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jenvan

Any "home-canners" Out There?

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Guest Viola

:lol: Jen that is hallarious! That reminds me of what we did to a horse we owned. She was called Gem stone Ruby "Ruby" for short. Anyway, she had a bad habit of chewing wood and would chew on the tops of the fences, so we painted them with a combination of Hot mustard, cayene pepper and hot BBQ sauce. We went out the next morning and she had eaten the whole board ! We couldn't believe it! .. So never under estimate the tastes of animals :lol: We had another horse that ate a whole bunch of cooking onions that we had dug out of the garden and left on a lumber pile to dry. Stupid horse never even got a belly ache. :rolleyes:

Anyway ... if anyone else has horses that tend to 'crib' or chew on their stalls or fences, we eventually solved the problem by painting the wood in used vehicle oil.

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Jen, that is GREAT! What is also ironic, is that despite my efforts (adding manure, disgusting compost and pine needles, then a "good soaking drink of water") I awoke the next morning to three of my biggest bulbs being taken hostage. I was FURIOUS. First off, I'm kind of a gimp, so planting those suckers was no small undertaking. Then, I did EVERYTHING I was supposed to. So, I called my husband -- one of the guys he works with said his wife went through the same thing and used Baby Powder -- out goes the baby powder on the flower bed. They STILL got them. So, I reverted to Cayenne pepper, too! I've had a few small digs, but then little scurried orange foot-prints. I can't believe that last year I FED the squirrels, and this year, I'm trying to burn their lips off! :P

I told my husband that if that didn't keep them out of the bulbs -- bon appetit!

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You poor thing! You have Kamakazi squirrels--they don't care! So far--my pumpkins are safe and sound :) If you look close you can see pepper all over them--but a small price to pay!

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Jen -- I told my husband about your pumpkins -- we both were laughing hysterically! I told him that I supposed we may have to watch for that, too! I'm re-applying the Cayenne pepper every-other day -- woke up this morning (after applying and sneezing last night) to ANOTHER bulb gone! I think you're right -- we do have kamikaze squirrels. I told my son I was going to borrow his pellet gun and shoot the ones with swollen lips in the butt!

Shirley -- my husband and I were discussing your squirrels, as well -- he didn't have any idea that they were that destructive, either. He did know, however, about how fantastic your pine trees are! Are your pine cones the type from which they harvest "pine nuts"? Just curious -- they are a "delicacy" here, and are at a premium! I've often wondered, given the size of the seeds in our cones, WHERE they get them!

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Guest Viola

I really don't know about the pine nuts .. I suppose it could be, but we have never seen them for sale here, actually haven't heard of people eating pine nuts before. :lol: When I was doing crafts with the cones, we used to put them in the dehydrator to open them up, and the seeds are very large.

We also have birds here called 'Cross bills', and their beaks are crossed at the end of them. What happens is they crack open the cones and seeds like a nut cracker. Then because they get the tree pitch on their beaks, they head for the salt blocks that we kept for the horses and rub their beaks in the salt to melt the pitch off, then drink and wash their beaks in the water tubs and bird baths. It really is very fascinating how nature makes her creatures. :rolleyes:

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Hi Shirley -- I read your post to my husband -- we're both nature-lovers and science geeks -- so we were fascinated by the crossbill story. We're going to google crossbills so that we can see what they look like. We have also decided that your pine cones must definitely yield what are known here as "pine nuts" -- They are almond-shaped, but a little smaller. The seeds which come from our pine cones are like maple tree "whirlygigs" -- only a LOT smaller. Big difference, huh? How many horses do you have? Any other animals? I think that, at heart, I'm a very rural person. When I was growing up, we were one of two houses in the neighborhood -- the rest was farmland. I can remember climbing through the fence to play with the cows in back of our house!

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Guest Viola

I don't have any horses left now ... although I miss them. I was diagnosed a few years back with arthritis in my spine, and so horse riding was ruled out. At the time I had one Appolousia (sp) left. Hankerchief was a real sweetheart and had a cronic foot injury that had to be babied, so rather than selling him for riding, we gave him to a family with a handicapped child, who couldn't ride, but got therapy in petting and grooming. Which of course put Hanky in his glory :lol: He still looked great the last time we went by his area. When the girls were home we had up to five horses at a time. Our youngest showed in both English, (including jumping) and Western. The rest of us just rode for fun.

