Wednesday, May 28, 2014


     Have you ever just wanted to sit down and have a good cry? A really long, deep and tearing cry? Yeah, me either. Not really. I'm not much of a crier.
     For someone who is normally an extreme optimist, and also very introspective, though, it is frustrating to be feeling as sad and anxious as I have the past two days, without being able to pinpoint why. I DO want to cry. I just feel like collapsing into a little heap and crying my heart out. But, I have no idea why. And I'm anxious. I'm worried and fretting, but have no idea over what.
     I keep thinking, "maybe it's the end of the school year stress" or "maybe it's that I am back at school and routine after an awesome trip to Maine last weekend" or "maybe I'm just tired"  and then, finally, I've come to "maybe it's everything combined...all of the above." But, it doesn't really seem likely. Like I said, I'm a bit of an optimist, forever aware of my blessings and full of gratitude and happiness at the good, good life I live. So, to be feeling THIS sad and THIS anxious over who knows what is just not like me.  It's an odd feeling, to be feeling this way AND not to know why. I don't like it much.
     I'm not worried - it's not like some deep, awful depression or anything. The fact that for the past four days camping in Maine I could not have been any happier is reassurance that there is really nothing too deeply wrong. Perhaps it IS just having to come back to reality. Perhaps it IS that my house is totally all torn up awaiting carpeting and flooring and that I don't function well mentally when there is a mess around me. Perhaps after next week, when I have had my end of the year evaluation on my stupid binder at school I will feel much less stressed and will realize that that really IS what is weighing me down at the moment, even though I don't think so.
     In the meantime, I think I'll go to bed early again tonight. Whatever it is that is making me want to bawl like a baby can't be hurt any by some extra sleep. And, as my mom always said, tomorrow's a new day. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Whole Lot of Chicken Love... and lots of chicken poop as well

I am not likely going to be making my summer trip to AK this year, and because, deep down, that makes me a little (ok, a LOT) sad, I've been trying to throw myself into other projects and ideas for summer to keep me from falling apart that I can't go "home" this summer. 
Several things I've decided to do revolve around my chickens. I guess, if you can't take care of dogs, a kennel full of dogs, the next best thing is a coop full of chickens? 
So last weekend, I cleaned out the small barn coop where I had moved them to when they outgrew the giant plastic tub brooders in my basement.
They had all been in the barn coop for probably about a month, and were now large enough that they need more room, AND, my younger son's apartment is upstairs, over the barn, and he was complaining violently about the smell. ("Mom, I can't even bring GIRLS up there because it stinks so bad."  And THIS is a reason for me to move my chickens? Really? You thought that would be incentive for me?  Ha ha ha ha ha..... son, you don't know much about moms yet, do you?) 

 So, last weekend, I cleaned out this coop.

I also had to thoroughly clean out the bigger, outdoor coop, since the last time I kept chickens in it, a year or two ago, I never cleaned it out the final time. Eww. Note to self: ALWAYS clean a chicken coop IMMEDIATELY after finishing with it.   So, Saturday I cleaned and scrubbed, and then Sunday, I whitewashed the inside, and laid down a piece of linoleum, as it will be tons easier to clean with a linoleum floor, rather than wood. I knew that when we first built the coop, but didn't bother to do it then, and have wished all along I had. So, this time, I took the time to do it right. I also covered the nesting boxes, because I read that if you keep them covered until they start laying, they won't use them for sleeping and pooping, and they will stay much cleaner. Hope so.

This is currently the outside of the coop and run. I have a TON of ideas for sprucing this up and making an awesome looking chicken coop. It's been "functional" for a few years, but now I want to make it outstanding. By the end of the summer, it will be. I'm excited to do the work on it to get it to the place I envision.  Just wait!

I also am going to be starting a new venture this summer with chickens that I'm pretty excited about. Just finishing the details on getting that going, so, even though I will not get to spend my days with my sled dog babies in Alaska this summer, I WILL, at least, have lots of chicken love. Not anywhere near as good, but, life is what you make it. So, I will do my best to make it a good summer, and more importantly, a super productive summer, both inside and outside the house, regardless. Looking forward to summer, and the work, so that's the important thing.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday


I love this time of year, when these are the things that start showing up in my inbox at work. If we are already planning for NEXT year, then clearly, THIS year must be almost done? Yes? Yes!  49 days until June 24th, which is not officially my last day, but it IS the last day for kids, which really is all that counts. After all, school without kids is not work at all!


