Monday, January 31, 2011

A Rough Night

National Weather Service Issues Blizzard Warning, wait, let me say that one more time:

National Weather Service Issues Blizzard Warning

I actually don't remember ever seeing this before in my life, at least, that I can remember. 

To all my friends in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and on the east coast and southeast, good luck tonight and tomorrow and Wednesday.  

More tomorrow.
We are battening down the hatches tonight.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's Coming Again!

We are about to be hit by "A Blizzard" if the weather people here locally are right.  The light snow is to start tonight, with periods of freezing rain tomorrow off and on, and the real event will be Tuesday.  I did errands yesterday and then ran to the feed store late to get stocked up.  We have about a bale and a half of hay for the llamas, but it is not good hay, so we are going to run down to Tongie tomorrow to the feed store (well, Keith will) to get a couple of better quality ones to keep the llamas well fed during the storm. 

Inca has always laid down to eat her sheep feed out of her bowl, and now she has taught Aztec to lay and eat his feed, too!  He has developed a good warm coat of wool at almost three months old (Thursday).

Of course, I'm overjoyed to be planning on shoveling the drive again. 

Keith and I have long talked of having goats here at Calamity Acres.  We would joke about having "spoiled little goats"... but then seriously began to talk about it a year ago.  I wanted to milk and make cheese and ice cream, having tasted some goat milk ice cream and really liking it.  I made two trips to goat dairies, and hope to continue talking to Roxanne at Screamin' Oaks dairy right down the road from us.... but I have also been reading blog after blog after blog for information as well as several books. 

I wish some of you who currently have goats would comment... because frankly, I'm getting scared.  I'm wondering if it's best that I just buy milk from Roxanne and make my cheese and ice cream with it, and forego the whole goat experience.  I know they are captivating, but I have read so many stories of terrible birthing incidents that I don't know if I am ready to handle this at this point, and they are freaking me out!
For once, we have actually planned to have the infrastructure in place first, since the thing that I get spoken to the most is "infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure".  I was guilty of it in the old days, too... would go to a poultry auction and come home and have to make pens before I could let the birds loose.  We are building a new henhouse in the garden, and planned to switch the big henhouse over to a goathouse for three goats.  We do know they have to freshen yearly, and we think we will have a market for those kids with the number of Mexican families in our area who eat cabrito (don't like to think of that, but a necessity).  There are also many 4 H kids around here, and we would have purebreds for projects.  However, I am chickening out, and am almost afraid to read more, because I am getting too much knowledge!

If any of you have had positive experiences with goats, we would love to hear about it, and the negative, too... we want to go into this with our eyes opened.  My cousin Charlene has had them for years, but kept three that were not milked, just as pets.  She highly recommended them.

I feel I should say that our purpose here is NOT to make money off of the goats... nothing here is a money-making deal, we are hobbyists, who are interested in sustainability and providing a lot of our food for us and for our families.  But we treat our animals as respectfully as possible, even the llamas, and especially the birds, dogs and cats. 
So if you have goats, or have had, we would love to hear comments about them!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another Country School

This little school has no name on it, but it belongs now to the Township where I live, though not near our house.  It is not used often... meetings used to be held there before the new firehouse was built.  I grew up were there were firestations every few blocks, it seemed, but out here in the hinterlands (!) most of the fire fighters are volunteers.  It's good to be neighborly since your life may depend on those very neighbors who surround you!

I am going to do some research at the historical society soon to find out the name of this little school. that had such thick walls...
You cannot see inside anymore, because they have blocked the windows, I am sure to keep vandals out.

The back wall has been repaired.. I imagine there was no window here, and the wall needed strengthening.
But it looks out over a beautiful valley...

It is not as large as the White School,
and is smaller than the little one down on the corner of our road... the Admire, as we think it was called...

But they were built the same.  This little school. above, has been turned into a very nice residence, though no one lives there at present.  The front of the school and the belfry came off in a fire (there is no damage inside it is newly remodeled). 
And lastly... something new came to Calamity Acres today, to ensure that there will be no more large bills for blogging...

