Sunday, September 30, 2012

Late Sunday

Sunday evening, after a trip to Garnett again to take Nate home to his mom after his weekend here in the city.
It was a busy week, and Keith has been working steadfastly on the new henhouse between watching bits and pieces of the Ryder Cup this weekend.

The steps for the east side of the henhouse were layed and made.  There will be a railing after they are finished... and a railing around the deck, with a sitting area on it. 
Both doors are now hung, though the hardware is not on yet.  The deck, or floor, of the henhouse has been treated, and we are going to lay lineoleum over it tomorrow night.
Keith will be gone for the rest of the week for work, so things will come to a halt for a few more days, but we Keith is  pushing to finish it so we can move the birds in a week or so.
Color has started to show on the lanes near our house.  I jumped out of the car on my way home - this is a mile or so down the road, on a lane that connects two roads.  There are no houses, just pastures, along this section of road.
Spots of color still in the flower gardens, too... so we are still enjoying them.  After last week's business, I hope to get some weeding , some mulching, and some branch-cutting done while Keith is gone. 
We can't tell if this handsome guy lost two of his harem or not on Friday night.  We know two hens managed to get out into the pasture in the dark, but a quick walk-around yesterday did not find any piles of feathers, etc.  And darnit... they all move so fast I have not been able to count them.  They got the message though, and last night and tonight, the juveniles (of whom Legs is one)... all put themselves to bed in the big henhouse without a problem.
Farmdog Abby says Goodnight and have a good night's sleep!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Oddest Gardening Year

I wandered around in the garden tonight, too tired to do anything.  With grandson Chris's help on Thursday, I actually got the last of the perennials that had been sitting on our deck all summer planted!  Yippeee!
Here are some pictures I took of the vegetables, though...

Carrots are coming up again.
Onions are greening up, but I picked a bunch of these.
The tomatos are even putting out new growth... the one next to this is not only blooming, but there are six or seven tomatos growing on one side of the plant. 
What a year.  The herbs still look great, and several of them are re-growing, too.
On the other hand, I think this picture just about says it all for our century walnut tree:
Half of the tree has died now, and we are getting worried about it going over in a storm, as it has a fairly hollow lower trunk. The days of wood companies coming to your house even for black walnut trees are gone, so we are going to have to find some money to have this grand old girl taken down.
I made two more apple crisps with apples given to us by our neighbor.  Most were windfalls, and I cut the bad spots out.  We got a big pan for us, and another big pan for son Jim and his family for dinner tonight.  I'm hoping with what's left I can make one more in the morning to give to Nathan to take home for him and his mom. 
Here is what was really going on this afternoon:
Gertie convinced her daddy that they should watch the Ryder Cup!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Monday's Post

On Monday, I had to make a decision.  This little guy, Dandy, was having a bad time.

He's in the nursing cage here, though he spent his entire life in the little henhouse.
You see, he was the only survivor of last year's hatchings in the little henhouse. Dandy and one other chick survived, and the hens killed all the rest.  The other chick that lived turned out to have a misshapen beak, and finally died after a month or so.  This little guy lived, but never crowed.  He lived in the shadows of the little henhouse, never coming outside in the sun.  I always thought he was a pretty little thing, and often called him The Rooster Who Did Not Crow.
Finally, after we re-homed the two big roos last summer, Dandy ventured outside for the first time.
It was good to see him wander around in the little henyard.  The only rooster was Handsome, the partridge cochin, and the very small bantams that were put in that yard.  For a while, he and Handsome led the hens around, and I noticed that he began crowing... but only crowed for a while.
Soon, he was silent again.
Two weeks ago, I started watching him.
That is he at the forefront.  I had to go back to August 26th to find a picture of him outside and walking. That's the other little adult rooster, Handsome, facing him, (the dark bird).  
I noticed last Sunday evening that he was under the henhouse, and was not moving around much. I watched him, and realized he was pulling himself around on his breastbone.  I reached under and picked him up (he never protested) and put him in the henhouse.  For the next day and a half, I put water and feed in front of him, because when I stood him up, his legs did not appear to hold him.  Yes, he had scaly leg mite, which I began treating... but no, something else was wrong.  His legs literally didn't seem to be able to hold him up. 
Finally, after watching him all day Monday and keeping him near feed and water, I realized it was just not working.  I may have been able to do something else if I had been home all week, but I was leaving, and neither Chris nor Kathy knows anything about chickens other than how to feed and water them.  He was not able to stand at all on Monday, as you can see in the top picture.
Keith and I talked, and the decision was made to euthanize him. 
Keith put him down at the bottom of the pasture, and the next morning, his body was gone.
Now, tonight, we have two of the black pullets who escaped the henyard after dark, and have disappeared into the pasture.  The moon is high and full, and I suspect we won't be seeing them again. 
It all goes with taking care of livestock, but it's not a pleasant part of it.  Keith and I have never shirked from our duty though, and believe it is too much to expect an animal for which we are responsible to suffer because we can't make a decision for them.  It's easy for me, I don't have to do it... and I admire Keith for being able to do the right thing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ma and Pa Go to Branson

