Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm Home!

Minneapolis Skyline



Bet you didn't even realize I was gone.
(psst.. it was planned that way)

Gene, Tanner and I spent a long weekend in Minneapolis. No reason, no one to see, nothing in mind, nothing to do. Just something different is all. More to report on this later, but in the meantime, I'm kinda diggin' the thought of curling up in my own bed.

Ahhhhh.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

a little birdie visitor

No, not chickens.

A little birdie came to visit the other day, something I've never seen before that I can remember. There were actually 2. Anyone know what this is? I looked in bird identificaton sites and found nothing.

Help a girl out?
Please don't tell me it's some kind of fancy sparrow or something. Lie to me if necessary.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Don't question why it takes me longer to get work done!

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Don't ever question my ability to get work accomplished. Usually, I have a little furry "friend" (and I use that term kind of lightly) that needs to lay between the monitor and me. Seems sweet and nice, until he has to stand up, stretch, reposition himself every three minutes.


If I'm awake, he needs to be *right there*, under my feet or on my lap begging for love.


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In fact, I feel confident that he thinks I'm his girlfriend. If Gene comes around for a kiss, my tiny furry boyfriend meows and attempts to interrupt.

Sometimes it works.
Spoiled boy.


***


Visiting? Stay a while. We wrangle cats and chickens here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hannah and Sam's Wedding Sneak Peek - St. Joseph, Missouri Photography


Sam and Hannah were married last weekend in St. Joseph, Mo. We had such a good time with them, such wonderful people!


If you'd like to see a few more of their sneak peek, stop by my other blog.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

They stick together like chicken poop and flip flops

Today was horrible. Windy, wet and rainy, and kinda cold. However as long as the rain has let up, the chickens want to go outside. I took a little break in the weather with the intentions to check up on the robins, but when I came out the back door, I saw this:

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I'm not sure about the mentality behind this. "OMG it's cold and windy, let's stand beside this very small bush and pray. We're gonna DIEEEEE!"

"um.. guys? The coop is like 9 feet to the right."

"We'll never make it out ALIVE!!!"


I totally get where the saying "Birds of a feather flock together" comes from now.

********

Speaking of bad weather. Our prayers at this house are heading straight towards Joplin, Missouri right now. Joplin is a wonderful town and I have so much faith that they will pull through this.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What an egg with no shell looks like

Please file this under "things you don't see every day".

Some people don't know that sometimes chickens lay eggs with no shells. Heck I didn't know until chickens showed up at my house. What causes this? Well, mostly likely it's a lack of calcium. To fix the problem, you give the chickens oyster shell and it makes their shells harder and thicker. We don't seem to have that problem, but I will up their oyster shell a bit. We mainly feed their own shells back to them as their main form of calcium, and suprisingly, they love it!

I thought I'd share a few photos of what this egg looks like.
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This is a case where it's hard to translate what it's like, with just a photo, so I decided to share a little video with you. Excuse that it's a little out of focus, I have a tendancy to get too close. :/

(this is why I'm a photographer and not a videographer)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mana from heaven!

In my back yard, I have 2 bird feeders. One for the goldfinches, which are my favorite birds (behind chickens of course). The other birdfeeder was a gift from Seth and Tanner for my birthday (I think!) last year, and it holds sunflower seeds. I don't get quite as many birds interested in that, so the feed goes slower.

Especially since Seth bought me like 30 pounds of the stuff.

Well, *someone* figured out, that if you visit this magical place in the morning, you'll find mana from heaven all over the ground in the form of sunflower seeds.



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It's like a herd of tiny claw footed elephants, as I open the coop door every morning, rushing the bird feeders.

I think the Chickens have put "sunflower seeds" on my birthday wish list again.

stupid chickens!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Welcome to our humble home

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You have to step over the cat to get in. He DOES make an awfully cute welcome mat no?

Never leave the back door open, if you want to go in and out freely. "someone" wants to have the rays of the sun beating down on him, in a nice comfy air conditioned home.

