Parade of Chicken Coops Sunday, May 16 2010 

I’m sure most of you have heard of “Parade of  Homes” tours  where you can visit numerous homes all expensively decorated for showing off.    It is kind of fun to see how “the other half” lives, and sometimes you can get ideas for fixing up your own home.

Today, we took a different kind of tour.   We were a bit overdressed, having come from church, but nobody seemed to mind. 

We are toying with the idea of having chickens so this caught my attention.

This is the egg box–so convenient for collecting the eggs in the morning after the hens have laid them for your breakfast

This was a very nice coop which was made out of a dog kennel and run.  Inside the high fence is the house in which the hens roost for the night, (aptly named the hen house)!

It was very orderly and even provided this cute little stairway to the nest!

Everywhere we went the city chicken farmers spoke about the problems with foxes–some even have bears and other wildlife to contend with.  Yes, I said CITY chicken farmers.  This was a tour inside Colorado Springs where people are allowed to have 10 chickens but no roosters.  Seems it’s OK to be waken by barking dogs but not OK to be waken by roosters.

The owner of this coop had to create a safe haven inside his coop for his chickens after an evil fox killed 5 of his chickens on Easter morning.   Foxes can stoop pretty low, or climb pretty high to get carry-out chicken,  so they present the biggest challenge to chicken farmers, even in the city.

While we didn’t pick up any ideas for decorating our home on this tour, we did get some ideas for creating our own coop, should we finally decide to do it.

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Spring in Colorado Monday, Mar 29 2010 

These are a few shots of the area around our home in March.  Springtime in the Rockies is lovely–70 degrees one day, 24 degrees and 8 inches of snow the next.  These snows produce a lot of moisture, unlike the winter snows.

It’s Miller Time! Thursday, May 28 2009 

Miller time

May–ya gotta love it.  Lengthened days, a few actually warm enough to eat outside, a good steak on the grill, a Miller beer in hand.  You get the picture.  But you’re wrong….

 

 

 

Miller Time in Black Forest means miller time.  miller

The millers are awful this year, and with our unsealed construction project, they are even worse.  Last night, about midnight, I went into the bathroom where the only light (a nightlight) in the house was on.  My movement caused a swarm of millers around me–in my hair, in my face, and all around the room.  It was like a nightmare out of a Hitchcock film. 

Years ago I learned to set miller traps–sudsy water in a cup or bowl around a light.   This was the catch around midnight–close to the same number had been caught earlier in the evening.

Warning, the following picture may not be suitable for squeamish eyes.

 

 

One night's catch

Petition to my dear readers: 

 Please don’t report me to the SPCA. 

Thanks.

PS.  I thought the night before had been bad, but when I went into the kitchen last night, I counted about 50 moths on the ceiling.  So with my trap set, I prepared for the night.  In this pot are about 40 of the precious things.  Yikes!HPIM2599

I have become obsessed with drowning every one of them in my house.  Who knows how many are lurking in the shadows yet…

Garden Party Sunday, May 3 2009 

If you are ever invited to a garden party at our house, don’t come in a dress with a pretty bonnet.  Instead, put on your jeans, get a sun hat and bring a rake!  Here are some shots of our garden party, Black Forst style.  Everybody participated, down to the four-year-old.

cinnamon-rolls-and-sunscreen

First, we fortified them with cinnamon rolls and sunscreen

giving-instructions

The man with the plan gave instructions…

digging-up-strawberries

Most of the strawberries were dug up to make space for other plants

everybody-worked

Even the youngest found a job

andrew-digging-weeds

Andrew dug weeds

more-mess

The plastic had to be removed from the walls

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Thomas watched patiently

nice-and-clean

Ahh! Nice and clean

chain-link-is-heavy

Meanwhile, the guys did the heavy work of putting up a chain link fence

ian-holding-up-the-chain-link 

 The fence was heavy, but somebody had to hold it up

deer-fence-preparation

Preparing for the additional fencing to fool the deer

maria

Maria was just happy to be outside

 

It was a productive day which was topped off with hamburgers on the grill, a hail storm and peach cobbler–in that order!

God is good!

No Larry, you can’t plant the garden yet! Monday, Apr 27 2009 

The plants and seeds have arrived and the calendar says it is spring.  Better wait awhile longer!

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View of the corral

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View from the back

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View of the garden

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Snow makes everything beautiful

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Except the construction

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Christ is Risen! Sunday, Apr 12 2009 

The vigil and Mass of the Resurrection were absolutely beautiful.  Our drive was a bit foggy, but the weather was perfect for the lighting of the Easter fire.  As we processed from the cold outside to the church, we could gradually feel the warmth of the little candles all the people were holding.  As the priest sang the Exultet, you just new this was something special.  Then there were the lessons from the Old Testament, the blessing of the Easter water, then the renewal of our Baptismal vows.  After the Litany of the Saints, Mass began.  Three hours from the start, we were on our way home in the fog.

This morning at 7, there was just a bit of hoar frost from the fog of the night before.  And then it began.  Within 4 hours we had four inches of snow–very heavy wet snow.  But hey, isn’t white the Easter color?

