Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Vacation

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Raking leaves!

I'm going to take some time off blogging. By that I mean I'm not going to try and post everyday.

It is warm. I'm outside. Then I'm tired. Sleep.

I'll blog when there is something interesting to blog about, but raking leaves doesn't lead to entertaining posts.

The fence I built last year to shelter the propane tanks by the motor home has held up well through the winter.

Happy Summer!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chicken Dinosaurs In The Backyard?

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Sometimes I call my chickens "little dinosaurs" or "rapacious raptors" when I see them come a running toward me looking to get fed treats. Glad they are not any bigger...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


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Tom's Mom is in the hospital and is doing fairly well. They are doing tests. I'll post more as I hear. Hopefully, I'll post tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green Tea And Ginger... Ginger Tea

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Hot days and working outside call for a cool drink.

I have watched a lot of videos on YouTube about different ways to make ginger tea.

But I haven't found one that actually uses tea.
Sometimes, I leave out the tea and just use water.

Some have directions to boil the ginger in water sometimes with other ingredients such as cinnamon or with dates.

I just happen to love green tea and since I had a pot of tea and a lemon around I decided to use them.

Instead of boiling the ginger I grated it finely on the microplane and added it to the hot tea. I like ginger so I don't strain the tea and ginger.

When the tea and ginger mix has cooled I add it, the juice of a lemon and honey to a pitcher and set it to cool in the refrigerator.

Green tea
     (I use a pot of green tea)
     (I use one lemon - you can use more)
(to taste)
Grated ginger
     (I use about an inch of peeled ginger)
Mix and enjoy

I think you can make the drink anyway you like. Maybe I should try the cinnamon or some dates next time?

I've been raking leaves, cleaning out gutters, filling old feed bags with small branches for kindling and moving stuff that needs to be sorted through.

Lots of stuff needs to go to the dumps or to Goodwill.

I did get the tarps off of the chicken coop and put down some new dirt in the coop.

After I finish the raking, I need to spend some time cleaning the chicken coop. Maybe next week.

Now I'm off to make dinner. But first a cool drink.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Up On The Roof... Again

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Time to rake the leaves off the garage roof. The orchard ladder makes a safe and easily climbable stairway.

I always think of this song when I'm up on the roof and it hums around in my mind while I'm up there.

When I lived in San Francisco and Los Angeles I didn't have a roof to escape to, but I did have the beach and nature trails available that gave a sense of quiet and freedom.

There is something magical about just being on a roof! I highly recommend a trip to a rooftop... (as long as it is safe.)

After I raked off one side of the roof I climbed to the ridge  and surprise... a tree was laying on that side, but thankfully hadn't punched a hole through the roof.

I climbed down there and hauled on the tree to make it slide off, but it was caught on some other trees.
I had to go get help.

But first I sat down and rested and sang a bit of Up On The Roof. It was so nice up there.

Here is a photo of the roof without leaves.

And here are the chickens taking me home.

I think they wondered what I was doing up there... raking up good things to eat? I often wonder if they don't think I am a big chicken with an unfair advantage and want rakes of their own. 

PS. I didn't have any ice cream last night. Thought about it... almost as good.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Jeans vs Pajamas

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I've started writing down what I eat again because my jeans are getting tight.

You know... like when I have to suck in my tummy and hold my breath to hook the button. Yeah...

And I'm laying the blame on my pajamas!

When it was cold and wet out and not that warm inside, I took to wearing my pajamas all day. Lovely warm pajamas!

Well, they didn't tell me a thing about my waistline getting larger, so I kept eating with abandon. sigh... Until my jeans spoke to me.

I still eat pretty much what I have been eating except I find that since I have to go to the computer, open the file and type up the munchies I am much more apt to pass on the delectable tidbit and have a cup of tea (without honey.)

I have cut way back on bread and crackers... starchy stuff, but mostly it comes down to eating less.

And for munchies... I make sure I have my bowl of dried fruits and nuts handy for when I get hungry between meals.

I don't eat all that in one day, but I have it handy. And I have my candied ginger piece in there for a treat.

Having to write down what I eat comes down to having to pay attention to what I eat and make decisions instead of just eating for enjoyment, boredom or something to do.

Today I worked on getting the leaves off the garage roof and did some raking behind the house.

Barbecued hot dogs for dinner. Ice cream for desert? Oh dear... I'd have to write it down. Well, at least I'm thinking before eating.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Morgan...Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis, Dogs And Cattle, (Chickens?)

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Since Morgan is currently being treated with Doxycycline, (4 tablets once a day for 21 days, because she tested positive for anaplasmosis, and Lyme Disease) I have become very curious about Lyme Disease and why she wasn't sick before the treatment started. I do think the Doxycycline is making her a bit nauseous.

