New Orleans Day 1

My family and I are  currently visiting New Orleans for the very first time. I know, I know, I live in Alabama, how could I have never been to New Orleans before? Well, I have just never wanted to go alone and the opportunity to come has never really presented itself until now. Our friends from Spain wanted to visit The Big Easy while they were this close. So, here we are.

We arrived this afternoon in 5 o’clock traffic. We came in via Lake Pontchartrain. What a gorgeous view from the bridge. For others like me who have never been here before, you actually drive across the lake. They are still working on rebuilding a lot of the bridges that were damaged, but traffic flowed at normal speeds right up until we came to the downtown area of New Orleans where the businesses and Mississippi River is.  The only problem we had was when I10 and US90 merge together and traffic bottle-necked. There were a few tight moments as we were traveling as a 2-car caravan and only we had the GPS unit telling us where to go. One other out-of-towner was trying to merge in front of us and when we were the ones to let them over I got the best laugh of the day. Once they were in front of us they held a sign out the window that read simply, “I’m So Sorry”. It was a manufactured sign made specifically for this purpose. I told my husband that it is the answer to road rage because we were both too busy laughing to get angry.

We are staying in the warehouse district at The Embassy Suites. So far it has been a so-so experience with the hotel. When we arrived check-in was slow due to only one clerk and a line of guests waiting to check in along with the evening reception in the lobby at the same time. Once we got up to our room we found that the king-size bed in the suite was broken in the middle and therefore sagged. It was probably the frame and it was just frustrating. The second room was on the same floor but instead of opening into the indoor hallway off the elevators opened into an outside walkway. Unfortunately the room smelled moldy and of smoke. Finally we settled into a third room on the same floor, but this one also opens onto an outside covered walkway. It puts us further away from our travel companions, but at least we are still on the same floor.

After settling into our rooms we walked the 2 or 3 blocks to the Riverwalk so that our friends could get their first glimpse of the Mississippi River. We only had a few minutes on the veranda before we had to leave as the Riverwalk closes at the un-heard-of early hour of 7 o’clock.  We then decided to walk the area and find dinner. We ended up on Canal Street as the sun started to set and the neons came on. What a sight! People moving everywhere, neon flashing, music drifting on the wind, and the smells of wonderful cooking wafting down the street. Halfway up Canal Street we saw what looked like a good prospect across the street and crossed the 4 lanes of traffic to investigate. In European fashion, the menus of the establishment are posted outside so that passersby can get an idea of the fare offered inside. We looked over the menu and decided to give The Palace Cafe a try. I am truly glad that we did.

Once inside we were asked to wait a few minutes while our table was set for us. As we waited we had the chance to appreciate the architecture and decor. The spiraling staircase in the middle of the dining room is the focal piece while mirrors on the back wall give the illusion of space inside. There was also a bank of windows into the kitchen and the staff behind them was hard at work.

We only waited for a few minutes and were seated around a comfortable round table that easily accommodated our group of 7.  My husband ordered the Rotisserie Chicken with White Truffle Mashed Potatoes. I ordered the Bleu Cheese Salad with Sugared Almonds. My 17-year-old daughter also ordered the chicken dish. Dinner was truly a wonderful experience. My daughter finished her dinner and then proceeded to ask my husband for the rest of his. She made the comment that it, “made my mouth happy eating it.” She is a truly picky eater and this is a high compliment from her. 

I will post pictures soon.

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June 8, 2010. Home and Garden. Leave a comment.

Chickens Update

I realized today that I never got around to taking and sharing pictures of the chickens now that they are grown.

They are also laying beautiful, brown eggs now. They lay about 15 eggs a day. I have eggs running out my ears. We eat what we can and sell the rest for $2 a dozen so that others can enjoy them.

So, here are the latest pictures of my girls and thier boys now that they are all grown up.

Can you pick out the free chick? Here’s a hint,  sing this song “One of these things is not like the other. One of things just isn’t the same. One of these things is not like the others. Now it’s time to play our game.”

This is the rooster doing what roosters do best, chasing a hen and looking for chicken-love.

‘Til next time.

April 3, 2010. Home and Garden. Leave a comment.

The Things Kids Say.

We went to dinner the other night with my girlfriend and her family to celebrate my son’s 15th and our exchange daughter’s 16th birthdays. They share the same birthday only a year apart.

Over dinner my friend shared a story with us.

She walked into her 4-year-old son’s room the night before only to see him throwing a ball around.

She asked him, “What have I told you about throwing balls in the house?”

Without missing a beat he looked her right in the eye and replied, “You have to catch it?”

Y’all Come Back Now.

February 10, 2010. Home and Garden. Leave a comment.

Sitting By The Fire

Tonight we are expecting a very unusual oocurence in our area.

Snow.

In December.

 In Alabama.

I have lived here for 22 years and this will be the very first time it has snowed this early in the year and only one of a handful of times that it has snowed at all.

My kids, of course, are excited.

Our exchange daughter from Spain is planning to get up in the middle of the night to take pictures of this strange occurence.

