Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pack a Professional Punch with Your “Thank-Yous”

One of my favorite segments on late-night TV is Jimmy Fallon's thank you notes.
Jimmy Fallons thank you notes

fallon thank you notes

Fallon thank you notes
Photo source:
As a law student, I've written several thank you notes recently.  I had a networking lunch with a local attorney and wrote him a thank you note the next day.  Our school hosted a meet and greet with local attorneys and judges, and I wrote several thank yous to the judges and attorneys who attended.

Some key things to remember from this article:

  • Don’t look for excuses to avoid sending thank-yous; look for opportunities to send them. 
  • Consider whether an email, a business letter, or a handwritten note is really the best approach.
  • Be sincere and professional. Every positive connection you make increases the value of your professional network.
Here's a Link to the Article:
Pack a Professional Punch with Your “Thank-Yous” | Law Student Division

thank you fallon bieber facebook
fallon bieber thank you
Embedded image permalink

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Chicken Jail - a/k/a what to do if a hen goes broody

One of my hens is broody. What that means is she is trying to be a momma. We don't have a rooster. So she is sitting on a non-fertile egg and trying to hatch it! It takes 21 days to hatch eggs, and she's going the distance.  She's been sitting in the nest box (with limited water/food breaks) for about 9 days!  We check the nest boxes several times a day to collect eggs, and we reach under her to collect any eggs, but still she sits. Even if she is sitting on nothing. 

She looks funny because she's all puffed out and territorial of her nest box.  When I got to gently lift her out of the nest box and have her free-range with the other girls, she'll gently peck me.  Her mothering instinct is strong!  She'll free-range with the others, but only for a few minutes and will then head back to her nest box.

Buff Orpington and several other types of chickens are more apt to "go broody".
A puffed out, territorial broody hen
So what to do?
She is sitting in futile.
How to gently break her instinct?  When I pick her up, she feels so light - I'm worried she is not getting enough food and water.

When we place her outside to free range with the other girls, she'll participate for a few minutes, pecking bugs, eating grass and running around, but then I'll look, and count my 6 chickens, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.... number 6 is back in the nest box.  Sitting on non-fertile eggs.  Trying to be a momma.  So cute.
What's recommended is chicken jail.
Yes, get a wire dog kennel and segregate her.  The best results I'm told are to make sure she doesn't have any nesting materials, but instead she needs air under her (hence the wire dog crate).
Pepper said he'd gladly loan out his crate for a bit, and so here she sits:

she looks a little sad
We only had to keep her in the dog crate for 2 days and she snapped out of it (we checked after the first day but she was still broody).  On day 2 we took her out of the dog crate to free range, and she acted like a normal chicken!  Cured!
UPDATE:  since this story she's been broody a second time.  Again, it only took about 48 hours in the dog kennel (with food & water) to break her.

Friday, May 29, 2015

My lunch survived!

Sometimes I pack a great lunch, and then I’m tempted to eat it in the car on my way in to work.
So I’m happy I didn’t eat it today.  J 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Ginger (Law) Librarian: ABA Approved Online JD Programs Have Arrived

Online classes - I'm all for it!  Last term I took an online class called Corporate Governance and Finance.  We used Blackboard Collaborate, and we were able to see and hear the professor and classmates live.  The best part -- I didn't have to leave my living room!  Such a savings of time and money from driving to classes, finding parking, and driving back home.

Here's an article about the subject:

The Ginger (Law) Librarian: ABA Approved Online JD Programs Have Arrived: It feels like we are on the cusp of a real revolution in JD programs offering online options. Law schools first started dabbling in online L...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Did Carefresh Odor Control Bedding with Baking Soda kill my guinea pig?

