Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hectivity: Glass Progress & Chicken & Identity Theft

Hectivity: Cross between hectic and activity.  

It has been a long time since I've written, but never fear, I've been busy.  The days are flying by and I'm trying to absorb the fact the first week of March is past already and I don't know where it's gone.  Let's see if I can fill in some of the missing hunks of time:

The Rosebush lamp is finally off the form and I'm in the final stages of cleanup and detailing work.  I am working on a post of the whole process, complete with time lapse videos (if I can figure out how to upload them) for my next post.  

In the meantime, I'm working on another lamp, a tiny little 10" Peony cutie with only 386 pieces. 
Teeny little form
Part of first repeat
And, when I'm not working on the Rose or the Peony, I'm getting another pattern prepped for a much bigger shade, the 1986 piece Laburnum.  The pieces for that lamp are tiny with a capital T.
Colored-up pattern to help me decide on glass shading
All the light parts of the glass cut out of the pattern with a craft knife for windows and glass selection
 I am probably being OCD about this, but I just have a 'thing' about making patterns for use with glass layout.  It's time consuming, to be sure, but I can 'find' the flowers and leaves in a sheet of glass so much easier using what is known as 'windows' system. 
Here's the Laburnum form
And the Peony & Laburnum together. 
 That should keep me busy until spring.  HA. 

At this point, you may or may not be wondering:  "Karen, what do you do with all these lamps?"  Well, maybe you weren't wondering that, but one person who has been questioning my sanity is my dear 90 year old mother.  She still cannot figure out why we want all these lamps around the house. 

So, here's the deal: Joel loves stained glass lamps as much as Carl and I do, and has purchased much of the glass that goes into their construction and assists in the cutting process.  Even our younger son, Dave, has a fondness for a few of them.  I'm making the shades for heirlooms, something that hopefully will be passed on down through the generations.  Then again, I could be wishful thinking, because maybe no one in the next generations will want them with my wacky sense of color...but still, the idea that something may outlive me for awhile pleases me.  And because I just love flowers and glass.  And because when Joel moves out, we may be left lamp-less.  (And because I am a bit 'touched in the head', as Mom would put it.) 

Let's see....what else has been going on.......

Skiing has been a constant this winter, I've done quite a bit of it just around the farm here at home.  Good exercise, but,  I imagine, not enough to impress my Doctor of 10 to 15 miles a day fame.  

Company, we have had many visitors and nothing makes the time fly faster than good company.  We've been so blessed to see our friends this winter.

I've also sat down to wrestle with the seed order which is going to be very late getting in and the income taxes, which are organized but not done.  (Yes, I know April 15 is closer than I think.)

Then there were three days spent writing an article for a friend, plus two or three snowstorms necessitating my presence behind the snow blower (I have to keep my Snow Blower Trails open!) Today we are in the midst of yet another blizzard, so I know where my time will be spent yet again.  This has been a long winter.  (I'm not complaining, I need the time for glass work.)

Oh, yes, then there was the Great Chicken Theft.  We have had chickens for around seven years now and (had) six hens in our flock.   They are like pets.  I have let the 'Girls' roam free-range for years, but they always have a coop to go back to.  In the summer, when my seedlings are tiny, I keep them in a fenced-in pen, but in the late summer, fall and any time in the winter that they care to venture out of the coop, they have the run of the place. 

I have had chickens killed by predators in the past, with neighborhood dogs being our Number One worst offenders, followed closely by possums.   One of my favorite hens, a bantam Cochin we named Gertrude, met a horrific end when a possum caught her during a raid of our old henhouse.  We built a new, improved henhouse later on and acquired a full-size Cochin hen who had the same coloring as Gertrude, and our sons nicknamed her, Mega Gertrude, or Mega G, for short. Mega G came to us along with Sadie, another humongous gray hen who later died of old age, along with several other chickens.  Ann knew a lady whose children had raised chickens for 4H but had outgrown them as pets, so I took the aging flock off her hands.  Chickens are so nice to have around and their eggs are wonderful.

By and large, we've been lucky with the hens lately.  Until last week.  We noticed opossum tracks around the yard, but they are usually nocturnal, so the hens should be safe in their coop at night.  Last week Tuesday night our cat, Screech and dog, Teddy, were in an uproar.  There was something outside and we didn't find out what it was until Dave moved his car.  One opossum down.  It was a big one.  (I am not a fan of possums, I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone, but good riddance to the nasty varmint.)  

