Archive for the ‘Country Challenges’ Category


Amy and Hildegard

My friend Amy is always doing fascinating things.  She is the one who took up Contra Dancing.  And before that it was Jumpology.  She has taught piano and is a violinist, but is now taking cello lessons.  And she got a trucker’s license in order to drive preschoolers in a school bus.  And she is a marathon runner too.  There is more.

But Amy’s latest endeavor is raising chickens.

She and her sons built the perfect stable safe house for them, better known as a chicken coop.  She then bought four beautiful egg laying chickens and she gave them old fashioned names:

  • Penelope
  • Gertrude (Gertie)
  • Esther, and
  • Henrietta

And they all laid beautiful delicious eggs.  But sadly, Henrietta passed away.   They said it was from an inherited disease.  Amy was distraught, but soon went out and purchased two more cluckers:

  • Esmerelda and
  • Hildegard (Hildegard is now her favorite chicken!  She runs to greet Amy and rides on her shoulder).

Unfortunately, Amy just discovered

that Hildegard and Esmerelda are EGG EATERS!

Oh no!

This is not good.

This is a very bad thing because it teaches all the other chickens to eat eggs too.

It is a nasty habit, egg eating, and very hard to break.  But Amy is determined.

What to do.  What to do.

Amy thinks this blog post may help others of you out there who are raising chickens who turn out to be egg eaters.  After assiduous research and concentrated efforts to watch, wait and trick the ladies, things seem to be paying off.

Try these remedies:

  1. Watch, wait and grab newly laid eggs of the “good girls” ASAP.
  2. Replace real eggs in the nesting box with golf balls.  The chicken ladies will peck the hard golf balls and this will make their beaks hurt.  This is breaking a habit with negative suggestion…. like pain.
  3. Replace real eggs with Mustard Eggs!  Ever hear of that one? To make a mustard egg you blow out a real egg so only the shell is left and then insert mustard.  Chickens HATE mustard and when they peck at such an egg the taste is awful.  More negative psychology.  It would cure me of eating eggs too!

Do you have an egg eater in your family besides of the human variety?

Have you successfully convinced your chickens to stop egg eating?

Please share your remedies.

We are in search of a cure.





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My BigFoot “Expert Doctor” is in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s about an hour and a half drive over the legendary Afton Mountain.

And even on a clear day you can be confronted with fog.

There are lights embedded in the roadway but it still feels treacherous.

And it may not actually be fog, but the signs say so.  Last time we went “over the hill” we could see a low lying cloud enshrouding the roadway, and then drove right into it.

What a thrill it is to creep along and wonder how bad it could get and would we careen over the edge?

Can you tell I am a worrier?

We have survived the winter with several visits over Afton Mountain and actually this was the first time to experience fog.

From Virginia Living:  “The drop-dead gorgeous scenery disappears when clouds blanket the mountain. Fog and ice make for a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel. VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) has addressed safety by installing expensive airport runway lights along the 64 roadway to guide motorists…”

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Our Wood Stove

I know winter is an excuse to stay inside by the fireside, but I keep thinking I need to tend to things around the home periphery.  Landscapes tend to expire this time of year in Virginia.

And there are outside chores you know.

There are two ornamental grasses that should be trimmed back for happy regrowth this spring.

The Canna Lilies have all died and I should tend to them too.

The deck needs sweeping and we need a new bird feeder.  A bear mangled the one we are using now so the seeds tend to jam up.

The garage is too cluttered for my peace of mind whilst parking.  I prefer pristine organization.   Bill doesn’t seem to care though.  Never has.

There are old evergreen bushes in the front yard that are brown.  Should I terminate them now or wait to see if they revive in spring?

Oh well.  The heck with it.

There is always my chair by the fireside.

I tend to migrate there.

This post is in response to Daily Prompt: Tend  

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Greetings from your Absentee Blogger who has been re-visited by her BigFoot family of



A Knee Scooter





And not a candy cane either.

It has been over 2 years now and 4 MRI’s later, a cat scan, numerous XRays, an electrocardiogram, blood tests and more blood tests, and about 9 different diagnoses.  And the latest diagnosis is an injured bone in the ankle area which may respond to megadoses of calcium and Vitamin D3 if I “stay off my feet” and wear a boot for 8 weeks (or perhaps longer).  The “injury” lets me announce, “I have a sports injury!”  Then folks can admire and wonder if this old lady got it skiing!

Bill is back in the kitchen.  He is also now a veteran grocery shopper, cook, cleaner- upper, gopher, and generally expected to smile and keep MY spirits up.

My job is to sit.

Watch t.v.




Somehow the days go by but there is not much exciting to report.  Hence, the long delays between blog posts.  I keep hoping for a dog for Christmas but that would be kind of silly right?  I will make do with the plush pup my Mom gave me years ago.  And when noone is looking, he gets lots of hugs.

This whole holiday look with the scooter, crutches and the puppy toy make me laugh.  I hope they make you laugh too.

Love, Hugs and My Best Wishes for a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS


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Twin White Steeds


Equine News in the Neighborhood!  

On the bright side, rumor has it our neighbor will be renting his pasture to a horse (the owner will pay the rent of course)!  I had been missing daily stop-by visits with Rosa-the-mare (who sadly was lost due to some equine malady).  A new horsey neighbor will be a grand treat.

Two other horses at different homes developed abscessed feet.  I mean, each horse has one lame foot. They are both on antibiotics, have wrapped hooves, and both have cast off their wrappings and are healing nicely.

