Rolling Along

I'm starting this with a sunset reflection on the monsoon clouds- drama on both sides of the sky... different every day! I guess I really *should* get myself a photo site for these things, eh? I just love the colored glowing light! It's a fair reward for enduring the bad hair days and sweating into bedtime from the humidity...lol.


We've had another lightening-generated wildfire here, this one again about 12- 15 miles away. It's burned over 500 acres since Sunday (this is Tues) but the recent rains have helped a lot.

I *shouldn't* admit this, but I don't know what I would do if lightening hit close enough to home to see flames... the first month we lived here, a storm rolled over the top of us and lightening struck the metal chiminea in the backyard about 50 or 60 feet from the house. It hurt my ears so badly I though I would have hearing loss...well maybe I did! 


The newest good news: Last night my husband watched some documentary/special on the current problems in our food production system (new versions of genetics in crops, pesticides killing butterflies, bees, etc.), and on the mono-farming systems in place. (I didn't watch it, but passed by a few times). 
When it was over, I told him that we were going to be facing higher food and milk prices soon because of the grain crisis, and that I thought we would end up getting goats sooner rather than later out of NEED, whether he wanted them or not, if he wants to continue to eat meat & cheese and drink milk.

Then he  told me that the last job of the day opened his eyes to some "really cute goats"! Talk about a SHOCK!  All this time (at least a year) trying to convince him we need them to help with fire mitigation (a truth), and finally when he sees one for himself he suddenly takes to the idea! 
He said Boer goats -so apparently he mentioned his interest to the clients. Saying it out loud is the first step!  LOL 
I have a few papers on goats in general and a few on breeds, but I looked up Boers again - not just what they look like, but the advantages to them over other breeds. They are good for milking and for meat - and their milk has 4% more fat than other breeds so it's good for cheese and butter too (and ice cream). It would be an excellent choice. So I told him I'll start to prepare for getting some come next spring (a doe and buck at least).

Of course I'm thrilled with his getting on the same page with this, finally, but the prospect is still out of reach -since I haven't yet even had the money to start worms ($24 for 4 dark plastic bins with lids, and the worms for $10 or so), or send a package of old videos and a label-maker to my grandon in the last 2 months... I don't see how we will afford them, even if they eat weeds for 6 months out of the year. 
But, we continue to streamline and cut things in finances, so I have my fingers crossed anyway. 

On a bad note, I now have 8 hens and looks like 4 roosters (one could be a hen, but I doubt it, the tail feathers are turning into a 'waterfall'). He says we should 'process' a couple of the extras! Mm, no, there are no actual "extras"! LOL

No, I really can't. These were my very first hatchlings! I nurtured the eggs, turning them under that hen 2x a day and getting pecked to do it. Come to think of it, I also got plenty of crap on me too. I spent many hours watching them grow! (They are just 21 weeks old now). I watched each of them turn into a beautiful bird - they are still 'becoming themselves' and more beautiful each week! They each have iridescent feathers, even the brown hen and the questionably sexed Barred-Holland looking one! Their feathers are just works of art! You don't eat art!
And they are MY yard art! 

Besides, I don't think HE would want to do the deed either.... but I'm not really brave enough to call his bluff, if you know what I mean?

I candled the 2 eggs under that hen again (just to make sure...)

 You can see the air sacs and on one the actual veins and blob, lol. I haven't really examined the photos closely yet. But they ARE developing. Due the 3rd...fingers crossed! 

It's the end of a long day so I'm going to stop here. Sometimes a short post is best!
I'll leave with one more pretty sky picture I was blessed to capture... a recent morning outside my office window... 










I don't like being told: "you can't"


We've got the monsoons! Yay and hooray... beautiful sunsets and afternoon clouds... 


We were exuberant about the "real" rain we got last night (even if it was full of lightening). It's been so long! We're in the same drought as half the country is, so I know how it feels to wish for rain, to miss it, to see what it's lack brings.

 It's sad and it's scary too - whether it happened back in the 1950's, 70 years ago-  or not... a drought back then doesn't matter to me - now is NOW. 

