Sunday, December 22, 2013

Snow Day

Today is a snow day. Yep, it's a Sunday, but Mass was cancelled so we stayed home and shoveled out the driveway.  It's been an odd week; I've slipped and fallen on the front steps due to the ice storm a few days ago. This morning I was going down the back stairs to release the flock when I slipped and fell again.

Minion Slippers
My right leg has taken quite a beating so far. I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the day. We've gotten the tree decorated, and I'm making peanut butter balls.  They are coated with chocolate, so I will need to refridgerate them for a few hours before that happens.  I'm finishing up a pair of Minion slippers for my cousin. The pattern I'm using is the Aunt Maggie's Slippers and it's working up pretty fast. Of course, it would be faster if I could figure out where I put my size 9 double-pointed needles! Meh. I'll just seam them up when I am done.

School is done. I've had 4 whole days of nothing to do. So I'm reading the Mortal Instruments Series and knitting stuff. Mittens made from handspun wool. These are wicked warm ones that I made by doubling the yarn. There is also a mens sweater being knitted from Lion Brand Fisherman's wool. I had originally started it for Dave, but the sizing is coming off small. So it will be an Alex sweater.

The snow has stopped for today and I hear it's going to get butt-cold out there. So we'll need to keep an eye out to make sure the animals stay warm.  So far, the roosters are showing a bit of frostbite on their huge combs, but as it's on the tips, it's par for the course.   While Dave was out snowblowing the driveway, Sissy the goose was wandering trying to find her flock. She waddled up to me near the house and then took off to beside the goose house which was far from the rest of the flock .

I took pictures, and this one turned out the best. Wouldn't that have made a great Christmas Card? Now that Dad is done making lots of noise with the snowblower, she's back to laying on the straw in the garage next to the van. She's not a cold weather goose, nor a very hot weather goose. She is a very friendly goose, however.  She loves Dave though.

Last weekend, it was below freezing, and Sissy was acting odd. So I picked her up and took her inside to make sure she was OK.  I went outside to get some feed for her and came back in to this:

A Goosie girl on top of Dave. No, I didn't ask why.  Dave has a pet goose. That girl can do a lot of things to him and he just lets her. That morning, it was stand on top of Dave. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I am NOT happy, happy, happy

So A&E essentially fired Phil Robertson, Patriarch of the Duck Commander/Buck Commander clan. Why? Because he spoke in an interview with GQ (why I have no idea) about his Christian beliefs and what the Bible teaches about the sin of homosexuality. aaand this is where I lose my last follower. But let me clarify another misconception about the Catholic Church:

You can BE a homosexual and still belong to the church. You just can't practice homosexuality, which is considered a sin. What level of sin it is..I do not know, but the PRACTICE of it is the sin..not the being.

There are millions of people out there that have the same opinions as Phil. I am one of them. He did put them out succinctly, albeit a bit more crass than I would. I'm not going to quote the whole article because most of the news outlets online have made sure that the first two paragraphs are alllllllllllll ooooovvvvvvvvvvvvver the place, but this is the paragraph that I remember the most:

"Robertson released his own statement in response to the flap early Wednesday: "I myself am a product of the '60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."

OF COURSE most of the news outlets took out the part of Phil's quote that stated that God taught Christians to love one another regardless of their sins. The judgement of a sinful person is left to God. Our role as Christians is to love one another, treat them with respect and continue living our lives according to the rules set by God. Or as we say, 'love one another, let God sort them out'

I find it very interesting and very telling of today's media in general that two days after reading that particular paragraph in an article, I cannot find it now. All I can find is the crass statements, and the extremely skewed and hypocritical response from somone calling themselves a 'spokesman' of the Gay group.

A&E can stick it for all I care. There's a whole lot of condemnation of anything that smacks of Christianity lately. There's a lot of reasons for it, but most center around the fact that these are rules set by God and not by man. Man wants to rule this country, but by rules they've set out. The biggest one is that *they* are God and any other God is just a figment of imagination, a 'balm for the ignorant.' as they say. I've seen a lot of people who profess to be Atheist and moral stick their noses up in the air and state, "I'm moral not because a fake thing told me to but because *I* told me to." Well whoopty ding dong!

It's a lot harder to follow rules made up by God. The choice of what rules to follow are already set. Whether or not you follow them is up to you, but if you don't, you die and go to Hell. If you follow rules that you did not make, but are set to make you a better person. You die and get to go to Heaven.

Yet, in a way, it's easier to follow rules made up by another. You do not need to keep resetting the rules, adding one or taking one away; the rules are set! I follow the Commandments of God, and most of them are based on one thing: Don't be greedy. Don't take stuff that's not yours: Material or non-material.

God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have been around for over 2,000 years. The presence of God -and God's rules - will be around much longer than even USA. Hate to tell those who pretend to run the country, those who try to spin their evil ways on the media, and those who stick their noses in the air pretending to be God.............but in the end.............God wins.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

For those of you with a Non-Christian, Non-Catholic background: There actually was a St. Nicholas. He lived in the 4th Century in Greece. He was known for putting coins in the shoes of orphan girls so that they had dowries to get married. Over the centuries, that's been turned into Santa Claus.

We all know I'm married to a man who resembles Santa Claus. We get that all the time. Some child will come up to him or me and ask, "Is THAT Santa Claus?" We play along. Our favorite was a child who was touring this old log cabin in the center of Dinosaur National Monument at the same time we were. We were there in June on our Great American Vacation II. This child was whispering to her Mom as we walked around, and finally her Mom said out loud, "I don't know if that's Santa Claus. ASK HIM!"

Now this log cabin is like a 4 room shack -no running water, heated by wood. The woman who lived there was reputed to be a lover of Billy the Kid. So we're milling around checking out the construction and stuff.  Dave walks by the child and says, "Yep. I'm Santa. This is what Santa does on his vacation. He goes camping with his family."  I walk by from the other side, saying. "Now if you want to ask him something, you better do it now. He'll remember when he gets back to work." By now this child is talking to Dave and Mom is smiling. Dave asks the usual, "Have you been a good girl?" and she nods.

Alex walks by then and without missing a step, "YOU think it's hard being good for Santa? Try being his Son." and we continue on our visit.  It's entertaining for both us and the children.  I mean, if you're going to resemble someone, it might as well be someone good, right?

