Monday, April 14, 2014

Ben and Brindle Update

Yes, I'm back and writing again.  It's been a long, cold, hard winter.  I've wanted to write, to share the farm with everyone, but time was short.  Days and nights flew by, weeks got jumbled together, and before I knew it, spring is here!  And not soon enough!

The animals hated the long cold winter.  It snowed so many times.  Let me tell you right from the beginning, I'm not a cold-weather kind of gal.  I like it hot and sunny.  You can keep the snow!  But this winter it certainly snowed a whole lot!

The two outside cats, Benjamin and Brindle, were C-O-L-D outside.  Since we put up heatlamps for the chickens in the coop, we got the bright idea to setup a heatlamp for the outside cats.  So the cats got a heatlamp.  They sleep on a piece of rug which sits on a wooden bench on the front porch.  We aimed the heatlamp on the bench, and they both cuddled up every night under the lamp.


After a few extremely cold and blustery snowy nights, we realized the heatlamp really wasn't helping much.  The snow was blowing sideways up onto the cats and soaking their bed and the cats, too.  And the thought occurred to me - we DO have an empty guestroom...  And these stray cats ARE guests...

And so Ben and Brindle moved inside to the guestroom.  I know, I'm a sucker for animals.  My husband puts up with me...  Just so you know, they both had already been taken to the vet, been dewormed, deflead, deticked, had all their shots, and were fixed.  Also they were tested and found to be negative for all feline diseases.  Yes, they used to be strays, Brindle even was feral - you can see she has a clipped ear.  Any outside cat here has to go thru that routine, and even still, I dare to call them a stray cat.  I should just call them an "outside cat", not a stray.

The two formerly "stray" cats absolutely LOVED the guest bed.  They loved being inside.  They both became extremely friendly, and love to be pet and hugged and held.  We never thought that wild Brindle could become such a lovebug.  They both even like their bellies rubbed!  And most of all, they love stretching out to sleep on the soft guest bed.

Benjamin especially loves to be held on Randy's shoulder.  Ben sits up on the bed and begs, stretching his front legs up in the air, waiting to be picked up.  Brindle loves to cuddle and then lick us, which is quite annoying when you don't want to be licked, which is, well, always.

We kept Ben and Brindle separate from the inside cats.  It was easier that way - no cat fights.  The inside cats weren't too fond of the guest cats.  So we kept the guestroom door closed at all times.  Sometimes Jack, the Houdini cat who can open doors, snuck in to visit.  Jack's very accepting and friendly.  If only everyone could be as sweet as Jack...  

When the cold winter nights passed, we opened the window (the guest room is on the first floor) and Ben and Brindle went back outside.  They were so happy to be out again.  But it seems they miss their bed.  If we open the guest room window again they will come right back inside and curl up on the bed.  Randy sometimes sleeps in the guest room during the day when he's working the crazy night shift.  When he does, he opens the window, within minutes Ben and Brindle are cuddled up with him on the bed, and they all sleep the day away.

I guess they aren't outdoor cats anymore, they've become indoor-outdoor cats.  They both are great farm cats - they love to help us with our outside chores.  They always walk us to the barn, stand guard while we work in the chicken coop.  Once a chicken escaped out the coop door and Ben stood and watched, helping me to catch it.  The chicken was terrified of the cat and just froze, making it easy to catch.  Brindle loves to run with the guineas.  When I throw bread for the guineas she's right out there with them - she loves to catch pieces of bread and eat it, just like the guineas.  Both cats, but especially Brindle, are always mouse and bird hunting.  Any little bird that comes near her, and any mouse on the property, will meet it's end if Brindle has her way.

Recently a fox moved into our front yard, of all places, and before that a raccoon was acting very strange, falling over when standing, extremely friendly, etc.  When those animals were around at nighttime we ushered Ben and Brindle into the house to keep them safe.  I didn't want little Brindle to be fox food, nor did I want either cat to get rabies from a possible infected coon. The cats didn't know what was going on, all they knew was they had access to their beautiful guest bed again, and they loved it and slept soundly all night. 