Well, the blog has been quiet this week, as I failed to pack early enough, so did not have a post on Monday night.  We left early Tuesday for Branson, Missouri... and our two-night stay at the Chateau on the Lake.

That's our Castle um... hotel at the top of the beautifully-landscaped butterfly garden on it's cliff at the top of the STEEP parking lot.  Everything there was STEEP. 
Did I mention I'm scared of heights?
The view from the balcony at the back of the hotel was very rewarding.
That's Table Rock Lake in the background, behind the outdoor swimmin' hole and the tennis courts.
Lest you think we are too hi-falutin'... we went to see the Baldknobbers on Tuesday night and LOVED the show!
Keith played a round of golf at the Payne Stewart course on Wednesday, while I enjoyed Spa Chateau in the morning. 
In the afternoon, we saw this:
You know that Keith and I are history buffs... we really enjoyed this display of Titanic history and artifacts.  We were told that NONE of the artifacts displayed here were taken from the wreck. They were either White Star Line artifacts from Titanic's sister ship the Olympic, or other relics that were bought from survivors, some of whom had managed to get off the ship and be saved with ephemera in their coat pockets, etc.  No, the Star of India was not here!  (no one is allowed to take pictures inside)
By the way, they have a bucket-type thing that has water which is kept at the temperature of the North Atlantic that fatal night, and I was invited by a crew member to put a finger in it.  Then, he suggested immersing my hand to the wrist.  I am telling you that within less than a minute, my hand was aching terribly, and I had to pull it out.  The poor people could not have lived but a few minutes in it, I think, which was probably a blessing.  We thoroughly enjoyed this "voyage" into history.
After it began to rain yesterday evening, we attempted to see another show, but in the rain and traffic could not find our theater.  We realized we were very tired, and decided to go back to the hotel to go to bed early for our trip home today. 
Keith had promised I could do some shopping on the way home, and I chose to go to Kringles, a large Christmas store in Branson.  I was literally SO overwhelmed (believe me, I could show you pictures) that I did not buy ONE thing. 
I was in Christmas La La Land.
On a sadder note, while we were in Branson it was announced that Andy Williams had passed away.  We turned around in the Moon River Theater parking lot in the rain last night, and noticed that it had closed for the evening in respect to him.  We were sorry not to have been able to see a show there while he was alive.
However, we made it home safely, and the dogs were very glad to see their Mommy and Daddy coming through the gate.  Grandson Chris had done a great job of taking care of everything, though he was dogged by this guy!
Jackson was protecting his girl Annabelle and all the chickens from this intruder in the chicken yard.  I watched as he displayed while Chris did the feed.... and then as he nipped at Chris's heels as he left the yard.  Though we had a good laugh, Chris admitted he could be intimidated by our big boy.
It's fun to go away, but it sure is good to be home!
(by the way, it took over an hour for the pictures in this post to I am sorry for the fairly short story about our trip as I am pooped out and tired of waiting on the computer!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

First Birthday

More family stuff today, it was that kind of weekend!

Looking natty, isn't he?  Bubba, Baby Jace, I mean.
He had about a bazillion cousins there from the other side.
Great Grandparents Trudy and Ralph got in some baby time, too.
The kids, despite temps in the SIXTIES, played on this device in the back yard, they ran warm water into the swimming pool part (at the front) that holds it down.  Day, the retriever looking at the camera, had jumped in with the kids.   He had just gotten out, he's twelve but wanted to swim with his friends!
Came home to do chores, water the flowers, tidy things up, and get ready for our vacation week.  We leave Tuesday for the Chateau on the Lake, at Branson, Missouri.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Slovene Fest 2012

Today was SloveneFest at my sister's church, or the church which my sister and brother in law attended.  My brother in law is half pure Italian and half Slovenian, and they had traveled to Slovenia numerous times and spent time with his cousins there.  He also speaks both languages.  She told me often what a very beautiful country in Europe that it is, and enjoyed traveling there.
SloveneFest 2012 was dedicated to my sister, which was a wonderful thing for them to do.  Her smiling face greeted me when I walked into the school after we processed over from church behind the flags. 

