We love our technology, but in some ways we are taking the old road.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Bird on the Boot

Whenever I go into the chicken coop, one of the chicks hops onto my boot.

Now, I can't be sure if it's always the same one, because they look so much alike. But it's always a small one, so it might be.

For the first several days that we had the chicks, my youngest child kept feeding them out of her hand. She noticed that it was often a small one that came to eat out of her hand, and she decided it was always the same one. It's hard to know.

But now this chick keeps hopping on my boot and either looking up at me or pecking at my boots. The spots are interesting to them; they're always looking for something interesting to eat. But this chick has also hopped up and pecked my knee when I've crouched down, and it's tried to hop up to peck me when I'm standing, too!

I'm not sure if it thinks I'm bringing it food or if it thinks I AM food.

If it keeps this up when it gets bigger, I'm going to have a problem. I'm counting on it getting fat and lazy, as is typical for this breed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

They Grow Up So Fast

We've had our chicks for about a week and a half now. So they're probably 13-15 days old. They are not so cute anymore! They are losing their fuzz and growing awkward feathers. Their feet are huge.

They are, however, still very entertaining to watch.

We actually had them in a small wooden box in our garage at first.

Then after about a week, we moved them into the (basically) completed chicken coop.

It was so nice in there before we moved them in, I wanted to just hang out in there. I wish I had smellovision to share with you how marvelous it smelled! New wood and fresh hay and grass.

The chicks love it in there.

There's so much room for them to run around - and they literally do, wings flapping. They also sometimes run AT each other, chests out, and jump at each other with their claws! Then they stand there eye to eye until one ducks down and walks away. It's amazing to me that they are already that aggressive. Clearly they're establishing the pecking order.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Big Day

So what would you guess we're building?

Maybe a concession stand?

A produce stand?

Does this give you any clues?

It's a chicken coop.

We got chicks today!

Am I lucky or what? I love chicks. They don't stay cute very long, but while they do, oh, are they sweet. My kids were thrilled that, for the first time in their lives, we actually got to bring chicks home with us, not just look at them in the store.

We got 87 of them.

75 are for meat: 25 for us, 25 for my parents, and 25 for my brother-in-law and his family. 12 are to expand my parents' egg-laying crew. Those are the black ones.

Yes, we've butchered chickens before. My parents raised a bunch last summer and we helped with the butchering. And we've occasionally chased their chickens into the coop at night. So we're not completely clueless about what we're getting into. But it will still be an adventure.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thing 32: Google Maps & Mashups

For Thing 32, I created the Google map below of South Dakota attractions.

I looked at some of the mashups suggested. The midpoint meeting mashup was neat.The library locator worked for me, as did the Starbucks finder. The UFO reports site was...interesting. There are people who actually go on that website and write about what they saw and where. The bathroom finder had recently had a crash that caused it to lose a lot of its data; that one could be useful from a Blackberry on the road. Mashups could be fantastic if they're very accurate and address a topic you're really looking for information on.

I'm not sure a maps mashup would be very useful in our library. We could set up something about important or useful places around our city, I suppose, as a community service.

My Google Map of South Dakota Travel

View South Dakota family fun in a larger map

As part of my More Things on a Stick library project, I created a Google map. I decided to create one of our family's favorite places to visit in South Dakota. I've enjoyed some of these places as an adult without kids, and when my husband and I took the three kids there a few years ago, we all had a fantastic time. The kids didn't want to leave, especially the Badlands. I'm really glad to have children who enjoy looking at interesting landscapes, because that's a big part of what I want in a vacation!

If you click on the option to view it in a larger map, you'll see what the markers are and my comments about them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Old-Fashioned Kid Fun

Today my kids were entertaining themselves the way kids have for generations: mud pies, sword-fighting with sticks, and running and yelling outside. Throw in a visit to grandma's house, seeing grandpa's new heifers, and getting an egg from underneath a hen, and I think they had a good day.

I have to admit I hardly ever let them play in the mud:

But they were mixing up little buckets of mud and having such fun. They were picking quantities of dandelions, too. It was some involved operation, whatever they were making. I just had to shrug and say, "Those aren't nice pants anyway. And they're outside."

Well, my older daughter was dressed nicely, but she's more careful and she was wearing dark colors. She was looking a little Laura Ingalls today, actually, with her braids, brown plaid dress, and dark tights.

Here is a bit of the stick-waving:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thing 31: More: Twitter

After working on this for hours this afternoon (not to mention the last few weeks - I feel the need to follow directions and read everything), I think I'm ready to wrap up "More: Twitter".

What does my Twitter page say about me? Well, I liked the basic pale blue background with bare tree limbs when I got started. It's generally my style. But I wanted to upload a photo I took. Apparently they're having some current problems with uploading photos, according to the troubleshooting section I went to. I cannot get my personalized background to load, regardless of what I do to the file size.

I updated the description of myself so that it says more about my interests. I do list the link to my blog. I think I do a decent job of tweeting regularly about the topics I've predefined for myself, with the occasional tweeting of something unrelated that I can't resist. I don't think I'm really entertaining on Twitter like I think I can be in other mediums, though. I think I show my personality a whole lot more on Facebook, this blog, and a web community I belong to. I've seen others show a lot more panache in the 140 characters. But I can be a pretty reserved person in some settings, so maybe that's just me on Twitter.

