Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Traditions

We made a trip into town on Christmas Eve to do our grocery shopping for the next two weeks, and while walking up and down each aisle in the store it struck me that PeterC and I have developed a tradition for the holidays. The holidays for us starts on or very near December 21st and goes all the way through to Jan 2nd and we seem to have a series of routines we follow unconsciously.

We usually have all our Christmas shopping, except food, all finished up by December 21st. For the last couple of years the items have all arrived by mail and we exchange gifts as soon as the packages arrive. Not very glamorous but it does save on the wrapping paper.

One December 24th we go grocery shopping. This involves at least three stores each year and includes shopping for animal and human food. The Christmas grocery list always includes as much food as we can get for our $150.00 budget, since neither of us want to go anywhere near town until we absolutely have to. Somehow, we always end of with frozen Chinese food in our carts on Christmas Eve.

When we get home from shopping we pop the Chinese food into the oven while we put away groceries. When everything is put away the egg rolls and spring rolls are ready to eat and we stuff ourselves, unceremoniously, until our stomachs hurt and we're guaranteed wicked dreams. The left over rolls are put aside on a small table and we snack on them all night, almost right up until we go to sleep.

December 25th we wake up around 9:00 am and eat breakfast while listening to Christmas music, though yesterday we listened to a narrative of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". We play around on our computers for a couple of hours and then go up stairs to enjoy a lazy afternoon of doing nothing. Not exactly nothing. PeterC plays video games while I work on whatever wood or fibre project I have going on at the time.

Christmas dinner always consists of any egg rolls or spring rolls that survived the Christmas Eve gorging and a sandwich of lunch meat. PeterC enjoyed some homemade eggnog, made earlier in the day by himself, with dinner while I enjoyed my normal fair of water. Later in the evening we snack on crackers and chips, and occasionally enjoy a cup of tea.

Boxing Day, December 26th, is another day of rest very similar to Christmas Day. We get up eat breakfast while enjoying a Timmies, Tim Hortons coffee for all the non-Canadians who find this blog, and plug into our computers for an hour or two. At some point one of us, usually PeterC, starts doing a little straightening in the kitchen and we pull out supper fixings in the process, supper will consist of... Yep, you guessed it, Chinese food. Only this time it will home made stir fry and won-ton soup.

After pulling out supper fixings, we head over to the game console where I watch PeterC play video games until supper time. I've come to realize I enjoy watching him play games as it gives me the feeling of playing without the stress and annoyance of having to push buttons and try to actually do any of the moves required to win these things. I wonder if anyone else suffers from vicarious addiction to video games?

This pattern of behaviour; eat breakfast, play video games, eat supper, repeat, continues for the next couple of days. By December 30th we are both getting a case of cabin fever and decide to do one of two things. We either go out for breakfast them hit the mall, which wears us both out and makes us crawl back into our cave happily, or we go out for lunch and go to see a movie at the theatre in town.

For New Years eve we open a bottle of wine, enjoy a few glasses while watching the boob tube and go to bed. New Years day involves cooking a huge meal, because by this time I am dying for something other than Chinese food, and we stuff ourselves once more.

January 2nd we begin getting ourselves back into our non-holiday routine. We eat leftovers for supper, we watch TV, and we go to bed at a reasonable hour as opposed to staying up willy nilly until we're ready to pass out. PeterC gets his work clothes ready and I start concetrating on getting ready for planting season, making lists of what I want to grow and mapping out how I want the garden to be laid out for the coming year.

It seems that we are hardwired to create traditions. I hope each of you enjoys your Holiday Traditions, regardless of how mundane and simple they may be. Season's Greetings from us to you.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

"The Chicken" take off of "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a day so dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious link of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my patio door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my patio door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

And so my Edgar Allan Poe-esk story begins.
While I was not dreaming of sweet Lenore, nor was it dark outside,
there was a rap, tap, tapping at the patio door.
A gentle tap, tap, tapping at my patio door.
Thinking a neighbour was seeking assistance,
I peeked out the window only to find no one there.

And the thumping and rustling of each furry kitten
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my patio door -
Some visitor entreating entrance at my patio door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Here Upon I flung the door, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
No, not a raven, just the piercing eye of a prehistoric bird;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched below my patio door -
Perched upon the metal sill just below my patio door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this bold bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the severe soul searching gaze it wore,
`Though thy eyes be stern, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient chicken wandering from the coop -
Tell me what it is thy art looking for!'
Quoth the chicken, `Feed me More'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl,
Who wandered to my step;
Asking so persistently, Nay demanding
By her severe demeanour
Feathered beast sitting below my patio door,
With such cry of 'Feed me More!".

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Egg Eater!

We have an egg eater and I am so disappointed. One of the hens has decided that all the work of the other hens is there for her to crush and eat. I know we have an egg eater because I have found empty and cracked eggs for the last three days.

We normally get 7-9 eggs a day but Friday was the worst. We only got 3 eggs and one of those had been pecked hard enough to leave a gaping hole. While cleaning out the broken egg I found 3 crushed egg shells, and Queenie was dead set on eating the shells before I took them away from her.

Needless to say I suspect Queenie is the egg eater, but I am refraining from putting her in freezer camp until I know for sure she is the culprit. Problem is I can't catch her doing it so all I can do is check for eggs two or three times a day and feed all the hens extra calcium, which is never a bad thing. I'm also giving them warm mash each day which includes oats, barley, cat food, and of course calcium supplement. Occasionally I'll had some fruit to the mash just to give them a treat.

As you can see by the photo the chickens don't seem to mind the snow much. They don't care for the deeper snow and if they accidentally get into the deeper snow they will stand there until PeterC or I wade out to rescue them. But, where I have scraped the snow to make paths, they are more than will to wander and scratch around until they find a bit of exposed grass to munch on.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Winter, Finally!

Winter is finally here. It's about time, too. I was beginning to think this was going to be the year that never froze.

Up until now the weather has been cool and damp, which makes it feel much colder than it really is. The ground was soft and squishy, making it hard on the boots, shoes, horses, and chickens. The only snow we got melted within a few hours, making the ground even soggier.

The weather finally turned around this weekend. The sky has been a mix of sunny and grey, but the air is cold enough that the ground has finally started to freeze. The night time temperatures have managed to drop below freezing, which is a blessing for me since I suffer from night sweats and hot flashes - UGH! I've been able to sleep under a sheet and a bedspread without waking up soaking wet for the first time in months.

The chickens don't seem to be suffering to badly from the colder weather. We're getting 7-8 eggs a day. I let the girls out to free range for a couple of hours a day and they pile up in the covered corner of their tractor run if they get to cold. The only problem they, and by extension I, are having is their waterer keeps freezing up. I'm looking into solutions, maybe something using solar water heating.