Friday, May 27, 2011

Chicken Chronicles: Patio Livin'

More from the Chicken Chronicles... wherein the chicks take over the patio until the coop gets finished. Take it away, Lisa!


Chicken Update!
May 12, 2001

Well, we have a little bit of sad news.  One of our little blue Ameraucanas didn't make it.  We had one that just wasn't getting any bigger and last week the size difference was pretty drastic so I was really worried.  And then one day it just couldn't hardly wake up and I couldn't get it to eat or drink and eventually it passed away.  Poor little thing!  I knew there was a good chance this would happen so I was prepared, but still a little heartbroken.  :-(

But the good news is that the rest of the 18 are doing great and getting BIG!!!  I love these silly chickens!  They are so fun to watch and listen to.  They are a lot of fun.  The other bad news though, the coop is still not finished!!!  And so all 18 chickens are still living in our house!  Haha - I'm almost embarrased to admit that!  What's worse is that I'm going to be a little sad when the day comes for them to go outside!  I had decided to move them out to the screened-in porch this weekend but WILL decided it was still too chilly at night.  So anyone that has heard Will talk about how they are my chicks, not his, and he has nothing to do with it knows the real story! 

Here's a couple of shots from this morning of us playing with some of our sweeties. Here's Liam with a Light Sussex - there are 3 and they are all the friendliest of the bunch by far.  They seek out attention and are little darlings.

Here's one of the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes.  They are also very friendly little buggers.

And a group shot from in the playpen.

The funniest new thing about them is that a couple of their voices are changing and now amid all the constant peeping is an occasional awkward big chicken cluck.  It cracks me up every time.  I'm now just waiting for my first little cock-a-doodle-doo!!  We have gotten a good bit done on the coop and if the weather cooperates hopefully by the weekend the run will at least be finished enough for outdoor playtime.  Anyone of you handy folks feel like coming over this weekend????

The Big Chicks Move Outside!
May 20, 2011

So last night we finally bit the bullet and moved our big 6 week old chicks outside.  I really needed to clean out their pen and thought that even though I had wanted to move them out in the morning rather than at night, I just needed to do it.  Will was funny and pulled up the weather and decided we should wait until Sunday just to be sure.  So we agreed on that and I went to get them all cleaned out.  But as soon as I was about to add the new bedding I just couldn't stand it.  The mess and dust in our kids' playroom was just overwhelming and I decided they had to go.  So Will helped me move the pen out to the screened-in porch and we cranked up their heat emitter and moved them out!  

The Light Sussex chicks are still the friendliest of the bunch.  Always very curious!

They settled in quickly and I even had to turn the heat down a bit.  I guess we were silly worrying so much!  This morning the chicks were doing great and I love having them on the porch.  I can open up the top and let them fly out to come and play.  And we can watch them from inside and see what they're up to.  They are so fun!  Here's a little of our morning play time.

This little one was just taking off to fly over to the couch.  Liam cracks up and gets so excited when they fly around!

My beautiful Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.  But, a boy.  Booooooo.  I think he is the prettiest of the whole bunch and I'm bummed he's a boy.  I hope to find him a really good home though.

I love how curious they are.  This girl is saying "Hmmm... what's going on in there?"

The other 4 are still inside and are getting their feathers VERY slowly, so it will be a while before they go out.  But the dust from 4 chicks is way more manageable than from 18!!!  Now if we can just get that coop finished the big chicks will be ready in no time!

In other news, we are very excited for the Henside the Beltline Tour D'Coop tomorrow!  If you are looking for a fun, family friendly outdoor activity this weekend you should check it out at!  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drill. Rip. Grunt. Repeat.

All week I've been working from the home office to the sounds of drilling, ripping, and grunting downstairs. Our Irish-heritage carpenter has been installing a new fireplace mantel/shelving situation that he built for us so that we can get our television off the floor. And hopefully so that I can ignore the fact that I accidentally bought an enormous television for T that is way too large for our tiny living room. Anyway... I'm slowly becoming buds with this guy. True story: T asked him the backstory of his company name, and this is his response:

"Well, I figure women are the real decision-makers of the household and control all the buying power, so I decided that I needed a romantic Irish name that would conjure up a little faraway romance for them."

He's sort of hilarious.

Anyway, I've got nothing new for you. Our Memorial Day weekend will consist of pushing hard around the house to get this place ready for next weekend, when my sister-in-law and her husband visit before they jet back to Austria for hockey season. I expect we'll be adding some drills/rips/grunts to the house soundtrack all on our own until they arrive.

More chicken updates, coming soon. To make up for the uninteresting home renovation clutter that is my brain.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two years ago today...

