Saturday, December 30

Busy chore-day, for tomorrow is sports on TV day!

Woke-up this morning and actually felt rested. Mayhaps because I was so damn tired when I went to bed last night. *smile* It wasn't cold enough in the house to warrant starting a fire in the woodstove, but because everyone that I know likes it to be a little over 70 when they first get up, I started doing laundry soon after we got in from feeding the chickens. How does starting the laundry equate to the temperature of the house? Because when I put the clothes in the dryer I can vent said dryer to blow the warm air into the kitchen, which is then spread to the livingroom, video game room, and cat-table room via fans. Works like a charm! So far, I've done 3 loads - 1 of Rain and I's clothes, 2 of towels (1 large, 1 small). Right now there is a large blanket that goes over the sheets but under that comforter, in the washer, and sheets & pillow cases in the dryer. The blanket that goes under the sheets as padding, is on the bed. Not sure if I/we are going to turn the mattress before re-dressing the bed or not - probably though.

It was raining when we fed the chickens & ducks this morning. Not heavily, so I didn't have to spread their food out under the over-hang of the house, just out in their chicken yard. I'm sure it started raining heavier later on, because there were a few chicken on the porch so they didn't have to get too wet. Plus it's a little breezy today, but I'm hoping the wind dies down some so I can take the trash out to the burn-barrel and torch it :) I've got some small boxes that the cats used to lay in that need to go out, because I got tired of them (the boxes) taking up floor space. I'm such a meanie! *snicker*

Speaking of accomplishments, I'm on a roll. I also got the litter boxes cleaned (5 of them), and the livingroom & small bookshelf/animal water-dish/humidifier/extra water bottle room vacuumed. Still need to do this area where the computer desk and freezer reside. Probably wouldn't hurt to vacuum the catfood table room either, but that's not a priority. May do the kids' video game room too, but I need to get them to pick stuff up off the floor first, which I haven't even asked for yet. And if my back holds out and/or I don't run out of steam, I'd like to get the stairs to my DD's room vacuumed with the small/hand-held Dirt Devil. And last but not least, I need to take a shower, shave, and brush my teeth :-) Oh yeah, plus I need to ride for 30 minutes on the exercise bike and read my book (Cell, by Stephen King) for 30 minutes too.

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Friday, December 29

Bowling day

So we met with a couple of families at the bowling alley this morning. It was *great* to see them again. Was really surprised to see Faith and meet her husband, as the last email I had read she said they wouldn't be able to make it. Unfortunately, the guy that runs the bowling alley wasn't there to let us in, and we couldn't reach him by cell phone. We assume he just forgot that the homeschool group would be there today. Hopefully at the end of next month he won't forget! :-) Although we didn't get to bowl, we did get to spend the day at the home of one of the families that went to bowl. The kids played video games, played on the swinging ropes on the porch, and played Lego's in their son's room. My DD watched the boys playing video games and that was fine for her, according to her. Then when the boys went outside to play, she came and watch we adults play the board game "Life". That was REALLY fun. I hadn't played that game since I was a young teen. It seemed bigger back then, although it just could've been I was smaller, who knows? :-) We played twice, from about 11 until after 2 p.m. We could've enjoyed another game, but we had to pay a bill in town and we weren't sure what time the office building closed. As it turned out, it was good we left their house when we did, because after my wife paid the bill a little after 3, she told be that the place closed at 4. *shweh. wiping forehead* And that was our day. We came home, fed the chickens, and my daughter just got through showing us how the clothes we got from our friends fit. She looks good in everything, so we told her she'd be staying home a lot more this summer. LOL. Only 3 of the things didn't fit, but one of the items did fit my wife, but the other two were too small, so we'll give them to the place in town that gives away free stuff to people who can't afford to buy it.

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Thursday, December 28

Self motivation

Question: What do you call a follower who doesn't take direction well? Loser? Lazy? I ask because I think that describes me. I just hate being given orders, but I am not all that self motivated either. I tend to *do* best when I know what needs to be done, yet I have a problem deciding just what that is. One thing that kind of worries me is that my kids tend to be the same way, and I'm not any better at giving suggestions on thing to do than I am and finding them for myself. On the other hand, my DD especially doesn't EVEN like having things suggested to her. *sigh* I've done the list thing, and that worked to a degree, but it took what seemed like forever to finish that list, in fact that list still isn't complete, now that I think about it. *sigh* In my defense, one of the things on the list probably shouldn't be done right now, and besides, I don't have the paint for the outsides of the windows anyway. The other thing is making a screen-door to go between this room and the room with the cat food table in it. Again, no wood and no money to buy the wood and screen I'll need. And that other thing, making a frame for the bed to raise it higher off of the floor for my wife.

Looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. The sun is shining, it's currently around 40*F. I think I'll go roll-up the wire that's laying stretched out by the lagoon that we took down a month ago. I think I'll also start doing a project from the Missouri Conservation Frontiers program. Perhaps I can encourage the kids to join me.

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Wednesday, December 27

Fire talk. Qumana and Blogger

Good morning! Well, for me it has been, so far, and I see no reason for it to just turn bad. I must admit that I *almost* got upset when I was first getting the woodstove ready to host the morning fire, when I looked into the kindling bucket and saw no kindling. Luckily there were still dregs of wood, i.e. wood chips that I was able to grab handfuls of and put on top of the wadded paper balls. That did indeed enable the splits of the logs to catch fire relatively quickly. I was surprised actually, therefore I didn't get upset :-) Speaking of the fire in the stove, I just checked it. I looked at the thermometer we have hanging in the living room and it showed 66*F, so I added another log to the fire. Not real sure we *needed* another log because the one that was in there hadn't actually burned that much, but because I'm not sure how warm it's supposed to get outside today, I figured we may as well keep the fire going until it's 70*F or above inside. Okay, I just looked at Weatherbug forecast, and it says it's supposed to get up to 52*F. Which means that if I didn't put that other log on, it probably would've been okay and the log that was in there burning would've been enough. Yes, I'm just babbling. Forgive me. LOL.

