Saturday, April 28

Back from the Shop

My camera lens is finally back from the repair shop and i can not tell you how much I missed using my good camera. The little man had pulled the strap off the counter and the camera came crashing down, damaging the lens months ago. But all is well now, even after paying a rather hefty price for the repair. Still much less than buying a new lens however.

The little man found some dandilions gone to seed...

One of the two flowering trees that my Dad allows in their yard....

I love how these ferns are all curled up. I must remember to bring a shovel and bucket next time and dig a few up for my yard....

My Aunts new dog, Disel. The most friendly and calm young man (the dog, not my son). Little man would love a dog in the house. He has not forgotten Snowy but she was old when he was finally able to walk and they were not able to run and play together. Someday soon we will add another dog to our home. Just not yet...

Friday, April 27

Record Lows and Velociraptors

I just filled both kettles on top of my wood stove with fresh water. They were both just about dry and the stove is roaring with heat tonight. They are predicting near record low temps and to expect some sort of precipitation before dawn. The coals are glowing hot with brilliant shades of orange, yellow and red and the square crackle pattern of the logs and their burning layers promise that this house will be warm at least until the early morning hours.

The record low is 25° set back in 1947.

Then I will be up, most likely with the baby in tow, making a bottle and adding wood to the hot coals. Tomorrow's weather is not looking all that spring-like either.

This weekend brings many tasks - stacking the rest of the firewood, moving the chickens portable pen, clearing all the downed limbs from last weeks winter weather reminder and finishing the soil spreading in the gardens. In addition, the mulch has arrived for the flower gardens and I am looking forward to spreading it. A cosmetic treat for my yard but something I enjoy immensely in that it makes everything look so orderly and gives my flower gardens an air of completion. I know that the whole summer will be a battle of weeds and wills, mulch or no mulch, but I count the spreading as a point on my side of the tally board.

Taking stock tonight with my feet up and covered by an afghan, I am thinking about my 7 new girls currently lounging under the heat lamp in the basement. They have already doubled in size and their brown feathers are just starting to show through the downy yellow fluff. I am always amazed at how fast chicks grow, but the most shocking part to me is how huge their feet are. Once as small as my thumbnail, they now resemble something from a prehistoric bird of prey. Their must be some truth to the theory that dinosaurs evolved into birds. I have 7 velociraptors eating chick starter downstairs.

Filling the Beds

Last week, before the weather started resembling mid-winter instead of mid-spring, the little man and I filled the two new raised beds with the soil that was delivered the day before. If there was ever a yard task that a three year old boy would want to help with, it would be something involving a huge pile of dirt.

Using wheel barrows, buckets and varrious shovels, we moved about half of the dirt pile to fill the two beds. The rest of the dirt will be spread on the existing gardens to boost the existing soil. Kind of like varrying the gene pool of dirt.

I added two bags of organic mushroom compost and one bag of manure to each bed and the little man helped me rake it in. I originally had these two new beds closer to the garden shed on the west side, but I decided that the beds would not get enough morning sun. So we moved them to a more open area where they will get a full days sunshine.

I also measured and cut the netting to put over the hoops when the time comes to keep the curious critters out of my lettuce. 

Wednesday, April 25

Cheeky Chickies

cheeky - adj \ˈchē-kē\
impudent; insolent
saucy, audacious, bold.

May I also add tricky, sneaky and apparently, very smart.

I have been thinking that my ladies have been holding out on me the last week or so. Not holding it against them, due to the recent traumatic fox incident, I was waiting patiently for them to regain composure and set about the task of again providing me with at least 7 or 8 eggs per day.

It appears that I have been duped.

My ladies have been secretly stashing their eggs on top of a bale of straw behind their enclosed indoor coop. I had been finding 4 or 5 eggs in the nest boxes daily, and like I said, I was waiting for the return in production. Little did I know that they were producing quite nicely on the hidden straw bale and I found a nice clutch of 14 eggs all snug in a chicken-sized depression in the straw.

No knowing just how long these 14 eggs had been sitting there, I was not sure if I should use them. I gathered them up and brought them in the house, telling the ladies I had found their stash and that they were grounded.

I found instructions online as to how using a bowl of cool water can help tell if an egg is good, or if it is past its prime.
Fill a bowl with cold water and place one egg inside. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it's fresh and still good to use or sell.

