Friday, December 8, 2017

Bright, Sunny, December Days

I am not bemoaning the lack of snow around here, 
though evidence of climate change is everywhere to see. 

It was not uncommon to have snow in Northeast Kansas as early as 
Halloween, when I was a child and when my kids were young. 

We have been promised snow flurries several times, but have 
yet to see them, we are lacking in rain, 
and only now are seeing those 
frigid December temps. 

Most of our days have been bright, so far. 

(and I write this while thinking of praying for those affected by the dreadful fire storms in California) 


Sorry about the shadow.... but I went to see Keith on Wednesday. 

Our second Christmas without him... time does fly.  He would be so 
proud of his grandkids and so amazed at the addition of twins this year 
from daughter Andrea. 


By the time I got home from the cemetery, it had clouded up 
and really looked like rain. 

It didn't. 


This is cheesy potato soup made from four ingredients.  I can't tell you how good it was!

Here is the link to "Jamie Cooks It Up", whom I have been 
following for about five years. 

http://jamiecooksitup.net/2017/12/crock-pot-4-ingredient-potato-cheese-soup

My gosh, it's good soup made with Potatoes O'Brien in a bag. 

YUM. 


Some days it's exceedingly hard to post. 


I got my tree up... or put together. 

It's very simple this year, and I did not 
use traditional Christmas colors. 

It's been on the floor twice since, and some of the bulbs were 
broken.  I got them at Sunflower Sisters in Leavenworth, 
so I will run up next week and get another package (they are handmade). 

THAT DARN CAT. 


Twinkle gets put into Kitten Jail when he gets too wild. 


Kitten Jail is my office, believe me, he is in the 
lap of luxury when he is in jail. 


Someone is sleeping in the closet of the old henhouse. 

I am no longer seeing Kittens Three and Four of my ferals, 
but I have seen Harlequin and Spooky on four of the last five days. 


You can barely see her, but Harley is in the rafters to the left
of Spooky.  They were waiting for me to put their breakfast down. 


My kitchen window vignette for Christmas.  I have always 
used gold, never silver, at Christmas.  This year I have been 
using silver and white and I love it!  I tried for three days to get a picture 
of this glowing in the sun, and could not get a good one til night fell yesterday. 

I love this window that looks out over the pasture. 


He is waiting for me, but he has not actually attacked in two days. 

Yessssssss. 


The four buff hens from the ag are coming home here, as we are dispersing the flock. 

We will start again next year.  These were such late babies this year they are still 
six weeks away from laying. 

I should have brought them home in pairs, I brought this single the other day, 
and the bigger hens have been beating up on her.  I caught her last night and put her in, 
I hope I don't have to do it tonight. 

And, speaking of the Ag, I have to run back down there and make sure the girls there have water for the night, their heater base has quit working, and their water was frozen this morning. 
I set them up for the day, but am going to run back over and make sure they are good to go for a while tonight. 

I hate to buy another base when we are dispersing the flock next week. 


Lilly spent an hour outside this afternoon, and now is back in 
to take a nap.  This loveseat in my bedroom (originally intended for 
the recycle station) has proved so useful, Lil sleeps at the foot of the bed at 
night but can still jump up on this, and I often find her there in the morning. 

I use it for reading, it's still so comfortable, and tomorrow night, I'll have Paiton and Jax and 
I'll read while they decorate cookies and watch tv. 


So innocent.  

(NOT) 


One more bowl and I'm gone. 


Thursday, December 7, 2017

NOT Like my Other Posts

This is kind of an unusual post today. 

You see, it is 29 degrees out as I type this, and the wind chill is 
making it feel like 22.  I did take some pictures outside 
this morning, but it's hard to manipulate the camera on the phone 
when your fingers are encased in gloves and warmers.  

So, I am going to show you some pictures from the game 
camera on the porch last night. 


Here is Lilly checking out the water and food bowl on the porch.  I always 
make sure the water is filled to the top. 

I had poured some dog food they won't eat into the bowl. 

