Mean Mommies

Another Hatchett Job, mother and child, mom-shamingOne thing I have learned from parenthood is that well meaning people will give you loads and loads of unsolicited advice.  In my case, it was often older ladies attempting to shame me as I attempted to enter a store.  My oldest son was 30 lbs at 6 months old and as large as some two year olds.  But, he was only 6 months old.  I was often berated in public by strangers because I didn’t make him walk.  

Um, sorry, ma’am, but I am not dragging my 6 month old son around on the floor by a leash like a slug because YOU are uncomfortable about his size.

Needless to say, moms have to develop thick skins and opportunities abound to help that process along.  But why do we do this to each other?Another Hatchett Job, Mother and child, Mom-shaming

It’s one thing for one mom to ask another mom for some advice or for an idea in how to handle a situation more successfully.  It’s quite another to decide to publicly instruct a total stranger over something that is not life or death.  Now, don’t get me wrong, if a child is in danger, I will say something with little regard to how it comes across, but is it really anyone’s business how another mom feeds her child, cares for her child, etc. if they are healthy and happy?

Moms often spout the platitude, “every child is different” but they often forget that every mom and family is different, too and that is okay.  They also tend to neglect that these differences in children often necessitate differing parenting techniques in order to best nurture the child.  A family with multiple children often has to deal with each child differently because the children need that.

Another Hatchett Job, mother and child, mom-shaming, creative commonsKim Simon writes an insightful piece exploring why mommies, in particular, are so mean to each other on the Scary Mommy blog.  Warning, the language is raw, but she makes some very valid points.  Check out her article, The Top 7 Reasons Why You’re Mom-Shaming.  It’s good stuff.

So next time you see a mommy who is learning the ropes, how about offering a kind word instead of butting into her business.  I know that I really appreciated the kind words I received on occasion.

Were you ever mommy-shamed?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett


Why Kids Don’t Play Outside Any More

Another Hatchett Job, outdoor play, nature, kids, family, homeschoolI am not sure exactly when it happened, but the entire world has changed.  Kids simply don’t play outside anymore and it’s a crying shame!

Perhaps parents are working more hours and aren’t home to supervise latchkey kids.  Perhaps video games and movies on demand are so much more common than they should be.  Perhaps the increase in global news coverage and communications has convinced parents that there is a pedophile lurking around every corner.  Perhaps we are too lazy to go outside ourselves and then our children follow our lead. Perhaps our lifestyles are overly scheduled and the only time that a kid gets to touch the grass is at an organized sporting event, and then that grass is manicured and sprayed to be perfect turf.

Perhaps we should just GO OUTSIDE!  

Kids need free play time outside in order to help to stimulate their sensory nervous system.  And, believe it or not, this stimulation also leads to a sense of calm in ADD and ADHD kids.  Kids need to run and play and swing and spin and roll and get dirty, sweaty, and stinky.  Looking at images formed in the clouds and laughing and dreaming while laying in the grass are not wasted times for a kid (or an adult), it’s all part of who we are meant to be…connected to the Earth, our home.

In generations past, children had chores to do, sometimes inside the house, often in the barn or yard.  After chores could come fun–swimming in a creek, traipsing around the woods, building Another Hatchett Job, kids playing outside, nature, kids, homeschool, family, creative commonsforts, playing chase or tag, etc.  This allowed kids to burn off excess energy, be connected to the dark/light cycles and seasonal weather changes that we experience.  It made them healthier, hardier folks who tended to understand the world around themselves in a more meaningful way.

I recently ran across a wonderful article by Angela Hanscom that explores what has happened to eliminate outdoor play from our children’s lives.  She begins with a tale of a trip outside with children,

The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon as the children realized they had the freedom to explore and build in the woods, something funny happened – they got really quiet. They dispersed and many of them started working together to build a large teepee.

Nothing gives me more pleasure then to see children contentedly building a structure using branches and logs out in the woodland. That is, until fear kicked in and everyone’s pulse increased a few notches at the shrill cry of alarm.

Another Hatchett Job, kids playing outside, family, kids, nature, homeschool“Put the sticks, DOWN!”

The article goes on to explain some of the many sensory inputs that children receive from outside free play and why they seek out and find certain ones at certain times in their lives.  It’s a great read and I hope that you will take a few moments and check out the full article here.