I must confess that I am more positive about Christmas than I have been in a long while. Perhaps the fallout with the In-Laws' was a benefit. All that stress is gone and I'm truly looking forward to a holiday at home with MY family.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

For future Reference, The Pdf file

For future reference: the guide to down comforter making in pdf form is available for free on Google Docs:

Part II: From Duck to comforter

The gathering of the feathers was done over the course of 3 months. Every Saturday, my husband killed 2 more ducks and I plucked the feathers and down, separating the two. The cleaning, sorting and filling of the comforter was done in one day.

just a bit of clingy down
As I mixed the down with the feathers in the big plastic tub. I tipped the big brown grocery bag with the down over the tub and shook until most of them were in the tub.  Now...hold your breath, or breathe to the side. DON'T breathe into the tub or you'll look like a tar&feather victim.

Using the two bread bags was helpful. After mixing the down and feathers together like folding eggs into an Angel Food Cake batter, I stuffed the bread bags about 3/4 full. And I do mean STUFF.  Then, twisting the top of the bag, I stuffed it into the channel I had sewn into the comforter.
bag of down + feathers

 For the comforter itself, I am using 120" muslin purchased from the Fabric Store. Normally, this is used as quilt backing. It is 120" wide by however long you want. This comforter was measure to be 61" wide by the 120" length. I folded it in half and sewed it on each side with a 1/4" seam allowance to make one really big pouch that measured 60" by 60" which was big enough for a twin bed or a comfy throw for the couch.

breadbag in the channel
As I put the bread bag with feathers + down into the channel, I pushed it towards the closed end so the feathers would not fall out of the opening. Then, scrunching the bag while it is in the channel and trying to force the feathers out of the bag, I manage to get most of them into the channel.  It sucked, actually, but it was better than nothing.

Feathers and Down in the channel squished along the whole row

After pulling the bag out of the channel with wthe 1/3 of the contents left in the bag, I just dipped my hand in the bag, grabbed the remaining stuff and stuck it in the channel. That's when my black shirt turned all downy. Then, I sewed up the rest of the channel so it was closed.

The line for the channel was drawn with pencil and aided by a ruler. I measured down from the edge 10" and marked it with the pencil. Since I am intending on washing the entire comforter after it is finished, the pencil is ok. The mark will be washed away. And after the first channel, others were measure and marked 10" from the other channel.
all channels are filled!
 It did occur to me 2/3 of the way through this process that I could've just sewn the channels via sewing machine horizontally, then fill the channels and sew just one edge closed.That would be the most efficient way to do it.

I'll do that next time.

So all channels were filled, and I did sew the entire width shut on my machine. It was bulky, but easy enough if I left most of the bulk hanging off the left end of the table.

It took about 6 hours to fill the blanket, most of it was done watching Pride & Prejudice, which seemed apropos to the job. If you watch the one with Kiera Knightly in it, it has a few scenes where you'll see geese wandering around. They are either buff Toulouse or Pilgrim geese.

I will be sewing channels perpendicular to the ones already created to 'lock in' the down. I've done one row, and it is something that needs to be done by hand definitely. The loft of the blanket makes it difficult, but if you've ever quilted by hand before, it is the same technique. I'm using 2 strands of Embroidery floss to do it, only because my Mom scored a huge bag of it at a rummage sale and I've been trying to find ways to use it.

I've used the comforter as it is for a few days. It is definitely warm and cozy under it, so much so that I find myself wanting to stay under it for all times. Had I to do it again, I'd make it about 6" longer so it covers me from shoulder to over my toes. I'm 5'6", so that would be 66" tall by 60" wide.

A few facts about ducks and their down:

  1. Duck down is said to last 15 years, goose down 20
  2. Ducks mate for life. 
  3. Ducks lay eggs that ARE edible, larger than chicken eggs and have a thicker white.
  4. Ducks prefer to mate in water
  5. To incubate a duck eggs takes 30 days, a consistent temperature of 99.2 degrees Faherenheit, humidity levels must be above 60%, the ability to turn them at least 3 times a day,and need to be sprayed with water.
  6. The Aflac Duck is a breed called a Pekin. They never say Aflac.
  7. You can tell the boys from the girls because they have a curl in their tail. Also, they have a lower, raspier voice. The loudmouth ducks are the gals. 
  8. I've hardly ever seen my flock without each other. They are truly flock animals and depend on each other for company. When they walk, they walk in a line behind each other. It's hilarious. 
  9. They can stand the cold, snowy weather. I've seen 'em lay on the snowdrifts just acting like it's a summer day. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

From Duck to Bed: The definitive down comforter-making guide

For those of you who have no compulsion to read about how to create your own down comforters, I suggest reading something else for a week. I'm starting off from the butchering of ducks to the sewing of these comforters. This does go into some issues that some people might find offensive.

For others; I've not read a single blog on how to do this. I've read 1/2 page 'How To' that doesn't even get into how much feathers to use. This will be the guide on how to turn duck feathers into a warm and comfortable blanket that will give you years of use. I prefer to utilize as much as I can from our flock. They give their lives so we can eat and be warm. I figure it is the best way to honor their sacrifice.

How to Create a Feather Comforter from Your Own Feathers

Over the course of 3 months, Dave and I have processed 26 ducks that were hatched specifically for meat + feathers. All of them were Pekins, like the two shown here. They were hatched in April, brooded in our laundry room for two weeks and then had their own pen outside in the garage. Each day they were given free-range of the 40 acres; 5 pools in which to swim and all the All-Flock they needed to supplement their diet. After 4 months of growth, we started butchering them. 

It became apparent pretty quickly that a few things we had thought would work out fine didn't:

  1. The idea was to butchering, plucking and processing 4-6 ducks a weekend. Yeah, we ended up doing 2 a weekend. Killing takes less than a minute, plucking with the intent of saving the feathers takes about an hour a duck. Dressing them takes about 10 minutes. 
  2. The idea was to use a way to clean off pin feathers with wax. There's a youtube video of it. It works fine if you're not keeping the down of the duck, works horribly if a) it's hot outside and b) you're plucking 99% of the down off.  We ended up using a butane torch to singe off the remaining pin feathers and hairs. It takes less than a minute per duck. Remember to continuously keep your torch moving, or you'll start cooking the skin. 
  3. We probably should've waited until they were 5 months old due to feather growth. 
  4. Wait at least 1/2 an hour after you kill a duck before plucking. They will be in rigor, but it makes the plucking easier. Gently manipulate their wings and legs, then massage their breast to move the ATP from their muscle cells. This is the chemical that locks up a muscle and prevents it from moving after something has died. Also, keep their feet on and wait to dress them out AFTER you pluck. 

Plucking Ducks

Bags of feathers to be processed
In order to keep the feathers + down from the ducks, I plucked them one at a time until they were pretty much nude. Then Dave stepped in.  I did this outside, away from the wind and in full view of the ducks and geese. I was kinda wierd, because they'd come up and check out what I was doing.  I also played my ipod and sang mightily to Norah Jones and Patsy Cline while doing my thing. I think that was what they were more curious of, the singing and presence of Mom. 

In order to keep the feathers in the best condition possible, I used paper grocery bags in which to store them.  Why not plastic, you ask? Well they need to dry out a bit. Some of the feathers come with a bit of bodily fluid attached to them in their ends, plus ducks are known to bathe all the time. We corralled them for butcher about 2 hours after I let them out for the morning, so by then some of them have had their baths. This is a stack of bags in our laundry room waiting for me to pick through them. 

While plucking, I kept the feathers in one bag on my right side, and the bag with the down on my left. I learned to pluck feathers first from the breast, using my thumb and first finger to pluck just above the level of the down. Yep, you get a bit of down, but just a bit. While plucking a Pekin, you'll spot feathers that are a few shades more yellow than the others. They come out easy and should be thrown out. They are the start of blood feathers and have so much tissue w/them that they'll just rot and ruin a batch of feathers. 

You'll see these darker yellow feathers in specific areas: The neck, under each wing at the start of the breast and in the butt. If you have big fingers, invest in a good pair of pointy tweezers, or even needle-nosed pliers to help out with this plucking.  Once the feathers have been plucked from the breast, neck, and upper back. I start plucking the down and tossing it into the grocery bag on my right. They're easier to pluck and I pluck two passes on the duck, dump my down into the bag, rinse-wash-repeat. The feathers on the lower part of the duck are really soft, so I kept them with the down. Now that does not mean tail feathers, which were kept separate. 

I did try to pluck wing feathers of some of the ducks. You'll need to get at least some of the feathers off the wing so that you can get to the down. I would recommend that you get a basket or something  to put those types of rigid-quill type feathers in. I was stupid and just threw them in with the other feathers. Now I get to spend time picking them out of the box of feathers. 

Processing Feathers 

Plastic Storage bin with feathers.

In order to get at those rigid-quill feathers within a bag of soft nice warm feathers, I got a plastic storage bin with a lid and dumped the bag into it. 

Now remember: NO WIND! or you'll be picking feathers up all over your house. What you see here is the feathers off of two ducks - just the feathers. the down is in another bag.  

Those rigid-quill feathers are in there somewhere, so as I was washing the fabric that will make the cover, I picked through the box and got the bigger feathers out. 
Primary, secondary, coverts...big feathers
These can be saved as well. There is a small, but consistent demand for primary feathers among those who do re-enactments and such. I have been selling primary goose feathers to those who make their own arrows. A person who makes their own arrows is called a fletcher, and fletching is the process of making your own arrows. 

I've known persons who prefer 100% down comforters,  and that's fine. However, most commercially prepared comforters are a mix of down and feathers: Mostly about 40% down and 60% feathers.  The higher the price for a comforter, the higher the percentage of down to feather inside. 

a bag filled with down. 
I'm going for warmth and loft, so I will we doing about  a 70/40 mix or more. I intend on using the feathers + down of two ducks for each row in my comforter. The comforter itself is 60" square, so I intend on using the feathers + down of 6 - 8 ducks. I'll weigh it before and after filling to get a good gauge of how much is in there.  
the down is just soo light and fluffy that I do not intend on adding it to the box of feathers until I am ready to fill the comforter. 

I really could not think of a good way to wash the feathers before creating the comforters, so I intend on washing the entire comforter after it is sewn.  My fabric for the comforter is a 120" wide muslin purchased from the fabric store.  I cut it into a 61" wide piece, then sewed the two sides with 1/4" seam with a teeny stitch count per inch so that no feathers would leak out...hopefully.  Right now it resembles a big bag and is in the washer going through a wash cycle to make sure it is pre-shrunk.  I'm also washing a crib sized bag sewn in the same way with the dimensions of 31" wide by 60" long...again sewn like a big bag. 

Next Up: 

My intentions are to sew by hand (needle and thread, y'all) a channel 10" from the bottom of the bag with embroidery thread. I'll leave a bit open at one end so I can place the feathers inside. Then it will get sewn up. Another channel will be sewn up 10" from that one, feathers placed inside, then sewn...repeated until I am at the top end. Then after all the long tube-like channels are made, I'll sew channels perpendicular to those to make square baffles. 

Now, in order to control the flow of the feathers to the channel, I'm thinking of using recyled bread bags. I'll stuff them with the mixture of feather/down close it shut temporarily, stuff that end into the channel and squeeze until the feathers move from the bag into the channel. It's an idea, and it might not work. 

If I had a shop vac with a blower end, I'd put the feathers inside the vac (cleaned out before this) and use the vac to blow the feathers in, but I don't have a shop vac. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

In a lighter mood...

Yep, sometimes I can get pretty serious. Admittedly, I usually keep that kind of thought to myself. Sometimes it's good for others to know that actually think of more serious things than poultry and knitting and spinning. Oddly enough, some of my more deep thoughts come when I am knitting.

Friends of ours welcomed a new daughter into their family on All Hallow's Eve. She's a beautiful gal; born at home with Mom, Dad and Midwife in attendance. It's with a bit of wistfulness that I have to admit, that if Dave and I were able to have kids 1) there would be many of them, 2) they would be born at home and 3) they would be beautiful, sassy AND smart.

Instead, we shamelessly spoil all the kids we come in contact with. This little lassie was being held by her Godfather as we spoke about her adjusting to the outside world.  As you see on Mom's lap in the background, I knitted her a Lady Eleanor Stole to use as a nursing shawl.  It's out of Lion Brand amazing, so I am comfortable telling her she can throw it in the wash if little one spews on it.

With Fall & Winter babies, the nursing shawls should be a bit more substantial than a summer shawl. This gives Mom and baby a wooly band to wrap around the chest to keep both warm.

Anyone who has ever sold Plasma knows what that bottle is. The funny part is the reason I took this picture was because I needed to know if I was almost done with my 'donation.' They place you on these beds and I cannot really see around the machine to gauge how far I've got, so I open up my camer on my ipod, swing it down and take a picture.  Then I go back to reading whatever trashy book I'm on.

Handy tip: Look for a website called Book Bub.  They send you daily emails on low cost, or free ebooks through Amazon and other sources. I read these books while going through the whole plasmaphoresis routine twice a week.  It takes about an hour. You really can't do anything else while it's going on, as one hand is out of commission. That's where Alfred the squishy toy comes in handy.   He now has an added leg and a key ring stuck through the back of his head.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Who is your groomer?

A few years ago, Dave and I decided to become chaperones for the Church Youth group. Ok! What did that entail?
1. A background check.  I actually paid for the Church to run a background check on me. Guess what? I came out clean!

