Category Archives: Small town stuff

Overworked and underskated

Lately it feels like all I do is work. We’ve had a bit of a break from rollerderby (not by choice!) due to scheduling conflicts with our spaces etc….and it’s killing me! I feel like I am in withdrawal from skating since it’s been a week now. I must wait until Thursday….a lifetime away.

Yesterday (while I was at work of course) John checked out a local farm trader bazaar type thingy. Basically a bunch of local farmers brought their new livestock and sold them to other farmer people. John brought me home a present…..

well four presents…..

 So now we have four babies and 12 hens. Our egg production is surprisingly decent considering our hens were free castaways. We average about 5 eggs per day – which is plenty for us and we can sell a dozen or so to friends every week.

The new baby chicks are a bit of a test run to see how demanding chicks are since we have 30 coming at the end of May. So far (and it’s only been 24 hours) they remain adorable and cheepy.

 Yay for baby chicks and lots of eggs!

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The ladies are settling in

The hens are settling nicely – in two days we have gotten about 8 eggs (two broke – bummer!). We were pleasantly surprised they layed eggs since we expected a transition period due to the “traumatic move” we put them through and adjusting to their new home. We were wrong – they seem fine and this morning John and I enjoyed two eggs each with toast!

Success 🙂

Chicken Day

So my lazy, windy day went out the window soon after I hit “publish” on my earlier post. I was skyping with my sister and perusing Craigslist when I stumbled across an ad for a dozen or so free hens. I looked at the posting and it went up about 15 minutes before I read it, so I sent off a quick email.

Within an hour I was on my way to a nearby farm to load up 14 hens into the back of my pathfinder. A hilarious sight to see indeed. But the short story is, is that WE HAVE CHICKENS! And they were free! So far they seem quite content and curious with their new home and have successfully scratched at and plucked out the weeds in their coop.
So I’ve got 14 ISA Browns that I am hoping will lay some eggs once they settle in to their new digs.

Exciting stuff!

-SM

Chicken Business #2

As promised, the in progress pics:

It doesn’t look like much, but notice that lack of significant holes aka “ankle breakers” in the ground. All tilled up!

This is the inside where the roosts are. This will likely be the last time it’ll be this clean for a while…..

This is the “people” side of the coop – where lighting is dealt with, food, equipment and rat poison for now.

I’m kind of fixated on chickens right now, my apologies if I am boring you to death. But I can’t wait!

-SM

Chicken Business

I had two whole days off from work and roller derby this week. The sun was out (albeit very chilly out) so we began working out in the chicken coop. I will provide some “before shots” this post and some “after shots” in the near future.

This is the outside of the coop/chicken house: this week we worked on monitoring the presence of rats – gross. We need to get ventilator masks for when we actually have chickens in there due to the strong odours. I’m tossing around the idea of making a neat sign with a name for the house…..

One side of the run – very rugged and lots of pot holes, bones, and random eggs!

I’ve contacted a few local breeders for some chickens – the goal is by April to have them up and running. Can’t wait!

We also tackled some other outdoor chores this week including: cleaning out and around the pond that we have ( I am tossing around the idea of keeping some ducks and making a duck house – fun), and assessed our garden for what we will plant since we kinda need to get rolling on that.

I will throw some updated pics up soon!

-SM

There is light…..I can see it

It’s been a drabby and long, wet, winter. Today the sun has graced us with its presence here in small town. I celebrated by sleeping in (gross – but I worked a 19 hour shift the day before) and took the pups to the dog park. I walked by my chicken coop that I am itching to fill with life (as in chickens) and took mental note of the work I will do on it this Monday.

Chickens are on order for April – can’t wait! But in the meantime I will be occupying myself with getting the garden going and learning more about that. In addition to keeping up with my goals.

The light I am referring to is not only the sunshine: I am talking about breaking through the long and arduous wall that has been keeping me from getting financially stable since this move in November. Moving is hard and a huge financial burden, let alone moving to an island and establishing a job and working all that out. I am days away from being able to let out a huge sigh of relief and hopefully sleep restfully (after celebrating). The thing about money and the stress that accompanies it, is that it is hard to get it out of your mind, especially if you are falling behind. It can be terrifying: how will I make it until ____ date? how will I pay off ____ bill? what about gas for my car? There is always something that comes up it seems.

When we moved, I was in school full-time (correspondence) and had a loan, a small savings and the attitude that I can get a job anywhere. Which is true (to an extent) but what I did not take into account is the possibility that it could take a while to get going. I am grateful and realize how lucky I am, but MAN it’s been a hard few months. So my strategy to get through this all was to keep the best attitude about it as I could. Inevitably it got to me and there were times where I would stress and stress until I made myself sick. What a mess.