My social networking strategy... Well, I've put my Twitter username on Facebook, although they don't have a field for that. I've also put it on my blog. And on the 23 Things Ning. I have followed a couple of More Things participants and they follow me, too, so I feel like that's job networking, even though I haven't met these people. I don't have my entire name on Twitter, though. I probably would if I didn't have to link it to my blog. I want my blog to be largely anonymous.

The people I've found on Twitter: a couple of relatives, an online friend, a couple of people I know from my growing-up years, those couple of More-Things library people, some celebrities I'm interested in from TV and music who do their own twittering, and a gardening person or group (kind of unclear to me) who found me somehow and I decided to follow back. There was a library person from out of state who also found me who I followed back. But she twittered incessantly, and I couldn't handle it. Other than that I follow some organizations. I have learned up-to-the-minute things from following MPR.

The stage I'm at... I'm somewhere between stage 2 (I have a presence, but I don't really get why people love it) and stage 4 (although I'd say I post more useful links than I have one-on-one conversations on Twitter - I have not gotten the hang of the back-and-forth really). I see the usefulness of getting updates from organizations I really like and people I am close to. But so much feels like chaotic chatter. I'm planning to cut back on who I follow once it's just up to me to use it as I choose.

In the list of what Twitter is, I think it's a newsroom. It's full of raw stories, some of which are important and some of which are not. It's noisy, busy, fast-paced. The point of it is to find out what's going on now, what's relevant now. But there's a lot of chaos that you don't see elsewhere once you get the final story.

I am concerned about the security of using a lot of the applications. I don't want to give out my Twitter password to lots of places, so there are many of the things I didn't actually try. I did add BeTwittered to my iGoogle homepage so that I can see and post to Twitter without going there. I don't have a cell phone that I can use with Twitter, so I can't try those mobile apps out - maybe once I get a new one. I did add my name to the Twitter Directory and sign up with Mr. Tweet. From one or both of those, I started getting people who had nothing in common with me and were obviously trying to get more followers. In fact, I think I was solicited for the first time in my life! This stream of women with similar user names started following me, and the profiles I saw showed they were looking for... well, "love" isn't really the right word. Their accounts were mostly suspended by the time I tried to see who was following me, but I blocked the others and reported one. So Twitter would have its hazards for the young computer user!

I ranked better as a Twitter user than I expected. I got a 59 out of 100 for a score on one app, and Mr. Twitter calls me an active Twitterer with above average link sharing - but way below average conversations.

I can see the point of having a Twitter presence if you're an organization. I think my library should set up an account to update interested patrons on our activities. And if I ever become a person who needs to do marketing for writing or singing or independent research services, say, I'd want to use Twitter for that.

Working on Twitter

I'm working on my More Things on a Stick library project. I just can't seem to finish up the More Twitter item! It has a million and a half things to read and try.

So here's part of the assignment: try out a fun thing and post about it with a visual. So here's my result about what punctuation mark I am. I don't know what this has to do with Twitter, but okay, it sort of describes me:

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.

You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.

You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.

(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

Friday, May 8, 2009

Color Change

The tulips that were a light, dusty pink have gotten a striped effect:

I really like it. And the tulips that started out rather yellow have gotten white, thank goodness.

I wish I could really capture the striped look that they have from afar. I do believe one of the hazards of blogging is that you start to wish for a better camera. I've heard that from two other bloggers, and I'm there now myself. And I have never been interested in photography before.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I went out today to take pictures of the turtles that like to sit on the old fence posts that hang over our pond. There were three in a row on one post, but they were worried about me, so I didn't get a picture of all of them. They dropped into the water one at a time, before I could get very close.

On my way there, I discovered what I think must be wild strawberries:

Don't they look like strawberry plants? Tell if you don't think so. But I know wild strawberries can grow around here. I love discovering things like this.

Then on my way back, what do I find? A big cluster of violets!

I love spring.

I went looking for wild asparagus next, but no luck. I did find something I couldn't identify. The leaves and stems look a little bit like rhubarb when it first comes up, but it had little daisy-like flowers. Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Springier and Springier

I went out in our woods the other day and along the edge of the pond. Things are getting greener!

Some things are blooming, though nothing stunning:

The tiny maple tree we planted (thank you Arbor Day at school) on the edge of the woods last year has leafed out. It survived the winter!

Monday, May 4, 2009


My tulips are blooming!

I adore tulips, so I'm thrilled.

I actually put my flower garden over the septic tank, to try to beautify that part of the yard and cover up all those little white posts. The benefit of it is that some of my plants came up and bloomed early from the warmth underneath! My other tulips are in a colder spot within the same garden, and they're not close to blooming yet.

I weeded that whole garden yesterday, removed the dead stems from last fall, planted herb and flower seeds, and spread mulch. I'll need a little more mulch, but it looks much better.

All of the other perennials are coming up now. I'm sorry to say that I don't even remember what some of them are!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Gardening Fashion

Dear reader, I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in so long. I've been busy, and unfortunately it hasn't been with gardening. But tonight I planted my broccoli, lettuce, peas and onions. I also watered the strawberry plants I planted on Thursday evening.

This is me, all set to go:

I have the cutest tool belt ever; it's really a gardening apron that my mom gave me:

And I think Jennifer from Jennifer's Junky Life would like my Wellingtons. I got them from Target last year when my new driveway was horrible in the spring and I had to walk down to the road for the school bus. Now I find out that Wellies are fashionable - who knew?

My daughter actually took some pictures of me planting tonight: