Skip navigation

Tag Archives: chickens

Not pleased, my can't express what I cannot

Not pleased, my cat expresses what I cannot

I am having a terrible time writing/thinking today. My apologies, in advance. And generally if my writing ever feels in adequate, or off. I am quite dyslexic and on bad days I miss more. I have decided to do as little editing as possible in this blog, as editing, and the editing voice has a tendency to stop me in my tracks. I am writing fairly stream of consciousness. I have been and will continue to do so.

Having got that out of the way:


I am posting at the end what it took me to begin writing. I was going to scratch it entirely, but I think it is an important example of expressed brain function. I think that function is relevant to my hoarding behavior.


Today was a day of many revelations. I felt like my grandmother had been reincarnated while still alive, as me. It feels like I mean this literally, or it did at the time of the revelation I believe that at least figuratively, it is very accurate.

Okay, upon re-reading, I realize that need some explanation, or I just sound silly.

I realize I hoard in theory and in thought as well as physically. I hoard ideas, desires, aspirations, etc. I am clear that this may not be the same as the hoarding of actual stuff, but I am also clear that my, personal behaviors are about much more than stuff.

Yes. I do have emotional attachments to some stuff, but not, for example, receipts I haven’t thrown away, recycling, threadbare crummy towels, empty cardboard boxes and the like. Those things are more about figuring out what to do with things, acting in a reasonable time frame, making decisions.

I also accumulate things because if I can’t see them I forget I have them. I hoard food in response to three or four things. First is that I was taught the behavior by my father, his mother and her parents. It was reinforced in my child hood in moments of scarcity, and when my son was very young and we were (financially) poor and we lived, largely off of what I had saved. There is an over-riding lack of faith in plenty, or I the ability to provide which is made worse by the fact that I can rarely remember what we have in the cupboards. If it is behind closed doors, it may as well not exist, which contributes to the stuff every where part of my problem.

I hoard things because I inherited them and feel they must have some value to have been saved this long… then who am I to do something else with them.

I realized in addition to all of that, today, those same abilities contribute to my difficulty making decisions. Unless one choice has some sort of empirical data to back up it’s superiority, it is neigh on impossible to make a choice, often. There is a great, deeply rooted fear of being wrong, of making wrong decision, about career, mates, etc. There is also ambivalence. Unless I really care about what to eat, and I rarely do, What do I care what it it is? Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook. I don’t love eating so much as it is a pain. I ramble, I digress, I think attention span is part of the problem as well, not always, but often.

I feel at once fairly intelligent (there is empirical evidence to suggest this) and jaw-droppingly stupid this is terribly confusing.

I think I am doing nothing to clarify any of this. I will post it any way.

Tonight, I am getting rid of a pair of orange shoes. They are not the most comfortable, but they are orange, and I do love orange. Orange, however is not the best reason best reason to keep a pair of shoes. I am also going to get rid of a couple of back packs. They are clean and washed, but my kids have new back packs, so I am going to get rid of the back up plan. -In truth, not entirely, as I am keeping one with a leather bottom mostly for my own use, but with an eye to back up, I admit. Every year they wear out their back packs they are so expensive, it makes me panic a little, so it is a think I tend to hang on to.

Orange shoes and clean back packs awaiting donation

Orange shoes and clean back packs awaiting donation

That feels insufficient, so let’s see, what else…

A bed-skirty thing ( I don’t quite know what it’s called or how to use it. It seems top get in the way of the sheets, although as I write it occurs to me it should go over the box spring, of which I haven’t one at the moment. I’m getting rid of it, even though I’ve figured it out! Hurrah! A nice lime green t-shirt. Both items were washed today and smell, and are, nice and clean for the next person.

Green shirt and bed skirty thing

Green shirt and bed skirty thing


More… please stand by …

A poster of the Fossil Record ..

Fossil record poster standing by

Fossil record poster standing by

Wait, I like it a lot. Now it is on our front door, using double sided tape I’ve been saving (which I used earlier in the week to help make a graphic) and tacks saved from fly paper, I know odd. But I have used them!

Fossil poster up on door. My daughter started reading it just after I put it up. How cool is that?

Fossil poster up on door. My daughter started reading it just after I put it up. How cool is that?

 I’ve replaced the fossil record poster with a sandwich maker I got at Paul Bunyan for my son, as he had one and it broke in our move here. Turns out the boy has some sense. He says they don’t work very well (generally, and that it is easier to make a sandwich.

