Life is taken, but always comes back doubled.

It’s been a strange week.  Monday I got the news my dear friend Jim passed.  He was in his mid 80 and been fighting cancer for a long time.  His wife was my former pastor who I love just as much.  She really came through for me after my ex left.  She helped find this place I now call the Hollow.  Both of them gave me testament that there is love after a divorce or the lose a spouse.   Jim grew up in Pennsylvania.  His family was also farmers.  He and I would discuss animal care and he told some great stories.  Pator Judy would just shake her at us and let us tell farm stories.

I will miss him, but somehow I knew that last time I saw him that it would be the last.  He had fought long and hard.  I’m not sad he’s gone, I’m excited where is and that he is no longer hurting.  I am sorry for Pastor Judy and her loss of her true love.  There are people that come and go in our lives.  They all have a purpose.  Even those people who aren’t so kind, they too have a hand in who we are.  Jim was a great influence in my decision to really go forward with this way of life.  He talked about his days on the farm with fond memories.  He assured me it was not easy and not for wimps.  Then he would smile and tell me “You will do just fine.”  Those are words that I play back in my mind to keep me on the right path.

The Max turned 14 Tuesday.  My baby.  My baby is no longer a baby.  My role as a constant is coming to a close.  The kids are getting older, as am I.  Though the Max still needs much of my time, those days are getting fewer.  I’m sad about this, but also excited.  There are changes coming.  So will be hard, but they will be good.

As some know I’ve had a rough chicken week.  The constant rain makes it hard to keep the run clean.  I have been liming, mucking and laying fresh hay every day.  But a few chickens just couldn’t handle it.  I lost DQ Tuesday.  She passed in my hands.  I cried in the bantam run.  My sweet little Butter came to me.  She is a sweet little Buff Cochin.  Her boy Scotch came with her.  They stood looking at me wondering what their human was doing.  Sometime Wednesday morning I lost a young OE.  I had begun treating the two runs, but it was too late for her.  And today I had to put down another OE.  It was suffering terribly.  I had done everything I could but she was to the point of no return.  I still have another bird who I’m keeping a close eye on.  I pray she beats this.  She is a really sweet bird who just recently started laying.

I was sad for tragic way these birds died.  That’s the animal lover in me.  But the farmer in me was upset that I just lost a layer and two that were due to start laying.  But just as I think the worst I go to the bantam run and there’s Butter in her box looking at me with this confused look.  She hops out and there is an egg.  I look in the other box and there are two more eggs.  My bantams were finally laying.  I lost one laying bantam, but now there are three laying.  Thank you.  I was feeling a little better and Butter was demanding some lovin.  Which I gladly gave.  I made her promise to not die.  I told her she would break my heart.  I think she understood.

All week I’ve been fighting the Sumatras or as I have come to call them the Demon Birds.  But today as if the girls were trying to say they were sorry for the one who flogged my back side, there were three lovely eggs.  I have four hens and three are laying.  Yes.  Also all three of the Dorkings laid an egg.  It was a good egg day.

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RIP DQ (Disco Queen)

There is loss in life but there is also gain.  We have to look at thing differently sometimes.  Sometimes we have to really look for the good, but if you really look I promise you will always find something good.  I am a very blessed woman.  I knew a couple who showed me love, showed me how to love and helped me find my home.  I have children who love me and think I’m a pretty good mom.  I have friends who want me around.  I have animal that give me great joy.  Yes some days are hard, but most days are awesome and make me so glad I get one more day everyday.  Good night everyone.  Have a wonderful Friday and keeping looking for that good.

None shall pass….without permission.

It is done the fence is up and the gate finished.  <doing a happy dance>

Before

Before

chicks 011Apparently I forgot to take a picture of it done.  Oh well, you get the idea.  Super Mut is one happy mutt.  He spent a great deal of time out there.  And he slept like a rock last night.  Snores and all. He is super pleased with the fence.  And I feel a lot more secure with it up.  Once I get the the electric fence I shouldn’t have to worry about much.

