Saturday, March 27, 2010

From Winter to Spring

All in a week!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Peace on Sunday

Despite the fact that I could not get to church this morning before shoveling the driveway opening and gate area, I have spent a peaceful afternoon.  While the NCAA tournament is on tv (and after yesterday's disappointing KU game) I am whiling away the time reading my favorite blogs... Mary at Little Red House, Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and so many other women who make this part of my life a beautiful, peaceful thing.  I so enjoy looking at their beautiful tablescapes and wonderful mosaic pictures, and wish I had the time to really beauttify my blog and talk about all the other things that interest me... gardening, reading, wonderful old dishes and furniture that would have so many stories to tell if they could talk... baking and cooking, arm-chair traveling, since now I have no wanderlust left, other than to read the blogs of those women in England and South Africa and all the other countries who keep all of womenhood connected and sane.  I thank all of them, because I can sit here outside of tiny Tonganoxie, Kansas, and link together with all of you all over the world.

Winter Comes Back - on the First Day of Spring

Winter is back, on the first official day of spring.  All the garden dreams are put on the back burner for a few days, while we wait for seven inches of snow to melt.  This morning, instead of getting to church, I spent an hour shoveling out the top of the driveway so we could get the gate open.  I had to get the winter chore coat out again, the gloves, and the ski hat.  It was hard, yesterday, trudging around in the blowing snow and cold, carrying the hay and feed buckets.

It was such a sad week at Calamity Acres, we lost Adeline, and it was not just the loss of a little dog, but a true friend who comforted and protected us.  We lost Yankee, our nine months old cria, who didn't recover after his gelding on Monday.  He had the most beautiful wool, cinnamon colored, and though llamas aren't cuddly, Yankee would come up to me and touch noses with me.  He was a very sweet llama boy.  On Thursday, we lost Little Brownie, one of the two last daughters of Old Rambo that we had left.  Then that evening, a new little yellow chick was dead in the little henhouse.  It was just too hard. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Our Dear Little Addie Mae

I should start this story by saying that once, there was a little Min Pin named Oscar, dog of my heart.... and he lived with us in Leavenworth, where he escaped from the yard with the ease of a ghost, and pulled us around the block and along the river bluff with his harness, pulling us off our feet he pulled so hard! He had feet of springs, and could jump two feet off the floor, and if bacon was in the air, three. He hated the woodchuck who lived under the porch next door, and stood upright at the window to watch for him, going nuts if he ventured out to eat the grass. At night, he growled under the covers if we tried to move our feet... and we laughed, because he was a Heat Seeking Missile. When we came to Calamity Acres, we found he could get through the 4 inch x 4 inch livestock fence, and he ran around the neighbor's yard. A sheepskin harness stopped that for a while, until he learned to turn sideways and get through. We feared he would get hit by a car or truck on our country road, as he began to chase them up and down the fenceline, inside the yard. And one night, he got out the gate when it was left open accidentally, ran down to the highway, and was hit by someone. Keith found him there the next morning, after we had searched for him in the dark. We buried him under the tree in the yard forever after known as "Oscar's Tree".

Ranger was alone then, and we decided to get him a companion, since he and Oscar had been such good friends. Two males, they never fought over anything, including bones. We went to the shelter, and there we found ... a puppy, the last thing we wanted. Lilly Ann chose Keith though, that day, and was the boss from the time she was two months old.

After a few more months, when it became aware that Lilly was truly Keith's dog, we argued over the fact that I had lost "my" dog. After the argument one day, Keith called me at work to tell me to get him through our guard shack, so he could show me something in the car. I went down to the front door, and there, in the seat next to him in a crate, was a tiny little pug, happy to see me through the gate of the crate, wagging her little curly tail. I said "Who's this?" and Keith said "This is Adeline Mabel, and she's coming home with us!". So Addie Mae came home. She was my first pug, though not Keith's, and she was sweet and winsome. She also became our protector, and did not take anything off the big dogs, who did not bother her. When a stranger came in, she got between the person and us, always guarding. If there was a noise in the night, her bark was right behind Lilly's and Ranger's. At night she would snuggle in bed against Keith, burrowing under him almost, and in the morning, switch to my side, resting against my shoulder and pushing her little behind against my pillow. In the evening, we would sit on the loveseat, and she would rest her forehand on my lap, and i would stroke her back and sides until she fell asleep on her red blanket. On the nights I didn't sit right down after supper, she and Hannah would worry until I sat and they could arrange themselves, coming up the dog steps to the loveseat. She loved to share my popsicles.

She loved the farm, she liked to wander around the yard, a little fawn-colored spot moving around on the fence-line. Oscar had been attacked by a young eagle one day, so we always tried to keep an eye on her... but she loved to go down in the pasture or into the hen-yard. One day a goose nipped her on the behind, and after that, she was not so interested in the birds, but she loved to be outdoors. Winter was hard on her, pug's bellies drag close the the ground, and the effort to get through the snow was great.

We got Hannah finally, to keep her company during the day while we worked, and she and Hannah bonded closely, Addie was Hannah's eyes. Hannah was content to follow her lead, and often rested her head on Addie's back. We marveled at the fact that two dogs that did not know each other until they were 8 could be so close.