....but it was so hot yesterday, I look back and wonder how I ever survived southern California all those years. Anyway, I rigged up a fan in the coop – solely for that one hen setting. The door is wide open but it just gets so stifling out there without a window for air circulation. I feel sure that she just has hallucinations all day -and that's why she just sits there. LOL 


I don't like being told I can't do something... so since she was so insistent on setting there I decided what I really wanted was one of those GREEN EGG LAYERS. The only way to get on was to hatch one. Or two.


After the successful hatching of the last 4 eggs, one more hen who thought she should hatch a nest of eggs in the full heat of July... began setting on an empty nest - for a week. I took her out a few times and then tried to lock her out of the coop (but then the other hens who actually lay eggs wouldn't be able to lay them, unless it was out in the yard...which has happened  -and they all gathered together and pecked the egg to bits). 
So I just let her sit there... then one day I checked under her and there were 2 eggs - she stole them somehow!  I took them away from her, because I know from cooking these eggs they are laying that none are fertile.
Roo has been quite 'randy' this season, as you can see:
The hen receiving his more aggressive affections... poor thing. 
But he's not very skilled at what he's doing. 


Back to that setting hen...Poor little lady suffering the stuffy, stifiling, heat in there for nothing!!.
So I determined to get her hatchable eggs. 
The green eggs I wanted so badly. 
But every source of green eggs I knew of was a no-go! 
The neighbor who offered, his one green egg layer was killed. The other neighbor, her chickens are hardly laying (they are free-ranging and only getting scraps these days). 

So I went to the 'natural' store and bought a dozen 'organic free-range' eggs because almost each dozen had a nice blue/green egg in it... the rest were browns and white.

I went an extra step and took a light blue egg out of another carton so my carton would have TWO colored eggs in it. A lady who worked there asked me "did you get a broken egg?" I

 said "no, I just wanted two green eggs in my carton!" 
She didn't care- an egg is an egg, right? 


I took them home hoping to find the egg-cartons' farm pictures online, hopefully showing the flock out to pasture w/ a rooster... but no such luck. Oh, I found the farm alright. But no pictures. 
However, they did sell FERTILE green eggs - at $15 a dozen. 

A fair price, but I don't need a dozen (and my husband would kill me, right?)

So I was happy to get a carton for $5., and as I used the brown ones for breakfast, I checked each pan full, lol. Yep there were 2 fertile ones out of four... just enough evidence that I could justify the risk for a week.


So I put those 2 green eggs under the hen and turned them over 2x a day (since Friday the 13th). And they had been refrigerated for 5 days before that (the date 7/9 was on the carton). 

Wed. (the 18th), I candled them and they are both developing!


I lucked out and got 2 fertile green eggs. 


2 green-egg chicks coming (fingers crossed) on August 3rd! Please double-cross your fingers that they hatch out to be hens. I have enough roosters!

The 2 eggs don't show their color at all here - one in front is a pale seafoam green and the other is the lightest blue

Another hen is acting broody- but she's marked (with white paint) as an egg-eater, so I shoo'ed her out. The flock is now devouring an egg a day- which makes a huge difference if you are only getting 1 to 2 eggs a day when they do. 
But I've tried everything they suggest for it. The only thing that works is getting to the eggs before they do! 

Each person's journey along the road to resilience will be different—but giving up, NOT taking steps, is NOT an option! 

I'm no homesteader- all I have is a dozen green onion plants going and a dozen chickens (of which less than 1/2 can lay). I am not even 1/2-way there. I only have plans to be. I am a wannabe. It doesn't feel good at all... but I keep plugging away at it! To make it more palatable I call it the farmgirl thing- it's less onerous and less ominous. You do whatever works for your circumstances, right?

For now, the smart thing to do is simply prep as if for any kind of thing: natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires or longterm electrical outages (whether from EMP’s or CME’s). It's basically the same prep for all - only having a room of hoarded food doesn't go far enough long term, so it's good to have at least a plan B in mind, or have some kind of little "kitchen garden" and dried beans/rice, toilet paper, -whatever you might want.

You can learn the skills of resilience and build up some forms of security --  the ability to adapt well in the face of hard times and high stress. 
Resilience is a journey, and each person will take his or her own time along the way.

I want to share something about what there is to GAIN. 

Take a look at what Quinn on just a couple acres has done on 2-1/2 acres (while raising 7 kids- some on 'loan' for homeschooling) -it's amazing.
The page shows the $ value of the crops they raised in 201. THOUSANDS of dollars worth of produce they didn't have to spend at a store.

This is just ONE of the 200 blogs I research for helpful information. I find it fun, and also overwhelming.
These people have resources I don't. 
They have also had time.

There is a local magazine that comes out once a month here called "Edible - San Juan Mountains" that I LOVE. It showcases at least one person doing something amazing.

 Last month it was an Amer.Indian auction-house sheepherder, and I learned a lot about the local Amer. Indian Churro sheep - the month before, it was a local lady who is saving heirloom seeds from the region (all grow in this climate) and the seeds are available for locals.

This month was about a 70 year-old man who'd bought some acres 20 years ago and finally decided to use them on his 'farmer' dream. Well he asked local farmers about growing sweet corn and they said don't do it. 


He wanted the same corn they grow in Olathe which is famous for being sweet. It sells for $6. an ear! He did it anyway! 


He had the help of a kid from the college and someone else - and it cost him more than he'd counted on... and then in July (last year), his corn was about 2' high and the other corn he was seeing around the state was 6' high - so he thought he'd failed and he'd wasted all that time, money, effort, since his crop was a dud. 
But the county's state university extension office guy came out and said "your corn is right on schedule! It's not feed/cheap corn- it's the sweet corn and that is how it is SUPPOSED to look in July. He did good!
Now he's got extra $ from that crop, and is expanding to other things. Like a greenhouse 'tunnel' (not a green house, but sheathed in plastic like one, to extend the growing season). 

I can't remember if I kept this story or not- I'll have to look for it... but there is a man in the desert of Utah who bought land cheap because the Gov't offices said the land had no value and you couldn't grow anything on it. 


Well he began raising goats on it and after some years it was good dirt. He now has a peach orchard too. (His property was bordered by a river that had tall cliff walls on the other side- very good water/protected/private. He sustains himself on that, though he isn't 'rich' - his life is good!

What do I take from that story? There is hope - hope for me, and for you (in resilience). 
If you look you will find something that fits your situation from which you will gain some resilience from.

I'm counting on it. 
Then, do the next thing.

-----------------------------
Our country, our everyday lives FEEL normal right now (although they may be hard financially). This feels normal- but I believe it is simply a "lull" before the next round of hard times.

They are saying the Aurora shooter thought he was "The Joker" from Batman. IF true, he is insane. Whether it's true for him or not, the more cuts to the social 'nets' the more of this we'll see. 

I feel sorry for everyone involved in this, but truly, it was the city and the state that has failed everyone (if he was diagnosed). The mentally ill who are not diagnoses, and the homeless are "invisible" people; society doesn't want to deal with them, or pay for them. They are HARD to deal with on a person-to-person needs basis- so they are not well tended to. It used to be that the churches took care of our fragile and fringe-living people, but for whatever reason they now don't or can't. With our public-funded safety nets in place now, the cities, counties and states need to step up to that plate. 
However, the cities, counties and states are going broke... 


I've been keeping an eye on the financial stats of Calpers (the union backing the pensions of county workers in Cali- of which my brother is one). 
3 cities in Cali have gone Bankrupt in the past 2 months and 2 more are on the brink- including Compton (L.A.) where the Rodney King riots took place. 

Every Municipal issuing entity in Cali that uses Calpers to handle their pension obligations is, how you say, at a huge risk of losing their retirement.  This fact alone will precipitate a wave of defaults and payout cuts. 

If you're relying on a public pension fund for your retirement, put this in your favorites – to keep tabs on:
Specifically the "States Running Deficits"section:

California: $16 Billion
Illinois: $8 Billion
Pennsylvania: $500 Million
Louisiana: $251 Million
Rhode Island: $120 Million
Connecticut: $97.5 Million
So, looks like the dominoes are going to be CA, IL, PA …and then the 'fun' begins...

There is no good news to be found unless you're in an 'oil/gas' town. For now anyway.

And if you didn't know, Saudi Arabia's domestic oil consumption has doubled in the past decade.  It is rising exponentially. 
Countries may become oil independent in a way they may not prefer:  If there are no oil exports to buy, then you are independent!

I read this in the comments on Zerohedge yesterday:
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.
There was a time when the US would top just about every list then. The rest of the world looked to America as an example of how to work and live..”


I don't recognize our country sometimes. I don't like knowing what I know about the direction it's going. Sometimes I recall what Dorothy said in the 'Wizard of Oz':
"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."

Comparing the US to the other 29 countries in the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)
Out of 29 coutnries, we rank:

life expectancy at birth (24th),
probability of not reaching the age of 60 (25th),
infant mortality rate (25th),
obesity (30),
practicing physicians per capita (23),
acute care hospital beds per capita (25 out of 29),
psychiatric care beds per capita (25 out of 29).
teenage pregnancy births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 (28 out of 28);
paid maternity leave entitlement as a percentage of annual wage (29/29);
child poverty rate (25/26);
percentage of young people (0-14) living with both parents (21/23);
percentage of young adolescents living with both parents (26/26)
divorce rate (29)
press freedom index (26/29);
collective bargaining coverage (24/25);
prisoners per capita (29/29); 
child poverty (25/26) 
economic inequality (28/29)

I'd like to know the one country we are still 'better' than    but the picture is becoming increasingly clear. Our once great empire is going to fall (IS falling) apart. It's all very sad, and very scary, but that's why I keep advocating for personal resilience!

When the electric went off last night I felt a terrible knot in my stomach: we have a handful of candles and a kerosene lamp (the other one has no wick). 
I have no bees for beeswax, no canned goods in the cupboard, no stored water, and probably $100 in cash between us on a good day -if you're low on gasoline there wouldn't be pumps to get more....
Sure, we could eat eggs -but that sure gets old in a hurry, and they sure don't lay enough for us and the dogs! 

So much to think about and do, NOW. Yet the limitations are completely blocking most efforts - they take so much time to get going. 

I did finally FIND the dark plastic bins w/ lids that I need to start the vermiculture project- at $6 apiece - so I will get 4. Two for meal worms and two for red worms (You have togreat for fishing with as well as a protein for the birds). They also produce the best kind of garden soil ever! I'm excited to get to begin this - you know, as soon as I have $25 extra.
Extra? Oh yeah...LOL  

 Check out the inspiring article at Mother Earth News on the layout of a self sufficient ONE-ACRE farm. What a dream. Here's the layout- 

The article makes it look a bit "too easy". I guess if you had a completely perfect piece of property....? But really? What if you are stuck with the property you have? 

This is OUR (10-acre) property and what we have to work with: 

(Keep in mind that 1 in every 10 trees is dead and there is prickly pear cactus spread over about 1/3 of it - there is no irrigation and the water is highly sulphur.) And it isn't even fenced.

Yeah..... we're a long way from anything that looks like a homestead, much less a farm. Sometimes I really wonder why we stay. I guess the truth is that we are stuck here.
And it’s just not looking like we’ll have a glut of extra money any time soon either.

I’ve been keeping up on the IMF (International Monetary Fund ) reports and so many other sources…financial risks are ON THE RISE.
How can this be happening when all these governments with all the data and intellect are at their fingertips – they should KNOW what to do!
The WEO update also cited the possibility that growth in the United States would stall because of excessive fiscal tightening caused by political gridlock.

A CBS articleA Global Recession? The Warning Signs Are Everywhere
And it’s not only independent economists or a sprinkling of financial experts (none of whom apparently work for the Government, I might add…) saying doom and gloom. 
This should knock you off your rocker. Please read it if you have ANY DOUBT we are not being told the truth…. there is nothing 'political' in it:



 Life is about many things, but chance always favors the prepared, period.
That haunts me every minute of the day. I HATE being in these complex, convoluted times where everything is so uncertain and everything is so hard...