 If the egg sinks to the bottom, but stands on its point, it's still good but needs to be used soon. If the egg floats to the top, it needs to be discarded.

I found that 13 out of the 14 were still good. The one that I questioned did not float but it did stand about half way on the point and bobbed around in the water a little. I threw this egg out as I did not want any problems.
Apparently since the egg shells are porous, overtime the liquid in the egg evaporates and is replaced by outside air. This results is an egg that will float, bottom side up.

In related chicken news, I made the ladies a new portable run so that they have access to fresh grass on a continuous basis. Their permanent outdoor run is all dirt (it has not been all grass since day three of their arrival). Even though I put down fresh straw for them and let them have free range of the yard now and then, there is only so much straw can do. And the fox has put an end to any free ranging, even if I am out in the yard.

My plans to build a chicken tractor have not come to pass as of yet so I took a cue from Chicken Thistle Farm and bought a 50' roll of 4' high green garden fencing. Using 4' wooden stakes that i already had I constructed a semi-circle pen for them in the grass, attached to one end of their permanent pen. A little door was cut in the permanent fencing, which can be closed and secured in need be, and the ladies now have access to fresh grass during daylight hours.

I will leave this up for about a week and then I will move it over and around so they do not destroy one particular patch of grass. The great thing is that i can make it any shape that I want and I can add more fencing to enlarge the area as the flock grows.

 I am still planning on constructing the chicken tractor to that I can move the ladies to the tilled garden and let them do further tilling and fertilizing. I can also use the tractor to let the new little girls have some time outside while being separate from the older ladies, and safe from predators.

So far, the ladies have kept to the confines of their new area even though it has no netting on the top. I did reinstall the wind damaged netting on the permanent outdoor area so that they will have protection from hawks.

Tuesday, April 24

The New Girls

The rational explanation:  I have lost a total of 5 chickens since we started raising them for eggs two years ago and I had to replace the losses and get some more egg-producing chickens in the game.

The real explanation: I really wanted more chickens and they were just too cute to pass up.

My 7 new ladies are currently peeping away in the basement in their own huge metal tank under the red heat lamp. Their arrival was kept secret from everyone in the household except the baby since I didn't think she would spill the beans. The little man would want to play with them and constantly be trying to get down into the basement if he knew they were there. All three cats would be looking at them like a McNugget happy meal and Roy would just be mad and/or annoyed.

Roy found them when he went to check on the new solar converter that he got so we could actually store and use the energy we produce from the solar, instead of only selling it back to the electric company.

He bluntly said "No More Chickens."

He then added "No More Goats. No More Cats. No More Dogs. No More Anything."
I promptly reminded that we did not, in fact, even have goats.

The new girls are all doing fine, except for a few cases of pasty butt, which I took care of with cotton balls, warm water and lots of patience. I tried this technique and it worked great.

Monday, April 23

There has been a stretch of the strangest weather in our area recently and all I can say is that this time between early spring and late spring is the most volitile, fickle and down right aggrivating time in the whole 12 months.

Normally this time of year gives me greif in one form or another, but this year...... St. Patrick's Day saw us applying sun screen while nearing the end of April has me breaking out the snow brush.
The yard is miserable. Plants, flowers, bushes and just about everything else is drooping and flattened under the weight of heavy, slushy snow/rain. The lilac bush lost two if its larger limbs and there is currently a small pond developing in the side yard.

I did not even let the chickens out of their coop today, which lead to some discontent on their part. If only they knew from what I was saving them. No one likes a soaking wet chicken. I gave them extra bread scraps.

Today was a day for staying in, stoaking the fire and eating foods that require pot holders. This weather is not letting up and we are the subject of news casts all across the country - "Winter returns with a vengeance in U.S. Northeast", "Late-season Nor'easter socks Northeast U.S.", "Winter Storm Pounds Eastern Great Lakes, N. Appalachians."

We're under there. Somewhere......

Waiting for Soil and The Next Round

The second, and final, round of seeds was started under the basement growing lights the other day. Everything that will be germinated and growing into a fine young seedling by the first week in May, combined with the earlier startings of peppers and tomatoes and broccoli, will make a full garden this year.

Along with the pumpkins, gourds and various squash varieties, I started the melons, cucumbers and a few varieties of flowers that I hope to use in making some of my own salves and lotions.