So that's the update on Ben and Brindle, the indoor-outdoor cats.  It was a good winter for them.  Next up I'll discuss either the chickens or the guineas, and will tell you how they made it thru the long cold winter months.   

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Razzberry Corner is back!!!

Wow!!!  A lot of time has passed since my last post!  So much has been going on here at Razzberry Corner!  ...Where to begin????

Let's start with the humans...  What's going on with us?

Over the winter I joined an awesome online weight-loss group called Lose It! (www.loseit.com).  It's a great support group that encourages you to eat less and exercise more, and teaches you how to count calories.  They have workout challenges, groups where discussions take place, and endless possibilities to make friends with similar exercise and weight-loss goals.  With this app I lost about 20 pounds.  I highly recommend it to everyone!  Best thing is, Lose It! is free.  Costs nothing to join the basic service, and $39.95 for a year of premium membership.  With the basic membership you can set only one weight loss goal, with the premium membership the number of goals you can set are almost endless, from weight goals to blood pressure, exercise minutes, steps taken, hydration (to encourage you to drink more water), nutritional goals are available, such as sodium, carbs, protein, fiber, you can even set a goal to sleep a certain number of hours every night.  Anyway, it's a pretty cool group and has motivated me to be healthy and happier.  Check it out if you want to lose weight.



I've been traveling a lot for my work, and am still putting in a lot of hours at work.  What else is new?

My husband has been working shiftwork for his job, often working nights with days off.  This means I have to take care of the animals most of the time, leaving me little to no free time to do things I enjoy, like write.

I have been very sick this year.  It's crazy because I believe that I'm healthier than I've ever been in my life. I got the flu in January, then the Norovirus in March, and now have an upper respiratory infection in April.  The Norovirus was no fun - I've never been that sick, ever.  It seems everyone is catching it - very contagious. If someone you know has it - run away as fast as you can!

Next post I'll move on to the interesting stuff - we'll discuss the farm critters and tell you how they all survived the long cold winter.  Lot's of craziness going on.  Wasn't that winter just the worst ever?





Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow and Chickens and Guineas

We got our first big snowstorm of 2014 already, as has much of the country!  We only got maybe 3 - 4 inches of snow.  It sure looks pretty, but with the wind it is cold outside!





This is the guinea roosting pine. It's a huge pine that sits above the chicken coop.  The guineas will not come down out of the tree today.  I was worried that they were frozen, but they don't appear to be.  The song birds live through snowstorms, why wouldn't a guinea fowl?  But I worry still.


I found the guineas up in the tree snuggled up and singing quietly.  Do you see them in the below photo?


They light colored guineas stand out in the green of the pine.


Our chickens hate snow and cold and refuse to go out from their coop.  We have heat lamps and heaters in the coop, and put the waterer in the coop, trying to keep it from freezing.  This morning the water had ice in it but wasn't frozen solid.  I tell you, it's cold out there!  I don't blame the chickens for wanting to stay inside!

In the below photo is Doritos, the red sex link in upper left.  Bottom left is Charlotte, who's a senior lady- she's one of the original chicks from 4 years ago.  The big bird in the center front is Big Bonnie, the former shelter hen, and Muffin the lead rooster is behind her.  The two white leghorns are named Pringles.  We have four Pringles - I can't tell them apart so they all were named Pringles.


From left: Doritos, Ruffles, another Doritos, Zoner, Freckles, part of Little Muff (son of Muffin).  Little Muff will step up and be our lead rooster when Muff Sr. passes away.  Muff Sr. is getting older.  The black bird you can barely see in the front is Holly, daughter of Muffin.


When chickens are all penned up in a coop bad things are sure to happen.  They get bored and start picking on each other.  The younger birds are usually lower in the pecking order, literally.  This morning I went out to check on the birds and found one of the Pringles had a bloody head.  Red blood splattered all over a white bird just asks for the others to continually peck at her.

