Friday, January 30, 2009

This and That

Did any of the rest of you all take the Bible quiz? I was pretty happy with my 88%, especially after my Sunday-School-Teaching-Husband, Steve got a 90%.

And by the way, the line about "He thinks I do not know a buttload of crap about the Gospel, but I do!" comes from Nacho Libre. Nacho Libre is quoted from quite regularly around my house; it ranks right up there with Napoleon Dynamite. I was just trying to be husband really thinks I *do* know a buttload of crap about the Gospel.

Uh hum. I'll be more serious now. I learned the Bible stuff when my older kids were little. I didn't really go to church much when I was young, but started getting more serious about it when I had kids. Bible stories really are pretty cool! There are better action-adventure stories in there than in most novels!

Who doesn't love Old Testament stories like Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego? They were put into the hot furnace to burn, but they were saved by God's grace. The people were surprised, since when the furnace door was opened it would singe your eyebrows off because it was so hot!

Who doesn't get comfort from the New Testament when they realize that God does love us and knows us by name?

Even if your not a believer, the Bible is good reading.

Some of it I wonder about, like Elisha and the bear after the children chide him for being bald....(2 Kings 2:23-24) but it is a great story, ranking right up there with the Brother's Grimm.


Hey! If any of you are interested in reading a good book, I run a book group for the women's group in my church, and we are reading Honey for a Child's Heart, by Gladys Hunt.

It is a great book. It also has Ms. Hunt's recommended reading list for children in the back. The actual reading is only 124 pages, so it is a quick read. I highly recommend it!

I've been thinking of starting an online book club based on the books that we read in my book group at church, but I don't know if there would be any interest. Maybe though...Watch for it in my "other blogs" section, if you are interested.

If you are interested in cute Valentine's Day projects to make, keep an eye on Be Different...Act Normal. She scours the 'net for cool ideas, doing a lot of leg work so that her readers don't have to! So far, this one from Pottery Barn Kids is my favorite:

Isn't it adorable? I want to make one and hang it from the chandelier in my living room.

Have you got anything exciting planned for the weekend? I'm hoping to go on a date with Steve tonight! I'd like to go to Barnes & Noble and a thrift store and see if they have a copy of Honey for a Child's Heart, so that I have a spare to share. I'd also like to take a look for Honey for a Woman's Heart. I hadn't even realized there was one for women!!

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Quiz?!

I have been trying to be productive today, really I have. But the gray day has gotten to me again!

I've taken my van into the shop to get it inspected; it was supposed to be registered in December. It is now legal again, whew! So if we over-look the fact that it is leaking oil because it has a rear main seal leak, and we pretend not to notice that it has a leaking transmission cooler line, my 11 year old van is in fine condition!

I ran across a Bible quiz, so I took it. My husband the Sunday School teacher will be shocked! He thinks I do not know a buttload of crap about the Gospel, but I do! Sorry....have you seen Nacho Libre??

You know the Bible 88%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Take More Quizzes

So, if you are having an unproductive day, even though you should be making dinner for a friend who just slipped on the ice broke her tailbone too (does that mean that she has her butt in a sling?), go check out the quiz! I'll be in the kitchen making spaghetti dinners for two big families. Lisa is lucky I love her!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And the Winner is.......

Have I ever mentioned that I am *not* photogenic?? Well, now I have. Amber took pics and I have my eyes closed in one, one is simply TERRIBLE!, and the rest are blurry.

So I watched the home video she took, and took a frame shot. It's blurry...but at the end of a very long day, maybe that is for the best! ;-)

Notice the cake? It is lemon. Sorry everyone; nobody guessed it right. But I do love carrot cake, cheesecake, and german chocolate!

I loved hearing everyone's favorite cake & pie! It made me hungry for the variety! (And Christy, if I lived closer to you I'd make you a carrot cake on your birthday every year!)

I put all of your names in my boggle game (w/o the letters!) and shook it up and had Emily pick out one slip of paper...

and the name on the paper was......


So Kate, send me an email saying which book you'd like along with your address and I'll send you the book of your choice! CONGRATULATIONS!!

And a big THANK YOU to all of you who wished me a Happy Birthday! It was wonderful to feel the ♥!

And answering your question April, having two birthdays in a row actually makes time go in the other direction! So I am once again 37! Just kidding! I'm really 39. My last year in my 30's. I better make it good, huh?!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

You say it's your birthday....

