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Since just before Christmas, I have been chicken sitting for a friend. There were three hens that needed some watching while my friend was off doing research during the college break. Among my many talents (adding this to my resume) is my years of experience with chickens, although this honestly is my first official chicken sitting stint. I liken it to babysitting. Once you are a parent, you pretty much have the necessary qualifications to babysit other people’s children. As a chicken owner, I evidently have chicken cred. 🙂
Just for giggles, I actually googled chicken sitting. Yes, much like everything else anyone can think of, there are several pet sitting services that offer chicken sitting as part of their services. I get it, but there are honestly a few businesses which as their sole business, do chicken sitting. I. Kid. You. Not.
Which brings me to the question. Why? Oh why did I spend all that money on a law school education when I could just have been a professional chicken sitter? 58% of Pet Sitters International 2016 survey on pet sitters do chicken sitting, which it reports is a sharp increase from its previous survey. It appears that chicken sitting is an up and coming area of the pet sitting business. Silly me. I thought that chicken sitting was something a neighbor does for you when you are out of town for a few days or a few weeks. A simple neighborly thing, not a whole profession. I really do need to get out more. Seems I have been missing this.
Seriously though, I have enjoyed my chicken sitting stint. Particularly since there is no rooster involved. Roosters can be a pain in the bottom and I bet those professional chicken sitters probably collect hazard pay when there is one or more roosters involved, since that usually involves having eyes in the back of your head to make sure that rooster isn’t trying to take you out while you are tending to the ladies and collecting the eggs.
Eggs. Gotta love fresh eggs. For all those folks out there that haven’t experienced freshly laid eggs, you have no idea what you are missing! Nothing better than cracking open an egg that has a beautiful bright, deep yellow (almost orange) yolk. Trust me, once you’ve had a fresh egg, you will simply hate anything that comes to you weeks (or more) old.
So, what do you think? Professional chicken sitter as my next career? Somehow I think I’d have to move to the city or darn close to one to pull that off, and I’m not ready to make that move.
A couple years ago, Tom went out and bought himself a fat tire bike when his knee was acting up. The orthopedist’s advice was to keep his knee moving without jarring it too much and causing further damage. He suggested biking. Tom did his research and while we both have mountain bikes, they are probably as old (if not older) than the wedding anniversary we just celebrated. He wanted a new bike and the idea of a fat tire bike intrigued him. It would give him the ability to have a little more four season biking opportunity. When he showed up with his new bike that looked quite odd at the time, I really didn’t quite get it. We had mountain bikes, which could go almost anywhere, why fat tires? He seems to enjoy it, and he can go places (like the beach) where my little old mountain bike just can’t handle because of its fat tires. But alas, fat tires on their own can get you a lot of places but they still don’t work well when there is ice and snow on the ground. So, he has lusted after studded tires for his fat bike for a while. Honestly, we couldn’t justify the expense of another set of tires for a bike, when there were trucks that needed tires and the costs could actually be somewhat similar on a per tire basis.
When we were up in Stowe last weekend, we came across a fat tire bike convention/gathering of sorts that we decided to stop at and take a walk around. The place where he bought his bike, up in Burlington, Old Spokes Home (don’t you love that name?) had a tent with some cool bikes and accessories. Lo and behold they had some studded tires at a great price. I treated my sweetie to an early birthday present.
The next day, after doing some research, he decided to give a try to change over the tires himself. A few hours which included a complete clean up of the bike and reassembly and the studded tires were on. He took it for a test drive on our icy roads and had nothing but good things to say about the studded tires. I think that this will make the snow/ice riding much more pleasurable and falls due to the bike slipping and sliding, less likely to happen.
If you are a fat tire biker and are debating the studded tires, I can say that they work, I’ve seen it up close.
Sounds like a great mystery book or a movie title, but it’s not. This week in Vermont is Open Farm Week. It gives those of us who love to wander through farmers’ markets and eat fresh from the farm produce a chance to see what actually goes on at your favorite farm and learn more about agriculture and farming in our lovely state. This opportunity gives a whole new meaning to “learning where your food came from” as you have the opportunity to not only see where it came from, but meet the folks behind your favorite fare in their own environment — and even lend a hand and see what it’s like to be a farmer for a few hours. A great opportunity to gain even greater appreciation for the men and women who are behind the farmers’ market tables each and every week.
There are farms all over the state of Vermont that are opening their barn doors for you! Of course, Vermont farmers are so friendly and welcoming that you don’t need a special week to visit your favorite farmer. But, I digress.
Here is a sampling of some of the things you can do this week at a farm near you. You could even schedule a whole week of farm fun and take a tour of Vermont farms, taking in their uniqueness as each of these places puts their own special twist on farming and for that, we are very grateful.
Merck Forest and Farmland Center will teach you all about draft horses and maybe even get the opportunity to help drive them around the farm.
Health Hero Farm is having cooking classes demonstrating how to cook their fresh beef.
Have a Farm to Table Dinner by the gardens at Boyd Family Farm in Wilmington. The proceeds for this dinner go to charity.
Take a nature photography course at the Smokey House in Danby.