I am downloading Qumana... AGAIN! I had uninstalled it. But I really do like it better than Zoundry because of the ability to change the font size for the whole blog entry and have it stay, whereas with Zoundry you have to change each paragraph separately. Although, and it *just* hit me, I like the ability of Zoundry to be able to keep the image that you put in the entry so it'll be visible on your on-line blog without you having to do anything (once you set-up the media repository). Crap, now I'm torn. Really though, I couldn't find out if Qumana had fixed the 'subject/title' problem when posting to LiveJournal or not, so I figured I give it a shot and find out for myself, ya know? Seems to me, if I'm remembering correctly, that Q also had a problem with the beta version of blogger, and now that blogger's in the "not in beta" stage, I'm not sure if Q will work at all. I saw a comment on the Qumana blog that it didn't. Again, figured I'd find out for myself. I'll let ya know. Okay, that download is complete, now I need to test it (once I get it installed). RESULT: At first I got an error and couldn't post, but once I changed the 'Platform' to 'Blogger API' I could. Unfortunately, when I went to my blogger site, there was no subject :-( Guess I'll keep using Zoundry.

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Checking to see it I can even post.

If this goes through, it's because I changed the "platform" to 'Blogger API'

Tuesday, December 26

Done this mornin', today and yesterday


Well, I got the fire started, taken my shower, emptied the dishwasher, and made my coffee. Not a bad start to the morning, huh? As for getting stuff done the rest of the day, only time will tell. I know that we need to go get gas in the van, lottery tickets from the store, cigarettes from another store, and take a watch back to Wally World and see if they'll take a few links out of the band so that my 11 year old son can wear his Yule-watch :-) A few days ago I spent pretty much all day doing laundry. Day before yesterday I got the trash taken out and burned, and got the litter changed in all 5 litter boxes with fresh rabbit pellets which are less expensive than wood pellets.


Yesterday I watched an NBA game, and NFL game, Rain made chocolate cake and cookies, of which I ate way too many. I told myself before having any of the cookies after supper that I was only going to have a few, so that they would last longer than one day. Well, we still have some left, but I had WAY more than a few. LOL. She make the best cookies, I'm tellin' you! :-) And no, I don't have a recipe. *smile*

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Saturday, December 23

Our Yule

I finally have time to write in my blog! :-) It's been a busy last couple of days. Nothing too exciting, so I'll skip the boring parts and tell you about yesterday - Yule :-) Of course we got up bright and early so we could be at least semi-awake when we went outside to welcome the sun which will be bringing longer days now. Woo-Hoo. Anyway, got up at 7 a.m. and were outside by 7:20 and started banging our make-do drums (pans) *smile* and my wife rang the bell she bought a couple of weeks ago to do a cleansing ritual for the house. We walked clock-wise around the house including around the chicken coop. We couldn't see the sun rise, but you could see that the clouds were a little brighter in one area, although not much at all. Afterward we came in and opened presents. My wife made us breakfast, which was delicious as always. Then, since it's was my daughter and wife's regular day to get up early, they didn't break routine and layed down and took a nap until noon. My son played video games and I fell asleep on the sofa. You see, this week was my week to sleep-in, therefore my mind wasn't *into* getting up and staying up. I only slept for about an hour though :-) Once everyone was up, awake and dressed, we went out for Yule supper at a restaurant in Buffalo, MO called "Simms". It's in the same place as the old restaurant that was "The Victorian Steakhouse". The steakhouse closed for a while, then someone bought it and opened the new place - Simms. Well, they've did the same thing that *most* of the eating place there have done, they're non-smoking. This area has a LOT of smokers (me not being one of them, but my wife is), so I can't imagine it's a real busy place, indeed, they're weren't very many tables being used. Anyway, whoever owns the place needs to figure-out a way to give it some atmosphere, cause there wasn't *any*. Nothing hanging on the walls, and only some candles (non lit) sitting on the table that were close to a window, and that was it. Everything was a plain beige color (except for the tables & chairs of course). The service wasn't very good either, although it did get better at the end, probably because most of her customers had finished and left. Then we came home, and proceeded to treat the rest of the day like it was any other day. Except that my wife had bought me a 6-pack of Zima "hard punch", which I started drinking after my meal had digested pretty well. *smile* After a few of those I called a friend who has "Thoughts of a Goddess" and talked with her for a while, as did my wife. She had sent us a Holiday card, and since we didn't return the sentiment with a card of our own, I called her :-) And that was pretty much our day. Hope your was a good one too!

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Friday, December 22

Merry Yule everyone!

Today is Yule, The Winter Solstice.

May it be a very happy and blessed day for you and your family,

and indeed the world!

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Tuesday, December 19

Cats in boxes. Homeschool meeting. Holiday shopping. Survivor - Cook Island

Oh my goodness, I'm a little at loss for words. But I do have a couple of pictures, and those counts as at least a thousand words each, right? :-)

3_cats_same_box.jpg I posted this picture on my Gather site yesterday. Feel free to go comment and rate it:-)

alca.jpg And today, just a few minutes ago actually, I posted this picture. 3 of the cats are in the same box as yesterday's photo, and one is in a box that we just got recently. Wanna rate and/or comment on this? :-)

We had our monthly homeschool group meeting at the Colonial Springs Nursing Home in Buffalo today. It was fun. I got to pick-up a packet so I can start earning points in the Missouri Conservation Frontiers "Citizen Action Program". Basically you do stuff like identify animals, plants, etc. Plus you also get to read/learn about other aspects of Wildlife, while earning points that you can put towards getting different things. I really haven't delved into, so I'm not exactly sure what all is involved, to be honest with you, like I always am. This little blurb on the inside of the booklet says, " a program that will help you learn about Missouri's natural resources and how to enjoy and protect them". You can get more information by writing to them at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, or just go to the website above :-) Anyway, we also played a game of BINGO. One of the group leaders read a bit from a booklet about some wildlife and plant information. Then she passed out a bunch of sheets of paper with "bingo board" on them in that the squares were answers to some questions about what she read and explained. If we got a "bingo" we got little prizes. You could get a cookie, coupon for ice-cream, and something else. It was fun. Even got to meet a new family with 6 kids - they were all great :-) And there was another family whom were really nice :-)

Okay, other than the above, we went and did a bit of Yule shopping yesterday at Wal-Mart. We budgeted spending 5 dollars on each person, which means each of us spent $15 for the three besides ourself. My DS & DD got their allowance money from the chores they did in November, so they had a bit more to spend. Plus they bought us lunch at McDonalds after the shopping was done :-) We still need to wrap the presents, which I suppose I should be getting done since Yule is on Friday and coming fast.

We realized Monday afternoon when Rain was on the Internet that we had missed the final 2 hours of Survivor - Cook Island :-( We watched every episode of the entire season, but totally got distracted by The Lord of The Rings movies on Sunday afternoon and evening. Normally we would've set the timer on the Dish Network receiver, but again - brain fart :-( We do know that Yul won the million dollars, Becky took second, and Ozzy won the vehicle.

