Hot, hot, hot. The dogs find the coolest spot on the tile, and stay there...hoping for a fan breeze.
No rain -- or just a brief shower. Charley the dog (as well as the Brick and yours truly) have begun struggling mightily with allergies. One of the 'baby' chickies -- who are very close to starting to lay regularly -- was dead in the yard late this morning. She'd managed to put her head through some frayed rope holding up the electric wire -- and strangled herself to death, the silly cluck. After the first burst of sadness, I had a momentary irritation -- we've been stuffing her with feed for weeks, for nothing.
This is especially frustrating because the other chickens are currently molting. Which means that they don't lay that many eggs, either. Sigh...
(The Brick did buy me an early birthday present: a chicken door that closes electronically just after sunset, and opens soon after sunrise. The chickens love being able to get out there early and fuss about. We love not having to rush out first thing in the morning, or kill ourselves trying to get back at nightfall in time to close the door. So far, it works great.)
And I have had to deal with several difficult situations this week. In each case, when the person did not get what they wanted, they went after me, instead. Attack!
Except I'm not laughing about it.
I can shrug it off, to some extent. And this helps, I guess. Both personally and professionally, I try to do my best -- and not because I'm worried about human comments. Someday, I will have to stand before the Great Judge and explain my actions. I want to be able to say, before Him, that I did my best -- and mean it.
All the same, I haven't had a peaceful night's sleep for weeks. The Brick, who is undergoing some turmoil at his job, not to mention all the rushing-about to get ready for the new school year, is having similar struggles. (He works for the local public school system.) To make matters worse, we keep each other awake with all our thrashing and turning-over. And don't forget...it's hot. That's not helping, either.
All the fancypants apnea systems or sleep studies will not change this -- we need to get these situations resolved.
"We've got some goodies for your chickens," our new neighbors said, smiling. The next day, I came home to double boxes crammed full of apples, pears, squash, zucchini, potatoes, eggplant, peppers -- and a boatload of pumpkins. And if you think the chickens got all that, you're crazy.
It turns out that Jeff and Renee enjoy a rare hobby around here: dumpster diving. Our local grocery stores generally put all their leftovers in composting dumpsters that smash everything flat. But every now and then, the composters break down -- and then people like us (J & R have rabbits) can use the edibles for their animals.
Others do this. Penniless Parenting's blogger makes a regular habit of checking, especially when she's headed to the farmer's market, anyway. You don't even have to look that hard; veggies are sometimes scattered near booths, or near broken crates. Take them home, wash thoroughly, and you'll have nutritious food for no cost.
One day, on a walk with Daughter #1's dog Jack, I found the back of a Panera's...and a garbage can full of bags of bread. I loaded my arms and somehow made it back to her house. She was embarrassed -- some friends had seen this weird lady digging in the garbage bins, and they recognized Jack the dog. Daughter was shocked, shocked, I tell you, that her mom would be rummaging around out there. But the bread was delicious!
It's not just food. People stupidly throw things away all the time, especially when they're moving. The writer of one fascinating blog, "Things I find in Garbage," is forever finding antiques, furniture, cookware, and even gold and silver jewelry. Plus cash -- many of his posts include a handful or jarful of coins.
He keeps the money and some of the more intriguing things, but sells most items on Ebay or Craigslist. And he has done very, very well for himself.
I don't have Mr. Thing's luck, but I've found a WWII ashtray, some odd medical slides of infections and diseased body parts (yuck- trashed again fast), a decorative metal garden seat (promptly grabbed by Daughter #1), fishing gear, wrapping paper, a frying pan (found in a bag of grass clippings), bouquets of roses, furniture, windows, candy...and a beautiful embroidered quilt, neatly folded on top on the garbage can.
I used to take the girlies out in their red wagon, looking for bags of grass clippings we could use in the compost pile. The girlies had a wonderful time doing this, and called it "Grass Patrol." I called it useful. Occasionally we'd find something else, but more often we'd take the stuff home, thankful there weren't more mosquitoes out.
Daughters #1 and #2 may tease Mom about her predeliction to dig through the garbage, but they've both found good stuff, especially toward the end of school. (They both live near Boulder, Colorado, the home of CU.) Some of the best items: mountain bikes, computer equipment, cooking appliances, even designer clothing. And lots of change too, no doubt. (A high number of CU students grew up in affluence, and aren't apt to stop and roll their money -- let alone get a job. Mom and Dad will replace everything when they get home.)
Heading by a pile of stuff put out for the trash? Take a quick look -- you might find something wonderful. Not only will you be helping your budget -- you'll be preserving something from being thrown away and wasted. And in today's yammering about being more eco-aware and "green," that's important.
What a July! It ranges from hot to cool (but sticky), then back to hot. The chickens have responded by refusing to lay eggs, but stuffing themselves with everything we'll give them. The dogs deal with it by laying in front of every fan and swamp cooler they can find. And the Brick and I coped by going to a ball game -- which the Rockies deigned to win -- including an incredible 10-run 4th inning. For a team on the bottom of the bucket, that's amazing. We spend a lot of time in front of the fans, too. And drinking a LOT of iced tea. Unsweetened. A visitor stopped by mid-week: a bear that ripped apart our neighbor's thriving beehive. He worked sooo hard on this. (The neighbor, not the bear.) Mr. Bear may have considered visiting the chickens, as well, but our 6-foot chainlink fence, sturdy coop and the tender attentions of Mr. Charles (the dog) seem to have persuaded him to look elsewhere. I still feel bad for neighbor Tim, though.
This week should be a strange one. We're waiting on the outcome of several things...and not sure which way they'll go. Meanwhile, I only have a dribble of paperwork and one appraisal to do. And the basement inventory desperately needs to be sorted through. By the way, if you're thinking of sorting through your stuff, as well, the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, CO could use any kind of sewing room-type donations you've got, for their annual garage sale. Go here for more, and contact info. Another look at the 'deserving' homeless. What do you do, when they refuse the help offered? This essay from 1997 covers a New York program...and its results. Still applies today.