I love trail riding and playing in my tiny garden.  What is your favorite outdoor activity as an adult?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Some Color

Another Hatchett Job, photo by Jan Hatchett, pear tree, fall colorsA glimpse of fall color here on our pear tree. I don’t remember this tree ever being so vibrantly red in previous years. It’s kind of rare seeing lots of fall colors in the land of the pine tree, but we are getting a little bit.  There is usually nice color in the mountains in the fall, but to have some in our own yard is great.Another Hatchett Job, photo by Jan Hatchett, pear tree, fall colors

And, I am enjoying every bit of it!

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Veterans Day

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons attribution, flag, American Flag, U.S. Flag, patriotismFor Americans, today, November 11th, is Veterans Day.  This day is set aside to remember and to show gratitude toward all of those brave men and women who have served or who are currentlyAnother Hatchett Job, creative commons, Preamble to the US Constitution, Old Glory, Star Spangled Banner, USA serving in our Armed Forces.  Many say that we are celebrating and commemorating “the sacrifices” that these people have made and that, indeed, is true.  But, while some have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of or protection of our freedom, all those who have served (and their families) have sacrificed and struggled to pursue this calling.  Military service is no small endeavor, regardless of branch.

Another Hatchett Job, creative commons, flag fireworks, patriotism, veterans, military, USAIt is the distinct privilege of those, who like myself, who have never served to honor and hold in great respect all those who have.  Having been raised by a father who served proudly in the U.S. Navy during the Viet Nam Era, I understand a bit of what our freedoms have cost.  Thankfully, I can never know the full burden of what these people have suffered for my sake.  But, I do know that the freedoms that I hold dear all came at a frightful price and that they must be protected with vigor by each passing generation.

Currently, my brother is serving in the Army, continuing our family’s commitment to service.  In turn, I hope that the next generations in our Another Hatchett Job, creative commons, Old Glory, patriotism, veterans, military, USAfamily will support the military, either through proud service or unwavering support.

This Veteran’s Day, take a moment to thank those that you know who have served.  Teach your children about any ancestors that they may have that served proudly.  Honor the fallen and show gratitude toward the living.  It’s the very least we can do.

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett


Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, Armistice was declared and the end of World War I was achieved.  Since that time, November 11th has been celebrated as Armistice Day.  In the U.S., it has also become a day to honor our Veterans.

Today, I honor all of those nations, whose youth proudly served in World War I.  The poem In Flanders Fields by Canadian, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD, is a haunting reminder of the costs of war.  May all countries touched by war find peace.

Another Hatchett Job, Creative Commons, Flanders Fields, WWI, Armistice Day

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

National Novel Writing Month

You’ve Another Hatchett Job blog, old books, stack of books, reading, frugal lifegot a book in ya!

That’s the idea behind the website for the National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo.  Every year, in November, people embark on a journey to outline and write a complete draft of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days!

It is an exercise in pure, literary abandon.

And it is an absolutely intriguing idea.  I think this might even be the year that I buckle down and give it a shot.  I am more of an essayist (and poet) than a novelist, but shouldn’t every writer set out at least once to write the “Great American Novel?”  And while I am not planning to come to the level of The Great Gatsby (in my view, the quintessential, Great American Novel), it will be interesting to see if I have it in me to handle plot, characterization, and setting.  There is a reason I gravitated toward poetry and not short stories.  I do strong images.  Nothing very much happens during that strong, captured, moment-in-time, image. Another Hatchett Job blog, books, library, frugal life

Every book I have ever considered working on (and one that was partially written and lost during a horrible computer crash with no back up) was some sort of either non-fiction (big ol’ research paper, if you will) or personal essay piece.  Never once have I (the lover of all things prose) ever undertaken to write fiction.

But, why not?  The worst thing that can happen?  I enjoy writing as a hobby and have a completed (albeit of questionable quality) novel.  I can say I did it.  Maybe, just maybe, it will be editable into something worth sharing.  Maybe not.  It hasn’t cost me a dime and I will have gotten to rise to a new challenge in my writing skills.

I first learned of NaNoWriMo from Patrice Lewis’ blog, Rural Revolution.  She and at least one of her daughters have done it before and found the challenge to be a good one.  I wonder if I could get younger son to do it with me this year.  He might be more apt if it were writing a screenplay rather than a novel.

Another Hatchett Job blog, books, stack of books, cartoon books, frugal lifeI think this is a wonderful idea for homeschool students, creative teens and all those who have a story to tell in their hearts.  If you love to read, then you likely have absorbed enough good writing skills over the years to make this a reality for you.  Write a book that you would like to read.