The small sign under the picture with her sunglasses on reads :
"Our Beloved Kathleen Serra" and the dates of her birth and death.
At the bottom of the large banner was the official dedication.
Several Slovenian officers from Fort Leavenworth came to the gathering... and one was in uniform, because he trooped the flag.
That's handsome brother-in-law Bob speaking at the short dedication ceremony; he was master of ceremonies.  The people in the red shirts were a tamburitza band, well known here and played polka music.  I taped them playing a song, but can't post you tubes from my slow connection.
That's the Slovene Captain behind them with their flag.
I wish I had a picture of the ethnic food served, but I did not get one.  Oh.. except from a distance...

That's my nephew Chris looking down the table, and his wife Jill next to me.  On her plate is sarma, which is a Croation dish of cabbage with meat/rice innards...but the black thing on her plate is what I wanted you to see.  It's blood sausage, a real delicacy.  My sister always got a portion (you pay a dollar extra for blood sausage) because Bob and Chris like it so much.  Jill got designated this year!
 These little girls were the lights of their grandma's eyes... Caitlin on the left, and Morgan, with her "Baby J" shirt on the right. How my sister loved them, and how we all miss her.  How fast four months has flown!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Apple Crisp for a Fall Day

Another gorgeous fall day, one day short of official fall!   84 degrees out there now, but the wind is blowing and it provides relief, almost too much!
Tonight I go to see and hear Joel Osteen with my friend Valerie, at the Sprint Center.  We have been planning this since mid-summer, when Valerie and I were co-workers.
But this morning, I put a great stew in the crock pot to cook during the day, and then, after having breakfast with my three cousins... came home to make apple crisp, from a recipe found on Grit in my email.
For this apple crisp, I used apples from a bag of windfalls given to my neighbor Kathy by a friend the other day. 
It is more of a crumble than a crisp, according to the Grit blogger (and of course I did not write down the name again).

If you notice, I used the apples even if there were bruises on them... just cut them out.
In one bowl combine: 3/4 cup sugar, (1/2 white and 1/2 brown), 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tbl. flour
In another bowl combine:  1 cup flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup cugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter straight from the refrigerator, not soft.
Use pastry cutter to turn this mixture into crumbles.  Put bowl with crumbles in the refrigerator.
Peel and slice 8 large apples, making the slices fairly thin.
(I used 8 smaller apples, because that was what I had for the 9 x 13 glass dish I was using).
Coat bottom of glass 13x9 pan with non-stick spray.
Layer apples and sugar/cinnamon mixture, repeating till full.
(I just mixed them all together with a stir of the spoon)
Put the crumb mix that has been in the fridge on the top.
Bake at 375 for approximately 40-50 minutes.  Put foil on top of the pan after 15 minutes so it doesn't get brown.
(I cooked mine for 40 minutes, and put foil on it, it came out like this:)
I literally almost didn't get a picture of it!  Not only did the house smell heavenly, but Keith and I were both hungry for something sweet.
I admit that I usually bake apple crisp from a kit for speed's sake, but wow, this was excellent, very easy to make, and tasted.... creamy, that's the only way I can describe it.  I'll have vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on hand when I make it again!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Sweet Shoppe

Going back and forth to Garnett, I often come through Eudora, and there is a lovely little candy shop that also sells old-fashioned phospates, cola drinks, lemonades, floats, etc.  I have always wanted to stop in there, and yesterday, coming back from an unexpected trip, I did.
(I tried to post this last night, but Blogger wouldn't let me!)

Is this truly a sweet little shop or what?  She sells lots of different candies, popcorn, chocolates too.  There is a jukebox and plenty of seating. 
Here is Penny Annie herself, behind her beautiful old counter, taken from a hotel in Garnett years ago.  See the marble top?
I see a trip for the grands in the near future... they need to experience an old-fashioned sweet shop!
More later today, just wanted to get yesterday's post up!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Goin' Up the Country

We had a gloriously beautiful almost-fall day here in Leavenworth County, and it was a good day to make a trip up to northwest Missouri to see my friend, Joani.  Joani and I became friends many years ago when I was looking for chicken mentors... and she was kind enough to answer some questions online for me.  Then one thing lead to another and we met in person, and saw each other off and on, though we lived 75 miles apart. 
When Joani married, her husband dove in and became interested in exotic animals as she was, and they spent some happy years increasing their animal family.  Unfortunately, the marriage did not last, but Joani still enjoys animals.

