Here I go...

Join me on my new adventure - Van Living!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Which Way Will She Go?

I'm trying to decide now which route I will walk before picking up my group in Pamplona next spring.

I need to finish the last 3 stages of the Madrid Route.
I had to leave early last year to meet my group in Pamplona.
I'd love to walk the entire route again!

I need to finish the VDLP.
I could walk this year from Caceres to Salamanca or Zamora.

Patty and I are also talking about doing a winter Camino in 2016.
Wouldn't THAT be a kick?

Decisions, decisions…

I'm leaning toward the VDLP, mostly because I love the food in Southern Spain and I really REALLY want to get further up that route.

I'm hoping to leave soon after May 1.
I'd like to leave earlier but have family obligations - although I may weasel out of them.
I'd like to have 2-3 weeks to walk before May 15.

This year I'm going to make some changes to my pack.

I'm only carrying ONE Macabi skirt.
I'm considering leaving my jacket home - haven't worn it enough to carry it.
And.. ::gasp:: I need to find an alternative to New Balance Shoes.

I"ve loved them all these years, but apparently, they're now being manufactured in Vietnam, and the last two years, the quality took a huge dive. After just a few weeks walking, my shoes wore out. NOT acceptable after paying so much cash for them!

Anyway, those are my thoughts.
The choice where to walk is always difficult for me.
So many routes, so little time...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


We had to put our sweet kitty boy down last week, unexpectedly.
He had acute liver failure - had not eaten in a week.
I feel the culprit was a particular brand of food, 
but we'll never know.
My son wrote this Memorial.

It's perfect.

Memory of Light - Today

“You were born a child of light’s wonderful secret— 
you return to the beauty you have always been.” 
― Aberjhani

Rao -- everyone has loved you through your life.
 I've loved you. 
My brother Rob loved you (and he hates everything!), 
my nieces and nephews loved you. 
And I'm pretty sure my mother loved you more than me.

You saw me through some pretty tough times.
 About 4 read-throughs of the Wheel of Time (thus, the dedication), 
about 4 different relationships. 

You let me hold you like a baby when I was sad, 
would soak up all the bad and turn it into good.
Though I am sure the love in my house is strong enough to keep the bad out, 
your vigilance and dedication will be missed. 

I will remember you every time I visit the back yard, 
every time I eat ice cream, 
and every time I am alone in the dark.

I will miss you pawing at the pages 
as I send myself to different worlds while I am reading, 
bringing me back to give you some pets.

 I will miss you in those moments that are bad, 
when somehow you would know and come rescue me.

What I will not miss are all those times you woke me up at 5am 
because you were fat and wanted more food.

As I was burying you,
 I dug up a toy airplane from the US Air Force.
It's sitting on your gravestone now. 

I hope you enjoy your next life as a fighter pilot 
Must have been all that Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek 
you've been watching throughout the years..

Rao -- you fulfilled the bargain. 
The price has been paid.
Fly free, strong, and true. 
I will miss you.

Meet the Girls

And here are my four new chooks!

First is Bertha Butts! 
 She is what is called an Easter Egger.
She lays blue eggs.
She is also the rule of the roost!
She is somewhere between 6 months and 1 year old.

Next is Penny.
Penny is a beautiful Speckled Suffex hen.
She will lay brown eggs.
She is very sweet to humans,
but is a bully to the two younger hens.
She is about 6 months old.

This is Kallie.
Kallie is a Barred Rock hen.
Her eggs will be light brown.
She is about 5 months old.
She is a sweet hen
and is very smart.
She is Sissy's best friend.
They stick together like glue.

And here is little Sissy.
Poor Sissy is at the bottom of the totem pole.
She is a Rhode Island Red hen.
Sissy will lay pretty brown eggs too.
She is only 4 1/2 months old
and right now, 
Penny and Bertha bully her mercilessly!
But I have news for them!
Sissy is going to be bigger than them when she grows up,
and things just might change!

I'm really excited to have these chooks.
I've been wanting chickens for year,
and now that I own a home, 
they were high on my list of priorities.
Fresh organic eggs…

My New Chicken Coop

See those banana trees in the background?

Well, this week I traded this henhouse and 3 hens for 3 banana trees.

The coop was just as tall as those white legs, about 4 feet.
We put it up on stilts to begin with.

Once it was up, my friend Joe framed the run.
We used wood from a couple of pallets we scavenged.

I bought the plywood for the roof and the treated baseboards.

Joe made a door from the pallet wood.

I put hardward cloth all around, 
leaving a 6-8" skirt at the bottom.
Bertha is checking out her new digs.

Finished inside, with two cozy barrel nesting boxes.
When we are finished, 
we will be able to draw the ladder up 
during the day 
to give the chooks more room inside.

Finished outside.
I'm happy.
The girls are happy.

We put concrete all around the base
to keep out raccoons and mice.
I love my little henhouse!
It fits right into my beautiful back yard.

But THIS is the only problem.
Bertha is the first bird to bed each night.
She gets in there and hops up on the roost.
Then Penny, seen below,
 goes up the ladder and turns AROUND, 
facing the doorway and daring the other girls to step on her ladder!

She pecks the heck out of them when they approach.

It's like a game.
They go up, she chases them down.
They go up, she chases them down.

Finally, I have to step in and push her into the coop, 
then the others can go to bed.
What a pill!
Is this normal?

I love her dearly - 
she's a sweet girl to humans, 
but she's mean as a snake to the smaller two hens.

She may have to become Sunday dinner if she doesn't ease up.

Anyway, I'm tired, and happy the coop's finished.
Tomorrow we'll fence off an outdoor run, and will be done.