Okay, so today is my birthday on Guam, which is where I was born. This is how Guam looks:

I stole the picture from my brother, who is living in Guam right now. Guam is in the Pacific ocean over by Japan somewhere. (I only lived there until I was one, so what do I know?!)

This is what it looks like where I am right now:

It is snowing again. Bah.

Now because I was born in one time zone and live in a totally different time zone (like 17 hours different), I am celebrating my birthday twice.

Growing up, I was told my birthday was on the 26th, which it is....on Guam. But here in the states, my birthday, my real true birthday, falls on the 25th. The same day as my Aunt Gwen's and my 15 week premature baby Ammon. (As a sad sidenote, Ammon didn't survive the trauma of trying to survive without nature's incubator, and he died on the 28th of January. So today is always a bitter sweet day. I am looking forward to someday finally getting to meet him and getting to know him.)

I didn't realize that my birthday was on the 25th here in the states until my brother's wife was stationed on Guam. After figuring out the time difference, so that I could call and talk to my brother while he was actually awake, I realized that by the time I got around to celebrating on the 26th, it was the 27th on Guam. Crazy!

I told my mom that I was celebrating my birthday on the 25th. She told me that she's still going to call and wish me Happy Birthday on the 26th because she is too old to change her ways. So...I get to celebrate twice!

Amber made me breakfast this morning: banana pancakes, bacon, & toast with my apricot jam (that is really syrup - it didn't gel) that I put up last summer. She also made decorations and decorated the living room. She is sweet like that!

Emily made me a cute card. Matt wished me "Happy Birthday on Guam", and Michael wished me Happy Birthday, too. Steve is making supper for me: bean soup with whole wheat bread. It is what I like! And Amber is making a cake for me.

So that's it. The whole post is about me. How self-centered is that?!

So that I don't feel so egocentric, I'm going to do a give away for my birthdays. Just answer the question: What is your favorite flavor of birthday cake? Does your favorite come from a box, homemade, or store bought?

I will randomly choose a winner from the comments for one of these two books of your choice.

****(Ignore the pasta cookbook, will you please? That is the one that Eternal Sunshine chose during my last give away, so it is gone.)****

Chickens in Your Backyard - A Beginner's Guide by Rick and Gail Luttman (my cover is different, but you can at least read about it.)

Seed to Seed - Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth.

AND just to make things a little more interesting, make a guess of what flavor cake Amber is making me. Whoever guesses the correct flavor of cake Amber is making me will be an instant winner and will get to choose their favorite book. If two or more people guess the correct flavor, I will put their names in a hat (or a box) and choose one.

And either way, the winner who is randomly chosen (based on telling me their favorite cake) will get their pick of one of the two books available. (I have a couple copies of each, so no worries! You'll get your favorite of the two!)

If you just want to comment and don't want no stinkin' book, just leave a message sayin' so.

I'll close the comments on Monday night at midnight, after all of the birthday festivities are done in both time zones.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday's Scenery

Yesterday as I was driving the kids to school amid the fog and mist, I started noticing unexpected colors on the leafless trees: like dark chocolate brown bark, yellow-green moss growing on the north side, tan seed pods adorning the skeletal remains.

It struck me that I had read that trees can be enjoyed in the winter as well as the summer, as their robes of leaves are laid upon the grass and their natural beauty is revealed.

So I told Steve that upon this rainy, gray January day we should embark on a journey to look for beauty wherever it abounded. He grabbed hold of the idea and was as excited for it as I. He commented that it was such a great plan that perhaps it should become a tradition on gray, murky days: to go find beauty amid the gloom.

Here are a few scenes that we beheld (I left them rather large when you click on it, so that you can get a better view):

Friday, January 23, 2009

An Interview With Coffee Bean

I am feeling much better today. Thanks for the well wishes. It is good to feel loved. ♥

Steve was good to me last night. He poured out love with his words and actions, and I truly appreciate it. He offered to make dinner (no matter that I had already done it, it was the thought that counts!) and took Emily to her church activity (it was one where parents were to attend). He kept thanking me for the little things I do, which is always nice.

And, I'm *choosing* to overlook the grumpuses I encounter and just smile at the next person the same as I normally would instead of letting it get to me. So, today I am feeling much better.

So, I'm up to an interview, I think! Coffee Bean at The Righteous Buzz ask for volunteers to be interviewed, and I volunteered. Today she posted 10 questions that I can choose to answer 5 from. Here are the questions:

Drum roll...

1) What was your favorite toy as a child and if female, did you prefer dolls or stuffed animals?

2) Are you #13, cracks in the sidewalk, black cats, walking under ladders, etc.
and in what ways.