You notice she is not eating it? 

I am standing there making sure there are no critters around, and this 
is actually early, if I COULD EVER FIGURE OUT HOW TO SET THE CLOCK ON THE BUSHNELL CAM. 


This was taken about ten minutes later. 



About 20 minutes later. 

That's a big 'un!

Of course, I did not have that camera aimed just right. 



Lilly sensed that raccoon, and went barreling out the door, after alerting me. 

Jester also went out, and I don't let him stay out alone. 



So here I am, waiting for Jes to finish.  Lilly was running around in the yard, 
looking for that coon, which I suspected was under the deck, from the smell out there. 

So, while I was out there, I decided to take some pictures of the 
fading supermoon. 


There is a step down at the door, it's the step I rolled my ankle on 
in 2006 and broke my tibia.  Keith built a step for me to break that 
six inch downwards step, but I am still really careful to this day. 

I had locked up Twinkle at this point, because he got out at 
least six times yesterday. 

I do NOT want to take a chance on letting him out at night. 



30 minutes later, one of the kitties was on the porch, with no food left, 
looking for something to eat. 

I was worried about the kittens, I did not see them yesterday and when I went 
out to close up last night, their food had not been touched. 

However, they were both there this morning.  


So, here I am this morning, it was already 8 AM, (I had overslept) and I was 
getting the dogs out.  Lilly still looks sleepy. 


So does Jes!


Lilly smelled the bowl many times, and was on the alert. 


I got myself dressed and came out to do chores. 
I was making sure Twink did not get out behind me, here. 


And pretty soon, the girls had beat me back to the house while I was 
still trying to get the 14 YES FOURTEEN eggs they laid yesterday 
UNDER THE NEST BOX. 

More about that tomorrow. 


Oh, yes, Cogburn was there too!


Here I am tearing up some breadsticks, I just throw them on the deck and pretty soon, the girls are all there. 

I swear they can hear the door open in the bottom of the pasture. 

Today was the first day I had to wear tights under my jeans, and use my hand warmers
(which I gave to my friend at the feed store, since he is in and out all day). 

He had never heard of them! 

I also had my hood over my knitted cap, so yes, my hair is a mess. 

Anything to stay warm. 

When I got to the Ag, the water founts were frozen, the 
big one, on a heated base, was obviously on a base that was no 
longer working.  I changed plugs, just in case. 

As we are dispersing that flock next week, I decided to go back tonight and 
put a fortex of warm water out for the chickens to use tonight. 

Then I'll go early tomorrow. 

I did leave them water in the summer plastic fountain for the day, and 
left a metal fount out in the sun in hopes of it thawing. 

Winter is definitely here!




Monday, December 4, 2017

Falls Turns into Winter

We have been having marvelous fall weather 
here at Calamity Acres, with a few cool nights, and crisp mornings, 
but also some 50-to-70 degree daytime temps, like today. 

It's all coming to an end.  The wind is blowing in a cold 
system that is going to put us in the freezer for a while. 

As Keith would have said, it IS December!


Mornings have been very crisp.  Sometimes the ponds at 
the bottom of the hill look icy!


But that doesn't stop the hens from roaming out across 
the yard and now, the pasture, to look for good things to eat.  Remember, 
I have not actually bought pellets for them since the end of July, they 
are pretty much feeding themselves.  I do buy scratch, and they do get 
some daily. 


A naughty kitten named Twinkle has gotten out of the door several times. 
He usually heads for UNDER the deck, and I have to trick him into coming out.  I am petrified to leave him outside because he is still so little.  The hens are afraid of him, nonetheless. 
Right after I took this picture, the rooster crowed, and Twinkle slunk to the door. 


My girl Lil is more and more content to stay inside and snooze on the couch or 
one of her beds. 


Cogburn is going to have to (as my friend Diane called it this morning) 
have a "come to Jesus moment".  He is attacking me every time I go outside, 
even if he has to run clear across the yard.  I have to carry something to fend him 
off, but he did get my hand yesterday.  I need to bring a few Christmas things in 
from the shed, but I have put off running the gauntlet. 

