Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Celebrating Easter and a Birthday for Chickens!

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

This Easter marks two years of happy living with my fourteen chickens, who came to us hatched and fluffy - packed like sardines in an orange crate.

So, in our case, the chicken came first!

This began a long term relationship of scheduled routines including daily feeding, coop cleaning, collecting eggs, chasing them about the yard, protecting them from predators and keeping them well watered.

Speaking of watering, I thought I'd share my latest chicken pictures from my newest app discovery called Waterlogue. I'd like to know what you think of my watercolor pictures!

We placed an order for chicks at Murray McMurray Hatchery in March of 2012 and expected to receive them after Easter. To our surprise, we acquired twenty-five baby chicks on Easter morning that year.  We planned to share the order with my friend, Sofia, and her family. They already had chickens but wanted more for the eggs.

My family kept sixteen of the twenty five chickens and Sofia's kept nine.

Sadly, two of our chickens died, due to egg mishaps whilst laying.

Watching them grow has been the best part. They've gone from being tiny balls of fuzz that stumbled and tumbled around in a narrow, confined space under a heater lamp, to being feathered out and quick stepping in the back yard under the sun and a wide open sky!

Our chickens are friendly because we spend lots of time caring for them! You can hold them for hours and hours, and they don't mind. We have certain chickens that don't particularly like being held, though.  If you want to hold them, they might stay still for a little while, but they will fidget and squirm, flapping their wings until you give up, let go and they fly away.

We keep our chickens for eggs. They laid eggs more often when they where younger, but, when they go into the molting stage, they don't lay very much. You might get three or four eggs a day depending on luck. But now, they lay around nine to thirteen eggs a day.

The plan with my chickens is to keep them healthy and help them to live a long and happy life. Experts say that chickens can live anywhere from 1-20 years, so, we may have these chickens until I'm well into my 20's and on my own!

Will I keep chickens again someday? Maybe next time the egg will come first instead of the orange crate and I'll incubate them from the shell!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Packing Meals for Feed My Starving Children

The last time I ate out, it cost about $12 for a soup and sandwich. But, I only had 22¢ in my pocket ~ enough for crumbs. Where can I get a healthy meal for 22¢ these days?

Well, this past Saturday, my mom and I attended the Feed My Starving Children packing program, where my 22¢ could buy a full healthy meal for a needy child in seventy of the most poverty stricken countries in the world.

We arrived at ten o'clock and received our name tags and shirts before heading to the sanctuary. Where we watched an introductory video about the children who will receive the food we pack. The video documented malnourished children from the Philippines who desperately need food. We also watched another video teaching how to pack the food correctly so each child receives the correct amount of vitamins, vegetables, soy and rice. Once the video was finished, we walked to the school located next to the church to pack the food.

Packing stations had been prepared, and we chose the table and people with whom we wanted to work. My team consisted of my friends Kassie and Anna, my mom, Kassie's mom, and Anna's dad. My mom scooped the rice and soy. Kassie's mom scooped the vitamins and dried vegetables. Anna and Kassie held the bags around the end of the funnel and weighed them. Anna's dad pressed the bags and I sealed them. Together, we packed twenty-three boxes of thirty-six bags.

That's 828 meals at a cost of only $182.16!

At the end of the day we learned how many boxes were packed at all the stations. Together, the whole room packed 207 boxes. That was enough to feed 121 kids for one year!

If you would like more information on Feed My Starving Children, click this link.

Participating in a program like this makes me feel glad and grateful. Glad because I am helping others in need and grateful for the things that I have.

~ Haley

I am sharing this post at The Writer's Reverie All Things Bright and Beautiful Link-up this month.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Choose the Correct Rosin for Your Violin

Do you sometimes find your violin sounding weak and airy? Are you having trouble with a slipping bow?

This happens to me too ~ when I skip a day of violin maintenance, specifically rosining my bow before I practice or play.

Rosin is a solid resin from pine trees and other conifers. It is produced by heating fresh liquid resin (also known as turpentine) to vaporize the liquid (essential oils) leaving fluid rosin which is run off from a tap at the bottom of a still and purified by straining it through wadding. Rosin is semi-transparent and varies from an almost colorless clear yellow to opaque black in color, depending on the tree from which the turpentine is drawn.

Rosin has many uses but the type of rosin I am discussing is used by musicians who play bowed string instruments. Musicians rub cakes of rosin on their bow hairs (made of horse hair) so they can grip the strings and make them vibrate. Sometimes other substances are added to rosin such as beeswax, gold, silver, tin, or iron to change the friction properties of the rosin and the tone it produces.

I rosin my bow every day. This is a must for any string player. Too little rosin and my bow will not grip the strings, making them sound weak and airy. The type of rosin you use is important to the quality of the sound it produces. Dark colored rosin gives the violin a richer and deeper sound while light colored rosin gives the violin a lighter and brighter sound!

I have two favorite rosins. One of them is called Pirastro Goldflex Rosin and it is handmade in Germany. I use this rosin for practice because it is less expensive than my most favorite rosin, Liebenzeller Metall-Kolophonium ~ Gold 1. I use this rosin for concerts and gigs because it is a bit on the pricey side but it gives my violin amazing sound and I absolutely love the quality of it!

I usually purchase the Pirastro Goldflex Rosin from the violin shop nearest to me. Sometimes, if I have to, I will purchase it online. In price, it usually runs anywhere from $8 ~ $12.

As for the Liebenzeller Metall-Kolophonium ~ Gold 1 rosin, I buy mine from sharmusic.com for $30. This is a darker rosin which gives my violin a deeper sound.

In the past, I have had rosins that I did not like at all. Some can be very low quality. The more types of rosin you try, the more you know about their different traits. Rosining my bow every day enhances all of my hard work to help me always sound my best.

~ Haley

Sunday, April 6, 2014

St. Patrick's Day in Manhattan

March is the busiest month of the year for me. Actually, it's the busiest time of the year for every Irish musician. For example, among the dozen or so gigs I played, the most exciting was the St. Patrick’s Day weekend I spent in Manhattan. 

On Saturday my mom and I spent our morning in the car driving to New York to play a gig with my teacher, Brian Conway. It was a library concert he plays every year. The first part of the program included a group from a local dance school. They danced a few sets of reels, jigs and hornpipes, then exited the stage. After the dancers finished with their part of the program, Brian entered the stage and played the rest of the show. Towards the end of Brian’s performance, he welcomed me and a few of his other students, Kate, Finbar, Joanna and also his daughter, Fiona, to the stage to play two sets with him. 

After the concert at the library, we met up with my friend Sofia, her mom Kate, and her two siblings, Alex and Anna, for dinner at a diner close to Brian’s house. Because I had a headache and stomach ache, we went back to Brian’s house so I could lay down. 

On Sunday I woke up feeling much better than I did the night before. I had a lesson with Brian at ten o’ clock. After my lesson, we packed up all our things and drove to Sofia’s house. We spent all day with Sofia and her family. Sofia, Anna and I made brown and green chocolates in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. We also made bracelets for each other, and stayed at Sofia’s house for the night. 

Monday was St. Patrick’s Day! 

We left Sofia’s house at eleven o’ clock for New York City, and an event where I was to be performing called, Sober St. Patrick’s Day. I played this event last year and loved it! I was thrilled when they asked me to come again this year! I really love the meaning of this event: 

While people arrived, I played accompanied by Donie Carroll on the guitar. Our performance went very well and I had tons of fun! But, soon it was time for the ceili, when the dance floor would be filled dancing to our free-flowing sets of reels, hornpipes and jigs. The ceili band included Brian Conway, John Whelan, Brendan Dolan and a few other talented veteran Irish musicians who I enjoyed playing with! 

Me with Donie Carroll

I love meeting new people at the events where I play. At Sober St. Patrick's Day I met Erin Brady, the reigning Miss USA 2013, Cathy Maguire, a celebrity and singer who acted as our MC and Malachy McCourt, a legendary author and actor. 

Me with Cathy Maguire

Me with Malachy McCourt

Me with Erin Brady

Over all, I’d say my St. Patrick’s Day was an amazing and memorable event!