Morgan had gone to the vets to get her shots and the anaplasmosis and Lyme Disease antibodies were found during the blood test.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to find most of the information I found about Lyme Disease was about its effect on cattle since they lose millions of dollars a year because of Lyme Disease.

It seems that if the cattle contract the disease when they are young they can survive (and then don't show symptoms) but then become infected carriers, however if they get the disease when they are older they can easily die.

So, I got to wondering if Morgan was bitten when she was a puppy or fairly young might she be an infected carrier? Or maybe it doesn't work the same way on dogs? I searched a lot of sites, but didn't find an answer.

I did find that since blood is a vector that the deer tick, the horse fly and man can be responsible for transmitting the disease (when working with animals using different instruments that would get blood on them such as: when dehorning, tattooing, when tagging ears, using needles, etc. Sounds like if the infected blood is moved to a new host the disease can come along with the blood.

And deer ticks don't jump! That's comforting... but they do get on you when you brush against foliage and they climb on you. So, when I'm out working in the forest I do take the precautions of staying away from bushes, having my jeans tucked in my boots, wearing long sleeve shirts and light clothing, and checking to see if there are any ticks crawling on me.

Then the question rises... do chickens get Lyme Disease? Well, I found even less information about chickens than about dogs, but from the scanty info I found it sounds like they can, but they are more likely to be infectious when young.

This page from the US National Library Of Medicine is the closest I could get to some information about chickens and Lyme Disease.

But mostly chickens are sited as good to have free ranging on your property because they eat deer ticks. 

Then there is the neat info that aside from not jumping the boy deer ticks don't take a blood meal, so they don't transmit the disease even though they will attach. And that not all deer ticks have bitten an infected animal so they don't all have Lyme disease (unless they got it from their mom.)

There are a lot of interesting articles on the Internet about deer ticks and Lyme disease.
The American Lyme Disease Foundation page has lots of good information with great photos of deer ticks.
For me... The UCDavis Veterinary Medicine page from 1998 has the most easily read and understood explanation of anaplasmosis and its effect on cattle.
 Photo by Scott Bauer. (USDA ARS) 
This page Lyme Disease In Dogs has some video on how to remove a tick from your dog... and information on
*how to recognize Lyme Disease in dogs.*
I do remember a time when Morgan had a hurt paw, but we thought she hurt it running around outside.

As for vaccines? It seems there was one but it was withdrawn... and there is supposed to be one for cattle? I haven't been able to find a definitive answer because it depends on what page I get on my searches... there is a lot of contradictory information out there.

My best thought is if there is any question about ticks and possible sickness... see a vet or doctor, depending on the patient of course.

I've been doing these searches when I come in the house to cool off after raking for a while. I have most of the driveway rock cover surfaces raked and I'm working on clearing the dirt area behind the house of leaves and branches. (Kristine just came home and I haven't started dinner... oops... )

Now I'm worried about deer ticks... but the chickens are out there following me around scratching up the leaves and ... looking for deer ticks. Good little hens!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sunny Spring Friday

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Most of the driveway is raked, but I still have lots more raking to do around the house and fence line.

I would like to put in a whole day working... maybe next week? I am a bit sore after four hours today.

I hope I got my daily dose of vitamin D. Ahhh... being in the sun was a real treat.

I raked up to the row of leaves at the bottom of the photo. I raked the driveway four times because as it dries out more leaves pop up. I even raked under the motor home. It needs a bath... something else that needs doing.

Curly the Cochin spent a lot of time on the porch hanging out in hopes of getting some treats. The waiting was not rewarded because I had already given the hens a cantaloupe this morning for breakfast along with their lay pellets.

I think Google has gone goofy! The last two days my stats have shot up to around 250 page views a day. How strange is that!

Hmmm... I did "Follow" a Syrian blogger and (as Kristine told me) maybe the Syrian secret police types are messing with my blog to see who I am. They must be confused... a little old lady?

How disappointing for them... of course, they probably think I am some CIA plot. Seems like they think everything is some kind of plot.

Nope... sorry, I'm just a 70 year old lady with a sore back and arms from raking leaves and hauling tree limbs around.

I'm going to go soak in the tub for a while and see if I can get some of the kinks out.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Raking Thursday

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I spent a few hours outside raking a path and picking up down tree limbs. I got half of the driveway done and a start on the paths. It was wonderful being outside breathing the warm fresh forest air.

I hauled branches around and stacked them along the driveway where they will be easy to haul away. Some of the limbs are too heavy for me to move... maybe in the summer when they dry out they will be light enough for me to drag.

It is going to take a long time for me to pick up all the down branches. I only got a small patch cleared today.