Me, I am cuddled up in my rocker/recliner next to the fireplace, secure in the knowledge that when, not if, the power goes out we can all curl up in the living room and stay warm.

See, my husband and I planned for occasions such as these by having a gas fireplace installed when we built our house a few years ago.

I know, I know, there are fireplace purists out there who are screaming at thier computer screens because we didn’t put in it woodburning fireplace. We had one of those and we rarely used it and when we did, we spent more money on firewood than it was worth. Not to mention, have I ever told you how much I abhor housework. Especially cleaning up dirty, dusty things fireplaces included.

With my gas logs all I have to do is make sure and call the propane man once every few years (200 gallons supplied both our gas logs and my cooktop for 2 1/2 years) and light the pilot once the cold weather comes to stay. Sometimes the last part is the hardest because in Alabama we swing from t-shirts and shorts one day to sweaters and gloves two days later and then back again within a week.

Maybe later I’ll brew up a hot pot of coffee and slip a little Irish Cream in and relax.

Y’all Come Back Now.

December 4, 2009. Home and Garden. Leave a comment.

Happy Black Friday

Black Friday The Game

This is why I don’t do the whole, get up at the crack ass of dark and go shopping thing.

I mean, do you really need another 32″ TV for $248?

We, as a society, have put so much value on material possessions that every year there are people who are hurt or actually killed by the unruly mob that all want to be the first one in the back to spend more money than they can really afford.

I mean, come on people, are you really willing to trample someone to death to be the first one to get your grubby little hands on the not-so-great deal anyway?

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2008/11/28/211518.aspx

This story is from last year, but what do you bet that there are hundreds of untold stories of violence out there. I mean all the pushing and shoving to ge to the only one of something that is on sale is technically assault.

And is it really worth it?

You’re going to wrap it up and put it under the tree for a kid who the second after it leaves his hot little hands is not even going to give it a second thought.

You be the judge.

Me, I’m staying home and enjoying rare time with my family.

Y’all Come Back Now.

November 27, 2009. Home and Garden. Leave a comment.

Bonfire and Friends

Tonight was our Celebration of Fall Bonfire.

We invited our friends up to the farm and gathered ’round the fire to roast weenies. A good time was had by all.

We started out the night with the kids playing a round of soccer in the light of the setting sun.

Once it had gotten entirely too dark to play soccer I passed out campfire forks and we roasted our hot dogs over the blazing flames. The kids loved it and the adults reminisced about how much better a hot dog tastes when you cook outdoors. We came to the conclusion that it has something to do with the ashes imparting a salty taste to the dog itself. Not to mention that it is just cool to eat a fire roasted weiner.

Once everyone had gorged themselves on hot dogs we moved on to the main event (in my opinion anyway), making s’mores. There were adults in attendance who had never made s’mores before. Those of us who personally knew the joy of gooey marshmallow, melted chocolate, and crunchy almost sweet graham cracker were more than happy to initiate them into the club.

I stopped at one, but oh what a wonderful one it was. Perfectly burned marshmallow (don’t judge, that’s how I like ’em), melted-but-still-solid piece of chocolate, and perfectly portioned graham cracker. It was heaven. It is almost an addictive thing, though. If I had allowed myself a second, it would have led to a third, and a fourth, and I probably wouldn’t have stopped until we ran out of the necessary ingredients.

I love s’mores. As one of our guests pointed out, “anything this good should definitely be illegal”.

Y’all Come Back Now.

 

November 7, 2009. Home and Garden. 1 comment.

The Chicks are becoming Chickens and Other Scenes from The Farm.

To refresh everone’s memory, this is what the chicks looked like the day they arrived:

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And this is what they look like now:

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They are almost 2 1/2 months old now. If they were meat birds like you buy in the grocery store, they would already be in the freezer.

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They are starting to look like minature adults.

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This is my goofy daughter posing with one of the chicks.

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They have graduated to this perch. At night they want to get off the ground. The higher the chicken is in the pecking order, the higher thier place on the roost. And yes, they do actually peck each other to establis dominance.

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This is above goofy daughter getting ready to drive me across the street to take pictures of the turkeys.

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This is Tom.

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Tom likes to strut his stuff for just about any moving thing, even if it is not a female turkey.

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This is his favorite thing to show off for. She is the only one who can give him what he really wants. Turkey Love.

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When he is showing off, his head becomes the most beautiful colors. That thing hanging over his beak becomes elongated and then he tucks his head so that all you can see is the red engorged waddle and head. He also makes this blowing sound that I had never heard in person until he came to live on the farm.

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This is Cocky. He came to live on the farm because the woman who owned him was not allowed to have a rooster in town. I think his crows began to bother her neighbors and they turned her in. Anyway, he is much happier here because he has his own flock of hens that he takes care of. When he first came to live here, we had to seperate him from the girls because he wouldn’t even give them time to eat or recuperate. He had become an old hat these days though. He is a banty rooster. Just imagine a large rooster shrunk down.

