Sunday, July 31, 2011

Another Blast of Heat

Okay, even though the heat is not bothering me that much personally, it is getting VERY tiring, because it makes everything outside ten times worse.  We need weed-eating done, but right now, I am trying to put that on the low-priority list, because it is just too darn hot.  I have five gallon perennials left to plant, but I have not done them, either... .too hot.

So far, we have not lost any animals.

Nathan spent the weekend with Grandma, here he is cutting up in the car.  Kind of eerie to see how he will look as a young man!

Inca spent some quality time at the pool.
(Like an hour!)

Nate did some serious snacking and Nickolodean watching while I made pickles.
In the evening (and 104 degree heat) we went to the T Bones game, and saw members of the Kansas City A's be introduced to the crowd.  Right here there are still some empty seats... they soon filled up.  We sit eleven rows behind home plate, so there is usually a breeze.  The A's played at Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, and were the professional team here in the 50's and 60's.  Charlie Finley, their owner, brought the Beatles here in 1964, their first "stadium" date.  I read later that they could not believe he had offered them $25,000 for one date.  They played 33 minutes.  I WAS THERE IN THE 27TH ROW ON THE FIELD.  When they started "Kansas City" the crowd went wild, and a girl on the end of my row fainted right off her folding chair onto the ground. 
Yes, your blogger was a BEATLEMANIAC. 

We left at the bottom of the fourth as baseball is not Nate's thing, and I was fretting about getting my juveniles in.  We came home, did that, and were glad to get back in the air conditioning!

Today, Sunday, I had a visit from Melinda and Ken, Melinda of
Country Dreaming, 
but I am going to have to get someone at work to take a picture before I can do the post. My brand new Nikon camera appears to be broken, AND OF COURSE, I HAVE MANAGED TO LOSE THE RECEIPT.
I'll get a duplicate at Best Buy this week, and send the camera off to be fixed by Nikon.  In the meantime, Keith has my little Canon in Cancun with him to take pictures of his daughter's wedding tomorrow.  (After the ceremony, of course).  I may have to go get an inexpensive camera so I can keep track of what's going on in the furnace farm here.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

At the Fair

I grew up in Wyandotte County, Kansas, and lived there all my life until I married Keith and he took me away to Texas for ten weeks, and Illinois for a year and a half.  Back home to Kansas we came, settling in Leavenworth County.  Wyandotte County had a wonderful fair, which I attended with my kids for many, many years.  A carnival, a great rodeo arena, all the Four H stuff you can imagine, and tents full of crafters and a building full of sewed goods, baked goods, canned goods... you get the picture.

Five years ago, the Wyandotte County Fairgrounds was sold to the family who owns Schlitterbahn Waterparks, and they commenced to building a waterpark on our fairgrounds.  One of the promises made was that they would help finance a new fairgrounds.  Many people said the fair would go away now, because the county has become so very developed.  For three years, the fair was held in the parking lot of the now-closed Woodlands Race Track, and then for the last two, they rented our fairgrounds here in Leavenworth County for the 4H fair, and no open classes.  My sister won numerous prizes in the "old days" at the Wyandotte County fair, in open crochet and knitted goods.

I saw Garth Brooks twice at the Wyandotte County Fair.  Because he had signed when he was up-and-coming, he honored his contract though he had become a big star, and I have always admired him for it!
I saw many other famous and not so famous people there, too.  In the fall, the 4H kids put on a haunted stable, and it was so very much fun for the kids, including my own.  We would go through the haunted stable and then sit and roast weinies over big fire pits. 

So tonight, the Wyandotte County Fair was being held at their new location.. it is still in the building stages, and was a shadow of it's former self, but I had fun walking around the fairgrounds with friend Valerie. There were crowds of people there, so maybe there is hope for the fair yet.  In two weeks we have the Leavenworth County Fair that is a few miles from our home... and just after that, Keith and I are driving to Sedalia for the Missouri State Fair (my favorite) and to DesMoines for the Iowa State Fair.