Teachers PRE_K _2, Teachers 3_6

 Last Library Book Exchange Days will be June 10 -12 for this year.

 Faculty Meeting Agenda

·      United Way – Presentation
·      Resource presentation – Ms. C &; Mr. C
·      35 week progress reports due May 16th at 8 am
·      Last day of scheduled classes 7-12 June 16th.
·      Main Office copier
·      Field trips; paperwork
·      Dates for events for the calendar for 2014-15 School Year
·      Questions/concerns/issues




school supplies for 14-15 school year
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 03:59PM
Teachers Group and Admin
Please update this school supply list for next year so we can put it in the school newsletter.
I would like it back by May 16th.

(See attached file: school supplies.docx)

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Cat Returns (and the Chickens, too)


     Karma shines.  Though I'm a bit mad. But  I'll get over the mad part and go with the good part.  The vet bill for Katie-cat's teeth was estimated by my vet (a year and a half ago when I first took her in to check on the oral surgery) to range between $600-$1,000.  That cost is what prohibited me from having it done for too long. So, finally when I couldn't take the guilt anymore, and I take her in, they end up pulling all her teeth, and the bill? Only $423.00.  OK, so I'm ecstatic that it wasn't anywhere near as costly as they predicted. However, had I known it was only going to be around that amount, or "under $500.00"), I WOULD have done it much sooner, and she would not have had to suffer for this long.  But, I'm not going to dwell on that. I can't change what is, and the important thing is, I DID do the right thing, finally, and was rewarded for that by not having to mortgage the house.  She is doing REALLY well.  I kept her contained in our bathroom for a little bit, but less than 12 hours after having every single tooth in her head removed (or, rather, the few that were actually left, since many had already rotted and fallen out - why DID that happen, anyway?), she was up, wobbling around, asking for food and purring up a storm when I patted her head. She ate, despite the pain, a half a can of canned, nasty smelling wet cat food, and would have eaten more, had the vet not cautioned me about introducing canned food too quickly to her and causing gastrointestinal problems. She ate the other half the next morning. She got 4 intravenous shots,  through Saturday night, and then, somehow, she's supposed to be free of pain from that point on. (I wonder what cat they asked that of, to determine that 48 hours is all they are in pain?) I am now looking forward, strongly, to the sweet, sweet cat I know she is, and has been all along, and to being able to return her affection without gagging at the scent of her. I think Karma, if certainly not the sun, is shining strongly today.

     On the chicken front, two more chickens were returned to their coop last night, after being found wandering aimlessly in our front yard. So, with one confirmed dead, one injured and still laying in the dog cage in my kitchen, and three returned to their coop, I think I am now able to account for all of them. Or 99% of them. It's hard to count when they all move around so much. Both my little Egyptian Fayoumi roos had escaped and both were returned. That, too, makes me very happy. Scrappy little things that think they are physically much bigger than they actually are. They are a joy to watch with the many, many hens they have to boss around. Or think they boss around.They have finally started their silly little attempt at crowing, too. One of the things I like best about them, that breed, is that the males usually start crowing early, as early as 5 or 6 weeks. Mine appear to be a bit delayed, my little Special Ed roosters, as they are now going on 10 or 11 weeks, but it is still much earlier than a full-sized rooster would crow. It sounds a little rusty, like a rooster with a sore throat, or one trying to squawk into a large tin can. But, to me, music to my ears. I don't know that the neighbors will agree, but, they can't complain too much. They get all the free eggs they can eat, once the girls start laying!

Abai guarding "Winky," the (temporary) house (now porch) chicken

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Of Dogs and Cats and Chickens

