Saturday, December 29, 2012

I Wonder What the Record Is...

...for oldest chicken who laid an egg is?

Yesterday, I got an egg from my Easter Egger hen.  She is 8 years, 2 months, and 14 days old.

She was an accident in my flock for two reasons.  
I did not order her, she was placed in my order of chicks for "warmth".
She was supposed to be a He, that's the reason she was added for warmth and free from the hatchery.

She is the only surviving member of my original flock.
Here's what the hatchery has to say about my little hen:

Ameraucanas, known as the "Easter Egg Breed", are a multicolored breed. They have beards, muffs and a normal tail with a tail head. They are often incorrectly called Araucanas, which have ear tuffs, are rumpless, and do not have a tail head which gives them a bunny tail appearance. Most of the chicks sold as Araucanas are really Ameraucanas, which are excellent, efficient producers of large eggs of many colors and shades including blue and green.
Standard weights at maturity are males-5 lbs. and hens-4 lbs.

(note: Ideal Hatchery is selling chicks that they are calling Ameraucanas--it hangs on the edge of being false advertising.  People are looking for a breed that lays blue/green eggs.  Very few of Ameraucanas actually lay blue or green eggs.  As of Penny's breeding, the gene that is responsible for blue and green eggs had been lost.  Why they don't advertise these chicks as Easter Eggers is beyond me.  Oh well.  I digress. She was free and I'm not complaining, just pointing out a tiny flaw in their advertising.)

Hers is the egg at the base of my hand.  As you can see, it is neither blue nor green.  I know they don't let roosters run around willy-nilly at a hatchery, so I don't know what went wrong with the coloring of her eggs.  They have always run between slightly pink to light brown.

Color doesn't really matter.  I was just terribly lucky that the person at the hatchery who has the awful job of sexing the chicks was wrong about Penny.

I long ago gave up convincing Penny that she can retire from laying.  She doesn't like me much anyway and none of us tend to listen to those we don't care for.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Events of the Day

Christmas day was very busy.
Eric and I finally fell into bed on Christmas Eve at 1am.
Both Jenna and Quinn were up before us on Christmas morning---a first in our household.

After coffee was started and cinnamon rolls were put in the oven, Preston was awakened for gift opening.

As per our family custom, the Christmas story is read from the bible and a prayer of thanksgiving for the past year is said.


I'm not usually one to post a picture of myself, just out of bed in the morning, but this one was worth posting.
Jenna, made me a Christmas donkey, since I wouldn't be getting a real one.  


 He was quickly placed in our nativity to relieve the poor donkey on duty.  Jerusalem to Bethlehem is 6 miles---that was a long way to carry a very pregnant woman and her belongings.  
I love his little ears, so forward and curious.

We opened gifts and were blessed beyond measure again this year.

After a breakfast on my feet, I began working on Christmas lunch.  I had made three pies on Christmas eve, otherwise we wouldn't have eaten by 1pm.
Our menu for the day:
Prime Rib
Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash
Green Beans
Potatoes
Cranberry Relish
Rolls
Pecan, Apple and Pumpkin pies

We were so thrilled that Mom and Dad decided to come eat lunch with us, instead of us bringing lunch to them.  Mom checked out of the hospital on the 23rd, and checked into a skilled nursing facility close to home.  It's not as bright and airy as the hospital, but she likes the rehab folks and the director of admissions is a friend of theirs.  I was worried that mom would decide she could skip staying there and just go to rehab every day somewhere in town.  She had decided yesterday that she wanted to shower at home before coming here for lunch.  All I could picture was she or dad falling as she maneuvered in and out of the shower.  By the time she got here for lunch, she was exhausted.  She assured me that the next shower would be taken at the nursing facility. "It was just too hard", she said.  I know it was so difficult for mom to come eat lunch, dessert, and then open presents, but we're so very glad she did!  

Katie, Preston's fiance' also got to come to lunch, which I was thrilled about.  I wasn't sure we'd get to see her at all.  

By late afternoon, a very cold front had blown in.  Winds gusting to 40mph and the temperature dropped from the 60s Christmas morning, to the low 40's by nightfall.

This morning, it was 25*.   The deer, despite the cold winds, were out for their meager breakfast of hard corn and veggie/fruit scraps.  Both chicken and deer waters had to be broken.  The same for the water at a neighbor's house.  I'm looking after their dogs, cats, chickens and goats.  Turns out goats don't really like goat jackets, no matter how cold it is outside.  Only two of the four were still wearing them this morning.
Jenna was already up and about at 6:30, getting ready for her trip to Los Fresnos to spend a week with her boyfriend and his family.
The rest of the day will be spent cleaning up and resting up.  Eric is outside right now, learning the finer points of his new smoker.  I think we'll have smoked meatloaf for dinner tonight.  I'll let you know how it turns out. 
I hope you had a nice Christmas and got to spend it with people you love.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Feel Good Story

First, let me say that this is NOT me.
I did not get a donkey for Christmas.
It's unlikely that I ever will.