Other than the horses, we had 250 laying hens, and then when the girls left home my husband and I raised pigs for awhile. Unfortunately that got expensive, as we can't raise the grain here necessary to keep them over winter. But it was fun and a super learning experience, especially when I got to play vet :lol: I did all the shots for both the horses and pigs. Piglets need to have iron shots before they are 48 hours old, or they get weakened with anemea and sometimes die. My husband used to hold them, I'd pop in the shot, and they didn't make a sound until he marked their little heads with a felt pen, so we didn't do the same one twice. Then they would just squeal their heads off. Mother would be outside banging against the door, that we had nailed shut. You do not want to be in with an angry mother protecting her piglets :o:rolleyes: I also had to help one sow farrow as she had weak muscles along her uterus. Pigs have the piglets along both sides and they come to a Y before they come out. Sometimes two come together and get stuck, so I would wash up and put vaseline on and go in to push one back and let the other ahead so they weren't in there too long. It sound gross, but I really miss all the excitement and see the little ones pop out safely. With in an hour they are all dry and cute as anything :P

Another of our ventures involved raising turkeys. The first time worked out great, but the second batch a weasel got in and killed 12 of the 13 young turkeys. That was very upsetting and expensive we didn't try again. Our dog eventually got the weasel.

Anyway ... now we are pretty much retired and just have one dog and gardens, with an orchard. We spend a lot of time volunteering our time and energy with the Kennel Club, the local curling club in the winter, and the community golf course in the summer.

We get to watch all the wild life, deer, moose, coyutes, bear and all sorts of birds wander through our yard as we live in a nice quiet piece of property without any houses beside us on our side of the highway and just a few within sight on the other side.

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Wow! What great experiences! My aunt had a farm in a more rural area of Ky -- they had baby piglets. The momma was not really happy that they removed a couple of them for me to hold. Boy, are they cute, though!

My brother-in-law & sister-in-law have a farm in West Virginia. They raise cattle (beef), goats and chickens. My son explained their farm to my neurologist, and he told me that their beef was the only meat he wanted me eating! My sister-in-law is brilliant. She told her husband that she was going to drill for a spring and create a well. He got REALLY nervous, and told her that it was more than she thought it was going to be, that it could potentially take months to tap into a productive spring, and they couldn't afford to have the equipment on-site that long. She got an old-timer to come out with a divining rod. He found one site, but said it wasn't strong. He found a second site, said "dig here". The equipment was on the site one day, they drilled a spring that produced 50 gallons per minute! The water is something like 99.89% pure. My brother-in-law laid pipe and rigged a system to irrigate 5 pastures. The cattle are grass fed and rotated every other day. They receive only the antibiotics they NEED, and get NO hormones! It is the best beef you've ever tasted, and its pure. (They also don't use chemicals on any of their vegetation). My sister-in-law makes me laugh. She doesn't like chemicals of any kind, so she found chickens which lay colored eggs. No kidding. That way she doesn't have to dye them at Easter :rolleyes: They are pink-ish, rose, teal and light green. It cracks me up. (no pun intended)

It sounds like you guys had a GREAT time while your kids were growing up, and now are having a different kind of great time enjoying the land. That is so neat. Whenever you feel like reminiscing or updating farm goings-on, feel free to post -- I love hearing about things like this! Lynne

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Lynne and Shirley-

Ah--I love hearing these stories too :) I can't imagine my life will ever permit me to live like you have Shirley--but I would love to try sometime. I find such satisfaction in working with my hands. ie. growing veggies in my garden, canning them, using them throughout the year and giving some away as gifts. I would love to try and raise some hens/chickens some time or hog. But financially I'm not sure how you work all that. And we definitely would have to move out of the city (which would be fine with me). I love love being so close to our friends--we are within walking distance to many of them. It is a possibility to move about 30 min. out of the city to more of a rural community and have some land, and much cheaper housing. But it means being farther from my natural food stores and friends. Guess its all about priorities.

Shirley- How did you end up on that land with the animals, orchard etc? Did you move into or did you get a vision for it all?

