Friday, October 31, 2008

Oh Come On, Just One Bite

Okay, how bad can a dish be, if it has bacon and onion in it?  Really?
Besides, greens are good for you!  Chock full of vitamins and antioxidants.  Yes, I said greens.
If you're still reading, here's a good southern recipe for some amazing comfort food.  It lists Collards as the primary player.  I like them because they have a very mild taste.  If you're up for a spicier dish, try Turnip or Mustard Greens.

The Players are:
A large bunch of Collard Greens
6 Slices of Bacon
1/2 Large Onion
4 Cups Chicken Stock

Rinse the greens well, in cold water.  If they come right out of your garden or a Farmers Market, add some salt to the water to kill off any buggies that might be lingering for a snack.

Part of what puts folks off of greens, is that "they're stringy".  That's because the stalk hasn't been removed.  Some folks call it the 'rib'---seems more like the 'backbone' to me.  Go figure.
I just fold the leaf in half and run a knife down the length of the center.  Toss that center piece aside for the compost pile.
Just to make your life a bit easier, stack the leaves in a pile.
At that point you can either slice through the pile or tear the leaves.  Either way, you're looking for bite size pieces. Set aside in a bowl.
Now comes the addition of bacon!  Cut it into small pieces and brown.  Once it's done, remove it and some of the bacon grease.  Yes, I said some.  Leave about 2 tablespoons in the pan.
Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until wilted.
Put the bacon back in the pan, brown a bit more and turn off the heat.
Add the chicken broth and turn the heat back on.  We're almost done!
Add the greens, mix well, turn the heat to it's lowest setting, top it with a lid and walk away.  In about 30-45 minutes, it's ready to devour.  You might check it half way through to make sure you aren't loosing too much liquid.
No, it's not bright and crisp and green anymore.  Think about all the other ugly food you eat. Biscuits and sausage gravy or beef stew, or oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, or chicken pot pie.  They all look like dogs breakfast, but taste wonderful.
This dish is mild and very, very tasty.  The bacon grease won't kill you.  There's only 2 tablespoons in the whole dish! Don't try to leave it out either--doesn't taste the same.
I promise if you die from eating this, that your relatives can tell the police where I live and they can come arrest me for poisoning you.  Really.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Scent of the Past

Just a note.  Not a picture.
My mom died just over 8 months ago.  For about 7 months of that, I let my mind be in charge of the things I remembered about her, my childhood, my relationship with her.  About a month ago, I chose to take charge.  All my remberances, negative and positive, were useless.  I can not go back and change one single thing.  The Serenity Prayer finally took hold and I am free to be happy again.

Today, I needed to do some sewing---I cut those large microfiber cloths up to make washclothes.  They need the two open sides, sewed so they don't fray.  I, at one point in time, gave her my old sewing machine.  After she died, I got it back.  It has lived in the garage since February because I had no need for it, and because it smelled of cigarette smoke.  The newer machine I have has never worked right (surprise).  I brought the old one in from the garage.  

Opening it nearly floored me.  The cigarette smoke is still there.  The ancient ash tray smell took my breath away.  My heart began to ache again.  I said my Serenity Prayer, took a deep breath and began my work.  The feelings will not linger so long this time.  Each time it happens, the time between ache and okay is shorter.  

My dear sister, 'Aunt Noya', and my father-in-law, Evan have managed to make that pain shrink a great deal in the last month.  In all the years my mom lived in the area, she rarely attended any of the activities my children were involved in.   She missed out.  My kids are great! Grandpa and Aunt Noya have attended James' soccer games in the last month.  What great healing that has brought me!  Extended family can be such a heartache or such a joy.  I thank God that I've moved into the place in my life where it is joyful.  

Another Year, Another Pumpkin


Yesterday, I told of the day when our household might be without kids.  A day when I could spend time with just my hubby.  I know that day will come, but I can wait. My oldest son, is a Junior in High School.  It breaks my heart that in about 20 months, we'll be shopping for college dorm room stuff.  My middle, my only girl, will be a Sophomore.  My teeny mumpkin, seen below, will be starting middle school.  He's not so teeny anymore, as you can see.
Thankfully, he still likes to carve pumpkins.  He even got in there this year and scooped out the 'guts', despite the smell.