I brought Pringles in and bathed her head.  She didn't mind.  She loved to look at herself in the mirror - she was amazed by her reflection.  I washed her head then blowed dried her.  I went over her whole body with the blow drier - my birds always LOVE to be blow dried.  The problem was that her comb had been bitten and had bled all over her white feathers.  The comb was fine, it had already stopped bleeding.  But the other birds had pecked her bloody head and made bruises on the left side of her head near her ear.  If I hadn't separated her they could have pecked her till she had a big open wound.  The photos were taken post-bath.






Luckily I got to her in time and she was fine.  I returned Pringles to the broody hen coop, where we have two broody hens sitting on eggs.  Pringles needed a break from the other hens.  She loved having a coop mostly to herself - the broody hens just sit ont heir nests and don't move much, leaving Pringles the run of the coop.  Later today I'll return her to the regular chicken coop.



I hope everyone enjoys the snow and keeps an eye on their chickens in their coops!  Stay warm!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Yummm - Warm Water!

Thanksgiving week is upon us! 

Yesterday I went out to feed the birds their grains/feed.  The guineas are starving now, I have to feed them since there's no bugs around for them to find on their own.  As soon as I walk outside they come running to me.  I give them chicken food, plus they love scratch grain.  Their special treat is bread.  They love them some bread.  We buy cheap white bread for their bread treat.

As I was filling the chicken feeders I realized all the chicken waterers were frozen.  It was about 11 degrees F out yesterday with the wind chill.  It was bitter cold.  Odd - because last Friday it was 64 degrees F.  This weather...  Anyway, it was about 8am, the chickens had not been without water for long.  But they all told me they were going to DIE of thirst.  When I looked at the waterer and kicked it (lightly!) with my boot to attempt to determine how deep the ice was, the chickens all attempted to peck it, too.  They were telling me they might die of thirst since their waterer appeared to be not providing water when they demanded.  Chickens can be very demanding.  You don't know these things unless you have chickens.

I made sure the heat lamps were running inside the coops and lugged the 2 waterers inside the 2 coops and put them under the lamps.  I can't open the waterers, Randy really closes them tight.  If I could open them I would have lugged boiling water out in buckets and dumped it on top of the frozen water.  Because I was paying attention to the waterers, the chickens were, too.  They watch everything I do and have to be involved. Too involved.  They always are under my feat, reaching into my pockets to see what I have in there, wanting to be sitting on my lap if I'm squatting down.

Muffin remembered his fight with me from Saturday - he's a smart bird.  He immediately stood up to me and fluffed his neck. 
"Are you ready for this?" he asked. 
I ignored him, I was busy moving the frozen waterer.
"I'm gonna kick your @#!" Muffin hollered at me. 
He attacked my calf with his spurs when my back was turned.  Damn bird.  I ignored him, luckily I had rubber boots on that went up to the knees.  I swung the waterer around so it was between he and I.  He realized I wasn't in the mood to fight and stopped with his fight. Hmmm, if I show no fear, but ignore him, he stops before he gets too worked up.  I'll have to remember that.

Once I got the waterers inside the coop the chickens continually attempted to drink the frozen water.  So I had to setup 2 additional waterers for them, inside the coop under the heat lamps.  I lugged warm water out to the coop in buckets and dumped it into the new waterers in front of the chickens.  Luckily we have extra waterers.  You'd think the chickens had not had a drink in days - everyone gathered around the water gulping and holding their beaks in the air to swallow.  Over and over they gulped.  Muffin came and clucked his call for food to ensure all the hens knew to come and partake.  Ahhh, warm water for the chickens.  Steam was coming off the water since it was so cold out, although the water wasn't that hot.  I should have put some tea in their water and we all could have had a tea break.  I went inside and had some hot tea myself.

It's the simple things that we give thanks for here at Razzberry Corner. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fox Attack

Last night there was yet another fox attack on the guineas.  Normally it's a red fox which attacks the birds, but this time it was a grey fox.