We have a new Hughes satellite dish.. ungainly on the roof, it means we no longer will be charged all the overages for the slow transfer of photos on the net... and we are dropping Sprint aircards.  In answer to your questions, we are at the Basic service, about 60.00 a month for this, and there are two higher (faster) levels.  We got a 3 month starter special of 29.95 a month.  Yes, there was an installation or equipment deposit.  You must sign up for two years on the contract.  So far, it seems to be working fine with one hour's use.

I have just looked at, and the temps are going into the bucket for the week.  I was putting off getting feed until Monday, but now see that the weather is calling for 40% of ice pellets.  Not knowing whether they are sticking or not, I am going to drive the ten miles over to the feed store we prefer and pick up some sheep feed and wild bird before the store closes early today.
Have a good evening!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Things We See In the Yard

A Beautiful Sunrise....

Hoarfrost, making everything look so pristine...

And tracks made in the chicken yard by a .... BABY LLAMA!

Keith caught him this morning... getting in and out this way...

We only open the gate now for us to go in and out, because Beau used to come in and eat all the chicken feed.  The chickens are used to going in and out the panel we opened up... Yankee did it when he was a cria, and now Aztec is doing it.  When he saw Keith come to open the popholes as he left for work, he calmly walked over, crouched down, and went back to Inca in the pasture! 
(Notice how often he has been coming in... I think he's developed his own taste for chicken feed! )  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Around Our Place Tonight

Do you ever come home, tired from working all day, and suddenly want to get rid of every animal on your place and wonder why on earth you are even DOING this?

That was me, tonight. 

I have a new boss, a very nice guy, but I am very, very busy now.  Usually doing chores relaxes me, it's comforting to see the animals and talk to them and walk through the chores checking on everyone.  Tonight, it was a pain.

First there was this one:

This one has tried to be the boss since the day we brought her home from Leavenworth Animal Control. First she beat up on poor old Ranger, who can hardly walk with his bad leg.
Then she lit into Gertie, the smallest one here, for coming too close to the door of the henhouse (behind Lilly). 
I have a secret weapon... a small squirt bottle which she hates!  
I watched Gertie run into the garage to hide, and took Abbey, who was calmly doing chores with me, to the house.  Then went back to find Gert.  She had managed to get her little self through the livestock fence into our neighbor's drive.  I went to the gate to get her, and she proceeded to go the other direction, and at one time, headed for the road.  (We know why the other families gave her up).  
The first break in the weather, oldest grandson Chris will be here to work for us, to string poultry wire around the two acre yard to prevent Gert from getting through. 
After I got her back, Lil would still not let her pass, or come near me.  We walked by these: 
These look innocent, but they were a row of ice pieces that had slid down off the workshop roof... I'm just glad that Keith or the dogs were not under them when they came down in a ten foot long row.
I put the dogs up in the house and came back out to finish...
Notice how Aztec's parents still protect him?  He graduated to his own bowl for feed today!
And lastly, these guys:

Still snug in their little henhouse, under their chick lamp. 
If you notice, Silka is right in the middle, to the right of the waterer, and Flicka right behind her (brown)... the three little hens have abandoned sitting for now, and I'm grateful for that.  We have had more temperate weather this week, but for some reason, I am only getting two to three eggs a day... I was getting four from this henhouse, full of very young birds.  I have had an offer from a friend to incubate some eggs in her incubator in a month or so, and am going to take her up on it, to build up our big egg layers.
I leave you tonight with a picture that I am sure all of you are facing on your places, north, south, east and west... ruts, mud and ice!
Taken at six PM, the yard light has just come on (to the right) and there was still enough light for the picture!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Strange Things in the Winter

First of all, my thanks to all of you who commented last night.  I am looking at Hughesnet, but have not had a chance to sit down and talk to Keith about it yet.  I want also to run some things by the IT guys at my office, and get their opinions.  It was suggested to me that I go to the library to post, and to do videos... but one of the things that makes blogging so nice is that I can do it in our little office here at home, surrounded by snoring pugs, and kitties.  If I had to go out to do it, I don't know if it would be the same.  I think probably not.

We have been noticing some strange things here in the last two weeks.  The weather has been cold, and yes, we had anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow, depending on where you were in the metro.  We here had about six inches of snow, with blowing making it 8 in the yard and pasture.  The weather has not been as bitter as last year at this time, when it was below zero many days, and many, many nights.  However, last night the weatherman told us this was the fourth coldest January since they started keeping records in the 1930's. 

About a week ago, Keith saw deer grazing in a pasture in the middle of the morning, while coming home from an errand.  Normally the deer are all hiding by the time true daylight is up.  That same day or shortly thereafter, I saw a coyote crossing a field on my way to work, with the sun up.  Sunday, I saw a coyote tearing at a frozen deer carcass right next to 24/40 highway as I took Nathan home to Lawrence.  I have NEVER seen a coyote feeding in the daylight before, and certainly not next to a highway, even though it is two lane.  Just tonight, Keith saw a dead coyote here on our own road as he came home from the feed store.  He commented how strange it was to see it on the road, though we sometimes see coyotes that have been hit on the highway. We hear them all around us, there are three packs... but we rarely see them in the night.  I saw another one dead in one of the fields near Stranger Creek, where it passes under 24/40,  on my way to eat, and the crows were already cleaning it up.  "God's Cleaning Crew" is what we call the crows and hawks and vultures here, because they do everyone a service cleaning up the roadways and pastures. I only comment on these things because in our six years here (and at my old home place) we have never seen the wildings come out so often in broad daylight, even last year when it was so terrible all the time for 8 weeks.  We wonder what has upset the balance of nature beyond the cold.... and we hope that this week, with the tiny thaw we are having, the wildings will be able to find feed and water.  Keith is asleep as I write this, and does not know that flurries are predicted for morning, though we are supposed to have 40's for a few days, and the snow will turn to mud and slush in the yard, so we're in for a ride this week.

The other thing that we have seen... and I didn't believe Keith the day he said first he saw it... the red-wing blackbirds are back already, almost a month before we saw them last year!  They are the harbingers of spring for us, coming even before robins.  We have now seen three at the feeders, and thought we were looking at starlings until we saw the definite patch on their wings. 

I leave you again tonight with a picture of the REAL birds feeding, after the Red Dog let them be on Sunday afternoon... and to tell you what a sap I am, we went through almost 70 pounds of bird blend because I was home all weekend, and we ended up feeding the Starling Hordes.  At least they are living in somenone else's barn this year, they have only come in our henhouse in tiny numbers... 3 or 4 so far.  Yipppeeee. as they are the World's Dirtiest Bird. 

As always, click on the picture to make it bigger and see the starlings close up! 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Short One Tonight

I need help.  We are on Sprint aircards here for internet services.  Though we live just outside (2 miles) a little country town (Tonganoxie) that has broadband services, there are none on our gravel road.  We originally had dial-up, provided by a company in Leavenworth.  Eventually, we got on Sprint. 

We have a limited amount of kbps that we can use monthly, and for the last two months, we have gone over them.  We thought originally it was my older grandson running the bill up by playing video games, but he has not been up since Thanksgiving... no, it was I... and we think loading pictures to the blog is doing it.  Some nights they take forever! I do NOT want to quit using pictures, though.

We don't even want to talk about videos!  I have some very funny ones, and in fact, started a Calamity Acres channel at YouTube, but have been hesitant to talk about it because I felt that it was unfair when I cannot add to it regularly.  Sometimes a video will load quickly, other times, a video lasting a minute will take an hour to load. 