Let the Fair Food Eating begin!

Valerie admiring the 4H prize winning  dresses

Grand Champion Market Steer

I loved this arrangement.  The lady who made it was the attendant in the room (these were in trailers for this year) and told us that she had picked it all from her pasture.  It was lovely.
My pictures are rather dark, I am still not used to the new camera, and I don't think I had it on the right setting!
You surely don't think I'd miss the poultry section, do you?  This rooster had a naked neck, and Valerie thought something was wrong with him!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


If you click on this photo to enlargen it you will see that your stupid half-blind blogger
drove into a roll of fencing wire that has been laying there for a year and a half like she didn't know it was there.
Remember, her husband was a soldier for 24 years.

Need I tell you that the air got pretty blue?


Bolt cutters in hand, my hero got my beloved mower loose. 

 I took a picture of some wildflowers in the fence row as I went by:

And this little girl was glad to see her mommy come in the door when I got finished!
A little while later, she wanted to go out, Keith was still outside.  As I let her out, she began barking wildly.  Soon, Keith came in to bring her to me... he got worried when she ran at the fence... coyotes were in our neighbor Troy's back yard, and yipping wildly (he has a park-like backyard of ten acres with a pond) --- Gertie heard them and ran at the fence and Keith was afraid she would slip through.  She truly IS the bravest little dog!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Llama Air Conditioning

I thought everyone would enjoy seeing how the llamas cool off in the evening.  Inca stands or lays in her pool, and the others lay right next to it.  The ground around it is damp and cool, and is shaded most of the afternoon.  Where the pool is poured out, the ground is pretty wet.  I also wet down around the tank, which is behind me in this photo, in a corner under the walnut tree.  The hens and Aztec like to lay next to the tank which stays pretty cool.  I am still surprised that Aztec doesn’t follow her mom’s actions and get into the pool herself.  Tony actually looked as if he were going to step in tonight, but instead, kushed right up against it.  If you enlargen the photo, you will see his wool on his neck is hanging in the water.  I filled the pool so full, I think Inca hesitated to lay down, so I bucketed out part of it. 
This post is done with Windows Live Writer.  You can set up your blog in it, and VERY EASILY include pictures.  I am also going to try a video and see if I can get one to load this way.  I am not sure how big these pictures are going to be on the blog when they arrive.  I thought I would give it a shot, as I can load pictures from the camera very easily into Windows Live Photo Gallery, and hence, to the blog. 
For those of you who commented on Teeny’s babies last night, my grateful thanks.  The three little ones are doing well, and Matt… Teeny abandoned the fourth egg, which DID feel heavy.  It was stone cold by the time I got home, so I took it out of the cage. 
Tonight I cut the grass weeds in the little henyard.  Because I let them get tall, the birds have some shade during these hot days, but it also makes it hard to keep track of them.  As you know, the juveniles have been roosting in the maple tree that has been growing in the middle of the yard for the last four years.  We have deliberately let it grow, to provide shade.  I went about my business filling water bowls, etc., and then went inside to fill Teeny’s waterer and the main waterer.  I am not sure why, but I stepped into the closet and discovered the half-eaten carcass of a bird  I went to get a shovel to get it out… and discovered it was one of the 5 month old Ameracauna pullets.  I had hoped these pretty birds would join with the Rocks and the Welsummers to be my big egg layers.  All that was left of her was part of the torso and the wings.  No head, no legs and rear.  I suspect raccoon, not possum, as they will take heads and nothing else.  I had found a pile of feathers by the fence, and for a while, thought it was one of the old roosters, but if there is one thing I have learned IT’S NEVER AN OLD ROOSTER.  Always a hen in lay or pullet.  Several of the pullets had chosen to roost in their little pen last night, and I suspect now I know why.  We caught them, Keith and I, and imprisoned them in their pen, and believe me, they were upset.  Several flew at the tarps on top to try to get out.  I hope I have not made them sitting ducks for the coon, and may go out there in a while to check.  My guess, though, is he is striking just before dawn.  I thought it odd, though, that it had gotten the pullet out of the tree, and taken it INSIDE to eat it… but the poor bird have have run up the open ramp into the pophole in desperation. 
I may be investing in a night cam from Cabelas just to see.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yayy for Teeny!

