* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Sunny Sunday

It's a sunny Sunday morning here in northeastern Minnesota, and the sun is something we haven't seen in quite a few days! It's been grey, grey, grey and dreary. True to it's name, it's been a Bleak November so far. It's also been unseasonably WARM. Based on the early snowfalls of last month, I would have made a high-dollar bet on there being snow for deer opener (last weekend) . . . but I would have l-o-s-t! Temperatures have been in the high 40s, and we didn't see freezing temps at night until, finally, last night again. Weird.

Although, Tom and I did have a conversation about how the two weeks & three weekends of deer season almost always map a huge shift in the weather: the beginning being mild and the end finally feeling like winter has arrived.

Numbers for the deer harvest seem to be down this year, and many are saying that that's due TO the weather. In milder weather, deer tend to curl up under a large tree and nap. Or so I'm told. Tom went out both days last weekend, 1 here on our property and 1 on a friend's. We have nearly NO deer in our area, but Tom really enjoys the time outside having a good "excuse" to get to know our 40 acres better and better. He spent a rain-soaked yesterday walking miles and miles around here and didn't see any deer sign until he got to the road at one point and saw a set of tracks walking down the middle of it! Go figure. Today he's heading down to the friend's property again where the deer are thick. Whether or not they'll be moving, though, is another story entirely.

I was really hoping to have at least 2 deer in the freezer this year for the dogs and Annie Blue, alone (good dog food is getting SO expensive), but perhaps that plan "jinxed" things, huh? But, there's still time: this is just the 2nd of 3 weekends, and there's all next week, too.

Little Mr./Ms. Porcupine is still a resident of Swamp River Ridge but also one resident whose time has come to be relocated, I think.

Tucker discovered his "other", his when-he's-not-in-the-corner-of-the-woodshed, sleeping spot on Friday. We have the canoe turned over and leaning against the far side of the woodshed, and that provided a dry little haven for the little guy . . . until Tucker scooted underneath to shout, "Play with me! Play with me! Play with me!" That's when our little friend gave a light little warning slap at Tucker's schnoz, embedding just three quills. I was able to pull them out with my hands - didn't need a pair of pliers - so it wasn't bad. But, for both his safety and the dogs, I think it's time.

I tried to get him in a face-forward (in relation to me) position so that I could grab him on the soft end, but, of course, he'd have none of that and kept whipping his little tail and backside around when he saw what I was up to. I ended up with three quills in my heavy, insulated leather glove, too, but only 1 went all the way through. Before long, he'd scuttled around the woodshed and up into his little "spot" there with his face wedged in the corner and a backside of sharper-than-needles quills the only thing showing.

I hate having to stress him out until I've come up with a plan that I'm sure will work, so I let him be for the rest of the day. He wasn't in the spot yesterday, though, nor was he under the canoe, so maybe Friday's antics were enough to send him on his way? If not, I think I'll first try to scoop him up in the metal-mesh long-handled dip net (for smelting) and then, as a last resort, use the live trap. I would have tried the live trap long ago, but my concern is that if it happens at night or some time when we're not around, he'll struggle and really injure himself in his efforts to get out. At any rate, I'll keep you posted.

With the holidays fast approaching + two art festivals & the expectancy of a baby whose arrival I have been asked to attend and assist with (I cannot tell you HOW over-the-moon I am about that one!!!!), I am considering putting the blog on hold for a while. I'd probably still post pictures and videos now and again, but I don't want to feel the added pressure of writing during such a busy time . . . particularly when no one is reading. I've only received 3 comments in my last five posts, and two of those were from my mother. So, I can only surmise that due to reader busyness (or my lack of writing anything of interest?) . . . there ain't nobody out there reading. Let me know if I'm wrong . . . or don't be bummed if it's quiet around 'This Is Our Life' for a while.


  1. Oh man, I DO read your blog, but I'm terrible about leaving comments on any of the blogs I read, and terrible about responding when people leave comments on my blog! Do what you need to do about your time, but don't feel like nobody reads you! Do you have a counter on your blog? I do (from statcounter), and you can go into the background data to see exactly when and where all your pageloads come from. So, even when I don't have comments, I do know that about 10 people actually read my blog most days.

  2. Hey, I read (or last least check) your blog every day! Guess I should be better about commenting.

  3. See? See? See? There are three of us that would miss it if you didn't blog. I personally vote for more frequent entries, not less.

    (Just go ahead, swallow your pride and hire that housekeeper, cook, bookkeeper, maid, shopper, errand-runner, homestead general handyman etc., etc. so you can spend more time each day blogging.)

    Your mother

  4. Nope, not accepting it! No can do, lady. We are ALL busy, so if I can keep posting, YOU can keep posting!

    Do you know the book "The Birth Partner?" I HIGHLY recommend in prep for your newest adventure of attending a birth. That's great!

  5. Hi Chicken Mama! It figures, once I finally get time to read your blog and put you into my "subscriptions" what do I find? You're quitting? LOL, don't quit! I love reading about your home and the animals, and I am only 2 pages in! My husband has even been reading as he is really interested in your off the grid "inner workings", LOL. We hope someday to do the same once he retires from the Navy and we move back home to MN. You will love, love, love the birth experience! My kids were both C-section so I never got to experience that, but a couple of years ago my best friend gave birth while her husband was deployed overseas and I got to be her partner... it was the most incredible thing and I will forever be grateful for that! My only complaint was that hers was a "soap opera" birth, went way too fast! ( I am sure she feels differently, lol!)

  6. Okay, okay, okay!!! Geesh! ;)

    No, seriously, it is a HUGE help to know that people ARE actually reading this (yes, besides you, Mom). I'm going to print these comments out and stick it up next to the computer so that I am reminded, whenever I'm feeling down about having nothing interesting to write, that you all are out there. (Although, STILL, three of you five commenters [commentors?] are relatives!)

    Oh, and Claire, if I posted like you do, all I WOULD post are pictures & video! Ha! ;p (But keep 'em comin'! I love seeing my 'nephew'!!!) And, I WILL check out that book - thanks!

    I'm still holding my figurative breath about participating in the birth experience until it actually happens. I've been in this situation at least once (twice?) before when I was "promised" a ring-side seat and then, as WILL happen, of course, said mommy didn't want any extraneous people in the room. And, while I TOTALLY understand that, I was REALLY, REALLY disappointed. That said, I do feel quite confident about this one. :) I know that both the mom & dad-to-be are counting on me to be there.

  7. Yes, I read it too, but don't usually take the time to comment. Sorry! And I totally understand how much time it takes away from all the other daily stuff that has to get accomplished. I would still probably be blogging infrequently if it weren't for that "nudge" from my mom.
    Take all the time you need Chicken Mama -- you gotta make yourself happy first, right?
    (Love that little porcupine pic in your header too!)

  8. Ruthie, thanks for weighing in with your two cents. :) And, what IS it about those "nudges" (ah-hem . . . SHOVES?) from our dear, wise mothers? ;)

  9. I read your blog all the time. I'm kind of a quiet person so I usually don't have much to say. I'll try to be a little noisier. (Is that a word?) Please don't give up. I enjoy reading your stories. Happy Holidays!

  10. If you write it, they will come.


    Perhaps more frequent, shorter entries would be easier to manage. And of course very entertaining!

  11. Please don't quit!! I read every few days and enjoy your writing immensely. It has become one of the pleasures of life. I don't always comment but try to when I can. Please, please don't stop.

    I love the pictures and animal encounters. Mr. P is very cute!

    Please, please don't stop!

  12. Judy, Jennifer, TJ - Thank you. Truly. All of these comments are exactly the support and kick in the pants I need to keep goin'. And, Jennifer, you give the same exact advice my mom does . . . and you BOTH have successful (much more so than mine) blogs. So, I just need to keep hammering that into my head!


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!