Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Broody Hen Chronicles Part One

I currently have a broody hen. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means I have a hen whose biological clock is ticking and she's decided she must hatch some baby chicks immediately. 

Which is kind of a problem on my backyard farm since I don't have a rooster (because they are scary as shit), so my eggs aren't fertilized. 

But, broody hens care not about sex education. All they care about is hatching some babies, so they set up camp in the coop on whatever eggs they have laid and wait patiently for them to hatch. 

 Based on what I've read (because I honestly didn't think this happened without a rooster due to the s-e-x part) (and, I don't even know if egg fertilization is a result of chickens and roosters having s-e-x or if he like pees or something more gross on the eggs after she lays them to be perfectly honest), broody can hens become crazy bitches. I read that some may try to keep the other hens out of the nesting boxes. Some steal the other chickens eggs to sit on. Some growl, puff out their feathers and peck at you if you try to get eggs out from under them. 

A lot of times they can be broken if you put an ice pack under them because it cools off their underside which is all warm to keep their eggs warm for hatching. Unless they are super stubborn. 

Guess who has the one chicken that does all the mean broody hen stuff and spent about a day trying to hatch an ice pack? 


This is a picture of a broody hen. This is not my broody hen.
You know how you want to cut a bitch when you're in
labor and they want to take pictures to remember the beautiful moment?
That is exactly how my hen looks at me every time I open
the coop door. And then she growls. I figured snapping
a picture would result in the loss of my eyeballs and I really
like seeing. A lot.
Photo source: 
She currently has the personality of a woman who is nine months pregnant in August in Texas mixed with the personality of one of those crazy women who steals other people's babies because she is so desperate for one of her own. 

It's not a pleasant personality combo. 

I mentioned my broody hen situation on Facebook and my friend Allie mentioned she wished she had a broody hen or duck because she had eggs that needed hatching. So, yesterday we met in a Walmart parking lot and she gave me a dozen duck eggs for my broody girl to sit on and try to hatch.

Does anyone else remember the episode of Beverly Hills 90210 where everyone was trying to go to a rave when Brandon was dating Emily Valentine and at one of the places they stopped to get directions the code was saying you were there to exchange an egg? Every time I say I picked up eggs in a parking lot, that's what I think of. And it really has nothing to do with this post.

All morning I waited and waited for her to come out to get something to eat and drink and take her little dust bath like she's done for the past two days so I could go grab all the eggs she's stealing from the other four girls and put the duck eggs under her. 

I guess she knew the rain from Tropical Storm Bill was coming because she didn't leave the coop and when I opened it to check on her she gave me the side eye (and not just because her eyes are on the side of her head, but the mean kind) and puffed up all big at me. She's already pecked me once which sent me running back into the house screaming about her impending attack that would end me, so I just ran away. 

But, I went back with four duck eggs to see what she would do. I laid them gently beside her and slowly backed away. When I checked on her 10 minutes later, all four eggs were under her and she growled at me while giving me more side eye. 


I've slowly been adding eggs between bouts of rain and my other hens have been trying to protect their eggs when they lay, but before I can get them, she steals those, too. 

Right now, she's sitting on about 10 duck eggs, five chicken eggs and two golf balls. Yeah, she stole those, too, when NJ moved them to a different spot in the coop hoping the girls would lay there since she won't let them in the one spot they all choose to lay in. 

She's an egg hoarder. 

And mean. 

I'd totally be mean if I was sitting on that much shit, too, and I was hot as hell, but I've been trying to help a sister out and take some of it. She just won't move.

Or stop stealing.

Or stop trying to kill me.  

And, as it turns out, the breed I got because they are not very aggressive and I could therefore co-exist with them without pissing my pants every time I walked out the door is also one of the most likely breeds to go broody. 

I have a feeling summer is going to be super fun in my backyard.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Hodgepodge of College Orientation Thoughts and Tips

I spent two days last week with my lovely, beautiful, smart daughter at her college orientation. This was a fun and exciting experience for her. She made new friends, set up her fall classes, already changed her major, got to stay in the dorms and experience the wonders of the community bathroom (she now clearly understands why I said to pay the extra for a suite where four girls share one bathroom) and learned the school fight song. 

For the parents, it was decidedly less fun. 

I wanted to take notes about my experiences so I could write each night, but I was too busy taking notes about things like the fact a parking pass is almost $500 and not included in her tuition and the dates the tuition is due and then feeling faint from how big (and bouncy) those checks are going to be to write down anything else. 

So, instead here are just a few things that are not at all interconnected and have no rhyme or reason for the most part. You're welcome.

