it was probably my grandma’s), and decided it would make a lovely terrarium for my Venus fly trap, Audrey Two. This year, I found some Halloween miniatures and added them to the terrarium for Halloween. Fast, cheap, and easy. And it makes me smile,

fairy cemetery, fairy garden, grieving, loss, venus fly trap, terrarium, halloween

fairy cemetery, terrarium, venus fly trap, pajari girls, halloween, graveyard

As usual, thank you for reading. If you found this useful, pass it on. Like, Share, and/or Pin at will.

Loveyabye.

Fire Pictures


The day of the fire, I bought a new camera. First I took a picture of Lois and Paul out front of the Barn, then some pics of Danny Boy’s Pee-Wee baseball game. That’s when I got the call from my daughter Harley that the building was on fire. See you tonight and/or Friday? Loveyoubye.

Cook Dollar Barn

The last week  MONTH has been a combination of a bad dream and a funeral. Every time I turn around, Lois is looking at the building and crying. It’s not just us that are grieving, either. Everyone seems to have had a connection to that building or the people in it. Who didn’t take dance lessons there, have a tooth filled there, live there after a divorce, or play Ms. Pac-Man in Suzy Q’s?  A thousand times a day we think, “I can get Harley a new toothbrush at The Barn”, or nail clippers for Randy, or a bag of Jalepeno chips that I meant to get for Doc S. (my other Boss at the Tooth Fairy gig).

There is a Facebook page for all the updates, thanks to Comet Carol Carlson and Mary Conger (who is updating it from THAILAND..wow!) called Brown Building Fire Relief Efforts. There…

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Mad Bird


I can’t believe this shit. Yesterday, as Lois and Steve were leaving to visit his family for the Fourth, Mad Bird started having a seizure. One hour later, he was gone. Unfortunately, these are probably the only pictures of him, as all Lois’ personal photos were in the basement of the Dollar Barn where they would be safe.

Cockatiel, Funny Farm Cockatiel, Funny Farm July2013 067

We did the math, and she has had that crazy bird since 1986 when she graduated high school. That’s 27 years. He has been with her through 5 cars, 3 houses, and two husbands. He helped her with her homework when she put herself through college, and kept her asparagus fern and spider plant nicely trimmed. He made it impossible to sneak into the house or sleep late. His favorite song was Unskinny Bop, so she played him that and other 80’s hits as he passed. He has been in the background of our lives practically forever, and The Farm is going to be a little quieter now.

Harley googled the life span of cockatiels, and 15-20 is average in captivity, so 27 years was a good run. It’s just the timing that seems to SUCK. Thanksgiving was when we lost Stinky, the building burned right before their wedding anniversary, and now Mad Bird dies on the Fourth of July. Frankly, we are all done with holidays.

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