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Scattered Sundays

Well, it finally happened. After being chicken owners for eight years, we finally lost one to a predator. 🙁 That jerkface raccoon doesn’t know what he started though. You think John Wick was mad about his dog? 

In 10 years’ time, raccoons everywhere will be around the campfire telling scary stories. And then one of them will bring up “the pale Baba Yaga Mother of Chickens” and it will go silent. Because they know that simply mentioning my name strikes fear into the heart of trash pandas everywhere.

I was in the shower after working out and came out to commotion and chaos. I take a pretty fast shower, but in the 10 minutes I was in the bathroom, our lives changed forever.

Troy and Bennett were in the chicken yard and Troy was setting up the raccoon cage we have (though really it should be called “the tcage that has never captured a raccoon” because that would be a more accurate name). While I was in the shower, Troy heard what sounded like something slamming into the side of the house and ran to investigate.

A raccoon had gotten into the chicken yard and the sound was likely the chickens freaking out and hitting the side of the house. Troy and Bennett had to throw things and make noises to get the trash panda to leave. Troy told me “that raccoon wasn’t scared of anything”.

a boy holding a toy sword outside a chicken coop

With his toy machete, Bennett stood guard while Troy grabbed the trap.

We have had this happen in the past and the raccoon disappears for months and months at a time. Well, this time, that jerkface was back a few hours later. This time, I heard that same noise and ran down the hallway yelling “move, move, move out of the way” to Bennett who was standing in the middle of our very narrow hallway.

Fun fact: when you yell at your child to move, they will likely pause to say “why” as they continue to remain blocking the hallway. Bennett is not a strong candidate for being a first responder at this point.

I raced outside and chased off the raccoon again. The chickens had scattered, so Bennett and I spent 15 minutes wrangling them back into the coop. Chickens are the worst about going into the coop in the afternoon. My girls want to stay out and play until 8:50 pm this time of year.

We finally got them inside and locked up and went into the house knowing that they were safe. Or so we thought. 🙁 Apparently, while we were locking them all up, we hadn’t bothered to count. It just looked like a bunch of chickens to us so we assumed they were all there. They weren’t.

Two were missing, which I discovered the next morning when the chickens went NUTS around 5:45 am. I had planned to keep them in the coop all day to keep them safe, but they were so effing noisy that I let them out to spare our poor neighbors.

While I was letting them out, I saw a chicken on the outside of the fence in our side yard, frantically pacing. I realized she must have been out all night and I was so thankful she had found a safe place to roost for the night. I went and got her and put her back inside their yard.

I went back inside and was working before the kids woke up, but the chickens were still being SO weird. I kept throwing food out the window into their yard to get them to STFU (this is also how I parent). It was while I was tossing some popcorn out that I bothered to count them. 

I counted once. Then I counted twice. Farts. There were only 11. We have/had 12 chickens. I looked out the window and noticed that Wyatt Chirp kept tentatively going to the side yard over and over and coming back while the other chickens were huddled in an opposite corner.

With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I went outside and looked in the side yard. And there, was poor Bawk Holiday. Thankfully, I could only see part of her because she was on a pile of branches that we call the chicken jungle gym. 

She must have scattered and got over the fence with the other chicken the previous afternoon when the raccoon came back for the second time. But unlike the other one, she didn’t find a safe place to roost overnight. Most likely, she was trying to get back in the coop in the dark when that trash panda got her.

And here is where I admit to being a GIANT BABY. Troy had already left for work and I was not about to go over and get my dead mangled chicken. Sorry, no. Hard pass.

I got the chickens locked back up and they calmed down because their fallen comrade was now out of sight and out of mind (chickens are dumb, folks). And then I called Troy and asked if I should call his dad. Yep, big, big baby.

Troy called his dad who had been at the beach at their other house, but thankfully was already planning on driving home that day to mow the lawn. My father-in-law is a good man who takes his lawn care VERY seriously. Seriously enough to make a four-hour roundtrip just to mow.

He graciously agreed to make a further 45-minute detour to come over and take care of my dead chicken. He’s a true Renaissance man – he can help us remodel our kitchen AND dispose of dead pets. My hero.

For now, the chickens have to stay locked in the coop all day. They’re SO mad at me about this, but it’s in their own best interest. Now that the raccoon has a taste for chicken, I’m sure he’ll be back. And since his big furry striped butt was wandering around at 3 pm, there doesn’t seem to be a safe window for them to be out.

We have a trap out but I don’t see it being successful. It is fantastic at catching possums though. We’re just going to take it one day at a time, no matter how much shade the chickens throw at me any time I go out there to check on them.

a drawing of a chicken

From Bennett’s schoolwork. Please note that we’re all stick figures, but his favorite chicken Shadow is completely filled in and detailed.

Yesterday Jack had his first “real” normal kid thing since this whole pandemic started 16 months ago. His friend had a socially distanced sleepover with a really small handful of friends who are all half-vaxxed. They all slept outside in their own tents and had a great ol’ time!

Jack gets his second/final dose this coming Thursday and he’s so excited. In typical little brother fashion, Bennett is livid that Jack gets a shot and he doesn’t. Kids…pfft! 

Jack’s bummed that he still has to wear a mask to school even after the second shot, but it opened up a good discussion about why that rule was still in place. He was supposed to have an orthodontist appointment the day after his vaccine, but I rescheduled it on the off chance he might feel crummy. Nobody wants someone digging in their mouth if they feel like crap!

pink blossoms on a rhodendrum bush

The launch of our Prep Once Cook Twice challenge went so well and exceeded my expectations for how many people would sign up. I’m thrilled and so honored by people trusting in me to help them become more efficient in the kitchen.

You can still sign up until 11:59 pm tomorrow. The challenge officially kicks off on June 1st, so we want to make sure everyone is ready to roll come Tuesday. Sign up here and let’s go be awesome!

a mock of an ebook on a white background

Bennett’s last day of “normal” school was on Thursday. He spent the last six weeks in the kindergarten class and really enjoyed it. I’m glad we let him move up at the end of the year. I think it was good for him. He doesn’t exactly grasp that he will be starting kinder “again” in the Fall at a bigger school. 

School is closed for a week and then they have “summer school” which in Montessori speak is basically, more self-guided learning but with additional outside time. All I know is that it is cheaper than normal school and I can put him in whichever days I want until mid-August.

While Jack is still in school for another few weeks, Bennett will be going four times a week (the prospect of quiet work time is too delicious for me!), and then dialing it back to two or three times a week. We’re bald-faced lying to him and telling him that Jack has online summer school while he is gone.

The summer offerings for older kids this year are grim, which I understand. There was just too much up in the air when organizations needed to be planning for July and August. Jack has one weeklong STEM day camp scheduled, but this year, he’ll be there as a counselor in training. I hope they put him with the little kids because little kids LOVE Jack. 

a kid sleeping against a bath tub

Everyone knows that PJ day at school is the most exhausting day of all.

In the Garden This Week

I woke up Thursday morning to the glorious sound of rain. And not drizzle – RAIN! The garden needed it desperately, and our lawn was already starting to die in multiple places. I refuse to water our lawn, so usually by July, it’s dead and ugly. It always comes back in the fall, so whatever.

The mini drawf apple trees have fat lil’ baby apples on them and they’re just adorable. We have three trees and one constantly produces, the other is mostly an every other year situation, and one just sits there looking sad AF. The sad one finally has some baby apples on it. I think it’s the first year ever.

The blueberry bushes are all starting to produce berries, but none will be ripe for another month or so. I’ve heard our blueberries are delicious. I wouldn’t know, as the children never allow me to actually eat any.

With Bennett not in school this coming week, I guess we’ll finally plant the beans and cucumbers. Bennett loves planting seeds, and beans and cukes have big seeds which are perfect for kiddos. And yes, we should have started the seeds indoors 6-8 weeks ago. But guess what? We didn’t! So there!

As long as I cover the seeds with an insulated row cover, we’ll start getting seedlings in a few weeks. It all works out in the end, especially with our Fall season trending warmer and warmer.

Housekeeping

We are building up our ad-free portfolio of recipes over on Prepear. Not only are the recipes ad-free, but you can create your own meal plans with them with their drag and drop options.

And then…magic happens and it generates a digital shopping list for you. That’s right, YOU don’t have to make your own grocery list! You’ll also get access to thousands of other recipes and cookbooks on the Prepear platform.

You can try Prepear for free for 7 days to check out all the amazing features. It’s such a cool service!

What I’m Listening To This Week

Death in Cryptoland is another podcast by the amazing CBC podcasting team. From the website: When the young CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange is reported to have died while honeymooning in India, it sets off a cataclysmic chain of events that would leave about 76,000 people out of a quarter of a billion dollars. ()

What I’m Reading This Week

I finished Who is Maud Dixon (loved the twisty ending!) and started I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi Jones. I read her other book, Professional Troublemaker, a few weeks ago and loved it. I’m enjoying I’m Judging You, but I think her second book was more topical for me.

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Terry left this lovely review in our Rose Lemonade post {Pin this recipe}:

Okay, so this is officially the best ever! I designed a meal for a small group of girlfriends around a lemon theme. We had lemon chicken in orzo, spinach, grape tomatoes, and basil, Caesar salad, lemon cake with lemon icing . . . and this lemonade. So easy to make and so delicious! Everyone really enjoyed everything, but this lemonade was everyone’s favorite. There was such a delicate hint of something delightfully different. And a big plus . . . I bought the rosewater at a local international market for $3.13 . . . much cheaper than Amazon’s $9.95! Thanks so much, Sarah; I consistently find great recipes on your blog each and every time. You haven’t failed me once!

a pitcher of lemonade being poured into a glass with lemons and a straw

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Cucumber and Onion Salad – This make-ahead Cucumber and Onion Salad is a summertime superstar. Simple and delicious, the fresh ingredients let the garden-fresh produce shine in this easy cucumber salad. {Pin this recipe}

cucumber and onion salad in two bowls with persian cucumbers and a fork on a white background

Air Fryer Turkey Bacon – Learn how to make perfect Turkey Bacon in the Air Fryer each and every time. It’s a great method for cooking bacon that is mess and fuss-free. You’ll love the easy cleanup and the awesome taste! {Pin this recipe}

a grey plate with turkey bacon on a white board

Fresh Blueberry Ice Cream – Creamy, luscious, and irresistible homemade Fresh Blueberry Ice Cream is the perfect summertime treat. This easy recipe has a bright blueberry flavor and includes machine and no-churn instructions. {Pin this recipe}

A bowl of Fresh blueberry ice cream with mint, spoons, and blueberries on a wooden board

Confessions – Everyone’s favorite post of the month!

A woman with a finger up to her mouth saying "shhhhh"

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

  1. How to Freeze Spinach – so many people are going to have awesome smoothies this winter!  {Pin this tutorial}
  2. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Instant Pot Garlic Rice – we always have a bag of this in the freezer for quick meals. {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Home Fries – awesome for breakfast, side dishes, or a dinnertime scramble.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Cookies – when you don’t want to heat up your whole house for cookies in the oven. {Pin this recipe}

Meal Plan

Our meal plan got torn to shreds last week! Troy ended up with an extra shift at work and the fridge was full of random leftovers that we all just ate what we wanted directly out of the containers one night. So, we’ll be doing a repeat of some things that were on last week’s meal plan and never got made.

We’re also switching to takeout just one night a week starting in June. Twice a week was a routine we started during lockdown to support local small restaurants. With things opening back up around here, restaurants seem to be back on stronger footing.

The cost of takeout and the waste that comes with it is a lot. We still want to support where we can, but I think we can back away a bit.

Monday:: Lettuce wraps and Air Fryer Egg Rolls. The gem lettuce in our garden is just begging to be turned into some tasty homemade knockoff PF Chang’s wraps but without the 32,976 g of sodium.

Tuesday:: Air Fryer Meatballs, pasta, Freezer Spaghetti Sauce, and salad. Didn’t happen last week.

Wednesday:: Troy is making the broccoli/chicken casserole thingy he was going to make last week.

Thursday:: Takeout to support a local small business and to celebrate Jack’s second vaccine.

Friday:: Popcorn, leftovers, and movie night.

Saturday:: Air Fryer Tofu, Garlic Butter Rice, and salad.

Sunday:: Weather is looking cool(ish), so I’m going to make Instant Pot Chicken Pot Pie before boob sweat season arrives.

What are you having this week?

 

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4 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I am so sorry about your chicken…I’d be going all Baba Yaga on their a$$es too. I am a live let live, nature loving kind of gal until you harm one of mine or enter my home (talking to you, cute furry field mice)…then I am a fury.

  2. I’m sorry about your chicken. When I had chickens I only found one of my girls in the yard and I had to bury her myself. It was sad. The other house we lived in that had chickens the raccoons would drag them off into the wilderness behind my house so I’d just find a pile of feathers in our yard. 🙁 that yard was very hard to secure.
    Jacks camp out sounds awesome! 
    There was something else that I wanted to say but I can’t remember and it’s early 😆 hope you have a good week ahead!