And the teeny, tiny babies!

Three of the four hatched, and appear to be healthy. Teeny is in her element.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Gratefulness

First off, it rained.  Thank you, Lord.

I sat on the porch at 6 AM (remember, I went to church yesterday afternoon so that I could SLEEP LATE) but was so happy to hear the thunder and see lightening, that I went out to watch. The yardlight was still on.  I filmed it, but of course... the video would not load.
At midmorning, I had a visit from these guys, bringing big brother 
Nathan home to Grandma's
As you see, the dogs ADORE them. And they love the dogs.  I'm so glad that two of my grands took after my heart!  Paiton is sitting on the steps Hannah uses to go up and down to the dog couch.
When they came, I was just getting ready to do this:

Yes, I cheat.  I was channeling Suzanne McMinn but as Keith said.... "Use the Packets, it's faster!"  Uh, you see, Keith made pickles last year using Mrs.Wages, and they were darn good.  We got seven pints of sweet pickles, and six of dill.  One of the sweets did not seal all the way, so it's going into the fridge.  Nathan took a pint of dills home when he went.
Next week (or one evening this week) I'll make bread and butter.
While I made pickles, Nathan did this:
He does not have cable or satellite in the little town where they live (at their house) so he takes advantage when he comes to our house. He also has hay fever (we suspect) and was headachy and suffering. 

Then I took Nathan home, and noted that it was 13 degrees cooler than yesterday!
When I got back, I told Keith I was going to do chores, then cut grass for a while, then fix us a good dinner.
When I went out to the henhouse, I saw something wonderful and ran back to the house to make Keith come out.
Folks, this hen is six years old, and a Japanese bantam cross, born here at Calamity Acres.  To my memory, she has never gone broody or hatched anything.  In front of her were two tiny puffballs, already dry, (one has gone back under her wing).  Neither made a sound.  There are two other tiny eggs under her, but I don't know that they will hatch.  In contrast, the dog dish I had her food in LOOMED over them.  I removed it, spread a little bit of her feed on the hay, and put the ubiquitous frisbee in the cage with plenty of chick feed in it, and then set the waterer (a chick waterer) down on the wire, off it's brick. 
Yayyyy Teeny!!!!
We could not get over the minute size of these babies, and both of us went back in several times to see them.  We pray they make it.

Here I am with my new PASTEL Homer bucket that Keith got me today!  Lovely chore clothes, too!
Admit it, you want these clothes!  Especially the shoes!

Super nifty new hose hookup that Keith did for me yesterday on the pump that we have NEVER used and only discovered in May was STILL WORKING. NO MORE HAULING 100 FEET OF HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY HOSE!   All I have to do is turn on the direction I want, lift the pump handle.... and the hoses are sitting RIGHT WHERE I NEED THEM. 

It's 9:30 as I write this, and Keith is out closing up the shop after he worked on the new henhouse in the horrible heat yesterday, and for a while today.  We had hoped to lift the first wall tonight, but the he went in to rest as I cut grass, and fell asleep.  While I am typing, I am listening to intermittent thunder in the west... there is a severe thunderstorm warning the next county over.  We expect more extreme heat this week... Keith is prepared to stop as much as he can to do water...and I am grateful to him, and to our Lord who gave us a day of respite in the middle of the heat wave.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Another Baking Day

Folks, we're trying to be brave about this, but it was another blistering day here in Kansas.  Even the frozen jugs are not helping, they melt within an hour, it seems.  Dawn was warm, but about 2:30 PM a breeze came up for a while and lessened the animal's suffering.  Friend Jill tells me that her parent's neighbors (farming people) have already lost 10-12 cattle in the heat. 

