Thursday, February 28, 2019

Harriet Tries Again

She's nothing if not not determined! Harriet made a second attempt at escape today.  She met with similar results as yesterday.
Can I squeeze through that gate?

We continue to be perplexed, none more so than Harriet.

 "I sing prettily for them, I give them an egg every day, the least they could do is keep this "thing" from nipping at my tush. Wouldn't you think?"

Nothing new on the trail cam, no new injuries, our isolated hen continues in good spirits and varying levels of healing....the sillies continue to peck at each other's tushes. We may try to catch them all and paint their tushes purple....hadn't thought of that before. As long as there is no open would that should be fine. Right?

Benny Day

We were in town on Tuesday and unable to watch Benny.  Arielle agreed to let us have him today, so he would only have to go to work with her two days in a row.  He likes the little girls - but too much of a good thing is simply too much. LOL 

We discovered even Benny likes reading Kenneth Boa. 

Nolan had the day off and Benny seemed to know he was still in his room. 
Benny with Nolan

He's always happy to help us with laundry. 
Bennett with Uncle Alex

This is one of Benny's new looks. He flashes it whenever he see ones of he's so very surprised to see there are people living upstairs. LOL 

She Came Back

She came to visit again, the moose with a pretty red collar! This simple fence is doing a better job than the electric garden fence. Inside the fence is our baby orchard...still safe.

I wondered where her sidekick was - and there she is across the road in the  brush. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Harriet's Brilliant Plan

 Our chicken saga continues. ALL of them now have very bedraggled tushes. It looks like something grabs a mouthful of feathers, leaving them bald, which wakes them up and they get out of the way. Except, of course,  for the four that were disemboweled or had their tushes torn completely out and the one still in isolation. 

Unfortunately, our chickens appear to be rather stupid. One would think they would figure out to stick together, help each other out....but no! If they see a bare spot - they begin pecking....I wonder how this whole scenario would be different if we'd kept Hitler or Olaf, the roos.

This morning we found blood leading to the chicken door - but then it stopped. No blood inside the coop. There were chickens with missing feathers, but no one had torn skin. No signs of the weasel/ermine....
Harriet - the escape artist
Harriet, above, was the first to escape the brooder as a chick.  She was the first to fly over the fence when they moved outside,  AND, it looks like she is planning to lead all the chickens out of the Horror House to safety.

C'mon - it's one jump and you're over. 
 She did her best to convince Alex they'd be safer in the woods. 
Yes, it IS barely 20*. 

Michael couldn't be convinced either. 

She's lucky the solitary confinement cell is in use. LOL 

Poor girl. She wants back with the group - but we are trying to give her tush time to scab over and maybe grow some feathers. No infection so far - we are keeping our fingers crossed. I know it's doubtful we'll save her, but she doesn't seem to be in pain. 

We are really hoping and praying we can figure this out soon. I've wondered if they all caught some strange disease that gives bald tushes....but it certainly wouldn't have eaten their tush or disemboweled them.....Odd.

We had just been debating if we wanted to pick up 15 chicks at a local store or order specific breeds through the mail.  We were also toying with the idea of getting meat birds this spring/summer.  Then this all began.....I'm not sure I'm cut out to raise and butcher meat birds. I'm not sure anyone would eat them.

Oranges? I Thought You Said KALE!!!! 

Michael and Stacia were shopping. I asked them to bring home a bag of oranges. I got a BIG bag of chopped KALE! ::snort:: 

The problem is, NO ONE EATS KALE AROUND HERE....I am determined to cut our food budget and that means NO WASTE. I have used Kale minimally before....a few stalks in a salad....I don't like any of the kale chips I made - even when I massaged oil/ vinegar into them. 

I have been eating lots of kale - which I'm sure contributed to last week's 2 lbs of weight loss. First, I put a bunch of kale with our last bunch of green leaf lettuce. I added shredded carrots and broccoli. I made up 9 cups and used it as the foundation for salads all week. Simply pull out the drys one wants and add the wets (cucumber, tomatoes, mushrooms - anything that gets slimy in a salad).
I made a Raw Kale Quinoa Tangerine salad - and it was yummy. 

I love the dressing on this salad - a lot....but I'm trying to eliminate added sugar. I cut the Agave Nectar to 1 T and plan to go to 1/2 of that the next time. Maybe I'll try it with none in a week and see what I think. LOL  Stacia loved the dressing. Michael tried a bit of it. I ate the whole thing in the span of a couple of days. When one has a BIG BAG OF KALE to eat before it goes bad and they are the sole eater of said eats. 

I water-sauted the kale with onion, garlic, cashews and balsamic vinegar for breakfast. Neah...o.k. but not wonderful. I threw it in a whole wheat tortilla and tried to convince myself it was a breakfast burrito. Neah - only made me miss the little breakfast burrito stand on Knickerbocker in San Angelo, Texas. 

I brought back green smoothies...and the kids are happy to help me drink it - 2C of Kale a day. 

Sunday, I water sauted it with onion, garlic, ginger, cashews, a VEGAN sausage patty and added a 1/2 recipe of from the Kale/Quinoa/Tangerine salad above. It was good. Really good - with the sugar reduced even more.

It started as a shopping mistake, but by George, I only have about 1 C of Kale left a week later. I found myself thinking, "I need to pick up some more Kale when I'm in town." :snort::

I need new Kale recipes...and Quinoa too for that matter. Feel free to share links.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Parkinson's Update or Parking Lot Deal

We drove to Anchorage today to participate in a parking lot swap of money and goods. Eggs for money,  that is. 11 dozen of them.  The Anchorage group replenished my carton stock.

While in the parking lot, we decided to go ahead and visit Michael's neurologist for a 3 month check.  😏 Pesky symptoms were noted - increasing "off"/Parkinsonism times and restless leg. These  could possibly be controlled better by upping medication. He was also offered some occupational therapy for a few areas where she thought it may improve "functionality."  At this point, we opted to skip the offers. Michael says the "off times" - tremors, rigidity, balance issues -  don't bother him overly much, and we don't get worked up over things such as flying peas and leaping lettuce. (Though I am going to look at some weighted or gyro silverware online.)  Michael is at the level if he ups doses we've been warned he  may begin to experience dyskinesia - think Michael J Fox. Here's a one minute clip if you want to see, or know, more about dyskinesia.   Michael chose to deal with what he is already dealing with rather than increasing drugs. He'd like to increase drugs as slowly as possible...he's young and has years on this journey.  They were fine with that choice.

This was our first appointment in a while where we didn't come out with another med, upped medications,  or another round of one kind of therapy or another. It was good. We will go back in in 4 - 6 months.

We ran other errands in town and got back in time for me to grab a salad before heading to the church for Bible study. Stacia has taken over Tuesday dinners and it is an incredible help. No photos but she made Chicken Parmesan, garlic lemon green beans, and rice.

It was a very long day.

We Choose Health

The kids and I are all-in on a new health initiative. Quite simply, "We choose health." For the kids this means portion control and cutting back on sugar. I compared the recommendations from the VA dietitian*  and the USDA website for a calorie goal and  idea of what a 17 and 14 yo should be getting. Surprised to see the changes at USDA - it lines up fairly close with the Nutritarian life-style....the difference being where one gets protein, though the USDA now lists several plant based protein sources and doesn't recommend dairy for those over 18.  

For Alex and I, choosing health means an hour a day on exercise equipment...Stacia works out with Arielle and YouTube videos.  

I have begun to drastically restrict sugar, have eliminated white foods (except cauliflower) from my diet, as well as preservatives and added fat. Because I hear this so often,  I GET MY FATS - nuts, avocados, coconut oil, nut butters.... I also GET PLENTY OF PROTEIN. My doctors repeatedly check and I'm always at the "high" level of normal. Michael does his own thing,  no one really understands what that is, but he is encouraging to us all. The deal is, if we don't feel good about our progress in 3 months we're joining a national program. 

It helps that Stacia is not baking 2 - 3x a week. Alex and I have done great getting rid of sugar. We've had a bit each week....maybe once a week....but not every time it's available. I'm working down to going off of added sugar completely by March 10th. I need to pace myself! ::snort:: 

Stacia made some GIANT chocolate chip cookies. YIKES. I said I was going to eat one...and I had 1/2 and saved the other 1/2. Saved cookies will go stale and then they are no longer tempting.  I call my new revelation the "secret of 1/2," and it works well.   Alex resisted for 2 days...and then I saw this happening. 

Look at her face! 

I told him to eat it slowly and savor it.... it is o.k to splurge once in awhile....after all he's young and hungry. He IS learning to fill up on produce. I figure he'll branch out to other options in a week or two.

In our first two weeks we lost a combined total of 14 - 15 lbs....Obviously, Alex and I are losing the most out the gate. That is ONE advantage I have in this marathon....I started needing to lose 35% of my I am losing quicker than poor Arielle with a measly 10 lbs she'd like to lose. ::Snort:: My goal is to re-establish a clean nutritarian eating plan, re-establish a workout plan which has me moving 6 days a week, and lose 5% of my body weight by Easter.

The rest don't seem to need baby goals. LOL

*In Anchorage we were told Michael's dependents could be on the VA's program....which includes exchanges, food journaling, and a weekly weigh-in/motivational meeting. When we talked about signing up  at the clinic in the Valley they INSISTED only Michael could sign up. Blech!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Critters, Wayne and Grandkids

Our friends own Nuisance Wildlife Management. They provide help for "when the wilds of Alaska get to close to home." We knew they were in "pest removal,"  but we were thinking bugs and such; not animals killing our chickens.  They came out to help us with our chicken problem today. CoRielle met us when we got home last night with the sad news that they had found one of our hens bloodied. We have her isolated and are giving her tender loving care - but we fear we will lose her too.

We have a live trap and trail cam set up. No activity last night. Robert set out more traps. We are hoping to get in the next couple of days. The main suspect is a weasel.

The original owner of our home came by for a couple of hours today. It's always fun to visit with them. He likes to stop by. We discovered the history of the bb hole in our living room window.

Stacia and I went to BreZaak's to watch Gideon and Bella. Bella had a hard day. I suspect she isn't feeling well. She slept, then simply wanted me to hold her wrapped in a blanket.

Gideon was hilarious. As soon as BreZaak left, he ran to the chest where the blankets are stored and made his wishes apparent.

 I believe he has a favorite game to play with Auntie Stacia. LOL  

Who could say no to this little face? It's easy to clean up. 

Tomorrow will be a busy day in I need to get off here and finish Bible study prep....the kids and Michael are playing Risk Cataan....who knew?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

We Drove to Anchorage to find Misawa or 2019 Fur Rondy Snow Sculpture Competition

My friend, Nora, told me about the Fur Rondy Snow Sculpture contest. I remember seeing them when we lived here years ago.

Our sweet Spurgeon family has moved to our beloved Misawa for the next few years. They visited the Towada Winter Festival recently; I've been yearning for Japan. Yes, we are content, and we deliberately look for the joy of being in Alaska. There is much to celebrate.  Our hearts were broken for the nation of Japan...and from time to time the longing and urgency to be serving there is strong. I knew we would have fun and make new memories - connected to past memories - at this event.
@ Lake Towada Winter Story - photo from internet
After church today we drove to Eagle River, picked up Josiah, and went to see the snow sculptures. Here are some of our favorites.
Tug of Rawr

Stacia, Alex, Josiah 

 This was my favorite one. "Not all treasure is gold." It's a dragon protecting his treasure.....

Thanks, Alex! I wasn't tall enough to get a face. 
They had a big chunk of ice we could carve on....Alex began to carve #Gherkins....but the others were waiting for us. It was a beautiful day. It felt warm. It was in the mid 20's. We're transitioning...we'll know we're real Alaskans when we wear shorts in the 20's.....

Voting for the People's choice award

I thanked Michael for driving all the way to Anchorage to see a few snow sculptures.

He replied, "No, we drove all the way to Anchorage to find Misawa."

Is he a great husband or what?

He knew....he just knew.

Moose Sanctuary

 The word has gotten out. We are running a moose sanctuary at Wibbly Wobbly Acres. ::snort:: Moose tromping through the yard, eyeing our baby orchard, stomping down the sledding hill, munching on our cabbage, have become common place. We don't even take pictures all the time any longer....

However, it is a new to see them bedding down for the night in the driveway. Thy aren't even pretending to hide in the woody areas any longer. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Sun, Chickens and Family Visits

It was a fairly "warm" day today (in the 20's). The sun was shining bright and we all wanted to get outside. Michael and Alex  continued to re-work the chicken coop.  

As I headed out, Arielle told Benny to get his winter cloths on and he could go outside too. Hilarious. 
Daddy's big shoes to fill

Yesterday, Rosie, our favorite hen, was killed. That makes 4 hens we've lost this week. Michael put out live traps - no results as of yet. He and Alex took advantage of the nice weather to install two new vents.

Our poor, bedraggled flock. We have 12 now. We started with 18 in the spring. 

They made it outside! They even took a walk around the neighborhood. 

Jared is town this weekend. He will go back to the zoo in Juneau tomorrow.  He and Larissa came by this evening. Benny came up the stairs and was fine with Auntie Riss - but then he saw Jared. He reached for Uncle Alex.

It didn't take Benny long to warm up to Jared. 
Gentle Hands

It was fun to catch up with Jared. An enjoyable day all the way around.....about that Gherkin scowl?
It's terribly out of focus so I won't enlarge it - but THIS is the look I get when I don't let him through the gate at the bottom of the stairs. LOL