You can also visit an alpaca farm, visit a vineyard or visit a mushroom farm. There are lots of choices and really something for everyone. Take advantage of really learning where your food comes from this week. You’ll be glad that you did.
Tim is starting his own business this summer and here’s the article that showed up in the business section of this morning’s paper. One proud mama – no need to say more.
Robert Layman / Staff Photo Tim Heffernan poses outside his home in East Wallingford Thursday morning.Program gives local student a start in business
By Gareth Henderson
Staff Writer | March 14,2016
While many students were busy vacationing, local college student Tim Heffernan spent his recent spring break planning his first business.
Heffernan, 18, lives in East Wallingford and is a Mill River High School graduate in his freshman year at the University of Vermont. Already, he is well on his way to starting a residential painting business, thanks to the company Collegiate Entrepreneurs Painting Services.
The company, which operates throughout New England, hires students as branch managers and gives them a chance to create their own painting business.
Shortly after arriving at UVM last fall, Heffernan went for an interview with the company and was accepted as a branch manager. The intensive training process started in November.
Officials with the company warn that it’s not for the faint of heart — students quickly dive into the challenging process of starting a business. The point is to immerse them into the startup process and have them grow a strong set of entrepreneurial skills they can use throughout their careers.
The program trains the students on business planning, hiring employees, marketing, sales and other key aspects of starting a business. Collegiate Entrepreneurs handles the accounting tasks for the students, but other than that, it’s up to the student to build the business, gain customers and grow income.
Heffernan is studying history and economics at UVM, and he said the Collegiate Entrepreneurs experience is helping him put business concepts into practice quickly.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in how these things work, as applied to real markets and real business,” he said.
Also, it’s a true hands-on approach. The branch managers are out in the field training with their regional managers in the program, as they learn the ins and outs of starting and running their own business.
Heffernan enjoys the idea of building it from the ground up.
“My success is dictated by what I do,” he said.
Currently, he is learning about the marketing and sales aspect of starting a business, including booking a full summer of house-painting jobs — which will happen this year.
This goes along with learning the craft of interior and exterior house painting, along with power washing and deck staining.
“We will be going into production training and a more detailed look at painting a house,” Heffernan said. He will also learn how to train and hire a team of painters.
He added that Collegiate Entrepreneurs works in full compliance with federal environmental regulations and is lead-certified. Branch managers are trained on lead renovation and will learn all about the related rules.
Heffernan will hire and train a team of painters during the spring, and he’ll continue to oversee various painting jobs in the area until the fall semester starts.
“I’ll be at least on site, if not painting with my team, most days of the summer,” Heffernan said.
His business will be primarily based in the Rutland area, but he is able to give bids for any painting jobs within an hour of the area.
Heffernan has already begun the process of dropping off fliers in different locations, going door-to-door to speak with potential customers and booking estimates for painting jobs.
“I’ve also put a great deal of time and effort into developing goals and a specific business plan so that I stay on track throughout the remainder of the semester and the summer,” he said, describing his spring break routine last week.
In the training program, Heffernan said one of the key things he’s learning about his how to find and train reliable employees.
“That sort of sets the tone for the work you’re providing and the quality of work you’re providing,” Heffernan said.
He added that a big part of this is making sure there are clear lines of communication between the business owner, the employees and the customer — to ensure the customer’s needs are met and the employees are having a positive experience as well.
Heffernan said Collegiate Entrepreneurs puts a strong emphasis on being professional and having that drive the company’s public image.
“We’re not going to be the people who are cursing and swearing and leaving cigarette butts all over the yard,” he said. “We’re going to be a team of respectful and professional painters.”
Alex Arrick, a 20-year-old business major at UVM, is Heffernan’s regional manager and has already gone through the startup portion of the program that Heffernan is now experiencing. Arrick ran his own branch last summer in Burlington.
He described Collegiate Entrepreneurs as “an entrepreneurial development company.”
“We take college students and we teach them, mentor them and provide them with the resources and training on how to run their own business,” Arrick said.
He said the company focuses on residential house painting because it’s a fairly simple trade to teach and is not as training-intensive as some manufacturing jobs and other fields. Therefore, the company is able to put more time into focusing on giving students the skills they need to run a business.
Another reason is, that house painting is “high-volume,” Arrick said.
“Our average branch manager runs a $50,000 business in revenue,” he said.
Collegiate Entrepreneurs officials spread the word through career services offices at colleges and universities, distributing fliers and having face-to-face meetings with interested students and classes. They emphasize that the program will be very challenging.
“I would not say it’s an easy program,” Arrick said. “Running a business obviously takes a lot of work and involves a lot of different stages.”
The recruiting lasts for about a week, and “very in-depth, we go over what’s involved,” he added.
The program gets students out into the field fairly quickly, and provides them with business know-how that many entrepreneurs don’t have until later in life.
“He’s out there getting skills that most people don’t get until they’re 28,” Arrick said of Heffernan. “We put people way ahead of their peers. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Collegiate Entrepreneurs is a for-profit company and does business throughout the Northeast.
More information is available at http://www.collegiateentrepreneurs.com.
It’s been two weeks since we moved the boys to school, that’s two weeks without any kids still living at home.
My question is…. who came up with this whole “empty nest” symbolism anyway? Obviously no one who actually did some research. From what I have read, most adult birds don’t stick around the nest when the fledglings leave, in fact, from what I’ve read some even leave the nest before their little baby birds are off on their own.
Imagine just how that would play out in the human world.
Kid: I will be leaving in a week for college. Are you going to miss me? I need some help packing and getting my stuff there and set up in my dorm room.
Parents: Hope you have fun with that. We are outta here! Headed south for the winter or maybe for forever. The house has been sold since we aren’t living here anymore and you’ll have to leave earlier than a week. Don’t even think about coming home in a month or two for a break or Thanksgiving because the house may be gone or new folks may be living here but one thing is definitely certain, your father and I, we won’t be coming back….ever. And that moving in and getting settled at college thing. Good luck with that.
I came across this quote online and it definitely takes some of the sting out of the whole “empty nest” stigma.
I don’t like the term “empty nesters”…. I prefer “parents of free range young adults.” Robin Fox.
It is definitely a weird transition to go from a house where I have to wonder and plan for things like who is going to be here for dinner and what food shopping needs to be done to a house where there’s really no one to care what time we eat (my husband is pretty flexible with the whole food thing) or if we even eat. Makes my hobby of cooking and baking pretty darn obsolete, doesn’t it? Think I have to find a new hobby to occupy my time.
We just hosted my nephew and his girlfriend for the weekend. We had fun, I got the chance to bake some goodies, make a real breakfast for all of us and enjoy their company. There is one thing that I can tell you though. When we would have a houseful of company and they would leave after the weekend, the house, with the five of us in it, seemed empty. The house with just two of us in it after company leaves is even more empty and quiet. Sigh…….
The beginning of this week, our anniversary evening was cold and windy. The end of the week, today, is also cold and windy. While the temperatures both those days pale in comparison to the temperatures we had mid week, it is still pretty darn cold. Wednesday into Thursday here we had a low temperature without wind chill of -14 and with the wind chill of -30. Some places were checking in with even colder temperatures running closer to -20 without taking into account the wind chill. Definitely the weather to stay hunkered down in your fleece pjs or if you needed to venture out, your flannel lined jeans. Lots of eskimo looking folks wandering around like the stay put marshmallow man – yours truly included with them.
None of this though seems to hold a candle to the place reported by the Weather Channel as being the coldest recorded temperatures for an inhabited area on the earth. That distinction goes to Oymyakon, Russia where the average winter temperatures (average, okay?) are around -50. The coldest recorded temperature in the town was back in 1924 and registered -96 degrees. Here’s a link to the website which has some pretty amazing photos, especially of those Russian folks bundled to the hilt.
Well, it certainly was breathtakingly beautiful this morning. The snow blanketed trees and turned things into a winter wonderland. The downside is that to look that good, the snow is very wet and heavy. The trees were bowing graciously under the weight of the snow, but some succumbed to the heaviness and there are many branches and whole trees that are down. This has caused the inevitable, power outages. We were more fortunate that some, our power went out around 3:45 this morning. Others have been without power since Tuesday when the storm first hit. There are, last I heard about 38,000 people without power and there are lots of folks working hard to get us all back online.
Nothing to do but look to the bright side. We have oil lamps, candles, our headlamps and a warm woodstove. We are luckier than a lot of people.
The Nor’easter that is paying us a visit for a while longer (snow is forecast through Thursday) has already dropped well over a foot of snow. It is the heavy, wet snow, perfect for building snowmen and snow forts. Last night it was falling in giant clumps of snow, and while I type this there is a lull, although we are forecast to get another 2-5 inches today and another 1-3 inches this evening.
There are a lot of people without power because, the snow is wet and heavy. Last night we had several blips of power but so far, we are still connected.
I love a good snowstorm, there is something magical about snow, particularly when you wake up to it. I know there are a lot of folks out there that would disagree, but give me this, okay? Put aside your grumblings and just take a good look at how beautiful Mother Nature can make everything when she puts on her winter coat.
Happy Snow Day!
The colors are coming on fast and furious. Every day it seems that there is more and more color in the mountains. There is serious doubt around our house that there will be any leaves really left on the trees for the leaf peepers that arrive on Columbus Day weekend. In fact, taking a look of the wind blowing around today any of those leaves that have already turned are dropping at a high rate of speed from the trees.
Seems that we are starting the foliage season already. According to the news, the state will start its foliage reporting to advise leaf peepers of the changing colors. There isn’t much changing happening our way, although you can definitely notice a much lighter green on the trees and a definite yellow tinge to a lot of them. There are some trees that are already changing, mostly those that are either young or stressed.
I thought that it might be fun to post our own foliage report. So, I will post photos of the same view so anyone out there that cares, can watch the leaves in our neck of the woods start the foliage parade through the coming weeks.
Here’s today’s photo. As you can see, not much in the way of color going on yet, but it’s definitely coming.