He is way down in the pasture at the moment, and I'll go out in a bit and 
get the wreath and look around for some lights for the deck while I am 
in the shed.  The problem is, I am still going through boxes and getting "rid of"... I think my 
porch lights from the big house are way at the back of the shed.  

I went by the big house today, in fact, to turn the furnace up a little.  The 
contract on the house closes on the 12th, next week.  It will be bittersweet, 
you see, that was the house that Keith loved, but also, the house where he died. 

When I go in there now, I don't get any bad vibes or anything, I just feel so sad that 
he only got to enjoy his dream house for two years.   It was a big, strong, 
lovely house, and it was so much fun to decorate at the holidays. 

But, know what?  I love my little house, and it is, indeed, MY little house
where I can do what I want and not have to defend any choices.  It's the first time
I could do that, and I love being here.  


Saturday was the first day of "Santa's Express" at the 
Ag Hall , and we had great participation in the third running 
of the Reindeer Run 5K, and walk, and lots of families coming to do crafts, 
see Santa, and ride the train. 

Those are my helpers in the craft room, the General Store, Caitie, a friend, and Paiton, my granddaughter. 

They worked hard on showing kids how to decorate pinecones and make Christmas cards, and I was 
very grateful for their help, and the help of many other volunteers that day and Sunday. 


Here comes Santa's Express, actually!


Judy is our admin assistant, but while we have no director, she is 
the defacto "everything".  It just wouldn't happen without her and 
Marsha, our volunteer coordinator, thinking of it and doing it. 

I'm not leaving out all our other wonderful volunteers, (those are two 
behind Judy, Elaine and Gerri) who give tirelessly to make things succeed. 


I was only at the Ag yesterday morning for a while, so I came home to 
do chores while the warm weather held.  I spread straw in most of the buildings. 

Look what I found in the hen spa!  Uh huh!  I thought I was getting two or three eggs a day. 

Of course, they won't lay there again, because I pulled the eggs out of that nest.  


I bedded down the little red henhouse, where I had started the four feral kittens out. 

I still leave a litter box in there for them, but I checked it this morning and for the first time, 
it was not used. 

I also put a little cat food in there every morning, and it is gone by the next day... I think a 
possum is getting it.  


Keith would be dismayed to see that his little red hen house he made so lovingly for me 
is crumbling.  The porch is coming apart, he put roosts around the edges, and they have deteriorated. 
It is still usable, but is just not standing up to the weather as he imagined it. 

At some point, the porch would need replacing. 




I put straw in the duck house, behind the old henhouse. 


Oh, that's kind of a blurry picture, but I bedded the closet of the 
old henhouse, I notice on the game camera that the kittens had slept in there several times. 

I may just go ahead and bed the whole thing, in fact. 


Because Harlequin (Harley) and.... (look close, she is looking down from a beam) 


 the Spookapotamus (Spooky) are living in there, still, and 
were waiting for their food.  I do open a pophole all day long every day, 
so they can come and go. 


I also bedded the one remaining dog house by the house... and this morning, 
found where an animal had used it last night.  The hens tend to pull the straw out 
of this house, so I have to keep re-bedding it.  

On Saturday morning, the gray and white kitty who hung out here all summer 
was sleeping in the chair nearest my front door, on the porch.  I am keeping this bedded in case he wants to sleep there.  I am still feeding him out at the gate, but am going to start drawing him closer, 
I hate that his feed gets all dusty every day, we have had so little rain that our road is 
causing great clouds of dust to roll.  

He is often waiting for me when I put the feed out. 


This is a gratuitous picture of a beautiful creek that stretches under 
I70 that I often stop and look at on my way home from Walmart in 
Bonner Springs, it is one of my favorite creek views! 


Here's my girl Lil this afternoon.  She did not feel good today, and I 
think it was she who vomited while I was at the Ag this morning. 

I am keeping an eye on her. 


Last night's beautiful supermoon peaking over the Spehar's hill across from us. 

It disappeared a few minutes later behind the clouds, but oh, what a view we had. 




What I go through nightly here, and oh, I love that my work shoes are in it. 


Sometimes, there is peace. 
And by the way, that's TWINKLE'S bed. 



Monday, November 27, 2017

Thanksgiving Week

A Week!!!

I can't believe nearly a week has gone by since I posted. 

On Wednesday, I went down to Garnett to get grandson Christopher. 

On Thursday, we ate at Ihop!


As you can see, he did not have a traditional turkey dinner. 

We expected Ihop to be swamped, with a line.  It was not. 
We had a lovely waitress, and I got the turkey dinner,
but brought most home.  It was delicious.  Chris inhaled his 
stuffed French toast. 

He does not normally eat sweets, but loved this. 

We both had the gingerbread hot chocolate, we had tried it 
before and loved it. 

Oddly enough, we ended up not going early Black Friday shopping.
I did make a run to Penney's later, but we dispensed with the crowds at 
Wal-mart, etc.. 

The weather could not have been better, it actually hit high 60's. 


THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. 


Not kidding. 

Yes, they are pooping all over the porch, I am going to have to get something to clean it off, 
a scrubber or the big broom and suds, and do it regularly. 

Ugh. 

I still have not had to buy more feed, though, they pretty much are feeding themselves until 
winter really gets here. 


I went to a barn sale on Friday morning, and saw this hanging on the wall, way up. 
Everyone was standing to admire it, but it was HIGH... I took a picture, I don't want a huge sign 
like that, but I am going to re-create it and put it in a small frame, I think we need to 
remember to choose happiness. 


Before Chris went home yesterday, he went to connect the lights on the 
"primitive" type tree I am using this year. 
Guess what?  THE PLUG WAS GONE. 

This one here is NOT SO INNOCENT. 

My stylish Boston Terrier socks are so hot I 
am not going to be able to wear them except the coldest days. 

I went this morning and got some lights that are battery-run, and I am 
going to strip the tree and re-dress it. 


I thought this was a neat picture at dusk the other day... the moon was just above the Beacon of the Farm. 

My poor old big trees are shedding limbs right and left.  I suspect I am going to have to do something serious to both the old walnut, here, and the maple tree by the house and deck.  Both are shedding regularly now when we have wind. I am thinking I'll do it in the spring. 

This weekend and next, we have Santa's Express at the National Agricultural Center  in Bonner 
Springs (Ks.) 

It is free... let me repeat, free.  Yes, we put out some donation jars, but it is free. 

Santa is in the train depot... and your kids can visit and have their pictures taken by you FREE. 
Train rides (unless we get a foot of snow, but right now, they are saying 50's) 

The blacksmith is working in the blacksmith shop. 

Crafts (make and take) in the General Store.
The schoolmarm also has crafts in the schoolhouse. 

Cocoa and cookies in the Big Red Barn. 

Hours are 10 - 3 on the 2nd and 3rd, and the 9th and 10th. 

There is a 5K run on the 2nd, and a 1K walk. 

If I live through it all, I'm on the downhill run to Christmas. 


I hate to say this, but for the first time in my life, I have a rooster problem, 
all joking aside.  He has become a terror. 

Today he attacked me from behind, without any provocation. 

I can't handle this, folks, I am having a problem with my inner ear, 
some of you know I have fallen five times since mid-summer.  

I'm afraid Cogburn may have to go.  I carry a stick with me, 
but even a solid kick to the breast yesterday did not dissuade him. 

(and I don't kick easily, it's just not in me to hurt another creature). 

He is too doggone beautiful for the pot, if I could find someone that would take him, I would gladly pass him on. 

He is only 8 months old. 

This picture does not do him justice, but I'm not going to get within striking distance to get a better!

It is in the 60's again here today in NE Kansas... who can believe it?