Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Updates Galore

Lots of things have been happening about the Brick house...thought you'd want to know.

Hey, J.D. Roth can update his life. So can I. (It's good to know that the founder of Get Rich Slowly is still out there and doing stuff.)

Regarding the flooding in Colorado: We are fine. Castle Rock is also fine.  When the Brick and I bought this house, we deliberately chose one near the top of a very steep hill. All the years of our marriage, we've either lived at the top of a hill, or on the second or third floor. The family explanation: "So we can see the Indians coming." (And ask them in for coffee, I guess!)
      Anyways, when we get a lot of rain -- and everywhere in the Denver area did -- it all runs off and down the hill. We get damp, of course, but not flooded. Our poor neighbors at the bottom, however, have a whole 'nother story.
     The flooding has now largely subsided, but now residents are busy digging inches of dried, smelly mud out of their basement. The unusual humidity is also causing mold and mildew, ruining furniture, photos and such. Nasty. (We know this experience all too well from our own basement flooding a few years back.) 
     Many of the roads up in the mountains are still unusable -- partly because the canyon walls themselves have been undermined, and the authorities feel they're unstable. That means that anyone who lives up there has a 2-hour commute, versus a half-hour. This hits Daughter #2 hard. She's been coping by going down and staying with friends for a few days, while she works back-to-back shifts. But that means she can't go home for much of each week. We keep hoping that things will change soon, but who knows.

     The other difficulty: nearly everyone in this area does NOT have flood insurance. It's expensive, and most years, there's no reason for it. (Also, one lady who checked into it was told her policy would not cover damage unless the water came in through the door and windows. Her water entered via the basement. No dice.) What does that mean? That these people have lost nearly everything, with no insurance to cover it. FEMA is helping; so is Colorado and the government. But that money will be slow to arrive. Meanwhile...people continue to try to live and work, the best they can.

The chickens:  The 'babies' are now full-grown hens, and difficult to distinguish from our older Black Australorps. (I should take that back concerning the three Rhode Islands Reds, who stick out from all that black. They're bossy, too.) Although they began to lay a few days before we left for Ireland, the older adults had slacked off some, due to molting. But things are looking up. Last week, we got a dozen eggs twice! One customer has increased her weekly order, and we have others standing in the wings, ready to start ordering. Also, the Brick can have as many fried eggs as his heart desires.
     We haven't had as much trouble as feared, getting the two flocks to mix with each other. Sometimes there's a little fussing and pecking, but it's stayed at a minimum. And it's more individual chickens than it is old vs young.  What we have trouble with are finding all the eggs -- these are sneaky little guys! And strangely enough, the nesting box the older hens all insisted on laying in has been abandoned. Instead, it's now the second and third nesting boxes that rate the attention. (That, and a corner of the big coop, by the door.)
     Why? I have no idea. They all look the same to me.

     We're getting ready to expand the big coop to hold all of the hens. Which means pulling off the front of the coop, building literally a two-sided box, then attaching it to the older coop before nailing the front back on. It's going well, but slowly.

Hurry up -- it's getting chilly out here!

The garden: What garden? The chickens saw to that. Even though I netted the raised beds, they managed to squeeze in, nonetheless. (One 'baby' has been laying a bantam-sized egg each day in the pumpkin patch for weeks now.) They decimated nearly everything. By the time I figured out how to keep them out, summer was nearly over, and we were leaving for Ireland. The beans and zucchini came on recently...but it was almost too late.

Maybe we didn't get fresh veggies, but we did have a great time in Ireland with cousins Tim and Joan.

     Next summer, the chickies will find themselves much more limited on how much of the yard they can use. We have plans to enclose the chicken yard with cedar pickets, which should protect them more from the neighborhood fox. And our flowers. And vegetables. The little terrorists.

The Mama: After a month spent with us and the "rugs" (her name for Charley and Abby), the Mama is glad to be home. (Several friends were kind enough to call and spend time with her, while we were gone. Those are good friends for you!) She flew back in early September, the same day I went to teach in Georgia.

The Mama, hard at work. Wonder where I get my rapidly-graying hair from?

     She's been griping some about the fall colors being late in Michigan, but otherwise is very happy to sleep in her own bed and use her own toothbrush. (She's loving spending time with my cousin and her friends, too.) She left just in time -- soon after, we had nearly all the rest of our windows replaced, and it was nutzo around here.
     She'll be back around Dec. 18, to spend the Christmas holidays. (And probably worry about the plane trip out, as well -- she does NOT like planes.) No doubt Charley will go back to spending every night sleeping on the floor beside Grandma's bed.
     The Brick is headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a transportation conference in mid-October, and will stay with brother Mike and sister Lori, as well as the Mama, for a few days. I can't go, though -- am headed to North Dakota about then, to judge, teach and appraise for the North Star Quilting Guild's "Quilting on the Red" annual show.)  This will be the first time in memory that the Brick has gone to Michigan without me. (Although I stopped several times between gigs at his mom's in Trenton, MO, while she was still alive.) He's naturally a bit quiet, much like my dad was -- I asked him to talk more! He is a wonderful guy, and every opportunity my family has to get to know him better, is just another chance to appreciate his sterling qualities. (Yes, I love this man. Very much.)
     Then after that, there is:

The Brick, with daughters at last year's hunting camp, looking forbidding.

And our dear (flaky) friends, Little Chris and Thommy, looking...umm...goofy. Yes, that's snow.

Must keep one's priorities in order.

The work:  Fall is the busy season for quilting teachers, and it's been that way for me, compounded by the few weeks spent in Ireland. I've done extra appraising, too, which also slows life down. I only have three more gigs (Grand Forks, ND; Cheyenne, WY; and a local 'antiques roadshow'-type day in Castle Rock) Everything eases up just before Thanksgiving.
     The writing continues. I had really hoped to get Hanky Panky with A Flourish done by now.  (The sequel to the original Hanky Panky.) It's not, but I have hopes.

 I'm also working on some ideas for a 'Bible Quilts' book, and continuing to collect and do research for a history of Scrap Quilts, similar to what I did for Crazy Quilts. 

     Crazy Quilts is still selling extremely well, considering how old it is. Quilts of the Golden West is nearly out of print (we just bought 500 copies for Brickworks).

We've only got a few dozen left of the original Hanky Panky Crazy Quilts book. Life goes on.

Charley at left, along with his buddy Jack. Jacky was killed in a landslide about this time last year. I still miss him.

     Meanwhile, you'll still see my PF writing over at Midlife Finance, Penny Thots...and of course, here. I'm grateful for you to talk to!

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