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So this is Miss Kitty.  Well she is a he.  A castrated male.  I feel so stupid.  I had Debbie check and behold Mr. Kitty.  And all this time I thought I had one badass girl barn kitty.  Well he is pretty darn badass.

chicks 002 chicks 003These are the lastest birds.  There are three hens and a rooster.  They are Dorkings.  Are they not the cutest things ever.  This is as tall as they get.  They also have a fifth toe.  I LOVE them.  They are adorkable.  (and why did spell check say thats a real word)  They are good layers, but the eggs are not very big.  They are more for my entertainment than anything.

So no big plans for today.  It’s Youth night tonight, so I don’t want to go to the church smelling of the farm.  Back at it tomorrow.  Really pleased with how things are coming around the Hollow.  Happy Wednesday everyone.

 

In all it’s fluffy goodness.

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The finish line and the make shift fencing.

Spring is coming and I couldn’t be me grateful.  I spent the whole weekend getting the fence up.  I could not have done it without the help of my dear friend Debbie and her son.  Her youngest was on standby when we needed a humor break.  But we got that fence up.  At about 10 feet to where were trying to get to we ran out of fencing.  Thank God I don’t throw things out.  I found a piece that was the exact size we needed.  How perfect.  It’s not pretty, but it will do the job just fine.

The Bantam run is finally done and they love it.  They run flapping their tiny little wings.

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The rabbits are getting big.  Currently there are three litters.  Five weeks, 3 weeks and one week.

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Momma is teaching them everything they need to know. EAT…

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Hunny is finally getting this motherhood down.

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Snowy is a pro and look at how cute they are.

Moved the two month old chicks out, which meant the youngest got to move into the big brooder, which meant the quail moved to their brooder.  Crazy chicken shuffle.  I seem to be getting really good at it.

They are getting use to this outside thing.  The big room is scary.

They are getting use to this outside thing. The big room is scary.

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So much room. Well for now.

Where they should be.  Four weeks and these guys will be fully grown.  Crazy.

Where they should be. Four weeks and these guys will be fully grown. Crazy.

Just four days old.  So tiny.

Just four days old. So tiny.

My layers are really starting to lay again and most of the new layers are as well.  I got an interesting mix of eggs yesterday.  Bantam and the Sumatras are laying.  I’m really excited about that.  So much happening and so much to get done.  I work all day at the paycheck job and then put several hours in at the farm job.  In a month it will slow down, but for now I just have to deal with being tired and sore.  Oh but I’m already losing some of my winter weight.  YES!!!!  Happy Tuesday everyone.  Enjoy that sun.  I know I am.

Almost,

I’ve been fighting a cold all week and right when I think I’m about to finish a project I either break something or run out of needed materials.  So I have about four projects sitting in limbo right now.  I just have say it will get done and move on.  But it hasn’t been all terrible.  Momma Hunny has babies back with her and no pee.  Yay.  And they are starting to open their eyes.  Which means they will be mobile soon.  Also Snowy had a healthy bunch of wiggles.  Beautiful colors.  That makes three batches of babies right now.  I have a total of 18 babies.  Whoa.  And of those I already have five sold.  Yay.

The Girl says they look like pigs.

The Girl says they look like pigs.

The fermented feed is going over well.  I don’t know that it will cut the feed bill in half, but it will reduce it a great deal.  Still working on the numbers with that little project.   But the birds like it and there is no waste.  At all.

This little Olive Egger is really into the new food.

This little Olive Egger is really into the new food.

We had some quail drama.  The little white A&Ms were in with the jumbos and got over pecked.  I’ve never had it happen this bad.  So separated them.  They look awful, but will fill out fine.  Also one somehow got a strand of my hair wrapped around its toe.  I had to remove the poor little ones toe.  All I gotta say is EWWW……

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During the moving of the quail I did feet check on all the birds.  This is one of the chicks I hatched.  She’s a tad on the active side.  Really pretty bird.  birds 017My EE’s and new orpingtons are starting to lay…Finally.  They seem to all want to lay in the same spot, which is not where the nest box is.  I don’t understand this.  So they form this que to get into the hole in the ground to lay an egg.  What ever I just want the eggs.