Check out the website for NaNoWriMo.  They have loads of good stuff there including some good books to get you prepared for your journey.  I bet you could find some of them in your local library to save a little money, too.

So whaddaya say?  Wanna write a novel this November?

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

The Problem With Animal Rehabilitation

Another Hatchett Job, wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation
Cuddling with three sleepy squirrels after feeding time.

It is difficult to be pleased with the state of Animal Rehabilitation in our state these days. Saturday, we came into possession of 3 baby squirrels that had been abandoned by their mother. We contacted every Rehab facility within an hour and a half of our home to find appropriate care for these babies.

Of all of these, only one responded by email. It told us that we were not as able to care for squirrels as a Mama Squirrel (no kidding) and that they were full, so contact the nearest rehab center. Unfortunately, they were the nearest center and that left us with little help. The Georgia DNR website indicated that all facilities were overrun with baby squirrels right now. Great.

Ideally, wildlife doesn’t need human help or intervention. We totally understand that. It was never our intention to do anything other than try to reunite babies with their mama or a trained and appropriate caregiver.

Apparently, in the absence of a trained, qualified Animal Rehabilitation Specialist, one simply should do (per state law) nothing. Just let them die, I suppose. That didn’t feel right to me.Another Hatchett Job, wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation

Fortunately, hubby got a call through to a friend at Atlanta Audubon who happens to be a Rehabber. Unfortunately, she was out of town, but she obviously didn’t think that these babies didn’t deserve care and gave us instructions as to exactly what she would do.

And that gave us a great deal of hope for these 3 little squirrels.

We immediately followed her initial instructions and put them in a basket, affixed to a tree at the same level that the original nest was at with high hopes that the mother squirrel would return to care for her young. But, she didn’t return in enough time to keep the babies from being weak and dehydrated.

Another Hatchett Job, wildlife, wildlife rehabilitationIn a highly technical sense, this makes us criminals. But, isn’t it more likely that the criminal offense is in not having enough people available to help these little ones when they are in need? Actually, I don’t feel very criminal at all in that our friend told us to feed and care for them. And she is a professional.

Another Hatchett Job, gray squirrels, animal rehabilitation centers
This is what our squirrel babies will look like when they are adults.

So, we have been feeding, keeping warm, and cleaning these poor little critters. Night time feedings were definitely not what I had planned to do with my sleep hours, but tiny tummies need to be kept warm and full of quality food.

The kiddos help out with the warming while we feed and are amazingly gentle and protective over them. It makes me proud that they are kind to even the littlest of creatures. I grow even prouder when they don’t stop being kind when being pooped and peed on. It’s a lot like being a parent, sometimes!

By our best estimate, these squirrels are just between 4 and 5 weeks old. So, in 6 to 7 weeks, they will be released into our back yard, very near to where they were found.

I choose to believe that no act of kindness is ever wasted and this one is worth every moment.  So, we will forever put some squirrel food out and hope to catch a glimpse of our three baby squirrels.

Another Hatchett Job, wildlife, wildlife rehabilitationAddendum:  The day after I wrote this post, we did receive a call from Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary.  They did ultimately take our baby squirrels and are raising them along with several other babies that were orphaned.  Ultimately, they will receive appropriate vet care and be released on their 500+ acre property where hunting is forbidden.  We seriously miss them, but will be able to visit them often in their new home this fall.  While a part of me would like to have raised them myself, I know that they are better cared for by a staff that is trained to get them prepared to be released back into

Another Hatchett Job, wildlife, wildlife rehabilitation
Squirrel wrangling at feeding time.


What is your favorite encounter with wildlife?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

It’s Official!!!

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons, alphabet, homeschoolThe contract has been mailed back to the home office and it is all a done deal.

The good people at the soon to be relaunched (in August) Molly Green Magazine has asked yours truly to be a regular contributor.  My work can show up in their blog, newsletter, or magazine issues throughout the year.
Molly Green is a magazine with articles all about HOME, homeschooling, home living, homesteading, and life at home. I am really excited to work with such a great organization and to be included along with some super-exciting colleagues as we work on articles for each issue.

I learned about this from Patrice Lewis’ blog. Patrice is the author of The Simplicity Primer and is a wonderful example of living a thoughtful, self-sufficient life. It’s an honor to be able to work with a magazine that features Patrice’s work as well.  I would never have dreamed that Patrice and I would be colleagues.  Wow!

