Happy Birthday to Eric

Made him a triple chocolate cheesecake (in the Instant Pot!) and ordered sushi. Boom. Done.

Happy Birthday to my favorite guy. Love you!



Coffee with the ladies.

This morning I got up, slipped on my chicken shoes (I’ll need boots sooner than later — holy HELL they poop a LOT!) and went to feed the ladies. After telling them good morning and changing their water — I sat down to have my coffee with them. (Thanks for bringing me coffee, Eric — you are my hero!)

It was fun to start figuring out their personalities.

Their names are all Harry Potter themed because I’m a dork. And it makes me happy.


The white one is Hedwig as I mentioned earlier. She’s the top hen in the pecking order.

The beautiful tan and gray one eating in the above photo is Professor McGonagall. I opened the nest box hatch as she was laying an egg today… so we’re now on a first name basis — Minerva.

We also have: Hermione, Ginny and Pig. Tori always wanted a pig — I finally got her one. (Yes, Pig is still Harry Potter themed — Ron had a bitty hyper owl named Pigwidgeon. They called him ‘Pig’ for short.)

Beaux is curious about everything — but the ladies run to roost if he comes near their home.

Beaux… is not impressed.


Today was only two eggs. Given the extreme stress they were under yesterday – fair enough. I was still excited to have them.

Chickens. I have chickens!

Fluffy butts have arrived

This morning we went over to Mobile to pick up my chickens – finally! When we arrived we found a very narrow street with cars parked on both sides of the street. Nice cars. Cars that would not appreciate rubbing their parts with our chore truck and/or utility trailer.


Eric went around the block. Eyeballed how far the drive was… and proceeded to back the trailer (and truck obviously) down the little narrow street. Thinking things would go super quickly we left the truck blocking the street and hopped out to snag the chicken tractor (a portable chicken coop) and chickens.

Uhmmmmm yeh, I grossly underestimated the size and weight of this ‘portable’ coop. GROSSLY. Also, did I mention we had to catch the chickens first and put them in the portable dog crate we brought before we could even consider moving the monster? I didn’t, did I? Because even though I knew we’d be bringing them home in a dog crate it never occurred to me how they’d get into said dog crate.


The seller was actually out of town, but his Momma (Ms. Judy) lived a street over and had come to help us.  Judy, bless her, was all: I’ll get ’em for you! She gets in the coop. The chickens say: eff that.

She eventually manages to grab one and stuff her in the crate. And then a neighbor comes yelling at us to move the truck because we’re blocking the street. Yup, we may have noticed that, dude. May have noticed…

A neighbor walking by pipes in: public road, you need to move.

Ms. Judy decides to go yell at the guy with his ‘fancy’ sports car because ‘we are trying to move chickens and we’ll be done when we’re done!’ I fear TJ may whither away in horror. Eric takes control and goes to back truck and trailer fully into the driveway.

I glance down to see the one caught chicken slip out of the kennel. And another make a mad dash from the coop at the same time.

Ms. Judy yells, “Oh, don’t let ’em get under the house, you’ll never see them again!” As she mutters something under her breath about the rude ‘foreigner’ with his expensive sports car and law degree.

Things are going just great. Maybe chickens are NOT the best idea?

Eventually I coax the chickens into the coop with some food. A broom is found and we begun ushering the chickens to Mrs. Judy so she can stuff them into the kennel again. I’d say ‘place them into the kennel’ but that’s simply not accurate.

About then the white hen, now named Hedwig, attempts to escape from my assigned position at the nesting boxes. It’s now or never — can I handle chickens? I calmly tell her: “Nope, we’re stuffing you in the kennel, young lady!”  I reach in and pull her out. And then deposit her with her sisters in kennel.


They give me the evil eye and squawk their dislike of the entire situation. Great, chickens packed up. Now we just need to roll the coop onto the trailer.

Small problem: we realize the ‘portable’ coop doesn’t have wheels on the back like it should. Ms. Judy assures me, oh, yes it does…

But as it was: fact seemed to indicate it did not. Eric, forever a good sport, says, well, we’ll just have to pick it up.

I’ve decided this coop weighed 950 pounds. And was slogged down in wet chicken poopy dirt. (But it was a lovely black soil… a garden would grow there most wonderfully!)  But Eric is a wonderfully patient we are getting this done kinda man….

And after about 20 minutes Eric and the boys manages to manhandle this beast onto the trailer. I’d take credit with them but all I did was attempt to help manhandle. I had a corner but I think I was moral support only.

By then Ms. Judy is now a best friend giving me a hug goodbye and asking for pics. (And a link to a recipe I told her about!)

And we head home with the chickens.


Another bit of manhandling — we got the coop in place and pressure washed it some. (Honestly could probably use some more!) The girls were put back in — and all was well in the world because I finally got chickens.



Hedwig is DEFINITELY giving me evil chicken eye here. That’s okay, I’m growing on her.

And they must not be TOO unhappy because we got three eggs already.

Yay — chickens. By the way, it doesn’t show well, but that’s a blue egg. How freaking cool is that?


Happy first day of chicken owning to me!



School shootings – a local teen that chose to took his own life… it’s been a hard couple of days around here with even more personal drama for one of the kids.

At this point I’m just thankful they do talk to me. It might take a while, but they come around and talk to me.

Remember: Turn on the light. Find the light. Be the light. Don’t let the darkness win.

Coming soon to the Oden Fairhope Estate


For years it’s been an ongoing theme with me. Chickens. I wanted chickens. *Which is odd seeing as I’m actually terrorized by birds on somewhat regular occasion.

But I wanted chickens. Fluffy butt chickens. Fresh eggs for the family. I was slightly obsessed with the idea. I joined Chicken Keeping groups on social media and learned all I could. Agonized over building out a coop. Or should we have a tractor (a movable chicken coop) to make it easier for clean outs?

It took me a good year to finally decide: okay, I wanted a chicken tractor. Another few months to find the PERFECT chicken tractor style I wanted was actually built here in Fairhope. Then I lost his contact info. Then found it again. Then another couple of months to be realistic and say: no, I wasn’t paying nearly $900 for a chicken coop. Wasn’t. Going. To. Happen.

Showed tractor pics to a friend. He said: we’ll have a coop building party. We’ll make this. Okay, boom. Planned.

Next up: what kinda of chickens? Perusing chicken catalogs (didn’t know that was a thing did you?) and reading reviews of local sellers. I had narrowed down the chicken breed to a specific kind. Which is to say: I settled on a non breed: Easter Eggers — these are a barnyard mix. They can lay anything from a light brown egg to a blue egg. And everything in between.

Okay, mutts. I decided on mutts. And as I look down at my rescue lab mutt… seems about right for me.

Fine. I had an idea of the dream coop and the right ‘breed’ for us.

Now just had to wait until we got back from Italy this Spring and we’d make a coop and buy some chickens.

(Aren’t plans the best?!!!)

No sooner did I have this plan in place — then I stumbled across a post selling THE coop I wanted (used) and six hand raised Easter Eggers about 1.5 years old. Guy was selling coop and hens because he had a tiny backyard and they were putting in a pool. No one had responded to his ad and he told me that he just planned to give to a buddy now.  Sorry.

And long story short, I wouldn’t take no for an answer and hounded this poor man so much that… well…

We pick them up Saturday.

So to celebrate Eric brought home a new fish for the aquarium.

Because… well, chickens.





Drum Corps and Mardi Gras

After the first big band rehearsal Summer 2017 Tom came home and promptly laid on the floor drenched in sweat, utterly exhausted. After he caught his breath he says:

So, Mom, I’m thinking I might want to march Drum Corps next season. Maybe with Southwind?

You have to understand, this kid had never really had a passion of any kind before. And I knew that Drum Corps was brutal. So, I may have been a bit dubious with this sudden interest. But I definitely didn’t want to squash the interest. No way! So we pulled up some YouTube videos. Looked at their website. I messaged a friend involved with Southwind for some info. And we decided: okay, if you are interested in this, for real, let’s find out what you need to do to audition.

I remained skeptical for a month or so. But I could see he was working hard. He changed from trumpet to baritone. He asked for a better mouthpiece. He stayed late.

The night of ‘Parent Show’ the last night of Band Camp Eric and I dutifully showed up with Beaux in tow. And we proceeded to stand there for 20 minutes going: ‘Where in the WORLD is Thomas?’ More than once we said: well, there he is… no that kid is too tall… or too skinny… or too… not Tom.

Until that too tall, skinny, sleeveless kid that was leading the post-show workout ran up to us drenched in sweat. Standing tall. Leading.

You could have knocked me over with a feather.

I remember thinking: okay, so drum corps, we’re doing this. First day audition camp signups opened up, he was signed up and paid in full.

After his audition camp it was a LOT of nerves waiting to hear if he was offered a contract (a spot with the Corps for the 2018 season or not) or maybe an alternate position. He was invited to come back for another camp. Meaning: they liked him, but wanted to see more.

A few weeks later he went to the next camp — except a few hours into it he came down with flu symptoms. I drove to Mississippi to pick him up the next morning. Poor guy. He seemed sure he’d get offered an alternate contract at the most.

Imagine his surprise when he was contacted with a full contract the next week.

This summer he’ll be marching euphonium with the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps. They’ll participate in DCI events in Open Class. Never fear — I’ll be sharing the dates for anyone interested as we get closer. It’s a big thing!

Today, Mardi Gras Day, The Corps asked for volunteers to come march in a Mobile parade. It’s a way to raise money for the group. Tom was up at 6 a.m. to get ready.


I think my skepticism is officially evaporated now. He wants this — bad. Go Tommy!

PS For those of you keeping track at home: he started the season on trumpet, changed to baritone, and now euphonium. He made district honor band on concert baritone. He is also in jazz band this year. He switched from trumpet to trombone in jazz. It’s been a BIG  fat music year for him. And this band nerd momma couldn’t be more proud.

Because it’s time to blog again…

So a while back I had to stop writing in the blog for various assorted ugly reasons. And that made me pretty bummed. Especially when the kids asked me: why don’t you blog anymore?

The reason was quite simple: someone tried to use this blog against me. And I let fear of losing my kids dictate keeping a simple online journal about our family. But the funny thing is: using the truth ‘against’ me didn’t do a darn thing for that person. And in the end, karma (and a good lawyer) prevailed.

So, I’m getting back into the blogging habit again. And if someone tries to use the truth against me again — well, thanks for the screenshots to save me ink. Appreciated!