Chicken Moving Day

140915 Coop in Garden

Yesterday was moving day for the coop and chickens.  The vegetable garden is pretty much done although there is a lot of stuff still in there, overgrown and rotting.  The fall chill is in the air and it was time to begin the fall to winter preps.  The coop had been over by the garage with the fencing including a huge old apple tree surrounded by jewelweed.  The chickens loved it there although they had pretty much cleaned the area of vegetation.  I figured the garden would be a great spot for them to clean up and fertilize at the same time.

Moving the coop is always stressful.  It is so heavy that the tractor will only lift if off of the ground by about a foot.  We managed to get it over to the garden.  I then moved the fence.  I let the chickens roam around thinking they would be easy to move with some sweet little snack.  I was wrong.  They spent the majority of the day around the apple tree and although I coaxed them over more than once they had no interest in going near the strange spot their coop was in.

They finally left the tree area at the end of the day and wandered over to the garden but had no interest in going into their new area.  I got out the big guns – a pumpkin spice english muffin.  The rooster and hen happily went into the garden fence but the other 9 hens were nowhere to be seen.  It was getting a little late in the day and I was getting a little nervous.  I called and called and finally saw their little heads coming up over the bank to the back forty on the other side of the yard.  Apparently they had gone on a little adventure.  Seven more into the enclosure.

When the head count was done Bill and I had to search for the last two.  They were snuggled in among some rocks over the bank and were not going anywhere so I had Bill flush them out.  They ran for the coop, one of them tangling herself in the fencing (they still think they are small enough to go through it).  Once all enclosed they discovered what a wonderland the garden is.  Bugs, seeds, berries, a veritable smorgasbord for chickens.  They stayed out until dark which is unusual, they usually go in at dusk.

About nine o’clock Bill went out to lock the shed door and heard a chicken clucking over by the apple tree – an escapee.  He held the flashlight and ran interference until I finally caught her and put her in the coop.  I did another head count and all were there on their roost.  Finally all was right with the world – at least mine.

You’re Never Too Old

I received a link to an article about a nursing home’s calendar project.  They had photographed their residents in classic film roles for each month.  It’s awesome.

I worked with the woman who sent it to me a few years ago in a therapeutic rec. position in a long term care facility.  She and I did an event weekly for a while that we called “Glamor Shots for the Elderly”.  Once a week we would bring in our boas, hats, jewelry and makeup and doll the girls up for their photo session.  The room we used had ceiling high windows facing south so I used nothing but natural light.  I have to tell you this was a huge hit, not only with the residents but with their families.

Tony DepinMany of these residents were on a hospice wing.  They were all more than game to play dress up with us and would pick out their best outfits to come in for their “photo shoot”.

AntoinetteWhat started out as a lark turned into something that they really looked forward to, and gave their families a photograph of the playful side of their people.  We made them feel beautiful and special for an afternoon and I believe we sent prints of the images to the families for holidays.

Dot BI have to say this was one of the best photography related things I have ever done.  Maybe not so much for the images as for what it did for the people we photographed.

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked in long term care but my friend’s message, “Joanne, when we run our own LTC center we are totally doing this!” made me think I should really think about doing this again.





The Day After

Moonliht MagicIf Thanksgiving is all about family then Moonlight Magic (Madness) is all about friends.  The day after has always been a day of fun and reconnecting for us with this event.  My sister-in-law owns a wonderful little flower shop in the Falls called Plants for Pleasure.  For years that’s where the family spent some time setting up the shop for the opening of the holiday season.

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Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls is shut down to traffic for the evening with venders on the streets and all of the shops open for business.  It seems as though hundreds of people go and many of them we have known most of our lives.  It’s a festive occasion and we plan out our eating from year to year strategically.  From barbecue to Hager’s fried dough with maple cream there are some spots not to be missed.

studiopics_12159_016-150x150Molly Cantor Pottery

Many, many crafters have small shops in Shelburne Falls and this event also acts as an open house of sorts.  From glass blowing to weaving to pottery artisans display their wares.  It is amazing to me the artistry that is center right here in these small hilltowns.

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There is also our visit to the Shelburne Falls Bowling Alley owned by friends of ours from high school.  This is really the best place to bowl in my opinion.  They have taken the history of this place to another level with the decor and information on the walls from years past.  Their bar is fun and the bowling is an experience. This is always on our must do list.

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This year the cousins, all adults now, will be descending on the town as well.  They love to get together and don’t have as many opportunities as they once did.  I’m sure we will run into them multiple times during the evening and all plan to end up in Rowe for a bonfire in the garden.  I’m sure it will be cold enough.

This is the kickoff to the Christmas season for us. There is nothing like reconnecting to make things feel more festive.  Then to retire to the outdoors in Rowe, looking at an amazing starry sky, sitting by a huge fire, drinking a warmed Grand Marnier surrounded by family is the icing on the cake.

Food Rant Friday

Growing Food in Protest


Okay, so there are a few friends and relatives that know how pissed off I get when yet another article crosses my path about Monsanto and their GMO’s.  This week was the motherload in reading about various lawsuits that Monsanto has brought against everyone in the world from the small farmer to the state of VT.  Apparently the money stream is so important to them they are willing to take on any state in the union that would try to label food as containing GMO products.  Hmmmm, doesn’t it make you wonder what they are trying to hide?  I believe in informed consent.

There are now apps available to help you boycott all kinds of products as you peruse the groceries in the store, just scan the barcodes and voila you know what subsidiary that food is coming from and can make your choices with a little more knowledge.  I’m thinking that’s all well and good if what you are eating is processed but it’s really not going to help you in the produce section.   I read today that one of the country’s leading suppliers of French fries is asking the federal government to approve genetically modified potatoes.  This is to prevent those unsightly brown spots.  Really?

You know that lawn that you hate mowing every week?  Why not use part of it to put in a raised bed and plant some tomatoes there she goes talking about those tomatoes again?  Put a few potatoes in your little plot or grow a few carrots to eat right out of the garden.  I promise you the seeds that you grow will surprise and delight you. You will have such a feeling of accomplishment and be astonished at the money you save over the summer on some of your favorite things.  It’s also FUN.

I baked a batch of cookies the other day, shared them with sister Sue.  They are a delicious soft molasses cookie encrusted with course grain sugar, crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy in the middle.  Spicy and delicious they are the ultimate comfort food for me.  Then I started to think about the ingredient list – what’s gmo and what’s not.  Yeah, I know, but I’m always thinking about where my food comes from or what’s in it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t eat what’s put in front of me but I’m always aware – so is my sister.  After she ate those cookies with me and brought some home I texted her about all the potentially bad things that were in them.  Today in the interest of science and my guilty conscience I decided to actually look up what went into them.  I was pleased to find out that the things that were a little sketchy for me were all within my tolerance level for food weirdness.  So I’d have to say that if you are going to eat cookies bake your own and source your ingredients.  Now I can email Sue and tell her that those treats were really much more okay than I had led her to believe (and maybe she’ll stop sending me all that email about Monsanto).