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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hen to Door Delivery

Hen to Door

The girls never cease to amaze and amuse me. It seems I will now receive "hen to door" delivery. When milk was delivered fresh to the doorstep, cows could not do this well.

As you may remember, since the murder of a Chessie by a raccoon, I now bring my three remaining hens into the house in a 24" cage each night.

This morning, I set the cage right outside the door as usual, allowing them to exit the cage when they wanted to. All three immediately left.

And then
A few minutes later, I heard a little noise. Figuring a hen had not left the porch, I just hoped she did not poop. Finally, after the incessant, shuffling, scratching, and general disturbance that I could not figure out, I peeked out the door curtain. HA!

Louise was in the cage, furiously scratching, walking, sitting, scratching, and walking around. OVER. AND. OVER. This paper was perfectly smooth after they flew out of the cage. It had a few feathers and a bit of poop, but nothing was shredded or even wrinkled, and the bottom was completely covered. I wondered if she would lay an egg when I saw her apparent nest-making activities.

She did.
I heard her fly out and looked out the door curtain. Surprise! Because of knee/leg pain, I just bent over and took the one picture instead of moving the cage to snap the photo at a better angle.

I know hens will sometimes choose their own place to lay eggs. Sometimes, they will lay eggs under bushes. But, it appears that since they have laid in one place for a year, that they now are identifying my home as their home.  Sweet hens...sigh.

Monday, November 29, 2010

New, make-do spatula: cost is free

By the way, I made the potholder

Where is a clean spatula when you need it?

Have you ever needed a spatula when baking and there was not a clean one in sight? Did your old one bite the dust and you have not found one you like or cannot afford to buy a new spatula? It's happened to me, and it is soooo annoying to have to wash one RIGHT NOW.  When my last spatula finally started corroding, it took me months to find this new replacement in the picture.

Light bulb moment
One day, I took the plastic lid from a large container of oats and thought the plastic should have further use. This reuse took me all of ten seconds to figure out. I took a pair of scissors and fashioned a "new spatula" from the lid. I keep several of these in a drawer for backup even though I do own two spatulas.

Kitchen scissors do the job

The whole lid from the large oatmeal box is cut into a shape that is not quite a symmetrical curve. It still works just fine.

Spatula in use
My hand looks funny at the angle at which I took the picture of my "spatula" in action. It is hard for me to hold the camera AND take a picture. I almost dropped the camera into the bowl. See how clean it gets the bowl?

To use the make-do spatula, you put your thumb on one side and hand on the other. Press your thumb slightly until the plastic just barely gives. Then, it will be slightly bowed and sturdy enough to scrape the bowl with cake dough or get the last of the pasta salad from a dish.

Mayonaisse jar scraper?
Sorry, this will not reach into mayonaisse jar!

Which lid to use
I purchase too many items, unfortunately, that have similar type lids. Any of them could be cut to form a spatula when desperate. Think: raisins, yogurt, oats, cottage cheese....the list goes on.

Your turn
Please tell me I am not the only owner of two spatulas who finds them both dirty when a spatula is the needed utensil of the moment! Aaaargh! Maddening! Don't you love "light bulb" moments?

Update: Look at my additional health warning in the comment section!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Black Friday and Little Plastic Farm Animals

It was a cold and rainy day....really, it was. So, even if I were going to stay up and get trampled at Walmart at midnight or stand in line for a 5 am deal, the weather would have dampened (pun intended) my enthusiasm.

My goal: to buy two cameras for grandchildren using no money, just my recycling of cartridges at Office Max. I was tempted to buy both of them a $49 camera. But, I hated the alkaline, rechargeable batteries in my first digital. So, I just bought the gdaughter one with Lithium Ion. Okay, maybe you will have to spend a little money for a fabulous gift.

Last year, I bought a $189 camera for $22, using the Office Max Recycling dollars I accumulated.  At first, the camera was regular price. Then it went on sale. Finally, I purchased it. Then it went down in price. So, they refunded my money and resold it to me....voila! $22 for a final price. The HP sd card, 4 GB, was $10 at Big Lots. This was a camera for me.

I was deliriously happy with the OM camera and now must wait to buy one for her big brother. Hers could be any color, but his must be black or know--manly-ish. Okay, I did ignore the help of a salesclerk who told me he loved his blue camera when he was in high school.

Maybe you can get credit for recycling cartridges and toner at Office Max. I used this credit for acquiring all the school supplies for my grandchildren.

Caveat: OM changes the rules, so read carefully. They are convoluted, and most OM customer service folk get it wrong!

Then, I went to every store in town, looking for a $1 item--tiny farm animals. The chicken would be about 1/2" tall, the dog was a bit taller, and the horse maybe almost 2" tall. Then I put a request on a local, free site, not freecycle. People started telling me my grandchildren would swallow them, choke on them. Then, other people started telling off the "warner." BIG hullabaloo. Still, no farm animals!

Does anyone remember these? Only one store out of 12 where I went had them, but they were sold out. When I stand face-to-face with a clerk and describe the size of the animals, eager clerks exclaim and lead me to six inch cows that are as fat as my fist. One led me to a farm set with a huge barn. I said, "SMALL bag of animals and maybe a fence!" No, I don't say that to them. I say it in my head! These are seasonal employees, sometimes teens with first job. Sigh...sigh....they are so proud of themselves that I hate to burst their bubble.

Now, I have resorted to asking any acquaintance I see if their grandchildren have any lying around and are old enough to have lost interest. That ploy is not working.

Now, it is a bright and sunny day....aaaahh, much better. I am still short one camera and tiny farm animals. The camera is covered. Got any ideas for farm animals? I went to thrift stores. One had sold a bag of said animals just before I walked in. NOT!

This one little cloud hangs in my Christmas sky.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner Venue!

What's On 2nd--Antiques, Art, Postcards, and Curios
 Yes, this antique and collectible shop was where I enjoyed a delicious meal and conversation. Steve, one of the owner,s is in the picture above. Okay, I did not take the first picture and cannot change the size, so it can just cover my words! Okay, here goes.

Mike, the other owner,standing near the meal on the counter and on the table in front of her. She brought the turkey, WONDERFUL! I have no idea what the triangles are in this picture or how they got there.

Joseph, a guest

Elvis bathroom

Belt buckles
 Below the counter are postcards--hands, leaves, boats, flowers, any category you can imagine--Steve has it.

More postcards, but two pictures don't show his whole inventory of postcards. I bought an early twentieth century postcard of the Brooklyn Bridge for a gift.

