Friday, July 31, 2009

Off island, over to the aquarium

The Seattle Aquarium is chock full of eager docents. Get on down and check it out.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Kristine Dahms sold us her barely used kayaks, and we LOVE them so much!
David's mom Farah stayed with us for a week and she's here paddling at Dockton. They're super fun. So, does anyone know how long it'll take to paddle from the North End to Blake? I know there are tidal variables and such, but assuming it's a nice day what is that in paddle time?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Coon Trappin!

ahem! to be clear, it's the bucket-o-maggots we note are helping to feed the chickens and not a strung up carcass itself! Did we mention this tip came in the chicken husbandry class offered by Dana Ness, DVM and Cathy Fulton via a VIGA sponsorship? The thoughtful comment at the bottom has some great safety tips and thank you for looking out for us and our birdies! We're covered.<

The raccoons that once ate a handful of our free ranging chickens have lately experienced a bit of a role reversal, thanks to our island friends lending us raccoon traps. They work.

(the date stamp is incorrect on the pix; just took these)

Put one dead raccoon in a five gallon bucket, let flies visit, top it with a lid, drill lots of worm size holes in the bucket botton, let the heat fester the contents, string up that bucket in the coop run and voila...."It's raining worms! Hallelujah it's raining worms, amen...squirmy, white, gross you bet...rainin' til it's soaking weeeeeet!"

I jest with the song, but we seriously did use the concept and the chickens find it as recreational as they do nutritious. Oh, it smells fun-kay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chase - You're not MY neighborhood bank

Branding aside, CHASE, you are the lowest form of banking anonymity this side of the Pacific. Don't give me that "Seattle's newest 200-yr-old bank" BS. When I drove by the billboard on 99 today on the way to the office, I yelled out FUUUUUUUCK YOU! There may have also been a finger involved.

Know why? Cuz they dicked me and my credit report yesterday. And there's nobody to turn to, not even the good people working at my Vashon branch at 178th. Fresh from the mailbox was a letter from Chase saying based on information from Experian, they were closing my Chase credit card--which had a ZERO balance, people--and a puny ass $250 limit. Oh, and a f###ing astronomical interest rate...and they wonder why I didn't use it?

The letter cited too many new accounts in a 24-month period as a factor in their decision. I had TWO new accounts--a consumer loan with my credit union, and a Best Buy account for when my computer died. two years! Any lates I have are of the "oh, gee, it's just after the mail by date ilk" and I (now) have two credit cards in good standing and the best buy account. So what the hell?

A creditor shutting down an account is often regarded as punitive.
This is the same bank that decided to dock my limit in half six months ago.
And then, just last week, they sent a new card for an account that THIS week they decided to close.
And in my case, it's bullshit.
What is happening to consumer credit?
Why don't you shut down people who don't pay their bills?
Or people who don't have the jobs to pay down their debts?
Or People who don't have money market accounts, checking, savings and more with CHASE...hellooooooo?

I called and pled my case to my local branch peeps as soon as I opened that letter. Their inability to respond leaves me with no choice; Chase, you've left them powerless. You don't even promise to help your consumers when calling that 1-888 number that says "your wait time will be more than 10 minutes" (and what the hell does that mean? an hour?).

So tell ya what, Chase. Since you really don't give a rat's rump, I'll take your $250 and see ya, ohhhh about ten grand. Let's see what happens when 100,000 more people decide to defect in disgust (like me), too. I will take my savings, my kids' savings, my personal checking, my joint checking, my money market account to the bank up the street and you can KEEP YOUR LAME ASS $250 closed mastercard account. And hubbie's coming too! Are ya happy now?

No amount of advertising will compensate for the crappy decision-making coming from Chase's scissor-happy bean counters in New York City. Here's the company's next ad tag line, with my compliments:

"Chase...away customers"

Hello, new bank!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I samba'd at Strawberry

Click the photo to expand this image. Dig the black skirt made by Dova Silks. It was great. Not too many mess-ups on our routine, either! We had a good time out there.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Behold, the WhizBang chicken plucker

Here's hoping my 10-yr-old son, Zach, doesn't read this anytime soon.

Chickens. We've had quite an eventful time with our birds in just our two month run.
Let's see if I can capture this:
May -
6 pullets from McMurray arrive: two buff x's, two R.I. red x starlings, and two white leghorns. They are awesome. The alpha is Lucy, a fiery redhead.

Early June -
3 chickens David traded an on island friend for bees join the flock. They are from a straight run so we don't know the sexes.

Last week of June -
One of the white leghorns (Heather Feather, the Beta bird in the pecking order) is found headless and mangled during the free-range-to-coop roundup. We suspect it was a cat as culprit since her headless body was left open but otherwise unscathed.I imagine a neighbor getting the trophy chicken head from their cat, and screaming in horror. I was bummed. Heather would let me pet her, she was very vocal and also a prolific layer.

We decide to get five more hens in Silverdale from a bird lover: Two silver laced Wyandottes, two Aracaunas, and a Rhode Island red. One night, just three days after adoption, four of the newbies dont come home to roost. With the exception of one, they survived overnight and straggled throughout the next day back to the coop one by one. The RI red was toast, we assume. We heard a raccoon party going on next door that night they went missing.

So now we're down to 12. And then July 5, David calls to tell me "Luke" has died (The kids named her, I know). Luke was from McMurray Hatcher, another red x, and she never was 100% healthy from the beginning. Probably congenital. The night of the fourth, David was nursing her with water and a bulb syringe to get her to drink and perk up to no avail. She died in a box in the living room and David slept next to her on the couch. So now we're down to 11.

Monday, July 6, our crazy gray aracauna goes all dingbatty when it's time to roost. She flees to into the bramble after several of my attempts to round her up. I figure, I'll try again after she's calmed down. Off I go to dance class, and then, poof--there's no chicken when I get back. The next morning, wee early...I see raccoons out my home office window near a shady border of maples and sure enough, we run out to find a litter of feathers and a solitary aracauna chicken foot/leg. So now we're down to 10. Darn. She was a great layer--green eggs, too!

And somewhere in there we'd discovered we had not ONE, but TWO roosters who decided to hit puberty on the same day and suddenly there's a big old humpfest on our back patio. Knowing full well we have just 8 hens, they'll get exhausted with just one rooster chasing them around, so one of these fellas had to go. We picked the one who showed less roosterism and kept "Prescott" a brown leghorn type gent who crows in the morning, and rounds up/dotes on the ladies, and is just a handsome dude.

Which brings us, finally, to yesterday. I'm on the YahooGroup Vashon Poultry and Cathy Fulton invited the gang to take advantage of the "WhizBang Plucker" for a mere donation if we wanted to bring any bird(s). She had quite the set up! There was a killing cone station, then a table for dressing/cleaning which Alex got in there like a biologist in took direction and systematically processed what was our extra rooster. He blew all of us away. The bird came home ready to cook (after 36 hours of refrigeration to let rigor mortis do its thing).

Zach objected to the whole slaughter, mainly because he had named the rooster. He was saying things like, "how would YOU like it if YOU were a pet and your family killed you for dinner?" I replied, "Welcome to the REAL WORLD, Zach!" Anyway, he knew it was imminent, he just doesn't know the deed is done.

Hello, Crockpot!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

4th of July 2009

David, the boys and I enjoyed a quick but fun weekend in San Diego for the 4th. Every year in Coronado there's a big, big, parade and huge crowd, followed by a fireworks show at Glorietta Bay in which the droves of tourists descend upon the rolling hills of Coronado Golf Course. Residents typically hang out at the Yacht Club or on their moored boats, away from the riffraff.

I had a blowout with my deteriorating grandmother. She has no "valve" anymore and says really mean things and will NOT STOP TALKING, rather, ranting. Anyway, it ruined part of my 4th and I just said "enough." The kids and I walked to the golf course on our own and enjoyed a cool fireworks show!

We saw lots of our classmates from the CHS class of 1987 during an All Class reunion, and my uncle was in the band that was playing the event, making it even funner! I love going "home" to my other island. In the photo is Zach at the new Vernetti Fountain where the flower lady vends, and me with Meredith Allen Talley, a lifelong pal of mine--taken with my phone during concert in the park on July 5.