...this happened.

We still do this all the time, by the way. A crossing guard just follows us around.

It's been an amazing two years. A ton of change (moving to a new city! buying a house! etc!), but none of it anything I'd rather do with anyone else. Life is good with this one by my side. Or dipping me in the crosswalk.

Happy two years, my love.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lisa's not-quite-Backyard Chicken update!

While I'm recovering from a weekend of laid-back girly goodness with my college crew, I thought I'd hand the blog over to my sister, who has some chicken updates for you! Take it away, Lisa!


Chick Update!
April 18, 2011

Our 1st set of chicks are getting big!  They have the most beautiful wing feathers coming in and little bitty tail feathers.  They have become very friendly little things, too!  As soon as we open the brooder they're jumping all over us hoping we have treats for them. 

And big, huge, gigantic thanks to our friends Steve and Danyelle for lending us their generator during the crazy storm!  A tornado went through extremely close to our house and the power was out from about 3:30 on Saturday until 4 on Sunday.  I was so worried about our chicks and the eggs on lockdown in the incubator getting too cold, but thanks to them all the big chicks and at least one of our little Ameraucanas are doing well!  Here's the 1st little hatchling at about 5:00 this morning!

I keep staring at the incubator anxiously waiting for some sign of life from any of the other eggs, but nothing yet.  I don't really have a plan if none of the others hatch and don't know what I'll do with one lonely little hatchling!  Here's hoping at least one more hatches!  And so far this little "girl" is looking to have the most beautiful coloring and was hatched out of the very bluest egg!  I'm feeling very lucky to have any at all but this poor little thing really needs a friend!
The coop has finally made a bit more progress also.  We put up our 1st section of hardware cloth!  All this crazy weather and crazy kid stuff has delayed progress, but hopefully we can make up for lost time. 
Here's a couple more cute chick shots.  I am so in love with these babies!!!

I love this action shot!

On a sad note my one little Cochin egg did not hatch.  So sad!  But hopefully there will be Cochins in our future one way or another!  We'll see!  In the meantime, please keep your fingers crossed for the other 6 little tornado eggs!!!

19 Chicks!
April 27, 2011

Well, my lone little Ameraucana didn't stay lonely too long.  He had 4 little buddies hatch also!  One turned out to not be an Ameraucana, but a cute chubby little Easter Egger - which is a blue egg laying mixed breed.  She had a 50% chance of being what is called "frizzled" but looks to just be a normal smooth feathered little chick.  A sweet and friendly one though!  Here are a few pics of the new cuties from the past week!

Here they are when first moved to their brooder (formerly known as my homemade hatcher!) - the one standing and glaring at the camera is the first hatched, now known as "Stevie" thanks to our friend that kindly loaned us his generator to save my little chickies!  He has grown on me now, but nearly got the boot.  He was a very unfriendly and naughty chick the first couple of days of his little mini-rooster life.  I am 100% sure he is going to turn out to be a he.  Well, maybe I should say 99% just in case since I don't really know what I'm talking about and all!!!  He is going to be black and the others are all blue!
Here's one of the blues a couple days ago.

Here's my little Easter Egger!  So sweet!  She (I'm hoping!) will also lay blue eggs!

So in this brooder I don't have a fancy ceramic heat emitter so the poor little guys have a light on them 24 hours a day.  I decided to give them a little stuffed bear that they can climb under to get out of the light and sleep just like a little mama hen and not only does it work great, but it makes for a whole lotta cuteness!!!!

Here you can see their little wing feathers are already coming in.  They are going to be such a pretty color!

Now onto the big kids!  They were starting to get cramped in their old brooder and able to fly up onto the sides so last week we moved them up into their new home!  Here they are before the move getting a treat of cucumber.  They were so cute.  Not sure what to do with it but one would finally be brave and grab a piece and all the others would start chasing it around and they'd steal it from each other.  They had fun!

And then now here they are in their new digs! They love the room to fly and chase each other around.

Here's a pic of them from just last night.  Aren't they getting big and very chickeny!?!

And here's my big boy.  He is a Welsummer and his comb is HUGE!  He runs around with his neck all stretched out long and tells everybody who's boss.

This is one of the two little black Orpingtons.  They are cuties and the smallest and least feathered of the group.

The top left corner is one of the *girl* Welsummers (I hope!) and 2 of the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes.

And one of the three Sussex.  They are funny and the most inquisitive of the group.  They are all very fascinated with Bella dog and get right up to her nose through the playpen.  Too cute!