Another view. See? More postcards. It was difficult to take pictures with so many lights and glare.

Two Santas
 The white Santa has a list with two items: lights and snacks. Santa is promoting smoking? We have come a long way.
What's On Second promotes artists. This is from an opening last week.

Artist's rendering of the shop. These are posters hanging on the wall.
 I have lots more pictures, but I don't want to bore you! It was great to browse before and after the meal. Some things caught my eye as I ate. I hope you had as wonderful a day as I.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights...uh...I mean wasted celery

This celery looked much better when I bought it two days ago, and it was still in the plastic sleeve in the grocery store under their lights. Still, it is a nice head of celery.
Jonathan Bloom's query
At WASTED FOOD, he asks readers in his post, Turkey Week Project, for suggestions--"Yet, with all of our abundance, though, comes the threat of waste. That’s why I’m hoping you guys will submit some advice here and on the Wasted Food Facebook page about how you plan to avoid waste at Thanksgiving." I had started this post when he posed his question. This post is timely in more ways than one.

Celery is the one thing I waste the most. There, I said it, "My name is Linda, and I waste celery." Okay, now that I have that burden released, I will share how I try to handle the celery problem all year long. I have vowed I will not waste the rest of the Turkey Day celery as I am want to do. I would say I usually waste about a fourth of my edible celery. Shame on me.

I always justified my waste while cringing at wasted food and wasted money by saying, "Chickens need food, too. They love celery." And, they prefer it chopped!

Thwarting celery waste
Every time I buy celery, I am in great danger of letting some of it spoil. The most beautiful head of celery is awaiting my thrifty ways and a really sharp knife. Since there is only me, it is hard to use the whole head and not let some of it go to waste.

I will not actually eat celery raw, even with dip. It has to be diced small as in tuna salad for me to eat it raw or cooked. The taste of celery in cold salads or cooked foods is something I desire, so I keep buying and wasting celery.

By prepping my celery for Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey and dressing, I will have only spent $0.44 cents on celery for each day since I will not buy one head of celery each holiday. If celery goes lower than $.88 cents/head, I will buy another head, dice, and freeze for next year.

Of course, celery does make good chicken food when it goes South---NOT my intentions.

Prepping celery for Thanksgiving and Christmas
I will wash and dice up most of the celery for making dressing for Thanksgiving AND Christmas. Since I don't make much dressing for just me (9"x9" pan) but want it chock full of celery, the one stalk will do for two small pans of dressing. The rest will be cut into 4" or so pieces to be used while cooking the turkey breast I will have both holidays. I will just throw several pieces of frozen celery stalk into the turkey cooking bag. (I know they are plastic and wasteful.) (Okay, possibly toxic.)

Christmas celery prep on L,starting prep for Thanksgiving on R
Celery Prep
The white plate has a scant two cups of diced celery which will be frozen for Christmas. On the same plate are two pieces of celery that will be frozen in the same bag as the diced celery. Those two pieces will cook with the turkey breast. The one piece of celery in front of the cup  will go into a single serving of turkey salad next week. Pie pan contains chicken food. White dirty plate holds compost. Whole celery stalks are what I will prep later today or Saturday for Thanksgiving (my cooking will be on Sat.) and will be the same as the prepped Christmas celery. I use an old Corelle plate for dicing, chopping and cutting.

Onions, too
Onion is not so hard to use up before it turns. So, onion is never wasted. Today, I was going to  chop onions and celery for Thanksgiving and Christmas and freeze all. But, I became tired and lazy. The Thanksgiving portion of onion and celery will just wait patiently until I cook my dinner on Saturday. Thanksgiving Day will be spent in the company of friends in Birmingham.

No toxic celery leaves for my hens
The hens may not get the celery leaves, and I don't use them. Celery leaves have the highest concentration of pesticides; the stalk has much less. My hens don't need the leaves since I eat the eggs. Plus, I just don't want my hens to eat pesticides!

Celery leaves go into the compost until I can find organic celery. Pleeease, don't tell me I am making poisonous compost.

Buying only what I will eat...unless...
Since I only eat the breast of the turkey, I will buy a turkey breast for my Saturday Thanksgiving dinner. I am unwilling to eat anything but the breast. However, if I find a turkey at the right price--really low--I will buy and cook the whole turkey, sharing all but the breast with a friend who helps me with things I cannot do around the house.

Waste after Thanksgiving?
Do you mean the dinner? Not a chance! I love Thanksgiving food to the end! I am sad when there is no more gravy for the dressing.  Actually, I can make a meal of just my tasty cornbread dressing.

Your turn
Visit Jonathan's blog. And tell me, are you a celery-waster all year like I am? What is the one thing during the year that you waste? What do you waste at Thanksgiving? How can you avoid this waste? Okay, off to chop celery and onions!

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Am About To Burst To Tell You!

New Tricks
Fancy and Thelma and Louise have been busy, learning new tricks. Hey, all three now come and get into their cage in the house. (Okay, that was the big news, but it seems so lame now.) Yet, they still frantically try to find their way out of their outdoor pen when the door is wide open.

Chickie Mama is coming...
so there must be food. I looked out the kitchen window and saw Fancy standing in my swing you can see way in the background of this picture, behind and to the left of the picnic table. I went out to take a picture. They heard me and started toward me. You just never can tell when I actually have food!

Hen House
The dog pen is their dwelling place. You can see the Rubbermaid box in which they lay eggs and sleep. Another box needs to be replaced on top of this one. They sleep two to a box or all three, just however they work it out. Both boxes sit on a plastic table. The ladder is for their amusement. Just to the left of the tree in the foreground, you can see a waterbowl that seems to be suspended in air. It is actually sitting on one of the three-legged plant stands. Raising it helps it not have trash scratched into it every day, every hour. The tarp lashed to the top of the pen is leaking. Poor hens have to rough it!

Oh, the side of my house is rock at the bottom. The picture makes my house looked cracked.

Eggs for baking
Right now, I could use the four eggs a day. When Chessie was so violently murdered, I was reduced to three egg sources. Putting the hens indoors has reduced the egg production. I am NOT getting up early enough to put them out at first light, even if first light is later due to Daylight Savings Time. My solution to having few eggs is to not eat them often for breakfast.

This week, I need an egg for the cornbread for dressing. Another three chopped, boiled egg will go into giblet gravy. Five eggs for Chocolate Pound Cake, four for pumpkin bread, 4 for pumpkin pies...maybe I can get the cakes and pies made. We will see. I still have three days to collect eggs. Some days I get none.

Fancy is lucky she is cute
She may be the slacker layer. When I gather two eggs, hers is not there. If she were not so cute and talkative, she might be dispatched to the oven after some prep work.

Fancy and the telephone
When I sit outdoors, I usually talk with a certain friend--Donna. She hears Fancy talking. We laugh about her insistence and coming so close, jumping up on the swing to talk with me. Yesterday, I decided to sit a bit in the yard because it was so warm and dry outdoors, very pleasant autumn day. But, I did not talk on the phone. All three chickens were contentedly pecking, silently going about their grass-eating and dirt scratching and bug-pecking. I took the phone out and dialed Donna. As soon as the phone started ringing, Fancy came running as fast as she could and TALKING to me. She must have heard the phone ringing! Anyway, she could not be quiet, but jumped up on the swing and talked to me as Donna and I laughed.

Fancy and the camera
She is accustomed to the red cell phone at my ear and never seems concerned. But, let me put the red camera to my face for a picture, and she is out of there. I can never just whip the camera out, bend or sit and get a picture of what they are doing at the moment. At first, all four shrieked and ran away at the sight of a camera. Now, they just go away. Finally, I have figured out that I am extending the camera toward them and making them uneasy. (no viewfinder) I don't dare lay it down to let them become accustomed to it. They would peck it and ruin it.

I promised you no more chicken talk for a week, and I have abided by my promise. Thanks for letting me share.

Your turn
If you have hens, are you as fascinated with them as I am?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Free Bags

Free Bags
Free Bags
Free Bags

This weekend, I found the Mother Lode of bags, all sorts of bags. I snagged 10 for myself.
Today, they are hanging in the sunshine. None smelled musty and 7 were new, never used. You know the stiff feel of unwashed canvas?

Method and Purpose
I attempted to categorize these with numbers on each so you could see for yourself. But, the numbers are not clearly visible. Number 10 is the one hanging below the other.

This blog is not just to show off my "new" bags. I want you to see what you can have for free or cheaply. The woman said everything was going to dumpster, to take all you wanted.

I took only ten bags.
You cannot see most of the numbers, so just count. Remember, number 10 is hanging below.
From the left of the photo:
1-new, lightweight cloth
2-new, canvas
3-new, sealed in bag, canvas, coated inside with heavy vinyl, zipper top, inner zipper pocket, bottom stands
4-new, canvas
6-new, canvas
7-new, still folded, soiled on a corner
8-new, canvas, coated with heavy vinyl inside
9-new, with child's name inside
10-(bag hanging underneath) washed, but looked new, canvas

Original Sources
Maybe you have friends in these industries, jobs, positions. Maybe you can ask if this friend has an abundance of bags. Ask if you can trade a jar of jelly for bags. Work it out.

These originally came from teachers, schools, colleges, Mother's Day Out, #3 from a cruise broker?, an electric coop. I also have these from banks, neighborhood watch, insurance, etc.

These were free to me. I left one bag there, strong, sturdy, roomy, and with something gooey on the inside. Don't think I took all of them or only the good ones, leaving undesirable ones behind. I was there two hours after the freebie giveaway. Others had picked over the bags before me.

Oooops, found another that go with the 10 above.

Last week, I found more bags when out and about.
I forgot how I came across these bags or where. After dark, I brought them in and had to photograph them on a chair. All three are heavy canvas. You can plainly see the sources of these bags.
All three were in good shape, no soiling or excessive wear. The top one was new. Maybe all three were. At a yard sale I never pay more than a quarter for bags.                            
Cute and Matching
That's what you want? Why? Think it over. But, if matching bags is your desire, of course, you can buy them. But, WHY? These are useful. Some have never been used at all. Unless a bag has an unethical-to-me logo, I will use it. Yes, I prefer them without stains. That looks grody unless I put the stain there!

Maybe you can sew and make cute, matching bags? Or, you can made bags from jeans or another sturdy fabric. That works.

Your turn
Where is your best source of bags? Do you ever carry an assortment like I do? Actually, I believe I have a matching set of some of the school bags, all gathered from different yard sales, attendance of conferences in which I participated, free boxes at different places.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Living Lawnmowers

Okay, you have to see this video of goats from Rent a Ruminant. Here is the website to read more. Even the website is cute.  I love, love, love it.

This is not a cute-animal post. The goats are eco-friendly. Just cutting out the noise pollution of power mowers and yard-care tools works for me, but, more importantly, no gasoline is used. And, customers get free fertilizer.

I wondered how the goats were secured. But, the fence you see is an electric fence.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth About Factory Farming

chickens on factory farm photo
Chickens unnaturally raised to maximize profits

Only after the last tree is cut down,
The last of the water is poisoned,
The last animal is destroyed...
Only then will you realize
You cannot eat money.
                                                          Cree Indian Prophecy

Factory farming gives us meat that is much cheaper than organically raised, ethically raised, and humanely raised meat. But, at what cost? Watch the video, A River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth about Factory Farms to see the horrific damage done to the water, land, and human lives to satisfy our taste for meat, a voracious appetite, matched only by corporate greed, fuels big factory farms that flout the rules, poisoning all in the meantime. It seems that Europeans understand the need to stop practices we still continue.

I like and eat meat
In no way am I suggesting that anyone give up meat. I eat meat. I like meat! Eating less would be better for me. You make your own decisions on that issue. In case you got this far without watching the video, it is not about giving up meat. That is not an issue in this post and hopefully not the gist of your comments!

Your turn
Do you live in Arkansas? Or, in any area where factory farming happens? Have their been problems with the waste in the water?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Beware Walmart's Prices for the Holidays

Since I am frugal, I scope out prices even if I have no intention of buying that day. Of course, I am in the stores for purchasing other items instead of visiting for a price check. Parsimonious me will go just to price check, but I was not doing so this week. As I visited three stores this week and purchased sale items from each, I was horrified.

SAVE? Ummm, No!
The little WM "magazine" type ad showed up in the mail. It even had two staples in the spine.  "Save on everything you need."

Compare these prices
No, not really. Specifically, I am talking about items on the grocery side of our Super Center. Domino's sugar was $4.12. At two other stores in town, sugar was $3.68. That is only one of about a dozen examples I found. If this were just the economy, I would expect to find prices like this at other stores. Nope! The local chain and the national chain both have lower prices on many items.

Sugar in the five-pound bag went from $0.64/lb this summer to $0.82/lb currently. When it goes on sale for less than $0.64/lb, I will be stocking up. But, I had emptied the sugar bowl and the cannister by shaking both upside down over my bowl of oats. Finally, I used Confectioner's Sugar.