2. I was required to attend a 3 hour seminar on how to spot the behaviors of pedophiles so that I could alert the diocese to any unwanted attentions given to the kids during my time as a chaperone. Let me tell you, it was a very enlightening experience. The focus was on a video of 3 men, all were convicted molesters of children. They outlined deed after deed how they got to a point where they could molest kids.  It's called 'grooming.'

3. Betcha you didn't even know the Church did this, did you? You still think they are letting people molest kids all over the place and that's exactly why I am writing this now.  What you *THINK* you know, and what you know, is most likely the result of another kind of insidious grooming.

The end result may not be the molestation of kids, but the murders of people.  And trust me when I say this: Your groomers might have you believe by the time they are done that it is justified, but it will not.  Each and every day; in the schools, on television, in union shops, and on the radio you and your children are being groomed to become murderers. Who is your victim? Other Americans. Here's how they are grooming you to do their dirty work:

  • They start by becoming someone you are taught to respect: Teachers, Elders, Politicians, Supervisors, Actors.  By being in a role of respect, you are taught to obey them unquestionably because they are supposed to have skills and experiences that you don't.  
  • They allow you to experience things that are outside of your boundary. A bit of risque drink, a bit of nudity, a bit of bad language. It's always something outside of your normal realm.  Something that is a bit naughty, just a bit..  Their goal is to see if you become so uncomfortable with it that you leave their circle. They'll even laugh if you say something about this action not being right, "What are you? A prude???" Your beliefs and morals will be challenged. As they are supposed to be in a respected position, you start to think that maybe, just maybe they're right. So you stay. 
  • You are asked to let go of those associations with good people. Anyone of good morals is now considered the enemy; those who could steer you away from the dark side. In schools, we're seeing it every day: This Common Core bullshit does not allow Parents to view their own childs cirriculum, nor have any say in it.  Kids are taught that their parents are not 'smart' enough to help them with this new learning. These people in power know more than your parents now, kids.  Listen to them, not your parents.
  • Any associations that are good are demonized. Anyone with whom you still associate that could alter the course of your molester needs to be considered bad. They MUST BE DEMONIZED. They will tell you good friends, good spouses, the church, FAMILY are bad; they are evil, wrong, stupid. Their morals and beliefs hold you back, and they should be shunned because they are not 'progressive enough' A belief in Christianity is one that has become a great focus of these molesters. Christians have become evil, horrible monsters that are to be mocked, alienated and considered unhealthy for this new society. Why? Because we have morals. We believe that we should love one another and not murder.  That won't jibe with the new molesters. You must believe their morals, their tenets. You must believe THEY are the messiah, not God.
  • The Boundaries are taken down, slowly and deliberately. More and more sexualization is shown everywhere. "Sex is good! Have it all the time!" "(insert whatever deviate behavior here) is a RIGHT!"  "Sexual morality is WRONG" You get vaunted stars writhing around onstage pretending to be having sex with other stars. Another great message: THINGS are more important thant People. 'YOU MUST HAVE THIS NEW THING!! IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAN FEEDING YOUR KIDS!! YOU MUST HAVE IT!!" Objects become the focus of your life, not people.  Objects are to be hoarded, like Gollum's One Ring. And all along, you have politicians, actors, actresses, journalists all point to one person - a dissenter- and they shout: THIS PERSON IS EVIL! A RACIST EVIL BASTARD!! - and without even questioning the message or the messenger, you believe them.  
  • They destroy any evidence of what life used to be. History books are altered. Old people are euthanized. Charities are forced to close. Religion of any kind to a benevolent diety are squashed; only the religion of Climate Change and adherence to the state are permitted.  Anyone who could profess an understanding of the wrongs that this kind of lie perpetuated before are eliminated. There must be no more witnesses to anything of the life before. This New World Order MUST BE MAINTAINED!
  • Those in power slowly gather more power, until there is no way to defeat them. By the time this happens, you will not want to defeat them. Their goal will be your goal. You will have no way out of their snare. All your money goes to them. Those friends and family that could have helped are gone; banished by your belief that they were evil. All you have left is a cadre of people in the same state as you. Bereft of any opportunity to rebel, you must submit or die.  So you submit. They put a gun in your hands, point to someone and say to you, "This person is evil, they must die." And staring directly into the face of an old friend, and without compulsion, without morals, without question: You shoot them dead. 
Congratulations, your molester has turned you into a murderer. You have been groomed. 

And YES, I honestly believe that this is what is happening, and I honestly believe that this is their end game. If you don't think so.....well, either you're being groomed or in denial. How far will you allow yourself to be groomed before you say ENOUGH! and deny them. How far will this go? 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Sissy and Dave

This is a short video of our goosie Sissy chewing on Dave's hair.  She does this every night when we put away the animals. As geese go, she is the only one who shows affection towards us. Of course, she's the only one we hatched and raised.  The others were hatched elsewhere, shipped to us.

Sweet Pea will come up and give us 'kisses' by nibbling at our lower lip.  That's another video that will need to be taken to believe. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Dave and the kitty Tyler watching the game.  He was trying to get Tyler to look at me, but he wouldn't. Oh and Tigger is the big orange fluffy thing bottom center.

I gotta give props to the man, he saved my coffee maker.  He ran stuff through it until it became unplugged.  I am with coffee in the mornings! yay!!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bad Juju

Ok, if one of you is sitting there holding a voodoo doll that looks like me...can you take out the pins now? Please???

Bad Juju has followed me for about a month now. The latest layer on the crap cake is my coffee maker dieing. I mean...........really?

Last weekend the microwave gave up the ghost.  Dave pulls out the old one we had and it didn't work.  So he ended up taking it apart and repairing it.  Now we have a microwave.

I SWORE I turned on the oven last night to make dinner.  We had to sit and wait an extra hour for the tater tot caserole to bake because the oven wasn't on. Oh the timer was on, but not the oven. ~facepalm~

The entire spare bedroom needs to be emptied and have the carpets cleaned *again*. I did it two weeks ago and one of the cats has decided that it's one big litter box. Good thing all my stuff is in plastic boxes, but still.  I can't sew in there, the smell makes me wanna puke.

Which is why if you go to my Etsy shop, you will see some fiber, knitting magazines and other stuff up for sale.  I'm finding stuff and selling it. It cleans out my sewing room and helps pay tuition.

You need a picture:  

That's Daisy in her pen. Since she was attacked, she has had to suffer with a  permanently injured leg. It's broken and it repaired horribly. She hobbles around but not all that well.  She gets to bathe in those litter pans and has food and water in her fenced in area.  I tried letting her out whenever she wanted by opening the door,  but as soon as she waddled out to the area, Buddy, Sweet Pea and Gingy attacked her.  So...until she gains a bit of weight, she stays in the pen.  She gets the kennel at night in the garage with the other ducks.

