Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sorry posts have been a little non existent light the last few weeks. We have been in the thick of pecan picking season. I tried very hard to get most of what has fallen picked up before the leaves started their annual migration to the ground but they are now all over the yard, making the nuts extremely hard to see. Hubs is looking into getting a walk behind harvester to pick up the nuts but, sheesh, those things aren't cheap! He reasons that we will pay for it in 2 years with the extra nuts we will be collecting. We should be getting about 1000 lbs. of nuts per tree but we collect far less than that handpicking.

The trees are positively LOADED this year! I was smart enough to get the grass mowed just before the nuts started falling. Last year, I didn't do so good. The nuts were all caught in the grass and it made picking even more tedious than it usually is. This year, the grass was mowed and lots of nuts fell before the leaves really started falling so the early picking wasn't too bad.

Speaking of leaves, my poor pool pump has been working overtime trying to keep the leaves skimmed and out of the pool. That, of course, means I am sticking my nice warm hand into frigid water to clean out the skimmer basket multiple times a day! Thank goodness the 2 trees next to the pool are almost bare. Next year, there will be a cover on that pool! Live and learn.

Next week, the kids, my mom and I head to Florida for Thanksgiving. My cousin is getting married the following Saturday so we will spend the holidays with my mom's family. Hubby doesn't think he will be able to get down there for Thanksgiving but he will be there for the wedding. I hate spending the holidays without him. His business is slow right before Thanksgiving but all you-know-what breaks loose that Friday and he doesn't want to leave our oldest son to handle it himself. I do miss Thanksgiving with that part of my family, though. We all lived so close together when we lived in Florida. We spent all holidays together and it was just wonderful. My in laws really don't make a Thanksgiving meal so hubby and my dad will probably go to Cracker Barrel for dinner. Isn't that sad??? If my aunt wasn't counting on me and mom to do a lot of the cooking, I would just spend the holiday at home and leave with hubby on Friday night to head to Florida. I REALLY am not looking forward to that drive. Nine hours! I am the WORST person to be cooped up in a car with. I am a bad rider. I get bored easily even though I bring books, magazines and craft projects, I am waaaayyyyy too antsy to sit still for that kind of time. I won't even get into how many times we have to stop because I have the tinest bladder! The fact that I am driving only improves it by a little. I don't like driving, either. I wish my family would all just move closer! But no. They all want to stay 550 miles away! Something about "they have always lived there" and "it's our home". Yada, yada, yada. I REALLY wanted to fly but we waited too long to try and do flight arrangements. Plus, 4 round trip tickets would have been out of the budget this month. However, and it's a big however, I will get to see my grandpa and my aunts, uncles and cousins that I desperately miss so, for them, I will make the journey.

These next few weeks will be soooooo busy! Once I get back from Florida, it is full on work to get our church prepared for Breakfast With Santa. It is a project that my UMW group does every Christmas for the children in the community. They come and have breakfast, get their picture taken with Santa and then they get to shop in our Secret Santa Shop and buy things for their family. Nothing costs over $5 so they can usually buy for everyone they want. Our ladies are so crafty and they really come up with beautiful items for the kids to purchase. Then we wrap them up for them so they can put them under the tree without having to do anything. The kids do all this shopping without their parents. Our youth help the kids pick things out and keep track of how much they have spent so moms and dads get a chance to shop in our Bake Shop. It is a lot of fun for the kids but it is a tremendous amount of work leading up to it. Then, right after that, we have our UMW Christmas dinner. After that, it is work, work, work in choir to get ready for our Christmas Program. There will be multiple EXTRA rehearsals on top of our regular Wednesday night rehearsals and, since the Youth Choir will be singing with the Adult Choir, my kids will be going to most of those rehearsals with me. That will probably mean multiple meals out....Yuck! Hopefully, I can minimize those. I DESPISE eating out in our tiny town. Once our main Christmas Program is done, we still have a secondary one on the Sunday before Christmas. We will have an orchestra playing with us so we will have some practices for that, too. Then, of course, there will be the mad dash to get the house all ready for Christmas, the presents bought and wrapped (emphasis on bought!). Plus, did I mention our remodeling will likely start right after Thanksgiving so it will be finished by Christmas? Yes, because all that other stuff wasn't enough, I will have my house destroyed for several weeks. For someone who is OCD like me when it comes to cleaning, this will be torture!
But you know what? I love it. I really do. I always get mad at myself for scheduling too much stuff but I have a serious problem with down time. I always feel that if I am just sitting around, I am not being productive and I just can't enjoy myself. I think, secretly, I like the busyness. It keeps me out of trouble, that's for sure. Maybe I am just weird. Yeah, we will go with weird.

On the chicken front, we had several girls go into full molt because someone didn't make provisions for artificial light in the coop. I won't mention who that was but she had a real good reason. There is no electricity anywhere near the coop. I checked into getting some solar lights but, at this time of year, that expense is out of the question. So my set up is this. Two very long extension cords, a light fixture and a timer. It ain't pretty by no means but it works for now. We were down to several days with no eggs and I finally realized that several chickens were looking a little "feather bare". Once we got the light up. We started getting 2 eggs each day. Then it went up to 4. I noticed, recently, that 2 of the hens were completely outfitted with new plumage and our egg production went up to 6 eggs a day. We are now up to 6-8 each day so that means that only 2 are yet to begin laying again. What a relief! I lost all my (very small) income from egg sales for months. I even had to resort to buying a supply of eggs from the store. GASP! Hopefully, we will get back on track really soon and be back up to full production. Chickens are really easy to manage but there are some things that will totally throw them off. Reduced daylight hours is a biggie. They really need 14-16 hours of daylight to keep laying so we set the timer to come on 3 hours before sunrise and, voila, eggs! If you have experienced a decrease in production, this could be a cause.

So what's happening on your homefront. Are you crazy busy (and loving every minute of it) or have you found the secret to getting it all done without pulling out your hair? I'd love to hear it!

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