Turkey-sized oven bags, listed as a roll-back price, don't even have the price listed. However, they are the same price as bags in the other two stores I mentioned. Turkey bags are one of my few luxuries. And, I had a coupon when I bought them elsewhere!

Comparison shopping
You may not have time to do this, but a cruise-through another grocery store other than Walmart might help you decide where to buy some of your groceries. My town is small, so I can afford the time and gas to do this.

Now that you have this heads-up, maybe you can avoid SOME of your Walmart shopping.  "Save Money. Live better." I don't think you can save as much at Walmart as you think. I know you can save more than their ads imply.

I hate Walmart
Okay, I need their savings. But, I do hate their policies. I shop there as little as I can. That is why I am current on prices of items I use. Since the holidays are eminent, I made the commitment to find out about things I will use specifically this season.

Your turn
Does anyone know if their toy sales ads are as deceptive as the grocery ads?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Reusable Bags May Be Contaminated with Toxic Substance

China importing toxins again
Great, just great. China intends to just send in poison to overcome us. Is this a Trojan Horse? Thankfully, I never purchase the bags I possess, but several have come into my possession. You can view the video report and see the information.

I am assuming these are the ones that feel funny. Yes, the bag is made of something besides cotton or nylon--polyethylene terraphthalate.

Tolerable daily intake
Hmmm, so if I get this tolerably daily intake from a dozen sources a day, I am over the limit for a toxin.
Besides, antimony, PET, and phthalates get a poor health grade in this Widipedia article. I know. I know. I am the first to avoid Wikidpedia. Check the primary sources.

My toxic bags

The bag may not be toxic, but why take chances? This bag stores bags of rice in my kitchen, so I hauled it up on the counter to photograph. Bye, bye, Earthbound Farm Organic.

Those yellow counters are out-of-date, I am told. But, they are paid-for and wake me up in the morning.

Bye, bye, bags
However, I will not give away my store bags that are reusable. I cannot in good conscience give them away for someone else to handle. No, I will not compost them and put toxins in my compost. I suppose they are fodder for the landfill.

This is a better, cheaper option!

 I either got these free or paid a quarter or less. I am not picky about the logo as long as it is decent and not something I would ethically prefer not to be seen carrying. They were on their way to the car when I threw them up on the chair to take this picture. Don't look at the dusty fake plant!

The dirty marks on the wall are remnants of the baby raccoons' attempted escape. The wall has been washed once and needs something stronger or just to be repainted!

Your turn
Does this video and information bother you? What will you do with your bag that is made of the soft cloth-like fabric and made in China?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My name is Piccolo. I am the Newest Wasteful Product

Hello, my name is Piccolo. I love to fill the landfill with my little empty capsules of milk and flavorings. I am not frugal, just cute. I will waste your money and leave you sad and lonely as I sit on my shelf and wait until you can afford to buy more capsules. Remember, I am marketed as easy, not frugal. You can get the same thrifty results with your microwave or teakettle or any vessel to heat water.


Walmart was giving away free, huge cups of  cappuccino last Saturday, made one cup at a time in this machine--Piccolo is the name. This cost $99 or thereabouts. There are other larger, still cute, and named machines to buy from the site I have given you below.

One use machine
This won't work for anything but cappuccino, according to the woman who was giving away the samples. And, you must buy capsules to use it! This won't work for me or any frugal person.

There are little sealed packets (they call them capsules) that you MUST use with this cute little machine. You cannot use your own coffee from a large container. You cannot use your own milk or cream. You cannot have just any flavor.  Each use of the machine uses two packets. Even a person who is not green can see this is a landfill nightmare. Why not make a machine that does not require so much waste? Why not make a machine that allows a person to buy the ingredients in large quantities. Oh, yeah! Isn't that what cappuccino machines do?

Oh, yeah--more waste. Each cup had a sleeve added just so you would not be so stupid as to burn your hands on the hot, insulated cup.

Beside the cup below is a capsule that MUST be used in this marvelous, little machine. Yes, it takes two capsules for each cup--Nescafe Dolce Gusto Flavor Capsules.
How it works
You put water in the top of the machine. Then, you place the cup in the cup place in the front. THEN, you place a white (milk?) packet in a place above the cup. When that finishes emptying in to the machine, you place a brown (flavor?) into the place where you removed the white packet. The whole thing is through in nothing flat...well, that is after you put water, cup, white, and then brown packet and let it do its thing. (BTW, the woman called the capsules "white" and "brown." She had a typed page of instructions she was following, so I am sure the instructions named the capsules.)

I was just a bit leery of my cup of hot chocolate flavored cappuccino because it was all white like milk with only a bit of brown, the chocolate flavor, right in the center of the cup. Yes, it came with a stirrer!

It seems I spent an inordinate amount of time stirring this drink. That annoyed me a great deal.


For the money the little capsules must have cost, it certainly could be made cheaper at home. Poor value!

How this might work well
If you live alone, have gobs of money, and don't care about the environment, and don't mind your cappuccino without froth.

Where was the froth?
None of the cups I saw prepared had any froth at all.
Okay, I am not promoting this. But, you can go to this site to see this marvel of wastefulness.

The gift that keeps costing the recipient 
If you were to receive this at Christmas, you would be obliged to keep buying the capsules to use your gift. I predict this will be in many yard sales for years to come.
Your turn
Would you buy this? Hmmm, I saw something about peach tea. Okay, you can have cappuccino and tea, maybe. Still, this is a wasteful product that appears to be aimed at Christmas shoppers. Isn't this outrageous?

(PS--I corrected all my It was late. And, I must have been thinking of Timothy when I misspelled "leery.")

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Coke Rewards--Shop with half the points sale

Instead of 240 points for 12 pack of Coke products, I only had to use 120 points. So, I "bought" two 12-packs. I don't know how long this lasts!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fancy This

Okay, this is not a chicken blog, but Fancy jumped in her cage for the first time. This saves me time and saves my back. Here goes, and I promise I will stop the chicken pictures.

Fancy just came in the house
Fancy often comes in at bedtime IF the door is open. I swoop her up and put her in the pen. No pooping in the house is the rule around here! Tonight, I heard her and went to see what she was doing. Fancy had jumped on top of their closed cage. I ran to get the camera after I took her off and put her out of the house and opened the cage for her. When I came back, I took some very blurry pictures. Sorry, but I think I was walking when I took the first one. She had just jumped back in the house.