Lynne- Your sister-in-law does sound incredible! I would love to raise chemical/hormone free and pesticide free foods for my family, and friends... A diving rod--there can be something to some of those 'old' arts :)

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Yeah, my sister-in-law is pretty incredible. My brother-in-law is the same. He used to work for the Environmental Protection Agency, but lost his job when the Reagan administration discontinued his entire department. He has master's degrees in geology and chemistry, I believe, and she has a masters in Environmental Science. After the entire department was disbanded, they really didn't know what to do. They decided to move to the country, raise a farm, and he would teach high school Chemistry. They're just amazing people. My sister-in-law was the one who taught me how to compost, and we have been laughing about my foibles (sp?) with the worm farming. It's good, though, because she keeps me motivated - my gardens are chemical-free because of her (with the exception of talcum powder and cayenne pepper!) Wouldn't it be great to live like that?? With regard to the divining rod, I guess sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Who knew????? (except my sister-in-law) :lol:

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Wow-environmental science... I guess she has a natural advantage! I am curious how the lifestyle choice has impacted them financially--have they discussed that at all? It is easier or harder on a single income and home-growing? Not only do I get satisfaction from working with my hands/outside etc, I think there is an integrity to doing your own natural growing...I'm not a 'hippie' :) but I do think our cultural consumerism keeps us from being good stewards of the earth. I try to support local or sustainable farming etc when I can...

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Guest Viola

We used to live in Prince Rupert, on the North Coast of British Columbia. It's only about 25 miles from the Alaska pan handle. The girls were both born there, and I grew up there. My parents and brother and his wife still live there. But when our daughters were around 9 and 10 we decided it was time to get out of the city. My husband was raised on a farm in Sask. so he was 'land' wise. We went to the realestate office in Rupert and told them we were looking for some place half way between Prince Rupert B.C. and Prince Albert Sask. So we would be half way between my family and his. :lol: So, they got pictures of property from all over a middle area, and we found this place in the bunch. We then went on 'holiday' and ended up down here .. the place was empty and way over grown. Grass up over my head! But in the overgrown garden was the biggest most wonderful strawberries you ever saw. :P That and the view sold us. We went into Nelson to the realestate office and made an offer, went into the Credit Union and had the funds put in place and four days later we owned it. :D Then we had to rush home and sell our place in Prince Rupert, pack up, arrange to have my hubby's taxi business looked after (didn't want to sell it yet as he didn't have a job down here) and we were moved down here within three weeks. That was one hectic time.

The first grass mowing down here my hubby did with an old cythe (sp) It's a huge blade attached to a wood handle. :lol: don't know if any of you have ever seen one. It was hard work, but fun. We've now been here for almost 28 years.

I know what you all mean about chemicals and poisons. We didn't want either around with the girls growing up and our animals. Jen .. living out here is wonderful, as we have lots of nature, however, you are right, we have to drive (used to ride horses) to visit our friends, and going to town is an 'event' that takes all day. Shopping "planning" is a big thing as you can't just run in to get this or that if you forget it.

Lynn .. We call divining water witching :lol: My mother did it, and I can do it. You need a willow that you pick shaped in a Y. You put one hand on each of the tops of the Y and hold the single part up in the air. If you walk over where there is water, the single part will be pulled down towards the water. I'm not kidding. You can try it even in the city .. just walk over a water line, or sprinkler head and see if it works. Not everyone can do it. But Mom and I are a little strange as we can hold onto an electric fence without getting a shock too. I always opened and closed the electric fence for the horses without turning it off. One time our little dog decided to touch me with his nose while I was holding the gate and the poor little thing got a real jolt! He didn't come near me for the rest of the day :lol:

Gotta go, we are cleaning out the last shub bed and getting it ready for winter.

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Shirley, that sounds unbelievably peaceful. My husband and I always dream about moving like that. With the electric fence thing -- I can't feel them, either -- I just thought there was something wrong with my nervous system! My brother-in-law is always saying -- WATCH OUT -- I touch them, but nothing happens. Now I want to get a y-shaped willow to see if I can water witch! What a neat gift. I know what the blade you are talking about -- I can't believe that your husband had to mow the whole field with that -- it's exhausting work! My ex-husband's family had a tobacco farm -- "come 'baccer season, we all chipped in -- the kids don't go to school, and we all just go in the fields and cut 'baccer." Yuck. That stuff is NASTY, even when it's not being smoked.