Yeah me too cat. Get out of the way!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I have a smart chikin.

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'Allo, I am Daisy Cousteau.

Today, we are exploring ze rough terrain of ze Cease Fire Ranches. We vill travel 200 meters from ze coop in search of undiscovered flora and fauna.





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We vill be doing some experimental research on the echolocation abilities of millipedes. But first, let me tell you about how I carried out underwater archaeological excavations in ze Mediterranean, in particular at Grand-Congloué






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You would be vewy interested to know that....


Oh Look!
A bug!

Welcome to the Garden of Weedin'


I've been looking forward to sharing this with you for a month now! The garden fence/landscaping is done! Well, pretty much done.

We have this area at the end of our house between the house and the driveway. It was odd and a pain to mow. In fact, everyone complained about it. Finally, Tanner said "we need to cover it in landscape fabric and put down mulch." I didn't disagree, but if you put down mulch, you have to put up a fence because the chickens Looooooooove to scratch in the mulch.


So, the fenced in garden was born.


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This started out as a weekend project for Tanner. It quickly ballooned a little out of control when Tanner figured out that it was going to take more than a weekend. In fact, it took around 5 weeks. Kind of, a month of Sundays. ha.

Budget? $3.75

No, actually I wanted the budget to be NOTHING, but knew that probably wouldn't happen, so I figured $50 for some basic supplies. It just so happened that we have a huge pile of lumber that we got from our former employer when they disassembled a glass rack.

It was A LOT of wood. Our intentions are to rip the wood down to make rustic baseboards but I just can't seem to get myself too interested in that project yet. blech.

Tanner put down the landscape fabric right off the bat. We were committed at this point.




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There was a lot of this. Yep, I cut every single picket by hand. (well, Tanner cut around 30). All together there's about 125-140 pickets.

Did I mention there's 4-5 different heights of pickets?
Yeah.
Fun.



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We bought the corner 4x4 posts and Tanner dug the holes. (YAY!) That's a pretty sucky job. Then a brace is put between each board for support and to screw the pickets to.



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Since the pickets are not pressure treated (probably a mistake), I wanted to prime and paint each one before it went up, and THIS is where things started to get super slow. Cut each picket, then prime, flip, prime, paint, flip, paint.

slooooooooooooow.

THEN you can assemble.
(posts are pressure treated, so they are not painted yet)



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This is about when I realized, that we really needed to get the fencing done a little quicker. The plants were all coming up, the chickens kept eyeballing my hostas... and chickens loooooooove hostas. I'd "rescued" them several times.



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Somewhere around here, I decided to up my budget and get fancy post caps for each corner post. So much for that $50.00 budget.


oops.


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DONE!!!


Ok, not completely done, but the chickens are out, an the hostas are IN. Technically, the chickens *can* go over the fence. I just don't think they're smart enough yet to know that. I keep checking to make sure. I did end up having to cut another dozen pickets (did you hear that blood curdling scream from NW Mo? yeah that was me). I had to close up some gaps that I thought my fat chickens couldn't get through.


I was wrong.


All that is left, is a little bit of landscape fabric in an established plant area (Oh Tannnnner!) and some more mulch, plus, this fall I will paint the posts.


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I told you the chickens like hostas. Sigh. Left side, I thought was bad... til I saw the one on the right.


I'm very angered at some chickens right now.


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I even put in my shopping cart prop that I bought at an antique store. It'll be filled with flower pots when I'm done... I hope.


Did I mention chickens love impatiens? Yeah. These have been living inside. More about those later. My liatris are on the right. don't get me started on those. I better see blooms this year or heads will roll.


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From the center gate, there's a little rock path so we don't get muddy or drag around the mulch getting to the access panel and the hose.


I think it needs some height though, but planting a tree next to the house - probably a bad idea. Any other ideas? Trees that work great next to houses?


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Chicken resistant! (not chicken proof).


Booyah Rooster!


I keep seeing them longingly looking through the gaps in the fence, salivating at some hostas.