Fancy, sitting on the edge of cage

And, then....

Fancy inside the cage all on her own! This is a first.
 Good girl! Now, to show the other two how it is done!

Yes, the floor is dirty, but I swept it there! I cannot sweep, carry a hoe or shovel or anything besides food and expect them not to be just terrified.  So, I put it away.The picture color is funky, and I am not sure why. The junk on the porch is leaving here.

Today, I got two eggs from the three of them. Keeping them in the dark for two more hours than normal is not helping egg production.

No more chicken tales for a week--Promise.

Your turn
Honk if you have chickens.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What is Wasted Food?

Wasted Food?
 Jonathan Blooms's article today, Atop the Soapbox, on his blog, Wasted Food, brought to the forefront some questions I have been asking myself lately.

What exactly is food waste?
I know my apple cores and banana peels should be composted or fed to the chickens, and I do both. They should not go into a landfill.

Chicken food?
Am I wasting food when I let the last of the lettuce go bad by procrastinating and not eating it? Even though the three hens eat it, I still feel I wasted it. If I get cast off food from a market and want it just for feeding hens, I know I am saving it from the landfill and helping not to waste food. But, I have this uneasy and maybe irrational feeling that I should eat what I pay for and not let one crumb of fruits and vegetables go to landfill, compost, or hens. I will slice off the little bad spot from an onion that is given me in the box of chicken produce and chop/freeze for later use. 

Some people on many posts/comments for months have said they wasted nothing because it goes to hogs or chickens. Somehow, I think that allowing a cupful of beans or 1/4 cup of yogurt to stay beyond their welcome in the refrigerator is waste! Yes, compost or hens can redeem the food waste, but isn't it still waste?

Is it okay to say you didn't waste that last helping of food by feeding it to an animal or the compost because you don't like leftovers? Shouldn't we learn to love leftovers?

I certainly agree with all his other concerns and points. The term "waste" confuses me. Yes, his dog can eat it, my hens or compost pile put wasted food to use. Of course, my compost bin is starving for food scraps now that I have hens.

Again, what is waste?
My question is not in any type of opposition to his blog. But, if a person throws out half a head of lettuce to hens or compost, isn't she still wasting food? If a guy leaves an apple or banana that he took for a lunch until it is inedible yet brings it home to compost, didn't he still waste food? When people say they don't waste anything because the feed leftovers-lingering-languishing to animals or the compost pile, aren't they still wasting food. I think so.

Of course, I won't eat any gristle on meat of any kind. And, I trim away all fat from meat. Is that waste? Hmmm, no. The hens will eat it.

Of course, I agree that the Rose Bowl full of food could be better used, consumed by humans, compost bins, or animals.

Is this food in the picture considered waste?
Look at the picture, please. This eggplant and cabbage leaf bit have been in my backyard since Saturday. They both were in much better shape four days ago when I brought them home. Could the eggplant have been used for human consumption? I don't know because I don't eat eggplant. Grocers/markets/farmers are forced to peel back the cabbage leaves to show the nicer inner cabbage leaves. I pondered this as I fed perfectly good cabbage leaves to my hens. The two apples I gave them had a little bruise on each.

I do eat the garlic and onions because not to do so would be "wasting" both. I have a compost hole that receives citrus, garlic (really is rotten), onions (same here), and eggplant.

Conflicted thoughts
If I were truly hungry, in a starvation mode, how much of the food I get only for hens would I consider edible? So, if it would be edible in one circumstance and just animal food in another circumstance, how much of a hypocrite am I?

Am I making up rules for other people that don't apply to me? Is feeding possibly-wasted food to the animals or compost bin sufficient redemption for wasting that food at the dinner table, in the refrigerator, or in the market?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fancy That


By now you may have guessed that Fancy is my favorite hen. (Just don't tell Thelma and Louise.) Fancy came to sit in the swing with me just now and quickly decided she wanted to sit on the back. She was talking to me the whole time. Isn't she a sweet, magnificent bird? Or, maybe you cannot see it. Okay, don't want to bore you.

All the raccoons, dead chicken, living indoors part, and the cold has been stressful for her little hen life. She pecks out her chest feathers. Soon, she will be wearing a chicken apron if she does not watch herself. I guess feather plucking is the equivalent of nail-biting in humans.  Hmmmm?

Fancy is sitting on my swing near the back door. The swing in which I lie in the summer is located on the other side of the house.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Would You Be More Frugal lived in this tenement?

Frugality in the early 1900s was the same as ours in a few ways and different in many other ways. One major difference I will share with you. Thanks to preservation and research done by others, I had the chance to experience how tenement dwellers lived and how they paid for their gas usage for cooking.

While in New York City, visiting my daughter, I chose the museums I wanted to visit. Of course, I went to visit my daughter, but I did want to see a bit of the city. She wanted to take me to the Statue of Liberty.

Instead, I chose other venues, choosing one she did not want to visit and declaring I wanted to go there for my birthday! How is that for getting your own way? Really, she liked it once she got there. I knew she would or I would not have insisted.

Would you be more frugal with your cooking if you dropped a dime into a gas meter to start gas in your stove, and the gas went off when you used a dime's worth of cooking gas? That's what I thought! I would be more frugal, too. That is how tenement houses kept residents current on their gas upfront!

When we visited  the Tenement Museum, we all learned how people lived at the turn of the twentieth century in a tenement.

There was a little gas meter near the stove in the kitchen. Renters deposited a dime and the gas ran for ten cents worth; whatever that amount was and however long the stove would burn, we were never told. There would be no accounting later and no one to ask for an extension for what was used or credit to get gas before it was paid for by a dime in the meter.

I would imagine that lots of one-pot meals were prepared. Did you ever consider that one-pot meals consumed less energy to cook? I didn't consider how tenement dwellers  might need to conserve energy usage or how they would do so until I started thinking about this post as I cooked.

Have you ever cooked a one-pot meal to conserve energy? I have not unless you consider how I cook meat for 24 meals in the oven at one time. Yes, I stated I wanted to use the oven once for energy conservation, but not once have I feared the gas/electricity would suddenly be cut off in the middle of my cooking.

Cooking pots of beans is not a money-saving ploy for me. Yes, I can cook and have food for many meals if I cook beans. But, never in the back of my mind have I ever worried I could use up a limited amount of energy available at my home. Of course, cooking to get a couple of cups of beans is just not practical, considering how long they must soak and cook.

Maybe that would curb my conspicuous consumption of energy used by my stove. By the way, I am frugal but would be considered extravagant to anyone in a tenement.

One pot meals would be the way to go if 4 quarters had to be deposited before I could cook anything. (You know everything, almost everything, requires multiple quarters these days!)

Right now, I am cooking pasta shells for two meals. But, there would be pasta for a week in that pot if I feared my dime's (quarters') worth of gas might not last long.

Has anyone been to the Tenement Museum? If you are going to NYC, I would highly recommend it. "It is the first museum in the United States to preserve a tenement and have it designated a National Historic Site." This is how many emigrants lived. It is educational if you need home school projects to do on vacation.

Has anyone ever had to pay a meter in the kitchen to get gas to cook?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Misermeister of Shoes

My "new" parsimonious shoes

Okay, the shoes are not parsimonious. They are the result of my parsimonious ways.

Double Catastrophe
You can laugh at this—I lost the right shoe of the black pair and tore up the left shoe of the white pair. So, I have been wearing in the yard the mismatched good “pair” that is left. I try to run behind a bush or my car to hide if a car drives by or rush indoors so no one will see me wearing an odd pair of shoes. The hens don’t care what I wear when I am bringing them food.

My feet do not sit sideways like that. Yes, in this weather I do wear those bulky white socks.

My Dilemma
What do you do when a pair of shoes starts to wear out? What do you do when you find out that your favorite shoe is being discontinued?

What do you do when you lose a shoe or one tears up and you have no shoes to wear? Look at the picture! ( Okay, I had shoes for good but none to wear in the yard or in the house.) If I wore good shoes in the rain and mud to care for chickens or take out the garbage, I would ruin the ones that were still in good shape.) This black pair and the white pair were for mucking around. I would also, without the least bit of embarassment wear either the black pair or the white pair into the grocery in a blinding rain.

Let me digress: A Love Story
When the best fitting pair of shoes I ever owned started to wear out, I found out that the shoe was being discontinued. Immediately, I bought six more pair. Now, over fifteen, NO, twenty years later, I look at them and cannot bear to throw them out. It is not just thrift or just parsimony that makes me keep these shoes! And, it is not hoarding! (I just got rid of several pair, just not these.) It is pure, unadulterated love.

They are leather with rubber soles. Best of all, they have a T strap, so cute! They stay on my feet but do not have ties. I don’t wear shoes that tie. My feet will scream, honestly! These shoes are as comfortable as house shoes. As a matter of fact, when I purchased my first pair, after being on my feet and walking much of the day in my position as a teacher, I did not kick these off when I came home. That was a first for me.

When a pair is so worn looking that I get out a new pair, the old “good pair” is worn for muddy or wet yard work. They are still serviceable for taking out the garbage, tending chickens, mowing. I always kept two pair in use this way. I am at the end of my shoe stash. As a matter of fact, the last pair has a worn insole, broken down insides, but still looks great.

Nubuck really holds up to wear and tear. After discovering that Nubuck is warmer than smooth leather, I may never buy anything else. Okay, I digress. But, you get the idea.

Now, I have decided to resurrect all the shoes with a trip to the shoe repair shop. He can condition the leather, glue sole to upper, and replace the insole. They won’t be new; some will be just wearable without leaking. Some will look really nice. The pair that became hard after a good soaking walk in the rain and neglect will at least be something to wear in the yard or in the house. Or, I may stick them back in the car for a roadside emergency. We will see. We will see.

I have one white pair (huge purchase mistake), two smooth black leather pair, and two black Nubuck pair. If all are redeemed, I will not need shoes for maybe another five years, depending on how fast they wear out the second time. My only concern is the comfort of the insole. Right now, they are lumpy and worn thin, but I hope that can be helped by new insoles. This will be an expensive project for me right now, but I love those shoes and have worn them all to pieces.

No matter what these cost to repair, it will be less than replacing shoes. The most important part to me is that they will feel right. They are leather. Some cow gave up a great deal for me to have these, so I am honoring the cow by repairing a hide she must have cherished in her own way.

Do you understand how much I love, Love, LOVE these shoes? Plus, my miserly mind (frugal?) sees new life in them. Okay, if I could find them new, I would buy just one pair!

PS to Easy Spirit—bring back the APT1.
Linda (repairing shoes one pair at a time.)

Free Soft Soap and Other Parsimonious, Sudsy Matters.

Washing spending right out of my life!

Halsa, Hallelujah
Long, long ago, I used Halsa shampoo. It worked on my hair, smelled nice, and I liked it. When I could no longer find Halsa in the stores, I began my quest for a cheap brand that I liked. Eventually, I found Garnier, incredibly expensive at $3 bottle. No, I am not into expensive shampoos.

Big Lots to the Rescue
Along came Big Lots with a big shipment of Halsa. I bought 17 bottles of shampoo at $0.58 apiece for 15.4 ounce bottles. Did you ever wonder who makes up these odd amounts to package? I do.  After using Halsa once again, I regretted my purchase. My hair did not like Halsa. So, I am stuck or have to return it. What to do? What to do?

My Ruined Hair
Luckily, I decided to just keep it around for company to use. It does smell really nice! I imagine my hair color habit is why Halsa made my hair feel like a wet sponge with no distinct strands. Yes, I realize I am ruining my hair!

Soft Soap Pumps
Everyone had been buying pump liquid soaps for years before I caved. I wanted the experience..whine...whine. When I used the soft soap in the cute pump, I was hooked--no more soggy soap on my old, old, old sink with no counter space or storage space. There is only the little indention for soap on each side and barely enough room for a soap dish on the back of the sink. All this made for a messy sink and bars of soap dropped on the floor.

Yikes at the Price
When I shopped for more soft soap, I was appalled that I would either have to buy a new pump bottle to get more soap or buy the half gallon refill that was antibacterial. Three problems existed: 1) I did not want to spend the money to get soft soap and be forced to buy a new pump when the old one worked. 2) I was not going to buy anti-bacterialsoft soap and could find nothing else. 3) I really did not have the inclination or money to buy the large refill even if it weren't antibacterial.

Lightbulb Moment
My solution was to use the 17 bottles of shampoo in the pump. That has worked out great. Remember, soap does not kill germs. It just facilitates removing them from your hands when you rub your hands together. Shampoo will do the same job. I have several bottles of Halsa left. Today, when I dug in the cabinet that is low, the cabinet where I store things seldom needed, I could not find the purple Halsa shampoo, lavender, I think. The lavender may be stored in the laundry room. The Halsa lavender shampoo is in the pump bottle in the picture.

Free Shampoo in the picture
Only the green shampoo by Halsa was evident. So, since I had to go to the car to get my camera, and I wanted to be outdoors with the hens, I just took the picture outdoors on this gloriously sunny, frigid day. The two tall bottles of shampoo were given to me. Anytime anyone does not like a shampoo and is ready to toss it, I ask if I may have it. NO, I don't ask friends if they are getting rid of shampoo. But, if something will be tossed after one or two uses, I do volunteer to take it off their hands. FREE SOAP for my bathroom sink=no spending for me. The pump bottle, reused for many years contains lavender Halsa shampoo.

Free Soap
Free hotel/motel soap is still here from about five years ago. Plus, samples in the mail and donations from friends keep me in little bars for guests or the basement sink. Occassionally, I buy a brand of soap I don't like or use if it is free with a sale and coupons.

Soaps Inventory
Additionally, I have a dozen bottles of Dawn for the kitchen, all free with sales and coupons. There are about six bars of Dove. I use a bar of Dove (on sale) about every four months, bathing at least once a day in the tub. Since my Garnier is off limits to others, the other free shampoo is available. Actually, I rarely have overnight company. A boyfriend would bathe after mowing my yard each week, but never wanted to use the Garnier and refused to use the Dove bath bars. My pump soap (aka as shampoo I won't use), Garnier shampoo, kitchen-sink soap, Dove, and guest soap costs me under $2 each year. Yes, most of it is free!

Soaps Savings
That is approximately $65 saving each year.

Friends and Family Plan
Plus, my daughter never has to buy her Palmolive for the kitchen sink since I get it free! My Garnier shampoo and conditioner is only bought when I can get it on sale and with a coupon. Finally, a guy friend refused to take anymore shampoo. That's okay. It is now called soft soap.

Add Soap Savings to Banana and Onion Savings
We talked  banana and onion savings. So, let's add soft soap, dish liquid, and bar soap savings. I save at least $65/year on soaps/shampoos. That makes $135.00 saved on those three items, alone. Sales and free; all are for me!

Your Turn
You can do this too. Do you have teens who just have to try something new and then refuse to use it? Do you purchase shampoo that you really don't like after all? Can you salvage shampoo from friends and family and put them in a pump for the bathroom sink?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dog after my chickens now

Dogs are not allowed to run loose. We have leash laws. This big wolf-like dog is all over the place, unattended. Or, the owner is four blocks behind, not what the law specifies--dog must be under owner's control all the time.

I heard an excited "buck, buck, buck" and thought there was a squabble amongst the hens over a bug. No! Pretty soon, they were screaming and running. I ran out and grabbed a shovel leaning on the porch step railing. I met Thelma and Louise, running for their lives as I rounded the back of the house. The dog, fast behind, stopped and snarled when I screamed. Well, I screamed again after he snarled, threw up my arms wide and high, rushing this ferocious dog. I am terrified of dogs but I would have wrestled him for my chickens.

He ran one way, and I ran around the other side of the house to see if I could find Fancy. But, he was gone when I got to the front, and so were all the hens. Finally, I saw Louise, cowering by the back fence in some cover. I picked her up and put her in the dog-proof pen. I called, "Delilah," over and over--also called their names. (Delilah is their food call.) Then, Thelma appeared at the pen and I picked her up and put her in. Poor little Fancy, the smallest, most prolific egg layer, the one who follows me and "talks" to me was still missing.

I set out more slowly around the house, examining each bush and calling her name. Finally, I heard a tiny noise and kept calling softly. My heart was pounding once again, but with joy this time but also with fear. She sounded hurt, almost dead. Finally, I spotted her and coaxed her from the huge bush--good cover, smart girl!  I carried her all the way from the front yard to the back with no complaints from her. She was frightened and so was I. We hugged.

Since I have all the chicken cooking in the house, I am afraid that the hour I am gone to the dinner that the raccoons will be tempted from the attic by the smell of food. I may take my hens with me for an hour.

Animal Control or city police are going to issue a citation for the owners of the dog when I find out who they are.

Am I sounding like the crazy chicken lady yet?

Major cooking today

Whew! Being parsimonious has its ups and downs. I benefit from the "ups" and get over the "downs."
~~24 meals of meat in the oven for about $8~~

Frugally exhausted,
Linda--parsimonious and practical

Yes, it is true. I like the economy of cooking bursts. You must know that by now. For at least 2 weeks I won't need to cook meat. I might decide to open a can of tuna or make salmon croquettes. But, I don't have to use the oven if I don't want to.

In the oven--4 chicken thigh-leg quarters and 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This will make 12 meals from the thigh/legs and about 12 meals from the breasts. So, that's 24 meals of meat in the oven, all cooking at once. I store the quarters in freezer and feed to friend when he comes to help me and send the rest home with him. He reports at least three and maybe four meals from each quarter. The breasts are for me...I am picky.

My seasoning is a celery rib, slice of bell pepper, free onions (red, chopped, from freezer) and a bit of salt, pepper, and a whisper of sage.  The sage won't be so evident that it tastes or smells like Thanksgiving.

The quarters were free and boneless, skinless breast were less than $1/lb, on sale for half price. Corn and apple were both free.

Happily, the chickens will get all the skin and be in chicken seventh heaven for about a week. Then, my friend brings back ALL the bones, more skin, and gristle that he freezes for the chickens. They are delirious when they get chicken.

My only ear of corn resides in foil to bake for me. Plus, the only baking apple is cooking in a little dish. I only had one of each.

Broth--chickens get the fat and I freeze the rest.

Oh, I am going out to eat tonight--free dinner where I bring home loads of scraps from the plates for the hens.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cherry Pie...take it back...Blueberry Pie

I took out two gallon bags of free cherries from the big freezer in my sewing room. Yessiree, I hate cherry pie but was not going to let these go to waste. Besides, I needed the freezer room right then. Trying to be economical on all fronts--freezing sale chicken and making free pie filling--I had it all figured out.

The next day when I dumped the two gallons of cherries into a big pot, I discovered they were blueberries. Okay, I can tell the difference....mumble...mumble...what difference does it make? were frozen, tiny fruit. The difference is that I love blueberries!

Since the cornstarch was not immediately evident when I opened the cabinet door, I used flour to thicken. A little sugar and real butter finished it off. That big, messy pot will only be cleaned once (now), and I will only have to thaw the contents of a bag to enjoy a warm, blueberry pie or dumplings. Besides, instead of two gallon bags stored in the freezer, I now have two quart bags stored.

