Ardyn is at school this morning and Marek and I are hanging out at home. We took baths (which I really needed.... every time in the last two weeks that I have attempted to shave I have gotten interrupted and had to get out early and never got to it) and it has been nice and quiet. Marek played cars and monster trucks and I have actually been able to have full conversations with him without him being interrupted or talked over. Nice!
Trick or Treat was fun last night. At first Marek was all worked up about not wanting his costume on, and he fought me, just like he did for the costume party, but as soon as he got into the wagon he got a huge smile on his face, and at the first house he marched up and puffed out his chest and said "I a robot!" so proudly. He didn't wear his helmet at all to trick or treat, but it is awkward and he doesn't like it on, and the costume worked fine without it, so it was okay. He won "Most Original" for his costume in his preschool age group at the community halloween party.
This week is fairly laid back. We have lots going on, but none of it is really stressful. Except I have to get the house picked up by Friday for the cleaning ladies. The kitchen is picked up, and I cleaned all the robot costume making supplies off the dining room table, but there is laundry to fold and put away, and both the kids rooms appear destroyed again. We have date night tonight and we get to go pick up photos that the kids had taken from an Antiquities Photo Fundraiser. Basically you buy a $10 ticket and then they do a photo shoot in which they provide the props and clothing. Then you get a free storyboard that is 10x13 and the option to buy more if you want. The best thing that I liked about it was the props of course, but at the same time they were the downfall. Some of the photos I thought had TOO MANY Props, and some had really icky props (IMHO) like cheap plastic flower sticks that looked like they cost $1.50 at Walmart, for "bouquets." Ick. I tried to eliminate icky photo props for the kids but the photographer was an older man and he kept sticking things in the photos that I really disliked. So we shall see. Marek got to wear a tuxedo that was ADORABLE with a top hat, and that might just be my favorite, but when he was taking Marek's pic in the tuxedo he had a REALLY cool black and white patterned background, but then stuck an ugly white pillar in the picture. So I am not sure about that. Hopefully some were actually really good. The kids cooperated really well and had a great time. The ticket and the fundraising organizers said that we could pick one set of outfits and then switch, but the photographer wasn't cooperative about that, which I found really really frustrating. They had a really cool motorcycle that Marek wanted to get his picture on, but instead of letting me put his jeans back on with the leather motorcycle jacket, the photographer kept his tux on but removed the jacket. I had picked a cool outfit for Ardyn to wear in that shot and for her to stand next to Marek on the motorcycle, but he was rushing and although I rushed out and swapped outfits in like 3 minutes or less, he only allowed me one photo with the two of them together in those clothes, and by the way Ardyn was positioned in front of the background divider I could tell he had no intention of making it an actual shot, and that it would probably be scrapped and he was just appeasing me enough to get me out of his way. I think that as a perfectionist and a photographer myself, I am overly sensitive to that type of thing, but attention to detail is very important to me for good photos, and if they actually intended me to PURCHASE any from them, it would have been helpful if they would have been accommodating and also asked which props I actually liked. He took a ton of photos of Ardyn with a teaset and a mirror and pearls, and while those will probably be cool in sepia, I felt like he spent way too much time on Ardyn and not enough with Marek or much with the two of them together, which is more what I wanted and expected. Oh well. It was certainly worth $10 and I know the organization was pleased with their fund-raising results, so the goal was achieved. All I could think is what FUN I could have with a little tuxedo and my OWN camera.... Which means that when Marek is ring bearer for Darrel and Leslea, I will just have to be especially sure to use a camera to my fullest advantage. I am excited about seeing the pictures tonight, but a little worried about exactly what poses and prop photos they will put in this "storyboard" because I am sure it's already printed and I can't choose which shots I want in it.
On another front, Chickens! We have had some strange chicken happenings lately. Yesterday morning we went outside to find a missing chicken, which shortly changed over to a dead chicken. It was one of our beautiful Buff Orpingtons that we had raised from a chick. You probably know or recall that we started with six and that FOUR of those ended up being roosters that we donated to new homes. That left us with TWO Buff Hens that were just gorgeous. We also had three hens given to us by Jeremy and Cherie of Meadowhaven Farms, and when we were overwhelmed with lots of chickens, I gave one of those away to a friend in need of a hen. Now we have two of those left, which left a total of four hens. So one was missing when we went out yesterday, and shortly after I found her dead, unharmed, between the garden and the picket fence. It appeared that she had crawled in between the space in the boards because she felt safe in there, and was basically "roosting" outside for the night, which isn't entirely shocking around here. Boyd keeps all predators at bay in the fence, and we have never had any issues. But I think what happened was that it rained that night and got down to freezing temp, and I think she got chilled and died. I don't know. She had appeared totally healthy. So the kids and I put her in a box and took her to the farm. That afternoon when we got back home, we put Marek down for a nap and Ardyn and I set to working outside in the yard. We filled the back of the old blue truck with dead weeds that we pulled. We burned all the cardboard. We trimmed the forsythia and picked up the trimmings, we shoveled an entire wheelbarrow of chicken poo and wood chip bedding into the composter. We lit up our Halloween lights on the fence and fed and watered all the animals. We picked up trash around the house and when one of Cherie's hens walked by me, she was limping. I looked closer and sure enough her leg had swollen and totally engulfed the leg band on one of her feet. Uh oh. It did NOT look good. I picked her up and decided we needed to cut the leg band off. When I touched it, it started oozing grey pus (gross) and I was like, this is not pretty. Best we can do is cut it off, medicate it, and see what happens. It will either drain and heal, or it will kill her. So as I am holding her, I notice another problem, she has a hernia on her butt. Oy. and it's not pretty at all. So on second thought, I realize that she just needs to be put down. Too much hassle and worry for a chicken that is already past laying age and not healthy anymore. So now, we have TWO hens. We went from NINE chickens to TWO in a matter of like two months, and no predators were involved. Yikes! I am really sad. I want more hens so badly right now, but everyone I have asked is not in the position to sell or donate any. Buying a full grown hen is expensive from a hatchery, because the shipping is KILLER. It costs more to Ship a hen than to buy one. Problem is, I can't raise from chicks right now (I don't think) because winter is upon us, and even though I would start them in the basement, I am pretty sure they wouldn't survive going outside in the winter until they are much much older. So now all that hard work and we are down to two laying hens and I worry that the two of them together won't make it through the winter. Not enough friends to huddle up with! So if you hear of anyone who has nice healthy hens to part with, I could use a couple. Most people I have found are giving away older hens, that are like 3 years old. Which would be a warm body, but they tend to have health issues and are done laying or close to it, so that's not really what I am looking for. I finally found some pullets for sale on Craigslist, and am investigating that avenue... Brahmas and Javas :)