Sandwich maker as sacrificial lamb for poster : )

Sandwich maker as sacrificial lamb for poster : )

Okay, that’s it for tonight, long post. Lots to think about.

At least they have an excuse! They also store where they (and customer, I assume) can see. Worth a try!

At least they have an excuse! They also store where they (and customer, I assume) can see. Worth a try!



Weasel says it best, again

Weasel says it best, again

Blooper reel (as it were) at the end!

Off to read submissions from fellows in my writing class. Two down x to go and comment on. Wish me luck!

I am generally and specifically overwhelmed today. I have half a mind to post pictures of every crappy little corner of my house, my storage shed and my Grandmother garage. While I’m at it I have half a mind to do the same with her house/possessions, etc.!

I think, And I vaguely remember thinking before, that my problem is not about stuff, or rather it is, but the bigger problem is with categorization, with life in general. I think my wiring is wrong. I want to be gentle today. I strive to be a gentle person, but it is so hard to be gentle when I feel sad, or frustrated, or overwhelmed. It is easier to be angry and chastising.

This whole day has been like this entry to a larger and lesser degree. I am especially dyslexic, having great trouble expressing myself, when I try to express what I am thinking audibly, I begin to stutter like crazy, while writing, I am spelling poorly, stutter typing and rambling like crazy.

There is some kind of psychological phenomenon going on here. Something deep seated trying to emerge.

I have started this blog, and re-started  it least four or five times this afternoon. I have had a day that was simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. I know, odd, right?

Holy Toledo, enough already! I am doing everything but writing. I can hardly stay in my seat. Must be uncomfortable stuff, right?

Hold that thought, seriously! I am going to see what I need to make some gluten free brownies. I must resist writing, a little longer, but I’ll be back when I’m done resisting. I am too far in the future and not in the present. Let me try to adjust my attitude!

I did, in fact not make brownies, as that is simply further avoidance behavior and so, I was avoiding doing it, and decided to come back to the initial source of avoidance.

I must go back to the beginning, of the thought, of today’s blog. There is nothing terribly earthshaking, or at least not externally. Just realizations today. and a heavy cloud of big voice in my head reminding me I need to get rid of stuff still tonight. To the voice a respond perhaps I will get rid of circuitous thoughts and feeling s of overwhelming  … what doom, genetic predisposition, theory … not sure. As for the rest I will dive in.

If you feel like you’re trying to go swimming, or that I am, and I keep dipping my toes in and backing up, I think that is what I am doing. It appears to be the only way to go forward tonight.

I feel like I am exposing big dark secrets, or bringing a monster, uninvited to a dance. -I’ve left the oven on as part of my previous avoidance behavior, I can smell it getting hot. I will deal with it in a bit. In the mean time, it can help warm the house.

Okay, again. Today was a day where I realized some things. The crazy thing is, as I realize them, they seem to evaporate. I feel more like I am exposing myself typing this than I have with any other posts or photographs, so far, and I’m not sure why. I think I am far enough into this project that some part of my psyche is beginning to fight me in earnest while another part is simultaneously cheering me on!

I took my grandmother to the chiropractor today.  Her appointment was at 10:30 with a FANTASTIC local chiropractor. If you are local, he is right next to the Glass Beach Inn in Fort Bragg. I recommend him HIGHLY!

In any event, the appointment was at 10:30. I was running late, initially. Or I felt I was. I got to Gran’s, out Dusty the house chickens out with the other chickens, then came inside, gave her her eye drops did her hair, helped her to the bathroom.

Wait, back up, before any of this (sorry for being disjointed, today you get mostly stream of consciousness, or I won’t post at all. Gran called just before 8 am And asked me, somewhat pointedly if I had over-slept. … I thought at first I was reading the clocks wrong, then I realized it might be her. I reminded her that we had planned on my being there around 9 am and that it was not quite 8 now. I still need to get my son off to school.

What really matters here is the shift in time at the beginning of the day, I guess.

. I had things scheduled for myself I wanted to get done, specifically, Two friends and I are trying to start a printing press for broadsides, small book, collections of poetry, journals, etc. I had planned to go over there this afternoon




Gran and Dusty Peepers as a chick

Gran and her pet chicken Dusty Peepers, as a chick

Tonight, I am writing a little off topic, please bear with me, as I work out some thoughts out here in the public arena.

My Grandmother has always been there for me, from the time I was born to the present. In June of 2008, she fell. She wasn’t  hurt, but she wasn’t able to get up for a long while and was shook up as a result. At the time she was 92.

My dad and step mom have been living near her for quite some time. More accurately, she has been living near them for quite sometime. She moved here in 1997  from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spent most of her life. She was in her 80’s at the time and incredibly self-sufficient. Since then, time has passed, as it is inclined to do. My step mom teaches full time and my dad is fairly disabled himself. When she fell last year, it became clear to that my step mom needed help. It was no longer enough to check in on her in the evenings and on weekends. My step mom has been wonderful and amazing, but Gran’s care is no longer a one, or even two person job.

I was teaching in a full-time tenured job when she fell in June. Contracts renew every year in July where I was, so I had a very short time to make the decision to move or to stay with my children where we were. We had finally bought our first house (With help from my gran) on five acres, and I had a solid teaching job. Things were pretty good for us, but, in truth, there was an air of discontent. My son has Asperger’s syndrome and hadn’t  completed a full year of school since 6th grade (that’s five years). While it is true I had a very good teaching job I loved in a school community I respected and enjoyed, it was also true that I was a single parent raising two children on my own and working more than full time. We lived in a very rural community and were any where from half an hour to an hour away from our closest friends and family. I am not entirely sure how things would have panned out if we had stayed, but when Gran fell, it seemed to me that the only thing was to take a leave of absence from my job, or barring that, resign, and come here and help out. It was a very tough decision, as we had moved to Nevada, in large part, to be closer to family, there dad, my sister and her family. The move here would take us farther away from our friends and family there.

I ended up resigning my position and packing up my two children, our dog, cat and turtle (the chickens we gave to a good friend) and moving here, to Fort Bragg, California to help. Initially, we lived with my grandmother, in her house. We were not able to settle in terribly well, as she, like I, has a lot of stuff and has been living alone most of her adult life with the exception of her own, somewhat short, marriage and the years she spent taking care of her parents. It was hard to combine our households, not just because of stuff, but because of personalities, and individual needs. My son needs a lot of down time and quiet to function (I think this is pretty true of me as well). My grandmother is quite deaf and listens to the television loudly enough to be heard outside, as a result. By the end of the first week of school, my son had shut down completely. I think it was a combination of the (abrupt change, the noise, the lack of familiar surroundings, and the lack of control over his own environment among other things. By the time I think my grandmother was feeling a bit cramped, as we all were.

Flash forward a year later. My son completed his first full year of school in six years, with good grades. He, along with his sister and I have just finished acting in a local little theater production, which seems to have done wonders for him in terms of self confidence and social skills. My daughter has adapted well and has made a number of good friends and is fitting in nicely. I have been able to spend not just more time, but more quality time with my children than I have been able to since they were infants, and my grandmother seems to be doing well, over all.

The conundrum, now is that my grandmother has been having problems with her legs of late, a sort of aphasia, in her legs, as it were. She speaks of telling her legs to move and them not responding. Today, she was stuck standing in her kitchen for nearly an hour, as she couldn’t navigate her walker and coordinate her legs into a position wherein she could be seated. There she stood, stuck by her refridgeratoe, standing on ninety-three-year-old legs for nearly an hour. Finally, she pushed her life line and the good folks on the other end called my parents house. My Step-mom called me, and between the three of us we got her back to her chair in the living room. This is not the first time this has happened to her. I noticed it a month or two ago, but this is the first time it has left her stranded for such a long time, and in such a dangerous way.

My conundrum is, what do do . I know someone that might be able to come and stay with her nights, in exchange for room rent, but I am not sure either of them would be terribly happy with the arrangement. Gran expressed some trepidation after the idea was proposed. She has been independent for so long and she feels like this is admitting she can no longer live alone. Also, she has lived alone for so long, she is not sure she can live happily with someone else in the house, especially as stranger.

I am not sure what the right thing to do is, but the kids and I are playing around with the idea of living in two houses at once, as it were. At least for a little while.

I am just going to sit with this a while and see what feels right. I think I made the right decision last year. I hope I will be able to again.

Four Generations of Family

Four Generations of Family

Hard-wired for hoarding?
Hard-wired for hoarding?

This morning, I found nine eggs under the banty hen at my grandmother’s. I thought she hadn’t been laying, as earlier today, was the first time I’d found any of her eggs since I brought her home. When I checked for eggs the first time today, there were two little banty eggs along side of the morning Rhode Island Red egg. I thought, “she’s finally comfortable enough here to start laying, fantastic.” I patted my self on the back for being a good chicken keeper and took the eggs in the house. I came back out later in the day to see if there were any more eggs (they often lay twice per day). I couldn’t find the banty hen, so I looked for her in the chicken house. There she was, up in the roost, brooding on a clutch of 9 eggs. I gathered up the eggs and brought them inside, as it is the wrong time of the year for her to be hatching chicks. It will be pretty cold and quite wet here soon, which is a recipe for disaster for chicks. I will use the eggs to make pysanky eggs with, and hopefully she will be broody again in the spring!

I’ve been wondering now, what causes someone/something to hoard? Our little banty came to us from a different home a few months ago from a previous owner who became ill and could no longer keep them. It took all the hens a while to get over the stress of moving and start laying again. I wonder know, if the stress is what caused the banty to hoard the eggs. She wasn’t clearly brooding, as they eggs weren’t in the nest box and they weren’t fully under her. I hope I haven’t traumatized her by taking them after she’d saved them up. It is conceivable that in response to moving and changing her environment she decided, as it were, that is is time to start saving eggs up for brooding. It is much cooler here than where she was, perhaps she thought it was spring. Who knows?

The bigger question, for me, is why do people hoard, specifically, why do I? There are so many possible reasons, some that I am aware of and some that I am not.

I have had hoarding tendencies for as long as I can remember. I remember a specific attachment to a red velvet jumper and a pair of cowboy boots from when I was a toddler. I was beside myself when they were given away. I remember really mourning the loss of the cowboy boots, for a couple of years, I was no more than two and half or so when they were given away, and I was already incredibly capable of being attached to inanimate objects. I still have a stuffed blue bunny my maternal grandfather gave me in the early seventies. Part of that is sentimental, and part is compulsive.

I have loaded up in the back of my car, so far, three white plastic garbage bags full (mostly) of clothes, a paper grocery sack of the same and a bike rack. I plan on adding to that, momentarily, as well, as getting rid of a HUGE pile of recycling that has built up. It has built up for two reasons. The first is that I don’t have garbage service and the second is that I keep thinking I will take it all in for the return value! I haven’t and it isn’t worth keeping, or deluding myself that I will.

I am adding to the thrift store load: a pair of weird cream colored sweat pants, I’ve never worn, but that were left on a bag on my porch, A pink striped pillow case, a grey half shirt, a t-shirt dress with petroglyph-y navy print, a pair of pleated dockers, and 2 pairs of beige cotton yoga pants -all from the same bag. (As if it isn’t bad enough I hoard all on my own, I seem to have collected a hoarding fairy who drops off  ‘offerings’ on my front porch, periodically. Seriously!) Also included are two other t-shirts, a scarf, a strapless bra and a training bra (that has not been needed for quite some time!), and a nice quilted jacket that will keep someone else nice and toasty!First official "Three Blogs, Three Boxes" donation, despite the lack of actual boxes.

 Okay, I have filled 2 large (outside) garbage cans full of recycling, and loaded up the last of the donations for today.

Recycling ready to go!

Recycling ready to go!

Lastly, I am giving myself credit for using something that could easily have remained something I was hoarding, rather than putting to good use. My son and I salvaged 26 4×4’s when they re-did the local dog park. We had to load them up, cement and all and bring them home. They were incredibly heavy and took two of us even to move. When we got them home, he smashed the concrete off with a sledge hammer. They have been sitting in the back yard ever since. This weekend we cemented 7 of them, strategically in  out yard and anchor posts for out fence, including two gated areas and have set up the rest in all but the seven holes which still need to be dug.gate posts from salvaged 4x4's

gate posts from salvaged 4×4’s
Posts on the side of the house waiting to be aligned and cemented!

Posts on the side of the house waiting to be aligned and cemented!posts in the front yard waiting to be aligned and set

So, something to think about: What is the line between hoarding and thrift? At what point would I have been hoarding the posts if I hadn’t used them? When is it okay to keep something and when is it okay to let things go?

I’ll leave you with that until Wednesday!