Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ok, so it's been a while and I need to get into the habit of updating this thing.... For now I will just settle for recounting the past month and a half with shiny pictures.

First of all, after the first hatch of polish chickens (Megatron, Optimus Prime, and Fox), I put more eggs into the incubator. I put in 22 more polish eggs (in 3 batches, 9, 8, and 5, a week apart each batch), 2 dozen duck eggs (in 2 batches a week apart), and 8 peacock eggs (same breeder, 3 different pens/colors). My incubator was STUFFED and the peacock eggs were SO big that I had to double space them on the racks!

As it turns out, incubating chicken and duck eggs together presents a huge problem. The chickens want 30-50% humidity through the incubation and the ducks want 75-80% through the incubation. So I cheated them all and set the humidity at 60% (perfect for peacocks!) through the incubation.

The first batch of polish hatched just fine- two were clear and five hatched- one died in the egg and one died a couple days after hatching. As I knew these guys would probably go to homes beyond my control, I didn't name them. I just called them by the lay date written on their eggs.
Here is 30, next to a rubber ducky because he was the first born and had no other friends.

And here is 26, 28, and 30. 26's buff sibling is the one who died a few days after hatching :(

The best part of this second hatch was that all these babies imprinted. They still have not gone to homes beyond my reach, so when I visit the farm I go to the chick stall and call out Cheep cheep cheep! and all four of them come running over to say hello. Thirty was my favorite, liking to sleep on or near me when I took him out of the brooder.

The second batch of eggs had started incubation before they got to me, and died when I settled them overnight in a cool location. The last batch was waterlogged from hatching with the ducks. Very sad.

Of the first dozen duck eggs, only 4 were fertile. Two hatched (Spot and Stupid), one died, and one was a muscovy duckling which took a week longer to hatch.
Here is Spot and Stupid, enjoying their new rabbit cage when we first moved them outdoors!

They are a LOT bigger now! Spot is actually starting to get his big boy feathers in, sleek black and white. Spot is in the lower left and Stupid is upper right. Stupid got his name because for the first couple weeks, he held his head twisted/tilted around to one side.

Of the second batch, 9 were fertile. Five hatched, two died, one nearly hatched, and then died, and one was full of meat with no order and was totally disgusting (
Here's the first four, they all hatched together a few days before the fifth duck and the muscovy from the first hatch.

I gave the all yellow and the mostly black one to Liz, since I wanted to keep them close to home to baby. Plus, all her ducks are pekins, and they are plain white. I think it will be awesome to have some colored ducklings in there. The other two along with Spot, Stupid, and the muscovy are going to their new home tomorrow. I am SO HAPPY because they are making a HUGE mess/stink on my deck. They have nearly gone through a 50lb bag of food so far as well >.< Add in the Ton of bedding they get filthy and having to change their disgusting water at least three times a day.... yah, they are getting to be too much for me.

Of the five that hatched from the second batch, one of them was very tiny, and is still very tiny- we believe he may suffer from dwarfism, meaning he will need special care for his life and he will feather out a LOT slower than the others. We named him Ping and he is darn cute! Here is Ping with Yang, and they should be about the same size.

Of the peacocks, four were clear or scrambled by shipping and four of them should have hatched. However, two died in the egg perfectly formed and ready to hatch, which was REALLY disappointing. The other two, however, hatched just fine and they are THE SWEETEST creatures on the planet. I have not named them, but I will. I will be able to tell what gender they are in a couple weeks, and I will give them appropriately royal names then.
Here is the firstborn the night she was born, wrapped in my blanket.

And here she is at 2 weeks on my shoulder! This is her favorite hang out place :)

She is DEATHLY cute.

And for anyone who has never seen a peachick moving or making noise, we took a trip outside while I was watching the ducks have their free ranging time.
She is a TOTAL chatterbox, always talking to me. I have all my fingers and toes crossed that she survives to adulthood. Even so, I have not placed all my eggs in one basket so to speak.

With those hatches out of the way... I thoroughly cleaned and sanitized my incubator in preparation for another hatch. The eggs I'd hatched previously had for the most part been free eggs. I wanted to test the incubator, make sure it worked, see what a full cycle looked like, make sure I knew what to do in emergencies... Now that I am more confident in my incubator, I felt it was time to order some special eggs.