The roll call is as follows:

Lemon Balm
German Chamomile
Resina Calendula
Squash Musquee de Provence
Shamrock Squash
White Winter Squash
American Melon
Birdhouse Gourd
Swan Gourd
Bedfordshire Prize Cucumber

All that is left now, besides the transplanting and hardening off of basement seedlings, will be the direct sow plants. Peas, beans and corn will go right into the garden, just freshly tilled by Roy last week. I also have the two new raised beds to fill with lettuce, radishes, carrots, onions and maybe I will devote one of the two beds to strawberries - but only after I get each one filled with soil. I am awaiting the arrival of the big dump truck from the contractor up the road to bring my soil that I will shovel and dump into the beds. I bought a few bags of organic mushroom compost and manure to enrich the soil a bit and i have no doubt that i will be harvesting with abandon the fruits of my labor come mid-summer.

Sunday, April 22

CSA Chicken *with coop-cam!*

This season I have decided to order some pasture raised meat birds for our freezer. I am still not sure about raising them myself in that I might get too attached and not be able to send them to slaughter when the time came. I also have yet to find a butcher in my area that will process other peoples birds due to disease concerns and liability.

I did find a great CSA near our home - Chicken Thistle Farm - that will raise and process the birds for you. They are a small, sustainable farmstead in upstate NY who offer meat, eggs and produce as part of a completely transparent system of operation. People who place orders or who are thinking about placing an order, can come and visit the farm any time to check things out. You can see your chickens, pigs, turkeys, etc in their natural environment and see exactly how they are being raised and treated. That is paramount to me if I am going to be eat meat. Buying organic at the store is good, but this is even better.

"Fresh, healthy, local food raised the way nature intended, transparently, pasture to plate."

No antibiotics, hormones or growth enhancers in their chickens is one of the main reasons that I decided to order from them. And I am not alone. They sold out FAST. I was lucky to get my order in. It seems that more and more people are coming to terms with their food and truly wanting to be part of their food system and know where their nourishment is coming from.

I want to be able to drive a half hour up the road and be welcomed by a gracious farmer who is proud to let me walk around and view the animals. They are doing things the right way - all the time - not just when it is time to have a "open to the public" day. I want to know that the chicken on my families plate was raised in the best possible conditions with the absence of chemicals and drugs. And I want to know that when the time came, that animal was slaughtered and processed by experienced people who take the stress of the animal into consideration and are humane about its killing. I want to know what goes into the chicken I will eat, because that is what will also go into me.

"Our goal is for the animals that live here to have the best quality of life that animal can have. The freedom to let a chicken be a chicken or a pig be a pig – that’s life on OUR farm."

Their website not only offers up what they have available, but they also have a Project Library where they share ideas and projects that they have undertaken on their farm in hopes that it will help or inspire others. Their Podcast also offers a wealth of information and entertainment, as well as their Coop Cam.

The photos are from their Flickr PhotoStream where they have many more great pictures from the farm.

Saturday, April 21

Park Walk

The other night we took the little man and the baby to one of our local parks for a walk. It was a cool and breezy but the sun was still shining and we wanted to let little man ride his new bike. A nice break from yard work and projects.

This park is made up of several large ponds with a paved walking path around the entire property which consists of about 1 mile over pavement. perfect for pushing the stroller and for a three year old to ride with training wheels.

Aside from the great fun of riding "all by himself", we saw a beautiful heron on one of the ponds, along with man, many geese and a few wayward ducks.

The photos of the heron could have been better and I am patiently awaiting the return of my good with long lens from the repair shop. But these will do for now....

Wednesday, April 18

Turkey Spotting

As I was snacking on my morning toast I was presented with a nice little parade in the back field. Quite a few plump turkeys were pecking and observing and generally out for a morning stroll given the lack of any sense of urgency.

They waddled around, mostly following what I assume to be the big male. He had his big tail feathers out at one point but I was still chewing my toast and not pointing the camera.

Given the ever encroaching development and noise from traffic from the main road, I am concerned that they have limited space in which to forage and hide. Bow hunters frequent that land behind us and these plump guys and girls must make a tempting target.

But judging from that plumpness, they seem to be making out just fine.

Tuesday, April 17


My daily charges. Little angels, both.
The blog posts have been a little sparse lately due to the lord and lady for the house demanding my full and undivided attention. If I do not obey, the day does not go well....

Sunday, April 15


 I am sorry for the lack in posting this past week.... there is just so much to do and by the time I get to sit down at night I am bone weary and dead tired.

And I know I will be back up at around 2am for another baby feeding.....

Regular posts to resume shortly.

That is all.

Monday, April 9

Red-tailed Hawk Nest Webcam!

Check out this amazing, high quality webcam of a red tailed hawk at Cornell University. The clarity is amazing and the eggs are set to hatch the week of April 13th.

This amazing still from the cam is from THIS website. They have a great selection of other still shots.

Friday, April 6

Being Prepared: The Pets

The second part of my four part series on preparedness: Our Pets

I have found myself diving things into two categories here - keeping them safe at home and keeping them safe if you have to move out, Although many items are needed for both cases, i find that there are some differences in the way of portability and usefulness.

Keeping Things Ready At Home:

If something should happen, we all have our food stores and our emergency supplies, our stocked pantry's and our solar radios. Do what about our pets? The basic necessities apply to them also.

I like to stay stocked on pet foods just as i do on human foods in case going to the store is not an option, or there is a shortage of some kind. A months supply is usually what I have on hand, however, if there is a sale or if you want to plan further ahead, pet foods usually have a  pretty good shelf life.

Recommended Daily Food Chart - Adult Cats
Cat's Weight (lbs.)
Recommended Daily Amount (Dry Food)
3 to 6
1/4 to 1/3 cup
7 to 12
1/3 to 1/2 cup
13 to 18
1/2 to ¾ cup

Recommended Daily Food Chart - Adult Dogs
Dogs Weight (lbs.)
Recommended Daily Amount (Dry Food)
 Up to 10 pounds  1/4 to 3/4 cup
 10-24 pounds  3/4 to 1 cup
 25-50 pounds  1 - 2 cups
 50-75 pounds  2 - 2 ½ cups
 Over 75 pounds  2 - 4 cups

Recommended Daily Water Intake Chart - Adult Dogs
Dogs Weight (lbs.)
Recommended Daily Amount
 Up to 11 pounds  approx. 1- 11 Ounces/day
 11-22 pounds  approx. 11- 22 Ounces/day
 22-55 pounds  approx. 22-55 Ounces/day
 55-77 pounds  approx. 55 - 77 Ounces/day
 77 pounds and Over  Usually at least 77ounces per day, calculate weight of dog and multiply by 1oz.

In searching for information on cat water intake, there is not really a cut and dry measurement. Basically, after reading through many things, I would just try to have water available to your cat 24/7. There are many variables that determine a cats water intake such as choice of food, weight and medical issues. Plus just plain cat behavior. The most general measurement that I found - and it is a ballpark figure - would be about 1/2 cup of water per cat, per day.

Given the number of pets you have, this supply may be larger in general given that you have more mouths to feed.

I like to have a full months supply of both dry and canned cat food on hand. Since we do not have a dog, I don't currently have any dog food stocked up, but when we had Snowy here I tried to keep at least one large full bag in reserve in addition to the one i would currently have open for her.

Another important item to have stocked for your pets is any necessary medications that they require. Flea medication may not be a life and death item, but if your pet requires veterinary prescribed medications for a serious problem, then it would be a good idea to get a few months ahead on these items.

In addition to food and medicine, I keep the following supplies on hand in my home in order to care for my pets during any type of emergency: (cats and dogs)

Blankets specifically for the pets
Towels specifically for the pets to clean up messes
Puppy training pads to spread on the floor (these can also be used to line the bottoms of the cat carrier)
Sturdy bowls for food and water
Pet brushes and combs
A collar and leash for each pet, even for the cats
Large rawhide bones for the dogs (these take a long time to chew up so it's good for long stays indoors)
Cat treats and toys
A few bags of cat litter and more that one litter box and scoop

Keeping Things Ready if You Have to Get Out:

Many of the same things apply from staying in your home, with some additions and variations. Food and water are always needed, but your source must be portable, and as light weight as possible. Instead of taking a months supply of food you may only be able to take enough for a few days or a week. I like to keep a box handy in the pet supply area of the pantry in order to toss a weeks supply in if i need to go.

In this case I keep a smaller bag of dry food for both cat and dog stocked in the pantry, regularly rotated. These smaller bags (3 to 5 lbs) are easier to grab and go. Since bottled water is also on the human list of necessary to-go items, I would just make sure I throw in a few extra bottles for the pets.

Collars and leashes are a must in this case, as well as carriers for the cats and small dogs. The puppy training floor pads work great for lining the bottom of the cat carriers, and you can also spread them in the back of your car for the dog, just in case.

The blankets and towels are also great to have to provide comfort as well as to keep things clean. I always have a roll of paper towels in the car as well as a supply of reusable plastic grocery bags for cleaning up and disposing of messes.

I keep a clear plastic toter with an extra, non-daily-used set of the following, just:
Bowls for food and water
Can opener
Plastic spoons and 1-cup measuring cup
Dish cloth and hand towels
Baby wipes (so many great uses)
Cat and dog treats
Small notepad, pencil and sharpie marker
Roll of paper towels and a supply of disposable plastic bags
Brush and comb

I also have a small (kitten), brand new and unused litter box and litter scoop in the closet along with a small bag of cat litter. I can grab this easily and the cats will have a place to do their business on the road.

IMPORTANT!! - In your grab and go pet tote keep a plastic zip lock bag with current photos of each of your pets. One the back of the photo write the pets name, age, weight and a short description of your pets temperament. List any medical conditions your pet has and what type of medication they are taking. Also, make copies of your pets most current vaccination records so you have proof of vaccination. In case your pets and you are separated for some reason, you will have photos of them handy to help locate them. Also, some shelter require proof of vaccination.

Part One: The Car

Wednesday, April 4

Home Made Rasied Beds

This year in the garden I wanted to try incorporating some raised beds. I have wanted to for a few years now but never got around to it due to time and financial shortages, but this season, I really wanted to get at least two built and put into production.
After some research I decided to use untreated cedar in that cedar is resistant to rot and I did not want any chemicals on wood that might leach into the soil and therefore into the food I was growing.

I found a source for cedar boards on craigslist and for a fraction of what it would cost in the home improvement stores, I was about to acquire 45 8'x6' reclaimed cedar boards. We cut the ends to 4' so i would not have to step into the beds to plant and weed as to not compress the soil, but we left the length at 8'.  i also decided to go two boards high since they were only 6" and I wanted to have good, sturdy beds that could hold a lot of soil.

We made each level separately using "L" brackets and outdoor screws to attach the boards together at the corners, on the insides. Then we applied a layer of waterproof caulk to the connecting edge of the two frames. I know this is not the most chemical-free way, but I did not water and soil coming out of the sides. Even though these boards are nice and mostly straight, they are reclaimed so there is a little damage to them which makes some parts not lay tightly.

We placed the beds by the garden shed where they will get plenty of sunlight but they will also get some shade in the early morning and late afternoon. I wanted to be able to protect what I was growing in the beds since I am sure the deer would much rather not have to bend their necks so far down to get a good head of lettuce.

We had some leftover tubing from my parents geo-thermal project which is flexible but very durable and I wanted to use that for creating a kind of hoop roof. I cut 6 pieces of PVC tubing to about 14" each and placed them at all four corners and at the mid-way point of each bed, on the inside. Then I hammered them down into the ground so they were flush with the top of the beds.

Next I cut the tubing to a length of 8' and placed each end in a section of PVC. It holds it very nicely, it is secure and the tubing will not pop out since it is push down to the bottom of the PVC, where it meets the grass.

I am planning on placing poultry netting over the hoops and securing it with zip ties and clothes pins to keep out unwanted dinner guests. With the clothes pin, I can easily remove the netting to work in the garden space.

I can also use the beds as a hoop house for starting plants outside a little earlier and keeping things going a little later by replacing the poultry netting with some white plastic.

I have ordered a load of soil to be delivered shortly to fill the beds, which I will then enrich with some organic fertilizer. I am not planning on removing the grass before i put the dirt in because I feel that the dirt will more than take care of the grass, and it is a time saver. i have been debating putting a layer of black plastic down first, with holes for drainage, and maybe a layer of pea stone to aid in drainage, but i am still on the fence with this idea.

I am open to suggestion as to if I should just fill it in or use the plastic and gravel first. Any ideas?