Booyah AGAIN ya damn rooster!!




OK, budget was $50.00 but here's the real breakdown for this project.


$37.00 - 4x4 posts.
$0.00 - Pickets
$0.00 - leftover cement
$6.50 - Screws
$0.00 - Paint (given to us by my mil/fil from my bil's house painting project a few years ago)
$10.00 - Primer
$0.00 - Stone borders - we have a bunch of pink granite stones that have lived here for years.
$11.00 - river pebbles
$10.00 - hinges and latch
$15.00 - landscape fabric
$20.00 - landscape fabric staples - yes, you read that right. grrr.. lots and lots of damn staples
$14.00 - mulch
$40.00 - solar post caps
$63.00 - copper post caps


$226.50 - Total


As you can see, quite a bit over budget, but considering what we could have paid including the wood, or worse yet, *hiring* someone to do the work for us.. (Pffffttttth), we saved a fortune.


Very happy with this project and something I've wanted for years and years - a cute little landscaped garden. Now I can pretend like I have a green thumb!! Plus, very proud that Tanner and I built this whole thing ourselves. Well, Gene did help me for one night for about 15 min, so, .001% by Gene. lol


**************************************



In other news - because I've been so quiet lately. Here's my life in a nutshell lately:



  • Put my hip/back out of place and I'm in pain. Although it is better after 2 trips to the chiro. I had a shoot and made Gene come with me. He wasn't thrilled but put on a happy face for the client. Wedding on Saturday!

  • Tanner (my 16 year old) got his first real job! He'll be working at the local grocery store - same as his brother has done for 5 years. They made a wise choice, he's a hard worker. Sadly this means I won't get to tap him for work here as much. DOH.. foiled again.

  • Our older car has been giving Gene fits. He drives it to work every day. It's been the best car I've ever owned! (2000 dodge neon). However, it's been missing a cylinder and running hard. Finally after calling our friend Duane (king of brisket and dodges) they figured out that it was the coil pack. In the meantime, it also ended up with new spark plugs and wires. Probably needed it anyway.

  • We had another electrical scare! The breaker kept tripping, and I finally got to thinking it might have something to do with the light pole out front that we don't use... and in fact, lays on the ground waiting for "something" new. We turned that off, but noticed a crackling noise, burnt smell in the breaker box!! Gene pulled the breaker, and come to find out, it was burnt. NOT GOOD. So we changed out a couple breakers and will be putting in all new breakers. So far so good.

  • Gene has been working on a birthday/anniversary gift for me for 2 months now. Those events are a month away. I'm very curious now and need great ideas for a gift in return. Thinking socks and a nice shirt aren't gonna cut it this year.

  • Speaking of anniversaries, I talked Gene into doing a photo shoot with our wedding gear on again. He promised to play along nice if we did it in the fall when it's cooler, so I agreed. I've been working on losing a bit of weight so this is an incentive for me! (for the record I can still wear my dress, I just wanna look better lol).

  • My oldest Step-son and his 3 daughters are moving back to Kansas from Colorado. Upside: we get to see them so much more as they'll only be about 2.5 hours away. The down side is that we won't have a free place to stay when we got to CO. lol.

  • Speaking of step-sons, my middle step-son is coming back from Canada for at least a week, maybe two, for a visit. His dad hasn't got to see him here for around 4 years. He's been missed.

  • Kinda glad my 2 are homebodies.

  • Speaking of which, Seth, just finished fireman school and took his state tests in firefighter 1 and 2. Cross your fingers he did well. I've been anxiously awaiting their test results. They should be back in another week or so. If he didn't make it, he can only test one more time before he has to take the WHOLE COURSE over again. (course was 9 months). Once this is done, he's going to take his EMT course locally. Go Seth! I'm proud of him for putting so much time and commitment into it.

  • I like cheese.

  • I just had to say that because this post is super long. But really, I do like cheese. Peanut butter too.