After about a week of searching and hemming and hawing, I finally settled on a plan and chose a selection of eggs that could be bought and arrive at the same time. I ordered one dozen French Black Copper Marans eggs, One Dozen show quality Silkie eggs, eight more peacock eggs (Silver pied and Emerald pied spalding), and then traded 6 polish hatching eggs for eight golden lakenvelder eggs. Now, mind you that my incubator holds 42 eggs. 12+12+8+8=40 eggs. Perfect. The peacock eggs would have to be double spaced, but the silkie eggs were small enough that they could go between the peacock eggs and the incubator would be perfectly full with just enough room to leave 2 spaces near the turner's motor clear (where it might get hot).

What ARRIVED is not what I ordered. What ARRIVED were 18 silkie eggs, 14 BCM eggs (GORGEOUS eggs, take a look!, 9 peacock eggs, and thank god I haven't received the lakenvelders on time. I thought to myself, looking at all these eggs... Don't panic. Shipped eggs have a high mortality rate, not all of them will start to develop and by the time the lakenvelders get here I will be able to remove the 'clear' eggs from the incubator. No worries!

I candled the silkie eggs- 17/18 show development! I candled the peacock eggs and unfortunately I think I only saw 2 with development, but it was REALLY early in their incubation period. I will be candling them again probably Monday to check again. In the BCM eggs... I'm pretty sure most if not all of them have development! So now I have no space in the incubator (still) and if the lakenvelder's arrive, I will probably have to create an incubator from scratch and turn by hand. I suppose this will not break my heart, to have a spare incubator in case of disaster with my main one.

So that's pretty much been my life for the past couple weeks... wake up early, go to work, home around 4 or 5, let the big ducks out, feed Ping and the peacocks (play with the peacocks!), clean the big duck cage, read a book outside with them for an hour, make dinner, round them up, and relax for an hour or two before crashing..... rinse and repeat! You can imagine I will be very happy when I no longer have the big ducks to worry about.

Will try to remember to update about the coming weekend!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bird Swap Weekend

It was a very eventful weekend, with a friend of mine driving down a four hour trip to attend a bird swap with me. She arrived with a bunny, a baby raccoon, and a dozen hatching duck eggs for me to put into my incubator. It was so full that I had to candle the eggs inside and remove a clear (an infertile egg) to fit all dozen of the new ones.

At about 3:30 in the morning, my alarm went off and we managed to somehow stumble out of our beds and put on real clothes and eat a cup of yogurt before Mils arrived. He came to the last swap with us, and he was somehow insane enough to come to this swap with us too. It was an hour and a half away, in Charlotte, Michigan. Sara followed us there, which turned out to be a very good thing as we didn't go straight home.

The swap was all right, but certainly not nearly as big as the swaps on the west side of the state. I would say maybe half the size and the vendors did not have very much good stock. There were a lot of quail at a nice price, which pleased Sara, but there was not a single female peacock for sale, and NO babies at all. Disappointing, as that was on my list.

What else was on my list was to find a companion for Sunshine, the goat we got at the first swap of the year. Here's a lovely pic of my dad feeding her a bottle.

And if you're wondering why she has black duct tape all over 1 ear, it is because she tore the tag out of her ear, ripping it clean in half lengthwise. Poor thing! But she doesn't seem to mind and in fact gets up to quite a lot of mischief at Liz's house. She climbs on everything and follows her new mommy around everywhere. She also likes to steal things....

After all the climbing and the stealing and the following, the line ended up being drawn at headbutting the dogs. It was time to get her a companion to play with so that she could learn to be a little more goat and a little less kid. So at the swap this weekend it was our mission to pick up a friend and we found the same breeder Sunshine had come from, with 2 goats left. Of course we picked another goat with some damage done; the dehorning had failed slightly and she will now have just 1 horn. But she's still darn cute!

They seem to be getting along so far!

So with the goat taken care of and put in her new home, we turned to catching the peacock we had bought at the first swap. His name is Malik and he's a very pretty boy but he flies very well and we don't want him to fly away from his new home. So he chased him down (through much wing buffeting and kicking) and clipped his wings. He was very offended.

I would feel bad for bringing such an indignity (*snirk*) on him, but he has been crying about going outside to the outer coop since we brought him home. When we finally had his wings clipped and set him down outside, he laid down on the ground and told us he was DYING from injured pride. So we booted him onto his feet and he wandered the coop exploring every nook and cranny. What a silly bird.

