Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Beginnings

It has been a tough year.  Being laid off from my very good job was devastating.  Not getting a new job right away was crushing.  It wasn't until I was laid off one whole year to the date, that I was interviewing with yet another company, that I seen some hope for employment.  This has to count for something, right?  They say patience is a virtue and all things happen in God's time, well, I was getting desperate and growing weary of waiting for the right time.  One year to the date of my lay off, I was half way across the country, in a state I had never been before, interviewing for a company I had never heard of.  I sat there completely out of my comfort zone and tried to align my experience to the requirements of this all new position I was interviewing for.  The company was a blue collar factory, I was interviewing for the Quality Manager position.  I had no previous titled 'management' experience.  I had led teams and I was the president of several organizations when I was in college decades ago.  I was up front and honest, I had nothing to loose.  I was at the end of my rope.  Out of work for 1 whole year, out of unemployment, everything was running out, I was in need of a miracle.  I figured it was out of my hands, I did the best I could do and all I could do is wait.  My flights were all messed up returning home, and I ended up staying over night in Dulles, VA, on the airline's dime.  I finally got home on a saturday, to a huge snow storm.  What a finish to a crazy interview.  

I waited and waited.  Finally the phone rang and it was the golden offer of a real job.  With this last company I interviewed with, on the anniversary of the lay off date from my previous job.  We negotiated some things and other things were clarified for me and the real fun began.  I had 3 weeks to pack up my whole house, and move to New Mexico!  This was insane.  We packed and packed and got more boxes and packed and packed.  We did not get it all.  We packed up two 24 foot long moving trucks, loaded my little car on a trailer, packed up the pickup truck and headed west!  We gypsied across the country, sleeping in the trucks, eating peanut butter cheese crackers, and M&Ms.  We pulled out of the yard and hung the for sale sign as we left.  We left late Saturday night.  We only slept at the rest stops for a few hours a night and we arrived in New Mexico in the wee hours of the morning on a Tuesday.  It was a scary last ditch effort to make it into town.  We drove the last 1000 miles in one shot, only stopping for gas.  I was driving one of the big trucks by myself.  I did not have anyone to talk to in order to stay awake.  The last leg was tough.  We made our last stop in Santa Rosa, NM.  I do not remember driving from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque....not one bit of the drive.  Talk about scary! I want to go back to Santa Rosa or ever a little past that to see what all I sleep-drove through.  I do remember smelling a skunk but I have no recollection at all of that 200 miles.  We arrived safe and sound in one piece at the hotel.  We all showered and stretched out in the beds and caught a few hours sleep.  

After about three hours sleep we were all back up and at 'em.  We had to unload the moving trucks and get them returned.  One thing I did not realize about living in the dessert, is that it does not really rain, instead they have sand storms.  We unloaded all the trucks into a rental storage place and there was so much blowing sand you could not see!  It was terrible!  We managed to get everything squared away and secure.  Back to the hotel we went for another shower before we scouted around the small town south of Albuquerque.  

We arrived on a Tuesday, and I started work on Wednesday.  I was exhausted and excited all at the same time.  Work was going to be a challenge, I knew that from when I was there interviewing.  Adjusting to the 2 hour time difference has also been challenging.  I find I am up with the chickens and ready for bed by time the evening news comes on.  Also our favorite TV shows are on at strange hours out there!  So much to adjust too!!  The food, oh my, the food is also a serious adjustment.  This state throws green and or red chillies on everything - pizza, burgers, you name it they smother it.  The bread isle at the store had more kinds of tortillas than actual loaves of bread.  I had no idea there were so many different makers of tortillas!  All I will share with you all is that my body does not like green or red chillies....enough said....ugh.

We lived in the hotel for two months.  In that time we searched for a place to rent, hoped that our house would sell back home, and tried to adjust to living in this strange land of enchantment.  We found a house to rent, and we are now moved in, still settling in, but getting there.  Work is still as challenging as ever.  I have been there long enough to know the ropes, but now I have to get my arms around it all and make improvements and pick up what was ignored or forgotten about.  I like my work, I like my new position as a manager.  The folks that report to me are great people, each unique unto themselves, but dedicated to doing the right thing.  That is so important in my department.  I also have some wonderful co-workers and fellow managers.  They have mentored me and continue to teach me things. They let me fly on my own and sometimes I crash, but I deal with it and own it.  I look at everything that needs to be done and think - challenge accepted.  Now I hope I can get the cooperation to get some needed resources in to make things more efficient and better all around.  We shall see.

We are embarking on a whole new beginning.  I have a new job, in a new state, a chance to rebuild and start over.  A time to learn new things, and make new friends.  My son loves it out here.  It is uniquely beautiful, and nothing like I have ever seen before.  We have a lot of exploring to do and that means new topics to write about.  

The guy who we are renting our house from said I can have chicken here if I want them.  They would have a field day with all the ants and lizards here!  I am not sure if I am ready for chickens again.  I may wait and see how this positions with this company evolves.  How we fit into this state and some other factors.  There are a lot of chickens around here and I hear a rooster crowing every morning off in the distance.  I loved my chickens and I do feel a void without them, but we have to see how things pan out before we get that settled in out here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Am Still Here

Wow it has been a while since I have written an entry and for that I apologize.  Things got real crazy and, well they still are but I made time to come on here and post.

Lots has happened since my last November post.  We put our son into a cyber school and that took a lot of my time, as it ended up pretty much me coming home from work and having to basically home school him all evening.  It was worth it in the end as he went from a C and D student in the local public high school falling through the cracks to an A student in the cyber school.  I can not say enough good things about Connections Academy.  If you are looking for a school alternative for your child check out Connections Academy to see if it is offered in your state/area.

Other things that have been happening is that I lost my job.  I am the income for my small family and now I am scrambling to find a new job.  In this economy that is tough to say the least.  I have had several interviews but no company has come up with the golden offer as of yet.  I keep looking and doing what I can to make ends come as close to meeting as possible.  I can also say I have been enjoying the down time.  Granted I am sending on average 20 resumes a day out, so I am actively searching for new employment, but I am also home 24/7 now.  I can take the time to shoot my bow again and get to cleaning out the basement.  I also get to travel to other states as I do the interviews.  How many people can say they went to North Carolina or Texas for a few hours one day?  I can!  My interview days are a whirlwind of activities and flights but they are fun and I get to see new places.

Shooting our bows has always been a big part of our family life.  I have had yard sales and I collect cans along the road to sell the Aluminum.  This fund our trips to the various archery shoots that we go to.  So far this summer we have been able to go to the Pine Hill Sportsman's traditional shoot in Kennerdell, PA, the Michigan Longbow Association Great Lakes Longbow Invitational, in Hasings, MI, and to the Hawkeye Bowmen Traditional Shoot, in Alden, NY.  I pick up a lot of cans!  The next shoot we are off to is Seneca Tri-State Traditional shoot handy Wheeling, WV.  I am not exactly certain of the location but they say it is hand the Cabela's in Wheeling.  I need to have yet another yard sale to continue cleaning house and making some extra money.

On the chicken front I have sad news.  I have had to get rid of all my chickens.  I did find a good home for some of them but the rest I had to kill.  It took me two days to do it and I cried through a box of tissues....but it had to be done.  We would not be able to move with them and since I no longer had a market for the eggs ( I sold them regularly to co-workers), the eggs were piling up and they were no longer earning their keep.  Chicken feed is not cheap!  I did what I had to do.  Will I have chickens again?  Maybe.  I am not so sure with being laid off from a job that I thought I would have a very long time has made me gun shy for getting anything extra in our lives.  I think we will hold off and try some other avenues before we go back to chickens.

Once I get a new job and we get settled, I will be opening up a new business.  I will be making custom leather quivers, arm guards, aprons, dreamcatchers, and other things.  Eventually we will get into making bows also.  At least then we can attend all these shoots as a vendor and write them off.

I have no pictures for this posting.  I hope to have some for what I write about next time.  I still have some stories about my birds that I will post with pictures, as they are always entertaining.  Until next time - good day to you all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Trash to Treasure

Today over on the Crafty Corner section of this blog I have a tutorial on how to take some simple second hand store items and turn them into a cute tiered stand.  I use mine in my bedroom for all my nail polish.  I first seen the tutorial on pintrest and followed the link to the tutorial.  It seemed easy enough, so I got the stuff to make my own.

Step on over to the craft corner to see how you turn this:

Into this:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

First Snow of the Year

The east coast got hammered with our first snow of the year.  Where I live did not get hit as bad as some places, thank goodness!  I am so not ready for winter and all the snow.  I am just not a cold weather person.  I know - why do I live in Pennsylvania then?  Well I tried to leave, was gone for a few years, but life brought us back.  I can't see us staying here forever - it is just the nature of the job market these days.  Hopefully we will land some place warm next time!

We got about 4" of snow, not too bad considering that it snowed all day long.  This is a picture of the first of 3 times I shoveled off the ramp.

The chickens were not too impressed with it all either.  The heavy wet snow clung to the netting and created a snow free haven of mud for the chickies.  They were not excited but then again the snow was not reaching them.

This morning turned out to be a beautiful morning.  I set out with my camera to get some shots of the snow.  It was warming up a bit and the snow was already starting to melt.  It created a cool mist across the yard.

The sun rise was pale and pretty.

I like the early mornings when everything is still and most folks are still asleep.

The netting on the nursery run did not fare well under the weight of the heavy snow.  We planned on taking that all down anyway so nature was just giving us a hand.

The netting over the main run is supported with beams so it was still sound.  It created a pretty cool roof over the run.  The floor of the run is a mud pit and I have to figure out something to do with all that.  The chickens are complaining and asking for the tractor supply company catalog so they can order some goulashes.  I told them to calm down it was going to be nice all next week and things should dry up some.  I don't think they believe me.

Some of the chickens still lay their eggs on the floor in the corner of the coop.  That means that I have to go into the coop every day to gather those eggs.  It is one of biggest fears that I am going to fall flat on my back in all this mud and stink one of these days.  I think I seen the hens taking bets one day when I went in there.

I would like to apologize to my readers, for being missing in action here lately.  Things have been crazy here.  I don't have hired help to do my house work and everything else, we do everything ourselves.  With me working full time outside the home, them coming home to help our son with his cyber school work there is little time for anything else.  I do try to keep up with things, and  have a few more posts working up in my head, so hopefully as we fall into a better routine, I can get back to blogging more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

That Chicken is not Chicken!

As I mentioned I was in a business trip all last week.  I got home Friday late afternoon and let the chickens out to free range.  We do not let them out when we are not home to keep an eye on them.  We were all settling in to our normal routine when we heard the chickens having quite the time outside.  I happened to look outside, and that is when I saw a dog in the chicken run!  I yell DOG! and run for the mudroom to get my boots on and scramble outside.  My son and husband rally the weapons, ready to strike should this dog harm my chickens or me.  Outside I start yelling and waving my arms around like a crazy woman trying to distract the dog so the hens can scoot into the pop door and be safe in the coop.  It was a tense few minutes but I managed to scare the dog away, unharmed, and all the hens were safe and unhurt.  We did not make a big deal of it - we live in the country, dogs slip off their collars/ happens, so we watched toe dog and learned who it belonged to and went back to our lives.  Fast forward to yesterday, we had the windows  open since it  was a nice evening.  We were just about to watch a movie when I heard the hens cry for help.  Apparently, the cluck line is out of order in the coop so they just yelled for help.  I will have to look into that.  I look outside and again see that same dog after my chickens.  I am very irate at this point.  I tell my husband to get the gun and run for my boots and out the back door.  When I rounded the corner of the house, there was a child in my yard watching the whole ordeal of this dog and chicken do a dance of death.  I distracted the dog and the hen got away.  The small boy was able to get the dog and drag it back home.  We later stopped at the family's house and my husband talked to the parents to reinforce that they need to keep their dog tied or inside because it now immediately comes to our yard after our chickens.  Hopefully that is the end of that situation.  No dog or chicken was harmed in these incidents....yet.

Yesterday I heard the girls having a fit and thought oh no not again.  I peeked out the window to see a hen on the roof of the coop!  This coop is 8' high at the front and it slopes down to about 6' in the back.  There on the top was a Whyndotte happy as you please.  She was probably the one that the dog was trying to get so she devised an escape route.  You know just in case it comes back.  Who said chickens were stupid?  ok they are pretty dumb but they learn and can be cleaver.

This hen hopped up on the feed barrels, then up onto the next box roof.  There she looked, paced, and planned.  Finally up she went to the roof of the coop!  What a goofy chicken.  Now if she can remember how to get up there when danger presents itself on the ground again will be the question.

Since the other seen this chicken who was not chicken to jump up on the roof, they all want up there.  I was in the coop filling their food and I heard this "THUMP!"  I walked out of the coop to see an Easter Egger on top of the nest box roof.  I said, "Get down from there!"  she she pouted and replied, "But SHE did it....!"  "Nope - get down"  and she flew down.  Then the Whyndotte was up there again.

Oh these chickens are something else!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Miniature Eggs

My new hens have been laying for a few weeks now and things are progressing nicely.  I am now getting 15-20 eggs a day.  I seem to be in the miniature egg business now.  I am not complaining at all, mind you.  I would much rather have my girls lay small tiny eggs and slowly progress to larger normal sized eggs as their bodies can handle it, than have them start laying huge eggs right off the bat and prolapse.  My Comets did that - it was not pretty.

Thing do seem to be progress very slowly.  The first Easter Eggers layers are still laying tiny eggs.  Some have not caught on to the concept of laying their eggs in the nest boxes.   I am finding a cluster of 3 to 4 eggs in one corner of the coop every day.  I even found an egg under the hedge bush yesterday!  I try talking to the girls and telling them in a gentle tone that they need to start laying their eggs in the nest boxes and ask if anyone has any questions.  They all nod their head in agreement they they got it and no one ever asks any questions so I think I am getting through to them.....maybe not.

I had one hen hop up on the helper perch below the egg boxes look around in each nest box nod her head, look up at me and say "Oh!  I see. Nope I still don't get it."  and hop down.  Goofy bird.  Most of them are getting it and doing well with laying in the nest boxes.

I was on another business trip all last week.  I had to go to our site in Virginia to so some audits.  I got to meet some of my co-workers for the first time.  I work with some fantastic people and we have a very busy productive week.  I came back home to a full egg fridge!  Almost all of these are the miniature eggs.  I am still getting a few regular sized eggs from my old hens.  Now I have to scramble and fry up several dozen of these to give back to the hens.

I also have to make cupcakes next week for a school picnic.  I have to figure out how many mini eggs equal a regular jumbo egg.  I think I will go with 2 to 1 ratio.  Since it is still early here and my boys are not up yet I could fix breakfast for them as well.  "Here honey, I fried you up a half a dozen eggs for breakfast!"  :o)  We are used to it here, but it is a funny scenario to suggest to someone who buys our eggs.
Have a great day everyone!  Maybe I should approach the egg council to do some recipes/promos for them.....hummm...    :o)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Free At Last

I have kept the chickens all locked up in the coop and run for a few weeks after we introduced them.  I went out to the garden by the coop and all the chickens were out in the run clanking their little tin cups on the bars of their run crying "Atticus!!"  I think it is time I  let them out.

I went to the door of the run and they all came running over dropping their cups in the mud.  I could see in their eyes they were staring at the green lush carpet of foliage that lay just out of their reach from inside their incarceration.

I opened the door and all the hens tumbled over themselves and threw themselves down on the green grass right outside the door.   I heard sighs of pleasure and freedom.  Goofy birds!  They just went right outside the door and immediately started pecking and going crazy over all the green stuff to eat.  I had to shoo them to get them to move beyond the doorway!

I really like these birds.  They do not wander off like the Comets did.  They all stay in our yard and don't wander into the neighbors.  They also come running when they see me round the corner of the house on my way out to see them.

These birds are very chatty also.  They like to talk and talk and talk.  Sally will talk your ear off if you stay out there long enough with them.  yack yack yack!  I love them all.  I am still dealing with some pecking issues but nothing like I had previously.  They are doing much better now.  The ones that were pecked really bad are healed and are starting to grow their feathers back.