The clouds are a tease.
Tonight there are some intermittent pop-up storms up in northwest Missouri, above us.
Tomorrow, there is a 40% chance of rain here.
I'll believe it when I see it.
I'm ready to do the rain dance.

These girls are sick of being in all the time, too.  It's dangerous for pugs to go out in the heat and humidity, because of their "smooshed-in" brachycephalic muzzles. 
These two youngest of our dogs are raring to go when we get home in the evening, because they spend their days like this.
Lilly Ann is the only one who ventures out for long in this heat.

This guy is getting along so far, after the scare two weeks ago.  I am watching him carefully. 
I ran water in Inca's pool quite deeply today, good, cold well water.  This afternoon she laid in the pool a long time, and gave herself a good soaking.  I am very surprised that Aztec has not followed her mom's example and begun laying in the pool, but I am still hoping she will.
I went to church this afternoon at 5 so I can get up in the morning a little later, but get some outside chores done before the heat of the day hits.  This morning I made cookies for the grands and took them to them, then ran back downtown to get gyros for Keith and me for lunch.  We have a sentimental liking for gyros, of all things.... we ate them at a favorite restaurant in Illinois when Keith was finishing his Army career.
They were so good, and satisfied us, so that we did not have to cook tonight.  I do have a nice dinner planned for tomorrow, minute steaks, fresh corn, potatos from our garden, and nice rolls. 
Keep cool!

Friday, July 22, 2011

What Happens at Night

Butch hops up on his roost... it's too hot in the doghouse.
The babies go up in their tree.

And now I see why, and don't blame them.
The scourge of the henyard. 

I know they have to eat, too.  He wasn't the only one.
As soon as I put the waterer down with cool water, mice appeared and jumped up onto the side to drink.

Everyone stay cool if you can!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thoughts on Blogging

I feel like I should say a few things about blogging tonight, because I have been thinking a lot about it.
Mostly, I blog to keep a record of things that are happening here around our home, so that we can remember things better.  I have some family and friends that keep in touch this way, and other readers come and go.  Sometimes I open up blogs and find two or three hundred followers, and am starstruck for a while, but the fact is, I mostly blog to keep a diary. 

I love reading other people's blogs.  I love to read the blogs of those who are doing all the things that I feel I SHOULD be doing... canning, preserving, cooking great meals, decorating, sewing (if I could).... but I read them to get ideas that may or may not be put into use.

I read horse blogs because I miss riding so much, and miss the smell of a horse and the sounds of a horse.  It was why we had Beau, the palomino pony... he was a remembrance of things past, and a wonderful old boy.

I read travel blogs because I have lived in Kansas my entire life except for ten weeks in Texas and a year and a half in Illinois.  That's it.  I have traveled very, very little, and have never seen the ocean. 
I can read and feel like I am riding the Penines in Great Britain and read Cotswold Peeps and feel like I am exploring ancient churches.  I look at blogs from other countries because I know I am unlikely to go there at this point in life.  I'm happy at home, though, and always glad to be here at the end of the day, and there are few who can truly say that. 

I have been worrying over doing too many chicken posts and too many garden posts, but the fact is, it's that time of year.  We are under the dome of heat with the other 33 states that are currently suffering, and it is an almost-full-time job to keep everyone going. 
Tonight we are freezing into chunks of ice 12 gallon jugs of water out in our chest freezer to put in the llama trough during the day, and in the water fortexes so the chickens have cool water daily if we can't get home.  We'll hide some frozen water bottles in the shade where they can rest up against them, the way we used to do for our bunnies when we had them.  If it weren't for a suggestion from friend Jill, I would never have remembered it.  This will ease our minds in case Keith is unable to stop at mid-day to check on everyone, as he has been doing.  As I said, it is hard to work full time and take care of everything/one too.