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Sunday, December 17

Salvation Army panhandling. Lord of the rings movies. Computer monitors

We drove into town yesterday to get a thing of caulk for the roof because my wife thought it may have a hole, because when it snowed and iced last week, she could see what she said looked like an area had melted like heat was rising from a hole. After we got home I started to go up on the roof, but my feet were wet and muddy and I had a hard time keeping traction so I only went up a little way, got nervous due to bad footing/grip and *very* carefully backed down the roof and ladder. As it turned out, it wouldn't have mattered, because I went up in the wrong area. *sigh* But when she pointed out the correct area I should've been looking, I could tell by just climbing to the top of the ladder that there's no hole in the roof. Not sure why there was a spot of melted snow/ice.

Anyway, when we got to the grocery store there was a person working for the Salvation Army standing there ringing that annoying bell. Now, I don't have anything against them doing that, 'cept for the annoying bell, but I always wonder why they're allowed to do that when there's a sign as you first walk into the store that says, "No soliciting allowed". Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't what the S.A. is doing called solicitation (aka: panhandling)? If I was to have a bell and a collection pot/hat/whatever, could *I* legally stand outside and do the same thing? I thought panhandling was illegal. Am I wrong? Maybe it's a state and local thing, that would make sense.

Started out the day feeling like crap, but once I ate a hamburger I felt much better :-) Started watching football around noon, but after about an hour, I just couldn't seem to get interested. Around 1:30 pm my wife and daughter got up from their nap. About that time I was getting ready to start doing laundry, and have been doing it pretty much ever since. The last load, the parents (ours) clothes are in the dryer as I type. When I wasn't dealing with clean clothes or on the computer, I was watching the Lord of The Rings movies on TNT. They showed the last one last night (Return of The King). Today they started with the 1st one - "The Fellowship of The Ring" and are showing the next two one right after the other. Right now the Fellowship of the ring is on, and next is "Return of The King" again. I'm just not into them right now, which is why I'm blogging. *smile*

You may or may not remember me writing that we got a 13 inch computer monitor a month ago because our 15 " had gone out. Doesn't matter, I just wanted to say that we saw on FreeCycle today that someone has been trying to get rid of a monitor; people kept saying they wanted it but didn't show up. They said if someone didn't come and get it by Monday, they were just going to trash a perfectly good monitor :-( Of course I wrote and asked what size it was, and they said it was a 15"! That would work great for us, because although we're perfectly happy with the current 13", we prefer 15" or bigger (okay, that's as big as we've ever had, but know it's better than 13 inches). So, we'll be going to pick it up tomorrow. Cool, huh? *smile* After I sent the email asking how big it was, it occurred to me that it didn't matter, because we can *always* use a spare, knowing our luck (or not) with monitors.

Okay, that last load of laundry is dry, so I need/want to get it taken care of. C. Ya later, Tater! :-)

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Friday, December 15

NAIS Useless Guide and the Fine Art of Gerrymandering

NAIS Useless Guide and the Fine Art of Gerrymandering

A Primer in Agency law and Federal Monetary Manipulation

by Doreen Hannes (

The new USDA "User Guide" for NAIS is an attempt by the USDA to deflect criticism and responsibility for the program to the State Departments of Agriculture and to State legislatures. The definition of gerrymandering is unfair manipulation in a political sense. The USDA does that with real finesse in the User Guide.

The most important thing to understand is the process by which agencies make law or "regulations" . As of this writing, the USDA has not followed the procedure necessary for the User Guide to meet requirements of an official document with any real moderating effects on the previous documents.

The User's Guide was not entered into the Federal Register and the previous documents, the Draft Strategic Plan, Standards and Tech Supplement as well as Implementation Plan, have not been withdrawn from the Federal Register. Thus the USDA's opening statement, "The 2006 User Guide is the most current plan for NAIS and replaces all previously published program documents, including the 2005 Draft Strategic Plan and Draft Program Standards and the 2006 Implementation Strategies" is what we in the Midwest call a bald faced lie. Since people are generally kept in the dark about how Federal agency rules and regulations are made, here is an attempt to explain it in its most simplistic form.

First and foremost, the agency must have the authority to enact the rules they are proposing. Then they must enter their proposed rule into the Federal Register serving as public notice of their intent. Typically, there will be a period of time for the public to comment on any proposed rules and the public's comments are available in the reading room in DC or electronically online. After the public comment period the agency must then enter notice of their final rulemaking regarding the regulation. Then the regulation they have made will be codified (put into the proper titles and chapters amending existent regulations where applicable) and entered into the body of law called the "Code of Federal Regulations", or CFR.

To date, the USDA has not followed this procedure on three documents they have released regarding NAIS. Oddly enough, the documents that haven't followed proper procedure are all the documents that supposedly moderate the National Animal Identification System into something slightly less than pure evil.

The first document that was designed to calm the concerns of the public is "The Guide for Small Scale and Non-Commercial Producers". This document was released in June and was sent to several thousand Missouri residents by Congresswoman JoAnn Emerson to assure them that the NAIS was actually nothing to be concerned about. However, Linda Campbell, the chair of the Goat Species Working Group told me personally that she believed the Guide for Small Scale and Non Commercial Producers was actually written by a PR firm. She was aware that I was both with a small paper and an opponent of the NAIS. The "Guide for Small Scale and Non Commercial Producers" also fails to allow people who choose not to participate in the NAIS to engage in established avenues of commerce. In other words, if you don't want to buy or sell any stock, the NAIS will remain voluntary.

The second document the USDA failed to enter into the Federal Register was a slightly amended version of the April '06 Implementation Strategies. In the amended version the USDA deleted one paragraph (headed as "Contingency Plan" in the original document) regarding following the rule making process, should they fail to achieve their benchmark participation goals, including 100% compliance. They also removed the term "meta data" in two sentences and supplanting it with ATPS (Animal Trace Processing System) in one of those sentences. The last change was removing the word February '07 and replacing it with Spring '07 in a timeline.

The User Guide is the third document to fail to make it's way into the Federal Register. Considering the statement in the document that this is to replace all previous documents and that this is the "comprehensive" document regarding NAIS, it is terrifically inadequate. The User Guide doesn't give info on technology specifics, reporting requirements, incentive particulars, FOIA exemption, liability issues, nor is there any impact analysis. There is an extremely understated cost estimate for the actual identification devices, but no cost estimate for program participation. It's akin to saying the diploma on a vet's office wall is the cost of an education in Veterinary Science. In laymen's terms, it is absolute bunk. There will more on the User Guide throughout the rest of this article.

