Category Archives: In the News

Lesson 746 – Prayers for Boston


Our thoughts and prayers are with the city of Boston and all those who have been affected by this senseless tragedy.

Eternal thanks to our nation’s first responders and to those who, at risk to personal safety, stepped up to help. Heros all.


Filed under In the News, Inspiration, Personal

Lesson 723 – Fatti Madi, the President of the United States and Me

This picture was sent to me quite a few months ago and I’m just getting it up. This was taken by a friend’s daughter; Sally who has a great blog here. Sally and her mom Jane had attended this campaign rally in Concord, NH.

You’ll have to click on the photo to get the full effect.


In the center of the picture is President Obama. Just over to the left, you’ll see a windswept person in the press bleachers focusing behind what looks like a bit of Albert Einstein’s hair. Now do you see it? That’s me with Fatti Madi. I brought that bird with me all over New Hampshire in order to get photos.

Here’s another photo with me peeking under Obama’s arm.

obama wendy

And here’s another view from that same event, from my point of view. Continue reading


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Fatti-Madi, In the News, Inspiration, New Hampshire, Politics in New Hampshire

Lesson 656 – The UB SNAP Challenge

Loyal Lessons Learned readers,

Next week this blog will be devoted to another week-long family experiment that I’ll be running. I have agreed to participate in the University of Bridgeport’s SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) challenge. The challenge is to see if you can live off of SNAP assistance money only for one week.

Piece of cake, I said. I routinely spend $200 a week for my family of 8 (3 adults, 5 teens) which comes down to roughly $25 per person.  The way we do it? I cook, I watch portions, and I don’t let my kids eat junk food or drink soda.  Not only is junk food wasteful calorie-wise but I wouldn’t be doing my kids’ health any good by allowing that type of food to enter the house.

But I also buy in larger quantities, which is something you can’t do when you are buying for yourself.

So next week, I’ll be living on $35 worth of food. It’s a bit tricky because you are only allowed to use spices and condiments that you already have in your house (you can also use those free restaurant packets), everything else has to be purchased. It’s tough for one person because, as an example, I couldn’t find a place that would sell me one stick of butter so I had to buy an entire pound. But you do what you have to do and with that butter I will now have oil in which to cook.

Each day, I’ll post photos of the meals I eat and will keep track of whether or not I run out of items before the end of the week. I think the point of the UB challenge is to show how hard it is for someone to live well on $35/week for groceries.

Well, the University of Bridgeport hasn’t met this frugal mama hen yet.

My shopping list is made, my meals planned out, and I’m ready to get this thing started because after all, a lesson learned is a lesson learned.


Filed under In the News, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, SNAP

Lesson 631 – Fatti-Madi and the Library Director(s)

As many of you know I am a Library Trustee for our town. Our library director; Janet Angus announced her retirement this summer and so the trustees went about the daunting task of interviewing candidates in an effort to find someone to replace her.

Retiring Director Janet Angus with Fatti-Madi

As a committee we spent early mornings interviewing, time on Skype and on the telephone, and we also spent hours reading applications and supportive material, and when all was said and done, it was abundantly clear that the person most qualified for the position was right under our noses the entire time.

Yvette Couser, who was the Merrimack Children’s librarian and who is now the Merrimack Library Director is exactly what we were looking for: current, enthusiastic, Social Media savvy, knowledgeable, and someone who works great with the public.

Yvette will be a fabulous director for our library and I have a feeling that she is going to fit into her new position just fine.

New Director Yvette Couser with Fatti-Madi


Filed under All things chickens, Fatti-Madi, In the News, Inspiration, New Hampshire

Lesson 630 – Hear me roar

A few weeks back on a marketing blog, I wrote a post about how “Bic for her is not for me.” In the post I talked about current politics and how women were being marginalized in this election (reference the “legitimate rape” and “women can stay home with their families instead of work” statements, to name a few) and how this attitude was now being reflected in marketing.

Bic for her pens are pastel pink and purple colored pens that are slimmer (for our delicate hands, no doubt) and which write in PINK AND PURPLE ink!!! Seriously, someone at Bic headquarters actually said and convinced the marketing people that GROWN women would like to write with Barbie writing utensils when they sign contracts, reports, or even when they write their novels.

Well not this woman. My man-sized blue gel pens work just fine, thank you very much.

I see a disturbing trend and it frightens me to no end. Women are being marginalized and demeaned in politics and now it slipping over to our main culture. Pretty soon my daughters are going to think that there is nothing wrong with making grown women look (and act) like little girls, or have a country where medical decisions are made for them with the belief that someone else knows their values, life, and medical conditions better than they do.

This weekend I went to a local political event (I live in NH remember) where a panel of women were talking about women being leaders. The name of the event was “Natural Woman, Natural leaders” and it was hosted by Carole King (yes THE Carole King – who has always been a personal hero) and consisted of Gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassen, 2012 Project Mary Hughes; Executive Director NH Women’s Fund, and Congressional candidate Carol Shea Porter. President for the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden served as moderator.

It was all very civilized. “We need more women in government. We need more women as leaders.” Blah, blah, blah. Continue reading


Filed under Backyard Chickens, In the News, Inspiration, New Hampshire, Politics in New Hampshire

Lesson 628 – Fatti-Madi and the Vice President of the United States

This weekend Marc and I covered Joe Biden’s visit to our town. Marc was the photographer, I was the writer. Two of our kids were free to attend so we grabbed them and took them with us.

Right before we left, Emma (my 12 year old) decided to take a photo of our family taken with Joe 6 years ago in the hopes that he would be able to sign it.

“Sweetheart,” I told her, “you’re not even going to be able to get close to him.” I was thinking of some recent events I had covered where the crowds were rock-star enormous.

This is what she ended up getting.

Joe the VP thinks we have a lovely family.

What do I know?

During the event, Spencer held the “A” and Emma held the “C” for “MERRIMACK4BIDEN.” Spencer kept his “A” as a souvenir. Hopefully it will also be a reminder of the type of grades he should be going for while at college. Continue reading


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, Fatti-Madi, In the News, Inspiration, New Hampshire, Politics in New Hampshire

Lesson 553 – The rooster in Cincinnati

We’re here in Cincinnati and although I haven’t found a chicken yet, I have found a reason for what I do.

After Trevor had his 2 hour gymnastics practice session this morning, we went to an outdoor square in order to have a pastry and a (long) overdue cup of coffee. As we were sitting at our table, we heard a little boy call out “A rooster! A rooster, mommy!”

Trevor and I both looked at each other in that “No, way, there’s a rooster here??!!” way. I mean what are the odds, that we would go five states away from New Hampshire only to find a male chicken in our midst?

We excitedly looked around, ready to pay homage and respect to the rooster in Cincinnati.

What we found instead was this:

That is what the little boy called a rooster.

And that is why I do what I do. I write about chickens because people have lost their connection to their food and the animals that supply that food. People don’t remember that food needs to be grown and animals that provide our food need to be cared for. We’re all in this together.

They don’t know that we can learn so many lessons from living with our food and taking care of it.

And as long as little kids think that pigeons are roosters in Cincinnati, I think I may still have a very good reason to do my job.


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, In the News, Life Lessons, Personal, The kids

Lesson 552 – Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m in a bit of a rush this morning (and yeah, I should probably queue up my posts but where’s the fun and spontaneity in that?) Trevor and I are flying out to Cincinnati in just a few hours for his gymnastics meet. We’ll be there until Sunday (Mother’s Day!)

I have everything we need (including Tupperware to take food back to the hotel – the boy can eat.) I even have my travel books. When I go on long trips, I like to take a bunch of those books that I gave up on about half-way through. Being stuck in an airport and then on a plane makes even a somewhat boring book start to look appealing again.

I finish all those half read books and then leave them along the way with a sticky that says “Please Read Me” for others to find. My own version of a bread crumb trail from home.

I should have internet access but it will be sporadic. Please be patient with posts, they will get up (and trust me, if there is something, anything to do with a chicken in Cincinnati, I’ll find it and will report back.)

For now, I leave you with a chicken who thinks she is a puppy.

And a newly shaven puppy who thinks he is a rat. Continue reading


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, In the News, Life Lessons, Personal, The kids

Lesson 551 – Chicks with chicks

I write regularly for Parenting New Hampshire magazine. Not only do I contribute articles, but I also have a monthly column on Family Finances (how to be thrifty – something that with 6 kids, I feel I’m qualified to talk about.)

Anyway, because of a retrospective article I had written about a cover shoot my kids were on 11 years ago, the editor had asked me if I could pose with a few of my kids for a new cover. Sure, I said, how about chicks with chicks.

I’m not sure she realized that when I said this I really meant chicks, with chicks, with chicks (kind of like Chicken-inception) but she was a good sport about it and when she and the photographer showed up, the girls and I grabbed some chickens and got ready for our close-ups. The end product turned out just fine and the girls and I are pleased as punch to be sharing the world of chickens once again.

The online copy of the magazine is here.  I have 3 articles in this issue (it just worked out that way) if you want to take a look. Continue reading


Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, In the News, Life Lessons, Personal, Roosters

Lesson 395 – Sarah Palin – a fighting cock?

As you know, I’m all about chickens, but because we do live in New Hampshire and this past weekend was Labor Day weekend (which is a huge weekend in the political arena around here) I just couldn’t help making a few chicken observations.

Yesterday I mentioned how Sarah Palin’s squawking (from a distance) sounded like one of our hens right before she was ready to lay an egg.

Today I’d like to make another comparision.

Here is Sarah Palin at the Manchester Tea Party Express event addressing the crowd:

Photo Credit: Marc Nozell

This is a photo of a fighting cock from Vietnam.

Fighting cocks (which are not allowed in the U.S.) have incredibly sharp talons that they use to mercilessly rip their opponents wide open from here to there. Woe be to anyone who gets in their way. Here is a picture of those ferocious weapons: Continue reading


Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Chick Photos, In the News, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Politics in New Hampshire, Roosters