It's been foggy in the mornings on my way to class.  This was shot out the window at 55mph the other day. 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Bumble Bee Tuna

Taken one morning on my way to school. This is the Rock River in Janesville on River Road.  It was a foggy morning and the water was very calm.

School is progressing.  Financial Aid is not. The final word came down that I will not get any aid this semester. I'm $500 in the hole for Calc and if I drop the class they'll add another $700 to it.

Damned if I do, Damned if I don't.

And they won't let me register for classes until I pay the $500. My only course at this time is to pick up as much money as I can selling stuff that I don't need, selling plasma and keeping expenses low.  And Dave is digging into his 401(k).  I'm less than pissed that it needs to be done, but what can you do?

I've also applied for a credit card to put the $500 tuition on. That way I can pay off minimums, STILL register for next semester and pay it off with my grants next semester.

Still not happy about that either.

On a MUCH funnier note - Dave and I watch Duck Dynasty. My BIL turned it onto it, saying it was funnier than heck. Yes, it is funny.  The epsiode where Willie's Son, John Luke is recovering from dental surgery has started a new trend here.  One night last week, Dave rolled over - and in his sleep -touched my arm and said, "Bumble Bee Tuna." It was hilarious.  Now ...I've told everyone he did this. So now I tease him that Bumble Bee Tuna is his term of affection for me.  Every once in a while I turn to him and say, "Bumble Bee Tuna"

Friday, September 27, 2013

You win some, you lose some.


1. STILL fighting with school over financial aid.  Due to the fact that I dropped that Lit class, they've withdrawn my ability to get any loan. I'm 1 credit short of what they consider 'part time'. I had my advisor find another credit -working with the theater dept.- but they say it's too late. which brings me to:

2. Fighting with the UW about that stupid flipping book. At this point, their obsessive love of this book detailing the abuse of young girl is becoming hilariously ridiculous.  You mean to tell me that this is THE  definitive book on the African-American experience? This book is 40 years old! Try finding a book from THIS century! But still...I've got an interim director who just freaked when I told her that she was being insensitive by her vehement defense of this book. She STILL defends it!

3. I've got a Calc test today. Wish me luck.

4. I came home yesterday to find 3 dead geese lined up by the mailbox.  Someone had hit 3 of Molly's girls because they were in the road.  That made a bad day much worse.  I tried to salvage some of their feathers and stuff but............dang.  

5. The rest of the flock is fine.  Daisy's dealing with the fact that her one leg is unusable.  She hops around the pen we set up for her just fine. She'll never regain use of that leg and we've consigned her future to the freezer. We'll find another breeding female duck.

6. Knitting a couple of prayer shawls, one large Queen Anne shawl and finishing up my dogbone pillow. Problem with the dogbone is that I need to find the appropriate stuffing to make it firm, yet yielding. Polyester fiberfill is not working.

7. My son has gotten a job with a fast food joint and will be working there while he attends the same school I am. He will start next semester. Right now, first things first. Let's get him working on a consistent basis.

8. I'm exploring options of what I can make and sell to bolster the budget, since the University has dropped all funding for this semester. I've gotten mixed messages: one says I will not get any grants, the other says I'll not get loans.  Well, am I getting one or the other? Because if I am getting squat, I'm dropping out for the semester.  But then I'll be without a car, which means I'm stuck here at home and need to find something that can be made and sold successfully from home.

9. Yeah, that will not be KIP Bags. No force on earth can make me go back to sewing them. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Calculus is going decently.  I sit in the back of the class next to a young man who has had the pleasure of being in two classes with me. He reminds me much of my son, Alex but with ambition.

So, Alex got discharged from the Marines for failing to meet their physical criteria.  Right now he's thinking that he'll spend 2 years copping a squat on my couch while going to community college.  Meh.  I'm still ticked about that, but apparently my prayers and my wishes will never be taken into play with his life. That's the way it goes, I guess.

(I'd credit the photo, but I'm pretty sure it's from a meme generator.)

Poultry is well, except for Daisy the Duck who got into a fight with like 1/2 the flock and was injured.
Now there's a nice, melodic story about picking maggots out of wounds that I could share, but why? It's bad enough that I got to DO it. Suffice it to say she's healed from her external wounds, but will need another month convalescing inside with that sprained foot. I snagged a nice, large wire animal kennel at a rummage sale for $5 about a month ago.  It's come in very handy to use to allow animals recuperation time in the laundry room.

We've put ducks up for sale on craigslist.  Cue the wackadoodles in 3...........2................1.  I tried to explain that phenomena to Dave, but he only saw the results of the last craigslist post, not the ton of wackadoodle emails that I got.  He doesn't want to butcher all of these ducks. I'll do it if I have to.

The WI Sheep & Wool festival went on without me this year. I had to help Dave cook meat for the Church's annual dinner/harvest fest. Up at 5:30 am and down to the church, we spent all day cooking large beef roasts.  This year it was crucial that they be cooked to perfection. Last year the reviews was that the beef was tough and dry.  The reviews were one reason Dave's partner in the cooking venture quit the church. There were other reasons, but I'm not going to get into it.

So no one else volunteered, and I sacrificed my happy day at Sheep & Wool to help.  The reviews were awesome, and Dave's been crowned KING of beef for the church.  His reputation - and the church's - has been saved. And we've got a volunteer to help Dave for next year. So back to Sheep and Wool I go.

Karma came back to me for helping, though. One of the guild members announced that she was selling some of her yarn stash at a rummage sale last week. I snagged 3 skeins of laceweight yarn 50/50 wool/silk for under 10 bucks!  The purple is above and the red to the left were part of that, plus a ball of Zauberball laceweight in my favorite hues of orange to red to purple. That and the fleece I bought online should keep me in knitting and spinning nirvana until next year.

The bag with the Vinylex is full of a plastic 'yarn' that is glow in the dark.  I also got that at the rummage sale for a buck. I don't know what I'll do with it, but's a buck!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Yeah, so that happened.

I made a hex sign. Sometimes they are called a barn quilt, but I call it a hex sign.  When I get done putting that last layer of clear on it, I'll have Dave put it on the coop. Right now it's sitting propped up on the hedge in the front yard.

The fun part is that 2/3 of the paint on this thing was free.  I had to pay for the quart of pumpkin, but the purple and cream were free quarts from Ace.  One day a year they have a free quart of paint in the color of your choice.  Dave came back with the cream, I went down for the purple.

The design is called 'flying geese'. I thought it was appropriate.

It was the first day we tried butchering ducks. Yeah, no more raising ducks for food. Next year it will be chickens. The ducks are too hard to butcher, pluck and dress. It takes about an hour a duck.

School started.  I had two classes, Calculus and Multicultural Lit. The Lit class was an online class. I was in the process of gathing the reading materials, reading the reviews of said materials and girding myself for some mediocre stuff disguised at 'Literature.' Most of it sounded OK, but I had taken issue w/the book, "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison.  Yeah, there's been a lot of grief about the book because it was recommended as part of the reading list given to High Schoolers enrolled in Common Core.  That was not my issue with it, per se.  Well, the fastest way to get through that is to copy + paste the response I gave the UW about that book:

"Reason 2: After reading reviews of the material required to read for this class, I cannot honestly say I'd be reading "The Bluest Eye". It is my understanding through reading the synopsis that this is about a young child who suffers physical and sexual abuse through an alcoholic father and an acquaintance who also molests her. As a survivor of the same type of physical and sexual abuse and of the resulting clinical depression, I cannot, nor I willingly read something that might trigger a regression. Years of psychotherapy have taught me to avoid such triggers. I would recommend to the UW that they review the need for such a book in light of the fact that I cannot be the only one who has suffered such a past. This is unacceptable to require other students with similar backgrounds to suffer needlessly. Surely there is another book that represents the plight of the African American without these atrocities? "

I mean, what school would inflict that on a student not knowing their past history? This kind of stuff will make a person who has been through it go through freaking panic attacks! It's not funny, it's not 'politically correct' and it's not fair to my family to have me regress because some crass, unfeeling prof cannot fathom that a non-black girl would have suffered the same type of childhood! 

If you want to know reason 1, it had to do with the amount of online time this prof expected: Almost 24/7. Heck, I'm not in school 24/7!

So because I dropped the online Lit class, I'll be an undergrad 1 more semester than I wanted.  greeeat. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Rolling up the Days of Summer

It's been an odd Summer weather-wise.  Life-wise, pretty much the same. we've learned a few new things this summer:

Butchering ducks is not as easy as it should be. We've done 8 and it's complicated. It requires a duck with it's adult feathers in and a cool day, not a hot day.  There's a technique using wax to strip off pinfeathers that works well..........when it's not hot outside. Another 20 to go....

Percy has found his dude-ness.  He's hollering after he shags a girl. EVERY girl. It was cute the first 10 times. Now I walk out and say, "Percy, no one needs to know every time you shag a girl. You're not THAT good at it!"

We had one rooster that was terrorizing our flock of ducks. We have 3 roosters, so we had to be sure it was this rooster that was the offender. We put a band on his leg and observed him. Sure enough, it was that rooster. He was very tasty in with peanut sauce and rice.

There really isn't a need for more than one rooster anyways.  They fight with each other, try to shag other species and just get really mean if they don't have their own harem of girls. We were just waiting for them to mature  more before butchering them.  Next summer, we'll be raising a brood of chickens to butcher instead of ducks.  Much easier to feed, butcher and handle.  The ducks were a good experiment and we'll keep the 4 for eggs, but no more flock of 30 for the freezer.

Sissy has either gone completely blind or has become a bit tetched.  She stands in secluded spots totally away from the flock facing walls, trees, etc not talking, not eating just standing there. It's either that or she stands beside a pool totally alone. She'll stand there for a few minutes, then get a drink, then stand there more. I'm guessing totally blind. She can remember the layout of the yard. The only other thing to assist her is to keep all the food and water in the same place every day. 

She should adjust to it after a time. Having a constant companion would help, but Ron, her mate is more concerned with the kids. Those kids aren't kids anymore though. We did puzzle at the fact that Sissy was not motherly like Molly is to her kids. She pretty much let the Uncles raise the babies. Blindness could explain that though. If she could not see well enough to raise them, then the Uncles did the right thing. 
Molly's kids have been fun to watch grow. They started off looking very African-ish, but now show much more Toulouse in their looks. There is one definite male and three, maybe four females.  They are getting their adult voices, which is a deep, "Bup bup bup"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lately, Donna duck has taken to going into the slip drag that is part of my front flower bed.  In front of her is a lavender bush. It must smell nice in that slip drag.  The two boys, Vito and Tony lay nearby and wait for her.

Little did I know until 2 days later that Donna was so enamored with her new spot that she was laying eggs in there. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Immersed in Wool

Nope, I'm not dead.  I bought a wool fleece off a farmer on Ebay.  Four pounds of wooly goodness.  I've been washing and spinning up bits of it all week.  About 500 yards of fingering weight cream colored wool has come off my spindle.

I happen to go off in my own little world with a fleece.  I totally immerse myself in the process of washing, drying, carding and spinning.  I find it very calming. In fact, you know in the Harry Potter movies, where Harry is being taught how to produce a Patronus charm and he must remember a very happy moment? This is one of mine.

The other one involves snuggling with my honey on the couch watching the Packers. At the time I had sprained both my ankles and could not go anywhere.  My ass was planted on that couch whenever I was home for like,  4 months.  When there's no where you can go, and nothing you can accept it. Dave sat near me while I had both ankles under ice packs watching the Packers play. It was a good memory.

That's a bit of it drying on the hedge with two skeins. The skeins are plied and over 100 yards a piece. 

So you could say I'm taking a mini-vacation without leaving home.  Everyone is fine, and my biggest dilemma is trying to keep the geese out of the road. is good!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How to train your concentration in one 'easy' week

What you are looking at is the rash that comes with Poison Ivy. It's on pretty much the upper 1/2 of my body; flank, arms, chest, neck and ears.  Thankfully my face and hair have been spared as well as my legs.  It itches something fierce. I mean more than anything has ever itched in my life!

How does this train your concentration? Well, I had a Trigonometry final yesterday. I've spent the last week working on reviewing all I've learned over the last 6 weeks with a less than stellar results. It's hard to concentrate on formulas that have the same variables but in different areas when you really just want to scratch ...pretty much everything on the top 1/2 of your bod.

Calamine lotion works to a point, and there is no way I can have splotches of the stuff on while in public.  People are waaay to judgmental and hypersensitive to anything that smacks of being less than 100% perfect.  I've stayed home for the most part, trying to study and rest.

My final was as brutal as I expected and I tried my best.  When I got home I sat there for a good 10 minutes scratching everything I could.  Everyone tells you not to scratch but they have no flipping clue how good it feels and how intense the urge is to do so.

Molly's babies are showing more changes these last 2 weeks. There is a definite change in their beak color and they are getting their real feathers. Toulouse geese have orange beaks.  The gosling in front is showing the change to that color. It's more of a gray color than black.  As it gets older, I would expect it to become a speckled orange shade.

Now that my summer class is over, I'll be finishing up some prayer shawls for the church, as well as some odds and ends her on many knitting needles. That dogbone pillow, the deephaven cowl, a shawl made from sparkly stuff, and that sweater of Alex's.

Alex is..........well realizing that the Marines is a lot of physical work.  He's probably going to bail on it before he even gets to Basic.  Which ticks me off to no end as well as frustrates me.  He thinks he's going to get a job quickly that will give him the $$ needed to be on his own.  I told him that with only a HS Diploma that he's dreaming.  Every day I pray to God that this child would listen to his Mother, take the things I say to heart and just do what needs to be done to enter the Marines.

And every day God ........and Alex ...........ignore me. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

When something sparks a memory

I was relating how my Dad gave me advice some 20+ years ago.  He said, "Brenda, not everything needs to be a fight. Sometimes it's just better if you'd shut up." Interesting advice, but it has an interesting story behind it.
(The picture has noting to do with the story, but I have to add them because I like pictures.  This is Tigger, my kitty)

Back some 20 years ago, I was on welfare, getting Section 8 housing after that SOB of a Father to my son left us high and dry before I was even showing.  What do you do when 1/2 of the parental units bails on you? You go on welfare and work your ass out of that situation.  Well, Alex was less than 1 year old, and Section 8 will not allow you to be living in a 1 bedroom apartment with a child. You need 2 bedrooms, so I needed to move.

I found an apartment on the other side of town in an 8 unit building; upstairs and to the right.  It'll do and Section 8 approved it. Only after that did I find out that the Landlord of that unit was the same as my Parents who were renting a house.  OK, so I wanted to get in early, get stuff cleaned up and arranged.  I got the phone # of the Landlord from my parents, called him and asked if I could get the key 3 days early.

The dude went ballistic. "WHERE did I get that number? NEVER call him again!" I mean he was just livid.  That's when I tucked that little piece of paper away for later use. I mean, if you're a landlord -even if you have a manager- EXPECT PHONE CALLS FROM RENTERS. If you don't like it; GET OUT OF THE BUSINESS!!! Try weaving baskets or something.

K, so I move in. The building is about 3/4 full. The only empty apt, is to the back and left of mine. For some reason the manager gets her knickers in a twist and barges into my apartment one day insisting that I was doing something wrong.  I was not. And I did not get that 24 hour notice that I was legally supposed to be given before inspection. Not that it would have changed what I did, but...

SO she tells that ass of a landlord that I am the cause of a cockroach infestation for an 8 unit apartment. Why? Because she said she 'saw something swirling in the bottom of my garbage pan.' yeah. Feathers.
Back then I made dreamcatchers.  It was feathers.

That landlord tried to get me evicted.  In fact, EVERY. FUCKING. MONTH. he'd be at my door on the 2nd with eviction papers because he didn't have the rent money in his greasy, greedy palms. Yes, I did have to pay part of the rent: $125 a month.  So when he held up his eviction notice, I held up the money order receipt, stamped on the 1st by the post office. Sure, I could've just handed him the rent check, but...let the fucker squirm was my thought.  Let that fucker squirm for his pretty little cash.

Section 8, who were very helpful to me because I was a good tenant and didn't trash apartments, came to my aid.  Told the landlord that NO, I was not the cause of a cockroach infestation when 6 other families lived in the same unit. But he kept on trying to get me evicted before the lease was up.  So I turned him into HUD for racial discrimination.

Yes, asshole, THAT WAS ME WHO TURNED YOUR ASS IN. I learned from the other tenants that the dude had refused to rent to a woman in the same situation as me because she was black.  In fact, there WERE no black people in any of his units. Asshole was racist and I was going to make him pay.

So HUD sends a man to interview me - BIG imposing black man.  I was not afraid. I told him what I knew and the investigation went on..for many years I gather from info I get from old friends. The landlord kept on his tirade, trying to evict me at every turn.  That's when my Dad says, "Brenda, not everything has to be a fight.  Just shut up and let the guy have his apartment.  You're moving in a few months anyways." He was right, it really wasn't worth the fight anymore.  Let the asshole king pretend to have his 'realm'.

 Needless to say, I was not offered to renew my lease.  I moved on, but not before giving everyone in that apartment unit the Landlord's phone number.  Was it petty? Yes, but at some point you just gotta stick it to them.  Yeah, and I got my entire deposit back from that asshole...the one that said I was such a slob that I caused a cockroach infestation...THE WHOLE DEPOSIT...BOO YA!

So the moral of the story is that sometimes, you should just let the petty little kings have their petty little realms.  It feeds on their mental illness and allows them to go on when really, they're just pathetic assholes. I guess if I was that pathetic, I'd need to think of myself as better than I am just to get through the day. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

And Plie...

Ducks and geese do this thing after they've been resting for a while.  They stand up, extend one wing and then lift the corresponding leg.  It's a ballet move if I've ever saw one!   

Monday, July 15, 2013


" Man it's hot. It's like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot." - Eugene in 'Biloxi Blues'

It's going to be another hot week here.  

Anything that can hold enough water + a duck or goose is used to keep them cool.  Here we have Molly's babies in a Tupperware cake carrier and a heated dog bowl.  Don't worry, it's not like cake ever makes it out of the pan, even.  12 hours and it's all gone.  There's never a need for cake carrier.

I needed to keep the big pool out of commission until these little blighters can get out of it safely, but I still needed to keep everyone cool. So I am using litter pans, dog bowls and even the plastic drawers out of one of those cheap plastic dressers as mini pools. 

Eh, Dave's gotta clean that one out anyways.  It was the back end of the duck pen when they were inside in the laundry room.  Now they are big enough to be outside. 

I finally had to suck it up and clean up and organize my end of the couch.  My debit card has been missing for almost a month now.  No one has used it, and Alex does not have it, so it's in this house.............somewhere. At the bequest of my hubby, I went through all my yarns, fibers, spinning equipment, knitting equipment and Finished items on my end of the couch. Nope..not there.  Ah well. 

There's Sissy and a good shot of her bad eye. We got her neck all healed up and it got cooler here last week, and Sissy went back to being mostly like herself.  I forgot from last year that she really really hates hot weather

She's not the only one. Hey, I live in Wisconsin! I can tolerate a lot of cold but not much heat.  There's always warm wooly stuff to put on, but I'm running out of stuff to take off and still have friends!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


We have our worries about Sissy, center in the photo.  She's been acting oddly lately; standing in corners just zoned and walking aimlessly not with her flock. Her bad eye has been looking worse lately, and I suspect she's lost more sight in it.  Her depth perception is worse: I see her trying to lap up water about 1/2" from the actual water.