How does everyone handle this, those of you out in the sticks as we are?  We are ten miles from a huge metropolitan area (Kansas City, on the Kansas side) but may as well be in Outer Mongolia as far as Sprint is concerned.  I investigated Hughesnet satellite today... has anyone had any experience with this?  I would love to read comments or suggestions.

I leave you tonight with a picture of the many birds gathered around our feeders yesterday afternoon... Keith tells me that with more temperate temps this week... we got to 34 this afternoon... we are facing a plunge into the freezer again next week.  I gotta tell you, it's beginning to get to me!

OH, WAIT.... that's a big red dog guarding the bird feeding station so no wild birds will get HER birdseed!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Few Thoughts for A Sunday Evening

A very, very quiet Sunday here at Calamity Acres.  I went to church yesterday evening so that I could sleep in this morning, and did.  Normally, I wake up at light, but it was so cold and I was so warm... I slept until 8:30!  The first time I had done that in months!  Even the pugs were snuggled under the covers, and neither Lil or Ranger tried to get us up to get outside.  Finally, Keith got up and filled the first buckets, and it was his coming and going that finally woke me up.  I am always worried about the birds in the little henhouse, they have a warm light to keep warm, but their water freezes up during the night.  They are the first ones I "do" in the mornings, but by the time I got to the door, Keith was already coming from their direction. 
Today, I checked on them frequently, as it was very cold, only 17 or 18 degrees, and blowing snow for an hour or so.  We did not get any additional accumulation, though, so were grateful for that. 
I spent the morning and afternoon cleaning house, and working on the ever-present bill and correspondence pile, and answering some Christmas letters we had received and set aside for lengthy answers.  Yes, real snail mail! 
It was very peaceful, with the pugs snoring, Lilly Ann under the table, and Ranger on his pad.  The kitties slept away most of the day.  Keith went to church and to a golf equipment sale, which was poorly attended both by sellers and buyers, so came home empty-handed. 
We had some more discussion about our new henhouse, which will be built out near the garden beds.  Remember that we are going to do layered-bed gardening this year, because of the success I had with my flower bed last summer.  It was built on the ground without digging, with a layer of horse-manure-laden straw from the horse stable of last winter... our little garage building.... and with other straw and dirt and manure that we layered on it.  This henhouse will house standard size hens, and they will help do the composting right next to the garden.  The yard will be fenced with six foot high fence (because of Lilly Ann) and the henhouse will look like this:
One reason for that size is we have some new windows in the workshop that will fit, and provide great ventilation for the hens.
We have also learned that "If we build it, they will come".
Here is the first plan for the interior:

We have already decided I told Keith we are not putting a roost over a pophole, so that will be re-located.
This is the first design, after all.  There are two doors, because one will go into the henyard, and the other, out the front where the chicken-herding pugs can come in and out.  They will have a ventilation thingy on the front and back, and the door we go in and out will face east. 
Our idea here, is to ramp up egg production with our current large egg-layers (Ruby, Rosemary, Libby, and Birdy) and get about six to eight more hens to lay big eggs, as opposed to the smaller bantam eggs.  We are undecided as to Rambo's fate as this point. We do not necessarily want to move him over, but he IS a good caretaker for his girls.  There will only be one rooster, and NO ONE will be allowed to go broody in this henhouse (said by the Chicken Keeper in a stentorian voice).  We are thinking that a few of the smaller hens... Rosewitha and Dovey, the gray sisters, and the two tiny Japs, and the pretty black cochin, Lady, will move with them.
The really small birds, the cochin/silkie crosses will stay in the
little henhouse.