Of course the second goat was not the only thing we bought at the swap- I also managed to snag 13 araucana mix cheeps for $10 from a man with a whole lot of different sorts. They are super cute, but we were afraid to put them in with the helmet heads, since they were a week or two older and might peck at the little guys. Apparently I need not have worried- Megatron makes a wonderful mommy, sitting on the babies and keeping them herded together.

Speaking of the firstborn cheeps, here's Megatron and Fox now that they are growing in the feathers on their heads. A few more weeks and we'll be able to tell who is a boy and who is a girl!

I dug up the pictures of mom and dad for the cheeps, and this is what they all SHOULD look like when they are grown up:

So that's where we are at with previous adventures. Currently I have eggs in my incubator again, although this time they are a mix of polish chicken and pekin duck eggs. The duck eggs are actually a lot more work than the chicken eggs, to where I have to up the humidity and I have to spray the eggs with water 1 time per day to keep them at the right moisture level.

This weekend I candled about half the incubator and it was rather disappointing. I had previously handled the 1st batch of 9 polish eggs and had tossed 3 clears. This time I candled the 1st dozen duck eggs and only 4 were fertile and growing. I candled the second batch of 8 polish eggs.... and there was not ONE that was fertile. Bummer! Liz says that the barn was extraordinarily hot that week, though, so the chickens may have been too busy trying to stay cool or the eggs may have started incubation before she took them to store them for me. I will crack them open in the kitchen tonight and check for fertility, which will give us a better idea of what happened.

I still hold hopes for the remaining dozen duck eggs and the 5 newest chicken eggs. They will be old enough to candle in about a week.

But possibly the most exciting news of all is that I took a chance and I ordered a few hatching peacock eggs. I understand that shipped eggs are less likely to hatch because the mail people do not handle the packages as delicately as they should (and the auto sorter machine is rough on them as well :/ sigh) but I am hoping I can get at least 1 hen to hatch for me. That way I could give Malik a mate, and perhaps he could be allowed to wander the farm. It would also be nice to raise a little peahen at home, to be hand tame.

On an unrelated note, I took my guild to their first Naxx 10 and successful MC run this week and they actually did better than expected and everyone had a lot of fun. I am pleased with this, as it gives me hope for future raids. We shall see how it goes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

So today is the day that my first born cheeps are going to their new home out at the farm. The buff polish chicks are a little more than a week old and the blue polish chick is about 2 weeks old.

Let's roll back and see where this started. This STARTED when my mom's friend, Liz, wanted to get some polish chickens for her new farm. She's already raising meat chickens and some straight run egg laying chickens, but she wanted something crazy to go in with them. So, when the bird swap rolled around, Moon and I set off on a mission to find some cheap birds for her. We ended up with 2 breeding pairs; two blues and two buffs. The females are really nice quality, and they have been egg-cellent layers so far. I think they are up to 1 egg each per day!

Which of course is a lot of eggs. So Liz decided, why not try to hatch some out into more chickens! Just for fun, to see what we'd get. So I happily obliged and set up an incubator and a brooder box in my room.

This is how it was originally set up in my room, with the incubator to the left (it's just a cheap Hovabator incubator) and my home-made brooder box on the right.

Above are the 5 eggs we determined to be fertile, after a candling session at 10 days. Next time I will try to make a video of what that looks like, as it will surely be awesome. Now, we started with 8 eggs total, but I expected the first 4 to be clears because the cocks and hens were separated. However, one lonely egg was actually fertile and would later hatch. You can see the one separated from the other four because the first 4 were given to me 4 days before the others, so the others were still being rotated by the automatic egg turner (the big yellow thing).

I will say, the automatic egg turner was a fantastic investment. I did spend a day hand turning the eggs when I thought I would have to take it out because of the difference in hatch dates... but it turns out that you can remove racks from the turner and leave enough space for chicks to hatch without disturbing the rotating eggs. Pretty darn cool and removes a large stress element for both me and the chicks. Since I didn't have to keep opening the top of the incubator, the temp was able to stay pretty stable. Well, until I later fucked it up by doing something stupid anyway.

Moving on! I knew I would need a brooder box for them, but I just don't have the space to hold anything that would be appropriately big. So I spied on all the boxes that we get coming into work every day that we just recycle in the hall, until I saw one that approximated a 10 gallon aquarium. I knew I had a 10 gallon aquarium lid, a snake heat lamp, and sawdust bedding from when I used to own mice. All I would need is a pair of feeding boxes like you'd hang in a bird cage, and I'd be set. So I picked those up from Meijer and trooped home to make myself a brooder box.

The first thing I did was tape up the edges so there were 1) no holes and 2) no 'sharp' edges. I don't know if you've ever had a cardboard cut before, but it's like a paper cut from 50 pieces of paper. So I duct taped the edges and then duct taped the bottom all the way around, and up on the sides a bit. Why the bottom and sides? Well, they're still chickens and last time I checked, cardboard is porous. So I figured, I want to re-use this box, better make the bottom able to be cleaned easily without stains or anything. So here is what I ended up with.

As it turns out, a reptile heat lamp is just not quite enough to keep the cheeps from shivering. Even with the last folding flap on the right side folded down (instead of cut off) to retain heat, the box was still too cold. When the cheeps hatched, I ended up scooting my sacred heating pad underneath half the box to keep the bottom warm enough. Unfortunately I was dumb enough to lay the other half of the heating pad against the incubator, which raised the temp by a few degrees- and the margin of error is not large here. The two dark colored chicks took the brunt of my mistake, paying with their lives. I think. That or the shift in genetics that was made by changing the parents' locations was a bad one.

At any rate, the first cheep hatched 22 days after I put it into the incubator and I was horrified to discover just how absurdly ugly chicks are when they are first born. Thankfully they dry out and become fluffy and cute, but man. That first day is monster movie material!

Somehow the above turned into a charming, shiny lump of silver:

To be honest, I'm not very good with things that are freshly alive. I feel the need to poke and prod and make myself annoying. So with no one to tell me otherwise, that is what I did. I poked and prodded and pecked at this newborn thing as soon as I was able to move it from the inside of the incubator. I pecked at the food dish and it scrambled over to eat. I dunked its head into the water dish and it really hated that but it learned to drink.

A few days later, I woke up at the ass crack of dawn like I normally do, and blearily flopped over to my incubator to press my nose to the glass windows on top. I held my breath and listened with all my listening power.... and heard peep peep cheep from inside the eggs that were supposed to be hatching. I bored holes in the eggs with my mind by staring at them very hard, trying to see if they were wobbling and alive. I then had to tear myself away from the incubator and go to work for the day.

Lo! When I arrived home there was a second soaking wet monster in my incubator, this one burnished yellow. It was looking exhausted, but it had been hatched long enough that it was partially dry. So completely disregarding what every source online told me to do, I snatched it out of the incubator and tossed it into the warm, dry brooder box with the silver chick.

There was a war. It was really more of a one sided war as the silver one immediately ran over to the golden one and started pecking at him, trying to figure out what it was. After all, the silver one had been alone in the brooder for days except for my pestering hand. So I had to separate them and I installed an impenetrable wall in the center of the brooder box- a folded piece of paper. With that installed, I poked at the still hatching third chick and went to get my dinner.

A few hours later, I returned to my bedroom for bed, and the last chick that would hatch was rolling around in the incubator. The silver one (which we named Megatron) was trying to find a way over the impossible wall to get to the golden one (which we named Optimus Prime), and Optimus was standing in the water dish screaming at the top of his little cheep lungs. Horrified, I pulled Optimus out of the water bowl and he immediately started making happy noises. So I set him back down, and he flailed himself into the water dish and started screaming. So I took the wall out of the brooder, and Megatron waddled over and began to peck at Optimus. Who shut up. Clearly this cheep just wanted a friend, so I shoved Megatron back to his side of the brooder, replaced the wall, and pulled the third cheep (which we named Fox) from the incubator. It lay on the floor soaking wet and Optimus cuddled up next to Fox and was quiet. Mission accomplished.

Here are all three, at about 2 weeks. Left to right: Optimus, Megatron, and Fox.

Here we are, two weeks later, and I've learned a lot and I'm happy with the cheeps. I am looking forward to seeing Megatron's adult colors, and I want to see if Fox's old-man beard grows into an actual beard or not. Polish chickens all have the poof of feathers on their heads (which are actually attached to a bone crest) but there are some varieties that also have a beard. So we shall see!