The manner in which federal agencies get states to cooperate with their programs is predominately through funding. The funding is carried out through the appropriations bills of both state and federal governments. In the state of Missouri, more than half of the budget is comprised of federal monies for various and sundry programs. Many other states are in similar or even worse positions than Missouri. Sticking with the NAIS and it's implementation, let's look at the mechanisms used to develop the system.

Each state and tribe as well as the territories of the United States Federal Government signed cooperative agreements with the Veterinary Services division of the USDA. These agreements are binding contracts. All of the criteria for a legal and binding contract are met within the cooperative agreements. There is a definitive overview of the purpose, roles and responsibilities of each party are clearly defined and there is an exchange of consideration in the form of federal funds making the state responsible for fulfilling their part of the contract in the specified amount of time the CA covers. There are numerous forms to fill out and lots of ancillary agreements contained in the cooperative agreements signed by the states in '05, 06, and the application for '07.

One aspect of the fraudulent practices being employed by not only the USDA, but virtually every Federally Funded program, is attested to by the required acceptance of terms outlined in two forms. The forms referenced as SF-424A and SF-424B must be agreed to in order to get the Federal Funding the states are so accustomed to receiving. These forms cause the applicant to agree to fulfill Executive Orders related to the Environmental Protection Agency and Clean Air and Water and Wild Rivers acts, which align agencies and states into co-enforcement agreements with no legislative oversight on behalf of elected officials. The Executive Orders are listed only numerically and not topically and people would actually have to chase down information to find out what they are really agreeing to do when they are ostensibly signing on for just one Federal program.

The Cooperative Agreement Announcement for '07 regarding NAIS is a tremendously convicting piece of work. Not only does it contain agreeance to SF-424A and B, it also shows beyond a shadow of a doubt the USDA's continual attempt at lying and deceiving the public regarding their intent with the NAIS program. Just one excerpt from the Cooperative Agreement Announcement for '07, puts the mantra of "voluntary at the federal level" replete in the User Guide, to rest.

On page 16 of the Cooperative Agreement Announcement for '07 regarding the goals and objectives the states are to achieve it states:

"Outline a Plan of Action" Provide a brief overview of the work to be performed and how the plan builds on the 2005 or 2006 cooperative agreement plan. Also, explain how this plan will support the timelines for full implementation of NAIS as outlined in the draft strategic plan.

The User Guide is loaded with references to interstate commerce and induced participation in the program to continue to engage in normal agricultural business activities like buying and selling stock. It is already illegal to remove an official USDA identification device from an animal, so if you should buy a cow with the 15 digit NAIS animal identification number you will automatically be engaged in that program whether you "volunteer" or not. The individual selling the cow is required to report to whom the cow was sold and what date the sale took place. This will enroll you in premise and animal identification regardless of your desire, or lack of desire, to participate in the program. You can find this juicy little tidbit on page 38 of the printed version of the User Guide:

"the animal should have identification attached according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the device before leaving its current premises when the movement is reportable (see the section on animal movement). Animals are identified only once, not every time the animal is moved. The animal identification number (AIN) device is to be maintained on the animal, and the AIN on the device is associated with the animal for the animal's entire life."

On the very next page is a wonderful example of the truly compulsory force NAIS will be:

"USDA has no plans to make participation in any component of NAIS mandatory. However, as mentioned previously, there are existing regulations for certain diseases such as brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that require identification for interstate movement for some animals and, in some cases, define the devices that can be used. Under § 71.22, intentional removal of or tampering with official identification devices is prohibited. Specifically, it is unlawful to remove an official identification device or cause the removal of one unless the animal is terminated, except in cases when a device has become illegible or the device malfunctions. "

"A User Guide" shows on page 47 that it is the activity of commerce that the NAIS truly wishes to control by categorizing private sale as a high risk reportable activity. This is where they will get everyone eventually through trickle down NAIS.

It is abundantly clear that NAIS is being shoved upon a strongly opposed public via executive branch fiat and the manipulation of State governments through the use of Federal Funds. This methodology will help the USDA to shift the blame for the draconian program to the States and their agriculture departments or individual state legislatures.

The Cooperative Agreement Announcement for '07 also asks the state agriculture departments how far they have progressed in getting legislation to help legitimize both the existence of the program and the deceitful manner in which they have garnered the number of premises they have registered. Here is an excerpt from page 12 discussing that very point:

USDA will provide funding for:

"The Integration of existing State systems with the SPRS or a CPRS. This "pulling" of data from existing databases that already contain premises related information seems to be a prudent and cost effective method in many cases. States must carefully consider whether this type of data integration to register livestock premises under NAIS would be interpreted as "voluntary" and if this would create any problems for premises registration in the long term."

Yet there is hope. As referenced several times in the original documents of the Draft Strategic Plan there will need to be state level enabling legislation to get the program to work. If the individual states will stand up and preclude participation in the NAIS from their state and allow people to be removed from the database of premise registration when they desire to be removed the system will fall on it's face.

Since the only real need for the system's existence is to fulfill World Trade Organization' s Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) agreements, it is entirely possible to allow those who wish to export the opportunity to participate in this type of program, otherwise known as QSA and Export Verification Services, and allow them to pay for the system and reap whatever "premiums" they believe they may earn through their participation. Those who have no desire to sell internationally would then have no need to participate in the program. This would require that the USDA give up their false "disease control" premise and allow people to decide for themselves whether or not they desire to participate in international trade. Of course, this would also require that multinational corporate agribusinesses actually contract with people who want to deal with them instead of using the government agencies and legislatures as their contract providers.

The States must individually stand for their private citizens and pass legislation that disables or destroys the NAIS. Our representatives must be educated on the program as well its effects on both our liberty and our livelihoods and held to their oaths by those who have put them in office. If we don't have the resolve to inform them of our objections and refusal to allow this to happen in our state or nation, then we don't deserve the freedoms our forefathers died to endow us with.

-Feel free to distribute this, but only in it's entirety and include contact information - Thank you, Doreen Hannes

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Thursday, December 14

Gather pictures. Disability problems

I uploaded a picture to my gather so I could use it as my icon. I was really surprised that a couple of people commented on it. LOL. Because they commented, I then uploaded a bigger picture because enlarges *every* picture, and if it was small to begin with, it gets *really* distorted.

And now for the whiny me :-( A few days back I went to open the door to let a cat in or out and tweaked my shoulder and bicep muscle. Now, several days later, my shoulder and bicep muscles are *still* sore. *sigh* I'm guessing it's just because of the MS that I heal slower. In fact, remember a while back when I wrote about throwing my back out? Well, although I'm able to bend over to pick things up or whatever, when I sit *straight-up*, bend over to tie my shoes or take them off, my back and hip joints ache :-( Wish I had some pain medicine beside Ibuprofen, which I'm going to ask about in February. Since I'm in the whining mood (obviously), I should mention that my eyes seem to be getting worse, especially in the evening. That's when I can't focus on anything. I *need* to see an eye-doctor, but haven't called Medicare to find out if they'll cover a visit if the problem was caused by an MS exacerbation (it was, about 6 years ago), primarily of my right eye. Guess I should be doing that, huh? Speaking of insurance, a friend of ours sent us an application for insurance for low-income families through C.A.A.P and Associates. I have the application filled-out, but haven't sent it yet because I have a couple of concerns. If you know, feel free to comment with the answers :-) Anyway, in one section they marked "employed" and that "this policy is 'through an employer' ". The question that I have is: Since I am disabled and get Social Security Disability payments, will being listed as employed mess that up? Plus I don't know if I'm supposed to list my wife and kids for the policy too, or if it's just for me. Like I said, I need to make a couple of phone calls, which I can do, I just don't enjoy it. *grin* I suppose that's enough whining. Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, December 12

Locks, lights, barrel, and garland

Okay, here I am, ready, I guess, to write in me blog. *smile* Had sat down to start it at 5 p.m., but my DD's friend came on-line right about that time, and she wanted to talk. Well, I was on this morning when she was too, but my DD didn't want to talk then, but she said she'd talk to her friend later. This afternoon was definitely later, and my DD did say she would talk, and I want her to keep her word if she gives it, so I got off the 'puter and let her talk to her friend. It's now 6:36 p.m., they're done, and I'm just getting started. *muah-ha-ha-ha* That was ominous laughter in case you didn't know. LOL! :)

bathroom lockDidn't get much done yesterday. No, that's not true, I did get a new lock put on the inside of the bathroom door, replacing the ole eye and latch-hook. Prior to doing that, I also got the porch light bulb changed. Yeah, I know, I had to climb up on that oh-so-scary ladder. LOL.

cat food barrelYa know, I did get one other thing done. What was it, you ask? Oh, well, I was outside and was wondering around because it was warm-ish, rather comfortable really. I remember now, I had taken the tools that I used to install the bathroom lock out to the shed. When I came in there were cats on the cat food-table and I was just about to feed them (bend down and scoop some food out of a 5 gallon bucket) when I suddenly remembered that we had large barrels that we got when my grandma on-law moved, in the big shed. It occurred to me that instead of using 5 5-gallon buckets to hold the food that we should use one large can. That would take less effort to fill after we bought and brought their bags of food home. I went out, separated the cans (we had 2, one inside the other) and brought one in. You know what I did then, right? That's right, I poured the food that was filling 1 and a half buckets into the bigger can, plus added the two contents of two bags of cat food we bought the other day.

bathroom lightI forgot to mention that before I put the new lock on the bathroom door, that my wife changed the light bulb in the bathroom to one of those that're supposed to last much longer than regular bulbs, the florescent kind :-) That wasn't all we got done though. Yeah, that's right, we did more, well, I did. I took the trash out and burned it. *smile*

sofa bed

My DD has been sick for about a week and has been sleeping on the living room sofa. Not exactly sure "why", other than a few nights ago when I got up in the middle of the night to use the facilities, she was laying on the sofa. I asked her later when we were up at the same time why, and she said because she couldn't sleep because she was all stuffy. The next night when it was bedtime we asked her where she was sleeping, and she said she wanted to sleep downstairs again, but wanted to try the pull-out sofa-bed.

living room garlandAnd because we don't have the money to buy a Yule tree this year (our old, fake one bit the dust a few years ago), we decided that in order to get into the Yuletide spirit that we would need to do *something*. My wife suggested we put up the fancy garland that we bought a couple of weeks ago but never put, so we did. Pretty, huh? Besides, not sure how well a tree would be able to survive 20 indoor-outdoor cats. LOL. Okay, I don't have any more pictures to show you, plus I've got at least 25 new-to-me emails to read and who-knows-how-many blogs to read, I need to get the done and uploaded. Hopefully it'll retain most of the layout when it gets to my blog sites, because, IMO, it looks good. *smile*

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Monday, December 11

Living room kids!

I'm told I should write more, even though I don't think what I have to say is all that interesting. Guess I'm probably my worst critic, but then again, isn't everybody? I suppose *everybody* is kind of a broad stroke, but I imagine most people are.

I let Arie outside last evening because, well, she wanted out. That was shortly before I read a comment on my gather that I should keep her in for a while so she wouldn't run away. Well, she had been in ALL day, so I figured that she's either be waiting to come back in later, or she's go back to where she came from. We suspect that she has/had another home, because she didn't look like she had been fending for herself for several months. Anyway, about an hour later my wife asked me to check to see if she was ready to come back in, and sure enough, when I opened the door and said, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty", she and several others came running in. Needless to say, we were thrilled and happy that she decided to stay. Only a couple of the other 19 cats have hissed at her, but because she's so gentle and accepting, no fights have happened and she's blended back into the "pride" really well.

For the last few nights, our DD has decided that the new-to-us sleeper-sofa's pull-out bed is more comfortable that her twin-size mattress in her bedroom upstairs. The first night she tried it was the second night that she slept down stairs because she wasn't feeling well, and because the weather outside was cold in the early morning hours (below 10*F). See, we don't have central heat so her upstairs room gets pretty chilly during the night/morning. We do have a small space heater that comes on and runs for 15 minutes before she goes up to bed, so that it's warm when she gets there. I have the timer set to come on and run fifteen minute before she gets up in the morning too, so that the room is warm and she has no excuse to not get out of bed. *smile* Anyway, although she's feeling better, she likes sleeping downstairs in the living room, so we may never get her to sleep in her room again. *sigh* I'll try to get her to go to bed upstairs tonight. Wish me luck. See, I would prefer for her to go to bed up there so that my wife and I can have a little while kid-free before we go to bed, which obviously isn't happening when my DD sleeps in the living room. And lately my son hasn't been going to sleep after his story is read while he lies in bed, so he's been getting up shortly after one of us finishes reading. So for a few nights they've both been in the living room before we (wife & I) go to bed around midnight. *sigh* Granted, they've both had "the cold" along with my wife, so we've not made a big deal about it. But they're just about over it (except for 'the cough'), so in my not so humble opinion, they need to have their bedtime stories read while they're in bed, and then they need to *stay* in bed, ya know?

Okay, the weather was warm enough yesterday that most of the snow and ice have melted in the yard, and the chickens and ducks are THRILLED about that. Plus a lot of the ice is sliding off the north side of the house. All that melt makes for a very muddy ground, and the water from all that ice that's running off of the roof is making quite the water-path beside the porch. We should be able to park the van in it's spot now, without worrying about ice-sheets sliding off of the roof into the windows. YAY! *grin*

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Sunday, December 10

Arie's home!

Okay, I admit it, I've been slacking with the blogging. But I have good reason, and that is that I've had NOTHING of any importance, interest, or anything else, to write about. You could say I'm going through a self-esteem problem in that nothing SEEMS worthy of getting words spoken about. We've been up to "the usual", going to the store, gas station, cigarette store, etc. Well, yesterday something that hadn't happened for *about* 3-4 months happened! And that is... are you ready... are you sure...

Arie, our cat came home! We had just gotten through feeding the chickens and were headed back towards the front of the house to come in, when my DD says, "I was just standing there and Erie came out from under the car!" I was like, "Really?! Are you sure?!" She said, "Yeah, she's right over there". And sure enough, she was. So I went to try and pet her, she was rolling around on her back being super cute when I got close. Unfortunately when I got close enough to bend over and pet her, I stepped on her tail, she hissed and ran into the shed and under the riding mower. She wouldn't come out for anything. Eventually she came out of the shed and went into the ex goat shed and hid in the stack of tires so nobody could reach her. After a little while of trying to coax her out, we gave up and came in hoping she's still be here this morning. Judging by the looks of her, she's definitely had someone taking care of her. Well, depending on how long she stays here, they're going to think she's gone for good just like we did. Perhaps she'll eventually return to them and they'll be happily surprised as well. But for right now we're just tickled pink that she's home. And to prove it, I've taken a picture :-)

Arie.jpg Click to enlarge :)

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Thursday, December 7

Name this book. Satellite condition. Mattresses and kitchen utensils.

Name the title of this book:

In chapter 16, Jack's wife is in the kitchen getting ready to make breakfast. She tells her son, who is sitting in the living room watching TV, that they will be going into town today to get a couple of sleds because a winter storm is coming in. When he doesn't answer her with an excited response to the snow comment, she goes to see what he's watching that has got him so entranced. When she looks at the television she sees what looks like what you see in a lava lamp, only it's on TV. She watches it for a few minutes and she too becomes fascinated, but snaps out of it and asks why he's got the sound turned off. His answer is that he doesn't. She turns the volume up and changes the channel and is shocked at how loud it is, so she changes it back to the channel it was on, only to see that the lava lamp channel is no longer on there. On her way out of the room she tells him he needs to get ready and he asks why. She says again that they're going into town. He asks why and she tells him, "to get a couple of sleds because it's going to snow". He says, "It's going to snow? When?" She then starts teasing him about having so much wax in his ears that they could grow potatoes. Anyway, he gets to the kitchen and notices a crow sitting on the window sill watching them. Eventually Jack comes downstairs and sees the crow and he and the crow have a staring contest. Jack taps on the window but the crow keeps staring. Then suddenly the crow pecks the window right in front of Jack, which startles him and he falls backward onto his butt. The crow then just flies away. Later, his wife looks out the window to see that there's a crow high up in the sky circling the farm overhead and wonders if it's the same crow that was in the window.

Because of the storm we had last week there was a lot of snow which turned into ice on the roof. Eventually, like by Monday night, a portion of that ice slid off the roof into the satellite dish, which caused us to lose the connection. We planned on calling Dish Network the next day if I couldn't get it realigned. By the time I got up the next morning, another slab of ice slid off the roof into the dish and made it unusable. A technician is scheduled to come out tomorrow and look at it. He will have to put-up another dish, and here's why... (as always, click for a larger view)

satdish002.jpg satdish001.jpg

Luckily for us, a few of the evening shows that we like are on local channels (ABC, NBC, FOX, PBS). Hopefully by early tomorrow afternoon we can watch other channels. We've also been watching VHS and DVD movies, which we have a lot of each, thank goodness.

Tuesday, December 5

Wood-working, chickens

woodburn1.jpgclick to enlarge

Didn't get much done today, other than watch TV, read email, blogs, and stuff at The picture is part of a wood-burning project I'm working on for my DD. This is one panel of a CD holder I'm going to be making for her. Each piece is about 3" by 7" and I'll be using 4 of them, plus two triangle pieces for the sides. As you can see, I've *just* started. I had to stop because I accidentally touched the side of the wood-burning tool (aka: pencil) with my finger. Once that happened, I couldn't keep my finger on the "pencil" because my finger was too heat-sensitive. *sigh* I'll work on it more tomorrow.

Speaking of Gather, I found out via a Google search that you have to earn 3000 points before you can cash them in for cash ($50). So far I've only got 167 points, so it's going to be a while before I make any money. *grin* That's okay, that's not really why I joined anyway. I joined to keep in touch with friends. *smile*

Did you know (or care) that the average lifespan of a chicken is 4-5 years, but some people have had them live passed 10? The only reason I know is because someone sent me a link to an article about how some chickens are disposed of in California. Then we got to swapping emails and she asked what we did with non-laying chickens. I answered that we build a funeral pyre for those who are killed by predators or other reasons, and that we don't butcher hens anymore because we made the mistake of killing ones we *thought* weren't laying, only to find out they would've had we not killed them. *sigh* Then I asked her how long they lay, then I googled the question and found the answer myself. *smile* They typically lay regularly for 3 or so years then production starts declining.

Supper's ready. Bye!