Abai, the Golden, age 12

It's been "one of those" weeks.   Not bad, just, well, filled. Not bad, just not GOOD. Just, a week. I'm ready to be done with it, now, thank you very much. Monday was a vet appointment for my Old Ladies, all three. What possessed me to make an appointment for the entire geriatric crew at the same time, I'm not sure. Our vet is 20 minutes away, I cannot possibly be home from work until 3:20 if I FLY out of my classroom and beat the busses out of the parking lot, and my vet appointment was at 3:40, the latest I could get if I was bringing all three. Well, holy crow, it takes me 20 minutes just to get them moving after they've been laying around all day, stiff, aging joints and all. As I was managing to get the three who needed to go with me in the car, the other two took off out the front door like a shot out of a cannon... you could almost hear them, in their best Mel Gibson voice, barking out "FREEEE-DOM" as they took off across the street and cut through the neighborhood back yards. And my first thought was "Crap - now what do I do? I can't drive out of town and leave two loose dogs out running, but I can't cancel a vet appointment ten minutes before I'm supposed to be there."  SOMEONE loved me that day. Both black and whites came tear-assing BACK into the yard, up the front walk and into the house again like that had been their plan all along.  Just a quick two minute run and then home again. Yep, that's all we wanted.... honest.......
Anvik, Alaskan Husky, age 9
So we manage to make it there, only 5 minutes late, to find that they were behind. HUGELY behind. We waited. And waited, AND WAITED. Oddly, I didn't even really mind, because, unlike waiting in a doctor's office, at least here I had my dogs to keep me company. They are much better company than most people most of the time, and definitely preferred company to people all of the time, so it wasn't a big deal. Both Abai and Anney were fine - just updated shots, heartworm check, etc. It's my old lumpy girl, Willow, who is at least 13, but could be older, as she was a rescue off the city streets a few hours north of me, who's the worry. She has very little hip function anymore, can't climb stairs, gets her feet knocked out from under her if one of the younger ones runs too close, or over top of her when she is trying to go in or out. She's in a lot of pain, breathes too heavily too much of the time, has gone stone deaf and has cataracts besides. So, with all that confirmed, updated shots for her, Rimadyl for pain ($26.00 for 14 tablets, 2 tablets per day... ouch) and Dasaquin for a joint supplement (75.00 a bottle for 60 tablets, at two per day... double ouch) (and her breathing difficulty is called "old dog lungs," btw, which was new for me) - two solid hours later, we came home. $474.87 lighter in the checkbook.
Willow, curled up on her orthopedic mat in front of the heater, with her best cat friend Tequila
I guess I could have stomached that a bit better if it weren't for the fact that on Friday, next week, the two black and whites go for their turn, which will likely be a good $250.00.Sigh.
      AND, today, the stray cat we took in a few years back (because the scummy neighbors who adopted her as a kitten moved a year later and left her behind) went to have oral surgery. Yes. ALL her teeth have now been removed due to rotting - no idea why. Bad genes, apparently.  I have put it off for two years because I could not make myself pay the thousand dollars it was quoted as likely going to cost me. After two years, though, I could no longer stand to watch her shake herself in pain when a piece of dry food got caught between her teeth, and she didn't even have the ability to eat soft food without pain. She would just lick the gravy and could not seem to eat the mush part and was losing weight, and her breath stunk so badly you couldn't stand to have her near you. Unfortunately, she is the lovey-est cat who simply LIVES to be near you and to love you, and the guilt was killing me. Everyone I know tells me how absolutely ridiculous it is to pay a thousand dollars for a cat's teeth. A cat I didn't even really want, or love. And while I agree, it IS ridiculous, I also wonder, really, what are my choices. I could not ask the vet to put her down. There is nothing health-wise wrong with her. I could not bring myself to ask anyone to shoot her, although that was the most often recommended advice of people. Finally, I just decided to suck it up, use my savings and try to make it up somehow by cutting from some other areas until I get it put back. Yes, it's dumb and I hate that I had to do it. I wish I were somehow a little harder inside. But, I'm not. And maybe there will be some karma someday for having done it. Maybe Katie cat will save my life someday. Or something.
     So, the week isn't full enough of animal care - and the accompanying financial pain! - but last night, I find I've lost a couple of chickens to, likely, Miss Anvik the noted chicken killer (not her fault they ended up in her back yard) but that Bramble, my Border Collie, managed to save one and herd her to me at the back door. That story, or what I think is the story, is actually pretty funny, but I'll save that for another post. For now, I have a crippled chicken living in my kitchen. I hope it's temporary. And no, I'm NOT taking this one to the vet, no matter what. I love my chickens, probably far more than Katie-cat, but I am NOT spending vet money to make her well. She can live in a cage and be a, well, a,   I don't know, a front porch chicken, or something, the rest of her life, if she has to. Not a house chicken (though she does seem to be pretty happy laying on a lap...) and I am NOT spending money to make her uncrippled if she doesn't manage to do that on her own. She will just have to get over it. That's all there is to it!  Go ahead, call me heartless, I just don't care.
Poor thing - unlike the dogs and cats, she has no name......
Perhaps I could make some money off this bird to put towards my current "animal sanctuary" - she seems to be absorbing much from the EMT textbook... the first Chicken EMT???