The below pictures are of a grey fox and a red fox.  They are not the same animals that attacked our guineas.  Grey fox are larger than red fox - we were surprised to see one.  We have so very many red fox - our guinea flock rarely survives a year with the red fox and hawks around here.



Just so you know, the fox in those photos look so much prettier than the fox around our house.  Most of our fox appear to be sickly and have mange and look terrible.  These photos actually make fox look cute.

Last night a sickly-looking, stinky grey fox came right up on our back porch, right where I sit on my chair out there.  He nosed around, then went around the front of the house and started hunting the guineas which were in the front yard.  We saw the fox on the back porch and watched as the fox picked out an unsuspecting guinea for his dinner.  The guineas never even saw the fox - such stupid birds.

The fox didn't survive the hunt.  We are allowed to kill a fox that is killing our livestock.  All guineas lived to see another day.   

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chicken Update

Yikes  - time flies!  I have been busy with work, travel, family, etc.  I come back here to the blog and realize it's been over a month since my last post!  I'm sorry!

Things are crazy as usual here on the farm...

Randy loves chicks and chickens decided to hatch some eggs - yet again!  Yes, it's Nov.  I didn't want to have baies, but he really wanted to.  And so, the chicks are due in Dec.  We have the always-broody Charlotte sitting on the eggs.  He wanted to hatch some full-blooded Americauna chicks.  Muffin, the rooster, is Americauna.  After the autumn molt one of the hens, Virginia, who's also Americauna, started laying again.  It's been a while since she laid.  Or so Randy believes it's Virginia who's laying. I get confused now-a-days, unless I actually watch the hen lay.  All the new pullets which were hatched this year are now laying - we average a dozen eggs or more a day now!

Lucy was ill for a few weeks.  She's my favorite little bantam hen.  She's 4 years old now.  Most of the bantams from her clutch have all passed away - those little hens just don't live very long.  Lucy was getting a few drops of antibiotic water every day and was hand fed to ensure she ate every day for about a week.  Now she's doing great.  I'm happy she made a recovery - I wasn't ready for her to pass away.  She hasn't laid in over a year.  Only one of the hens from her clutch is still laying, Chloe.  Chloe lays every day.  It's just a tiny egg.  Chloe is a sweetie.

I just gave the chickens some spaghetti mixed with frozen peas.  I cook the spaghetti and throw in peas a min before I drain it.  I try to give the birds treats when I can.  I'm not home a lot - they haven't had a treat other than their regular chicken food since last weekend.  The birds all got so excited while I was feeding them - almost too excited...

While I was giving the birds the treats I took Charlotte off her nest/eggs to force her to move about for a minute.  She ran around screaming and flapping in the pen.  She immediately got in a fight with her sister, Cheryl.  Charlotte always loses the fights with Cheryl, who is very mean to Charlotte.  Charlotte ended up with a torn and bleeding wattle.  Poor girl.  She's back on the nest again.  I'll have to check on her to make sure the bleeding has stopped.  I'll put sugar on it if it hasn't stopped.

Then Muffin got in a fight with one of the other young roosters.  Muff wouldn't let the other roosters eat.  I was a fool and got between the fighting roosters.  The young cockerel ran away and took the opportunity to eat spaghetti.  Muffin raised all his neck feathers at me.  Stupidly, I raised my boot at him - which means I wanted to fight him.  The thing about Muff is that he will not stop fighting until the other bird/person loses the fight and runs away.  Then he crows announcing he's the winner.  Showing Muffin the bottom of my boot is a fighting gesture to him, I have no idea why.  To him I'm fluffing my neck feathers and standing up to fight.  He attached my boot many many times with his spurs.  He's strong and almost knocked me down, since I had to keep 1 foot up to fend him off me.  I grabbed onto a support post in the middle of the chicken pen.  I hopped on one foot, bumping into hens as they ran around eating, trying to shoo them out of my way so I could hop to the gate, all the while Muffin was attacking my raised foot.  Finally a few hens got in between Muff and I and I took the opportunity to run for the gate.  I heard him crowing as I got to the gate.  Yes, I ran, you won, Muffin.  Next time I will not get in the middle of a rooster fight.  Or I will carry my broom.