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The Sumatras are getting bigger and the tail feathers are really coming in.  I’ve been trying to sell two of the roos for some time.  People act interested and then nothing.  I have too many.  But isn’t this one lovely.

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And we come to the mystery bird.  This one was suppose to be a Barred Rock, then I thought maybe its a Silver Lace Wynedott.  Each type is on either side of this mystery bird and it look like neither.  We shall see.

birds 021It’s suppose to rain all day today and tomorrow and the temps are turning a tad cold.  But the really cold weather is behind us.  Thank you Lord.  I have a ton to do, but there will be time and I know I won’t be able to do all I want.  That’s just life.  I hope you all have a great weekend.  Happy Friday.

 

Fingers crossed.

The bunnies are getting huge.  I’ve been taking them to mom in the morning at night for about 10 minutes and now all babies are feeding.  And she has stopped peeing on them.  I’m hoping to be able to leave them with her all the time by Friday.  I will keep a close eye on them and most likely will be still giving the little one supplemental feedings.  But right now I have six wiggly fat babies.  Some are really fat.

From Thursday.

From Thursday.

This morning

This morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They quickly outgrowing that box.

They are quickly outgrowing that box.

I started the chickens on the fermented grain Saturday and they really seem to like it.  This morning I took 4 1/2 scoops out and put 2 back in.  It’s already expanded in the bucket back to where it was when I took grain out.  Looks like it will cut the feed bill in half.  Yes!  And they really like it.

Thing (my rescue leghorn) is really into the need feed.

Thing (my rescue leghorn) is really into the new feed.

I also managed to get the bantam/baby coop finished.  Hoping to get the roost and nest boxes done today.  The run is almost done.  Need to finish putting up the netting and a good sturdy gate.  I can’t wait to put the bantams in their new home.

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I also started the fence.  My arms are so sore.  I managed to get about half of the post in the ground.  The Eldest has volunteered his help.  So if it’s not raining I’m going to lay everything out and let him put those poles in the ground.  Might have this fence up by the weekend.  That would be ideal.  Also in the works is a watering system for the rabbits.  I am excited about that.  Rabbits go through a lot of water.  Busy, busy.  Once these projects are done I have to get started on the garden.  I’m glad for the warmer weather, but I am going to busting butt for the next month or two.  Happy Monday everyone.

And they are so darn cute.

Some days I swear I’m just giving my kids ammunition for stories to tell their friends to prove their mother is way crazier.  My kids never know what they are going to find.  From chicks by the fireplace, incubators on the dining room table, turkeys on the bathroom floor, to the chicken that tried to get in the shower with The Max.

So last night is no different.  I tell The Girl that I need to feed the bunnies, because momma Hunny peed on them again.  Oh this time was bad.  I had to wash them.  So she gets her coat on to go to the barn, because she wants to watch.  “Oh no, they are in the closet.” I tell her.  She replies, “Oh coarse they are.”  There is no surprise any more.  She did enjoy the squirmy little buggers. bun 001

After that I did have to go to the barn to put everyone to bed.  As I opened the door Miss Snuffles walks in and makes a bee line to the bathroom.  The Girl lost it and then went to shut the bathroom door.  She walks away mumbling something about the crazy house.  After I stop laughing I get to the barn and all is good.  The moon is full, but all the animals seem to not even notice.

This morning I took the little ones to let mom nurse them.  She got most of them, but peed on a couple and did not feed them much.  So I cleaned them up and finished feeding them.  They seem ok with that.  And back in the closet they went.  It is cold this morning and the ground is a tad soggy from the days of rain, but the weekend is suppose to be nice.  Perfect for getting the fence up.  I got half of the fencing last night.  I couldn’t fit it all in the jeep.  At some point I will get the rest today or bright and early Saturday morning.

