Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Chicken mansion pictures part 2

The finished chicken mansion. Except Kev says it isn't finished. He says he has t build me better steps, and put the nesting boxes in, and make a better roost. Probably a double decker roost. The top little cupola on the house has fiberglass tinted window in it, for more light in the summer. Chickens need lots of light to lay eggs year round. See the little chicken door? And the window? And their ramp up to the door? And, yes, the trim will be that bright green. Shut up! I like it even if Kev says it looks like Christmas frosting on a gingerbread cookie. I'm thinking of putting up some kind of decorations above the chicken door, to pretty up the place. Cause we all know that women like their house to be pretty. Here's a close up of the chicken door. Andy didn't open it up all the way today, but the girls can get out just fine. This is a close up of the deck that we made for the girls to sunbathe on. Kev thought that every mansion needed a deck.
This last shot is of the girls on the catwalk. They like to strut their stuff and gossip. They just "cheep, cheep, cheep, pick a little, talk a little" (Name THAT musical!) The catwalk is also salvaged from Grandad's farm. I'm thinking it must have been in one of the closets as holding shelves, cause that has to be what all those strips were for. It sure makes handy steps for the chickens.
I'm pretty proud of the chicken mansion. We used a lot of salvaged wood in it, and I'm just tickled that it's finished. The girls hope you enjoyed the tour! And, they told me to say "Y'all come back now, hear?"

The much promised pictures part 1

Finally, the much promised pictures! I even had to make a special trip to town for batteries for the camera, because, apparently, I'm the only one who knows how to put them back in the charger. This first shot is of the floor that's made of lumber we salvaged from Grandad's place. It's thicker than the grainry wood I've seen, but it is tongue and groove. I wonder if it's from the barn, which blew away in the tornado. It's tight. It's locked together for many more years. (Please excuse the chicken poop. They aren't litter box trained yet.)

This shot is of my fancy schmancy step into the chicken mansion. Yep, nothing but the finest, most stable steps for accident-prone me! These were personally cut and set by my loving, wonderful hubby. He always thinks of my safety.

This shot is of the NEW and improved latch for the door. Need I say any more about the latch? The door will someday be green. I'm waiting for the wind to stop blowing before I finish painting. And for the smarty-pants people who are thinking, "Does the wind ever stop blowing in Kansas?" The answer is YES. it does stop. Usually between the hours of Midnight and 6 a.m. But, sometimes, it blows even then.

Oh, the camera was set for Sepia tones. I didn't notice that outside, in the bright sunlight, but, for chicken house pictures, that rustic feel is appropriate.

blogs and bunnies

Yes, I'm playing. I love the background, but lost all my little "extras." I'm trying to figure out how to get them back, but am not having much luck. (I knew I should have paid attention that 1980 something when we were studying HTML coding...o yeah, it didn't EXIST in 1980 something when I was in school!)

I could restore the old template, but this one is so cute.

Speaking of home last night early. Kev and I discussed our rabbits, well, I talked, he listened. But, I suggested we move them out of the shop because they need more light than they get there, and that they need access to fresh grass and weeds and such and that maybe the reason the female hasn't kindled yet was because they didn't get much light, and so on and so forth.

Kev said he'd investigate moving their pen, or something to get them outside (real motivation isn't to please me, he just wants the space for himself.)

Anyway...I went out to feed and to play with the kittens (and to check them for ticks.I swear, we have more ticks here. I'm gonna have to buy some Guineas.) While I was out there, I checked on the rabbits too. Miss Kat was at a track meet, so it was my job to feed and water. Low and behold, Romeo, the female (hey, I didn't name her,) had made a nest. She had pulled so much hair, it looked like it snowed in her cage, and under her cage, and around her cage.

So, I quietly fed her extra, gave her clean and fresh water and gave her a treat of hen-bit (it's a weed). I gave some to the male too (but don't ask me his name, cause I can't remember. It's something like cuddles or something gender-neutral, unlike poor Romeo.) This morning, Miss Kat said she thought there were babies there, but they were covered up with fur and she didn't want to disturb them.

Romeo had babies last fall, but at that time, she was sharing her cage with that other rabbit, who's name I can't recall. Anyway, one of them killed all the babies and she didn't make a nest last fall and I didn't know she was even pregnant then. (I didn't know she was pregnant this time either, but I HAD given them ample opportunity one spring day when I took them out to a joint pen so they could "play".)

We'll see how this goes. Romeo could kill them all today, or tomorrow, or even next week. I hope not, I'd like to actually have baby bunnies to play with. But that does give me a whole new problem...what to do with extra rabbits. I know what Kev will suggest (food) and I know what Miss Kat will say (NO!) But, we won't count our rabbits before they are (hatched? cooked? grown?) And, Kev doesn't have to rush around and rig up a new least until Mom Romeo needs more space for her new larger family, in about, oh, 2 weeks.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Locked up

Still no pictures of the Chicken Mansion...I'm not sure where the camera is. I'll have to ask Miss Kat. She knows all...

But, I'll have to take some shots before Kev changes the latch on the door. Why is he changing the latch? Well...that's a long story.

You see, he put a padlock type latch on the chicken house. He thought it might be something we could latch tight that would be varmint proof. It is. it works well, very well. It works so well, that when you go inside, there are times that it will automatically latch behind you and then, you, the unsuspecting person will be stuck in the chicken house. Kev noticed that it would catch and told me to be careful, and to be sure and tell the kids to be careful. It's worked well until last night.

Do you see where this is going???

Last night, I ran out while supper was in the oven. Miss Kat ran out to take care of her rabbits and the kittens while I went out to care for the chickens. I fed them, checked their water, talked to them about their day, shut the window, etc. Then, I went to the door, pulled on the handle, and nothing. I couldn't open the door. To make matters worse, I really had to make a trip to the powder room. So, I walked to the window, opened it again and hollered outside for anyone, hoping that Miss Kat was in the shop playing with the kittens.

She wasn't.

So I hollered and yelled, hoping that they'd hear me in the house. But they didn't. Meanwhile, I really had to make my trip. I glanced around the chicken house, thinking that a section of the floor might serve...but, 1/2 is made of tight tongue and groove wood from Grandad's barn or something (it's like grainry wood, but much thicker.) Water just sits on this wood. I glanced at the other 1/2 of the floor, but it's chipboard, cheaper particle board that is ruined when it gets wet. Kevin would KILL me if I ruined his floor. So, back to the window i went, yelling and hollering for someone to rescue me.

About this time, Emily, our 110 lb. Chocolate lab came around the corner and looked up at me. her expression said, "what the heck are you yelling about, Woman?"

Seeing her, I said, "Emily, be Lassie, go to the house and get Dad. Tell him that Timmy fell down the well and needs help." She just looked at me and barked.

Brainstorm time...maybe, just maybe Emily would bark and Kevin and the kids would hear her and come rescue me.

So, I'd tell Emily to bark,and she would, then I'd bark again, and she'd bark. We went back and forth like this for a few minutes. Poor dog, she had no idea why I was playing this silly barking game with her, but it worked.

Kevin heard her bark. He asked Kat, "I wonder what Emily's barking at. Hey, do you think your mother locked herself in the chicken house?" He sent her out, I yelled, and the little turkey, she giggled.

She thought it was hilarious that her mother was locked in the Chicken house. She let me out, and I came in the house and ran to the "powder" room.

Did I get any sympathy for my traumatic experience? Not one bit. Everybody thought it was funny. Yeah, I felt the love.

So, Kev decided to change the latch to just a hook and eye latch. He figures it will be much safer.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Friday morning, when I got to work, I noticed that my phone was dead. Not too concerned, I usually just talk to Kev. So, I put it away and went on with the day. At 5:30, when he picked me up, I plugged it in the car charger and we went to Walmart to get some paint and “stuff.” Got out to the car a little after 6 and we decided to stop at KFC to get supper. Miss Kat has been nagging us all week to bring KFC home. Before we went in, I checked my phone to see if she’d called, because she usually calls several times a day.

One message. From 8 a.m. It was Andy saying “Mom, Kat and I locked ourselves out of the house. Kat doesn’t have her phone and I don’t even have the pickup keys, so Josh is picking us up and is taking us to school.”

Fine, except for one minor detail…what was Kat going to do after school? Andy had a track meet out of town. Kat got out of school at 3:15. It was now 6:30. So I called Kat’s phone. No answer. I called the house. No answer. I then called Andy and asked just what his sister was doing after school since she couldn’t get in the house. His answer? “Gee I don’t know. I guess she’s at home.” Which ticked me off. I mean, he left knowing she couldn’t get in the house. He left not knowing what she was going to do, and knowing she didn’t have her phone on her. Men (and I use that term loosly) are jerks.

So, I hoped that she had either gone home, or had gone home with a friend. Kev has told her, that if she's locked out of the house, to just go wait in the shop till we got home. But, we are usually home by 6:00 at the latest. We got supper and hurried home. But, I was worried.

We turned down our road and there she was, with both dogs, heading to town, bawling her head off. She’d rigged up two rope leashes for the dogs. She turned around and ran home and straight into my arms, sobbing hysterically. She was a mess—emotionally, fine physically.

She’d rode the bus home, sat in the diesel (which had the key in it) and listened to the radio, read her book, went to the shop and played with the kittens, waiting for us. Poor girl waited for 4 hours. She tried to break into the house with screws and a knife and who knows what other devises—left lots of burrs and scratches on the locks. She’d cried some, but wasn’t worried, because she expected us by 6:00 at the latest. And then 6:00 became 7:00 and we still weren't home.

By then, she was worried about US. She started imagining that we had been in a wreck. She imagined that we were stranded somewhere. She imagined that she’d be stuck outside, alone, and would starve to death, or be taken by some child molester. She imagined that she'd have to wait until 10:00 when Andy got home and they'd be stuck outside, alone, without any parents. She was scared. She’d been outside, waiting for 4 hours. She was really scared.

Me, I was worried too. I was worried about her being home scared, alone, no way to communicate with us, or anyone. I was hoping that she’d have gone home with one of her friends and left a message on the machine at home. I wanted Kev to drive much faster to get home to my little girl…One additional problem..we didn’t have a key to any doors either! We had one key that we knew opened one door. Oh, we were given a handful of keys when we bought the house, but could only get ONE to work. Kev and I relied on the garage door opener to get us in, and it hasn’t been working right, sometimes, it wouldn’t open the garage doors. So, I was afraid she’d be scared, and I was afraid that the garage door wouldn’t open, and we wouldn’t be able to get in, and Kev would have to break either a door or a window. And, then he’d be mad and so I’d be left dealing with a mad husband and a scared daughter, which would make ME mad…because Men are jerks…

So, of course, when we got home, she was emotionally a mess. Fortunately, the garage door opener DID work. We got into the house. It took me several minutes to get her calmed down. It took me several minutes to calm myself down too. She was more upset than I have ever seen her. I really didn’t know what to do. So, I let her cry and hugged her, held her on my lap, let her talk about everything she'd done, and about everything that had scared her and everything she had imagined might have happened to us. Her father thought she was being overdramatic…men are such jerks. He wasn’t very sympathetic and told her she shouldn’t have gotten scared, because she should know that we’d come home eventually…men are such jerks.

Me, I let her cry. I know, if it had been me, I’d have been just as scared. She was fine within a few minutes, probably 15-30 minutes. The KFC helped her tremendously :), but she was wiped out emotionally.

So, Kev put on a new lock, one with extra keys. He brought an extra key to town with us today to get a copy for Kat, a copy for Andy, one for him, and one for me and one to hide out in the shop—just in case. We had a conversation with our children…asking questions like, why didn’t Andy call his dad when he couldn’t get me…and why didn’t they make a plan and let us know? And why on earth did they walk out of the house without pickup keys and house key and phone. Just what in the world were they doing? And we discussed what Kat should do next time (not that any of us think there will be a next time.) But, she’s ok. And we are finally getting much needed keys made. But I sure wish we could have done it all without all the trauma.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's finished!

The chicken mansion is finished! It's complete. It's done. Well, except for painting. I have to paint it. Relatively soon.

Kev and I spent most of the day on Saturday working on finishing it up. We put in the windows, which actually open and close and have screens. We put in the chicken door--you know, that little door that chickens can go in and out, but humans and dogs are too big to get in and out. Kev started on the nesting boxes, and we need to make more permanent roosts, but the structure itself is complete.

We also put up a fence Saturday. The fence is mainly a deterrent for foxes and raccoons. And, until the chickens learn to watch for danger, it's to keep them closer to their shelter. They'll have to learn to watch for hawks and such, but that's something I can't teach them.

Last night, in celebration, I fed them some week-old, dried out donuts. Oh, and some week old popcorn. But, these chickens aren't used to having food tossed to them yet. They didn't run to see what I'd thrown down, instead, they ran away. Won't take them too long to learn to run to me when I call, "here chick chick..." Since these guys wouldn't come to me, I put their donuts and popcorn in their feeders. I'm sure it's gone by now.

I'll try to get out with the camera and take some pictures. But, I have to admit, I'm quite proud of our chicken mansion.

Friday, April 18, 2008

signs of spring

Yesterday, the wind was howling around 40 miles per hour. It was cold, about 40 degrees, and misty, raining on and off all day long.

And yet, last night, I found a definate absolute sign that spring is really here.

No, it wasn't the chicks, it wasn't the daffodills, or the eleven kittens who were born on our place with in the last month or so, and, it had nothing to do with it being track meet season either.

I found a tick.

In my hair, crawling up some hair right beside my face. [insert shudder here]

I hate ticks. HATE ticks.

And I don't know where he came from. All ticks are "he". Nasty little blood suckers that they are...

I wasn't around any trees, or in any tall grass. The only animals I was near was the cats, who I didn't hold (well, ok, I held a couple of kittens, but they are too small to be out and about) and the chickens who haven't even seen the sky yet.

I have no idea where this nasty little bloodsucker came from, but I'm glad he was still crawling when I found him. The only thing worse than finding a tick crawling on you is to find one that has his head stuck under your skin. [insert another shudder here]


If the ticks are out, it's spring.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Miscellaneous photos

These two shots are of the "Chicken Mansion" in progress. You will notice that the Mansion is elevated, or not sitting on the ground. That's so the chickens can find some shade in the summer heat. There aren't any real significant trees here, and they will need some shade come summer. That's Kev on the roof. The Chicken mansion is almost complete. In fact, the chickens are living in it. I'll get more pictures of it before the interior is covered with chicken poop. (too late!)

This is the view of our house from the general vicinity of the Chicken Mansion. It's an ok house. Our summer project is to landscape the yard. The house has been here for 10 years and no one had really landscaped the yard much. Kev plans on putting in a pond and stream and whatnot...

This one if on Mr. Andy and his date at Prom. No, it's not a full view, but you get what you get. Remember, I said, Miss Kat took most of these photos--and she definitely took this one of her big brother. Doesn't he clean up nicely?

That's it for the photos--right now, today. The rest of the 217 photos were of Miss Kat and her friends...well, not all, a few are of Prom decorations. Let's be honest here, I did not scroll through all 217 photos to find the ones I wanted.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Today is my anniversery. We've been married 13 years today. At times, it seems like we've been together forever, at other times, it seems like yesterday when we decided to share our lives together, for the rest of our lives.

This morning, Kev actually remembered the date before I did. But, then again, he's awake and alert instantly, me--not so alert. My anniversery gift for both of us is a new TIVO for the Living Room. THis one will allow you to run two TV's off one receiver and record from both TV's while watching a different channel. We have one TIVO in the bedroom, but we won't let the kids use it to record and we aren't as good about watching TV in bed as we thought we would.

I don't know if he got me a gift or not, and it really doesn't matter, because he doesn't have to buy me something to show me he loves me. He shows me all the time how he feels.

Building me a chicken house shows me he loves me, because really the chickens are mine. Yes, Kev enjoys the chickens, he enjoys watching them and he enjoys the fresh eggs, but building a chicken house has taken considerable time and effort on his part. Yes, I've been helping him, but the majority of the work has fallen to him.

Moving shows me he loves me. He was willing to just up and move after living in Colby for 30 years--because I was unhappy in my job and I wanted to someday, be closer to my family. The only family we had in Colby was the family we made together and the family of friends we "allowed" to enter our lives.

Kev's very affectionate. He's always touching me--my shoulder, my back, in public and at home. We spend a great deal of time together, just the two of us. We like being together and we don't have to have outside entertainment, we can entertain each other. The older I've gotten, the more I've realized how rare that is. We talk to each other--real conversations, real observations. We share the good and the bad about our days. We share the frustrations and the joys of our work, and family with each other. I've grown to really enjoy our drives to work together. Some days, we're quiet, other days, we talk.

I often feel that I need to do more to show Kev how special he is to me and how much I love him. Because, I often feel that he's better showing me than I am him. I suck at buying him gifts. I worry too much about it being something he likes, and I can't spontaneously buy him a gift. But, he also sucks at being a gracious gift-receiver. So, that balances out. I like to show him how special he is by cooking him special meals or stepping out of my comfort zone and actually wear that nightie on occassion. I worry too much about NOT looking sexy or being slim, trim, and firm. And, he always makes me feel like I'm the most beautiful and sexy woman on the face of this earth.'s our anniversery today. Thirteen happy years, two beautiful and good kids, a home we are creating together, a shared faith, and joy in each other.

Happy Anniversery Babe!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Busy times

Today, I'm tired. It's been a very long week for we at the Huelsman home. (I tried to think of something clever, like Huelsman Chateau, or farm or mansion or...something. Nothing sounded right...)

anyway...I'm tired.

Kev and I have spent almost every free second working on the chicken mansion. But, last weekend, we had "the PROM" and we both had to work and I had shooting sports. Monday night, we worked, but Tuesday night, we had to stay in Dodge because there was an "Employee Appreciation Banquet" at the college. (Imagine, some businesses have such a thing as an "Employee Appreciation Banquet" I can tell you that CCC NEVER recognized anything we employees did. In twenty years, I once got a chocolate bar for working there 15 years or so...but every single employee got a chocolate bar that day too, it certainly wasn't a banquet! I digress...)

At the banquet, I had to present an award for my one employee for her 10 years of service to the school. I felt pretty awkward doing so, because, after all, I've only worked there 5 months! (again, I digress...) So, we got home from the banquet around 8:30, too late to do anything other than yell at the kids for not feeding their animals and for not cleaning up the kitchen.

Wednesday, I went to a conference in Wichita. I came home today. Conferences are not relaxing, meetings, driving in downtown Wichita, traffic, lots and lots of people, hotels, rain, meal tickets, taking notes, networking, sleeping alone, in a strange...Not relaxing at all. I did ok, and I needed to go, but I hate going because my family seems to fall apart without me...or maybe I'm so controlling that I just think things fall apart without me.

But, Andy had some Academic Olympics on Wednesday...and a Field Trip on Thursday...and a Track Meet today. Miss Kat had youth group on Wednesday, and Gymnastics on Thursday and today, she and her dad had to figure out how to get her to school since Andy had to be at the school at the Ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. this morning, and Kev had an early patient, so he also had to leave early.

Kev's just had work this week, but he did have to juggle this morning, which he HATES having to do! And I hate not being here to "supervise" and make sure everyone gets where they need to be when they need to be there. But, really, that's always been MY role. I'm the calender keeper, the schedule keeper, the master of all the strings.

They did fine, but I know that my being gone made them all...step up.

So, now it's Friday. I get to slow down for a while. But, with it being the end of the school year, the kids are going to keep busy, which means, Kev and I will still be busy, but this week has just felt like overload.

(Oh, I might get to slow down, but as we speak, Kev is turkey hunting with a couple of buddies, Kat and I are planning on going shopping tomorrow with my it really hasn't slowed down much.) Sigh.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


This is what I got to listen to last night from, oh, about 8:19 until 10:30...


"Woo Hoo!"

"Good Job guys."

"Come on, come on, play smart."

"Dang-it guys."

"Woo Hoo! YES!"

Guyyyyyyssssss. Come ON."

"I can't talk to you, it's not even Half Time yet!"


"you idiots are going to lose this, COME ON GUYS."

Then, finally...

"What are you doing? Guys, come ON."

"Play smart, play smart. Oh, oh, oh, oooo, YES, WHOO HOO, OVERTIME BABY!"

"Play smart, YES! We're up 3...Keep it up."

"YES! Whoo Hoo, we're gonna win the c-h-a-m-p-i-o-n-s-h-i-p!"


Then the phone rang, and I heard my husband sing to his mother on the phone...

"We are the champions my friend..."

Then, he went outside and screamed.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Prom Night

Last night was Prom. Kev and I had volunteered to help prepare the meal and to serve the meal. We (I) wound up staying to clean up too.

Yesterday was a busy day. We both had to work, then had to be at the school by 4 to begin cooking the meal for the Juniors and Seniors. I'm not sure how many pounds of potato's we cut up, but I think it was 50 lbs. Two big pots of potatoes that were peeled by others and cut up by Kev and I. The menu consisted steaks (grilled by another dad); corn, salad, mashed potatoes with "make your own sundaes" for dessert.

I have to say, we parents cooking were all rather lost, there didn't seem to be anyone in charge, other than the Jr. Class sponsor, and she had to leave early to go home and get ready for the Prom. So, we muddled on. We did ok, except the potatoes took to long to cook, so the meal was slightly late getting served. Kev and I were so busy working on those potatoes that we didn't serve, but there were plenty of parents who did. After the meal, we helped clean up some, then I ran Kev home so he could watch THE GAME. (The KU/UNC game for those non-basketball people.)

I went back to watch the promenade. The promenade is where all the kids who attend Prom are announced and walk onto the stage and pose so the community can see the girls dresses and see basically how nicely they kids clean up. I didn't see any kid's unescorted, so apparently, all kids who attend prom here have dates.

(I would have been up a creek, because I never had a date--just my friend Ranae. We went "Stag" together. In fact, very few kids who went to my prom HAD dates.)

Andy looked very nice. His date's dress was very pretty. Seeing him, all dressed up in a tux made me very proud. And, a little sad. There was plenty of laughter at the young man wore a tux that exactly matched his date's dress. Neon Orange. Complete with top had, tails and cane. Even his shoes were orange. You could say that he "stood out from the crowd." This young man's best friend dressed in contrast to his date's dress. This young man wore a baby blue tux, with tails, top hat and cane...but his date's dress was yellow. Another young man wore a white tux, but no top hat. Andy says that maybe next year, he'll look for a camouflage tux...we'll see!

After the promenade, I ran back to the kitchen and helped finish the clean up. The kids wasted a lot of food...I have a real problem wasting food and hated seeing all those potatoes--that Id made--wind up in the trash. I know there were over 30 steaks left over too. Fortunately, they weren't tossed, but given to the After-Prom group who were going to cut them up into strips and serve them as finger food.

I got home around 8:30. Andy got home around 3:45. No, I didn't stay up. I did hear him come in. He had a good time. Another milestone achieved. Another step towards his independence reached. Another step away from his parents and one closer to adulthood...