Here's a pic of Muffin raising his neck feathers - it was taken back in early Oct.  He's the black bird right in the center - it's not a clear photo.



As I mentioned, the pullets and cockerels that hatched this year are so big now.  Pickles is a rooster, sadly.  He's GORGEOUS and we're considering keeping him as the second rooster, with Muff being the first rooster.  We'll see with Pickles, he has to show us he's smart.  Big Bird is also a rooster, and is extremely smart.  But he's too BIG.  Having him as a rooster would be dangerous for the hens (during mating).  The 2 black cuckoo maran/Americauna mixed pullets are still totally black with no comb.  They are beautiful.  I've never seen a jet black chicken with no comb before I saw them.



Little Red is a Rhode Island Red pullet - I love her to death.  She's a talker and never stops chattering.  I especially love her because she was a reject chick.  Pickles was a reject chick, too.  The 3rd bird from the reject chick group hasn't been named yet - she's a beautiful brown and red Americauna pullet who's VERY shy.  I have to name her real soon.

Have a great weekend and a HAAPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rain

It has been a rainy week here at Razzberry Corner!


Finally today it stopped raining, but everything is all muddy.

Benjamin and Brindle, the outside cats (they used to be called stray cats, now they are just "outside cats"), are in the process of putting on their winter coats.





The chicken pens are all muddy.  Poor birds.  I cleaned their coops so they have a clean dry place to go.


The guineas aren't too happy about all the rain, either.


Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chicken Update - chicks, pullets, cockerels, and orbs!

Here are some of the chickens.  This is another "meet the chickens" post.

Our flock has grown by leaps and bounds this year.  Its a lively place out there in the chicken pen.  We actually have 2 pens now; the chickens can go thru the second coop to access the second pen.  Yes, there's 2 coops available for everyone, too.  The second coop and pen normally are used as an infirmary area or chick area, but right now there's no one sick and no babies that need to be separate.

In the below pic are:  Front - gold laced wyandotte pullet named Ruffles, behind her is Doritos, a Red Sex Link pullet.  To the left and behind is Little Red, a Rhode Island Red pullet (the Reject chick).  Standing in the crowd with tall necks are 2 brothers - cockerels, sons of Muffin the rooster.  The yellow boy is the son of Pennie, the shelter hen (or the house hen, as she prefers to be known), and the boy on the right is Big Bird, son of Big Bonnie the shelter hen.


Here's Big Bird below watching my camera.  To his left is another one of the chicks - he's one of the ones I got from the farmer's market.  I think it's a boy so I'm not going to name him.  Sorry, buddy.  Directly in the background is the rooster, Muffin, the baby daddy to 4 of the chicks (Big Bird, the 2 all-black girls, and the yellow son of Pennie).
 

Here's Doritos below.   I'll let you in on a secret.  I have 3 pullets named Doritos, 4 named Pringles, and 2 named Ruffles.  I can't tell the birds apart so they were named based on their breed.


This photo below just shows how big Big Bird is compared to Little Red.   They were walking side by side.  Little Red was a reject as a chick but she fits in very well with the chicks now.


Look below at all the Pringle's tails in the air!  The 3 white leghorns on the right are Pringles.  They are some egg-laying machines.  They are so hyper and scared.  They are our least-friendly birds, always dashing here and there.  But they lay large white eggs every day.  We like them because of their eggs. 

To their left are Dottie (left most white hen) and Zoner (another white hen).  Zoner's pretty old, and is still as stupid as they come - she's one of our original chicks.  Dottie is small and a tough little bird.  Dottie is the daughter of Muffin the Americauna and a white leghorn hen.  Muffin is there in the photo, too.  You can't miss his big black and green tail.


Here's an upclose shot of the 2 Ruffles and a Pringles.  Pringles is having a conversation with the Ruffles.  The Ruffles are our prettiest birds, but they aren't our favs.  They lay medium to small light brown eggs, and they don't lay every day like the Pringles and the Doritos.  They are not friendly at all, and hate to be held. 


Here's a Pringles cruising around with her white tail held high.  The brown and grey pullet to her right is named Pickles, to honor my friend Genny's bird named Pickle.  My Pickles is a beautiful pullet - I'll have to get better shots of her in the future.  The picture below doesn't do her justice.  She came from the farmer's market as a day old chick, and she sadly ended up being one of the Reject Chicks, which makes her one of my favorites.  She is red and grey and is most likely an Americauna mix.


 This blog post is ending on an eerie note.  I was taking the below shot of Big Bonnie (and she looks terrible - she's molting!) - but notice all the circles in the photo.  They are what people refer to as orbs.  I often get orbs in my photos and have to work at cutting them out or not using the photos with orbs on the blog because they are distracting.  Are orbs ghosts or just dust?  I get orbs when I photograph outside or inside, in any weather.  It's funny how many orbs are in the shot below.  I must have a lot of ghosts or dust around here.  It is a historic old farmhouse, I wouldn't be surprised if there's ghosts and I know there's dust.  I just thought I'd throw in this photo to show you what I deal with when I'm setting up blog photos.  I'm curious on your thoughts about the orbs, too!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chicken update - Big Bird and Unnamed Black and Blue Chick

I know it's been quite a while since I've posted about my wonderful chickens.  They are doing fine and the chicks have grown up.  I'd like to introduce you to some of them in a few chicken posts.


Right in the center of this photo is Big Bonnie, one of the shelter hens.  She's molting and looks rough.  She's still huge.  She's one fat hen.  She's not the most athletic bird, but she walks around fine now.  She lays a huge egg every day.  If you've seen my blog you know Bonnie and her sad story and how she ended up in an animal shelter before we rescued her.

Well, here's her biological son, Big Bird.


Big Bird is the son of Big Bonnie and Muffin, the only adult rooster we have now.  Muffin is an Ameracauna rooster.  Big Bird is very friendly and loves to "talk" and chatter.


He is going to be a large rooster.  He seems to be very smart and attentive, like his father, but he gets beat up by all the chickens who are older than him.  He's still a baby and prefers to hang out with the other babies from his clutch.


In the below photo is Candie, a Cuckoo Maran hen.  She's the black spotted hen who's molting and looks terrible.  To the right of her is a pure black pullet who is Candie's biological daughter.  Candie's the mom, Muffin is dad.  This pullet has a sister who is also from Candie and Muffin who looks similar but not exactly like her.  This black pullet is beautiful because she has a blue sheen to her feathers, she has no "muff" (feathers around her face like Americauna's have), and she has no comb!!!

Note:  also in the below photo is a white leghorn pullet named Pringles (on the left) and Little Red, the Rhode Island Red pullet who was part of the Reject Chick group.  Remember the Reject chicks?  What a mess that ordeal was!


The below photo has a red sex link pullet (named Doritos), Pringles the white leghorn, Candie with her naked molting look, and the blue/black daughter pullet on the right who I need to name still.


Isn't the blue black pullet beautiful?  It's hard to believe she's half Cuckoo Maran and half Americauna. 

I have a secret to tell about her, too.  When she was a chick inside the egg, she couldn't hatch.  She tried and tried to peck out, she cracked the shell, but after a couple days she was too tired and gave up.  In the beginning she was peeping, but after a few days she gave up and was quiet.  I read everything online that said to let her be, let her die, she wasn't meant to survive, she was too weak to live, etc etc.  However, I couldn't let a living creature just die, so I helped her out of her shell.  I cracked little pieces off around where she started to crack it.  She moved a little in the beginning, but after a few hours she stopped moving again.  By the end of that day she appeared to be dead.  So I opened up the remainder of the shell and let her loose.  She just laid there like a dead baby for a few hours, but she was still alive.  I put her under the mama hen's wings with the other chicks and checked on her often, and after a while she came around and started moving.  She was weaker than the others for her first few days, but then she became healthy and active and was fine.  She seems perfect now, you'd never know she had a rough start to life. 

Her sister is pure black but with a bronze glow to the feathers, and the sister has a muff.  The sister also has no comb!


I welcome recommendations for names!

Ok, that's it for today's post.  I'll introduce more of the chicks and pullets in future posts.  Everyone seems to have a story and I'll tell you about them all!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Losing it with Lose It!

I've always struggled with 10 or 20 pounds.  I'm not hugely overweight, but not where I want to be, either.  Most of the time I don't think about my weight, until I don't fit into my clothes.  I gain 10 pounds in a month or two without realizing it.  Before I know it I'm not fitting into my pants anymore.  I always notice the pants first.  If I look at my shirts, I realized they don't fit as well as they used to, either.  Then I work very hard and lose a few pounds.  It's always been a constant roller coaster just for 10 or 20 pounds.  But suddenly as I'm getting older it seems it's harder to lose the weight.  I used to just simply change my eating habits and the weight would disappear.  Now, not so much.

I recently gained another 10 pounds on top of the 10 extra that I was already carrying.  Hmmm.  I changed my eating habits, thinking it would drop off, instead I continued to gain a pound or three, four, maybe lose a pound, then gain it right back.  I worked really hard, pulling out all my secrets, like quitting diet soda, bread, drinking water when I'm hungry, eating grapefruits.  But I couldn't lose weight.  What's up????

A 20-something coworker told me she lost 10 pounds in a month by changing her diet.  I remembered back when I was 20-something and could easily shed pounds in the blink of an eye like that.  Now it seemed something was wrong with me, I was stuck being heavier on the outside than I was in my mind.  

I honestly think my metabolism changed.  It slowed wayyyyyyyy down.  I started working out more, but that had no effect on my weight.  I believe my weight has a lot to do with my eating habits.  I workout and reward myself with some chips and salsa, thinking I deserve it.  So I started a food journal and I carried it around for months on end.  But I needed guidance, instruction, and encouragement.  Finally I went online and found a site called Lose It!  I love it!

I put a Lose It! app on my tablet, but mostly I use it on the computer, since I have access to computers at work and home.  When I created a login it asked for my age, sex, weight and goal.  I said I wanted to lose 20 pounds at a rate of 1.5 pounds/week.  I thought that was doable.  It provided me with a daily calorie intake goal.  If I stick to the goal I can lose the 20 pounds by Thanksgiving!  Yes!  I log what I eat and my exercise.  The exercise subtracts from the daily calories allowed, allowing me more food.  I can eat whatever I want, as long as my daily calories are below my goal. I've quickly learned what types of foods are high in calories.  Plus, all types of exercise counts, such as "household walking".  And you can create exercises and foods, of course, based on what you actually do.

It's an awesome app.  Since I've started it on Sep 2, 2013, I've lost 7 pounds.  It really just helps me to watch what I eat, exercise more, and provides me with encouragement from hundreds, thousands, of others already using the app.  I joined Lose It! challenges to eat more veggies and burn so many calories from exercise and compete with the others online.  I am tied in first place in a push up challenge where we are supposed to do some type of push up every day, as many as each person can do.  Simple stuff!  If I really get carried away I can do weekly reports showing how much I lost a week, comparing it to the amount of calories I ate and my exercise for that week.  Lose It! allows members to become friends with other members to encourage each other.  I encouraged my husband to join, so now I have a friend on Lose It!.

I'm just happy I'm finally losing weight.  I want to lose 1 more pound by the end of this week so I will have lost a total of 8 pounds in Sep.  Piece of cake!