The Latest and Greatest

I am sitting on my bed, where a spotted Mini Rex bunny has decided to hop up and join me. We’re not sure if Spotty/Rex/[Insert whatever we’ve decided to call it] is a buck or a doe, though we’ve had the rabbit for several weeks now. The confusion is due to the fact that he/she has exhibited behaviors that could indicate male and female, and rabbits aren’t exactly easy to sex.


Life has been a series of discoveries and losses over the past year or so. We’ve acquired rabbits through a few purchases, a few trades, a gift or two, and bunnies being bunnies, some of them were pregnant when we acquired them, and others have become pregnant since. We’re planning on selling some French Angora bunnies in a few more weeks.



We’ve lost some rabbits. Our best survival rate was six out of seven – the French Angora litter. We also had a litter of eight English Angoras (some of them were mixed with Flemish giant. Oops.) of which four survived.

Between work, two hours + a day of driving, caring for the animals, and the one class I’ve been taking, I have not been keeping up with blogging. I have, however, started the sequel to Dreams and Hypotheticals, and I am beginning to catch that need to write I have been lacking for a while.

The Object Oriented Programming class has also been going very well. I am on track to make another A, with the one remaining project becoming an extra credit assignment, plus the lowest grade being dropped. This time around, it hasn’t felt as stressful. I’m not sure if that is because C# is easier, because I am not having the same issues with my computer and Microsoft Visual that I had in previous semesters, or if the concepts that seem to repeat with each class are finally beginning to sink in.

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, to quote Paul McCartney. Life does go on.


Critique me!

Okay, I’ve started the sequel for the umpteenth time. I’m going to post the first couple of pages here, just to see what folks think.

Some challenges to writing a “sequel”: You have to remind those who read the first book and explain to any potential new readers what is going on without boring those who read the first book, all while capturing enough interest to compel further reading. ACK! It’s hard. Which is why I’ve had many false starts and abandoned beginnings.

Hell, who am I kidding? I’m the queen of abandoned writings. LOL.

Without further ado, the first page or two of the still unnamed sequel to Dreams and Hypotheticals.

Emma looked around the cinder block bedroom of her top story apartment. It wasn’t a great place to live, but it would have to do. It was certainly close to campus. Closer than Cash Hall, the dorm her mother had called the “Ted Bundy Suite” when she and Celia had gone to summer music camp back in their high school days. Hopefully, there would be less roommate drama than she had experienced in the sublease she rented over the summer. So far, the worst thing about Nellie was her collection of stuffed cats. Some of them weren’t bad, but the ones in floral dresses with sunbonnets triggered bad memories of childhood trips to Hee Haw Village.

Emma thought back to moving day just the year before. How different, and yet the same it all seemed. The Tallahassee heat and humidity were unchanging. The sense of new adventures to come was still there, though perhaps not as intense in her sophomore year.

There were still so many questions in the air.

When she entered her freshman year at Florida State University, there was that impending sense that the precognitive dreams she had been having were leading up to something. But when the dreams were realized, life had become no less cryptic. Why even have precognitive dreams about someone if your brain doesn’t allow you to make the connection between dream person and real life person until you are in over your head? When she met Robert, she had known there was something about him that put her on edge.

It still seemed so odd that the dream in question happened the night she met Owen, when she was attending summer music camp, back in her high school days. The threads were too tangled to make sense.

Over the past summer, she had had too much time on her hands. Time to write pages of a book she wasn’t sure she would ever finish, time to realize that she was uncertain of her major in music, time to listen to Rachmaninoff and Brahms and pretend she was trying to forget Robert.

Somehow, she couldn’t. It didn’t help that Owen would talk about Robert every time they met. And the odd, trance-like behavior had continued over the summer. It had started in the spring – Owen would go silent, then he would start talking in a voice that was just different. All of that could be written off as Owen being Owen – he was always an odd one. Except that when it had started last spring, he had somehow known things he

Was it just coincidence? Owen touching her in the exact same spot Robert had, with just the same amount of pressure… Owen talking about police lights the night that Robert was in Atlanta almost getting arrested… Weird things that she could and would have written off, had the entire affair with Robert not been so bizarre to begin with.

They met in Robert’s dorm room, the fall of their freshman year. James had goaded Emma into asking Robert her “hypothetical question.”

“This is a hypothetical question, not an offer, would you sleep with me?”

“It would depend on how many beers I had.”

It was not the worst answer she had ever received. Emma had been asking the question for over a year before that night, and had never felt the inexplicable reaction she felt to Robert’s response.

She tried to write him off that night, only to keep running into him in the coming weeks, and, despite any intentions she had to the contrary, feeling somehow drawn to him.

It had ended in the spring, and in such a way that Emma should have moved on by now.

Except for Owen and his prodding. Owen, and the fact that she still somehow struggled to let go.

I’m thinking in circles. I need to figure out, once and for all, if it was real or some product of my over active imagination.

She had a plan. She just needed a few days worth of classes to arm herself with the necessary information to perform the test.

Unpacking a few personal items, Emma placed a stuffed animal of her own next to the cat Nellie called “Road Kill.” Nutsy, a stuffed vulture from Disney’s Robin Hood, gazed at the squashed looking animal. Much better, she thought.

Hello World!

I’m back in Object Oriented Programming I, and came so close to deciding to drop it again this semester, even though it’s the only class I’m taking. I wanted to focus solely on this, and get it right, after the fiasco of Winter Semester 2016.

My luck hasn’t really changed, in some ways. When I scheduled the class, I was under the mistaken belief that the text book being used was the same text book that I already had, the one I purchased for a prior programming class. I was under that mistaken belief because that was the book listed by the bookstore. They were wrong, I was wrong, the class has changed, mostly for the better, by now using C#.

This meant, of course, that I needed to scrounge around for $160 for a text book. A paperback textbook. Damn you, Pearson…

Laptop, paperback text, box of ginger candies, sunglasses on a table by the window looking into the woods.
This is $160 worth of text book!

The bookstore did not have the book on order. I had to wait a couple of days, because I didn’t have funds until… (story of my life these days) and then Amazon and ALL THE OTHER ONLINE AND LOCAL SELLERS did not have the text book either. The professor extended the deadline, knowing that most of us could not purchase the book until they arrived. I ordered mine when I could, but didn’t receive the notice that the book was in until AFTER the bookstore had closed for the weekend that the first assignment was due. I attempted the first assignment, failing, but turning it in eight minutes late. Which meant it was not accepted, because the professor, while VERY fair, has a strict policy, about which she is very clear.

Now, the lowest grade DOES get dropped, but this means that I have absolutely no wiggle room if I want to maintain my 4.0! Because my dropped grade needs to be the zero.

I thought about withdrawing, but we only get three attempts at a class, and this counts as my second attempt. Without this class, I can’t continue as a Programming and Analysis major, because it is the back bone of so many things to come, and a prerequisite for the rest.

My GPA can go wherever it goes.

I turned in the second project a day early, and made a 95.

I came down with the flu two nights before the third project was due. A really nasty flu. Like H1N1.

I was too sick to go to work. But little by little that Saturday morning I completed assignment three and turned it in, again, the day before it was due. I made a 100. Woo hoo!

I still have the flu, though MOST of the symptoms have passed. All but the nasty cramps and diarrhea… Yeah, TMI. Sorry.

Then the first quiz…

Have I bitched lately about the satellite internet “service” we have in our house? Satellite. Don’t do it unless the only alternative is dial up or nothing.

So, to be safe, and ensure that I could finish the test in the allotted time, I trekked to the nearest library to use their internet. Guess what? They are closed until August. Seriously?

Another ten to fifteen mile drive to the library “in town” and I was able to take the exam with only a little background of babies crying and people talking.

I made a 96.

When it was C++, everything was in lines or ASCII at best. Now, with C#, we have forms, can insert pictures, and have graphic user interface built into the programs we are designing. So it is more fun, though Microsoft Visual is still not without its glitches and tiny aggravations. But for the most part, I’m making it work. But one thing that didn’t change? The first program in the text book was a program to display the phrase “Hello World.” It wasn’t our first assignment, that had us labeling and mislabeling the stars of the Orion Constellation. (It put the wrong label on Bellatrix. Guess Pearson Publishing is not as versed in star names as J.K. Rowling?) But it was there, in the text book.

Hello, World. I am still here.

(Heading home before the diarrhea rares up again…)

Chickens and the Natural Order

We’ve been raising chickens since last spring. My husband is trying to breed specialty breeds to sell in Swap Meets, and I’m a bit worried that this is never going to pay off. Why? Two factors:  1. “I need this chicken so I can make that chick, but we need another coop to keep them exclusively a breeding pair” and 2. Chick mortality.

In addition to the chickens, we have some peafowl (also lovingly referred to as “Pip-Squawks” and “Velociraptors”) and five ducklings. Most of our birds were adopted as babies, though we did pick up some adult birds here and there. We name our birds, pet our birds, and they are all convinced they are really parrots.

Chicks need to be kept warm until their full feathers come in, so we’ve kept them first in brooding bins, then in an unfinished part of what was once the garage until they are old enough to be moved outside to one of the coops. 

Our biggest coop was dubbed “Gen-Pop,” and we have a Polish coop (Auschwitz?) that also holds some chickens that couldn’t get along in Gen-Pop, and a Serama coop that holds nothing but cute little seramas. Prince should, by rights, be in that coop, but he fights with the other tiny Roos, so he’s in Gen-Pop, because he has friends there and has learned NOT to tangle with the bigger Roos.

Walking into the back aviary room one evening, I had to call Adam to see what had happened. The chickens and ducklings were “properly sorted.” The five ducklings were all lined up, the white Leghorns were clustered together, Cochins were in groups of like-colored Cochins, Mottled Java chicks were in another area, and our two adult Buff/Red silkies sat somewhere in the middle of the room. None of this was orchestrated by human intervention. It was done by the birds themselves.

It occurred to me that chickens share some of the personality flaws of human beings.

  • Chickens can be racist. They tend to pick on chickens that look different, whether that difference is color or size.
  • Chickens tend to starve out the weak when the going gets tough. Hey – why waste resources on a bird that is less likely to survive anyway? 
  • There is a pecking order that favors the strongest, but weaklings can survive and even thrive by making nice with stronger chickens.

Chickens also share some of our better qualities.

  • Chickens are inquisitive. They like to investigate things.
  • Chickens show genuine affection to other chickens and even other animals. Our chickens have befriended the duck, pig, the dog (somewhat) and the bunnies. They can’t be friends with the peafowl, because the peafowl tried to eat a couple of young silkies (and killed one) when they managed to get to the wrong side of a divide. They also can’t be friends with the button quail, because they believe button quail are food. We’ve seen chickens appear to mourn the deaths of other chickens.
  • They have a language system that sounds complicated. We’ve learned what some of the sounds mean. They also sing Babaloo. And each rooster has a distinctive crow.

Two of our funny looking Roos were adopted from the county shelter. The man who caught them and boxed them for us thought they were mean. When we got them home and held them, they became big snuggle-birds. Well, at least one of them did, the other tolerates us, but tends to evade being touched very often.

I suppose things like forming cliques and pecking orders are a natural means of survival and order. But we can all look beyond our fear-driven ways and cohabitate peacefully when we try.

Reclaiming stuff

I have the computer that has been circulating around the house for months now. AND I have sole use of our lousy internet connection, such as it is. So I am actually able to blog from home without trying to type into an iPhone screen. Woo Hoo!

I’ve re-enrolled in Object Oriented Programming, which now utilizes C# instead of C++. Wish me luck.

I’m attempting to clean the house, and declutter. I think I need to take my older sister’s advice and follow the Kon Marie method.

Things in life are not always what we would like them to be, but I can make what I will of what we have. One loop, one knot, one word, one photograph at a time.

Sadly, we did lose the baby bunnies. But there are bound to be more bunnies in the future, and we have the grown-up bunnies to love and care for and use for wool harvesting.


Welcoming 2017

New Year’s Superstitions… what are yours? Do you eat Black-eyed peas, or say “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit”? Start the year with a kiss?

Our family superstition is no laundry on January 1st. “If you do the wash on New Year’s Day, you’ll wash the year’s luck away!”

I’m not particularly superstitious, but I’m NOT risking it. 

I will NOT be eating black-eyed peas, however. No matter how many of those disgusting little things I eat, the money thing doesn’t happen. In fact, I think it’s been worse since I started eating them. Sure, you can doctor them up with tons of cheese and rice and maybe some super-salty ham. Or, you can just avoid them like the plague they are.

As for rabbits, I don’t say “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” but I do think it’s lucky we have three baby rabbits. They were born on the 30th, to our white French Angora.

Whatever your superstitions (or lack thereof) may be, have a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year!

Reflections on 2016

All in all, it wasn’t the best year, but we didn’t lose any more human family members. I’m hoping that stays true…

We have made many changes. Moved to Adam’s childhood home, “adopted” enough animals to start a petting zoo, and watched as my grandmother nearly died but recovered enough to be recovering in an assisted living facility.

My daughter is moving in with her father. While I will miss her, she will have opportunities in New York that she simply doesn’t have in the isolated and rural place we now live. She is sixteen, and needs to develop more ways to be independent, which won’t happen when everything here requires use of a motor vehicle, and she is not yet driving. Nor do we have any extra vehicles to spare…

We have been hatching chicks – Cochins, Polish, and mutts.

We have Angora bunnies (English and French) and Flemish giant rabbits, and today the French Angora female had kits. It’s looking like some kind of crazy Easter-themed zoo around here.

I still need to photograph more bunnies, chicks and ducklings. Yeah, we have a few of them as well…

The Angora bunnies are also going to be used for their wool. We’ll be making felt and yarn, if I can get them better used to grooming and gathering. 

And my crochet lace projects have been getting a little out of hand.

I’ve finished more work on the table runner since capturing this photo.

I miss writing, though. So I suppose I need to find time for that somehow.

To all my WordPress friends, have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve and Day, and a healthy, prosperous 2017.