They are actually under my desk at work at this very moment, being smuggled to their final home at Liz's house.

And as if that wasn't an adventure enough, Liz dropped off 9 more eggs with me, and there is another bird swap on the 12th of June that we will all be attending. Whoo! Maybe I will get some hatching eggs for fun of some other sorts.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I don't even know where to begin about my weekend. It was a nice, long, four-day weekend.

I guess I will rewind to Friday, which began cool but muggy as my mom and I trooped outside to begin clearing the garage. Our garage has, over the last 10 years, become a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall hole full of shit. Boxes, bins, bottles, a boat, a motorbike, regular bikes, papers.... there was so much stuff I couldn't begin to catalog it all. My dad never bothered cleaning any of it because he swore that it was my stuff... and my sister's stuff... and my mom's stuff. Everyone's stuff but his.

So we were going to prove him wrong and clean out the stuff that was mine- everything that was mine or my sister's would go to my storage facility, leaving his stuff alone. A friend of mine came over to help with the moving of things and thank god he did, because there's no way my mom and I would have gotten all of the stuff moved out in time for me to leave for my eye doctor appointment at 4:30. Instead, we moved out all the stuff, had some delicious chinese carry out for lunch, and then moved it all back in by about 3pm. It was hot and sticky and disgusting work- and we even found a black widow hanging out on an old glass jar. That was pleasant.

Since we finished early, I was able to leave early for my eye doctor appointment, which was very fortunate as I also had a dinner to get to by 5:30 and stuff to deliver to my sister sometime in between those times. I got to the doctor by 4, was out by 4:30, delivered Kelsey's stuff by 5 and was at the dinner right on time.

Now, Friday dinner is not out of the ordinary for me and my group of friends. Every Friday we go out to dinner and then head to someone's house for pen and paper role playing games. Typically we swap between two very good restaurants. Ginger and Mr Mike's Grill. However, earlier in the week Red Robin had mailed me a coupon for a free birthday burger, which I fully intended to find a way to use. So I'd called up Gabe and had him redirect everyone to Red Robin this week instead. The boys tried to pick up my tab for my birthday.... but I didn't owe anything so they had hard time with that! They did manage to inform our server that it was my birthday, which inspired them to sing very loudly and bring me free ice cream that I didn't eat. But the cherry on top of it was delicious.

I actually stayed for their role playing afterward, but I mostly watched Rusty play a video game full of zombies. I think they were role playing about being stuck in a virtual-reality small town during a festival of corn. It was all very strange.

Saturday we spent most of the day lounging around. Earlier in the week an old friend of mine, one I'd known since elementary school but hadn't spoken to in a few years, contacted me through facebook to see if I wanted to get together for lunch or something. We ended up going to Max and Erma's... the single most child-packed sit-down restaurant on the planet. I need to get her out more, because there's no way we're going there multiple times even if she is a vegetarian. I'm going to try to drag her to dinner with us on Fridays, and maybe even drop in to see the role playing games.

I was able to utilize Netflix in a new and exciting way either Friday or Saturday night, namely to spend time watching a movie with my boyfriend. We found we can watch the same movie at the same time if we pick one that streams directly. We ended up watching "The Ugly Truth" at his insistence, and it was a pretty good movie. I think my boyfriend likes chick flicks more than I do. I later made him watch "The Jerk" because he had never seen it and because it's just crazy. This is a very nice way to spend an hour or two, especially since we are so far apart.

Sunday my mom and I packed up the van and drove to my storage facility. There, we had pull out a bunch of stuff to reorganize it so that all the new boxes could fit in as well. There were three big tupperware bins full of good books. I even found a copy of my favorite book, "The Secret of Dragonhome." I have not read that book in a very long time, but I have read it many, many times.

Once we were done there, I settled in and made a push to level my druid on Wyrmrest Accord. I got about a level and a half, which since I am at the later levels, is quite the nice chunk of experience! I spent the majority of Monday finishing off the character, bringing her up the final two levels to get to 80. I ran my first heroic with my dad as one of the DPS, and it went fairly smoothly except for people doing much more threat than I was capable of doing yet. It's rough starting with no gear! What on Earth did I do when Meillyn first hit 80? I guess she was DPS and it was easier to run instances! Oh well, I will have what I need in no time at all, and I will be schooling the rest of the guild shortly.

Monday was my birthday (I'm 25 now... a whole quarter of a century!) and it was a lovely day indeed. I spent most of it watching movies with my parents- we watched Ghost Ship and Up and a few others. My mom gave me a skein of yarn in cool-color tye dye (purple, blue, and green) and a pair of knitting needles. She also knitted me a pair of wrist warmers out of it while I watched. It was pretty cool, and I look forward to being able to wear them in the winter while I am on my computer. My dad made me his awesome chicken parmesan for dinner and my mom got me the most adorable cake with a little green dragon made of frosting on top of it. All of it was delicious, and overall it was a very relaxing day. I even got to end it with talking to my boyfriend as I was falling asleep. I like those nights.

As for what's ahead? Well, the chicks I hatched out are going to be heading over to Liz's house on Thursday after work. This is both happy and sad- happy because I will finally get to sleep through the night and let the cat back in my room, but sad because I will miss little baby Megatron and Optimus Prime and Fox. Even if Fox has gone completely neurotic and swims in the bedding at night.

This is also an exciting three day work week, as I am taking Friday off to drive to my friend Moon's house for the weekend. She is about 5 hours away from me, living in the wilds of northern Michigan. I think she needs to leave for a more populated place, maybe get a job... but who am I to say. At any rate, we will have a fun couple nights celebrating both of our birthdays with some movies and some alcohol and I'm not really sure which we will have more of between those two. I wish the bluerays I got for my birthday would play at her house. I'd even take Netflix being able to stream on her TV, but her internet connection is so terrible that I don't know if I'll even be able to check my mail much less stream an entire movie. Oh well!

I look forward to this weekend with excitement and look back on the last weekend with happiness. Now all that's left is to get through the in between part!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I actually have something interesting to say today! I would like to share a small dream.

Throughout my life, I have had several dreams in my life, of the things I want to do. Some people might call it a bucket list- you know, a list of things to do before you die. I like to keep my bucket list small and reasonable. When I was very young, I wanted to learn to scuba dive- when I turned 12 (the youngest legal certification age), I got certified and began to dive. Later in life, I wanted to visit Australia and California. And one very special year, I touched the ground of California on my way to Australia to visit one of my best friends. Amongst other things I have wanted to do (and accomplished) would be to finish a novel, breed a cat, and become part of a therapy dog team.

So, with much of my bucket list dreams accomplished, I began to search for what would come next for me. What did I want to learn, what did I want to do, where did I want to go? With so much in this world a possibility, those seems like big questions if you have no starting direction.

Thankfully, due to my terrible navigation skills, I am quite good at being directionless without panic.

What I have more or less stumbled upon in my life is the desire to grow things. I started with the small pipe dream of growing my own avocado tree- I LOVE avocados and they are super, super good for you too. I don't live in a climate that would allow an avocado tree to survive, but this perhaps won't always be the case; and if it is, I can build another plan to construct a greenhouse. Which I might do anyway, for winter lettuce and carrots and other delicious things.

I had grown an avocado tree once before in my life. I planted a seed in Indiana, while I was working there for a year. However, I killed it horribly by leaving it near an open window in the winter. Why was the window open in the winter? I honestly don't remember. RIP first avocado tree. With that lesson in mind, I planted a few avocado pits in the correct manner and I have been nursing them for over a year now. I have lost one of them and there is another on the way out for reasons I cannot explain, but there are... four that are still in good working order. My favorite lives in my room, and has a double trunk. I'm hoping the trunks will someday grow together to form 1 tree, but I don't know how likely that is.

Anyway, once I saw how well those trees sprouted, I got excited. If I could grow avocados, I felt like I could grow anything. And so I started to dream of having a garden. My dad, of course, didn't help with the idea, telling me that he would make a garden in the backyard- there's no room, for one, and for two he'd never get around to it in time. My mom's friend Liz has been growing stuff on the land she got with the farm house she bought and is repairing. I want to help, to get some experience in doing it, and to foster my little dream.

But take a step back. The dream isn't just a garden- anyone can have a garden, limited of course by the size of their living space. Today, people can even grow tomato plants from a hanging pot that can go anywhere, even inside a house! But I don't want a few plants inside a house; I have that, and it doesn't feel quite right yet.

Imagine, if you will, the things I see in my mind. Imagine an acre of land, with or without a house; although, preferably I would be imagining it without a house, just a plot of land within driving distance. Now fence it in with nice silver mesh fencing, 6 feet tall with a wire top to keep animals like raccoons out. Add a nice gate, one that opens easily. Across the acre, in one corner is a chicken coop. Not very big, not very flashy, just a brown wooden coop with a dozen nesting boxes built into the side. That side of the coop would have a hinged wall, so that you could open it to access the boxes without going inside.

Across from the coop is a large compost bin, and inside you've gotten yourself some BIG earthworms. Perfect for fishing, because you know you want to eat some fresh caught fish now and then.

Now imagine that you've turned that far side of the acre into a small orchard. You've got 3-4 apple trees, a few cherry trees, a couple of really nice peach trees and if you've managed to get someplace warm enough, an avocado tree or two. I could definitely put up with a nectarine tree and a pear tree, if there was space! I'm sure there are others I have forgotten, so just imagine whatever fruits are your favorites, growing across the way!

In the front half of the acre, you've created a food garden. You've got lettuce for salads, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, squashes (butternut, summer, acorn... whatever kinds you like best!), strawberries, raspberries, and maybe a couple blueberry bushes. You could even plant a few corn plants! Of course I would probably have a watermelon plant, and maybe a nice pumpkin plant- of the kind that's for eating, not carving. Pumpkin soup and pumpkin pie! Plus baked pumpkin slices are really good too.

And back around the entire acre is that fencing... of COURSE I would be growing grapes and snow peas and green beans and whatever other climbing plants I could. They would provide vine cover over the fence and it would make the most use of the space I had. If I was really inclined, I could plant a good grape for making wine, and learn to make my own! Michele's mom created her own apple brandy, which I hear was pretty good- some nice wine and some good apple brandy. Maybe make some warm spiced apple cider in my crock pot.

The possibilities for an acre of land to provide all the produce I could want for a year is just endlessly exciting. Canned fruit from my own orchard. Veggies we've frozen for later. Ciders, butters, jams... and fresh eggs, don't forget those. It seems like such a great idea, to dream about and think of new things for. A new seemingly impossible goal in life.

Once upon a time, I set my sights on Australia as an impossible goal... but after spending six amazing weeks there, I've begun to think anything is possible!

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Rawr Bomb of Introductions

So you've wandered to my blog. It's new. You're afraid because it's dark in here but don't worry- the light is never far from the door! My name is Kedreeva, and this is the story of my life. Have a seat, a mug of cocoa, and (with any luck) a good time.

I'm about 25 years old now and my hobbies are already a little eccentric. I have been writing stories since I was in first grade, with over 1.5 million words archived on my little trooper of a laptop. How do I know? I used to be an insomniac, and those late hours in the dead of night are an excellent time to explore your curiosity. Outside of writing, I tend to my collections. What do I collect? Dirt from all around the world and skulls from various animals, for starters. Not because I am morbid, but because I grew up around woodland and wilderness and I found a lot of interesting skulls as a child. I also have started a collection of old books, which I hope to be able to expand through the years. Not because I am particularly interested in their content, but because I love how they look, how they feel, how they smell. I love how they are slightly mysterious, and get more so the older they are.

Outside of writing and collecting, I am an avid player in the game World of Warcraft, which is where the blog title comes from. I play a dire bear nicknamed Skullbear by my friends for the way I play. I play much less than I used to, now that I have a job and other activities I like to participate in to occupy my time. I work in a pathology lab as an assistant. Every Friday I go out to dinner and hang out time with the guys (even though I'm a girl). And in between all of that mess, I have found time to become a certified animal therapy team with my dog, Laxie. She's a beautiful mix of tri-color Australian shepherd and border collie. Lately I have been on a path to lose weight (45lbs and counting) and have been inventing new dishes and reinventing old ones.

My boyfriend lives in California and my best friends live in Brazil and Australia (and one of them didn't start out there!) I have dreams of moving to Colorado (or someplace similar) and I'd love to be able to turn my stories into published works... someday.

That's a fairly good start into my eccentricities, which should give you an idea of what I will write here. I'm sure there are plenty of things I have missed but for now, that's the basis of my life as you can expect :)