3) Do you procrastinate and in what ways?

4) Do some people's mannerisms such as the way they eat or breathe ever bother you and what do you do about it?

5) Who is your favorite actress, actor, singer?

6) What is your favorite movie of all time?

7) What is your greatest fear?

8) What is your greatest accomplishment?

9) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

10) How old are you and how much do you weigh?

So I will answer #s: 1, 3, 5, 6, 9.

#1 What was your favorite toy as a child and if female, did you prefer dolls or stuffed animals?

I loved my toys when I was little! In fact, as a side note, here is a funny story: In kindergarten we had show and tell, and one time I brought a little (like 2 inches high) ...hum, what would I call it? Not an action figure, but kind of like that. He was a little guy dressed like a pirate. He was plastic, but it wasn't hard plastic -- the kind of plastic like Barbie's head is made out of. Anyway, it was passed around the class for everyone to look at, and one little boy who loved to torment me squished his head! The nerve! So I snatched it away and told him that he shouldn't hurt him like that! And I looked at my little guy's head for the damage...and he had a BRUISE! I told the boy so, and he told me that it wasn't real so it couldn't bruise. *I* told him that yes it could too!

Yeah I was kind of crazy for my toys and loved them like they were real.

My all time favorite toy though??? Okay, I'll have to say my tricycle. It was bigger than my cousins', and since I was the youngest of my siblings and of my cousins, I always got the littlest of everything...except my trike! I felt so big, like a king on his throne, when I rode on it. It was tall, and my cousins' was short, so I loomed above them.

#3 Do you procrastinate and in what ways?
Yes. When I get overwhelmed with a project I'd rather clean public toilets with a toothbrush than do the dreaded task.

#5 Who is your favorite actress, actor, singer? Just one???? Can I cheat a bit and do my favorite by my ages & stages?

Like when I was about 10 I loved Ricky Schroder! I thought he was soooo cute!

Then when I was about 13 I thought Christopher Atkins was a total fox!

I would have loved to have been deserted with him on an island too!

When I was about 16 I thought Tom Cruise was bitchin'! That one didn't go away for several years!

Then when I was about 21 I thought Mel Gibson and Kevin Cosner were incredibly good looking!

Then I discovered Sean Connery. I thought I was getting old at 24 when I thought he was handsome.

At 26 I started noticing actresses too! Like Katherine Hepburn and her amazingly feisty characters. Audrey Hepburn and her looks of innocence even as a street wise flower girl. Grace Kelly and her graceful nature and beauty.

THOSE are amazing women!

Of course I still noticed men. Carey Grant and all of his great movies. There have only been a few of his that I haven't liked. Truth be told, though, I haven't always loved his characters. Chauvinism was "in" then, though. Clark Gable, again a chauvinist, but man he was gorgeous, wasn't he?

Those continue to be my favorite "classic" actors & actresses. But my favorite contemporaries are Sandra Bullock and Keenu Reeves. Put them together, like in Lake House and the movie becomes amazing! I really don't know what they are like in "real life", but the movie characters they play are my favs!

Favorite singers? Just look at my playlists! :-)

6) What is your favorite movie of all time? Again, just one???? It's like potato chips, you can't just have one!

For classics: I love Carey Grant movies, my favorite being Philadelphia Story. But with Carey Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Jimmy Stewart how could the movie go wrong?! I also love Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life.

I love musicals. My all time favorite would be My Fair Lady...OH! Or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Both are excellent!

Romances? Too many to narrow down to one! I am a romance nut! I read romances in elementary school. Did anyone else read Wildfire romances?
They are little innocent romances. I collected them. As for movies: Somewhere in Time, A Walk in the Clouds, and The Lakehouse.

As a kid I loved the Superman movies with Christopher Reeves. He was so handsome and strong!

Comedies? Princess Bride (now THERE is a classic! Who *doesn't* love that show?) and My Big Fat Greek Wedding (I just watched this one yet again. "What do you mean he don't eat no meat? That's okay, I'll make lamb.").

Action/Adventure: Live Free or Die Hard (that is an awesome movie!!) and Eagle Eye.

#9 Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Let's see. In 5 years my kids will be: 23, 21, 20, 17, 14, & 12. I'll be 44.

I think I'll have at least one grandbaby. I hope to be the perfect Grandma. I'd like to have a degree in something. I'd like to be running a preschool in my home or doing more webwork. I'd like to have no debt but my mortgage. I hope to be kinder and more charitable. I want to be a master gardener and quilting genius. I want to be canning/bottling lots more than I do now. You know, just a better me!