The scowl accompanying this picture is because he's frustrated.  Pumpkins are not easy to carve.  They're round and wobbly and have silly lines in them.  Lee and I try to remind him of it, but he still wants the eyes to be even and the nose to be a triangle.  I can remember feeling exactly the same way.
I guess he's happy with the outcome.  Lee was able to coax a big smile out of him once we got the candle lit.  We have our pumpkins indoors, because the deer will come right up on the porch like naughty teenagers and steal the pumpkins.  
The only problem with carving pumpkins---I need a pumpkin seed intervention.  I don't care for the outer shell, so I pull them apart.  I also can't stop eating them. My tongue and lips get all bumpy from all the salt.  I don't care, I just rinse them off and head back to the seeds.  Send help.

Thankfully, we have a few more years of pumpkin carving.  Thanks James!
*************************************************************************************

PS...A pumpkin carving tip, I learned about 5 years ago.  Cut the bottom off instead of the top.  The guts are attached to the bottom--makes cleaning them out much easier.  Plus, some pumpkins don't have a 'handle' because of the way they were cut from the vine.  It makes it so much easier to light the candle, too.  





Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just the Two of Us

This handsome gentleman is my husband, Lee.  I took this picture of him in Hawaii last November.  We'd gone there to witness my niece take the leap into wedded bliss.  

In looking at this picture, it reminds me that we still have fun without the children. We have been parents for nearly 17 years of our 20 married years together.  
I'm sure, like any married couple with kids, we begin to wonder if we'll still like each other when they're gone.  And like all married couples, we go through days thinking the answer is no.  We get so tied up in the minutia of each day and our children's lives, that we forget that we loved each other before they were here.
We go through periods in our marriage where we love each other, but don't like each other very much.  That is to be expected.  We also go through glorious periods of time where it seems like all the planets are aligned and we remember that we are more than just parents and breadwinners.  We remember that we love each other. The other day, Lee said the most simple, and yet the most loving thing he's said in a long time---"I can't wait until we can just get in the car and go, just the two of us, wherever we want to. Do you think we have to wait until James goes away to college?" I was blown away!  He still wants to be with me when our kids are gone? I mean, I knew he did, but sometimes hearing it out loud means all the world to me. 

I need to remember the days before children, as much as I love all the days filled with children.  I need to remember that I married an amazing man.  One with principals, good judgement, and the ability to fight fair. One that is crazy handsome, and has a kiss that still melts me after 22 years together.  One that believes that we are blessed beyond measure and is willing to share the bounty of those blessings. One that guides our children with a fair hand and heart--even if they don't think so. One that has been infinitely patient with my skewed upbringing and views on certain points in life.  One that is willing to meet me in the middle, even if it's not someplace he'd ever think he'd be. One that says "I'm sorry" and means it. One that wants to take a car ride, with me, just the two of us.  
When do we leave?

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Power of a Good Family

I don't know these women.  
I do know their story, at least part of it.  
I do know that Stephanie (second from left), will never be the same.
She and her husband, Christian, were in a small plane crash on August 16th. They both survived, but with horrific burns.  He will recover with little trouble, compared to her.  She shouldn't be alive. She was burned over 80% of her body.

She is from a family of 7 children, he from a family of 11 children.
They have 4 children of their own.
Here is their story.  A story of hope and determination.  
A story of the power of a loving family.
Prepare to care about a complete stranger.
Stephanie will never be quite as beautiful on the outside as she is in this picture. Her inner beauty will shine through.  I'm confident of that.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Silent Sunday


Napping Neighbor Boy

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Slim Biscuit aka Pumpkin Pie

This is Lucky. He is not a happy camper in this picture. He's looking at....


...Slim Biscuit. No, Lucky has not been making kittens. He can't. This is just another orange kitty. A stray, orange kitty.

One of the troubles of living in a rural area is that clueless folks tend to think, "I'll bet this cat could survive on mice and crickets and maybe one of these folks could use another barn cat. What's one more animal?"
NOT!
Slim, as I called him was slinking through the grass, right at the end of my driveway. I kid you not. Why not just put him on my porch in a box? It would save me the trouble of getting out of the truck!
He doesn't look so slim in these pictures because he finally has food in his tummy. His hips, legs and neck are just skin and bones. He is a sweetie pie though. Full of snuggles and his motor purrs loudly when you just look at him. My boys fell head over heels for him. Pearl is devoted to Lucky, and she knows Lucky will punish us all if we ever get another cat. The boys put the full court press on me to convince Lee that this stray kitten should stay with us.

