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"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

Another Day of UGH.

Today, it's the weather.  Since last night and with the temperature hovering at 32.5 degrees, Swamp River Ridge has gotten over an INCH of rain.  An inch of rain on top of all that snow.  Ugh.  I'm fairly confident that the road is going to be an absolute slurry of wet, slippery . . . glop.  I was hoping to start driving the car again to save on gas*, but there ain't no way I dare in this stuff.  Besides, the temperature is supposed to drop, drop, drop today . . . which will, ultimately, be good.  But, during that in-between phase, when I might be out driving in it, I'll need the safety of the 1-ton.  Even if it means hauling the 9' plow around.

* Plowing, especially when there's tons of snow to move, takes a L-O-T of gas.  If you're pushing a big amount up a hill, you might have your foot depressed on the gas pedal nearing all the way to the floor.  I filled up on Thanksgiving night and then I filled up again on Saturday night.  That's a tank in 48 hours.  A 25-gallon tank.  Ouch.  But, that's one of the prices I pay, quite literally, for living where I do.  And, that's okay.

For those of you who read Mama Pea's blog, you know that I inherited 6 of their chickens destined for the butcher block Saturday night.  (Here's a link directly to that post.)  Two Cuckoo Maran hens and three hens and one GORGEOUS rooster made up of a mix of Red Dorking and Wellsummer.  I saw Jane, from Hard Work Homestead, comment on Mom's blog that, given the shift in winter environments - from very little snow to buckets of it - that the rooster, previously unnamed, should be dubbed 'Shackleton'.  I love it!  Shackleton, he is!  :)

Imagine the ride home that night, tho:  the day's accumulation of parcels plus two humans, one with an overnight bag, (remember, I was bringing My Girl home with me) plus two large dogs (Tucker's a full-size dog, no matter his 4" legs!) plus a large crate containing six chickens!  I had the poultry inside:  I didn't want them to freeze their little beaks off in the open back of the pickup.  Both of the dogs are so used to having feathered friends around that I wasn't too worried about combining all of them in the crew cab of the truck . . . until I saw just HOW interested Tucker was in the bunch!  Fortunately, once I borrowed a second tarp from Papa Pea to cover the dogs' side of the carrying crate and a couple of bungee cords to firm it in place, Tucker was just fine.

I stole this image from Mom's blog.  You can't tell that there are 6 full-size chickens in that crate, but there are!  (And, hey, I do a "forced smile" pretty well!)
I'd hoped to get the chicken house cleaned before the new arrivals set foot in it, but my recent lack of time coupled with Dad's need to cull meant that the new birds were unceremoniously plopped into a disaster of a coop.  So, no pictures yet of their digs:  it's a disaster!  But, they seem to be acclimating well . . . scratching through the fresh shavings that I put down on a clean area of the chicken house to get to the cracked corn I treated them with.  No eggs yet, but that's no surprise.  Besides the fact that they are fairly OLD by chicken standards, they need time to adapt.

Taking DAYS longer than I'd expected, I finally got the 2011 Chicken Mama Designs calendar finished last night and sent off to the printer.  Whew!  My hope had been to have it, in hand, for my sale this coming Saturday, but there was just no way.  Once I have a moment, though, I am going to post images of it and take pre-orders.  It's my first full-size one, and I'm really happy with it!  I used only images from this part of the state and then listed all the events that take place throughout the year along the North Shore of Lake Superior.  (Well, as many events as I could find and had time for.)  I am a bit nervous to see the finished product, tho:  during editing, there were entries that kept flip-flopping themselves on the day they were entered.  And, for the way I need those events to be read, I NEED it to be printed correctly.  But, the printer offers a 100%, no questions asked guarantee, so I took a big breath and ordered the full amount I thought I'd need for this first printing.  Cross your fingers for me, 'kay?!

I am still woefully unprepared for Saturday's sale, and, as a result, have not done much local advertising.  I should know by the end of tomorrow how it's going to come together, though, and so, if I'm confident enough with things, I'll really work on getting the word out then.  And, with that, I need to get runnin'.  Must make hay while the sun shines and all that rot.  But, before it's gone (okay, okay, no real chance of that!), I'll post pictures from last week's snowstorm.

Both of these images were taken on the main road (once I turn off the highway).

Here, you can better see the rapidly-filling set of tracks I was able to follow . . . but only until they turned off, halfway up the road.

Thanksgiving Morning:  You can't see it very well here, but all four of the tires' rims were PACKED with snow!

Sure is (was!) purdy!

Plowing.  This is at the 'Y' in the driveway.  Left goes to the house, right goes to the trapper cabin.  Like my sign?  It reads 'NO Trespassing.  Violators will be shot.  Survivors will be shot again.'  ;)

I had to rake through the snow in the poultry yard to find one of the three outdoor waterers!
Okay, I've gotta scoot.  I'll take some pics this morning to show you the difference now, after the rain!


  1. Where did you get that sign?? I think I HAVE to have one. I will have to say that you pack more into one day/trip/hour/minute than anyone I know - virtually or otherwise. I'm looking forward to seeing the calendar - how exciting! And I am sure your show/open house will be great. We will be awaiting your report (with a back up by Mama Pea...)

  2. That calendar should be a BIG hit with the tourists who love planning stuff around all the great events your area has to offer, get it where they can see it to order!

    Love the photos! I totally "get" the full size dog thing - Sprocket is half the size of Marley but weighs 1 lb more! Marley is all fur and Sprocks is solid muscle LOL

    I really was hoping those dogs & chickens made the ride in the Yaris, that mental image gives me smiles :)

  3. I love that sign! My dad just bought one of those for our place. :) Its perfect!!! I am crossing my fingers and toes that everything turns out well with your calendar. Since I'm new to your blog, this is probably a really lame question, but is there a way that someone could buy one of those without braving the roads of the North Shore this weekend?

  4. There is nothing more beautiful than trees laden with snow against a blue sky. Wow-the pics are beautiful. I don't know how you can leave the place to go running. It's so gorgeous there...........

  5. You may have been giving a "fake" smile, but I don't think it LOOKS fake!

    I'm already nervous about your drive home tonight and you haven't even left yet. Sigh. Motherhood. Hrumpf.

  6. Yes, let us know if the calendar is up for all to purchase! I'd love to!

    We have a sign that says "We don't dial 911" So I totally dig yours!!

    Sounds like you've got lots to do yet and I hope you have enough coffee brewing girl!

  7. Thanks for all the great comments & you-can-do-it boosts, friends! :) I didn't have a chance to check the blog yesterday once I was at work, so it's a nice treat now this morning as I'm sitting in the rocker with my coffee.

    Susan, I think you'll need to ask MamaTea where she (her dad) got hers. I got mine years ago . . . at Menard's, I think. (Like a Lowe's or Home Depot, but Minnesota owned.) And, thanks for the compliment, but compared to Mama & Papa Pea, I am downright L-A-Z-Y with my days!!!! Truly!!

    Erin, yes, I would hope the tourists will like it. My only problem there is GETTING it to them. Even tho I'm located just a blog up from the main drag, I AM out of the stream of traffic. I think I'll talk to one of the stores in town and see if I can sell it through them - at least for December and January. (I'll have it out in November next year.) And, we totally could have packed 'em in in the Yaris, but it was just the roads that prevented that. :)

    MamaTea, there ARE NO lame questions! If there were, I'd be in trouble! ;) Yes, I ship . . . anything! Once I figure out the pricing (+ shipping costs), I'll post those and you can decide whether or not you'd like one! :)

    Sue, thanks. Believe me, were it not for necessity (that damn money thing!), I WOULDN'T leave! I remember that, when the ex was the one bringin' home the bacon, I wouldn't leave, sometimes, for two weeks at a time. Ahhhh, bliss! But, this is why I *AM* going out so much now: to keep it!

    Mom, the drive home was just fine last night. Soooooooo much better than the drive in! I was even able to drop the plow for the majority of the winter driveway portion. Besides, I utilized my "call when you leave / call when you get there" option in the ex.

    Ms. Apple Pie, I'd love to put your name down to reserve you a calendar, but let me figure the pricing first. I don't want anyone to commit and then say, "WHAT? $99.99 for a CALENDAR?!" (Kidding, of course, but you get the idea.) And, yes, coffee . . . ahhh, manna from the gods. ;)

  8. Ha ha! Freudian slip! I wrote "even tho I'm located just a blog up from the main drag . . . ." That SHOULD read "even tho I'm located just a BLOCK up . . . !"


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