It's been about five months since I've done any heavy outside work and I'm trying to break myself in easy without causing myself an injury. I'm too old to push myself. I'll do a little bit more every day.

Today when I started sweating and getting a little tired... I quit... came inside and got my camera and took these photos.

Hard to believe there's only about four months until Fall shows up and we start the Winter weather again. Hope this sunny weather holds so I can get all my projects finished.

I'll work on clearing the paths, driveway and picking up the debris for now. Then there is the garage roof to clear and I need to work on the chicken coop.

And there is the garden. Hmmm... don't know if there is much time for anything to grow. I'll have to talk to Kristine and see about a trip to the nursery for some plants. I think I would have better luck with seedlings than planting seeds.

Morgan  had to stay in my little green garden and couldn't run around with the chickens.

The chickens are running around loose. They are living dangerously without her protection. So far so good.

 Blogger is still acting up a bit... in order to get comments to post I have to publish them twice and one by one. And sometimes when I leave a comment it doesn't post.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Sweet Little Rose...

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"What's in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - Juliet
~ Shakespeare

Such a brave little rose!
This is the first rose bloom I have seen this year.

I took a photo before Morgan, the deer, or the chickens could have it for a snack.

The flower is very pink, but my camera doesn't capture color very well.

We only have a few little wild rose plants that manage to survive from year to year. They are pretty well eaten away to not much every year, but the leaves struggle back and there are a few blooms.

It is usually very dry here, but this year with all the rain and snow they are looking green and healthy. If they were growing by a stream instead of in the forest they would look more like the bushes in the video.

I was very glad to find that these little roses were growing on the property when we moved up here. It was good to find a familiar "face" among all the new.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Is It Spring Yet?

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Is this the year with no Spring?

The summer solstice is in 15 days
... June 21st.

I don't know about Spring this year.

There was snow last night higher up the mountain.

There is sun this morning!

There was rain last night that left the forest sparkling and ringing with bird song.

We are supposed to have 10 days of cloudy/sunny days.
They will be the first stretch
of dry days I remember in 5 months.

I am not at all sure if this is the last of the rain and winter weather.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see
another storm move in
and dump some
more rain and snow.

We have had
6 times the normal rain
for June.

The chickens are out scratching around in the forest.
Morgan is sleeping.

I think I'll go out and soak up some sun
and have a cup of tea.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Morgan Positive For Anaplasmosis

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Here is Morgan this morning on our walk through the drizzly rain after locking up the gate.

Morgan tested positive for anaplasmosis (and she has Lyme disease) when she went for her heart worm test.

So, she has 84 pills to take... 4 a day for 21 days.

Ticks in the woods... that's for sure. We all get tick bites and have been lucky until now.

The chickens are locked up today and probably tomorrow since we are supposed to have two days of lots of rain. The ticks can play while the chickens are away.

I haven't been posting about the rain and hail and generally cold weather because it's making me sad... after three more days of rain we are supposed to have some sunny days. That would be nice.

I have been trying to remember the words to old rain rhymes that have been running around in my brain this morning:

Rain, rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Callie wants to play.

It's raining, it's pouring,
The old man is snoring.
He fell out of bed, and bumped his head
And can't get up in the morning.

There was a rhyme about rain going to Spain, but I can't remember that one. I always liked the rhyme about not getting out of bed on rainy days. Makes sense to me. Morgan is asleep. I want to be.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Buff Orpington

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This little girl is a bit slow. Maybe she is old or maybe just cold. The hens have their feathers fluffed up and their heads tucked in like turtles.

So, whatever the case, she didn't run away when I took her picture. She just stared at me.

She has her toes nailed into the cabbage pieces, so she is sure they aren't getting away. Smart chicken!

It rained and hailed yesterday and rained last night, but gave way to a sunny/cloudy cold day.

This is Fall weather... cold and wet.

I'm making spaghetti sauce... spaghetti is fun food... that ought to cheer us up. I'll have to give some noodles to the hens.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Wet June 1st - Use Cast Iron Dutch Oven To Brown Toppings

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Treats for the hens this morning on the wet deck.  It rained last night and thunder storms are forecast today with more of the same  and rain for the next week+.

The sun should be out for a couple of days?

I got the quilt stuck together and ready to quilt... now to hook the other one together. That will keep me busy.

I tried out this technique of using a metal lid for browning the top of meringue or potatoes without using an oven.

I love my cast iron dutch oven. I'll have to do some more experimenting.

I think the angle of the lid in the bottom photo does a better job of shooting the hot air over the potatoes.

This is a cottage pie with mashed potatoes on top.

In the photo you can see the tops of the potato starting to brown.