However, my friend Justina, over at Morning Bray Farm got a donkey for Christmas.

In all reality, Harriet the donkey, got Morning Bray Farm for Christmas.

Harriet hit the Powerball lottery when Justina and Don decided to add another donkey to their herd.
She has been adopted into donkey heaven-on-earth.

Harriet and Justina

Carson, one of Justina and Don's best buddies, documented Harriet's arrival at Morning Bray.
You will recognize Carson's blog and Harriet's story over on 7NSN.

Please click HERE to read all about it.
One of the happiest Christmas stories you'll ever read.

Thanks Justina and Carson for letting me steal!

Merry Christmas to Justina, Don, Carson and all their critters! 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Two days ago, I reported that mom hadn't had a good day.
It worried me.

Yesterday was wonderful.
They took her off morphine, gave her two units of blood, and she was back to her old joking self.
Today, she was to be released to a skilled nursing/rehab unit very near our house.
Dad packed up their belongings and was just waiting for the afternoon doctor to sign off.  The ambulance was cued up to transfer her from the hospital to rehab.

"Not today" was the word from the doctor.

He doesn't like mom's blood pressure numbers.  He felt it made no sense to transfer to a rehab unit, only to have her turn around and have to come back to the hospital.
I agree, but still feel like it's a setback.  
I know she and dad are anxious to get moving forward toward her finally coming home.
We are, too.
I forget that we can't change time.  We have to live each minute.  We are not allowed to skip forward to the end, no matter how much we might want to.

Friday, December 21, 2012

In Slow Motion

photo by Jenna

Blogs are where folks write down their thoughts and share them with the world.  Most often, they are just about day-to-day life.  At least the blogs I read, anyway.

When life for the blogger takes a turn from 'day-to-day' to 'hour-to-hour',  their blog falls by the wayside.  Usually because the person blogging has something critical happening in their lives and they don't want to or have time for sharing it.

My normal blog posts are usually pretty light and airy.  Not much substance.  Then I think about why I started this blog---to be a journal of sorts.  It cannot be just about the bubbly things in my life, it must also be about the real things in my life.

What's real right now is that my mother-in-love did not have a good day yesterday.
She was less coherent on day 2 following surgery than she was on day 1.
She was weaker.  She didn't eat much.  She dozed a lot.  When she was awake, she was confused.
Her physical therapy seemed pointless, as she was too weak to help her therapists.
Dad seems to be very tired as well.  He's sleeping on a rock hard murphy bed in her room at night and sitting in an uncomfortable chair all day.

After speaking with her doctor, I have hope that today will be a much better day.
He has answers for all our concerns.  Medical explanations for each problem she is having.  He has a fix for each one, too.
Hemoglobin levels, morphine, oxygen, activity---all will be altered to bring her back into a state of awareness and willingness to get back on her feet.  
We are terribly, wonderfully blessed to have a surgeon/doctor that cares enough to talk to us and explain things.  
The hospital mom is at, is a small one.  One that we were reticent for her to go to.  We were worried about the level of care. I think the whole family would agree that it was the very best decision that we could have made.  The staff is helpful, caring and accommodating. The place is crazy clean.  Doesn't smell like a hospital.  It's also quiet.

Right now, we are all living in a bit of slow motion.  It feels like the world and the people around us are moving much more quickly than we are.  I'm sure you've seen movies where the main character is standing in real time, while the people around them are a blur.  That's us.  Well, I can't speak for my family.  I guess I can say that it's me.  I take care of things as best as I am able--at my own pace.  
Chores don't get done, but my mother-in-love is infinitely more important than folded socks or a clean kitchen.  
I think God provides that ability to live in slow motion.  To quiet the brain and think about what's most important.  To sort out what needs to be done from what has to be done.  
Thanks be to God.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Loving Grandma Can...


...bring out the best in people--especially grandkids.

I mean no disrespect, but my own grandmothers didn't necessarily inspire that warm, loving feeling that grandchildren can have for their grandmothers.
My dad's mother was, quite frankly, a bit frightening.  I do know that her life was one of sadness and drama.  I don't know what sort of family she came from, but I doubt it was much better than the family she married in to.  Being cranky and a little bit scary is allowed if you've lived a hard luck life.  

My mother's mother was a lovely woman, but I think she was grandkidded out by the time I arrived.  My mom was one of 11 children---next to last.  Many of her siblings had 5-10 children themselves.  I think I was up in the 50s in number of grandchildren. There were great-grandchildren before I was even born. I have sweet, gentle memories of her.  She was never cranky, just mildly disinterested.  I was okay with that.  Didn't hurt my feelings or anything.