This was fun, thanks Coffee Bean!

If any of you would like your own "interview" where I ask you questions and you answer on your blog, tell me so in the comments!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In a Funk

I'm having one of those days. Yep, pretty much the day from hell. So, instead of talking about my life, let's take a "fieldtrip" and look at some pretty things and pretend it is a good day, okay? And perhaps If I pretend long enough it just might happen! Let's try...

Take a look at this woman's blog. "Decaf Please" is written by a lady named Tracey who makes amazing quilts. I "met" Tracey as I followed a link from Anita at Bloomin' Workshop's blog (Anita always has cute things at her blog too!), when she linked to this quilt. Aren't the bright colors just what a soul needs on murky January days? I love all of her quilts, so take a look on her blog. What talent!!

I found another friend when I clicked the Quilt Mavericks link on Tracey's sidebar.

I discovered Joanne from Rockin' on the Porch. I fell in love with her heart quilt, her appliqued silhoutte tree quilt, her postcards, and her gratitudes section at the end of her posts.

And take a look at Quilts and Pieces' Smore Snowman quilt and pillowcases that she made for a Christmas present! Those bright pinks are wonderful, aren't they?! And take a look at this dessert! Oooooh! That chocolate syrup looks so delish! And she has pics of all of her quilt blocks. Aren't they pretty?

So yeah. I'm in a funk. Take a look at the pretty pictures of other people's projects and enjoy them today, and hopefully this mood won't last long!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day & Yes, Pecan!

So did you watch the inauguration this morning? I thought it was well done. I really love Pres. Obama's speeches, they are truly impressive. The music was beautiful, the poetry lovely. It was a feast for the ears this morning.I just truly hope that he and VP Biden will support and defend the Constitution like they swore to do.

I worry a lot about new Presidents. I always wonder where they *really* want to take the country. Ever since I learned a few years ago that Hitler was elected, I worry. I had thought that he (Hitler) had gotten in power because of a coup or something, you know some kind of violent overthrowing of the government. But no. He was elected. He was a politician. He kissed children's cheeks and shook hands with all of the ladies and gentlemen. I've even seen a photo of him petting the head of a deer at the zoo; the deer must not have been a Jew, huh?So ever since I found out, I haven't been able to relax.

I love his idea of people coming together in love and harmony. But how does he plan to make that happen. You can't make people show love to each other. I try every day with my children and look at how that turns out!

So I'll watch and wait.

Tonight I have every intention of serving this for dessert:

(pic from Ben & Jerry's official site).

(pic from

How clever is that? "Yes, Pecan!" Here is the story of the ice cream from
Trailhead: Obama: The Ice Cream [UPDATED! A LOT!] on March 6, 2008:

"Last night, after Barack Obama won Vermont, we called on our loyal readers to help us name an Obama ice cream flavor. Ben & Jerry's is famous for such flavors as Cherry Garcia (named for the Deadhead), Phish Food (named for the Dead successors), and Americone Dream (named for the not-dead Stephen Colbert), and if Ben & Jerry's delivered a victory for Obama, then it should also honor him with a taste of his own.

Plenty of you responded with riffs on Obama's name. Peanut Butter Barackle, Obamana Split, and Barackadamia Nut all raised a chuckle. But it was Aaron Nathan of Amherst, Mass., who really impressed. Eschewing Obama's name, he reached another level of ingenuity when he sent in his entry: "Yes, Pecan!"

Bravo, Aaron. Bravo."

Too funny!

P.S. They don't have Yes, Pecan in UT! At least in my small town. Did you look and find any??

Have a fun day celebrating our new President!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Slow day....

Today is a slow day here at my house. Most of the family doesn't feel well, so we stayed home from church. The only one who went was Steve so that he could teach Sunday School.

Sundays are Michael's favorite days. He adores church, so he was sad not to go, poor kid.

The other kids sat and played games around the kitchen table; I don't think they mind as much.

Me? I have sat. A lot. I've watched for new posts to appear on my blogroll. I have looked on etsy at quilt patterns. Then I started looking in my picture folders.

Here is some of what I found from the past year:

What can I say...we have a menagerie of animals at our house.

I hope that you have had a wonderful weekend! Ours extends into Monday this week. I'm hoping to be feeling better tomorrow because I had a full day planned. I'd really like to get my bathroom repainted.

Do you have Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday off tomorrow? If you do, what are your plans?