But one cannot live like they are haunted. One must practice ‘normalcy’ and continue to hope for the best. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, right?

I promise that once you've accepted the mission to begin prepping for the worst, you can still hope for the best. 
And since normalcy is built on routine, and little by little your routine will incorporate little activities that add up to some measures of security, you should sleep better.
It seems overwhelming right now, but in little bites, if you have a plan, it's liberating and empowering to begin this process. It eliminates that helpless feeling.

Imagine a true garden at your moms' house. A "family community garden". Imagine sending out little invitation cards to every man, woman, and child, in the family and inviting them to partake in the family garden by contributing their favorite veggie seeds/plants (whoever names it first gets it, if someone else picks your favorite veggie, you have to pick something else). 
Then once a month everyone gets together for weeding/hoeing, etc. and a BBQ or marshmallow roasting or something 'fun'. Family time.... During the week your mom can check on it, and then one person a week has to water it all. (Draw straws or vote on it, or just pass around a chart to sign up on.)
This assumes your Mom could arrange to have a plot prepared, or enough people volunteer.
The main thing is that it keeps a sense of 'normalcy' and involves everyone- those who know the most can supervise and offer up their ideas and plans, and others can do the manual labor. It will all be fair or equalize that way. No one has to call it a 'survival' garden or anything.
For birthdays, a fruit tree or berry bush could be planted around it. 
It's a sneaky way to provide for the family without mentioning anything alarming. It's like blending up green beans and carrots into mush and adding them to the spaghetti sauce so that kids will eat their vegetables and never even know that it's "good for them". 
At least it's something real and doable and adds to family cohesiveness, and makes it 'normal' for any children too and they will also learn from the experience while playing.

Meantime, it's ok to keep the normalcy going on!! It's our reality after all - things do SEEM normal for now (if a bit hard financially/job availability). I keep telling you that I'm writing and painting- those are my normalcy measures. We all need them. 

We have to begin to step up and step out of our cocoons soon. It will be a great comfort to know the journey is shared, even if the paths are different.


A Little Thrill from Dr. Seuss


Call me obsessive, but I thought I'd share briefly something I discovered. 

Actually 2 things.

One, I can readily admit I'm a bit obsessive about taking pictures of things I don't want to forget (my memory sux...). It's too obvious that it includes documenting the ongoing antics and color development of the chicks. SO that's nothing new, we'll just say I'm obsessive, right? 

But the 1st thing I discovered is that each of those 4 chicks has feathers producing irridescent sheen
Purpleand green - depending on the light.
I actually for the first time also picked up a tail feather from ROO (the gray Cochin), which has various shades of gray- and little streaks of - irridescent green! 
I've discovered a few of the gray Cochin hens also have some little wing feathers with streaks of it. It's sooooooo cool! LOL

Second, I've discovered that my obsessive nature in documenting my experiences - is worth it.
Worth the battery costs and the time spent sweating under the sun and chasing little winged things around the yard for the right sun ray to hit just right... and then upload and edit.

I have AN IRIDESCENT FLOCK! 
"Barred" chick, "Brown Lace" chick, "Tuxedo" chick, and "Black & White" (B&W) chick--- Their colors are amazing- one has black legs, one has yellow, one has tan, and one has blue... and those patterns, wow! But finding each one carries a special sheen too... kinda floored me.


green tail feather on the Tux roo - he also has 'spotted' leg feathers
 lol - they look like something from Dr. Seuss' imagination.

green drops and feathers on the B&W chick

the barred chick

the brown chick

purple back of the Tux chick


It thrills my artistic need for 'interest' no end.

But if there is something worth getting up for, something a little indulgent or a pleasant surprise... well it makes a day go a lot better than "same 'pl, same 'ol". 

Come on, you know it's true- so I'd love to find out what about your day is worth getting up for, something lately that gives you a thrill.