And as for the coop, with the crazy couple of weeks we've had with Lucas having a little procedure done, Liam breaking his leg, then getting sick, STILL not being able to walk, and the dozen or so doctor appointments to go along with all of this, we just haven't gotten much done. There are 2 sides of the run kinda almost done, but that's it. We desperately need to get working on it because these chickens are getting bigger by the day!!! Just how long can you go living with almost 20 chickens in your house???????? If Will doesn't get cracking I guess we'll find out!!!!! Honestly, I enjoy them being where we can watch them.  I love listening to their little noises and being able to check in on them constantly. They are really quite low maintenance and I am discovering that chickens are my zen. I highly recommend the website if any of you are getting sucked in by this chicken cuteness and considering starting your own flock!!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Never say I only show the good stuff

My freshman year college roommate is spending the night tonight. It occurred to me that of all possible houseguests, Amy is the perfect one for this moment in time. "This moment in time" being the very unready-for-houseguests state of our house. The current state of the guest room isn't really that far off from our college digs, after all. Seriously, take a look (and shield your eyes from the flourescent yellow paint).

Okay, the color doesn't look that bad on screen. But in person, you practically need sunglasses. And this from a girl who likes color.

So I'm imagining this room with an old-school desktop computer in the corner, a dozen posters and photos taped to the wall, and several cups of coffee lying around. Pretend that bed's unmade, and this looks exactly like the college freshman dorm experience that Amy and I rockedsurvived.

After doing all of that together, Amy is immune to shock. She can hang in this sort of environment. Probably get a great night's sleep, even. We may need it. Tomorrow morning we're headed down to Greensboro, NC to rendezvous with the other half of our college girl gang. No painting will be done. Much wine will be consumed (at least for the non-preggos in the bunch). Many laughs will be had. And it will be exactly, precisely what I need most.

(Did I mention there won't be any painting?)

Have a great weekend, folks!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Color peeks

Is anyone else using their one spare minute of the day to hungrily gulp down all the seedy details of the bastard IMF chief rape charge like it's an episode of Law and Order: SVU?

No? Just me?

Anyway... it's been hard for me to break away and blog. Work has been nuts, so when I'm not working I'm in a sort of frenzied rush to make up for lost time around the house. I wonder if I'd feel this way as strongly if I didn't work from home. Because I'm here all day, the evidence of omgsomuchlefttodo is all around me. I can't escape it. My brain's on overdrive, with visions of brush strokes appearing as soon as I close my eyes. My arms are phantom painting, even when they're still. And yet, there is truly so much left to do. At some point late last week we realized that by continuing to work on our big projects we were letting the little things like organization and clothes-unpacking fall by the wayside, so we spent a half-day on Saturday and Sunday focusing on organization. This helped tremendously, but I still can't find 9/10 of my warm-weather clothes. A friend commented to me that I'm making great time getting this house in order, and my jaw dropped. Me, making great time? I feel like the slowest settler-in-er on the planet. See also: me being my toughest critic.

At any rate, I have a charged camera and a somewhat charged computer back in my possession, but since I'm lacking the time to do detailed posts, how about some sneak peeks instead? More coming soon, I promise.

You know my favorite thing about sneak peek pictures, by the way? They're just tiny little slivers of a space that help you imagine a room that's not full of boxes and randomness. Maybe you can even believe something's hanging on the wall or some such madness. With that, let your imaginations run wild:

Our living room/entryway/stairs are now a color called "Chestertown Buff" by Benjamin Moore. We've called it every possible incarnation of this name on accident or accidentally on purpose, including "Charlestown Tough," who we like to think of as a Townie, or "Provincetown Ruff," the perfect name for a P-town gay bar.

The dining room is a light olive green from Benjamin Moore called Olive Branch - the perfect backdrop to these peonies. Olive Branch is not, by the way, the same color as Olive Tree, a color I mistakenly bought a quart of over the weekend. Oh yes, my paint follies continue!

Lo and behold, I finally selected a color for the kitchen! This is huge, folks. I'll get more into my deep thoughts about it later, but for now, here's a dash of BM's Azores on the kitchen wall, featuring small punches of red and orange to represent my red dishes and flame Le Creuset. I'm pretty pumped about it.

And last but not least, some major bathroom progress!

Exciting times over here. We are all paint, all the time.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Estrogen at work

Pictureless blogging continues! An update from yesterday's technology debacle: I took my computer to the doctor and she is in fact suffering from an internal problem. Farewell, my dreams of simple cord replacement! They are diagnosing her right now and I should have a report back soon. Deep breaths over here. A week without my shiny red friend isn't the end of the world. Right?

Despite being an average day of working from the home office, attending to deadlines and such, today's already featured some dramatic moments, all by 3 p.m.