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This is my handsome husband holding our last White Plymouth Rock chicken. We call her the last of the Mochickens. She is four years old. I think she is probably the oldest living laying chicken in America. Her real name is Tailfeathers. She survived an attack a year or so ago by an animal (probably a fox) in which 2 of her comrades and 1 of cats perished. The resulting injuries left her with only a few tailfeathers. Hence, the name Tailfeathers. I know, I’m sooo original, not.

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This is where she insists on sleeping every night. See, left to thier own devices, chickens will fly up to the highest roost they can get to. In this case a tree in our yard. The only way to keep her down would be to clip her wings on one side (so she could still fly enough to escape predators) or to cut one of the joints in her wings. I don’t want to do either one. She always comes to the nest to lay, so I let her fly up there. She deserves it after what she has been through.

The reason chickens want to get so high is because once the sun sets they pretty much will not run from anything.

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This is the new bull. He is a Hereford. When we breed him with the current cows who are Black Angus my uncle-in-law says we will have Black Baldies. When I asked why he wants to do this his response was, “because I can”.

I leave you with some shots of the beautiful clouds in the sky opposite the setting sun on the night that we took our walk and ride around the farm.

I do love the colors of the skies here in Alabama. Until you have seen an Autumn sunset in Alabama, you just haven’t seen it all.

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Y’all Come Back Now.

October 30, 2009. Home and Garden. Leave a comment.

Halloween Haybale Jack-O-Lantern

It has been time to roll the last bit of hay before the cold weather comes and stays for good. While my husband’s uncle was rolling the hay in front of our house, I asked him to leave me one of the bales pointed toward the road so that the girls and I could decorate it for Halloween.

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This is what we started with. A standard round bale of hay.

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Then the girls and I spray painted it with flourescent orange paint.

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Even the little one got into the act.

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We covered the entire front surface of the haybale with the paint.

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I turned around while the girls were working and caught the cat and dog playing. This is Mama Kitty. She came to be part of our family when someone dropped her off pregnant with a litter of kittens and with two half-grown kittens already. Since she can’t have anymore kittens (courtesy of a responsible pet owner policy of mine) she has adopted our dog. She has taught him to hunt mice and jump like a cat. I have seen her catch and bring him a lizard to play with and when it got away from him, she caught it again and brought it back.

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One more shot of my cutie painting the haybale.

We finished up by painting the face with black spray paint. The little chose this traditional design.

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This is the finished product. A huge, visible-from-the-road jack-o-lantern.

I love Autumn.

Y’all Come Back Now.

October 21, 2009. Home and Garden. Leave a comment.

Believe It or Not, Chickens Don’t Know to Come In Out of the Rain.

We had some rain and some unusually cool weather earlier this week.

When my husband went out to check on the chicks, this little guy was out in the weather, shivering and trying desperately to get back into his house.

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He was soaked to the skin and the first thing we could think of was to bring him into the bathroom where my daughter had just finished her shower and the heater was running.

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Within a few minutes, he was dry and warm and ready to rejoin his (or her) little buddies out in the brooder house.

They’ll be more pictures as the chicks grow.

Looking forward to more eggs in the spring.

Y’all Come Back Now.

 

Here are some of the newest pictures of the chicks and how big they are getting.

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They are getting much bigger. I had to move the food and water outside to give the chicks more room to grow.

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This is my baby holding one of the chicks so we can get a close up.

 

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This is a cute shot of one of the chicks checing out the new feeder. “Hmmm, I wonder if it tastes good. Only one way to find out”.

 

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Once the first one tried, then they all have to check it out and see if it is better than the same exact food in the other feeder. Decisions, Decisions. Ohh, the life of  a chicken.

I finally had to get a hanging feeder. I still use the small chick feeder so that the “smaller” chicks don’t have to compete for food.

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I feel like this chick is saying, “I Am King of the Mountain”. This is a game that they like to play.

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They are starting to get the roosting instict. We have a small 1 x 1 stretched across the run so that they can practice flying up to it and learn to fly.

October 8, 2009. Home and Garden. 2 comments.

Chick Update

Well, the chicks are eight days old and are growing like weeds.

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To refresh your memory, this is what the chicks looked like when they arrived last week.

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This is how big they are today.

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They have all lost their “egg tooth” which they needed to hatch from the egg and their feathers are starting to replace the down they have when they hatched.

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The first feathers that come in are the wing feathers. Followed by the tail feathers and then body feathers.

As you can see from the picture, their wing feathers are just about in. This is instrumental because one of the first thing that the chicks need to do is fly to a roost and get off the ground to stay safe from predators.

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You can see this one’s tail feathers here. It liked being perched up on my leg and looking around.

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My 6 year old daughter finally got one to eat out of her hand. We are making sure to sit with them each day in the little run outside their house. We want them to be tame and gentle and the best way to do this is to have contact with us daily to earn their trust.

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These little guys are curious about the outside world, but still undecided about whether or not to venture outside.

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These brave little chicks finally got up the courage to see what exactly the outside world is all about.

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Chloe, our chihuahua, is also curious about the chicks.

Y’all Come Back Now.

September 23, 2009. Home and Garden. 2 comments.

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