Eventually, the large henhouse will be converted again into the goat house, and when I am retired, we will use it to house our three (3) goats, their feed, and a small milkstand where the Goatherdess can milk out of the cold winter wind. 
I close tonight with a couple of pictures of grandson Nathan, who was kind enough to crawl into the henhouse yesterday to roust the THREE hens off their eggs... he took this picture:
Flicka herself, on the left, was born on Super Bowl Sunday last year.
Silka, on the right, has sat the last four clutches of eggs... and Fluffy, the girl in the middle, was born in June, 2010, herself, and started this whole thing.  I am NOT letting them brood... I managed to get two eggs out from under them today, after Nathan got six yesterday. 
Nathan ( my bread baking grandson) resembles Justin Bieber... and I call him "Biebs" as a nickname... here he is as his look-a-like:

and as of yesterday, he went from Justin Bieber to Justin Timberlake, equally as handsome:

Here's to another new week!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another Great Book from Country Living

Okay, first let me say I'm not compensated for this book review, I just love Country Living magazine, and have for many, many years.  The years I didn't subscribe, I bought it on the newstand.  This is the January issue.
I have always dreamed that my house would be a Country Living house.... decorated as if it stepped out of the pages.  So I buy their books regularly.  I am lucky, because a dealer at an antique mall I frequent (Front Porch Antiques in Ottawa, Kansas), often offers copies of Country Living books for sale in her booth, and I have picked up many there at bargain prices.

Before Christmas, I bought this one, on Amazon, brand new:
And I have to tell you, I loved it.  I wrote Serena Thompson, one of the "Farm Chicks" a fan letter and SHE ANSWERED ME!

This is a wonderful Christmas book if anyone is looking ahead to next year:

and of course, the house at Calamity Acres looked like this at Christmas... NOT!

It was full of wonderul decorating ideas, and recipes, and just generally good Christmasy stuff.

So now I have this one, and I am showing you the ad from this month's magazine on purpose:

Restore, Recycle, Repurpose was written by Randy Florke, a designer, with Nancy J. Becker.
This is a very good design book, in a pleasingly plain vernacular, by someone who obviously is not high-on-the-hog. 
The reason I show you the ad from the magazine is so you can see the title on brown in the middle.  I RIPPED THIS OFF, thinking it was a wrapper!!!!  DON'T DO THIS!!!!
Point made (laugh)
Inside are lots of good ideas, even for someone like me who has a very shabbily unchic house
I don't have a keeping room or mud room, but if I had, I would want it to look like this

The designs are not too frou-frou (frou-frou has it's place, but not here in our house, I'm afraid)

I had to show you the "pink" retro kitchen, though, just because it was so unique!
In two years, we hope to remodel the interior of this small house that we love so well.  It is approximately 1000 square feet, and was a dwelling place for workers who picked here on this strawberry farm before it became a home.  Several families have lived here, but it was cobbled together by people who were not great builders.  The family who proceeded us here, a father and three sons, were not attached to this land as we have become, it was merely a stopping place for them.
For four years we fought a leaky roof, until replacing it last year, the first big project.  We are continuing our outdoors projects, but will soon begin to concentrate also on replacing the things we need to, indoors.  We need to replace all the ceilings, and completely replace the soiled, stained rugs throughout.  We have decided to go with tile, it is easier to keep clean with the animals and muddy feet. We have begun replacing light fixtures, and will eventually paint all walls and replace the windows.  Our miniscule kitchen, six (literally) cabinets and a very tiny sink, will be expanded around one wall and I will finally be able to keep food in the kitchen instead of the steel pantry in the laundry room. 
I have picked up some good ideas from the above book for inexpensive things we can do to bring the country look to our "new" house, when we are ready.  If you have a chance to look at it, or buy it, I would recommend it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Snow

Last night's snow... yesterday's snow... though we are expecting a light dusting tomorrow, and then a heavier snow on Sunday.  For those of you in the far northern climes reading this, I know you are laughing! 
I missed work, because my new car was not high enough to clear the eight inches of snow in the driveway and became stuck.  I had already requested a vacation day but got cleaned up and tried to go.  That's Keith trying to get it out.
Looking back towards the llama barn
And out towards the gate after I shoveled for two hours while Keith went to get sand

Lil, giving her approval. 
The dogs were wild to get out, and ran up and down the cleared drive as fast as they could for a while.  I shoveled a path to the pasture, and a path to the henhouse... it's just a pain carrying buckets while you dive through snow. 
It was a beautiful day, as you can see in the pictures, but what a way to burn a vacation day!
We have decided any new vehicles we get from here on in will be four wheel drive. 
We have decided we'll be getting a blade for the John Deere yard tractor!
I was in the henhouses frequently... and here is what I found in the little henhouse:
Not one, but TWO.
I climbed in through the back pophole and got the eggs.  They were NOT happy. I've never had hens go so broody in the middle of winter.
And last, another picture of the beautiful Angel, taken this afternoon.

I absolutly love this young pullet
Book reviews tomorrow night if I can still move my arms to type after all the shoveling!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (almost)

Gertie on the porch, with one of the ubiquitous Homer buckets
Abby has a taste of snow off the birdseed bag Keith had just emptied into the can.

Almost six inches at 8 PM, Lilly (in the right hand side of the picture) is on her way out by the light of the yard lamp to check and see what Keith is doing in the shop (practicing his putting).
10:32 and all is well at Calamity Acres and it's STILL SNOWING!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Little of This and That

Well, we are about to descend into the snowbanks again here in Tonganoxie, starting tomorrow.  The driveway has just turned into a fine sheen of ice, so I guess we are lucky that the snow will cover it.  We had a bit of thaw yesterday, and could actually see gravel in the ruts of the drive, but they turned to ice at nightfall. It meant that the snowboots came back out, as we are both afraid of a fall and breaking a limb.  I was on crutches a few years ago for weeks, and it is not fair to Keith if it happens again!

We are expecting some frigid nights in the next week, so will be back at it, making sure our little birds in the little henhouse have good water at least morning and evening.  They did not get outside today, we are still worried that the tiny ones will not be able to get back up the long ramp and inside.   Keith had to net one the other night, on one of the few days they have gone out.
This picture shows how we block the doorway, so that young chicks can't get out freely until they are able to jump up and over.
The chickens currently residing inside the little henhouse are bantam crosses, half silkie, half frizzle cochin bantam, called "Genevieves" by a friend.  They are nice little birds, and they also have a little Old English Gamebird thrown in some of them, and a little Japanese bantam.  Several of the new little birds are very, very small, almost smaller than the Old English birds.  I like the little birds, and yes, you can eat their eggs too!
Some of the current hatch... they were born in September.  You can see the silkie influence by the topnots on several, and the black bird looks just like her mother, who I am sure was our cochin bantam Blackie.  The pretty brown bird is silkie and cochin, and out of Flicka, one of the three mamas that raised these.  These birds are full grown, but very, very small... they have been breeding down for three years now.  The little cockerel on the roost is full grown! 
And THIS is one of the four birds left from last June's hatch who has GONE BROODY!
I have tried for two nights to get her off the eggs... I was able to get one out last night but she is guarding the rest with life and limb.  We can't reach into the corners of the little henhouse (we are going to rectify that by cutting two cleanout holes when it gets warmer).... so on Saturday, I will have Nathan climb in through the back pophole and lift her up, and get all the eggs that have been laid this week by the four hens laying in there!  ARGGGHHHH!  This is NOT the time of year to be hatching chicks! 
To be fair, her endocrine system is probably off, as I have had to run a warm light in there since September, first because the chicks were so little, and now because of the cold.  It's a red chick light, but still, it affects the hen's sitting and egg-laying.
So far, she is the only one going down on eggs... we are hoping the other four grown hens in there don't get the same idea!
Tomorrow night, it's book review time!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Beginning of Another Week

Church this morning, and then home to fix breakfast for Grandson Nathan, who spent the night with us.  We had a quiet morning, since it was only 14 degrees out.  After church Keith went to the gym to work out, and then to Cabelas to look at vaccum packing machines towards getting one for us this year (whether from Cabelas or somewhere more inexpensive, we hope).  While there, he happened to speak to a lady in camping who used a vaccum packer to keep produce and meat at her own place, and they had a lengthy discussion about different things such as butchering chickens (she had done 300 at their last butchering day) and making jerky.  Keith got a wealth of knowledge from her... but when I asked her name, his answer was "I don't know!"  I'll go over myself some day this week  or next weekend, and try to figure out who it was... I have more questions about she is doing things at her place and hope she is willing to answer a few.