But I did keep telling myself that “it has to get better, and it will.”

It did. And I am quite certain it will continue to get better. So the sunshine today has really assisted in not only boosting my vitamin D intake, but also my proverbial spirits. The sun is shining and the weather is sweet my friends. Take some time to appreciate what you have, what you’ve worked for and share it with someone special.

Much love,

-SM

Survival of the Fittest

I’ve been putting off another official post for a bit. Not because I didn’t want to write, but I’ve had a big push to finish my courses, write exams, start the new job and even though I had yesterday off and completely free of any responsibilities, I wanted to take the time to just mellow out….and play in the snow!!! We got a huge dumping of snow here in new small town, and it was the most exciting thing to wake up to yesterday morning. One of my dogs LOVES it, the other one…not so much. So we played in the snow, and later I went out and practiced driving in the snow in an attempt to overcome a recent traumatic snow-driving experience. I did just fine and in fact, I survived 🙂

So, what’s been happening? Well, last weekend I wrote my final exam for one of my courses. I literally made myself physically sick trying to study and prepare myself. I do not usually do well on tests, but to my delighted surprise when I arrived to write it, I actually felt like I knew what I was talking about. Many people around me were like “I told you so, I knew you’d be fine” and similar comments. But seriously, I did not expect to feel confident afterwards, I have always struggled with memorization and exams. I think I did well though. Will let ya know when I get the results.

I also presented my final presentation for another course the other night – again completely terrified I had done a half-assed job, but again I had a virtual standing ovation (It’s an online course). So I’ve actually managed to pull it off for school. This is an accomplishment for me, since I have actually finished something – I have a tendency to start up projects or intend to accomplish something and then it fizzles out. It looks like I’m actually going to run the whole distance here and I’ve managed to do it while holding down a job (a sometimes very demanding one) and a relationship. Go me! I survived.

New job report: I love it! I’ve had a handful of training days and will be heading out shortly to it. It feels natural to me and the new coworkers/boss seem to really like me. Phewf! Survived training while exams were going on. Success!

I’ve been missing derby practices for a week 😦 BUT the good news is (weather permitting since I drive through a mountain pass) I have practice tonight and can’t wait! Cross your fingers for me about the weather!

More good news for me is John and I are going to be auntie and uncle VERY soon!!! John’s sis is going to have her baby in the next coupla weeks which means we get to go down to the Seattle area to welcome into the world our niece to be – exciting!!! This will be John’s first time ( I have a niece and nephew on my side) of experiencing the amazingness and it’s really sweet how excited he is. I can’t wait to get down there 🙂

Have a great day – keep warm if you’re getting pummeled by the winter weather and I’ve added a few snowy pics of my poochies on the property yesterday.

-SM

Small Town adjustments

So I am loving living in the small town we moved to in November. Just loving it. It has been quite a change for me, but I expected that. The biggest challenge has been uprooting my life and comfort zone and planting new roots: finding a job, meeting people to hang out with, navigating my way around the area, figuring out what stores carry Island Farms Dairy products. These are all changes that I had anticipated and feel that I am doing a fine job at figuring out.

Here are a few challenges I hadn’t even thought about but have been faced with:

  • Garbage/food waste/recycling days – I love the idea of mandatory composting and recycling but the calendar for each pick up day is MADNESS. Each of these random days mess with my mind and on more than one occasion I have remembered that “today is food waste day!” while I am in the shower at approximately the time the pick up truck comes. Yes, I have leaped out of the shower, thrown on a house coat, soaking wet and grabbed the bin and gone running down the what feels like a mile long driveway to get the bin out on time. I haven’t missed yet, but it doesn’t seem to get less ridiculous for me. And now that the new year is upon us, the schedule is about to get all sorts of out of whack.
  • Power outages in the country. Recall my insane fear of the dark. It gets windy here and the power likes to go out from time to time which can be fun until you are alone, at night. Scary. Also, I am on well-water which means: no power, no water. I foresee a generator in my future.
  • Ghost town! The town shuts down before dinner time and doesn’t open until 10am. It’s funny. No such thing as a 24 hour anything. I don’t mind it, I feel like it makes me more prepared.

But all in all, things are going just fine here in the new home. I’m getting excited for the spring when I can stock up on live chicks for the chicken coop!