I did start some fermented grain for the animals.  The girls and I are going to switch the pups over to a raw diet.  So we will be raising Cornish Cross (aka creepy meats) to feed them and we wanted to see if the fermented feed will reduce the feed bill and help prevent loss from illness.  I’m also hoping to switch my own flock over to it.  Tomorrow will be the first feeding.  I can’t imagine them not liking it.  They seem to eat anything.  I don’t really have a picky flock.  We shall see.  Have a great weekend everyone. bun 002

These animals will be the death of me.

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This guy and I are not seeing eye to eye.  He’s lost his ever loving mind.  Yesterday was a tad rough.  In the morning I found two baby bunnies had passed.  And momma had peed on the babies again.  So I clean them and put fresh hay in the box.  I feed the few that were not looking so good.  And go about chores.  Sir Rhett the rooster decides he is going to show me who’s boss.  He starts to chase me as the coop door is shutting.  Crazy bird.

After work I go to check on babies.  I lost two more of the little ones.  Sad.  No pee.  Yay.  Then I go to collect eggs.  In walks Rhett.  I’m filling the water pail and the jerk bites my hand.  OUCH.  That’s it.  We went round and round.  I finally gave him the boot out the coop.  I am covered in special mud at this point.  My hand is bruised.  He actually spurred me.  Thank goodness for my pants.  Needless to say that night at bedtime I did not turn my back on him.  He was leery of me as well.

Baby bunnies had fat bellies at bed time and no pee.  I did have to supplement two of the little ones.  But momma is improving on being a mom.

This morning when I woke up I realized I had slept the whole night without waking up.  Not even to pee.  Thanks be to God.  That was a miracle.  Went to the barn and babies were all good.  Just a little pee.  At this point I’m wondering if mom doesn’t have a bladder issue.  I cleaned up the babies and fed the two little ones.  While feeding them something runs in front of the quail brooder.  It’s still dark.  In my head I think mice.  As I’m putting babies back with mom I see it.  Two quail had found a way out of the brooder.  Wow.  I scoop them up and put them back in.  I have no clue how they did it.

I’m already behind schedule when I get to the coop so I’m not really thinking about Rhett and it’s raining.  I open the door and there he is.  It’s like he spent all night plotting his revenge.  He began to bristled up at me and that’s when I gave him a big dose of NOPE.  I scooped his butt up and continued to feed the other birds.  I made him go last.  I am officially evil in his eyes.  I’m not turning my back on this one ever.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I needed him for breeding he would already have been gone.  But when an animal has a purpose there are some things you over look.  Rhett is luckier than he knows.  I went in the Sumatra pen and the rooster there tried to misbehave but I gave him the evil eye.  The tale of what happen to Rhett had already made it’s way round and the Sumatra Roo backed up.  Still showing me he was the man, but not acting on it.  I win today.  Tomorrow it all starts again.

So it’s a full moon and I’m really feeling it in the yard.  But man the temps are fabulous.  Even with the rain it feels great.  There may be a lot of the “special mud”, but I’m so glad for the break in cold weather.  Hoping to pick up the stuff for the fence today and get started this weekend.  Keep dry everyone.

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Evil Sumatra roo.

 

I’m renaming this place the Funny Farm.

Life is always full of surprises and to hell with planning anything.  I have a chore calender.  At the beginning of the week I break everything up in to manageable task.  Needless to say Tuesday’s chores are now dispersed throughout the rest of the week.

Yesterday after I finished up work I started folding the mountain of clothes that had been glaring at me all day.  Half way through I decided to check the animals.  I didn’t have to pick The Max up till for awhile due to some after school thing.  So I thought I could get a few things done.  Hahahaha……this is where a certain rabbit steps in with her monkey wrench.