Not gonna happen. First, Lucky would do naughty cat stuff, torture the kitten and then move out. Lucky was here first.
I knew I could never dream of finding this kitten a home unless he'd been looked at by a vet. The only thing he didn't have was Feline Leukemia or Feline AIDS. He did have ear mites, worms a'plenty, and a whole circus of fleas. Great. A hundred plus dollars later, he gets a clean bill of health. Now what?

Well, the "free" kitten gods were with me. When my vet opened the door to leave the room, I saw a vet tech I know very well. "Hey, Gayna!! Know anybody that wants a kitten??!!" You know what, she did!! We kept Slim Biscuit for about 36 hours and now he's moved on. I don't know what she'll decide to call him, but I'm sure he'll be a great cat. Loads of personality and loves people.

My boys were a little disappointed, but Thomas has a fortune tellers view of the matter. "Well, it's not like there won't be other stray kittens in our neighborhood." True, too true.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Physics

Lisa, over at Laughing Orca Ranch, has commented on the trees in my pictures more than once. I decided to do a little photo essay regarding some of my favorite trees. 
We chose our property based on many criteria, one of them being the number of Live Oak trees.  My FIL counted 60 on our little 4 acres.  We have a few other kinds of trees, but the Live Oaks rule the land.  
There are many, many things to know about most any kind of plant or animal, so I won't go into specifics. Here's a link to a quick run down of the major points regarding Live Oaks. Just know that they can get enormous, are drought resistant, slow growing and can grow in ways I've never seen in other trees.  

Here's the first example in my neighbor's back yard.  Two branches grew together. What I suspect is that they rubbed together during a windy spring and then were able to heal and form bark over one another during our quiet summers.
Here's a tree that fell over and rooted at the other end.  This one straddles the property line.  We both love the tree so much, that we just mow/weed eat around it. 
This one is where the physics come in.  There are so many trees that seem to defy gravity and other forces of nature.  I can't imagine the weight of the tree, leaning so far to the left and yet it remains standing.  
Another one has fallen over and rooted at the other end.  It is practically dead at its original growth spot (on the left end) 
I call this tree, The Dragon.  It's not on my property and hopefully whoever develops the place, will see how unique it is and keep it.  It absolutely defies gravity.  
It grows up out of the ground for about 4 ft and then takes a 90* turn.  It grows parallel to the ground for at least 20 ft and then begins back upward again. How?! Why?!  
This tree and the two below it are what my neighbor calls "Storybook Trees".  The trunks are fat, squished looking, and knarly.  Each has a hole at the base that extends under the roots.  We expect elves and talking badgers must live under them.
We've only seen lizards, snakes and tarantulas go in and out of the holes.  I think elves are magic though.  They can turn themselves into animals can't they?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Something New About Me


This could be a really long post, but I hope to give the Cliff's Notes version.  I will include a link for you to wander around in, if you feel so led.

I attend church every week.  I spend a week each summer as a counselor at our church camp.  I direct our program to feed the homeless breakfast, every Sunday. I am a leader of our young college kids.  I also attend to something called "Pastoral Care" which is basically potlucks and functions that bring our church folks together, outside of a worship setting. I am the porthole through which electronic information flows to the congregation, ie: someone sends me an email prayer request and I forward it to the entire congregation.  I am a lay-minister, which means I didn't attend a seminary, but provide ministry within our church.

A couple weekends ago, I took on a new assignment.  One that frightens me, but I've been told there'd be something wrong with me if I wasn't afraid.  I am now a part of the Pastorate.  There is a lead pastor, and I, along with 2 others, form the co-pastorate.  All of us are lay-ministers.  All of us have taken classes and read books that will help further our quest to get a closer relationship with God, and to be able to lead others in that direction as well.  

Our particular congregation is small (about 50-75 people), but we are a part of a larger church called The Community of Christ.  The fact that our congregation is so small is part of the reason I have so many responsibilities, but also the reason I love it.  We are small enough to be a family.  I know everyone's name.  I know when they are hurting.  I rejoice when something good happens to them, and am able to comfort them when something bad happens.  We have differences of opinions, just like any family, but we work them out.  We don't all believe exactly the same about every bit of religious questions that come up, but for the most part that has been okay.  We love enough to "agree to disagree" and get along anyway.

I consider myself a true Christian.  I don't hate other religions or other people because of their beliefs.  I don't believe that I am better than anyone else.  I do not use the bible as a weapon.  I don't believe that you are going to hell if you don't attend my church or any church for that matter.  I don't care a bit about a person's looks, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, color, financial status, or political affiliation. I don't get up in people's faces about God or religion.  I try to live by example.  I don't need to 'share the good news' with friends or strangers, unless they ask it of me.  I believe God loves all of us and is crushed when we step outside his love. 