Tuesday night, Addie coughed, some hard barking coughs. Since I was off work yesterday, I took her to Dr. Tom to get checked. The vet listened to her abdomen.... and then asked to take an exray. He came in to show me that her abdomen was filled with fluid, causing the hard breathing. He gave her an injection and then sent me home with medicine and a request to bring her back Monday, but he mentioned that she would have been gone in another 48 hours if I had not brought her in. She rode quietly back, looking at me through the carrier door as I talked to her. She got home and breathed very hard, panting and gasping. Keith looked at her when he came home and shook his head, then got his blankets and pillows and slept on the living room floor with her. She got on my lap for a minute, but could not breathe, and got next to me, where she was a little more supported by the couch cusion. During the night, Keith put her in bed, and this morning, she put herself next to me. I stroked her, she had gasped all night, and I was going to take her to Dr. Tom again. Keith put her on the floor so she could get a drink, and we heard her lap.... and then she was gone.

We have cried all day, and we buried her in the pasture, under the mulberry tree, next to Nickie. We will miss her little happy barks as we come in the door... and we know she's waiting with Oscar and Nick at the Rainbow Bridge when we get there. Goodnight, Little Addie Mae, Little Monkey Face, Daddy's Little Girl.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Promise of Babies to Come

In the horse-llama barn, in the corner, I noticed at various times one of the Pekin ducks, and occaisionally, Nancy, the goose. I pretended that I did not see them... and quietly checked the nest in the evenings. By the day, the amount of eggs increases. I found a second nest in the shelter we put up with the dog pen this winter... but those eggs do not appear to be being guarded as the ones in the barn do. I am hoping we have some Pekin babies, and maybe a gosling or two in the late spring.

A Spook in the Woods

Seeing kids squealing around a tree, I had to walk closer... to be suprised by a long dead possum, hanging from a tree, a joke some gentleman had hung to scare the kids, for sure.

Beautiful Glassware

I admit it, I love dishes and glassware. This house here at Calamity Acres is so small, there is no where to stash my lovely belongings... but I still covet them! The auction was like a technicolor dream of carnival and depression glass... blues, greens, ambers, every color of pink you could imagine, and I reveled in seeing it. Some went high, but an amber biscuit jar came home with me, to sit on the table and hold candy and cookies. I loved that the lady had marked each thing she had bought with the name of the sale, the date, and the price she paid. I'm going to do it in the future, so that one day, people coming to my estate sale will know that these things were loved and left for someone to cherish in the future.


The outside accomodations at the old homestead were quite the thing... a lovely stone-built little house, with a double hole. The front had no door... the vista looked out onto a pasture, where only animals could see in. There was a privacy fence in front of the door, so that people in the house and yard could not see. I thought it the most beautiful of outhouses!

The Old Homestead

It makes me sad to see the old homestead house like this, and wonder about the families who lived in it, and scrabbled out a living on the hilltop where it stood, with hardly any arable pasture land.

A Country Auction

A week ago, I went to a country auction on a Sunday morning. The day dawned cloudy, but over the seven hours I was there, the sun finally came out and shone down on the auction site. The home of an elderly lady, the original homestead home still stood in a tumble-down fashioin, with the old farm buidings and pens. This was one of the most unique auctions I had ever attended... they had three rows of tables, probably 80 feet long... and as soon as one row was emptied, the auctioneer's helpers frantically unpacked more treasures for sale! The crowd that started out at 10 in the morning was dwindling by the time I left at 4:15... and there were still rows to be auctioned. The problem with going to an auction so early is that parking is always risky... in this case, I parked the truck on the verge of a narrow road probably 3/4 of a mile away... and had to walk down and bring it up to a closer verge to load it (down a hill, across a ditch!). I kept my expenditures to a minimum because of it. Having gone to church the night before, I was eager to get up, do chores, and spend the day at the auction. I was rewarded with the sight of many beautiful things, collected by the elderly lady that had lived there. I coveted an R.S. Prussia bowl, but could not wait the hours it took... I suspect it went last, and probably cheaply.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring is Springing

Ducks mating in the Pond!!!! You can't see Mattie, she's under Happy. I actually went closer to make sure she wasn't drowning!

Snow to Mud

Hopefully, the snows of two weeks ago will be the last heavy ones, and we are looking towards spring coming soon. The snow, though, has been replaced with mud... making the walking hard and the chore-doing onerous. The ruts freeze at night, and Big Lilly, the mini-horse has had a terrible time getting around in it. The farrier came yesterday to trim her, and told us that until the yard softens up, she will continue to tippy-toe around. We are hoping for the dry time to come soon, so the horses can go back into the pasture and the yard begin to heal. In the meantime, we have mud, mud and more mud, and are anxiously awaiting a contact from a local gravel man, to try to get the drive and parking back into shape.

Four Weeks Old

Three little chicks of the four born on Super Bowl Sunday are now four weeks old this weekend, and they are thriving with their mamas in the nursing cage. We want to move them into larger quarters, but it is still so cold we hesitate to take them out of their heated cage, even with their mamas. One has turned out to be a frizzle, so we know she or he is a descendant of Curley, the frizzle rooster... by it's red color and curley feathers.

The Wolf at the Door

The door to the big henhouse broke the other night... well, it's BEEN broken for a year. The handle is coming out of the inner door, and we close it with a hand-crocheted dishcloth. The outer door, half wood half screen, was torn by Lilly Ann as she attacked escaping starlings two years ago. It closes with a hook and latch. This door recently lost it's hinges, and they were replaced this week with two that have not proved adequate. When we go in to do chores, we must hook the door now on the inside so that Lilly cannot follow. Otherwise, the chickens that have now broken through into the feed portion of the house are at risk, since Lilly cannot always resist chicken temptation. Here is what I saw when I heard a noise the other night.