Here are some I saw today:

This is a MaCAWWWWWW  It is the loudest bird in captivity!!!!  There were FOUR OF THEM in the two aviaries and I am STILL DEAF tonight.  Thank you, MaCAWWWWWSSSS
Attack geese.  Not kidding.
One reason I went was to look at the Shetland Sheep.  I always thought they were SMALL sheep.
Joani has three wethers and two ewes, one ewe was out running with the horse herd.  Once I was around this big guy, I realized I was not so sure I could handle the sheep by myself... and not fair to Keith to strap him with taking care of them.  Sheep out.
This would not be a purchase, but a loan to get our pasture grazed down some.
This is Banjo, the mule.  She is a doll, and broke to ride and drive.  Banjo may be coming here to stay with us for a while.  This is not a good picture of her, she is actually a very beautiful dappled .... sort of palominoey roan.
As you can see, there is quite the assortment of critters there.
Everything from this quiet little gelding (too small, I think) to the big draft mare behind him. 
So after a while, I mentioned that I wanted to see Rosie and Blackie, the two Hackney mares that were here at our place in June, after the llamas left.  We jumped into the car and drove the ten miles over to Chris's place, Joani's friend who is the Amish farmer that shoes and trains her ponies and horses. 
Of course, we could not call to let him know we were coming, and when we got there, we found that the two girls were turned out in a large pasture with some other horses, so we did not get to see them.  He has been working on driving them and also breaking them to ride.
He does have this mare that is for sale... she has a four month old colt that is about to be weaned. 
Chris jumped on her and rode her around a little, demonstrating how quiet she is by hanging off her backend and other things.  She is used as a driving mare right now by his kids.  She is very plain, but a nice little girl, one that I could handle easily.  She would also be big enough for Jacob to ride, our middle grand who will be twelve soon, and big enough for the little ones to graduate to.  As a friend told me once, you can't ride/drive color.
Joani's church in the country, isn't it beautiful and serene?  It's a United Methodist, and very old.
Total anomaly, same neighborhood, whole windfarm.
That's it for tonight!
(Yes, it's a wallaby!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

What on Earth?

I have pictured, in the past, the hens taking dust baths in the corner of the pasture, next to the henyards.

The wood pieces cover up some mouse houses... I'm a sap, I know.
(they also went under the trough during the winter).
Here is what Keith found last night in this area:
If you compare this with the above picture, they are in the area where the fence meets the henhouse, in the upper picture, there is a blue scaffold you can just see through the fence behind it.  The bigger hole is about 4 1/2 inches across, the smaller, about 3 1/2.  Too big for snakes.... too small for the fox.... rabbits????  skunk????  I think it's time to pour out the water bin.... as Keith (and the hay guy) think it's drawing the fox and possums nightly.  I put the camera out there tonight, pointed right on the holes, to see what might be coming and going.
The birds, who sunbathed in that spot during the summer months, are doing it a little farther down and closer to the henyard fence now.
This is the SUM of the eggs I got today, minus one that went to a snake....I did not disturb him, and he left me the green egg... from 25 hens.  Uh huh.  Pitiful.
Chatterbox, my only Ameracauna left, gave me the only large egg... and could look me in the eye.
The others got a good talking to!
I'm going to drive up to a friend's house in Northwest Missouri tomorrow to look at some animals she has, and to look at her ponies.  Those pictures will be coming tomorrow night.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Random Shots

Progress on the new henyard:

The framework for the shadecloth is nearly finished.  And, as you see in the next picture,
The east deck is started.  I need to get under there tomorrow and attach the hardware cloth to the lattice underneath.
Keith asked me to please think about exactly I want the interior, so I am going to be thinking of that over the next few days.
Our Pink Flowers for Paiton are still blooming on the deck.... and fall decorations are starting to be put out.
Isn't he handsome?
The wolf was just outside the door watching him!
And last, these two came with their dad this morning to bring their brother Nathan home so he could go to Garnett with me ...
Jax and Paiton, Grandma sure loves you!