If it is true, and she's lost all sight in that eye, she WILL eventually adjust. We'll need to adjust as well.  Before I walk over to pick her up, I talk to her and make sure to touch her side so she knows I am there.

She had an injury to the area below her chin. With the hot, muggy weather lately, it was important to keep it bug-free.  I slathered triple antibiotic ointment on it twice daily to keep it from blood sucking bugs. It's healed over now, so that's another thing that will make her feel better.

I've been working on a redesign of the banana squash head pillow.  I discovered that it is a great thing to prop up my ipad on my lap so I can knit and read at the same time. The prototype is out of some leftover Lion Brand Magic Stripes that I found, but the resulting pattern, when it is up, will be able to be knitted from any sock yarn.

I've also decided to use smaller needle to make a more firm fabric and to make the inner part about 1" longer to accommodate the ipad and the case. I'm also forgoing the start at the end-knit to the other end as it's a pain in the ass.  I'm starting it at 1/3 the way in and will pick up the stitches to make the other end. I know, hard to explain, easier to knit.

 The ipad was courtesty of a Wisconsin Higher Education Grant that I got last semester.  Part of it went to the ipad, which I use all the time at school.  I have an app on it called TopNotes that allows me to use my stylus to write notes in class and draw pictures.  It's only limitation is that it does not draw circles, squares, etc...which would be really good for Trig.

Look for that redesign pattern soon.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New babies are just so cute!

No, they are just so cute!

Molly hatched out 6 babies day before yesterday. Like Sissy, she's a first-time Mom and doing a LOT of hissing.  A leaf blows by too close to her and she hisses.  Yesterday was the first time the kids got to go outside. At first, all the goose girls came up to her nest to see the wee little ones.  Mary is very interested in those girls.  She'll make a great Mom next year, I think.

We've compared these goslings to Sissy's since these will be a Toulouse/African cross. Well, we were not sure until they hatched.  If Daddy was Buddy, they'd be straight Toulouse.  The kids would have a grayish beak. These are all black beaks but the chicks themselves are more yellow than Sissy's which are straight Africans.  I've seen pics of the Toulouse/African cross: Big bodies, with that tuft-y neck, dark streak down the back with brown instead of gray coloration. Hey, we're diverse here.

Sissy, here in the front of the group, has lost all her primary feathers. It's like following a kid to the bath: I pick up feathers wherever she goes.  There's a few people out there that are interested in buying the feathers.  One lady is making her own arrows, another is using them to play her dulcimer.

Sissy's also our one-eyed gal. This shows her bad eye pretty well. It's malformed. I see an eyeball in there, but it's not well-placed nor is the socket formed correctly. Probably a problem that happened in the egg.  She can see changes in light with it, and the other eye is sharp.  She's got depth-of-field issues, but it does not keep her from being queen of the flock.

Knitting-wise: I've worked more on my 3rd Deephaven cowl. The color is a gray blue that I find very appealing. It's actually a Blue-Sky Alpaca chunky yarn I've respun into a sock weight yarn.  I'm working out the gauge to make a sweater using this pattern.  I've snagged 10 skeins of alpaca mix yarn from Ebay that is close to the same color as this yarn. It will make a nice sweater for me. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Many Flocks of Gale Oaks Farm

Yes, I named the place Gale Oaks farm.  We've got 3 old oaks in the back yard.  Each morning at about 10am, the wind comes up out of the west and over the hill to our house. Hence the name: Gale Oaks.

You'd think with 50 animals that are all poultry of some sort it would be one big, happy flock. Oh no....too much jockeying for leadership for that! So let's all go through the flocks:

First flock is what I call "Sissy's Posse."  It consists, of Sissy who is in back in the middle, her 5 babies, her mate, Ron (2nd big goose to the left) and the Uncles, Buddy, Ginger, and Sweet Pea.  Sissy is hands-down the leader of this flock.

I'm impressed by the amount of parenting that the boys do.  For much of the day, Daddy and the Uncles take care of the babies. Sissy just walks along with them.  Oh she keeps an eye on her babies and they stay close by her, but She'll leave discipline to the boys.  They nudge the babies around with their beaks. Now that the babies are well versed in what is their home, not much nudging going on anymore.

The 2nd Flock is the "Girls" headed by Percy. Percy never did fit into Sissy's Posse, so he's taken up with the flock of younger goose girls.  Oh, and I've named them: Lily, Luna, Ellie, Mary, Cary and Grace. Lily is definitely the most vocal, and the only one with a dewlap under her chin.  Luna is the smallest, and gets a crescent-shaped wet spot in front of her left eye. Hence, Luna.  The others are more difficult to tell apart. Now that their personalities are shining through, it's getting easier. Mary likes to hang with Percy. Carrie and Gracie are always together and Ellie sometimes gets into trouble by not staying with the flock.

The 3rd flock is 22 ducks.  The eldest 9 share leadership and dictate where they go. They are all our hatched ducklings -with the except of the last 5 who were hatched week before last.  They get their own pen until their down grows. Twenty-two ducks who follow each other all over the land, eat a ton of food and drink a ton of water every day.  Their favorite hiding spot when it gets real hot is under the hedge or in the lilac bush. It's funny to see almost 2 dozen little white butts sticking out of the yew hedge!

We'll need to get another mate for Tony, our mating duck because his mate did not make it through her infected foot fiasco.  The antibiotics did not work and she kept getting more pus in her foot. We tried lancing the foot to expel the pus, which only helped for a few days.  Duck feet are notoriously hard to cure of an infection. Finally, we had to decide to end her suffering. She could not walk on the foot, nor put weight on it.  Tony needs another mate.

 Which will probably be the gal in the back next to one of the goose gals.  I call her Daisy.  There were 3 ducks that hatched about the same time we got the 6 goslings, so we just put them in with them. Dave says that he thinks the ducks think they are geese. Two males one female. That curl you see in the front duck? That indicates male, along with a raspy, very quiet voice.  Female ducks are loud and the ones with the distinct "QUACK QUACK QUACK" call.
Six Rhode Island Red chickens.  There's also a flock of Bantys around but eh...they're chickens! I must post an ad to either Craigslist or FB to see if I can find a home for the flock of Bantams.  We are looking to raise 'real' chickens instead of midget chickens.   The Rhode Islands are around the same age as our eldest ducklings; about 5 weeks old.
Molly.  Well, Molly fits in somewhere, but until she gets those babies of hers hatched, we will never know.  I made the mistake of allowing Buddy to sleep in the garage last night near her.  He's the other Toulouse and he does not like her.  We can only speculate on who is Molly's mate.  Neither Molly nor Daddy is fessing up.  We'll see who comes to the protection of her babies.

Here we see her hissing at me.  It's a defensive gesture on her part. She's being a good Mommy.