Tuesday, April 3

Rusty Buds, Much Mud and Cheese 101

The poor magnolia tree.... it is a sad sight. With the almost summer-like weather we had during the middle weeks of March, it had blossomed early and was looking beautiful. Everything had been fooled a little I think by the uncommonly warm weather. This year was the warmest St. Patrick's Day I can remember and our annual trip to the parade downtown amounted to loading up on sunscreen and shade umbrellas instead of the usual hats, coats, scarves and mittens. The weather brought out a record crowd to the parade - 150,000 - and there was no shortage of boisterous young men and girls acting and dressing like anything but young ladies.

The magnolia tree is now covered with severely wilted blooms in shades of rusty brown and I wonder if the tree will have anything left to flower when the real spring arrives. I just hope it has leaves this year.

Frost is predicted again tonight so I am going to bid farewell to the daffodils and hyacinth that have managed to hold on through the chill after being awakened prematurely.

Keeping with the depressing mood of this post, we had a load of firewood for next year delivered today and the truck managed to get stuck in our yard. 45 minutes and much, much mud later, they managed to extricate themselves from my side yard by tearing through the side field. The field now looks as if a Sherman tank was driven through it which will make trying to cut the tall grass next summer a bumpy challenge. As for my grass in the side yard.......

And finally, to round out the festivities around here, Roy decided to make cheese.

Given that I am the one who is usually the person to suggest such things, I was shocked to find a small cheese making kit arrive in the mail a few days ago. I am all for making your own with just about everything but for some reason dairy products scare me. Milk should be kept cold and in the fridge and should never be poured in a big pot and heated up. Chunks of who-knows-what start forming and it just can not be good for you.

Thinking about what my kitchen would look like when he was finished I offered to help so that I might not have to clean the ceiling. In order to do this the baby was present in her roller seat and the little man was "helping" as only a three year old with a fascination for kitchen tongs can.

Roy, as I have mentioned in the past, likes to take on fairly large and/or messy projects without thinking through all the aspects beforehand. This was also no exception to the trend and the cheese making supplies were emptied on the table and he started mixing things together.

Sentences like "Before you begin, have all your supplies ready", "read this first!", and anything involving the time it takes to do any step of the process might as well be written in invisible ink for all the attention that Roy pays to them.

In the end, I had to read everything, stop him from dumping numerous packets of things into a pot of warm milk, and do all the dishes.  I now have what looks like a small pasta strainer on my counter weighted down with free weights wrapped in plastic bags. There is a substance in the strainer that could possibly be some form of cheese, however I am almost positive it will not taste like cheese and will send Roy to either the bathroom or the hospital.

Monday, April 2

Transplanting Hope

The plantings in the basement have really taken off as far as keeping on germination schedules. No mutantly-large specimens and no poor performers either. Even the peppers have sent little green shoots up giving me hope that this year I will have actual peppers ready to pick in the garden before September.

I went ahead and transplanted the Nasturtium since it was doing to well and the tops were crowding the top of the clear seed starter top. These will be great in my front porch hanging baskets this season. I have given up on the overpriced baskets from stores since they are just that - overpriced. I can grow my own for a fraction of the cost and I reuse the baskets from year to year.

That is the same reasoning I use for growing pretty much all of our veggies as well. It saves money, and of course, the other benefits that make the effort worth it.

Here they are in their new, more spacious homes for the time being. Still right under the grow lights tough - I don't want them leggy. I buried a good inch of the stems when I transplanted as it is.

I also transplanted the broccoli since it was getting tall and leggy again, even after I put additional potting soil around the bases for support. I buried these stems about 2 inches when I transplanted to give them strength.

The tomatoes have all sprouted and are doing well. I was very reserved on the seeds this year. Only two or three in each planting square. In previous years I over seeded in fear of low germination resulting in fewer plants. However, I was just about always rewarded with way too many sprouts and then I had to aggressively thin them, which I hate doing. Although totally necessary, I dread the thinning process since, to me, it amounts to nothing short of plant murder. Innocent little seedlings that I nursed from tiny seeds.......

 The peppers.....  Bad luck in previous years. One year my cat ate the tops off all the seedlings. Last year I had tremendously slow plant growth and didn't get a pepper until September. Hopefully this year will be better. I still find it amazing that we as human beings can place so much hope in a little green seedling sprout.

It's Here.......

It's a big, big big day for all us genealogy enthusiasts out there. The 1940 United States Census is being released today.

So if you know someone who is into family history, don't be surprised if you can't reach them for a few weeks. They will, most likely, be glued to their computers drooling over names and dates and places and occupations.

And so will I.