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Monday, December 4

Long, icy store-run

Well, we're home and safe. Only got stuck once. That was the first try to get out of the neighborhood, on the "four mile dip". That dip is basically a big "U", but the sides aren't straight up and down, obviously. One side is longer, but the other side has a curve at the top right before you get to another road you have to turn onto. Anyway, on the way out we got down the long side but got stuck on the up side. Had to back down and hope we wouldn't slide into the ditch (almost did), plus there was a car that had been parked at the bottom off to the side which had to be avoided. While sitting there trying to decide what to do since we were sideways in the road, we saw a pickup at the top that we couldn't get to. We were just hoping he didn't try to come down and slide into us, because the road was solid ice with snow on the sides. Luckily, he stopped at the top 'just in case' someone was stuck. Guess he knows the road. *grin* Anyway, he walked down to see if he could help. He tried to push the back sideways, didn't work. Tried the same with the front, thinking that we could maybe spin it around, with no luck. Finally, he decided to get the shovel out of his truck and see if he could chip enough of the ice from under the van's back tires so we could get a little traction. That worked enough and we were eventually able to get the van spun around so we could try to get out the other direction (back the way we had came). Meanwhile, the kids stayed in the van keeping warm while Rain and I talked with our helper. Rain was out of cigarettes, our helper didn't have any either because he was on his way to get some money so he could get some. So, he and Rain were both a little 'edgy'. Okay, so we got going the other way. The hill we needed to get back up had dryish tracks about halfway up, so if I could get going fast enough we would be able to get up the hill. So, I got going as fast as I could, rounded the corner to head up the hill only to see a truck with a plow coming down the hill. Damn! The road isn't wide enough for two big vehicles. *sigh* I had to back down far enough and pull as much to the side as I could so he could get by us, which obviously I was able to, but not without a bit of stress. Got going again and made it up the hill and drove back home on the ice that didn't have *any* salt or sand on it for traction. Apparently the road crews of MO weren't too worried since most of the schools were closed anyway, so the busses wouldn't be traveling on the road anytime soon. Needless to say, I had a wife who was NOT happy that the roads were still icy and no one had worked on them since Thursday, and she had been out of smokes since last night and was shaking because of the road condition and the fact that we were in a van without snow tires, and has a flaky front-end & brakes that cause it to pull to the side when they're pushed. *sigh* Did I mention that we almost got stuck in our driveway at the beginning of all this? Well, we did. Got back to our driveway and parked. Rain went and got some rock salt 'just in case' we needed it, while I went to the shed and grabbed a shovel and a few small sand bags that people put in their trunks or the back of pickups for weight. We *had* to get out because we were *completely* out of cat food and they were starting to snap at each other and drive us crazy. Rain said if it wasn't for that, she probably could've lived without the cigarettes for a few days (but could the rest of us? is the question). We thought that once we got to the other end of our road (2.5 miles from our driveway) that the highway would be better. It was a *little* better, but it was *mostly* still ice, packed snow, and slush. Didn't look like they had put much sand or salt on that highway either, but I think enough cars & trucks had used it that it had clearer patches. Once we got to the main highway (after 5 miles of icy road), it was clear, so instead of going to Lebanon like we had planned, we decided to just go to Buffalo, which is 10 miles closer. There's a small Wal-Mart that carries the cat food our cats can eat w/o getting sick, a grocery store that has things that're more expensive then the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Lebanon, and there's a cigarette store and gas station. We stopped at the cigarette store first, of course. *grin* While there we got 20 dollars of gas. On the way into town we had noticed that all the stations gas prices had gone up to $2.14.9. *sigh* Last time we were there (Wednesday) it was $2.04.9. We decided not to go to Lebanon so that we could be back home before the sun went down and the roads refroze. We still need a bunch of food, but we got some essentials that'll carry us through until the end of the week. YAY!

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Sunday, December 3

A Preliminary Analysis of the USDA's NAIS User Guide of November 2006

A Preliminary Analysis of the USDA's NAIS User Guide of November 2006

Copyright 2006 by Mary Zanoni. The following article may be distributed solely for personal and non-commercial use without prior permission from the author. Non-commercial distribution and posting to assist in disseminating information about NAIS is, in fact, encouraged, so long as proper credit is given and the article is reproduced without changes or deletions. Any other distribution or republication requires the author's permission in writing and requests for such permission should be directed to the author at the address/phone/e-mail address below.

By Mary Zanoni, Ph.D., J.D.
P.O. Box 501
Canton, NY 13617

The following are preliminary points meant to contribute to the early and continuing discussion of this newly released (as of November 22, 2006) USDA document concerning the National Animal Identification System. I plan to write further on some of the key issues related to the User Guide in the near future. At the close of the discussion is a list of suggestions for further action.

1. The only real "difference" from this year's prior Implementation Plan documents is the absence of stated dates for certain target levels of participation. The document still envisions making everyone comply with NAIS eventually. (See, e.g., User Guide, p. 5, "The goal is to establish a complete record of all locations, or premises, in the United States that manage or hold livestock and/or poultry.") (Emphasis added.)

2. Note that Rep. Collin Peterson (D. Minnesota, 7th Dist.), expected to chair the House Agriculture Committee in the next Congress beginning in January 2007, lately has been quoted as favoring a "mandatory" NAIS. (Presumably Rep. Peterson does not yet understand the harms NAIS will cause to small farmers and animal owners, and the unfair boon it will be to the multinational meat industry and tech industry. Let's help him realize the true state of affairs by contacting his office and pointing out the harms of NAIS.)

The USDA's increased (but misleading) emphasis on "voluntary" may well be nothing more than an attempt to shift blame to Rep. Peterson and some of his fellow party members for a "mandatory" plan that the present administration's USDA really hopes will be implemented.

3. Note that the User Guide was released late in the day on Thanksgiving eve. This is a typical tactic for actions that bureaucrats hope might escape too much notice. Further, unlike the release of the Implementation Plan of April 2006, the release of the User Guide was not accompanied by a well-publicized news conference by Secretary Johanns.

4. The User Guide subtly reveals some new tactics the USDA is planning to employ for imposing "creeping mandatory" NAIS on animal owners who do not actually "volunteer." Note the following passage from p. 8 of the Guide:

"USDA believes participation in the main components of NAIS can occur as a result of standard business practices. For example, in order for producers to obtain official identification devices, they first need to register for a premises identification number. Accordingly, the success of the premises registration component would be achieved through the participation of producers in longstanding disease management programs and compliance with interstate movement regulations."

Translation of the above bureaucratic verbiage: If you want to buy, sell, or move animals in interstate transactions, or if you participate in a required (e.g., for many dairy producers) or voluntary disease program such as TB or brucellosis testing or calfhood vaccination, the USDA is going to force you to use NAIS Animal Identification Numbers (AINs) for these programs, and will also force you to get a premises ID as a prerequisite to getting the forced AINs.

5. The USDA propaganda machine really went into high gear to produce the User Guide. The main propaganda objective is falsely to paint any NAIS non-participants as somehow "antisocial."

Of course, the real facts are that people opposed to NAIS base their opposition on their positive religious, spiritual, social, and ethical values, and they want to create a more just world for all. NAIS
opponents want a local, human-scaled economy that supports true family farming, offers fair compensation for producing food and other basic needs, and discourages greed, excessive commercialism, and materialism. In contrast, the pushers of NAIS -- originally multinational meatpackers and tech corporations -- are driven by greed for undeserved profit and power. In particular, the tech corporations will happily microchip your grandmother or your baby if they think they can make a buck doing it -- these corporations absolutely do not care about the obviously negative spiritual, social, and political consequences of their behavior.

