Tag Archives: tiny house

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

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Boy, am I learning a lot

 

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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

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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.”

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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.

 

 

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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 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

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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.

Fantastic.

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

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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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New Beginnings for 2016

This blog was started in 2009 and although it’s gone through a few revisions (the most notable being the change of focus from living thrifty to living with children and chickens – which when you come down to it, isn’t really that much different) it’s never had a true overhaul. As my life gets busier and busier, I don’t want my blog to suffer. And I don’t want to stop writing.

My writing is what connects me to the world. I’d just as soon stop my breathing than stop my writing.

As a writer, I’ve been told by countless people that I should write about what I know. The problem is that I’ve never been a one-trick writer. I like to know about different things and I like to share my experiences in order to teach others about what I’ve discovered. It’s how I make sense out of things. Unfortunately, this approach can lead to a little bit of confusion. “Just what is she going to talk about today?”

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this. Do I start other blogs with other focuses or do I keep it together and fractionate this one?

The answer is that I’m going to organize this blog under the umbrella of “mama hen” – the teacher, the carer, the mom. For 2016 (and hopefully onward) this blog will have a definite structure which will put all my many passions into their very own buckets. The schedule will look like this:

  • Monday – Lessons from the flock(s) and chicken specific information
  • Tuesday – What *I’m* learning (the Dave Ramsey financial course I’ll be taking, decluttering my house and life, living tiny etc)
  • Wednesday – Lyme disease related, treatment, diet, newest findings, and a (shh) Lyme related challenge that my son and I will be doing in the spring
  • Thursdays – Recipes for a thrifty budget, using seasonal produce and locally sourced food, cooking in a tiny kitchen, using a pressure cooker
  • Fridays – Time to teach – I’ll pass on what I know and what I teach in local classes. I’ll start with how to list things on ebay and then we’ll see how things go. Reader comments will play a big role in this category.

Having a schedules means that if you’re not interested in, say, the recipes section, you won’t have to visit here that day. If you really want to know how the Dave Ramsey course is going, you’ll be able to mark your calendars for Tuesdays, because that’s where that information will be.

And of course, if you want to read it all, you will be welcomed here every day.

My life will be getting even busier in the near future (let’s be realistic, when is it *not* really busy?) I’ll be teaching 2 classes this semester, working on some publications, being a mama hen to the kids, and there is the possibility that our family might be involved in a large project (no details yet, but when I can I’ll let everyone know.) By putting structure on this blog, I’m hoping it will help you as much as it will help me.

Best wishes for a bright and beautiful New Year from our flock to yours. See you on Monday.

 

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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 1347 – Barnes & Noble, Mini Makers, and kids

 

I know this post is late, but I submitted my final grades this morning, the Presidential Selfie Girls are in a lull, and *all* the chicks have returned to the nest. I have time and can *finally* relax a little.

I was recently invited to our local Barnes & Noble (I worked there for about 3 weeks until I blew my knee out, it takes a lot of knee bending to shelve those lower books!) to attend a weekend Mini Maker Faire that focused on technology, robotics and coding for kids. First, you should know that book stores are my *favorite* place to be. Marc and I would always think it was a good vacation if we were able to find a book store along the way. An excellent one if we could find more.  So many stories, so many possibilities!

But here’s the thing – more and more people are reading books or are simply not reading due to the time constraints of daily living (quelle horreur!) So book stores are being smart, by introducing items other than books and no one does this as well as Barnes & Noble. As a mom who’s children have long been involved with the high school robotics teams, this faire was something I needed to see.

I saw kids (boys, girls, and parents) playing imaginative critical thinking card games, building robots, and asking questions like “what would happen if I put this battery here?” I saw kids learning while having fun.

What a concept.

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There is no better way to get kids to learn than by incorporating fun. How do you do that? It’s done by making learning interactive – posing questions, having them draw pictures, asking “How do you think this works?”

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Kids like to build. We all certainly did, but in our day we had wooden blocks. Now they have robotic components for building working machines. Who knows what we could have made if we had been given these types of tools.

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For cryin’ out loud 3-D printers are now being sold at Barnes & Noble. 3-D PRINTERS!!! I can clearly remember when my dad got his first calculator. It was large, had giant buttons, a red L.E.D readout and cost $80 (which is why we weren’t allowed to touch it.) We oohed and ahhed and all thought that we were finally living in the “future.” Now stores are selling printers like this one:

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Once again, the future is here.

Look, I know that there are many people who can’t afford these types of toys and kits, but the take-away here is not necessarily that you need to buy them, rather it is that your kids (and I don’t care who you are) are thirsting for “toys” that challenge them. Kids want to know about science. Girls and boys want to know how things are put together and taken apart. Barbies and stuffed animals are fine, but also try to include a toy, kit, or book that will make your child think. Even if you can’t afford one of these kits or books, when you come across a scientific concept you can always just take the time to ask your kids “What do you think?”

Trust me, some day your kids will appreciate all the exposure to the sciences you were able give them.

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Not being compensated  by Barnes & Noble in any way. Simply passing on good information when I find it.

 

 

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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 1346 – A mug and a chicken who will never be forgotten

Once in a while you get a gift that leaves you at a loss for words. I recently received such a gift from a Facebook friend whom I’ve never even met.

Glynnis is an artist. She produces some of the most beautiful pieces on her potter’s wheel. I’ve long admired her work through the exchanges she shares on Facebook.

Last week I got a message from Glynnis – she had made me something for me as a surprise, but she sent it to the “Wendy Thomas who lives in Massachusetts” instead of *this* Wendy Thomas who lives in New Hampshire.

When *that* Wendy Thomas opened the gift and then read the accompanying note, she knew that she had to get it to the correct Wendy Thomas. Emails, confirmation, a clandestine meeting in a Macy’s parking lot and I finally got the gift.

Glynnis who had been profoundly touched by our Zelda’s life (and death) decided to immortalize her/him/her on a mug.
On one side of the mug is Zelda as she looked when she displayed female traits.

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On the other side of the mug is Zelda as she looked when she displayed male characteristics.

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And in between the two of them is my name – forever linking me to this most extraordinary bird who taught me so very much.

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There are a few standouts that I’ve had in my flock throughout the years:

  • Morganne the puppy chicken who would run to me and sit in my lap until she fell asleep
  • Violet who taught me to baby proof chicken coops before putting chicks in
  • Rudd and Lilly – two adult Marans added to our flock one summer
  • Charlie who ended up living in our house for 6 months
  • Betty one of our early chicks who eventually turned into a rooster (“Bet he’s a rooster”) and who finally found a new home at a farm, and of course,
  • Zelda our alpha chicken, our first egg layer, and our wonderful flock member who in the touching words of Glynnis showed us how to accept changes with grace and dignity.

Thank you, thank you Glynnis (my never-met Facebook friend.) While you say that Zelda touched you, please know that you, with your beautiful gift, have profoundly touched my heart.

Merriest of Christmases and best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season to 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.

Leave a comment

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