I can empathize….  me-of-the-gimpy-foot too.  It’s a neighborhood epidemic!

Bagging a Chicken!

Today I roasted a chicken that came bagged and fully seasoned.  Instructions were to cut a slit to allow for expansion and bake for 2 hours.

Talk about SIMPLE!  And the results were delicious.  I hate to admit that because the bag-less version is to rinse, pat dry, oil, season, and baste.  Maybe this bag thing is positive progress!

Tree Surgeon Mending

Our tree surgeon is also nicely recovering from having a tree fall on him some weeks ago.  Country living is fraught with unexpected danger.

He is the fellow our community hires to trim trees along our road and sometimes to remove trees entirely (those threatening to fall on homes, etc.).  He is always a wonder to watch traversing limbs at dizzying heights.  We are just happy he is on the mend.

New Life in Town

‘Tis a university town (Lexington, Virginia) and school is back!  Our downtown is alive and writhing again (I mean “thriving”).  The kids are back at Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University.  Why is it they look younger every year? And now the local restaurants are packed as families come in to help all the young’uns get settled.

Horrible Harvey

Sending thoughts to my Texas blogger friends who so eloquently describe their own experiences with the monster storm, Harvey.  I am so glad you are high and dry and thank you so much for your perspectives.

It has been an unendurable week for many in Texas but to see how millions are dealing with the aftermath is to understand the value of good neighbors, the ones who become heroes when they themselves least expect it.

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Bruno Returns

We have had four visits in a week from Bruno the Bear.  He is beginning to resemble an old friend who drops in now and then.

On his last foray Bruno discovered the lower branches of our little pear tree were plundered by marauding deer.  We watched him standing on his back legs craning his neck looking up, up, up into that tree.

Then Bill and I watched the bear’s agile ascent.   Bruno literally “went out on a limb” and we could see the tree waving around a bit, and then he dropped to the ground to begin the harvest of shaken down pears.

I am always stunned into inactivity at the sight of a bear in my back yard.  It’s like watching a live National Geographic film only we are right here in rural Virginia!

Can you see Bruno in this photo as he was heading home to his forest?


Making Human Friends

Have I told you I am “aquasizing?”  It’s a whole lot of jumping around in a pool and supposed to be easy on the joints.

Most of my fellow attendees quietly and even grimly follow the instructor.  There is one lady who cracks jokes at just the right moments to make us all laugh.  It’s Pauline!  She is alert, animated, beautiful, active, kind, and most of all – funny!  I have decided I have found a new friend and mentor.

Pauline even led me up a secret grassy hillside to get to the class faster from the parking lot.   A shortcut you know.  And she looked back to inquire, “Are you all right?”, as I followed her up.

And was I amazed when I learned that Pauline is 90 years old!

I love it that I have a 90 year old human friend I admire so.

Donkeys or Mules?


There are two new additions to the neighborhood.  I think they are donkeys.  Maybe they are mules.

One is splotched colors like some horses they call “Paint” and the other is almost universally black.  Both have very big pointed ears.  They almost look like horses but you know right away they aren’t horses.  I wonder if they are mules.  Never did know the difference really.

These two are always together in the cow pasture and I believe they are there to guard the cows against coyotes (and maybe bears?).

At any rate, they look lonely even though they have each other.  I stopped to get a picture but did not capture the full effect of those big sad eyes and only got the rump of the black one.

O.K., I know I am stretching it to seek friendship from two mules.

Times like this I am grateful for those of you who stick with me in cyberspace. 

“Good friends are hard to find”.



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I am Woman!

I feel superbly smug this day.

Things were freezing on my computer you know, resulting in panic. I turned the computer off, walked away and came back, opened the lid.  But Argggh!  A dark screen!

A convincing inner voice said, “You really did it now.  You wrecked the computer.   Don’t touch anything else or you are doomed.”  But wait!  I forgot to push the little  button that opens the screen.  And Voila!  It all works again and everything that was frozen is thawed!

I feel superbly smug this day.  Mystery solved.

Be Brave!

My son was counselling me on how to operate Windows 10.  “Be brave, “he said, “Be willing to try different things.  Don’t be afraid to push buttons.  You can always undo what you have done.” Without his calm and expert advice, this blog would not exist.

The last time I was brave I deleted the cache on my cell phone and managed to put it in a deep freeze of protest.    There were no calls in or out and no emails either – just a dead phone.  Thankfully, things are now restored to normal.


But I have reverted to a timid, cowering techie convinced that all connections will be severed if I push the wrong buttons.

Mismatched Eyebrows

O.K.  I admit I still want to look beautiful, even at a venerable old age.  I thought that was accomplished this morning, so while Bill was out bush hogging (that means mowing big overgrown fields with a big overgrown mower) (and I knew it was safe to indulge in self fantasy), I took a few selfies.

Selfie Eyebrows

The glasses helped to eliminate soften wrinkles but if you look closely enough, one eyebrow is light and one is dark!  Arrrrgh!

Looking beautiful at a venerable old age is a challenge if you can’t see straight enough to make your eyebrows match up.

Naked Desperation

I just read a book about organizing one’s things.  Starting with clothing, the idea is to hold and touch each piece you own to determine if you love it or not.  If you FEEL something is wrong and you FEEL you don’t love a piece of clothing, either discard it or put it in the donation pile.

I did it!  You can’t imagine the liberated feeling there is to this exercise!

But now the problem is, I don’t have anything to wear!

I have always said, “My husband wouldn’t notice if I went out naked.”  Now is his chance to prove me wrong.

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