Aren't you sad you asked how I've been now?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Robin Watch 2011 - we have fuzz

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I decided to check out the robin nest today while I was outside poking at my camera. From about 5 feet away, I saw it....

We have fuzzies!




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They must have hatched in the past 24 hours as they are all still very tiny, and nothing but wee bit of fuzz on the noggins. Oh, and mamma and daddy were REALLY PISSED at me.

sorry.


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Something tells me they are hungry. I dunno, just a suspicion I have.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Carissa and Nathan - engaged



Meet Carissa and Nathan.

Carissa is the daughter of my husband's co-worker. I don't think that's why she picked us to work with though, which is kind of nice when someone likes you just because they like you and not because their dad tells them to. ha! Nathan, well, he's a farmer (and you'll see a special tractor appear down the post a bit). He took time out of planting six *thousand* acres just to take photos for his lovely bride-to-be. You know that's true love when a farmer will take time away from one of the busiest times of the year, just for his girl.


See the rest of the photos here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chicken Haiku

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We named her Daisy
The jeep is her happy place
Beep beep Miss Daisy


OK, one more time.

Little white chicken
Tiny bossy drill sergeant
Yep she is sassy



oh man, I'm gonna have to write a chicken Haiku book now. I'll be famous! I'll make tens and tens of dollars! *cross fingers*

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Close Encounters - Cease Fire Ranch style

I have reason to believe, that an alien life force has landed in my back yard.



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Nope, it's not the crop circle. (although that's what brought it to my attention). No, I think it's the thousands of little life forms "some people call them 'dandelions'."

Or maybe it's just because my husband sometimes seems like he's "not of this world".

Just sayin'.



{Stopping by? Stay a while! We wrangle chickens here. Or we like to say, "Shikin's"}



.

Friday, May 13, 2011

So very tweet - Robin Watch 2011

It's that time of year again!


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I've followed the baby robins that are born at our house for several years now, and this year, the robins have had ENOUGH, and moved their nest. It's no longer on the power box, on the light pole. Nope.


I'm a little offended here.


The nest full of eggs is now about 20 feet away in the apple tree that makes no apples.


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I'm still getting cussed out though. oops. Sorry guys. I promise this year not to bother you every single day.

Just every third day. ;)

Don't you just love it when you're trying to give birth and your mother-in-law won't stop coming into your room? Yeah, I think they think of me a little like that.

{I will say that I'm excited to see that it's definitely the same male robin. He has a scar on his chest that is a big identifier.}

NOTE: My mother-in-law has never seen me give birth because that would be impossible considering she didn't know me then, and also, I'm sure she wouldn't want the bejesus scared out of her.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tornado hits Lenox, Iowa

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Remember this girl? My little sister Amber. We did a mini shoot in her town on Saturday after she colored my hair.


Well, Wednesday this happened:


tornado


Lenox was hit pretty hard, but not Alabama hard. Amber's shop has some damage, but her shop is still there. We were all really worried and scared for a while. Hopefully the buildings down the road from her will not cause future damage. Cross your fingers and say little prayers.

In fact, if you're one of my facebook friends and said a prayer for her, thank you. In fact, if you say one now, thank you too.




Here's a couple videos of the tornado footage:






Tried to bring this news to you for a couple days, but Blogger has been down! Sorry for my silence.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rockin' Rollers - Mini shoot in Lenox, Iowa (with mah sistah)

I have a pretty cool little sister. She has a salon up in Lenox, Iowa called Rockin' Rollers Hair of Fame. Of course, it has a rock and roll theme to it as she's a bit of a rocker herself. I, being a photographer and a former Michael Jackson fanatic, could not resist the urge to put Amber in my former MJ Beat It jacket and have a mini shoot.

To see the rest of the photos, click here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sssssomething kinda Ssssssscary Visssssitsssss

WARNING:
You are about to see something you might find VERY SCARY.

you were warned.






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Yesterday my husband worked on a few projects for me. Mainly, he helped plant a couple trees that were my mother's day gift. They were replacement trees for the two trees a deer killed by rubbing off all the bark.