Before I married again so late in life, I had been a single mom for 34 years.  (Yes, I was a child bride.)  I had a five acre place of my own, where I kept chickens, took care of someone else's horses, and had too many dogs and cats than were good for me.  But to keep this enterprise going, it took two jobs, and sometimes, three.  I would rise early, feed and water, go to work, go to work, and come home late and do chores again.  It was wearing, I gotta tell you.

It's still wearing, and I'm down to one job!

I admire all of you who are doing so much on your little farms, while still holding down a full time job and all the other responsiblities that go with that.   I admire the fact that you take time to show your lives to us, and share all the happiness and sadness with your friends and readers, us, the people like you.  I admire those of you who are crusading for causes, and those of you who are making sure your families are fed well, and preserving for the future.  I know Keith and I could feed ourselves if it came right down to it, and it's a good feeling.

Mostly, I am glad that I share the same kind of feelings with so many other people around the nation and the globe... to those of you who are reading this blog in Russia, in Slovenia, in all the countries of southeast Asia where you have stopped to read about tiny Tonganoxie, thank you.  I truly mean that from the bottom of my Kansas heart.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beauty in the Heat

Despite the extreme heat we have been having, there is still beauty all around us:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

How You Gonna Keep Em Down on the Farm?

After they've seen Paree?
I got the porcelain in, after getting on my small step-ladder.  I gave up on the rest.
There are TWO of Twelve in the little pen tonight, and one was mad to be there.
I'm hoping the owls don't see or smell them.

On the bright side, Buffy slipped back in with the other birds while I was doing chores.  She was able to get up on the lower roost, so I left her in with them.  If I hear her screaming when I do chores in the morning, she'll go back in the feed room for a few more days, but frankly, I think it will do her good to be with her buddies.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Hurt Hen

Thursday night when I got home, I gave the birds their breadstore treats, and began watering.  Finally I sat down for a minute in the heat, and watched them.  As I sat, all of the sudden a bird screeched in pain, very loudly.  I could not figure out where it came from.  I got up and started looking along the fence, thinking that it came from the pasture.  I am no longer letting Rambo and what's left of his flock run in the pasture, as Butch and his two girls are out there. 

The noise sounded again, and I found Buffy, my Polish hen, caught in the fence behind the weeds.  She had managed to get her long toes caught in the chicken wire, fore and aft.  She was in pain, hanging there, and I thought almost dead.  When I lifted her to try to work the leg loose, she screamed again.  Finally I got her loose and put her down for a minute.

I honestly thought she was dying. 
I picked her up and took her around to the front of the big henhouse, and put her in a clean cat carrier for Keith to take care of.
30 minutes later, he went out to put her down.  When I put her in the carrier, she rolled to her side, and I thought I had gotten to her too late.  When Keith went to take care of her, she was sitting up, or trying to, in the carrier! 
He lifted her out, and we put her on the floor of the big henhouse feed room, lately vacated by Butch and his girls, as Teeny is still in the nursing cage trying to hatch her four little eggs.
Here is how she looked the next day:
She is staring longingly at Rambo.
I did let her in for one minute, but when he got on top of her she screamed in pain again, so back out she came. She lays there and watches her friends.  She is walking better, and I am so very glad we did not put her down.  Her leg and wing are hurt, though.

You can see in this picture that she is holding her wing off to one side, but we don't think it is broken.  We are watching her carefully, and hope that within a few days she will be well enough to put back in with the flock.  Rambo only has four big hens now, Libby, Birdy, Ruby and Buffy.  The little hens left in the big henhouse stick with the three little old roosters, One, Two and Three.  I am hoping praying that the juveniles start roosting in the big henhouse, now that everyone is co-existing together during the day.  It will make things easier in the winter.
When I went out this morning, I found Muffy and Bitty sitting on top of the little henhouse, and three birds came down from a tree in the big henyard, all juveniles.  They don't have any fear of predators of the night but I can't protect them from owls if they are not inside.
Keith found Butch's two girls in the yard today when he came home to water at mid-day.  Thank heavens Lilly Ann was in!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Hot Saturday