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Miss Hunny is not taking to motherhood as planned.  She wants to be a mom, but really isn’t getting it.  At lunch I had several babies out of the nest. Now I check on them and she has peed on them.  What?  I google and get a thousand different answers.  So I do clean them up and gather as much dry fur i can to put the babies back in.  This is when I discover about half the babies are not very big.  Clearly not getting enough milk from mom.  I call my friend she gives me some good advice.  And I head to the Tractor Supply.  They know me there.  Sad

As I’m checking out the cashier, who I adore, sees the KMR (kitten meal replacement) and she awws at it.  Then asks what I’m feeding.  I tell her rabbits.  She wants to know if they are inside or outside.  I tell her outside, they are meat rabbits.  She shakes her head and declares, “I should really learn to not ask.”  I did comfort her and tell her that some will most likely become pets at this point.  Little lies are ok if they make someone feel better, right?

I finally get home and feed the little ones the KMR.  Those little buggers are squirmy.  I get them settled back in the nest.  At this point I had decided to keep them with mom and just supplement the ones not getting feed.  They keep each other warm.  The Girl and I make a trip out to our goat friend’s house to get some goat milk to help the babies.  I tell The Girl that we are getting the colostrum and that’s better for the babies.  Then I explain what it is.  She says,  “Colostrum.  I thought it was just a fancy word for milk, but it’s not.”  I don’t know why but that was hilarious to me.  After getting lost we finally get the milk.  I turned left, that was wrong and The Girl is still saying I told you so.

This morning I got up early to go feed the babies.  Sadly the littlest did not make it and one of the fat ones some how got out and got too cold.  We are down to 8 now.  Momma is still pulling hair out for the baby. She’s really confused.  I’m almost thinking they may have come just a little too early for her.  I’m giving her another shot after these babies are dealt with.  I managed to feed four of the babies and they were very happy for it.  We will pray for the best.

I get all the other animals taking care of.  Everyone in the yard is excited to see me.  I make quick business of it due to the fact I’m running behind.  I still have lunches to make and some form for The Max to fill out.  Motherhood.  I get in and I am covered in rabbit hair.  All the inside furries are fascinated by this and begin sniffing me entirely.  Fun!  I finally manage to get to feeding the inside animals.  I go to Miss Snuffles in the bathroom, she’s going outside today (Yay) and I darn near kill myself due to “something” wet in front of the door.  I glance and there is Phat Cat watching.  He has peed in front of the door.  His way of telling Snuffles he’s the man.  Snuffle shuffles out the door never even caring about Phat Cat and his declaration.  I on the other hand take the mop to the floor and then to Phat Cat.

These animals may be the death of me, but I love it.  Some days are hard, some days are sad, some days I get to snuggle sweet little babies, so I know this is what I’m suppose to be doing.  Now to show that Phat Cat I’m the Woman.  Happy Hump day everyone.birds 005

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.

We had a second round of bad weather last week but we managed through.  I got some stuff done and have still more to do.  But I thought I should catch everyone up on the going ons of the Hollow.

We have many more babies here.  I had a good hatch of quail, a few chicks (silkies for Katie) and another litter of rabbits.  So much fluffy goodness.  This last hatch of birds seem very healthy.  So I’m very pleased with that.  This litter is the second litter for Hunny.  She is the one that lost the last batch due to not really knowing what to do.  She’s seems to still be trying to learn.  I’m watching them closely to make sure they make it.  She had 11 and we lost one.

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Poor Casanova did not survive the dog attack, but the neighbor did replace him and his dogs have not been out since.  The new guy isn’t as pretty, but is healthy and a good size.  Both our females are laying now.  Yay.  Friday I take the new tom to them.  Fingers crossed for little baby turkeys.  Really need a name for this guy.

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The snow slowed me down a little.  So we did not get to put the fence up yet.  Hopefully we will do that this weekend.  But I did manage to get a good deal of the bantam coop built and moved some of the rabbit out to the new hutches.  And last weekend I did bring home The Girl’s new friend.  He is awesome.  I named him Harvey.

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rabbit 002 fluffy 007The weather is going to be a tad moist this week, but warmer.  And this weekend will be good for putting up the fence and getting stuff done here.  I’m really ready for Spring.  My green thumb is itching to get some things in the ground.  I will say the snow was nice.  At least we got one nice, pretty snow.  I’m good now for another year.  I hope everyone has a great week.

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This past week has been craptastic….

I’m not even sure that is a word, but it works.  Last Saturday we had the huge wind storm that blew the chicken tractor away and it is pieces.  Luckily the bantams were in the steel barrel that didn’t blow away.  A piece of the barn roof flew away as well.  Limbs down and a real mess.  But we survived and made due.

Sunday we had most of the quail hatch done and the chicks started.

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Then came Monday.  Lots and lots of preparing for the incoming snow.  Which decided it wanted to be ice.  Yay.  We got through it.  Tuesday all the animals were good.  The ice did a number on the predator netting, but I was able to get it back up.  ice 005ice 016

Wednesday was uneventful.  Wednesday night was busy.  Ruined church meal, wet and cold chick that I had to shove in my shirt and sit in front a heater with, and it was 10 degrees out.  All the animals had extra hay and all the tarps were in place.  Everyone survived the night, even the little chickie.  chicks 004

Thursday was another predicted cold night.  Low of 1 degree.  And it was.  But that wasn’t the bad thing.  All day Thursday the neighbor’s dogs was terrorizing the birds.  I kept running them off.  But right after work Super Mutt was going nuts and I looked out to see the door to the turkey tractor crushed in.  I knew what that meant.  attack 002

I ran out and found the large dog spitting feathers out of her mouth.  Then I saw the layer run gate pushed down and the little dog on the turkey.  Before I could get down the hill they had both run off.  In the middle of the run was the turkey.  All his long feathers gone and a great deal of his down gone.  I cried.  I screamed.  I was furious.  I picked him up and took him in the barn and began searching all the coops to make sure everyone else was fine.  There were feathers everywhere.

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Everyone else was fine.  Terrified, but alive.  Then I ran to the neighbors and let the neighbors mother have an earful.  I was done.  I called the animal control but they were already closed.  I moved the turkey to the bathroom and put a heater on him.  He didn’t look good at all.

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It was going to be so cold that I had to bring the barn kitties in, but now they  had to go to the bedroom.  They were in heaven.  Miss Kitty was thrilled.  So much to explore and the window fascinated her.  I think she would make a decent inside kitty.  She was enjoying the snuggles in the bed.  Snuffles loved the chair.  Super Mutt is not happy it smells like cat now.

Yes that is a giant pile of laundry.  It never really ends.

Yes that is a giant pile of laundry. It never really ends.

I called animal control this morning.  And they will send someone out.  We will see.  I called the landlord to let them know what happen and that I did call animal control.  That told me that they had another talk with him and that he may just have to pay a fine to get the message across.  He did finally come to the house.  He said he didn’t see any feathers.  As I looked down the hill I pointed out the breeze picking them up.  He said he would find me a replacement tom and if not he would pay for me to get another.  I told him his dogs will keep coming back to my property because they have a taste for chasing and eating my birds.  He didn’t have much to say.  Still doesn’t understand what the problem.  Maybe a fine will help he get the picture.  Next weekend I will start the fence.  Thanks to my mom for sending me some money and hopefully some church men for their muscles.  I also have one very strong son.

It has been rough, but I have survived.  The fence will solve all kinds of issues and I know Super Mutt will be excited to get to run, sniff, mark and bark at everything.  There will be buck in the future and more turkey.  Spring is around the corner.  Spring will bring it’s own fun times, but it will be warmer and lots of baby creatures to love on.  I’m done being frozen and things dying.  I’m ready for new life and happy times.  Spring if you are listening…..”HURRY UP AND GET HERE ALREADY!!!!’  Stay warm everyone.  Maybe next time I will have sunshine and rainbow stories.  Happy Friday.