Grrr.

I still have the hankerin for some deer jerky over that whole deal.

I have faith in my new trees. I think they will.. they are noshing on chicken poop compost as we speak.

Grow trees grow!

He also mowed the yard. Yay! Our mower had been in the shop for about a month, so it was looking a little ragged around here. We were looking a little like the Clampets, before they moved to cali-forny and got a cement pond. That may, however, have stirred up this:


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He didn't want to be caught. Probably out for lunch and a little warming in the sun, but instead he ran into a glass man. Of course, I had to have photos and get a closer inspection. I think it's just a red sided garter snake. He was pretty big, and kinda fat.

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He posed for a couple shots, then Gene carried him to our drive in diner....



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Vole Central.


HA! Gene put him straight down the hole and something tells me, there's a whole bunch of "Vole nuggets" from their unexpected visitor. I hope he had a big fat tasty treat. I hope he also invites 7 of his closest friends to come feast.


Later, Tanner comes in the house and says "there's a poisonous snake in the driveway."


Say *what*?


Of course, I need to inspect closer, again and I come out to Gene driving over it. It was a wee snake about 6 inches long. Gene determined it was a "copperhead". I determined he was smoking crack.


It looked more like a checkered back garter snake to me. I think he was just being a boy and looking for something to kill.


Not cool.

He felt bad after he came in and read that copperheads aren't as dangerous as people say they are, and are often unduly killed.


*insert disgusted look*



I do apologise though, that you had to see something kinda scary. You know, my husband, without his shirt on.


SORRY!

The hair salon in diptychs and triptychs


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Went to my sister's salon - Rockin' Rollers in Lenox, Iowa - on Saturday to get my hair done (needed color badly) . My other little sister, my neice and my mom were all there too. I took pics from under the dryer.


As you can see, Tayen is the queen of facial expressions. She has the most well executed eye roll that would make even the biggest divas squirm.


I included photos of Torrie, to illustrate that she's the only woman on the planet that looks good in a hairdresser's cape.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I officially live in a gated community!

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I've already told you how Tanner is my little project manager. He's made several successful projects, the most recent being the compost bin he made in an afternoon.

If I want to get something done, I just comment to Tanner how much I'd like to have XXX and within days he's usually on it. This will probably work great until he's married and a wife takes up all his free time with her own projects.

Because of this, I forbid Tanner to get married.

(that and 14 other reasons the first being: "Wahhhhh.. my baby!!")

ANYWAY...
Working on the little garden at the end of the house -which was kind of both our ideas, and was going to be Tanner's project. However, it's a pretty overwhelming project so I've been doing all of the pickets myself (all hand cut, individually painted - it sucks.

Just sayin'.

Tanner's part of the project was putting down all the landscape fabric (we kinda argued over some placement but he finally saw the light when I said "We're doing it my way!!"), digging the fence posts and placing them (great job), putting in the rails (this is where he was cussing - which isn't really cussing but you could tell he wanted to).

His latest job was this:

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Building the gate.

There was some discussion about design - I wanted a gate with a curve at the top, he wanted to use some pickets that were extras we weren't using. I, being lazy and not wanting to cut 10 more, caved.

He did it all, measure, cut paint, assembly. I helped him hang it, and we both scratched our heads over the hinges for a good 10 minutes. Weez r smartz.

He told me that was one of the better projects he's ever made, with a completely satisfied look on his face. With that, I agree - and even if I didn't, he looked so satisfied that I'd agree with whatever it looked like.

You may mail my mother of the year award to....
Lana Cease
Po box......

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Catchin' Rays

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Just for the record, you're not the only one that is enjoying the sun. The chickens have been in heaven and it seems like every time I go out the door, someone is taking a dust bath, eating my hostas (grr) or spreading their wings catching some rays.

The downside to this, is my chickens with bare backs (blame the rooster) have sunburns! Please don't tell me I have to go out there and put sunscreen on their back 3 times a day.

Cuz I'll do it.

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