I breathed a sigh of relief, good, now I don't have to worry about the chickens.  Wrong.  

Last week Thursday, we were invited out to a restaurant on a spur of the moment.  I had been working on the Rosebush lamp and lost track of time, so I dashed to get ready to go.  I normally go out and lock the Girls up just before sunset, before any sneaky predators show up.  Since we were running late, I asked Carl to lock the coop up for me, and he obliged.  We went to the restaurant and had a good time. 

I didn't think about the hens until the next morning when I went to open the door for them and found two of the Girls sitting on the split-rail fence.  They had been out all night!  Oh, dear.....something's not right here.  I opened the coop door cautiously and three more hens came flying out in a panic.  I then came face to face with a horrible sight, our beautiful hen, Mega G, was lying dead on the floor of the coop, feathers strewn everywhere, and badly mauled.  I will spare you the extremely gruesome details.  Suffice it to say, I was devastated.  And then alarmed.  If Mega G was dead INSIDE the coop, and the coop was locked, then the killer was in the coop TOO!  But where? 

I shut the coop door behind me and gingerly looked around and soon spotted the killer, curled up in one of the nesting boxes.  The big opossum was glaring at me from the box with his teeth bared and making ominous hissing, growling sounds.  OH, I was livid!  I wanted to yank the nasty thing out of that box by his rat-like tail and do unspeakable things to him, but got the better of my temper.  Carl and Joel were going to be home at noon, so I removed poor Mega G's remains from the coop and slammed the door shut and left the murderer locked inside.  We'd deal with him when the troops got home.  And, we did...and I will once again spare the details.  

Carl was very sad, he didn't realize he should have taken a flashlight with him to check on the hens before shutting the coop door the night before, which is something I always do, and had inadvertently locked the varmint in the henhouse with his helpless victims.  Though Mega G was a big hen, almost eight pounds, chickens are blind after dark and easy picking for blood-thirsty varmints.  We will all make sure now to take appropriate precautions before putting the Girls to bed at night.

And as to the identity theft....there are WAY too many blood-sucking varmints out in the world that are even scarier than opossums.  Yesterday I received a phone call from a man claiming to be representative of an online computer store.  He wanted to know if I had purchased a computer component to be sent to New York state in the amount of $434.45 and did my credit card end in blah, blah, blah, blah.....?  He said he thought this might be credit card fraud.

I said, no, I hadn't authorized any such purchase.   I wasn't comfortable giving out my information over the phone, so he gave me a number to call him back after I checked with my bank, which I did. There were already two unauthorized transactions pending.  I had not lost my debit card, but apparently, someone, somehow let a varmint into our Coop, too!

I had our bank account frozen and the card destroyed, and when I called the representative back from the online store, he said he had already gone ahead and cancelled the transaction since it was apparent I didn't authorize the purchase.  Alas, though, as of today, the charge is still showing up on my bank account, so I'm afraid this varmint is not going to be as easy to capture. 

Hectivity abounds.


Shirley said...

How sad for Mega G. Glad to hear the problem is solved, temporarily at least. I had no idea opposums attacked chickens! I thought they ate grubs and such. Little did I know. said...

Boy you had some bad occurrences. Sorry to hear about the harrowing experiences for your girls and the credit theft. So many evils in the world. Your lamp is looking really good though. At least it brings you lots of joy in amongst the sorrows.

Sall's Country Life said...

Oh I'm so sorry about Mega G. This is kinda crazy, but we also have had a small group of chickens for 7 years now. My husband has names for all of them and the rooster is named Sully (after my husband). Eggs are a rare event, they have the run of the farm and hide them under junk in the barn. Anyway I feel your pain in losing one of your girls!Speaking of crazy, those lamp shades are nuts!! I can't believe the intricate design you have going there, your post with videos will be a must see! Wow lots going on for you, I'm glad it's snowing so you have some time to deal with it all. Take care and it's good to hear from you, I've missed your posts!

Tufa Girl said...

Ugh, I really am disgusted by 'possums, they give me the wileys. We had one that hung out in the tree branches over our back door every evening. Living in the city did not allow for our chosen removal method. So sorry to hear about the other predator, hope you figure out how that all started.

Sandy said...

That was quite a story.. your poor chickens! And the Credit Card fraud! I had that happen once also, but it was my ATM card (the card was in my pocket). Seems someone got the number and emptied my bank account but the bank was so nice and they replaced the money in about a week! The culprit, was the gas station... never use your pin number there! Use the card as a credit card!
Sounds like you did have quite a few crazy weeks.
Come on Spring! Take care.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, your lamps are gorgeous, you should be selling them! I had forgotten that you might be busy with the stained glass or I wouldn't have been so concerned.