My point is, my relationship with my grandmothers, would not have moved me to be helpful should one of them fall ill.  In fact, when my paternal grandmother died, we were on vacation.  I was 10.  My 'own-little-world'-10 year old-self, was hotter than a wet hen that we had to leave our vacation because Granny had died.  She was dead anyway, why did it matter if we didn't rush right back.  How dare she die while we were on vacation.  Writing that makes me cringe, but it was true.

My kids have a great, loving relationship with their grandma.  She loves them "skyfulls" and the feeling is mutual.  It's those feelings that bring out the best in my kiddos this week; and I suspect the weeks and months to come.  If they didn't love grandma so completely, they wouldn't be so quick to offer to look after one another, clean up the house, help with dinner, pick up Quinn from school, rearrange their social plans in order to help me out, and even pick up deer corn so "my" herd wouldn't go without breakfast.  The list is longer, but you get the picture.

Mom had her surgery late yesterday afternoon.  The doctor said her bone looked great for a woman her age.  We assured him it was genetic.  She comes from a long line of healthy, long-lived people.
She will stay in the hospital for 3-5 days, and then move on to a rehab facility for  1-2 weeks.  That means that Christmas will be spent away from home.  I know that will make her feel awful, but hopefully our love will sustain her and hold her up when she's feeling blue.  
Goodness knows she deserves it. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Well, Doggoneit!

My dear Mother-In-Love fell and broke her hip this morning.
She will be having surgery tomorrow to replace the 'head and neck' of the femur.
Thank the good Lord she's wonderfully healthy. 
I'm so very happy that they only live two miles away.  It will enable us to help Dad look after her as she heals.
If you're the praying kind or the keeping-folks-in-your-thoughts kind, healing and patient spirits would be appreciated by us all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Promise You'll Love This


Heart.warm.ing
Adjective: Emotionally rewarding or Uplifting

I hope this video elicits the very definition of heartwarming for you.

Click on the link below the picture

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-500202_162-1339324.html

Never judge a book by its cover. :)








Photo credit: http://www.tutorialchip.com/

Monday, December 10, 2012

Office Assistant and Our CEO

Hobbes: Geez, he's slow.  I guess I'll just chill up here while he's trying to figure out which ornament goes on next.

Hobbes: How on earth did he get to be CEO?  He's not very efficient.

Me: Dude, I'd be careful what you say.  He's efficient enough and benevolent enough to buy your smart-aleck self, cat food each month.

Hobbes: Oh, I forgot!  
Yes sir, that looks perfect right there. 
Can I get you a hot chocolate?
Me: That's more like it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Donkey Dilemma

Ever since I can remember (47 years, I had a birthday in October), I have wanted a horse for my birthday or Christmas.  There were even times when I wanted a horse for Easter.  Thought maybe the Easter bunny could skip the nasty hard boiled eggs and leave a horse instead.

I read books about horses, I rode horses.
I even went so far as to save an empty popcorn tin from Christmas because it seemed like the perfect place to put oats for my horse.
A horse that never came.

Fast forward to 2001.
At age 36, I finally got my very own horse.
Santa, nor the Easter bunny brought him.
In November of 2002, I had a horrible "wreck" on him.
By May of 2004, I had sold him.
I'd spent a couple thousand dollars getting training for both of us.
In the end, I gave up.
He had, as horse people say, "my number".
I averted another enormous wreck and ended up with a backside full of cactus spines in the process.
In the meantime, I came to realize that while horses are beautiful, they can (and will) kill you.

Trouble is, I still love all equines.
I got my heart set on miniature horses.
I researched, I looked, I hung out with my friend, Deb's miniature horses.

One problem.
A problem that still exists today.
I do not have my four acres fenced.

I've also switched equines.
I want donkeys.
Two donkeys.
Miniature donkeys.

I've got this crazy idea that they are more stable-minded animals.
They don't seem to think everything is going to eat them or kill them.
They don't spook.
They also seems to want to hang out with you.

So, here I am again at Christmas time, wishing for something four-legged that eats hay.
I've even located a rescue organization that has many miniature donkeys that need homes.

Maybe I'll save a popcorn tin this year, just in case.



Me and a Miniature donkey in Wisconsin.  I really, really wanted this boy and his spotted mini donkey friend to fit in my carry-on for the trip home.

Me, Beau and Chet at Danni's place.

You can tell I don't like donkeys at all.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dozing Deer

Does dozing dreamily at dusk.
Do does dream of daffodils, dahlias and daylilies;
Delicious, delightful, delectable delicacies?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Round and Round the Mulberry Bush






















You thought he was going to fall in, didn't you?

I did, too.

He decided not to use one of his nine lives on swimming with frogs and fish.
The frog and fish live to see another day.

In case you're wondering, it's an old toy box that I recycled into a 'rain barrel'. 
I added mosquito fish to eat the mosquito larvae.
The frogs can eat the fish.
Circle of life sort of stuff.
Hillbilly fish tank at its best.