A few pictures:

coming-home

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plowing-the-driveway

centerpiece

 

butter

Lamb Butter

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pascha

Pascha

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Magdalene Icon written by Rebekah

fran-in-moms-easter-outfit

Me in the outfit we bought for my mother for Ashley’s wedding.

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This is what you call a friend.  He drove his tractor from home to come help Larry clear the driveway for our Easter guests.  Thanks, Byron.

The blizzard of 2009 Sunday, Apr 5 2009 

This is the blizzard that was, the storm that wasn’t.  I have figured out that the weathermen are paid extra to distract us from what is going on in Washington by hyping the weather to keep us tuned in.  On and off this year we have been told that “the big one” is coming, bringing with it “up to 18 inches of snow.” 

Well, I have learned that a blizzard is defined by the wind and blowing snow, and we have had that, but nowhere have 18 inches of snow fallen except in the mountains.  As a matter of fact, IF we have gotten 5 inches, I will be surprised.  What has managed to fall out of the sky has quickly been blown to Kansas.   Yesterday the wind was positively unrelenting.

Some photos:

april-2009-blizzard

In our storm of 1997, there was a 9-foot drift in front of the barn!  This blizzard didn’t create enough snow for a 2-foot drift.

deck

There was snow in the air all day, but it was just being moved from one spot to the other by the wind

bird-feeders

In spite of the wind and cold temperatures, the birds managed to empty the birdfeeders

garbage-can-in-front-yard

The wind managed to do some decorating for us.  Don’t you think the garbage can in the front yard is a nice touch?

 

 

 

early-morning-sun

The early morning sun sent it rays through the trees with the promise of a brighter day. 

Spring in Colorado.  You gotta love it!

Talent on loan from God Wednesday, Jul 30 2008 

Katie, Steve, Paige and John Rees L’Angelus

There are many benefits to having a Catholic business, and one of the best is the opportunity it provides to meet wonderful people.  Yesterday, we had a one-of-a-kind experience in the visit of these four beautiful young people.  They are the band called L’Angelus, and their style is cajun, with a mix of many sounds.   These young people were taught music by their mother who apparently is a wonderful singer.  They are a Catholic family with two sets of children, these four older ones and the Humanae Vitae kids who were welcomed into the family after many years of not understanding the Church’s teaching on marriage and family.  The oldest of the last four is known as the “change of heart” child, there being about 20 years difference between the youngest of the first four and the oldest of the second four. 

The music is lively and reflective of the love for family which still exists in the cajun culture.  The dad, John Rees, Sr. defends the Catholic nature of their culture, striving to keep that part alive and not having the culture reduced to food and song.   While the music often deals with food and family, it also reflects the deep faith of the family as reflected in the Sorrowful Mysteries and St. Cecilia Waltz

This is a homeschooled family.  They don’t show any signs of “socialization deficit” for the experience.  Rather, they are outgoing, intelligent and talented.  They are using their gifts to build up their family and to spread the “good news.”  As they say, “Life is good, Ca c’est bon!” 

We were blessed to have them in our midst yesterday, and we hope it was the first of many such visits.

Catholic Summer Reading Thursday, Jul 17 2008 

It is time once again to pick up a good book and read at your summer leisure.  My favorite bookstore’s customers have chosen some great books to choose from, and many of them have discussion guides which are available free to download. 

 I have begun Coincidentally by Fr. George Rutler whom I always try to catch on EWTN.  The book is amusing but the more accurate term would be challenging.  I am enjoying having to stretch my mind a bit and learning a lot of trivia.

 

 

Swimming With Scapulars Thursday, Jun 28 2007 

I just finished reading Swimming with Scapulars by Matthew Lickona. This was a lively presentation of the Catholic Faith through the eyes of a young family man who was raised by faithful parents. Matthew expresses his hunger for tradition and truth, and even though he doesn’t always find the most brilliant pastors or the most inspiring liturgies, he keeps searching. That search is one many of my own generation as well as my children’s generation are undergoing.

 

The author touches on many facets of the Catholic Faith, from the sacraments, to sacramentals (the scapular), liturgy, NFP, lenten practices (“lent and its discontents”) and many more, always with personal anecdotes and humor. Some of his thoughts about the Faith are presented through his efforts to teach his children, and parents can easily relate to his attempts. Readers can also relate to his struggles to live an authentically Catholic life, because the Faith calls us a life of sacrifice and trust in the Will of God which is counter-cultural.

 

I was particularly interested in his discussion of Catholic literature. Catholic literature is not necessarily literature written by Catholics, for Catholics and about Catholics. It is, rather, a work that “presents a world the Catholic mind can recognize as true.“ And while a work may present a world that is true, the reader should guard against anything that would lead him into sin. He notes that Flannery O’Connor, a Catholic writer, was a “strong” reader who always sought the permission of her bishop before reading a book which was on the Index.

 

Matthew Lickona’s book can easily be ready by all, but one should not be deceived by its accessibility. In addition to humor and personal stories, it is packed with good theology as well as a love for the Church with all its warts and wrinkles.

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