I prepared enough blueberry pie/cobbler filling/ice cream topping to fill two quart freezer bags. I live alone, do not want to cook three times each day, and still want my own home-cooked food. To avoid continual cooking and continual messes like I did when my children were little, I find it easier to cook one big thing (like two pie fillings) each day, building on it through the week by cooking one more large amount on about three days a week--pot of beans, oven full of sweet potatoes, 3-6 chicken breasts--and be done with the chore of fixing three or more dishes for one meal.

Tonight I did cook one cheeseburger topped with romaine and on a bun. The rest of the pound of ground round went into meat loaf that has been eaten over three days. Two portions of meat loaf were given to someone else, so that meat loaf actually made six servings. (I ate some for lunch and dinner.) I will whip up a tuna salad for a meal with salad greens. It's not all gallons of cooking around here.

If you have children, I know this may seem formidable and would turn into marathon cooking sessions. However, some people do cook once for the whole month (forgot whose blog but speak up if it was yours). I am not sure I would want to do this if I had children, but we will never know.

There will be blueberry pie filling if I want if for the holidays. Mincemeat is in a jar on the shelf, ready for the pie. Quart jars of prepared mincemeat filling were on sale last winter with an expiration date of sometime next year. They were something like $1.25/jar, less than a third of the original price. There were only six on the shelf, so I took them all. Nothing says Thanksgiving or Christmas like mincemeat pie. Agreed? Or, are you one of the mincemeat haters?

Frozen apple pie filling is next on the agenda! Getting free apples is the plan!

Earlier in the year, a guy at a market gave me all his peaches he could not sell because they were "pie peaches," ones that folk would not buy because of a blemish. Quarts of peaches, seasoned for a pie reside in the freezer.

Some people freeze the fruit filling in the pie pan and remove it to free up the pan, placing the frozen shape in a freezer bag. Then, at pie baking time, the frozen filling is placed back in a piecrust in the same pie pan. So sorry! I buy pie pie crusts. My domesticity only goes so far. Crusts are beyond the limit.
Do you ever freeze the pie filling in the shape of the pie you will bake later?

Do you ever prepare pie fillings ahead in any shape? What method works for you?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chickens don't "get it" & Chicken Congress

Genesis of this post
I was telling a friend, Stephanie, that another friend was mean to my chickens, scaring them with big, booming BOOs. I also remarked that cats and dogs "get" teasing and will tease back. Not so with chickens. Since a raccoon killed one of my four hens, I commented to her that I will get four more chicks next spring to try and get one hen from the group. She suggested one of my hens hatch eggs. Well, I have no rooster.

So, this was my reply to her.

Chickens don't get it
Yeah, I don't think chickens have a sense of humor or an "I'll sneak up on you to peck your shoelaces"
kind of attitude in their repertoire. (You know how cats like to surprise you and dogs initiate play.) Chickens don't. They are all business--hunt, peck, scratch.

Having chickens makes me see why people are called "chicken." They often operate out of fear. So, boo-ing them will not lead them to play with you.

Shoelace worms
Chickens will peck shoelaces, but it is because shoelaces are there. Chickens don't look for interaction from you when shoelace pecking. A hen pecked my skin through a hole in my pants--just because the hole was there. Cats and dogs will deliberately make tentative moves to touch a human. Chickens look for food. Shoelaces could be worms. The hole in my pants...well, there was my thigh underneath...just trying for a morsel because they like to peck things they can inhale. (Okay, some really spoiled chickens, hand raised, do want humans to interact beyond food service.) You do know--chickens are all about food!

You're chicken!
It beats my why my friend scares my chickens. I mean, the saying "you're chicken" is said with good reason. Anything coming from above them, even when they were a day old (like their food or water), must have been a hawk the way they fled screaming little chickie screams to all corners of their box. Then, if most of the other chicks were in another corner, the few in the wrong corner went there with the majority--safety in numbers? Plus, they were wary of pieces of banana peels--like I would put snakes in their plastic box house!

Hen and chicks
If a hen had her own chicks, she could keep them warm and outdoors so I would not have to coddle chicks in the house for months! But, to have chicks, I would have to bring in a house rooster for a few weeks and then hope I had a hen who was broody after 8-12 days of laying fertile eggs. I would need another pen outdoors for her and the chicks.

Randy, rude, rooster
Gee, the rooster would love to have three hens all to himself and mostly in a small pen--10'x10'. Poor girls (18 months old) would be traumatized--sort of like throwing old maids in with a randy rogue with no morals, manners, or tenderness. They most surely would deal with the stress by pecking out the rest of their chest feathers. Then, I would have to provide chicken therapy.

Tradeoff for food
The person or rooster who gives food is dominant. The hen is dependent. The rooster will find food and call his hens. He might give up tidbits to retain or gain favor. So, she will "take the position" when the dominant giver-of-food approaches. (Why does this all sound strangely familiar and not in a chickeny way?)

 Chicken Congress
When they squat for me, and I pet them, they are really bracing themselves for being mounted by a rooster, their lady feet firmly planted, legs spread so they won't topple, back stiffened, and wings out for balance. I can put my hand on the back of the one squatting, giving her gentle pressure and a little, bitty shake backwards and forwards. She then thinks congress has occurred and gives herself a good all-over-feather-shake-and-fluff...."whew, it's over"....hilarious.

Okay, do you shake your chickens to see them fluff themselves afterwards?

Monday, November 1, 2010

High-tech vs. Low Tech for Christmas ~~TOYS: When Grandma was a little girl

Okay, I had a post ready, but this is better. How many high-tech toys will you deem it necessary for your child, toddler, or baby to get from Santa or you? I am talking high-tech from computers to baby toys that light up or make a sound when a button is pushed. Maybe it only has an AA battery. That IS high-tech.

If you don't do Santa for any reason, that's okay, but it's not what this is all about. This can be about toys for any occassion. I just mentioned Santa because it is just about that time of the year.

I won't do the article an injustice by trying to paraphrase it. But, the purpose of learning or entertainment devices is discussed in Toys: When Grandma was a little girl with great clarity. Cultivating learning skills trumps just getting information.

There is nothing wrong with a computer or a baby toy with flashing lights. So, don't think I am ranting about technology.

My oldest child who is 42 now played with a small box for hours when he was about a year old. I was fascinated with his fascination. It did nothing, had few primary colors, was very silent, but he loved it above all his toys.

Okay, you want what is best for a child? Read the article. Have you had learning experiences that were low-tech, slow-paced, and valuable with a child? Share with us.