-SM

Delivering papers as a grown up

I recently moved to a  very small town from the bustling and overpriced city of Vancouver, BC (which is beautiful but I cannot imagine owning a home there ever). I am completing a heavy course load of distance education courses so I left my job at the end of September. When we moved, I was perusing the local paper in new small town and spotted an add that said “News carriers wanted! Adults welcome!”. Well doesn’t that sound fun, I thought.

So I called in and took up a paper route. This is not the only way I make a living, I am about to start training this week at the “real job.” I go out twice a week and deliver papers – complete with nifty canvass paper bag. I’m thinking about pimping my paper bag, perhaps some added flair with concert patches or crocheted bling or something. I wear a neat hat too – but this is my own decision. Depending on weather I have an old man taxi driver style hat, or on the colder days, one of my stylish winter hats.

My paper route takes a little over one hour to do and each time I am getting ready to do it, I feel giddy and ridiculous all at once.

Things I like about my paper route:

1) For the 1+ of fast walking (with resistance – recall nifty paper bag) 2x a week

2) The quiet/alone time where I contemplate my life/day/empty bank account/next roller derby practice

3) Singing. I love to sing, I suck at it. Nobody seems to mind my singing while I wander up their driveways

4) Cookies. There are many old people in my small town, and they make cookies and give them to me.

5) Small talk with random people. This is kind of part of one of my goals – meeting new people in the new community – well apparently people like to talk to me (and call my paper boss to say they “like my paper delivering style”)

Things I do not like about my paper route:
1) I hate touching newspapers. Ironic right? I hate the feel of inky newsprint on my bare hands. I wear gloves when I “roll my papers”

2) The pay is shit. It’s almost funny. It pays my truck insurance each month and that’s it.

3) Creepy old men hitting on the paper girl. The line I got today: “I must need to get my eyes checked, because I don’t remember the paper guy being this good looking!” (I did not accept cookies from him). No, you need to get your eyes checked because it may be a safety violation while you get behind the wheel of your ginourmous boat of a vehicle.

4) Scary dogs. I love dogs. I have two dogs. Why do three houses on my route allow their menacing and scary dogs roam free in the front yard/road with no supervision? I toss their papers and run (when usually I hand deliver to the front door) and don’t look back.

5) Unfriendly paper recipients. I guess before I came along to the route, the other carrier would do drive-bys: stay in their car and whip the paper from the car window. I park and load my bag and walk it baby and I’ve gotten two evil glares from windows. Why? I have no idea! Bastards.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll get to keep my paper route though…..as I said, training is starting next week and then I’ll be on call for the job so it may not be feasible to keep it. But until then I’ll keep on walking.

-SM

Rockin’ in the free world

I love Neil Young and I take quotes I use of his seriously. Today I feel like I am lucky to rock in the free world I live in. Times may be tough and I may feel down and out sometimes, but seriously, I have it made. I just thought about how easily I ran a full hot bath last night because I was feeling under the weather. How I have a full fridge of food to cook with and options for dinner tonight. I’ve got friends and family who don’t mind me either. So yup, I’m doing alright.

Today marks an exceptionally great day for  me. I finished, revised and perfected that big scary paper I’ve been battling. For former/current students out there, you GET the overwhelming weight that is lifted when you submit one of these bad boys….the clicking of the “send” button on my email to my prof…it’s fan-fricking-tastic. And to celebrate, I poured myself a festive glass of Baileys.

But alas, the goodness does not end there….

I’m still in the mood to appreciate the goodness all around. Today was a beautiful day, and although I had to spend the bulk of it at my computer tackling said project (and fighting Betty for a direct view of my computer screen) I did manage to get outside to the dog park for an hour, chatted with one my favorite dog park guys AND ride my beautiful cruiser bike for a bit. I am a firm believer in giving myself little breaks while tackling a big project – to keep my mind fresh and all.

While getting some fresh air this afternoon I spotted a healthy adult-sized blackbear moseying up my driveway. He turned around when I made a sound, but he was big, hairy and definitely lookin’ for a snack, considering it being quite late in the year for black bear sightings. I wasn’t spooked, but considered myself lucky to see such an array of wildlife on a daily basis where I live:

-bunnies (every day, definitely two that call my yard home)

-deer (plenty frequent the property, especially the apple tree)

-eagles! How amazing is it to see several bald eagles flying overhead all the time? VERY AMAZING! that’s how.

-black bear (new to the ‘hood but I’m cool with that so long as he doesn’t eat my pets)

-woodpeckers and other really neat little birdies (daily)

LOVIN’ life in the small-ish town, trials and tribulations and all.

Keep on Rockin’

-SM

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