Top Dog (of the chicken yard)

Despite the fact that he tends to leave bits of his breakfast on his face Enchilada is still top dog of the chicken yard… at until the geese show up!

Getting back into blogging and picture taking with an April photo challenge from The Life of B!

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree by David Ahern

Welp, here we are, all pandemic-y together.

Many of us are practicing some form of isolation/shelter in place/ quarantine and there seem to be a lot of people touting that they are going to write/read/create out of paper mache an epic novel. Meanwhile I’m grateful to have far too much to do as well as three whole acres available when I’m trying to hide from my children but even with those blessings I am not in the mood for epic anything right now. Right now I’m more in the mood for something fun, easy, engaging, humorous and which involves not a single bit of hand washing. If you are feeling the same, I have got you covered – at least in the book department.

Would I recommend it? Why yes, yes I would, but it is in fact book four of the Madam Tulip series and while it would stand alone just fine, I think it would be much more enjoyable if you started from the beginning.

The good news is that gives you four of just the right kind of books to read mid-pandemic before you think about doing something foolish like ripping the carpet off your stairs (P.S. Please someone stop me if I try to rip my old, dirty, ugly carpet off the stairs no matter what reasons I give you, now is not the time!).

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Meditation- It’s Just Not My Thing Either

I’d like to start by saying that I believe you all when you tell me that mediation is a worthy pursuit and something I should not reject out of hand. Similar to yoga, which is also just not my thing, I believe you, I’m just not interested enough in the idea to put forth the amount of work that would be required to truly meditate. But I have been convinced enough in its merits that I have been listening to guided meditation once a day.

You see, since my concussion, I have required at least one nap a day. Some afternoons I still crash onto a flat surface and pass out because my brain is too tired to do anything else. But, thankfully, more and more often I lay down and think of all the things I should get up and go do. Which is great because it means I’m not totally wiped out. However not sleeping still leaves me a headache-y, emotionally raging mess for the rest of the day – nobody around here wants me to skip a nap. At the same time numerous people (I swear you don’t need too as well, I got the message) have told me about the benefits of meditation and because I’ve changed many aspects of my life style to become much healthier (so many veggies, almost no caffeine or alcohol, so much more sleep…) in effort to help heal this broken brain of mine, I thought that perhaps I would try it.

I was already quite certain that listening to something to fall asleep would help quiet my head enough to sleep because I’ve been falling asleep to Anne of Green Gables and the like for months. Now I’m to the point where I’ve just about run out of everything my favorite LibraVox reader has available (Its Karen Savage, she will spoil you for all other readers, you are welcome). So it seemed like it was time to try it. No problem. I would just change what I listened to for my afternoon nap.

As it turns out I was right. I don’t like meditating.

Unsurprisingly, for my husband anyway, I get super argumentative when I don’t like something. And yes, I am happy to argue with a recorded voice.

Voice: “…the full moon is shining down on you and there are thousands of stars in the sky…”

Me: “You can’t see thousands of stars when the moon is full. It’s too bright.”

Voice: ” It’s raining and everyone is happy and sleeping in the rain, …. the chickens are happy and sleeping…”

Me: ” Have you never met a chicken? Chickens hate rain!”

Voice: “There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun beats down on your head as you let your worries go.”

Me: ” I’m too hot.”

However, despite all my arguing with the serene voices, they have always distracted me enough to allow me to take my needed nap, often complete with dreams…

Actual nap time dream:

I’m standing at the end of a huge tunnel with a group of people – obviously some sort of resistance fighters from the way they are dressed. A soft voice echos down the tunnel, “let go of your stress… relax… take another deep breath and let it all go…”

“Don’t listen! They are trying to lull you into complacency!” screams the resistance fighter next to me. “Get ready! This is when they come for us!”

Meditation… It’s just not my thing either.

Officially Done

Many notable things happened today ranging from new poultry arrivals to capoeira demos but they all pale in comparison to this little piece of floor.

If I may direct your attention back in time approximately six years and six months ago you will find a blog post titled Please Hold. In that post you will read amongst other things that we were living in “cardboard box hell” after moving to our new house.

A number of those boxes landed in the corner by the bookshelf and spent the last 6 years alternating between functioning as a perch for cats and the most inconvenient end table ever to throw a book/hat/flashlight/blanket on as you went by. The problem being that not only did this always annoy the cats but it ensured that it would take twice as long as normal to find the object. This is because a stack of cardboard boxes that should really be unpacked actually becomes invisible after a certain amount of time. So that once an item is set on top of it, it also disappears and your only hope is to rely on a grumpy cat to alert you to the item’s presence.

But no more! Thanks to the Herculean efforts of John (it’s super hard to move invisible objects) they have been unpacked and put appropriately away.

That’s right. It’s official. We are all moved in!

Reading Concerns

Clara has always struggled with reading.

She dropped behind her classmates early on. It wasn’t surprising given her complete and total lack of interest in the entire “learn to read” plan . Given a list of words to practice such as “the”, “two” and “go” she would respond to flashcards of the same with answers like, “turtle”, “grapes” and “birthday cake”. And with that less than auspicious start, she was off on the road to reading.

Over the years she has, of course, greatly improved but in a house full of readers, she is a listener. Happy to listen to audio books for hours and beg for chapter after chapter of whatever our current nightly read is.

This has been troubling as a mother (not to mention as a reader and an author) but Clara has always been disinclined to acquiesce to anyone’s plan just because someone thinks she should. When I worry, I remember how much she likes books and stories and figure that eventually Clara will decide that reading is important to her but it’s not going to happen until she darn well feels like it.

Two nights ago I gave her yet another pile of books that I thought she might be interested in and now I have a new worry.

Will the girl ever get enough sleep again?

Clara has gone to bed hours past bedtime since she picked up Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. Of course as a life long “just one more chapter before bed, oops it’s 2am” sort of girl I’m not about to throw stones. But as her mother I am a bit concerned. Not only is she not sleeping but what book do I give her next?

Book suggestions welcome!


Have you ever done a thing that scared you but you did it anyway and, even though it went well, immediately afterwards it was still so terrifying to think about that you couldn’t even talk about without sweating and almost bursting into tears?

I did a thing last weekend and I’m still not sure I want to talk about it.

It was fun (on the way up).

It was terrifying (on the way down).

I did it lots of times.

I liked the challenge.

I hated the way back down.

I tried really hard not to think about the scary part while I was doing it.

And if I continue not to think about it maybe I’ll do it again someday.


Thanks to Uncle Jim for another great weekend adventure and for taking pictures too!