I try my very hardest, every day, not to judge people before I get to know them. Serial killers---not so much love for them, a bit frightened.  Tattooed, pierced, purple mohawked, homeless, guy---maybe a bit taken aback, but I'll give it a go.  Some of the nicest, Godliest people you'll ever want to meet are those that are living outside your comfort zone.  I try to remember that when I'm judging folks and feeling uncomfortable.

I'll stop now.  I've probably sent folks running already.  That's okay though.  I do hope that we can agree to disagree, if we believe differently.  At least you know who I am and where I stand.  My friends and family already know these things about me, and love me despite some of my beliefs.  

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Silent Sunday



Where the Girls Are

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Oh, My Aching Feet!

This foot belongs to Audrey, my black Australorp.  She was my foot model because none of the other hens would volunteer--they all needed pedicures and were embarrassed about the state of their nails.
Next to Audrey's foot, you'll see acorns.
Here are more acorns in the chicken run.  This is just two days worth of acorn drop off the Live Oak that shades the coop and run.
Here's a patch of ground that is about 1 ft. square.  To say we have an abundance of acorns this year, would be an understatement.  The thing is, they're hard as rocks. My poor chickens have no grass in their run to cushion their feet from the darned acorns.  It must be like walking on marbles for them.  I used to rake them every other day, but now I've taken to using the big push-broom to just sweep them away--much quicker and more efficient.
There are many myths surrounding plants and animals regarding weather.  One of them just implies that if there are many acorns that we're in for a tough, long winter.  If that's the case, we're in for the next ice age at our house.  

Of course, what it really means is that the squirrels, deer and wild hogs will be getting fat.  Acorn production on the trees starts the winter before.  What the plant and animal folklore really points to is past weather, not weather prediction.  
Think I should buy a snow blower, just to be on the safe side?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stay at Home Mom


No major drama, just not feeling creative or particularly good about the choices I've made in my life. I don't have a degree and I don't make a paycheck. I know a lot of basically useless information.  Nothing that can help kids with homework. If I can't do it, I shouldn't require it of them. It doesn't really matter if I've been out of high school for nearly 25 years.  I should remember algebraic equations  and what the parts of speech are. Other people retained that information, why haven't I?
 
My choices in life have required that I take care of the minutia of each day.  That's what I've been doing with my brain for the last 20 years (not counting the 4 years I spent working and getting a 2-year degree)---changing diapers, ferrying children, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, choosing my battles, and volunteering way too much of my time for others.  My knowledge base has atrophied---use it or lose it.  I lost it a long time ago. I haven't been in an atmosphere where quadratic equations and important dates in history have come up.  I thought my job was to keep the wheels greased on the lives around me. 

 

Monday, October 13, 2008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

aka...the amazing video of migrating monarchs that didn't turn out.

Over the last couple days, I've noticed an influx of monarch butterflies in our area.  This happens every fall, but not to this extent.  While looking out my bathroom window yesterday, I discovered that a place in my pasture seemed alive with movement.  Could that many butterflies be hanging out in one place?  In Texas?  I always understood the migration to be an event that took place in mass in Mexico. I thought they all sort of went in ones and twos to certain places in the mountains in Mexico.  Not so.

As always, I grabbed my little Canon Powershot and headed out.  There had to be at least a hundred butterflies in a patch of Frostweed that is about 20 x 100 feet.  I flipped on my video option and took (what I thought) was a lovely 30 second video of them busily sucking up nectar.  I loaded it onto YouTube this morning and it's all blurry and my voice is all slurred.  It was very windy yesterday, but it seemed to be an okay video on my computer.  Oh well.  

Because the story of the migration is so complex, I decided to let the experts tell the how and why it happens. If you open that page, you'll notice in the very top left corner, there is a place to click for the "Fall Migration".  It lets you know when to expect the monarchs in your area based on your latitude.  Once you open the latitude page, type in your city and you will see your latitude about 2/3 of the way down the page under "coordinates".  