Did Carefresh Odor Control Bedding with Baking Soda kill my guinea pig? Our precious guinea pig Ruby died last week. We recently switched her bedding to Carefresh Odor Control Bedding with Baking Soda. I came across this article today, and am blogging about it for awareness. It's hard to find any information online about this product.
We Miss You Ruby - best guinea pig ever!
Original article source: Baking soda makes guinea pig ill

By Joan Morris 


I hope you can help get the word out that baking soda used in bedding almost killed our guinea pig, Shelbi. We adopted Shelbi when she was 3 weeks old, and in May she will be 6 years old. We have always used Carefresh bedding, but about two months ago, we started using Carefresh with baking soda added to it. On Tuesday of last week Shelbi was hardly eating and did not act like her usual self. We took her to Dr. Tanner at Parkway Veterinary Hospital in Dublin. Dr. Tanner X-rayed Shelbi and found a huge mass of gas on one side of her body and two others on the other side. She aspirated the larger mass and told us we should see a change within 24 hours. Her compassion and concern for our little piggy was incredible, and we were so thankful we found her. 

Memorial Day

Celebrating Memorial Day with a day off from work and taking a minute to remember those that have lost their lives defending this great country.

Have a good day everyone.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

10 of the Best Chicken Names

Now that you have a new brood of baby chicks, what will you name your chickens?  Here's my pick of the 10 best chicken names:

1.  Lindsey LoHen

2.  Larry Bird

3.  Heidi Plume

4.  Eggo

Tails of Birding: Birding Heinz NWR

Tails of Birding: Birding Heinz NWR: We are using Philly for a birding base for a few days. Began yesterday at Heinz NWR at Tinicum. Highlight for me was the Bay-breasted Warb...

Backing up my computer today

A coworker reminded me that I haven't backed up my home computer lately.  Her hard drive failed and she lost some things.

I'm backing up my home computer today.  I'm sending my documents (that are currently saved on my hard drive) to my hotmail account.  All you have to do is send an email to yourself.  Then all of those documents will be saved on the hotmail servers.

It's easy.  It's fast.  (I'm backing up documents, not photos or music).
Hotmail allows you to attach multiple documents at one time.  So all it takes is just a few minutes.

When is the last time you backed up your documents?  If your hard drive failed, how would you feel?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The redpoll eggs hatched!

If you've been following my blog (thank you!) you knew I was watching a redpoll nest in our hanging basket on our front porch.  I put up the hanging basket early this year to try and get a pair of nesting wild birds.  A few years back we had a pair of mourning doves that raised two babies:993531_10151626691732510_242646452_n

IMG_20150415_074630That was SO much fun to watch them care for the babies and watch them grow.  I had never seen a baby mourning dove before, and watching both the mom and dad take care of them was really neat.
This year we didn't get a mourning dove to nest there, but we did get a pair of redpolls!

The mom laid 3 eggs.  A cow bird added one egg (which I discarded, nice try cow bird).

Well all 3 eggs hatched last week.  

To look into the nest I have to actually take the hanging basket down (also to water it).  What's funny (not really) is my husband will say to me, "Have you checked the nest lately?".  And I'll tell him I did it this morning.  Then he'll say he checked it an hour ago.  Poor birds are getting frequently disturbed.  My husband and I need to coordinate our check-ins.

At any rate, it's fun to watch them.  And because it's still early in the summer (thankfully!), I wonder if the redpolls will have two broods?  Our mourning doves had two.

Do you have any birds nests in your yard?

Friday, May 22, 2015

What's in my backyard - baby swans!

We live on a small, wild, 12 acre lake and every spring a pair of mute swans takes up residence there for the summer.  Toward the end of May they typically have a brood of babies -- some years as many as 9 babies! This year I'm counting 5 little fluffies.  
In many years there would be 6 babies, then days later only 4 babies.... not sure what gets them, maybe snapping turtles.  Two years ago, a 'toddler swan' got his foot stuck in our fence, and I had to pick him up and free his foot as his parents watched from the nearby water.  The swan parents were very patient -- perhaps they knew that I was only trying to save their baby.  
In Michigan mute swans are said to be aggressive, invasive and chase off all the native water fowl like loons and trumputer swans.  
But check out these cute pics of the new little fluffy babies!  Mom and Dad mute swan stay close to them in the water.
They're very fun to watch!


Who knew - the plural of symposium is symposia.

Tax Class - Session 1: What is Gross Income

So I am back to school after a 3 week break. Summer classes are  in session and I have a required class: Taxation.  

Test your knowledge. Which is considered gross income? 

1.  a rebate check received after buying something and submitting the form

2.  being awarded/receiving punitive damages

3.  Buying something with cash and getting a good deal.  For example, getting a good deal on the purchase of an antique piano. You bought it for $300.  It's actually worth $3,000.  Is the $3,000 gross income?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Test Your Great Lakes Knowledge with these 10 Questions

Time out for a little fun:

StJoe_Sailboat_sunsetMichigan shores meet four of the five Great Lakes, which makes us a great place to catch a sunrise, stay up for a sunset, relax on the beach, or enjoy the many water activities available. Did you know that Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the U.S.?   There are many other fascinating facts about the Great Lakes. 
Test your Great Lakes knowledge with the 10 questions below.  After you take the quiz, check your answers at the bottom of the quiz!
1. All of the Great Lakes combined contain ______ gallons of water.
A) 3 quadrillion
B) 16 million
C) 8 trillion
D) 6 quadrillion

Monday, May 18, 2015

Here's my morning -- how was yours?

So this morning I remembered that my car was on empty and the check fuel light was on.

Fine, no problem.  I can stop at the gas station on my way in.  The nearest gas station is 5 miles away.  I'll have just enough gas to get there.

I always go to Speedway.  Their Rewards program has me hooked and their prices are usually pretty good.  

So I drove immediately to the gas station.  5 miles.  Pulled in.  Stopped the car.  Got my Rewards card ready.  Pull out the credit card..... wait... pull out the credit card...

Ok, this would be an easy thing IF I HAD MY PURSE WITH ME.

So I'm at the gas station.  5 miles from my home and my check fuel light is on.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tips for New Gardeners - and When Should I Plant?

Gardens are a connection to life.  What better way to live nature then putting in a vegetable garden.  And the joy of biting into a freshly-made BLT sandwich knowing you grew the tomatoes yourself.  You can't beat home grown produce.  A fresh tomato tastes so much better than one grown in Mexico, harvested while it was still green, and shipped up to Meijer in mass quantity.  

Your new garden doesn't have to be big -- a 10' x 10' plot will give you room for a few tomato plants, some lettuce and some herbs.  Here's some quick tips: 
  • If you are putting in a new garden, be very deliberate about where you will put it.  The best place is near a water source and remember that your vegetables will do better when they get at least the full eight hours of sun daily.
  • Plants need 1 to 2" of water a week, so look around.  Where is your water source?  Also, that small pear tree may grow 30 to 40 feet and block the sun from hitting your garden.

  • My best tip:  After the plants sprout, I recommend you put some sort of mulch or grass clippings around your vegetable plants.  This helps keep moisture in the soil and keeps weeds at bay. 
Don't get overly excited about starting your new garden and put the seeds and plants in too early.  The back of many seed packets give advice to plant them after the last frost.  For the Grand Rapids area, I recommend you wait until Memorial Day weekend.  A few kinds of seeds can be planted earlier.  Cool weather plants like peas can be planted before Memorial Day.  It's best to refer to the back of the seed packet for advice!
Picture Missing
This year I'm planting tomato plants, pumpkin and squash.    What are you planning on planting this year?  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

New bird spotted in my yard! The Yellow-Rumped Warbler

We spotted a new bird in our yard the other day.  Looking at the bird books, (I recommend this one), it looks like a yellow-rumped warbler.  
We've had warblers in our yard before - but only the yellow warbler.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Ginger (Law) Librarian: Typography Matters

Since I've started a blog I've been playing around with type style, font, and color.  I want my blog to be readable.  Here's a related article.

The Ginger (Law) Librarian: Typography Matters: A recent story on NPR about the importance of type font for a resume reminded me about the importance of typography for lawyers. The NPR ...

Be the Match

Several months ago, I signed up to be a bone marrow donor.  It's easy to sign up, just submit a cheek swab through the mail.  If you are found to be a 'match' for someone, under the "Be the Match" program you are then asked if you are able and willing to give.  In addition to bone marrow, some donors are only asked to give blood products.  Easy!  Read the stories below and consider registering with the "Be the Match" program.  You might save a life. 
About Be The Match 
For the thousands of people diagnosed every year with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. Over the past 25 years Be The Match®, operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. We work every day to save lives through transplant.
A story born of love for a child
When their 10-year-old daughter Laura was diagnosed with leukemia, Robert Graves, D.V.M., and his wife Sherry were ready to do anything they could to save her. Desperate to save her life they turned to alternative treatment options and agreed to try the first ever bone marrow transplant from an unrelated donor.
Laura received her transplant in 1979. And it worked. The success of the treatment inspired the Graves to give other families the same hope for a cure. Thanks to Dr. Graves, other patient families, doctors, congressional support and funding from the U.S. Navy, a national registry of volunteers willing to donate bone marrow was born.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hummingbirds - where are you?

We have yet to see any hummingbirds.Image result for hummingbird map michigan

Perhaps its because we moved our hummingbird feeder to the other side of the house.  Our neighbors have feeders too, so it's possible they are getting these little visitors, and we are not.  I miss the magic of how incredibly tiny they are.  And despite their size, they are the fastest flyers.  If you've never heard a hummingbird fly, you can hear their wings --- it's a rather loud, low purr.  Unique.  

Here's a map of the 2015 Hummingbird migration.


So they were spotted in our area on April 17, 2015.

Did you know that some experts actually BAND hummingbirds?  An article all about it:
Banding hummingbirds

Blog Hop

Saturday, May 9, 2015

One of these is not like the other...look what I found!

In my prior posts, I talked about the Redpoll nest in my purple hanging basket on our front porch.  I bought the baskets specifically to try and get some birds nesting in them.    

Yes, anytime I find a nest in our yard, I like to carefully monitor it.  It's fun to count how many eggs have been laid and seeing the newly hatched babies too.  Did you know many birds only lay one egg a day until her nest is full?  A typical female lays between 3 and 5 eggs. 

I don't want to interfer or handle the nest, but yesterday I took a closer look:

Yup, 3 redpoll eggs and 1 cowbird egg.

The Cowbird wiki describes the process:
Cowbirds feed on insects, including the large numbers that may be stirred up by cattle. In order for the birds to remain mobile and stay with the herd, they have adapted by laying their eggs in other birds' nests. The cowbird will watch for when its host lays eggs, and when the nest is left unattended, the female will come in and lay its own eggs. The female cowbird may continue to observe the nest after laying her eggs. If the cowbird egg is removed, the female cowbird may destroy the host's eggs.

The above photo shows problems that can happen when cowbirds lay an egg in another bird's nest.  See how much bigger the cowbird baby is compared to the baby wrens?

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Find your next pet

The Beautiful & Inspirational Dutchess Condon
It's no secret that there are thousands of unwanted dogs and cats in shelters and foster homes.

I adopted my dog Pepper from the Humane Society in Grand Rapids.  He is one of the best decisions I've ever made!  
Love my boy!  --->

If you are looking for your next fur family member, there are many options for looking for your next dog, cat, kitten or puppy.

1. -. This is a great website which let's you search by breed, location and age of the dog or cat. For example, if you are looking for a small puppy, here's what I found today:
Tamu and Toto - Fox TerrierKylo - Shih TzuNellie - Anatolian ShepherdRex - Adoption Pending - Cairn TerrierElliot - Chihuahua
Look at those cuties! Don't ya just want to scoop them up and give them a smooch!

2.  The Humane Society of West Michigan -
Humane Society of West Michigan

3. Harbor Humane Society - a no-kill animal shelter founded in the 1950s.
Location: 14345 Bagley Street, West Olive, MI  49460
Harbor Humane Society – Nonprofit org serving animals in Ottawa County
4. Carol's Ferals and Friendlies - (cats only)
Location: 4600 Knapp Street N.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49525
Carol's Ferals

5.  Kent County Animal Shelter

YOU can help a homeless pet find her furever home.  Adopt a cat or dog today!
A fun video below: 
dogs cat line up

Same Day Pups: Puppy Drone Delivery
We're just going to leave this right here...
Posted by The Humane Society of the United States on Thursday, 7 May 2015

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Free Disney Planning Event - EGR Library

Last Fall Mark and I took at trip to Disney World.  We visited Epcot and Animal Kingdom.  Of the two, Epcot was the best hands down.  We also stayed on the property for part of the trip and really enjoyed the Orleans Riverside Resort.  Highly recommended!
But did you know that there are optimal times of the year to visit Disney?  Did you know that you can eat for free while staying on the property?
If you are thinking about a Disney vacation - get some help in planning and learn from those who have the inside scoop!

Free community event below:


Thursday, May 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

| Free
Breton Travel is excited to bring Tim Jones, District Sales Manager for Disney Destinations to Grand Rapids for an exclusive Disney Vacation Planning Event. The opportunity to speak personally with Tim Jones is special, and he will answer your questions to help you finalize your Disney Vacation. Join Tim and Breton Travel’s Authorized Disney Vacation Planners to help you plan your family’s dream vacation to the “happiest place on earth.” Called 616-942-0300 for details and to RSVP. Seating will be limited.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Redpolls in my hanging basket

As you may remember from my prior post, this year I put up hanging baskets of purple pansies early this spring to try and get mourning doves to nest in it like they did in prior years.
Adult male
Well, no mourning doves so far, but I do have a nest of redpolls!

And they have two eggs!

It will be fun watching them raise the babies.

Cool facts about redpolls:

  • A few banding records have shown that some Common Redpolls are incredibly wide ranging. Among them, a bird banded in Michigan was recovered in Siberia; others in Alaska have been recovered in the eastern U.S., and a redpoll banded in Belgium was found 2 years later in China.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

An EARTHQUAKE in Michigan

Yesterday we had a 4.2 magnitude earthquake in West Michigan.
I was sitting on my couch around 12:30pm flipping through the TV channels when suddenly the house started rattling quite loudly. My reaction was "WHAT IS THAT?!"  And then I ran outside.

My husband thought it was a low-flying helicopter overhead.  But we didn't hear it flying away.  "That's an earthquake" I said, waiting for aftershocks.  Not all earthquakes have aftershocks, and we never did feel any.

I immediately went to facebook to see if any of the news stations had posted any reports.  My friend Mechelle was the first to announce "HOLY EARTHQUAKE!" 

And that confirmed it.  (thanks Mechelle). Mechelle lives near the epicenter of Galesburg which is down by Kalamazoo.
This was my "first earthquake" although Michigan gets them from time to time.  Yesterday's earthquake was the second strongest in Michigan ever recorded.  

Some people think that a recent increase in earthquakes is caused by fracking.  The United States Geologic Survey states:

Induced Seismicity
As is the case elsewhere in the world, there is evidence that some central and eastern North America earthquakes have been triggered or caused by human activities that have altered the stress conditions in earth's crust sufficiently to induce faulting. Activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth's crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations. In much of eastern and central North America, the number of earthquakes suspected of having been induced is much smaller than the number of natural earthquakes, but in some regions, such as the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced.1
So that was the excitement from yesterday.  Several of my friends were driving when it happened didn't feel it. Actually, it was pretty cool -- but only because we're in Michigan and know that earthquakes don't cause major damage here. But it's also a scary thing.  The recent Nepal earthquake was 7.8 magnitude and killed over 2,000 people (some reports say over 7,000 people!).  That earthquake also triggered avalanches on Mount Everest (140 miles away) killing many climbers.  Events like this are a reminder that life is precious and often unpredictable.  Did you feel the earthquake?

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