However, the chickens and the identity theft are reasons to shake up your life. I have been subjected to identity theft a few times, it's a pain with the credit cards being reissued.

I hope you have a more peaceful entry into spring.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Karen, your lamps are gorgeous, you should be selling them! I had forgotten that you might be busy with the stained glass or I wouldn't have been so concerned.

However, the chickens and the identity theft are reasons to shake up your life. I have been subjected to identity theft a few times, it's a pain with the credit cards being reissued.

I hope you have a more peaceful entry into spring.


xoxoxo said...

Wow--so much going on for you--that a new word needed to be invented! Have missed your blog immensely! I am in love with your lamps too--I may have to keep an eye out for one myself :)

Zoey said...

What an awful experience to go out to the coop and find your beloved hen. Makes me shudder......

I am sure your lamps will be family heirlooms. Who would not cherish one of those beauties?

Darla said...

Glad to see you, I was afraid you got trapped under your sleep mask!
Those lampshades are a lot of work, I commend your dedication to them. I am sure they will be passed down for years, and years to come.

Jester said...

LORD WOMAN! 386 is ONLY a small amount of pieces??? you must have the patience of a saint for sure! Can't wait to see the finished products.
So sorry to hear of your possum problem & the loss. I've beenthinking of getting some chickens since I et aolot of eggs these days. We already have a quail & have been very fortunate not to have any problems with critters...knock on wood...years ago we had a "call pen" or them & we had problems with possoms and hawks getting in fromt he tiny hole for the quail. I know the feeling, opening the door & seeing them ugly rat bastards hissing back at you!!!!No love lost there!! Getting a red tail hawk out was another story....
How's the sleep apnea doing? Have you gotten a mask that works good for you yet?? Glad to see you back!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Well good grief girl you have been a busy lady with all of that going on. Opossums can be mean varmints when their cornered too. Ugly little things.LOL!
The gull of some people that steal your identity is horrible and can be devastating.
I think your lamps are so gorgeous. They will me heirlooms for certain. The new ones have so many little pieces Karen. I would be a nervous wreck but it is something you enjoy so in just that alone is a good thing.

Dandelion and Daisy said...

A girl can never have too many lamps! I can't think of a better legacy either. Your kids will appreciate them more and more as they get older. Funny, all our animals become part of the family and we grieve when we lose one...hate those possum, we have them here too and they are NOT native to this area but are thriving none the less.

Karen said...

Hi Shirley, yes, possums are dangerous to have around and are efficient killers. You wouldn't think so, looking at 'em, they are so slow.

Thank you, Donna, I wish I could catch the identity varmint!

Lisa, I'm glad you've had good luck with your little flock. Isn't it something how we get attached to them? Mega G was a wonderful hen, we miss her very much. Is it spring by you yet??

Karen said...

Tufa Girl, a girl after my own heart with the possums, lol.

Sandy, now that you mention it, the last place I used my card was a gas station! And I did use my you have me thinking....thank you!

Eileen,thank you for thinking of me. Oh, you've had ID theft issues, too? Gosh, I wish people were more honest. I'm hoping we can get this cleared up soon.

Hi April, thank you, and I just know you could do stained glass, you're so talented.

Hi Zoey, yes it was rather Twilight Zone-ish going into the coop. Thank you about the lamps.

Hi Darla, hope you're feeling better, and no, my CPAP mask didn't suffocate me yet.

Jester, you had me laughing again. I can see you tangling with a possum, but what did you do with the hawk? There's always something...and if I get my hands on my ID thief, well, then things could get interesting. I'll have to omit more gnarly details, though. The CPAP is going fairly well, thank you for asking...I should post about it again.

Lona, thank you! I hope the lamps stay in the family for a little while, it would be nice to see them passed down the line. :-)

Dandelion, I know, the first time I saw a possum was when I was a kid and I brought it home on my sled, thinking it was dead, which is wasn't, ha. Even my dad didn't know what it was and took it to the tavern to have the 'guys' take a look. They are disgusting, aren't they?

Thank you about the lamps, you're so kind.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

My husband does credit card purchases online. He has had to cancel at least 2 cards that I can remember due to other people using them. He had Dell call from California to see if he'd purchased some computers from them. Around that time, someone changed the phone number on the card. I hope all that gets straightened out for you.