I know it's hot wherever you are reading this too, if you are in the U.S..  I don't remember any summer being quite so wet and hot... or dry and hot, depending on where you are. 
Nathan and I decided to make the best of it, and made a trip to the City Market, in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.
I had not been there in years, though used to go early on Saturday mornings when I lived closer, meeting a friend, shopping for produce, and having breakfast.  It was a nice way to start the weekend.
It is much more gentrified now, no one bringing their dogs into the crowd, or vagrants digging through dumpsters.  There is a lovely park next to it (new to me) and security prevalent everywhere.
Still the same good produce, and people hawking their wares, but twice the number of restaurants, with a very good ethnic blend.

As you can see by the historical sign in the new park, it is a very old gathering place for this city.
Parts are covered
And parts are only roofed.
These ladies, from Huns Gardens in Kansas City, Kansas, were making a killing with their beautfiul cut flower arrangements... I saw many, many people carrying them.
Nathan and I had fresh-squeezed lemonade, and bought pickling cukes (only to find ours are about to come in), some peppers,
and some wonderful corn so sweet that Keith and I had part of an ear raw. 

Besides shopping, lots of folks were visiting and eating.
I stopped at a restaurant on the way out, and bought a gyro to eat later.  With it came hummus and pita, and it was very, very good.

Here is Nathan, manfully adjusting the very heavy sack of corn, 13 ears for 5.00, before schlepping it to the car which was parked 3 blocks away in the nearly 100 degree heat already!
That corn weighed 30 pounds by the time we got it to the car, but boy, was it worth it!  I sent some home with Sherie and the boys this afternoon.
After we took care of the animals for round two of watering, and Christopher had finished weed-eating with frequent breaks, we all cleaned up and went to the movies in Lawrence.  Chris met a friend and saw Transformers, and Nathan and I saw Harry Potter, and we highly recommend it!  It was such a nice end to a hot summer day! Keith finished up chores so I could have a nice evening with the grands.  Thanks, Honey! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Look at Your Own Risk

Okay, I need to tell you all up front I had another back injection today, and this was the first one that was truly painful.  It pretty much sapped the heck from me, and I spent the day in bed with Hannah, while Keith, God bless him, checked on the animals and did the mid-day watering in the heat.  I was still pretty worn out when the grandkids got here tonight, the two oldest are going to help us over the weekend.  I am treating them to Harry Potter tomorrow in grateful thanks.  (But Chris is earning money by working hard!)

So Sherie, their mom, my ex-daughter in law, dropped them off after work, and stayed to have some dinner.  She then went out with me to pull the very heavy hose to help me do the evening watering, and I was so very grateful to her.  I pretty much directed while she did most of it, and I can't thank her enough.  She also took our zucchini home to make several loaves of zucchini bread tomorrow, and will give me one when she gets the boys on Sunday morning.  Chris is out cutting grass which I usually do on Friday night, and Nathan is in here with me, but going to collect the rest of the eggs when we go out soon.

Sherie took this in the little henyard.  Please excuse the chore clothes and my appearance, as I was in bed most of the day. This is such a funny picture that I had to post it.  Sherie was shocked when the little cockerel flew at us, and she frankly was ready to run.  Then she DID run up to the house to get the camera, laughing as she went.  She thought it was very funny, and as soon as she said "Maybe you could teach him to talk"... he began making chirping noises. 

Addendum:  I tried to upload the video for over an hour, and it would not.

I am going to show you a picture of what was happening while we filmed.  I'll try again tomorrow to upload the video, but I think the new camera may not be the right kind of videos that Blogger will accept.
I look lovely slouched in my dirty old chair with my chore clothes on, but in truth, Sherie did all the chores.
This little cockerel that I STILL haven't named regularly flies up on me now to get his evening treat.