Tag Archives: Advent Calendar

Lesson 1389 – The Prodigal Chicken Has Returned


Last night when I went to close up the coop, I realized that Charlie, one of my Black Copper Marans, was missing. It wasn’t *that* unusual because Charlie tended to try roosting in some odd places at night, sometimes she’d be on our front porch, sometimes on our back door, and even on one ironic occasion I found her roosting on top gas grill. Like a tiny tot, I secretly thought that Charlie enjoyed being carried off to bed when it was time for all to sleep.

But she wasn’t in any of the places I knew to look.

Put that on top of the text I had received from a neighbor who said that she had seen a fox near our house and the sense of dread threatened to buckle my knees.

No. Not Charlie. Please anyone but Charlie. Not beautiful, beautiful Charlie. Continue reading


Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Boy, am I learning a lot



As you might know, for the better part of the last 2 weeks, I’ve been with my mother while she is in hospice. Last week was my “spring break” from college and so I was able to be at the hospice for the entire week – couldn’t have planned that one any better if I had tried. My plan going forward is to come back to New Hampshire for Monday – Wednesday to teach my classes and then return to Connecticut for Thursday to Sunday for as long as it takes.

Fortunately I have a flexible schedule where I can swing this. My kids are older and can take care of themselves – although they have wondered what happened to the leprechaun who normally visits our house to leave treats on St. Patrick’s day and now they are *really* getting worried about the Easter Bunny missing our house this year.

(Between you and me, I’m not sure anyone has to worry about a thing for Easter.)

Continue reading


Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Lesson 1373 – Sure signs of Spring in New Hampshire


Even though there are patches of ice and snow on the ground and even though there’s still an occasional forecast for snow, spring is trying its hardest to arrive. If you pay attention, there are certain telltale signs that can’t be ignored:

You can hear birds in the morning – as a kid when I walked to the bus stop in the morning, birds singing was the definitive sign that winter was behind us. It’s one of those things that all of the sudden hits you, you’re walking along, minding your own business and then you realize – hey, I hear birds! (the coo of a mourning dove always brings me back to early spring mornings)

It’s maple syrup season in New Hampshire – in a few weeks we have an unofficial  state holiday called Maple Sugaring weekend. The state publishes a map of participating sugar houses and you crawl all over the state to each sugar house tasting various samples of freshly boiled syrup and things like maple popcorn, cotton candy and maple-infused hot dogs (which are surprisingly good.) Sure you get a sugar high (I learned early on to pack protein and non-sweet snacks for the kids) but my goodness, it is so worth it. On that weekend we end up buying enough syrup to last until the following year’s Maple Sugaring weekend.

Haywards has opened – We have some outstanding ice cream stands in New Hampshire – Haywards in Nashua being one of them. The magnificent example of their craft  below is called the “Appalachian Trail.” It’s espresso ice cream with Heath Bar bits and a fudge swirl throughout. Believe it or not, the one pictured (which I ate for lunch) is a size “small.”



Yes, I know, because of Lyme Disease I’m supposed to stay away from dairy and yes, because I have lactose intolerance I knew I was going to be paying a price (and I did) but sometimes a person has to do what a person has to do and in this case, it was the best way I knew to celebrate that after a long, cold winter – spring is finally on its way to New Hampshire.




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.

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Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Lesson 1372 – Spring Chicks On My Mind


If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we got hit hard by predators last summer. Half of our flock (including all of our spring chicks) were killed (murdered) by a combination of coyotes, raccoons, and fisher cats. It was a rough blow that still takes my breath away.

But a decreased flock, of course means that we’ll be getting chicks this spring (silver lining, perhaps?) I recently got an order form from our local feed store and this time we’ve decided to get a total of 9 chicks:

  • 3 New Hampshire Reds – maybe it’s out of a sense of loyalty, but the NH Reds are some of our nicest flock members.
  • 3 Barred Rocks – sturdy and jolly little hens and of course we’ll be rewarding our Gimpy for surviving her attack last summer by giving her a bunch of new sisters – Yeah!

And new to our flock this year, we’ll be getting: Continue reading


Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Lesson 1371 – When it rains in February

A recovering puppy in clean blankets.

A recovering puppy in clean blankets

Things went kind of crazy for us in February (and there’s still one day left before it ends.) Early in the month, our clothes washer broke and when we called the repairman in to take a look at it, we discovered that not only did it break, but it was literally dead in the water. We needed a new one. The repaid guy also mentioned that that funny noise our dryer makes? It’s what they like to call in the industry the “death throes of machinery” We’ll be needed a new one very soon.


Because of the way our house was built, our washer and dryer have to go through 2 narrow doorways and a bathroom (in fact we have to take the door trim off of both in order to gain another inch) We removed the trim and ordered our special sized washer (which took 3 weeks to arrive.) and had it installed. We haven’t found a new dryer yet which means that our door trim is still off the doors and we are using a dryer that sings its protest. We’re not sure if each new day is going to be its last. Continue reading


Filed under Inspiration, Personal, Points to ponder, The Family

Lesson 1368 – Inspiration from a chicken

Now that the NH Primary is over, we have some time to breathe (things got a little crazy there at the end.)

I’m going to take this time to catch you up on the story of Gimpy. She was the chicken that was attacked this summer by (I think) our neighborhood Fisher Cat and her kits. The predators had killed 3 of our young chickens inside the coop and we found Gimpy outside and hiding under the coop.

It didn’t look good. Fisher Cats typically kill by decapitating their prey and that’s exactly what they tried to do to this bird. I was going to put her down but she didn’t look like she was in distress (even with a gaping head wound.) She was calm and although in shock, did not have labored breathing. The kids and I dressed her wounds and put her in a box with some towels inside the house and decided to give her a chance. Continue reading

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Lesson 1348 – Oh Christmas tree

It’s the start of a new year with new beginnings (or in my case, taking up some beginnings after they had been dropped – for example, the Getting Ready for Santa series which I swear I’ll finish up some day.) Like many, I took the time off between Christmas and New Year’s. We spent time together as a family, we visited my mom, and we ate entire too much.

But that’s what holidays are for right?

Now, it’s time to get back to work. I have articles that are due, projects to organize and two class syllabi to prepare in the next few days (teaching two sections of Tech Writing this term.) The public school kids are back in school and the college kids are old enough that they can find entertainment during the day when Marc and I are back at work in our home offices.

Yup, the holidays are over, except… while garland, stocking by the fireplace, and window decorations have been taken down, like always, I can’t find the time (or courage) to take down the Christmas tree. It’s still up, lighting our way in the early darkened mornings and evenings. Continue reading

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