First, I looked out my office window this morning to see a strange man in uniform standing over our car. What is he...? Surely he's not...? Writing us a ticket?! Given that my morning telecommute uniform consists of braless pajamas and the chances of me having unearthed a hoodie from the contractor-bagged "clothes room" at this point in the moving process are beyond nil, I was unable to burst out of the house to confront him immediately. Thirty seconds later, though, I'm in jeans and a t-shirt, run outside to politely ask WTF, and see him nowhere. The ticket on our car says "No Permit Displayed. No Zone 6 Permit." Guess where the ticket was placed underneath the windshield wipers? Right over our Residential Zone 6 Permit. Now guess who jumped in said vehicle and tore off in pursuit of the idiotic officer? This girl. With a bra on, I can do anything, apparently. I drove for a good ten minutes on every street around, but no luck. Please pause to imagine the creativity with which I worded my contested ticket form.

I rode my adrenaline high through a final edit and into a restorative errand-running work break with my new neighbor Nole (have I not yet mentioned that one of the best things about my new neighborhood is that this gal lives a ten-minute walk away?! We are loving it!). Shortly after submitting a huge document (me) and dealing with a server problem (her), we telecommuters did a little neighborhood grocery, plant, and paint-shopping to get some fresh air and sunshine. And there, in the neighborhood paint store where I've already spent a pretty penny since moving to the 'hood, stood something I'd never before seen behind that counter: a woman.

Words cannot describe the level of helpfullness this woman embodied. We discussed colors, we discussed projects, we spoke the same language. I relayed to her my dismay at being the owner of five pints of color that are now useless because the colors were rejects, and she looked at me and said, "I understand." Magic words, those words. She understands.

Then she apologized that the actual sample sizes of paint were no longer carried by the store, but said she'd be happy to sell me one if they still had the color I needed in stock. She whipped out a handy spreadsheet and discovered that how about that, Olive Branch is indeed a color sample that they still have on hand! So she sold it to me. For $3.

Keep in mind that after countless trips to this store asking for color samples, the Men at Work have never once told me about these samples or bothered to look at a spreadsheet. I've gone home with a pint of $7 paint each time. Five times. And been the subject of much eye-rolling.

But the Most Helpful Saleswoman Of All Time understands my dilemma. She gets me. She doesn't want me to continue wasting paint and money.

Men at Work at Ye Olde Neighborhood Paint Shoppe: be warned. I have received good service, and I just might not go back to the ways of the past.

Even better: the sample of Olive Branch is looking pretty good on the dining room walls right now. Alongside a lineup of several other colors that I now own against my will.

Neighborhood paint swap, anyone? Bueller?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Out of power

Consider the following power-related complications in my life, which add up to me being a lousy blogger:
  • My computer won't charge when plugged in. Actually, it has the capability to charge, but only if you find the tiny sweet spot of charging capability by twisting and turning the plug for fifteen minutes. Once you do that, don't dare unplug or move the computer. Two nights ago I couldn't sleep and decided to shop for a soap dispenser in bed at 1 a.m. Talk about bold, me daring to move the computer from its precisely angled perch on the desk with the cord sitting just so. That soap dispenser I never purchased could become the most expensive soap dispenser ever, as my computer never regained the ability to charge after my search. Hopefully I can take the computer into someone today over lunch to figure out the problem, but can we talk about how little time I have right now to devote to things going wrong? So. Annoying.
  • My phone is also having a problem charging. It has a cute little docking station at night that turns it into a bedside clock, and only through a painfully slow series of twisting and pushing motions will it find a charge and regain full power overnight as intended. If I accidentally get the phone charged but the dock is still turned to face me, I'm screwed, because it's too bright to face the bed and I have to then turn it away from me, thus restarting the entire "finding a charge" scenario. A traditional charger works only when pressed in and up while plugged into the phone. As soon as I let go, the charge is lost. Again: things I don't have time to deal with. Also: so damn annoying!
  • I still can't find my camera charger, which I know I packed somewhere extra smart, but this girl who is rapidly losing all sense of smarts while still living amongst boxes and bags has no idea where that place might be. I finally broke down yesterday and ordered a new one. $13 seems worth the ability to take photos of our progress around the house, or the insane amount of peonies in bloom in our neighborhood, or hyjinks during next weekend's college girls reunion. Of course, as soon as the thing gets delivered I'll probably find the original one. But until then, I'm just stuck with yet another useless device. My home office is becoming a graveyard of electronics. (This is a good time to mention that my printer's not working either, right?)
And so, without worries about keeping up digitally, I paint. We have a great new color taking over downstairs, and a slew of other options waiting for the dining room.

Side barely-related rant: Why can't Benjamin Moore sell actual sample sizes of paint? I want a Home Depot/Behr-sized paint sample when I'm truly just figuring out the right color, not a full pint of it. While I love the opportunity to purchase pint-sized cans of paint, I now have four pints of paint that were used only to dip a brush into it once. This is a huge waste of paint, and money. And I'll probably end up buying four more before our place is fully painted.

Okay, randomness is prevailing today. This is what happens when I'm using my wonky old work computer and no photos. Wish me luck on my epic journey to get recharged later today (ha ha ha), if it happens. There is a pressing work project and afternoon meeting in the suburban office to content with as well. Sigh. At least there is an Echo and the Bunnymen concert tonight. Echo! I know! So pumped.

And also there is this great paint on the walls downstairs. Which I will show you as soon as my nice camera actually works again. I think we learned in the last blog post that my barely-charged phone does not exactly translate colors very well.

[Most random blog post ever, now coming to an end.]

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hello yellow

I've always had an iffy relationship with the color yellow, shoes and flowers notwithstanding. I have a couple of friends who look brilliant in yellow (sunny blonde Kate, I salute you!), but I've never been quite sure it's my color. The closest I've ever come is a great gold ikat print cardigan, which I wear all the time, but usually offset with something from my jewel tone comfort zone, such as a green or turquoise tank. However, it appears that something's in the [proverbial] [yellow] water. Think those yellow Tubes might have started something? Consider these scenes from the weekend:

Pre-pic apology: I still can't find my camera charger (I packed it someplace "where I wouldn't lose it," of course), so take these phone pics for what they're worth.

This "must have" little bowl from West Elm:

This dress I obsessed over in March, acquired in May at 70% off, perfect for a wedding in June:

This lineup of paint samples downstairs (camera quality note: those dark colors are green, not gray!):

And finally, a sneak peek of our bathroom, where we're getting so close. Navy and yellow is a color combination I've been wanting to do forever, but I put a sophisticated spin on it with this sexy-smoky blue and a rich gold print on the towels:

Anyone else have a case of yellow fever lately?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Feliz Cumpleanos, Lisa!

Today's the birthday of one of my favorite people on the planet... my sister! I always thought having a Cinco de Mayo birthday was beyond cool... talk about having a built-in party atmosphere for your big day! While it's possible that Lisa may not be donning a sombrero and downing margaritas this year due to life being a wee bit hectic, I'm looking forward to a raucous belated celebration as soon as can get herself up to DC. In the meantime, let's give a warm round of birthday cheer to the girl who's also known as....


(not to mention part-time backyard chicken blogger... I told her that she had requests for a full-time blog!)




and now...

Happy birthday, sis!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Calendar of Shame, updated

So you might remember my Calendar of Shame that tracked workouts, posted on my front door where I was forced to face it daily. In January and February I successfully tracked three workouts per week, and began March and April with a goal of tracking four workouts per week.

I was awesome in March. April, not so much.

Here's what happened. By the night of the 7th, a nagging wrist injury I'd developed (not the first time this has happened with Jillian, I must admit) exploded into serious pain, so I layed off for a few days. Why didn't I just jump on the treadmill and spare the wrist, you ask? Well, that's also the same time that a little thing called house renovation and moving started. My free time was nonexistent. Those blank weeks in April look like nothing happened on the calendar, but I actually probably sweated more then than during my awesome workout weeks... and I certainly woke up with more muscle fatigue. So while I was sore and tired and killed myself around this house for two weeks, I also never donned worked clothes and got my groove on in a concentrated period of elevated heartrate. Yes, I'm hard on myself, but I admit that the Calendar of Shame makes me feel, well, shameful. To make myself feel better, I annotated the calendar, but this also perpetuates the feeling that I'm just making excuses.

I finally got back to it a bit last week. Working out during lunch and then spending all night painting isn't a bad way to stay active. I've recommitted myself to kicking some major ass in May and June and making the 4x/week goal without excuses. A new calendar will be printed as soon as I can manage to set up my printer. Seriously, my home office looks like a scene from Hoarders right now.

In other possibly related news, I unexpectedly found out that my thyroid is out of whack. I have an appointment next week with an endocrinologist to sort things out and begin taking synthetic thyroid supplements, and the vainer side of me can't help but wonder how this might impact my metabolism. As I told a friend recently, I'm willing to do the work to stay in shape and be fit... I don't have a problem with that. I'd just like the work to pay off a bit more, that's all.

Do any of you have experience with hypothyroidism? Any tips for keeping up a workout regimen in the midst of major life "To Do" lists? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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