Other than that, it was a very quiet day, and I was glad to stay in out of the cold for once, until it was time to do afternoon chores.  I had let the chickens go out for a while, as it warmed up a little... but we are expecting two days this coming week of bitter, bitter cold.  As Keith says... it's January!

Here, however, for everyone to see... is the Hope of Spring.... on the maple tree over our deck.... BUDS!

But lastly, I would like to thank each and every one of you who has commented on our blog.... who has taken the time to tell me what you think about something I have written.  I love to share these things with you, and with those folks across the world, from Thailand to Russia, from Slovenia to Great Britain, and all points in between.  I love to share our lives with you, as you all share with everyone... the world is a wonderful and very small place, in the end.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Old Pictures

A quiet Saturday, because I was able to get errands done the last three days while off in the afternoons.  I spent the morning at the vet, with follow-ups for Gertie's eyes and Jenny's upper respiratory infection.  It is lingering on, and we were advised to keep up the "spa treatments", the humidifier treatments in the bathroom where she spends an hour in the humidified air. For the first time that I can remember, the vet's office actually turned away people by 11 AM in their walk-in clinic, since only Dr. Holly was on duty.  We had managed to get there early enough that we were able to be seen.  Keith prefers appointments, and stays away from walk-in day, but I wanted to get the two little girls checked. 

I do wonder, however, why people persist in bringing their pets unleashed or even worse, in the case of cats, unkenneled into the vet.  I watched an elderly couple squirm with two half-grown kittens while three very big dogs barked and yiped at them for 30 minutes, the kittens petrified and scratching and climbing all over them while we all waited.  Jenny laid patiently in her little travel kennel, used to the trips back and forth, and resigned to being poked by Dr. Holly. 

Enough of the bandstand, I'm sorry.

I have been looking at old pictures tonight.  I buy them when I see them on my antiqueing expeditions.  I love to wonder about who the people were, and what they did the second the bulb flashed and they were able to go about their business, interrupted by the photographer. 

I suspect, from the style of hat on the girl's head, that this is from the early thirties.  Look at the collie dog sitting adoringly by her knees, and how proud they are of their three hard-working horses.  I think a lot of people had grade draft horses like these... you would almost think they were carriage horses, but look at the hooves on the one nearest the camera.  Was it their dad who was taking the picture of his children and his four proudest possessions, his workhorses and his dog?

This picture was obviously torn out of a family album.  I can barely make out writing on it's back... naming the participants, and even the shepherd dog (Jackie)  so proudly sitting on the chair in the middle.  Is the lady on the right expecting?  I can make out from the torn backing (I am afraid to pull it off for fear of damaging the photo) that it was a new windmill. 
Same family, with a large barn in the back, and horse and buggy proudly displayed, out of the same album, and I am afraid, again, to tear the backing from the picture, though I can see writing.
The back of this picture reads: "I took this at ten o'clock at night by flash light".
The girl in the middle is especially pretty.

The children in this photo, sadly fading, are holding a baby rabbit. 
This says:
"A picture of our house on the farm, from the front".  What a wonderul old house it was, with vines growing up the porch arbor, windows to bring in the light, and shade tree in the front yard.

And this, my favorite, two little boys, sitting on their porch swing.  Where did they live?  One is barefoot, and one with shoes on, but clearly appear to be brothers.  Lace curtains hang in the window... and a wicker chair on the porch.  Did their mother or father take this picture while they held still for a moment on a summer's day?  They were clearly laughing... and I wonder if they got up and ran off after holding still long enough for the picture.  There is no name on the back to identify them, but they were lovely little boys.

I hope you enjoyed this look through the past with me.  As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them, so you can see the details.