  • Letting a 17-year-old handle the navigation on your trip since she is driving and wants to be grown is probably not always the best plan. You may get a lovely view of many small towns and backroads in three different regions of Texas, though. 
  • If your child is still small and they say they have to pee on a road trip, stop and let them pee. One day they will be the driver and they won't stop to let you pee. For miles and miles and miles. They may also try to cut you off from drinking any more water. Yes, the little angels really are listening when we tell them all that stuff on car trips. They just act like they can't hear us.
  • A little handbook comes in the mail a couple of weeks before orientation. On the back is a checklist of all the things to bring with you when you come. Asking your child over-and-over if they have all the stuff on the list may cause them to become angry with you. They may even yell, "OMG, you act like I'm stupid and can't handle this!" When you arrive at your hotel from your tour around the many regions of Texas, your child may announce they forgot to bring a pillow. Or pillow case. 
  • Then, when you get to campus very first thing the next morning and have hiked up the side of what is possibly a mountain to the building where they are to check-in, they remember they need their picture ID. The one in the car. In the parking garage. From where you just hiked. But if they go get it, they will lose their place in line and miss the first welcome session. Mmmhmm, guess who gets to go retrieve that from he car. 
  • Angry text messages to said child standing in the air conditioned student center as you sweat in places you didn't even know you could sweat going to retrieve the ID are perfectly acceptable. Also, I now think a cramp can remain in your calf for up to three days. 
The student center at Grace's university is located directly
at the top of something similar to this. Only it's boiling hot
with 1000% humidity.
Photo source: http://bit.ly/1GyNdLa

  • There were some kids who didn't get the meningitis vaccination even though the school reminded them numerous times they had to have it before they could register. Their parents were really mad that if they couldn't get it in the student health center or get a waiver, they'd just wasted a trip. And the hike from hell. Grace would've been going to community college if she'd pulled that one. 
  • Every organization on campus was there recruiting. One dude was yelling, "Do you have a husband? Are you ready to start a family?" which promoted me to yell back, "They're only freshmen, so I sure as hell hope not you crazy Duggar!" Grace wasn't mortified at all. 
  • And that was just the first hour. 
  • The screams of, "OMG, this is the worst picture ever and I have to keep it for four years!" upon seeing their student IDs for the first time is way more entertaining as a parent than as the student yelling those exact words. 
  • Best overheard conversation of the two day event: "My hair is a mess in this picture but my face looks really good."
  • Second best overhead conversation: "My mom did that Couch to 5K thing and lost like 10 pounds, but she hurt her back so she's back on the couch. I'm going to do it, though, because you automatically get a six pack when you start running."
  • Both conversations were from the same girl. 
  • There are many one way streets on college campuses. Sometimes there are also live deer. 
  • Having the parent session end four hours before the student session is the worst idea ever. Parents don't want to leave because they don't want to lose their parking spot and/or are scared they will never find their way back to campus or the only parking garage where they can park without getting a ticket, so they camp out in the student center where they a) spend far too much money in the student book store or b) pass smooth out on one of the sofas scattered about in the "quiet areas" designated for student studying.
  • Or, if they are me, they edit the school newspaper and try to get in the rest of their 10,000 steps for the day without venturing too far from the student center for the reasons stated above. If you keep running into the same guy from the student bank while doing either of these things, he's going to stop making eye contact with you. 
  • Also, when the college suggests bringing comfortable shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking, bring the comfortable shoes, even if they look stupid with your outfit. I learned this the hard way during their spring visitor event. I laughed at (and may have mocked) the parents who obviously did not attend said event and chose to wear cute sandals instead of tennis shoes. 
College orientation is long, hot and exhausting. Maybe they do it that way so parents who are struggling with their little birds leaving the nest are decidedly less sad about halfway through the second day. I know I'm not struggling with her leaving, but I will admit I was never happier to get in the car with a 17-year-old behind the wheel as I was by the time it was finally done. And I hate getting in the car when my child is driving.

I was so exhausted I didn't even care if we ended up traveling through three regions of Texas again as long as me, the three t-shirts, three Moleskine mini journals and parent organization membership I purchased out of boredom and the very marked-up university newspaper I spent hours editing finally curled up in my own bed to sleep. 

Thank God I don't have to see that place again until August. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My child is a major influence on future generations

Sunday, I had the following text exchange with our really good family friend regarding poop, a swallowed tooth and my daughter's role in the resulting circumstances: 

Grace didn't like to get her hands
dirty when she was little. This is
why maybe she didn't think through
her advice so much.
I feel like she should be worried about revenge:

If she should ever reproduce, I'm certain
she should be worried.

There is a very small chance Grace will pursue a career where she will work with children. But as a speech pathologist.

Thank God.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Our weekend in pictures-and a couple of videos

So, it happened. 

Grace graduated from high school Friday afternoon. She was number 14 out of like 130 because she is super smart. Of course, knowing of her top 10 percent status would've been nice before the scholarship cut-off for kids in the top 10 percent at her college and not a week before graduation because that was $40,000 that would've come in handy. 


Here are the highlights:


That damn song almost got me. But I held it together.

Max actually took out half the row of perfectly composed people when he cried when she gave me a rose for being a super awesome mom. 

Then he made us laugh when he hollered, "THAT'S MY SISTER!" as Grace walked across the stage. I am choosing not to post that video because it says where she's going to college and I'm actually not going to share a part of her life with the whole inter webs. I know, it's a Christmas Miracle. It's not because I'm ashamed. It's just because some people have evil intentions and she's not going to be home for me to protect from asshats.

My girl, all graduated!
The tossing of the caps in the air made is super real! It was crazy!

There's something so special about the
whitest kid on the planet trying to
look gangster. What the hell?

Everyone. Both sides of the family. All of us. The whole group. Came back to the house for a big graduation party. Where NJ and I presented the rotten little princess with this:


She continued to yell, "Oh My GOD!!" out the window until a teacher she's known and adored since kindergarten got in and went for a joy ride with her. In honor of that sweet (super brave) lady, her car is named Miss Kymm!

She peeled out going around the corner on her joy ride
with Miss Kymm. I immediately saw visions of my
insurance premiums exploding in my head!

There are tons great pictures from the day, but I figure we'll make this post just about her since it is her day. However, if you follow me on my personal Facebook page or on Instagram, you've seen them all (and you probably wish to God you weren't being forced to look at all of them again)

Tomorrow, we embark on part two of this journey and take the new car to her college to register for her fall classes. I am letting her drive. 

I'm also taking a flask. 

My little bird is leaving the nest and I'm feeling pretty okay about!

For now.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Important Tips for Successfully Mowing a Soggy Yard

In case you haven't turned on the news lately, it's been raining for 40 days and 40 nights in Texas. In Central Texas and the Hill Country it's downright scary right now. Up here in my neck of the woods, we're getting some flooding but, knock on wood, the sun is supposed to shine for like the next seven days or something crazy like that. But, still our yards are soggy, overgrown messes. Hot, stinky, muddy messes. Wednesday, being able to stand it no more, and since it wasn't a jogging day, I decided to tackle the front yard. I have compiled the following list to help you, dear reader, should you decide to take on the same endeavor because I am a woman of the people. You're welcome.

  • When picking out footwear to mow in the mud, thinking an old pair of tennis shoes you stopped wearing due to their lack of treads is perfect for your task is not going to be considered one of your better ideas. When you kind of live on a hill and you are battling Woodstock-like mud with a push lawnmower, you need some tread to keep you from sliding down the hill- a lot. Although a pasty, chubby lady in bright pink Nikes sliding down a hill while still trying to push a lawn mower up the hill over-and-over again is probably amusing for the neighbors, it is really bad for the self-esteem. It also leads to mud is some strange places. And the hill on the side of my house currently looks like a four-year-old got a pair of scissors and decided to play beauty shop on it.
  • I'm not saying your first thought when the lawn mower is hurtling out of control towards that little gray box that provides an important service, like maybe electricity, to yours (and possibly the entire street's) homes should be, "If I hit it and it doesn't kill me, I'm leaving this damn lawnmower right here, jumping in my car, leaving and acting just as incensed and shocked as everyone else on my street that someone would steal my lawnmower, knock out everyone's power and then not report it!" But, I also can't judge you if it is. 
I don't even know what the purpose of this box is
but I bet it sure would ruin a whole lot of people's day
if you knocked it over with the lawn mower.
Possibly yours if electricity is involved.

  • When the people on the news say over-and-over that the massive rains have caused us to have tons of fire ants, they aren't just saying it to be funny and send everyone out to buy fire ant killer. So, when you feel a sting. And then another sting. And then like 10 stings around the ankle of your sock, you should stop and check to see if you're being bitten by, oh say, fire ants, and not just think it's burrs from your grass that doesn't even have burrs right now. 
  • As stoned as those folks were at Woodstock, I don't know how they ever mustered the energy to get the hell up out of the mud to go home. Or drop more acid. Or whatever they did because, dude, pushing the lawnmower through tall grass and sludge took all strength in my whole body and I was fueled up on a healthy smoothie and water. I feel like some real athletic training, like maybe two-a-days were in order before I took on the front yard. 
The backyard is in desperate need of mowing now, especially since we're having a party here Friday, but I don't think I'm ready yet. Plus, there was an incident with a gigantic serpent I'm not ready to re-live right now but does basically have me quarantined to my house (and if NJ or Grace hisses my name one more time, I'll be quarantined to a cell because that shit's not funny). I'm pretty sure it's in the backyard waiting to render the bite that ends my life. 

All of this is the long way to say be like a Boy Scout, and be prepared when you take on your overgrown, soggy, fire ant infested yard. 

Consider this a public service announcement