Anyway, I wish I could share the amazing bit of nature happening in my pasture. Pictures don't quite capture the beauty of it.  Today, it's drizzling, and they've moved on. I really love the little gifts God gives us, if we just have our eyes open to them.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Sister's Dog

This dog is Lola. Lola Little. Tiny. She has other nicknames, but those are the ones I know her by. I know she is the poster dog for wonderful Pit Bulls.  She never picked a fight and never met a stranger.  Today will be her last day in extreme pain.  After much soul searching, my sister is doing the bravest thing any of us can do, she's letting go.  Lola will cross Rainbow Bridge today. She'll finally be able to run again, bark as loud and as often as she likes, eat donuts for breakfast, swim as long as she wants in the ocean and play in the mud without fear of being put in the bathtub to be able to come back on the bed.  She'll be forever warm, that short coat was never warm enough, despite doggy sweatshirts and heavy blankets.

Today, and many days and weeks to come will be hard on my sister.  Some days will have moments of crushing pain and endless tears. Lola has been a constant for the last 10 years when many people and places were not.  She's seen my sister through some dark times and been there for the fun and wonderful times, too.  Lola has always had a never ending supply of tail (whole butt, really) wags and kisses with her giant, pink tongue.  

I wanted to find the perfect quote regarding how dogs affect our lives. How I couldn't live without one for very long.  How perfect a gift they are from God to us.  In the end, I'm going to just leave you with an entire page of quotes.  I couldn't pick just one.

To you my sister--you are doing the right thing.  Lola would thank you if she could.  I wish I could make the pain go away.  I won't be able to.  Just like with your other dogs, it will be the hardest thing you'll deal with for quite some time. I can't really say anything that will make you feel any better.  It's really not appropriate anyway---someone you love is going to be gone.  I will just be here to hold your head and hands and listen when you need to talk.  I'll be there to be quiet when you don't need to talk.  Hugs and much love to you, my sister, on this sad day.

Lola, in heaven, you don't have to share the ice cream with anyone if you don't want to.:)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another Year Smarter

Here I am, celebrating the opportunity to be another year smarter.  
I had drama about turning 30.  Thankfully, I was at a women's retreat that year and was told by a woman in her 70's--"You're just another year smarter.  Would you be in your 20's again, if you could?  You open your heart and mind to learning and you'll never grow old."  I kinda liked that way of thinking.  Here I am, 13 years later, and grateful for each new birthday.  What will I learn this year?
I had a really fabulous day.  I was awakened by a sweet kiss from James, my youngest.  He'd come downstairs early (before the alarm went off) to tell me happy birthday.  He was then covered by kisses from our dogs.
Lee was next with hugs and kisses, as James and the dogs had awakened him too.
He wanted to know if I wanted my present in the morning or after dinner.  I chose morning.  I had an idea what it was, since I'd asked for it.  Over the summer, I saw Iron Man and was blown away. 
I was surprised by a card and some Dove chocolates from Thomas.  He continually amazes me.  He even wrote in the card!  
Pearl did her best to catch up with me, but finally had to yell 'Happy Birthday, Mom' as she was headed to the bus stop. I was out in our pasture trying to get a decent photo of a crazy buck and his girlfriend.  
I got calls from my wonderful in-laws,  telling me Happy Birthday and asking if they could pick James up after school.  Uh, yea!  Great!
My dear sister, called and sang me Happy Birthday. :)  
Hooray, what a great start to the day!!
I
Later, I was picked up by one of my best friends, DD.  We ran some errands and went to lunch at a most yummy restaurant, Serranos.  I never realized how errands become less of a drag, if you have a friend along.  My usual entourage includes an unhappy child or two. Thanks, DD!

I came home to a delight.  Lee worked from home, and while I was gone, he hit the grocery store.  He baked giant cupcakes for after dinner (aacck, I forgot to add that he'd put a surprise in every cupcake--Jr. Mints!--a treat we've always shared at the movies).  We'd planned on going to dinner this weekend with the extended family.  I expected that any dessert would be consumed then.  He told me it wouldn't be right to have a birthday without cake. He even dusted the tops of the cupcakes with powdered sugar, as he knows I'm not a frosting kind of girl.  
Later, my loving in-laws brought James home. Mom and Dad not only came bearing kisses, hugs and gift card, but a homemade cheesecake!  Holy cats!  They'd just arrived home from a two week stay at their house in Arkansas, and mom found time to make a cheesecake.  The house has been on the market for some time (flat housing market) and they were up doing Fall clean up to the yard.  Anybody want an amazing house on a private lake in NW Arkansas?  I'll shoot you the details.  Anyway, back to the cheesecake.  I wrapped it up tight and put it in the freezer.  We'll all have some on Saturday after dinner.