Have a great one!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

♥ Look What I Found!! ♥

Hey, look what I learned to do: ♥! Hahahaha! I just discovered ASCII codes thanks to Joy in the Burbs (and dh Steve for showing me how!). Have you seen those before??

I have used wingdings before, but in the HTML code it looks like <font face="Webdings"> & # 8 9 ; </font>(without the spaces). So in my titles awhile ago while it looked great on my blog, I'm not sure how it would show up on someone else's blog roll. Maybe on this post I'll do a heart and a wingding in the title to see. :-)

So how did I make a heart? Hold down the Alt key (down there by the space bar) and then type the number 3. ♥ Too cool! Love it! Thanks, Joy, for the impetus to learn more! I'm going to learn how to do other cool stuff and add it to my posts for you to see...and I'll give you the instructions how to do it too, because I ♥ You, that's why! :-)

***Added after posting: I just looked at Kate the Great's Blogroll and my wingdings did *not* show up correctly, but the ASCII codes did!! Wahoo! *****

Friday, January 16, 2009

Red Butterflies and Gifted Children: A Doubleheader

I am assuming that all of you are like me, a Ree Drummoond, A.K.A. "Pioneer Woman" fan, yes? If you aren't, you will need to go on over and take a look at who this extremely popular woman is, but if you follow her blog at all, you know that Ree keeps her photos pretty by using blue butterflies to cover up the unloveliness of the Ranch. No poo or rocky mountain oysters in her pics...unless she *chooses* to show them.

Well, yesterday Michael was playing with Elefun, a fun battery-powered breeze-generating elephant that, when butterflies are put in the bucket, makes the butterflies fly upward through his trunk (not shown in pic) to be caught with a butterfly net.

Michael doesn't particularly like the trunk, and he has lost all of the butterflies but one red one, so that one red butterfly is very important at our house.

Michael kept loosing that butterfly yesterday and would ask for help in finding it...over and over. One of the times he lost the butterfly, I found it in a Pioneer Woman type location: right by the Elephant's tail. I had to take a pic and reflect that even red butterflies will do the trick!


The other day after posting "Homeschooling 1st - 5th Graders", Becca asked a question that I really wanted to give the time it needed to be addressed rather than just a short answer. Since I figured that there might be others in the same boat, I thought I'd answer it in a post, rather than in private.

So here is Becca's comment:

"This is really interesting. I WANT to homeschool my daughter because I guess we're already doing it, by default. But at the same time, I want her to get exposure to other people and the idea that you have rules that have to be obeyed (versus just Mom that has to be obeyed).

Rachel is reading.. I don't know what level. She's been reading for a year, so I'm mostly just concerned that she will get bored in Kindergarten and have discipline problems (this happens a lot at home when she's bored). What do you suggest?"

This is such a tricky situation. You have a gifted child: curious, and a fast-learner. There is no way to hold a child like this still and keep them from learning, nor would you want to.

I had an experience with my oldest, Josh, back when he was in the 1st grade. We had just moved to Tennessee from Utah. Josh had learned to read in kindergarten and was a pretty good reader, meaning that he could read Frog & Toad or Amelia Bedelia books without help. His 1st grade class, though, was just learning how to read.

I have to jump off here and explain a few things before I continue. In his class in TN, the kids were let watch Bear in the Big Blue House, Blues Clues, and many other t.v. shows during school, mostly at the beginning of class while some of the kids were eating breakfast in the lunchroom. Now I won’t go on a tirade and tell you how much that bothered me, but I will tell you that I had him take a book to school with him everyday and instructed him to read instead of watch t.v. Back to the story…

In the middle of the school year I went and talked with his teacher. She told me what a good student Josh was. She said that she had seen him bring books to school and it made her worried. She told me that the other kids weren’t really reading well yet, so she was afraid that Josh would get bored in school. But, she said, Josh is able to hold himself back a bit and do the same work as the other children. Now I don’t remember the exact wording that she said, but that was the gist of it. At the time I didn’t know whether to be pleased at my son “being able to hold himself back” or not. The teacher was pleased, but “holding himself back” wasn’t really a quality I was trying to develop in my son. I decided that year that I’d homeschool him the following year.

The question of what to do with a Gifted Child really is a hard one to answer. Is it best to let them stagnate awhile while their peers catch up? Should you let them work at their own pace at some educational program, whether it be at a private, public, or homeschool? Is one answer right in one situation while another is right at some other time and in some other circumstance? I don’t know.