I hope that this blog can grow from my connection with Molly Green Magazine and that my readers will be interested in learning more about this quality magazine as it re-launches.

Stay tuned, and I’ll be sharing more about my endeavors with Molly Green, and hopefully others (soon).

Have YOU ever subscribed to an online magazine?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett


pencil, eraser, Another Hatchett Job blog, homeschool, education, writing, creative commonsI have written for years. The college I attended even published a poem that I wrote.

But, other than in my blog, I don’t even really write. Well, I write, but I don’t share my work with others and I certainly have never submitted my work for publication.

Today, I submitted an article to a magazine that is re-launching itself in August. I have no idea if they will like it or accept it, but I went out on a limb and wrote up something simple and sent in some photos to go with it.

I also listed several other ideas that I was ready to write about. So, we will see where this all leads, but I do find myself feeling rather brave at this moment.

Who knows where this adventure will end up? I hope you will keep reading and come along for the ride!

Have YOU ever written for publication?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

2014 Youth Birding Competition

Another Hatchett Job, baby birds, creative commons attributionGeorgia has a competition each year for kiddos from 5 to 18 that encourages them to get out into nature and learn about birds. That competition is the annual Youth Birding Competition where kids from all over Georgia will race to find the most unique species of birds within Georgia state lines in a 24 hour period of time.

From what I understand, this is the first state-wide competition of its kind.  The original concept premiered in Cape May, NJ as a spin off to go alongside an adult competition.  A biologist with Georgia DNR in the Non-game Division, named Tim Keyes, brought this concept to a larger scale in Georgia.

My son, Ethan, with Eddie as his team mentor, has participated since he was in Elementary school.  Every year, his birding identification skills have increased, as have his awareness of the ecosystems that the birds live in.  He has traveled to Maine to study Puffins with the National Audubon Society.  He answers questions for many local people who have seen birds and want to know what kind of bird they saw.  He even volunteers as “Chippy” the Chipping Sparrow who answers identification questions online for Atlanta Audubon Society.  He assists local biologist, Charlie Muise with bird banding as schedules permit and he travels to Jekyll Island, Georgia in October to assist with the migratory birding station there.

Much of this interest has been fostered by the people he has met and the experiences that he has had during these competitions.  Ethan always liked birds and tried to name them.  Eddie realized that this could be a fun way for Ethan (and himself) to learn more and meet more like minded people.  And they truly have succeeded on both counts!

Team members have changed over the years, but the Chaotic Kestrels birding team has solidified around some really interesting and talented teenagers.  Outside of birding, they play sports, make videos, shoot rifles competitively, sing rap music in a Scottish brogue, ride horses, and just are plain ol’ good kids.  There is not a single one of these kids that you wouldn’t enjoy spending time with.  They are personable, intelligent, and funny.  They make up a great team!

Another Hatchett Job, Youth Birding Competition, Georgia YBC, Youth, Teamwork
2014 Chaotic Kestrels Birding Team with Mentor, Eddie Hatchett


These kids worked together to plan a route, identify birds, and record them accurately during a single 24 hour period of time during migration.  They identified 156 unique species, including one rare dove and broke the previous YBC Georgia All-Time Record!  They came in 2nd place overall in the State of Georgia and I couldn’t be more proud of them!

Next year will be the final year for this incarnation of the Kestrels team as two members will graduate and be ineligible for the program after the 2015 season.  One of them has already begun mentoring another young group of Elementary School birders who competed for the first time this year.  Did I mention that these are some awesome kids?

This program is also free for participants.  Many wonderful sponsors (Atlanta Audubon, Albany Audubon, Georgia Ornithological Society, T.E.R.N. just to name a few) donate time, funds, and prizes for the kids.  But, the payoff for this program is far more than just a free t-shirt and prizes!  These kids are spending time with a mentor and/or a parent, out of doors and enjoying nature.  They are developing observational skills and coming up with questions about things they want to know more about.  They are learning research skills to answer those questions and seeing the information with an eye toward application of that knowledge.  No classroom experience can compare with the skills and experiences that happen with hands on learning.  Many of these kids will go on to support Conservation efforts, become Biologists and other scientists and teach others to love the world that is around them.

That ain’t gonna happen tethered to a video game, folks!  In life, you’ve gotta get dirty to get the payoff.  These kids are the payoff for the next generation and, with luck, generations to come.

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett