Category Archives: Life Lessons

Lesson 1363 – A Year of Nothing New

Kristin Skarie is a friend of mine whom I met through my son when she did workshops at his college. Like me, she also loves to do life experiments and one of her finest was going a year without buying anything new. It can be done,  she’s even written a book about it! Here’s Kristin to tell you about what she learned when she didn’t buy anything new.

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Hello and thank you Wendy! In 2010, I made a decision to buy nothing new for a year. A friend had shared her recent nothing new experiment so I decided on the spot to give it a go – no preparation, no stocking up, no plans. In many ways this was an answered prayer to remedy a BAD 2009 (don’t ask!) and it gave me a welcome distraction – an active, positive focus on the pending adventure. Continue reading

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Lesson 1358 – Grandma had it right

King Arthur

King Arthur

A few of my friends and I joined a Facebook group where we “buy nothing new for the month of January.” This was started because one friend had read an article about a woman who went for some time (I don’t know how long) without buying *anything* new. (Groceries and staples were obviously allowed.)

I joined the group and didn’t think I’d have a tough time doing this. Trust me when you have 6 kids, you figure out, as my grandmother would say, how to :use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” It was years and years before my youngest saw a new winter coat (and then only because it was on sale and I had a coupon.) That’s what you get for being at the end of the line of 6 kids. Continue reading

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Lesson 1353 – Today’s Big Takeaway

This weekend I had what I thought was a small pebble in my slipper. I’m one of those people that occasionally walk outside in my slippers so I wasn’t too concerned. I tried shaking the pebble out and it was still there after I put my slipper back on. I tried brushing the bottom of my sock thinking it had been caught in its fibers, but after I put my sock on I could still feel the pebble when I walked

It must be on the inside of my sock (not that unusual, I’ve had it happen before) I took my slipper off and turned my sock inside out. There was a tiny hole in the foot area *exactly* where I felt the pebble in my slipper. Darn, those are my good Columbia wool socks. Continue reading

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Lesson 1308 – Why you’ve got to go

Between getting kids ready to go to college, high school sports starting, coyote attacks on our chickens, and oh yeah, the Presidential Selfie Girls (who still need to get 4 more candidates) it’s been a busy, busy summer.

Yesterday Jeb Bush was in our neck of the woods and because we hadn’t gone to one of his events (the girls got his selfie at a parade) those of us who were at home decided to go.

This is what we learned:

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If you’ve ever wondered why we go see candidates in New Hampshire, here’s some insight.

Although we had seen Jeb Bush on the debate (and I have to say I wasn’t impressed with his performance – it lacked passion and authority) we didn’t know that much about his platform. In fact our opinion was that he didn’t want to be President and that the Republican party was probably forcing him to run based on his name.

When we heard he was going to be speaking locally, four of the kids (yes, the girls got another selfie with him) and I went and listened to what Jeb had to say.

Completely different impression. He seemed like a nice guy who knew his facts, had clear plans, experience, a sense of humor, defended his platform and who (in one of my kids’ opinion) seemed like he genuinely wanted to be President.

That’s why it’s so important to find out about these candidates, one of them is going to be the next president. *Your* next president. You should take the time to listen to them.

On the ride home, we discussed what we had heard There were a few issues we didn’t agree with but surprisingly we found ourselves agreeing with some of the points raised. Jeb got us thinking. Finally one of my sons asked me that all important election question:

“Okay mom, so he changed your impression of him, but would you have a beer with him?”

You know what? I think I would.

 

Continue reading

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Lesson 1295 – Presidential selfie “chicks”

Do you remember how I wrote about my two little chicks trying to get a selfie with every Presidential candidate (real potential candidates, no loons)? It’s their non-partisan summer project and it has our full support. (Are you kidding? They’re getting such an education about the primary process in NH!)

Well on Tuesday the girls waited in line for 2 hours (it was hot, hot, hot!)

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We were finally seated and this is what we saw: Continue reading

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Lesson 1267 – The beaches of New Hampshire

On Memorial Day we took the kids up to Odiorne Point, which is a NH State park located on our tiny coast (and yes, contrary to popular belief, New Hampshire, the White Mountain and Granite state does have some beaches.) As someone who grew up near the ocean (Long Island Sound) I’ve always been able to breathe better and just expand when I’m at the shore. That salt water lives in my blood and it calls to me if I’ve been away for too long.

Simply put, we had a great time.

New Hampshire’s coast line is only 18 miles long and much of it is rocky, but hey, we’ll take what we can get. And of course, when you are faced with a bunch of rocks, you make do with what you have. Instead of sandcastles, you’ll find rock cairns like this one all over the place.

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Even at the shore though, we are reminded that we are never really far from our fine NH woods. Continue reading

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Lesson 1262 – Don’t forget

This weekend, the official start of summer, I found Zelda roosting in a rather unusual spot.

zelda bbq

Surely, with a bar-b-Que being planned for the family, she could have found a better place to roost (roast?)

But then that’s Zelda – a bird with a mind of her own.

Everyone is off from work. We’re going to spend the day at the shore (what little shore NH has) and then it’s off to eat our first lobster rolls of the season. It feels like a celebration.

Which is why I want to remind everyone to not forget that *this* is the true reason for Memorial Day.

arlington

My eternal thanks to the men and women who have given their lives to defend the United States of America.

Bless you all.

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1261 – Update on Zelda (hen to rooster to hen)

Last fall, I wrote about Zelda, our alpha hen who had turned from being a hen, into being a rooster, and then back into a hen – all with different colorings (and yes we know it’s Zelda because of her metal leg identifier and her distinctive “bubble gum” comb.)

If you are around chicken owners for even a little bit of time eventually you will hear stories of hens “turning” into roosters. There are various reasons this can happen. If a flock is roosterless (as ours is) then the alpha hen can actually start to throw off more testosterone and will begin to display more male characteristics. Typically she’ll become more aggressive as she takes the role of protector and will stop laying eggs.

This can also happen if there is an injury of some kind to the reproductive organs, for example there can be a tumor that stops normal hormone production.

So you see, it’s not *that* uncommon for a hen to become a rooster. What is uncommon, however, is for that “rooster” to revert back to a hen and that’s what happened last fall.

Zelda turned from a golden speckled rooster into a white hen with a splash of her original grey on the bottom of her wing.

I contacted a vet who I use as an expert in some of my chicken articles to ask her about Zelda. She confirmed that hen to rooster had been seen, but that hen to rooster and then back to hen was not something that she had ever even heard about.

To be fair though, Zelda is about 7 years old. Most backyard chickens don’t make it to that ripe old age which might cut down on the chances of seeing this happen. The only way to truly find out what is going on would be to do an autopsy and, as Zelda is still alive and well, we’re going to hold off on that option.

In any event, we ended the conversation with the vet saying, she couldn’t wait to see what Zelda was going to do next.

Well, I have an update and here it is.

Zelda Spring 2015

Zelda Spring 2015

Zelda did nothing.

She remains a white female with her grey splash. It looks like Zelda’s grand transgender adventure is over and she is destined to live the rest of her days in our flock as a hen. (At least for now, anyway.)

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Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.


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Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, Holidays, Inspiration, Life Lessons, Personal, Quotable Chicks, The Family

Lesson 1257 – A little bit of love via alchemy

Like most other mama hens, I am the cook of the house. Even though I have a full time job(s) and volunteer in various organizations, it is I who makes sure the family eats good nutritious food and that we all sit down together to partake of our meals. Week after week.

Like an alchemist, every time I go to my kitchen, I’m always able to create something new from the ingredients I have on hand. This is powerful magic and I don’t take my role as food preparer lightly.

A large part of that job involves presentation of the final product. If the food doesn’t look good, it’s not going to be eaten (can we ever forget my failed-cowboy stew?)

On Saturday, in a thrift shop, I found a large, flowered, heavy baking dish. When I picked it up, the heft in my hands was solid. This dish was clearly a force to be reckoned with in anyone’s kitchen.

I turned the dish over and read that it had been made in France. Well made, a back story, and stunning. ‘nuff said.

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I knew it was destined to be mine.

I brought the dish into my house and set it on the dining room table. For a day I kept looking at it. Tell me what it is you want me to do.

It wasn’t until I went food shopping on Sunday that I finally heard what the dish was saying.

Strawberries. Lovely deep red strawberries.

I usually never make dessert. My feeling is that if the dinner is good enough, you don’t need to eat anything afterward. I also tend to make Sunday dinners the biggest meal of the week. It’s a way for us to get sustained and catch our breath before we dive back into the work/school week. Dessert on a Sunday usually only happens if we have a birthday and then there is cake.

Everyone was at dinner and as we sat at our porch table, we ate grilled salmon, shredded Brussel sprouts, corn on the cob, salad, and ancient grain bread with butter while we told stories of what had happened in our lives over the weekend. New drones, a musical fundraiser, baking brownies for a bake sale, and a new computer system. Continue reading

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Lesson 1230 – And you thought the Wicked Witch was scary

Saturday I was drawn to the window by the constant crying of a small bird. Much like when you’re a mother and a baby cries, when you own chickens, you can always pick put a cry of distress.

I followed the noise to the kitchen window and I saw a smallish-brown-with-horizontal-stripes bird tearing away at a (poor little) blue jay. Absolutely ripping and tearing – that bird was vicious.

As the jay was still faintly crying out, I tried to go out back to “shoo” away the invader, but as soon as I opened the door, the bird took the jay in its feet and flew deeper into the woods. A vicious little bird with lots of strength.

What on earth had that been? Continue reading

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