2.03.2016

How is it February?

Several years ago,  you may recall that I lead the blog through a minimalist phase.....you know, where I started purging the house of as much stuff as I could. Much to Kurt's dismay, I believe I only made it through the first few stages of my Pack Rat Anonymous posts but still, by the end of the experience, we were well on our way to be a little lighter in our house.

Well, little did I know that part of the minimalism would include such a huge reduction in blog posts. It used to be that I blogged several times a week.....sometimes daily. And then Solomon came along and RUINED EVERYTHING! Ok, not really. He is actually a pretty cool little chap, you know, when he isn't destroying things. (So much for his name meaning "peace" and all.)

So, last month, he turned 5. FIVE! He will head to kindergarten this fall. He will learn to ride a bike (maybe) and tie shoes (assuming I stop buying velcro) and read (if he ever puts the guns down long enough to actually learn his letters and sounds)..... Already he can beat me at a game of Jenga (which I am pretty sure says more about my poor Jenga skills than it says about him) and he knows how to smooth talk his way in and out of anything. (Like the time he came into the kitchen and asked: "Mom, you know why I always kiss you and hug you?"
"Why's that Solly?" I asked back.
"Because I loooove you," he said. Then there was a slight pause as he handed me Liam's iPad. "Can you enter Liam's passcode for me?"......Sigh.
It's like butter.)

Solomon is quite the little guy, full of energy, curiosity and loads of love. He's already putting himself out there as the ladies' man, has a crush on a little girl in his class, whom he has declared his heart to, and his favorite place is still in my way, er, I mean, in my lap, layering me in hugs and kisses. He's a mama's boy to be sure (which is only annoying half the time) and he is of his own (read: stubborn) mind. He is certainly our kid on every level.

So, the day before his fifth birthday, he declared:
"Mom, I know what my name should be," as if he had been working on this for years and had finally come up with the right answer.
"Oh really? What should your name be?" I curiously wanted to know.
"Steve Rogers," he answered emphatically. "It is the best name, a good name, and I would like to be called Steve Rogers from now on."

Thank you, Captain America! Not only do you save the world repeatedly while acting as eye candy to an entire generation of women, but you have now solved the problem of what we should have named our son from the get go. (It's like he has some faint, subconscious memory of having been unnamed for the first few days of his life and the drama that seemed to unfold at the announcement of his given name. You can read that post here.)

Anyway, Solly turned 5, and then Liam turned 8 last week and now February has snuck up on us, as if we were in a rush to get somewhere. Slow down, Father Time, if not just for a moment, so that I can etch into memory these days that arrive too soon and are gone as quick.


Madeline's precision made for a lovely Steve Rogers Cake.  








12.23.2015

Fiiiive, Silkie Roos, Part 3

Alls well that ends well.....assuming it ends!

A week or so after Rooster #3 appeared, I got THIS email:

Hey Karen!  (and A*.  I figured we might as well continue to keep you in the chicken loop :)
How are Eli and his new girlfriends doing?  Maddie is doing really well.  She is bonding with our two Buff Orphingtons, but prefers to sleep alone in a separate coop.   

Yesterday, Jo(e), our white bearded Silkie, decided to tell us that she is a he and thus we must change the spelling of his name.  :(  Kids are so upset and we are all just completely shocked.  Not sure if you wanted another roo.  I’m sure we can find him a home elsewhere if you do not want him. 

Hope all is going well with you and your chicken-hater neighbors!
Looking forward to your reply,

J*


(Seriously, how can one resist THAT beauty of a WHITE rooster?!)
****

And THAT is how we ended up with a 5th rooster.....(This is Common Core Math y'all.....3-3+3+1=5 (because I forgot to tell you about that OTHER silkie that ended up being a rooster....so really there should be another 1 in that equation but why mention ALL the facts when you can leave stuff out?!) and to complicate matters, I am almost positive one of the others is a closet rooster too.....he is just waiting to let us know until the time is right I am sure, like right smack dab in the middle of a HUGE family function where all our friends and neighbors are around to get in on the family dirt....so, 3-3+3+1 might now = 6!) 

So, I responded with something like this:

Yeah, it’s always tough when they surprise you with that whole gender change thing. But better now than a few mates or successful careers later…..just sayin’. 

Sooo, you know I wanted a white rooster…..and actually I ended up with one after all was said and done. Then, last week, one of my most beautiful Silkies (Whole Grain) started crowing….so, I am up to 4 roosters…..I haven’t decided how to proceed. I have some crow collars I was going to try. They are these collars that you put on slightly tight against their neck and it helps keep them a little quieter. I didn’t think they worked too well with my Three Stooges but I am hoping maybe these guys are young enough that they will learn. If they work well, you could potentially bring Eli home again. I would trade you for the white one if you like, lol. But we really like Eli. He is a cool little guy and is doing very well here. He is quite the social butterfly that one…. 

I will get the collar on him tomorrow and see if it makes a big enough difference for him to be a city dweller again but don’t hold your breath. I didn’t want to say anything before because really, they didn’t do a darn bit of good with my other guys and I wasn’t even going to try again but now, with four roosters crowing, three french hens, two turtle doves….doh, sorry….. I think I had better give it a go. (That darn Christmas song really missed out on their number 4…..but if I take your beautiful Joe (which is ironically the name of our chicken hating neighbor, hee hee hee, it’s like it was MEANT TO BE!), it could be "Fiiiiiiiive, Silkie Roos! Four calling birds, three french hens"…..ok, you get the drift….. 

So, give me a day to try this out and see if it makes a difference. I do have a friend who makes a habit of housing roosters so I could take Joe (because I think he belongs here) and give her my Whole Grain. Then Joe and Eli could take the silkie ladies as their beloved(s) to begin life in the other coop. 

Sound good? Just wait until you hear from me before you do anything crazy like looking for someone else! (Sheesh, I have known you for over a month and you are already looking for another farm…..some friend of an in-law you are! hee hee, just kidding.)

Talk soon!
Karen

p.s. I tried attaching pictures but my computer laughed at me and spit them out….will try again in a minute after I scold this thing.

*****

Then, apparently too much time transpired because I got this in my inbox:

Hi Karen,

We were checking in to see how things were going.  

We are happy to hear Eli is adjusting to things. 

The crow collar make me sad… what about ear plugs for the neighbor? (Blogger's note: Really T*? You're a softy! Or a genius, not sure which...)

Let us know how your Roo situation is working out.

While Eli was my favorite, Joe is a favorite to our kids… this is another tough situation… damn chickens! (Really T*, watch the swearing! This is a PUBLIC blog .... that you did not know you would be included in.....)

See what wives and kids do - - - Fowl Play — when Dad is away… ugh - buying chickens!

T* 


P.S. I’m glad we are keeping A* in the loop.

****

I hear ya on the crow collar….he was not pleased with it at first either…..then he did the whole Stevie Wonder thing and got it loose enough that it doesn’t bother him (and he crows away anyway…..) so basically it isn’t any good on him, other to make him look like a tough guy. He made sure to let me know how he felt about it when I let him out today though….that was not pleasant! (Little pecker!)

Anyway, I don’t care about the crowing, I was only seeing if it would reduce his noise so that you could have him but it does not, so he is perfectly at home here, still eyeing our hens every day. It is cute really.

I am going out of town for Thanksgiving (and by out of town I mean we are driving 5 kids and a dog down to FL…..don’t get too jealous, I am making the girls leave the other animals behind….) but we can do something about Joe when I get back. Hopefully you can keep him that long....

Anyway, I will let you know when we get back if you can wait that long (otherwise, just drop the rooster off in the bunker with Eli…..they already know each other so should be just fine…..lol….and I have someone coming to care for them all of course).

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  


Karen

****

And then my brother-in-law chimed in with might be the funniest part of the entire exchange but I can't share it with you because you know, it might lose him his job.....well, probably not given I just took in 2 of his partner's roosters (I JUST SAVED YOUR JOB A*! YOU. ARE. WELCOME!) oh, and the fact that he is his own boss.....there's that little piece too....(nevermind A*....I am guessing you wouldn't fire yourself over your own inappropriate joke.....)

I bet you wish I would share it huh.....

Too bad. But Google Eddie Murphy's Delirious Ice Cream skit and then you will know why I am the way I am.

*****




12.22.2015

Fiiiiive Silkie Roos, Part 2

Blogger's note: Here is your early Christmas gift: I just wrote and entire post, like a NOVEL LONG and accidentally erased the entire thing. So, because I am now completely out of the time I didn't have to begin with, you get the abbreviated version.

****

So then, the day came, Eli was dropped off, and I ended up with what seems like a very typical Common Core Math problem where you have three Roosters, you give away three roosters and somehow end up with 3 Roosters. (Look, it makes sense if you ARE NO ONE WHO EVER TOOK MATH!)

And as T* and J* and their kids put away our new bunnies (what? I never mentioned the two new bunnies??? See what you missed in my NOVEL LONG POST?!) T* asked me, as he held back his tears, how we could give our lovely Maddy away without being entirely broken up. (Because we are not wimps T*, that's why! Just kidding.) I explained to him that we had already had to give away the Three Stooges and had several chickens die so we were hardened (hardened, make-believe farmers, that's us.) And that's how we ended up with Eli.....who happens to look exactly like our Three Stooges:




All's well that ends well, right??


12.21.2015

Fiiiiiive, Silkie Roos!: Part 1

As you may have figured out, nothing is private around here. The following is a series of emails, somewhat edited for brevity and confidentiality, (as if either of those exist in my world) that I exchanged with a couple I did not know until recently. (The husband happens to be a pediatrician and business partner of my brother-in-law, who somehow couldn't care less about chickens but was copied on the entire exchange because THAT'S HOW WE ROLL A*!)

At any rate, here is a little peek into what goes on in my free time. (Unlike the other 500 blog posts that were all business-like....)

****

Hi Karen, 

When I saw Kurt last week (when he came to visit A*) he told us that you have chickens. We have chickens as well. (Blogger's note: Ok, let me just stop here because what he wrote was: We have chickens as well. But what I read was WE HAVE CHICKENS AS WELL!!!!!) I told Kurt that we had an issue because it turns out that one of our chickens, my favorite, is actually a silkie rooster. Unfortunately in the city we are unable to have roosters.

Kurt told me that you had obtained a total of nine Silky's trying to get a rooster but that they were all female. I was joking with Kurt and thought perhaps a trade could be in order.

My wife is the primary chicken farmer in our household. Her name is J*. Therefore I'm making this email intro so you both can take it from here. 

If some type of trade takes place we might have to negotiate visitation rights as our rooster 'Eli' (formerly Ellen) has won over our hearts. He loves to be pet and is just so darn cute. In spite of being very reluctant about this whole chicken concept I would miss him very much.

Thanks and I hope this leads to happier chickens and families.

T*

CEO Doctor (and Chicken Convert)


****

My reaction: Oh boy, I get to talk chickens! Woo hoo! (Sucker.)

****

Hi T* and J*, 

When Kurt called me the other day with the news that he had a way for me to "expand my chicken business", I got all excited.... before he finished the sentence with “by going into chicken trading.” (For a second there, I thought maybe he had finally recognized the genius in my plans for expanding our meager coop and run into a chicken empire…..no such luck.)

Anyway, yes, we bought 10 silkie peeps from a farmer I know and all of them are hens (well, not counting the peep that didn’t make it through its first 24 hours with us….probably the rooster I was hoping for but seriously, what are the odds?….Kurt said about 1 in 500….he doesn’t get rhetorical questions I guess.) We actually had three roosters previously but I wasn’t entirely convinced they were pure silkie (I think that particular person sold me cross breeds and knowingly gave me all roosters as I could tell within hours that they were very “roosterish” and I had never even had a Roo before) and so of course I couldn’t use them for breeding. And then the alpha of the Three Stooges became mean and quite aggressive and I got tired of explaining to friends and family that he really was good at heart….. so we gave them away to a friend who has a flock of roosters. (Don’t ask. She’s crazy.)

All that to say, I am sure we can work something out. I do want a Silkie rooster (although I was hoping for white but then Kurt explained that that could possibly be misconstrued for chicken racism so perhaps I need to rethink my breeding scheme.) 

Let me know what you are thinking. I do have a lot of silkie hens if that is what you are looking for. But I have plenty of others too if you want a bigger layer. 

Visitation would be fine of course. And I am happy to send pictures of the happy lad digging around out back if that would ease your sense of loss. It is funny how attached one can get to their birds….

Hope to hear from you guys again soon!

Karen
Chicken Tender

****

Hi Karen,

So I must admit to stalking you a bit on your blog to determine if you are Eli worthy.  You pretty much passed with flying colors!  Love your blog!!!  (Blogger's note: Good thing because I am totally putting you in it!) We were also happy to hear that you are not racist!  We have really been dragging our feet on finding Eli a home because, as far as chickens go, Eli is pretty special.  (Personally, I think I am becoming a crazy chicken lady; however, T* and the kids are having an equally hard time about this.)  If you would be willing to make a trade it would be much easier on the kids, but if you really don’t want to give up a chicken, we completely understand and are just happy to find Eli a great home.   Allowing us with visitation rights and photos are a must and non-negotiable though! :)  
....How's Nov.1?

Thanks Karen!  Looking forward to hearing from you!

J*

****

Nice, so I get a rooster AND a stalker! It's like an offer I can't refuse!

So, I was talking to my girls about which hen to give up and we admittedly had VERY different opinions on which one was okay to let go of. We will figure that piece out later but yes, I believe we are okay with Nov. 1st. I should hopefully have my, ahem, third coop by then (I'm not crazy, well, I'm not the craziest, but what is a girl supposed to do, turn down a free coop?! I mean, come on Kurt....) and so we will have plenty of space to keep Eli until I can safely introduce him to his new gals.

If you haven't introduced new chickens to your flock, please note that it isn't always an easy process....how many hens do you have? Hopefully it won't be bad since they are Silkies.....but hens can sometimes be kinda cranky about the new kid in town....and by cranky I mean they can maul them to pieces....but Silkies are a docile breed so hopefully you won't have that problem. And Eli will be ok because he is a Roo and will pretty quickly establish his dominance....once I remove the current Roo that is....but he and his mate need to be separated out anyway, otherwise I'm going to end up with a Sebrite Silkie mix which would not be at all in line with my original plan....and you can ask Kurt how well I stuck to THAT plan (one small coop and a dozen layers) but seriously, this is an even BETTER plan, my Chicken Empire, that is: Graceful like a Chickempire.....

OK, more later! 
-k

****

To be continued.....


10.29.2015

The Comic Strip

Lily came home from school the other day EXTREMELY excited (as opposed to just her usual state of being: totally thrilled).

"Mom, I made you a comic strip!" she said, handing me this:

And of course I thought it was the Best. Thing. Ever! (You know, outside her terrible spelling....) 

So, as luck would have it, my to-do list was a mile long this week and I had no time to go online and make my own version....but I totally did it anyway because sometimes you just have to get sidetracked a little bit in order to live life to the fullest (and by fullest, I mean full of stress brought on by myself because I am constantly getting distr.....hey look! Squirrel!)

All that said, I would like to present to you, the first edition, in its very rawest form, of The Graceful Chicken Comic Strip. And because I am certain you cannot read it AT ALL, click here to see it online. 


And Part Two (click here)



Now THAT should totally make your day! Happy Thursday! 

(Seriously, I have issues....)

10.21.2015

And then the Storm Arrived.....

So, while I was absentmindedly taking a blogging break, this happened:


It's like we can't quite grasp the concept of alleviating stress by simplifying......it's always, "Hey, I have this GREAT idea!" A statement that is often followed by the addition of something new....and usually living.

And while I was not exactly counting my blessings every morning at 3 a.m. while on puppy-potty duty for the first couple of weeks, she is growing on me, a little....or at least, she is growing. (She is not growing on the chickens I might add but Stormy is certainly all starry eyed about them....that's why they call it "puppy-love"....and by love I believe they mean she wants to terrorize them and then eat them. She needs to work on her chicken-courting skills, obviously.)






Apparently it's not just me that feels this way after a day with the kids.....




10.08.2015

It's Been So Long I Almost Threw in the Towel.....

My blog post title got me to thinking (always a dangerous endeavor): what this world really needs is a Graceful Like a Chicken Towel....hand towels would be best I think. I'll get right on that as soon as the time in my life isn't completely eaten up by stuff like soccer and homework and hen-pecking-egg-eating-jerky-hens (that's probably the real history behind Jerk Chicken...it started out as some jerky hen eating the other hens and their eggs and well, that naughty hen became dinner with whatever spices were on hand and viola! Jerk chicken was created. Or maybe, they were hung out to dry and that is how Chicken Jerky came about.....Either way, the lesson here is: don't eat the other hen's and their eggs...you know, if you are a hen and don't want to become jerked chicken jerky!)

Apparently, it HAS in fact been too long. I mean, where else do I get to ramble ad nauseam about whatever the heck I want without anyone giving me that look? (Hey, put down that look!)

So, our life in 100 words or less (and if you believe that I have some really incredible stuff I want to sell you....):

Remember that beautiful favorite new hen Maddy? Yeah, she took a beating in the coop.....as in, flesh hanging off her neck and blood gushing.....and I had to remove her for what I was sure to be her slow and untimely demise. Fortunately, she made it and has been living peacefully by herself in a secure pen in the barn (formerly a rabbit house). She stopped laying eggs in protest though so now I have to figure out if keeping a hen is worth it just because she is beautiful. If you ask the kids then why yes, yes it is.....especially when that hen is named after your oldest daughter. (Note to self: don't name the hens after your loved ones! It's probably like the first rule of farming....."Don't name the animals and if you do, DO NOT name them after loved ones!" My bad.)

So, as winter approaches, there is a lot to consider on the make-believe farm. Ooooh, speaking of farm....did I mention my new business card that I stick in my egg cartons when selling my eggs? It goes something like this:

Graceful Chicken Farms
___________________

Karen Wolf
Chicken Tender


Hee hee hee. Hey, at least I amuse myself. 

Anyway, my plan is to try to unleash some new posts in the coming weeks. Life is just smoother when I am taking the time to notice the humor in things. And right now, I could use some "smoother" moments. I'm sure you could as well. Come back again soon to see what's up....(Like the fact that Kurt gave Madeline permission to get two bunnies to breed.....who DOES that?!...says the mom who has an entire flock of Silkies and assorted bantams for her kid to breed....Kurt said he thought it would make me happy to get more bunnies, plus, she was crying and ANYTHING TO STOP THE CRYING Y'ALL! You know, like the puppy we are now responsible for...oh wait, you have not met Storm yet....sheesh, I am so behind!) Perhaps I SHOULD throw in the towel.... (Or at least some Chicken Jerky!)