Friday, July 8, 2016

Rooster or Hen?

My chickens are about 7 weeks old now. All four were sold to me as pullets (baby hens), but as they get older I'm starting to suspect that a couple of them are cockerels (baby roosters). I researched some signs to look for for identifying gender in this breed, and two of my chicks are showing signs of being manly men. :)

Chick #1: This is the oldest and biggest chick. I think it's a pullet. The comb is thin, with only one row of "peas", and it's very light in color.  

Chick #2: This is another one I think is a pullet. Again, the comb is very thin and light colored (except for a dusting of black pigment), and this chick is very quiet and shy. This is the chick I'm most confident is female.

 Chick #3: This chick is lighter in color (another typical rooster trait) with lots of white markings on its chest. The comb is wide, with 3 rows of peas, and starting to get pink. I suspect this is a cockerel.

Chick #4: The smallest chick, because it's a week or so younger than the rest. This one started showing rooster traits really early...I noticed the comb getting pink when it was only about 2 1/2 weeks old. I thought maybe it was irritated because the other chicks were pecking at it, but now I'm pretty sure it's a sign of an early bloomer rooster! This is the one I'm most sure about; this is definitely a boy.

Another sign is that chicks 3 and 4 do a lot of play fighting. They'll run up to each other, stand up tall, and jump and flap their wings at each other. All of the chicks do this from time to time as they sort out the pecking order, but these two do it a lot. I'd say 75% of the "jump and flaps" are done between the two of them.

Unfortunately, this means I can't keep these guys. Since I'm in a suburb, I can't have a rooster because of all the noise they make. Fun fact: roosters don't just crow in the morning, they do it every few minutes ALL DAY LONG! It doesn't bother me, since I grew up with a rooster at the mini-farm across the street. I think it's kind of comforting, in a way? But city-folk neighbors don't feel the same. :P

And since I'm on a tight budget, I also can't afford to feed a chicken that isn't producing eggs. If I had a big flock I'd keep one of them and get a anti-crow collar (seriously, google it!), but since I'm only allowed 4 birds I need them to be all hens.

So my cute little gray chicks will have to go! There's a chicken swap at a local farm store in the middle of July, so I might take them there and see if I can get a few dollars for them. I'll have to watch Craigslist for a couple more pullets to even out my little flock.

Thursday, June 16, 2016


I'm a chicken mom!

I'm now the proud owner of four baby Black Ameraucana chickens. :3

We're allowed four hens in the suburb where I currently live, so I'm starting a mini flock in the back yard. The coop is in progress.

I'm so excited! XD

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vintage craft supplies

I go thrifting a lot, and while I'm searching for treasures I always keep an eye out for craft supplies. Some Goodwill stores will have whole bags of assorted supplies packaged together for a good price.

One of the most common finds is embroidery floss. I always grab any floss I can (as long as it smells good - obviously I avoid anything that smells like smoke or basement). Estate sales will often have large quantities of floss from someone's stash, in nearly mint condition, in just about any color you can imagine.

One cool thing I've noticed is that you can get an idea of the age of the floss by the price. The current price for a skein is about 40 cents, but I often encounter floss with price tags of 15, 10 or even 5 cents.

 I believe floss costing 5 cents would have been made as far back as the 1960s. This beautiful thread has sat around unused for decades! I love the idea that it's been waiting for so long to fulfill its purpose, and now I'm using it to make decorations that will be displayed and enjoyed. It finally gets a chance to shine, after all those years!

FYI, here is what the purple skein was made into.

My shop: PeachPod

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tanks in Alabama

I went down to Alexander City in Alabama for my brother's wedding over the weekend. We had some time to kill on Saturday morning before the ceremony, so we went looking around town for something to do. We found the Charles E Bailey sportplex, which was a park surrounded by sport facilities and playgrounds.

One cool thing we found there was a war memorial with real tanks!

And a plane up on a concrete pedestal.

This gas pump is reeeaaaally old! My brother guessed 1920s or 30s.

We weren't sure what this is. Possibly a well?
Whatever it is, this is the motor for it.

A statue of a Confederate soldier stood above the memorial.

A cool stone cross. I think this might have been a fountain at some point.
And of course there was lots of beautiful nature scenery!

There isn't a ton to do in this little town, but this park was a hidden gem. We spent the whole morning walking through the park, admiring the tanks, and enjoying nature. Pretty cool!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

New motivational video - Social Skills!

My newest motivational video is up on Youtube! This one features positive affirmations for improving social skills and getting more comfortable in social situations. Please check it out! :)

Visit my Youtube channel, SkyHighAffirmations for more motivational videos!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Spring flowers!

It's springtime! As I walk the dog around the neighborhood each day or otherwise go about my business, I try to stop and snap a photo of any pretty flowers I see. Here are some of my favorite shots so far this season.

One of the first flowers to bloom, the tiny purple crocus.

I love these little grape hyacinths in their bed of clover.

This yellow tulip was the first to sprout in his garden. A literal early bloomer!

 The azalea bush in front of my house had some big, beautiful white blossoms. That's Creeping Jenny on the ground beneath them. 

A bed of lavender irises around a tree in a neighbor's front yard. 

Big purple clematis flowers with some smaller pale lavender blossoms of some kind.

I'm not sure what these little white guys are, but they're cute! I like the way they're peeking their heads through a pile of sticks. 

These huge white flowers covered the entire shrub next to a mailbox. 

And in the "pretty weed" category, these tiny purple-blue flowers take over huge swaths of my back yard before the grass wakes up and starts filling in. The bumblebees love them!

Interestingly, it seems like purple and white are the predominant colors of both wild and planted flowers in my neighborhood. But more things are blooming, so we'll see what other flowers I can capture as the season goes on!


Friday, April 29, 2016

SPCA cat rooms

It's been a couple of weeks since I signed up for volunteer work at the local animal shelter. I've had a few official "shifts" of helping, as well as dropping by a few times to socialize the kitties. So far it's fun!

The setup they have for the cat rooms is really nice. One room has a wall of extra large cages, about human height tall. Each cage has a glass front, and inside are multiple shelves for the cats to perch on, as well as a fold up cardboard bed to hide in. The cats have lots of space to climb, stretch out, or just curl up in their box if they choose.

There are multiple windows in the room, so it's always bright and cheery.

The second room is even cooler - it's a full cat lounge! Instead of individual cages, it's one big open room. There are lots of shelves, houses, boxes, and other things all around for the cats to lounge in or on.

 There are even shelves on the walls for them to climb all the way up to the ceiling!

I think the setup they have for the cats is very nice! It's obviously much more comfortable and less scary for the cats, which lowers their stress levels.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Reviews - "Make a Connection" and "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday"

I've got two brand new media reviews up! The first one is a review of an older Oprah health book, "Make the Connection". The other is for Netflix's new Pee-Wee Herman movie, "Pee-Wee's Big Holiday".

Thursday, March 31, 2016

What I'm reading

I found two interesting sounding books at Goodwill yesterday. One is "Make the Connection" by Oprah Winfrey and Bob Greene, about an exercise and health program. The other is "The Power of the Subconscious Mind" by Joseph Murphy.

I've been studying and using positive affirmations lately, so I'm really curious about the subconscious book in particular! After I've finished them, I'll post my thoughts. :)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Gift Registry Review

I have a new article up: a review of the gift registry process at Bed Bath and Beyond. My future sister in law set up her registry there, and it was my first time looking for gifts through their service! I wrote a detailed report of my experiences and impressions.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Bridal Shower

This past Saturday I had a new experience - hosting a bridal shower for my soon-to-be sister in law Helen! I've attended a few showers here and there, but I've never participated in planning and hosting one before. The "shower power team" was myself, my stepmother, and my two sisters.

My stepmom rented a room at the local church for the afternoon. Luckily they had plenty of tables and chairs, as well as a kitchen to prepare the food.

The most time and expense was taken by the food. We had lemonade punch, ham biscuits (on that tasty Hawaiian bread), a vegetable tray, fruit cups, a cheese ball, mixed nuts, potato chips and two kinds of cupcakes.

 The bride's colors were blue and yellow, so the tablecloths, plates, and plasticware were coordinated with these two colors. Each end of the table had a pot of yellow tulips, which also served as a prize for one of the games.

 My stepmother found a cute cupcake wedding dress design on Pinterest and copied it perfectly.

I designed and printed out custom water bottle labels that featured the couple's names on the front, and some wedding-related "nutrition facts" on the back.

We found some interesting sounding games online, and printed out the sheets to pass around. The first one was a word game where you tried to match the bride's choices, the second was an observation game where you tried to remember what the bride was wearing, and the third was a Disney song matching game.

The best game involved paper play, the attendees put the plate on top of their head, then had to draw a wedding scene with the bride, groom, bouquet, church, and steeple without looking.

The results were...well, you can see. XD

Of course there were lots of gifts, but the best one was a HUGE picture frame filled with photos of the groom (my brother) from all stages of his life.

I feel like the shower was a success. It was a lot of work (especially for a tomboy like me who doesn't really "get" showers), and I'm glad it's over! But now I can say I have some party planning and executing experience. :)


Saturday, March 19, 2016

SPCA volunteer orientation

I'm embarking on a new little adventure - volunteering at the local animal shelter! I've always wanted to volunteer and help animals, but I never had the time. Since becoming self employed, I have a much more flexible schedule, so I signed up. :) We had an orientation meeting last week with the volunteer coordinator, and it sounds like something I'll enjoy.

I chose this shelter because it's no-kill, so I don't have to worry about the animals here. They have lots of volunteer jobs, like cleaning, walking, socializing, and fostering. They recently opened up help in the clinic, which would be a good fit for me since I have years of experience as a vet tech. And of course I want to do some kitten socializing...aka playing with the kitties. <3

I have a one-on-one meeting with the coordinator next week, to discuss the specifics about what I'll be doing. I can't wait! :)