Maybe you need to understand that the reason I homeschool. My reason doesn’t have a lot to do with the academics. Maybe it started that way, at least in part, but for me now it is a spiritual thing. I pray about homeschooling each child every year and try to find the path that I feel the Lord is instructing me to follow. So far 14 is the age that I have sent my kids to school. Josh is my only kid I’ve ever homeschooled to age 16. At 16, he and his bio-dad moved 2 hours away and I was unable to continue. He dropped out of school then and hasn’t returned. Maybe someday.

Now, I don’t believe that the only good education is a homeschool education. In fact, I am soooo thankful when my kids get a really good teacher at their charter school that they can turn to for help and guidance in that particular subject.

There are many options for education, and they all need to be looked over and pondered. There are private schools, charter schools, and public schools in addition to homeschool, and one of those might have excellent programs for gifted students.

If you really want to homeschool, that is great! But be sure and weigh all of the pros and cons. Homeschooling is a life commitment, not just an educational choice. It becomes part of every waking moment.

Also, don’t forget that you can change your mind at any time. If you try a method of schooling that just simply isn’t working, try again.

And remember to always be prayerful about what your child and your family need. Be willing to go with a different solution if that is what your gut is telling you to do. We can try to logic things out all we want, but usually the right answer is to follow our feelings.

I hope that is helpful. Every child, every parent, and every situation is just so different that I don’t think there is a “best” way, there is just a way that works best for every kid. The hard part is finding that best way.

Good luck in your quest to find the best fit for your child/ren.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spring is Coming!

It is always fun to get little reminders that warmer, sunnier days are coming.

If any of you are interested in planting heirloom seeds this year, take a look at Seed Savers Exchange. They not only sell the seed, but give you the story of where it came from. Their seeds are pricier than most seed companies, but if you do things right, you will never have to buy seeds again!

I am looking forward to planting some Brandywine Tomatoes from Seed Savers this year. I also want to plant some pie pumpkins, since pumpkins grow so well in my garden and have volunteered for the past 2 years.

McMurray Hatchery is one of my favorite hatcheries! They hatch turkeys, chickens, peafowl, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, guineas, They have lots of rare breeds unavailable at other hatcheries. Their chicks are healthy, and I rarely have a fatality.

Remember: The rule of thumb for chick prices from the hatchery is that the prices are going to gradually rise until Easter, and then gradually lessen thereon.

It will take about 12 weeks for chicks to feather out and be able to withstand normal temperatures (they need temps of about 90 degrees before they are fully feathered) and it takes about 22 weeks for the Golden Sex links / Red Stars to start laying eggs, and the others (with the exception of the White Leghorn) generally take longer. So as you are planning your spring, be sure and order them so that they are maturing in the time period that best follows your scheduling.

Also: You can plan your order with McMurray hatchery well in advance of when you actually want your chicks shipped; if you pay with a credit or debit card, they take the money out of your account when they ship the chicks. This is nice, because you will be assured to get the chicks of your choice. If you wait to order you might not be able to get the breeds that you are looking for because others have already bought them.

Some of my favorite birds for laying are: Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, Black and Golden Sex-links (also called Black Stars and Red Stars by some hatcheries), Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Araucanas. (Black Stars/Black Sex Links are a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a Barred Rock; Red Stars/Golden Sex Links are a cross between a White Leghorn and a Rhode Island Red - with the Golden Sex Link/Red Star you get most of egg laying attributes of the White Leghorn without its skittishness. White Leghorns are known to be the best egg layer; that is why commercial egg laying facilities use leghorns.) All of these except the Araucana lay a brown egg; the Araucana is known as the Easter Egg Chicken, because it lays colorful pink, purple, green, or blue eggs. The Wyandotte's eggs are rounder than the other's eggs.

If you allow your chickens to free range (not live in a cage, like commercial egg laying chickens) your eggs' yolks will be yellower than store bought eggs. I believe the egg to be healthier and richer in vitamins.

If you want to have chicks running around all the time, get some bantam hens and a rooster.

Last year I had chicks on our backyard farm from from spring until fall!

I love Cochins too. They are funny looking chickens with feather on their legs; they look like they are wearing baggy pants! They are very mild chickens who love to set on their eggs and hatch out chicks. I like giving them to my kids as presents Easter time. Unfortunately, since they aren't at all aggressive, they are the first birds eaten by predators.

And while I'm reminiscing, do you remember these gardening days of mine?

Okay, maybe I am ready for spring, how about you? Have you gotten any seed catalogs, chick catalogs, or anything else that reminds you of warmer and sunnier days to come?

Ready or not, here it comes!