The USDA User Guide attempts to turn these true values of things upside down. Consider the following statement from the Guide (p. 2): "There are a number of reasons for producers to anticipate in NAIS. One of the most important reasons is to better protect animal health. People who own or work with animals, or depend on them for income, understand how absolutely important this is -- for themselves, their neighbors, and their surrounding communities."

Thus the USDA spinmeisters falsely paint NAIS opponents -- who in reality are religiously and socially dedicated people sacrificing their own time and money to promote a better future for all people, all animals, all of creation and nature -- the USDA falsely paints these dedicated people as somehow not sufficiently attentive to "neighbors" and "communities."

Curiously, the USDA never seems to have anything bad to say about the CAFOs and CAFO-dependent multinational meatpackers who pollute our air and water, create dangerous resistant bacteria by overuse of antibiotics, squander immense amounts of fossil fuels to produce and transport their products, treat animals like fungible "units of production" to be kept in total confinement, pay displaced foreign workers substandard wages, and drive family farmers and small local entrepreneurs out of business.

Suggested Actions

The issuance of the User Guide should not change the planned actions of NAIS opponents; rather, the Guide's misleading propaganda should inspire NAIS opponents to continue their socially responsible work.

-- Do not rely on expressing your opinions to NAIS Working Groups or other "insiders" such as extension agents or government animal-health workers. Instead, make your opposition to NAIS known where it counts -- to your U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator and to state senators and representatives.

-- Seek an end to all federal funding of NAIS. Good organizations to support in this regard are the National Independent Consumer and Farmer Advocates Fund (NICFA) and the Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (VICFA) -- check them out at

-- Work for state legislation to prohibit acceptance of USDA NAIS funds by state agriculture and animal health departments, and legislation prohibiting state involvement in premises ID/animal ID/animal tracking.

-- Demand animal products produced without participation in NAIS.

-- Avoid purchasing industrially-produced animal products and encourage others to boycott such foods.

-- Obviously, do not sign up for any "voluntary" aspects of NAIS. Avoid any actions that might trigger "forced voluntary" NAIS, such as need for interstate shipping permits or participation in "voluntary" government-sponsored animal-related programs.

-- Avoid attending any animal-related fairs or shows that require NAIS premises ID or animal ID. Instead, arrange your own animal-related events with trusted neighbors or friends.

-- Oppose any attempts by the USDA or state agriculture departments to obtain statutory exemptions from freedom-of-information laws for NAIS information. Remember, bureaucrats will be unable to implement NAIS if they cannot get FOIA exemptions for their databases.

-- Work to repeal the already-mandatory premises ID in Wisconsin and Indiana, and the soon-to-be-mandatory RFID tagging for cattle in Michigan. Help your friends and family from these states to relocate, if necessary.

-- Refuse to buy any land that has a premises ID or any animals that have NAIS animal identification numbers.

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Saturday, December 2

Ice and snow pictures

As you know, we, like so many, got some snow a couple of days ago, so I took these pictures to show anyone who cares. *smile*

snotramp.JPG(click for big)

This is when we were trying to get as much of the snow and ice off of the trampoline as we could. It's REALLY making it sag because underneath the snow, it's slush/ice. We're hoping that since we were able to get some of the mat exposed, the sun will be able to heat it up and the white stuff will melt quicker.

birdpath.JPG(click makes big)

This is how we tried to make it easier for the chickens, ducks, and cats to walk between the coop and the porch on the house.

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Friday, December 1

I gunna be featured!


Gather Editorial Team (gathereditorial)
To: Rambleman M. (rambleman)
Subject: You will be featured on
Date: Dec 01, 2006 04:57 PM

Dear rambleman,

On behalf of the editorial team here at Gather, I am very pleased to inform you that we are featuring members who practice homeschooling, and you have been chosen to appear on the Gather homepage. Congratulations! Your icon will be featured on Monday, December 4, 2006 from 6:00 a.m. EDT. Be sure to tell friends and family to go to to see your great efforts recognized.

Best regards, and thanks for contributing to Gather!

Jennifer K. Hodge
Associate Editor

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Yesteday's birthday, today's snow


Yesterday was me birfday! :-)

It was a good day. Got up to hot tea again. Rain had gotten up at 7 although this is my week to be getting up early, just because it was my day. That was a nice gift :-) Then my DS mixed the pancake batter, and Rain made pancakes and bacon for breakfast for me. I didn't want an egg to go with the pancakes and bacon, but Rain and DD did. Rain then took a nap afterwards. After her nap and shower... well... *wink*. Okay, to make a long day's events short, I had coffee, cake, beer (6 pack), we played Monopoly for hours in the afternoon (I won!). After Monopoly it was time to watch Survivor, and after that I watched basketball and came down from my beer-buzz. *grin* Oh yeah, and the kids made me birthday cards for when I got up yesterday morning - those were sweet!

Got up at 7 this morning and when we went out to "do" the chickens, there was about 4 inches of SNOW! on the ground. One of the stupid chicken ran under the van last night when the kids went out to close them up, but when I went out to get her from underneath, she wasn't there, so we assumed she went to the coop with the rest of them. However, when we went out this morning she was sitting on the dresser that's on the porch. Luckily, she didn't freeze to death - it was 19*F when we went out. EEK! I couldn't get the shed door open because the snow had drifted in front of the door so there was that and it had sleeted for a while late last night so there was ice under the drift. *sigh* Unfortunately all the shovels were inside the shed in which I couldn't get into. So we had to kick as much of the snow as we could away from the bottom. When that wasn't working, I went and found a 2X4 and used it as a make-shift shovel and got enough of a gap between the door and the drift that I was able to squeeze in and get some chopped corn for the birds. Meanwhile, DD let the chickens out of the coop and some had a hard time getting from there to the overhang beside the house where I had spread their food. I had to coax several of them through the snow, and they were NOT happy, poor things. The ducks had the hard time. I'll bet their bellies were really cold. I know my feet were because my boots have slits that let water in and my feet were freezing! I spread a little hay from the shed to the coop, but I didn't have enough so that was pointless :-( *sigh* I did get the one end of the porch where the chickens usually hang-out when the weather's bad, somewhat shoved off. That cats are REALLY upset that there's snow on the ground. They go out for 2 minutes and then start pawing the door frantically to be let back in, then want back out 5 minutes later, but when you open the door and they see the snow that's STILL there, they hesitate and sometimes go out, sometimes not. Very annoying, cuz while that door's open there's cold air blowing on me! So that was yesterday and this morning. The sun is shining and it's VERY bright out there with the sun bouncing off the snow. Very pretty! :-)

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