Lee and I fixed dinner together and the evening wound down.  I finished up, by getting to the end of a book I've been reading.  Here's what the NY Times had to say about it.  It is really one of the best books I've ever read.  It is so stark and crushing. Not a happy book.  Still, you have to read it.  Beware, it's at least a 3-tissue ending.

And so ended a perfect day.  No drama, not one bit.  Well, I sobbed at the end of the book, but that doesn't count.  I am one year older.  One year wiser.  I made mistakes in the last year.  I will make some more in my year to come.  Hopefully, I will be smart enough to own up to them and apologize.  Hopefully, I will remember these tiny sentences. 
No.  I'm Sorry. I Don't Know the Answer to That.  I Was Wrong. I Love You. What Can I Do to Help. Yes. Let Me Think About It. Because I Said So. You Hung the Moon.  I'm Proud of You.  Thank You. 
I know there are many more I missed, but I'll remember them along the way.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Ways from Home

I got a call from a neighbor yesterday. "I have a critter issue, can you help me out?" When I think critter, I think of something with teeth.  Thankfully, this critter didn't have teeth.  "It's a pigeon.  It has leg bands."  
Deja Vu'
A racing pigeon is the reason I ultimately got chickens.  More on that later.  
This fellow was tuckered out.  He'd lost his flock and was trying to get water out of my neighbor's pool.  We captured him with little effort and I set out to find out where he belonged.  The leg bands are like tiny dog tags.  You just need to know how to read them.
If you click on the picture below, I'll walk you through it.  The 2008 at the top left, is the year the pigeon was born.  The 2752 is the bird's ID number--no other bird has this number.  What you can't see is a large AU and the words Quest Syndicate.  The AU stands for American Racing Pigeon Union.  Quest Syndicate is the name of the team the bird races for.  It implies that several people are involved.  Hopefully not mobsters, because I was about to find out their phone number and let them know I have their bird. :)  The light blue band on the left foot means the bird is a male.  I don't know what the larger blue band means.  
How did I locate his owner?  I Googled "lost pigeon" and hit a familiar website.  It walks you through how to locate the owner based on the information on the pink band. It's a very simple thing to do.  
Luckily we have unlimited long distance, because it took several calls.  I knew that racing always takes place on Sundays.  This bird had only been out a day. According to mapquest, this bird was 220 miles from home.  He belonged to a Mr. King in Grand Prairie, Texas.  I called him, he was out of the office.  Luckily, the woman on the phone felt safe in giving me his cell number.  I called his cell and reached him at lunch.  Turns out the bird didn't come out of Grand Prairie, but somewhere here in Austin.  The "syndicate" part of the business means many birds are owned by many people.  He didn't have the owner's phone number," but maybe you could Google it."  Heavens, what on earth did we ever do before Google??!!  
I called Mr. Barker of Barker Roofing.  He was out of the office (surprise!).  I was given his cell number.  When I finally reached him, he asked if I couldn't just give the bird some rest and water and then let it go.  It would come home on its own.
Good thing I love animals.  Good thing the silly pigeons are fitted (by God) with some sort of internal GPS.  They always find their way home.  He was given rest and some homemade electrolyte solution and sent on his way.
But who are these beauties?  They are Lucy and Ricky.  They are the beginning of getting chickens.  Lee and I tossed around me starting my own business for about a year.  It needed to be something I loved doing if I was going to do it.  The idea flew into one of our windows-literally.  In August of 2004, a pigeon just like the one in the first picture, slammed into one of our big windows.  I found his owner and became fascinated by the idea that they always know where home is.  We talked about it and he told me that the doves you always see at weddings are really just white pigeons.  Ah Ha!!  I could raise pigeons for people's special occasions! Long story, short.  It didn't play out.  I found that special occasions happen only on weekends (duh!).  I would never have any family time.  I would be spending my weekends with brides who wanted a perfect ending to a perfect day.  The birds can only fly under certain conditions, and that meant I might have to tell the bride, "No" at the very last minute.   Wouldn't be pretty.  

Pigeons are fabulous parents.  Both parents take turns on the eggs.  One feeds the other while they sit.  They both are able to produce "crop milk" to feed their young. The babies are seriously ugly, but it's hard not to love the devotion between parents and young.  A bit of trivia for the next time you're playing Trivial Pursuit---the babies are called Squeakers.  I'm serious!  Google it if you don't believe me. 

The pigeons were given away.  I had a coop, why not use it?  Chicks were ordered in October.  And that's how pigeons led to chickens.  Can't take a chicken to a wedding, so my weekends belong to soccer again.