Jen, with regard to the change in income, my brother-in-law said it was quite an adjustment. The income from slaughtering the cows helps, but my sister-in-law does it only so that people can have healthy meat -- she makes very minimal profit from them. One sister-in-law said "With this mad cow disease, you can CAPITALIZE on your meat -- you can get a PREMIUM!!" The other sister-in-law just looked at her quizzickly (sp) and said, "What?" She repeated it, and then got the response "I do this so people can be healthy. Yes I want to make some profit so that we can keep the farm up and buy the things we need, but I don't want to bleed people so that they can be healthy." See what I mean about being incredible? They live very frugally, and they are kind of "earth people" -- they have a washer, but they don't have a dryer -- they have clotheslines outside and inside! Their house is an old farm house -- but the improvements they have made to it are great. They grow a full garden, and they get together with their neighbors from all around and exchange foods for canning and freezing. Their one neighbor makes the greatest hot mustard you have ever eaten! They certainly had an impact on their finances, but they have just taken it in stride and really simplified their lives. They're really happy, too.

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Guest Viola

Your sister-in-law sounds great :) It does make an impact on your income to a certain extent. My hubby did get a job at the mill about 10 miles away, and we eventually sold the cab up in Prince Rupert. So we did have an income coming in. However ... keep in mind that animals are expensive ... especially vet bills as anyone owning a dog can varify. Then there's horse shoeing, feed bills, and equipment needed to run the place. And if you think growing your own veggies are much cheaper ... think again. Seed is expensive ( you can save your own, but that is very time consuming and you really need to be organized. Then there is roto tiller, that takes gas, and repairs ... and on and on. :lol: Back to the simple life you know. And around here, snow removing equipment is a reality, especially with a very long drive way. But I love winter ... it's a chance to catch up on quilting projects and books I want to read etc. :P

The computer has really opened up communications here. Up until about 6 years ago we were still on a party line, so couldn't have a computer. Now I can be in touch with the girls on a daily basis and with my parents and brother as well. Not to mention keep learning on this forum!

Let me know how you get along with the water witching :D It's fun that you are like Mom and I with the fences. Not too many people are. I did feel it once when we were up working on the water line and I filled my boots up with water, then went to let the horses out before I came in for lunch. I don't think I got a full jolt, but wondered why this line was jumping. :lol: My boots were full of water of course ... duh ... :rolleyes:

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I think having your own farm IS expensive. (and yeah, right, the simple life!)When you consider what you pay out for seeds, equipment, etc., then calculate the amount of time you put into it, it's a LOT cheaper to buy it at the grocery! Somehow, though, it's not the same. Even my little garden -- and I mean LITTLE -- yields veggies and herbs that are just better :) It's also pretty nice to cut fresh lemongrass to add to tea -- it also cuts down on the amount of sugar I use per pitcher (down to 1/4 cup per 2 quarts). My son is a really good cook -- he comes over, steps outside and kind of overlooks the herbs -- I then ask him -- need more? He smiles .. . . :P Are your winters brutal? We are sometimes mowing the lawn a week before Christmas! Our worst problem is Black Ice. We don't necessarily get SNOW, but we get an icing. It freezes on the roadways, making them just look dark. OHHHHH WRONGGGGGGG. My car did a 540 degree turn on the expressway one night -- I was just thankful that there was no traffic at the time. The road was fine, and then I hit the black ice -- you fishtail for awhile, but on that mess, there's no recovering -- the funny thing is that in a mile or less, it will be gone. Weird. Well, bedtime is beckoning! Talk to you soon . . . Lynne

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Guest Viola

No ... our winters aren't really brutal. We have four distinct seasons here, but nothing extreme. In the mountains we don't get any strong winds, extrememe heat, (although it will get up to 100 degrees F for a few days during the summer, it doesn't stay long), extreme cold (average temp. for the winter would be about 25 degrees F) and no blizzards. We are however in a semi rain forest area, so snow can range from a couple feet to eight feet, depending on the year. And some springs can be pretty wet. Here slides and avalanch are a possiblity on the highways, so one gives some thought to going out on certain days :lol: For the most part the highways are kept fairly well plowed and sanded, but certainly black ice is always a possiblity, and as you say, no tire is ice proof. We laughed because a few years back my husband put one of our cars in a snow bank twice within three miles ... the funny thing was, he never even scratched the paint!

On the flip side of that, he got into a serious accident on black ice when his pick up was hit with a semi trailer chip truck. The pick-up was totalled, so was the chip truck and unfortunately a car traveling behind my husband ended up getting the worst of it, and the driver of that vehicle didn't make it. Although my hubby wasn't badly injured, it was really difficult to deal with emotionally. That was a tough time. But most of the time when the weather is bad, we try not to take a vehicle out. That is an advantage you can have when one is retired.

We can actually stay in for quite awhile with the canning room full and the freezer stocked :rolleyes:

Lynne, where are you situated that you would only get ice without the snow?

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8 feet! The most I've ever experienced was when I was moving from PA to IN...We got something between 3 and 4 ft. My dh is dying for a huge snow ever since he got his jeep--he sees himself scaling 7 foot walls of snow in it and pulling out people with "regular" cars :)

Shirley-- If you ever have digital images of your land I'd love to see them sometime!

Its good to hear perspective from both of you on owning land/farming etc. I'll think I'll have to strike a compromise on that in the future. My dh is overwhelmed by the idea (!), but think he will warm up to it in time. He just starting a new job, learning a new industry, so I think imagining the future is overwhelming to him right now. He did tell me his sister said her and her dh want to buy 10 acres and move in the future. Maybe we'll share some land one day... Perhaps I won't be able to swing any animals, but will have to stick with a large garden, trees, berries etc. We shall see...I think I'll get somewhere with it eventually. In the meantime, its fun to dream :)

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Guest Viola

Jen ... dreaming is not only fun, it's very important to healthy living ... after all, if one quits dreaming, you lose hope, and we never should do that :P You always need something to dream of, and land is super, because you can come up with so many different dreams about it to suit the time of life.

We used to dream of huge gardens and many animals, now that we are retired, we dream of lovely simple landscaping, and doggy rings to work in. :lol: In fact we miniturized our horse jumping ring into a dog agility ring. It's wonderful. I get to play with the dogs, and my hubby gets to dream up wonderful shaped jumps and equipment that he can play with in his wood shop. That's called two hobbies working together :lol: I'll have to check my computer for some property pictures. I have lots, but downloaded some onto a disc so I could free up room on my hard drive. If you send me an email address I could send you some, I don't have them out on the web.

For anyone that loves dogs, or pets of any kind ... we do an annual Christmas pictures with Santa for the dogs here out in the snow. Only Santa is very busy at Christmas time, so we do it New Year's Day. Everyone comes with their four legged family member and also brings their left over Christmas goodies. We do the pictures ... last year my hubby played Santa :rolleyes: , then after the pictures are all done, the bigger and furrier dogs go back into their vehicles with a chew toy and the tiny ones come in the house, and we all have a coffee party with all the left over goodies :D If anyone wants extra "flavour" in their coffee, they have to bring it along with a designated driver. :lol: It's really fun, you could do it anywhere there is a yard and Christmas decorations. Get all the neighbours together and start the New Year off on a fun note. We had 17 dogs last year!

My new Avatar is of the back yard looking toward the old horse fencing. On the other side of the fence is my Obedience ring, agility ring and our driving range (golf practice). On this side of the fence is the back yard and orchard. Will have to send you some big pics though.

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Hi Shirley -- 8 FEET OF SNOW????? Our city shut down for an entire week one year when we had 24 inches of snow. Seriously. I live in Louisville, KY -- we may get one good snowfall of about 2-3 inches, but that's it. The problem with getting "black ice" is that we will get sleet and/or freezing rain, then the ground is already so cold that it immediately turns to ice. Even when we do get snow, we typically have 2-3 inches of ice beneath it. To make matters worse, Louisvillians can't drive in rain, much less snow. Honest to goodness, if there is a 20% chance or greater of 1" of snow, the grocery stores are packed with the seniors getting milk, bread and eggs. I'm talking lines 14-15 people deep. It's craziness -- but kind of funny. I hate planning on shopping and then hearing that there's possible snow -- those old folks want to get in, get their groceries, and get home before the "blizzard"! They are downright NASTY! They'll ask you in the produce area if you're going to look there long, they'll move your cart, or bump you out of the way -- it is a ZOO! I usually sing "Winter Wonderland" -- it grates on their nerves! Then I walk outside, and if it's snowing, I sing even louder. Either that, or "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow"!!! Okay, it's not a nice thing to do, and is downright passive/aggressive, but it is REALLY fun! Now that I've disclosed WAY too much about my evil twin, I had better get off here! Talk to you guys soon . . . Lynne

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Guest Viola

Oh ... your evil twin is really funny :lol::lol::lol: I love it Lynne. You really do understand that the eight feet of snow is over the whole winter. :lol: We have gotten maybe 18 inches at the most in one snow fall, six inches is common. Then it settles and just keeps adding up in the yard.

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Okay, I feel somewhat better :lol: I was thinking -- does your ROOF cave in each year from the weight?!? I will say, however, that our "big snow" of '95 presented as 24" in a 5 day period! With regard to my evil twin -- I take ritalin to keep her mouth shut! Unfortunately, I learned at 39 that I've had ADHD my whole life. It SURE explains those report cards :blink: I always thought that "neighborly" meant that I was a good neighbor. I didn't know that it meant I couldn't keep my mouth shut! As an adult, it was an even greater problem. When I was in a crowd, if a group of people were talking and I had a thought about the subject, I knew I had to say what I was thinking, or else it would be gone! So I interrupted people --a LOT :( In addition, telling your boss to "bite me", then when he asks "what did you say", you say "read my lips -- B I T E M E" -- let's just say it's not real conducive to keeping your job B) I think the meds are the "stop button" that God forgot to install from my brain to my mouth. My son loves when the ritalin wears off -- he says it's the old mom whose back. He think's its funny when I blurt out what I'm thinking. I'm pretty much happier with the idea of "Ready, Aim, Fire", vs. "Ready, Fire, Aim", myself :D But, when the "stinker" in me (aka my evil twin) is ready to come out, not having ritalin in my system is ideal! At any rate, better go -- the regular me is going shopping with my husband! Talk to you soon . . . Lynne

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Guest Viola

Most of our roofs are metal, which lets the snow slide off before it builds up. We have one small shed and the green house which needs to be shoveled a couple of times during the winter. Metal roofs are wonderful in that it saves a lot of work, and of course you never need to worry about it caving in. However.. they can be dangerous. We have had a couple of pets buried in the snow ... thankfully they both survived. The kitten that got buried was happy to have our dog dig him out and pack him to the house to be thawed out and dryed. And the dog we have now was hit with snow when she was a pup, and to this day runs for her bed when the snow starts sliding off the roof. Needless to say the poor thing spends a lot of time in bed in the winter :(

Lynne ... Did your ADHD improve any when you went on a gluten free diet? I found my hyper activity improved somewhat, but I still get really hyper if I get into any gluten.

Have fun shopping! :lol:

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I have found that my ADHD meds are much more effective now that I've been gluten-free (or semi-gluten free, considering my meds and my make-up contained gluten) My concentration is much better, my voice modulation is CERTAINLY better, and my memory seems to be better as well. Looking forward to when gluten is entirely out of my life to see what happens.

Your poor babies! I'll bet the cat was glad when the dog dug it out of the snow! We had our first cold snap here -- no frost yet, though. Unfortuntely, I tried to groom our little teacup poodle myself. Must not have had enough Klonopin on board, and my tremor kicked in. I had to shave her (almost) bald. I told my husband that she has a Halloween costume -- she's a Mexican Hairless! I have preemie "Onesies" that I put on her during the winter, so at least she won't be cold! (just had to cut an opening for the tail!) She is NOT, however, very happy with me.

Hoping to have a night with sleep tonight. The rheumatologist gave me new NSAIDS for my hips -- hoping it will help tonight. Going to try to go to bed now! Talk to you guys soon . . . . Lynne

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Guest Viola

:lol::lol::lol: Oh, your poor little poodle, I would love to see a picture of that :lol: At least Halloween costume is a valid excuse. :rolleyes:

That is my laugh for the evening. I'm heading to bed early too, nursing a darn cold that kept me up all night last night. I was bad and went dog training this afternoon ... it was such a beautiful fall afternoon that I couldn't resist. Now I'm paying for it though. Ahhhhhhhh, would be nice to breath :(

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Shirley-

I am loving those pictures you sent--they are so fun, and make me jealous. Hard work, but beautiful land and sense of freedom to enjoy... If you ever get anymore, send them along. I love the idea of the Christmas pics with the dogs! Perhpas I could do the same with cats? :) Okay, probably not... I am going to have my 2nd annual cookie exchange this year. The funny part is I won't be able to eat any but my own, and my other friend's with celiac, if she comes. I always give most of the cookies away as gifts though...

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