Wednesday, November 30, 2011

House Updates

While I was in Independence on Friday last, I stopped in 3 or 4 antique stores, which had their welcome mats out since it was Black Friday.  On Wednesday, I had emptied out some boxes of kitchen utensils stored in our laundry room... we have a steel pantry and some steel shelves in there since kitchen cabinets are almost non-existent.  Some of these utensils were things I used at the first Calamity Acres, and I have missed seeing them. However, when I put them in our drawers in the kitchen, they became so full they were hard to close.  Anticipating the comments, I decided to look for something that could hold some of the larger ones on the counter we have.  (miniscule). 

I was greeted by very nice people in the antique stores, and one lady was nice enough to take me downstairs and show me some crocks and pitchers she thought would work.  The cheapest was nearly 20.00 for a very plain brown pitcher.  I resolved at that point to come home and go through our storage sheds and try to find some things I already had here, that have been packed away. 

However, as I drove down the main thoroughfare to I70, I saw a big store on my right that read "Super Thrift" and the car magically turned in. 

I spent 8.00, and here were my finds.  Please forgive the bad pictures. 

This is a cookie jar with no lid, perfect for the utensils and a cute design.
Notice awesome granite countertop... NOT!

One blue-framed Christmas picture... 2.98


One Christmas picture (exact same picture, we'll see who notices) in a very nice red frame for 1.98.  The elf is from when my kids were small, I always tried to put him somewhere for Christmas.

We don't have all the decorating done, we must wait for daylight on Saturday and Sunday, when we can see in the storage buildings. However, we have a tree up... last year's was on our porch, because of the kittens... but my prim tree will be decorated, and last weekend I got a new small tree.  It is on a table... and as I told Keith, as I get older, the trees are getting smaller.

It's not finished yet.  Those are Homer buckets in front of it, they are gifts for the menfolk, Keith's sons-in-law, my sons, and his dad.  They have "guy stuff" in them, and I think Keith's idea of putting them in Homer buckets from Home Depot was GENIUS!

Keith did chores tonight, as I was a little late... and told me that Aztec's eye looks very much better.  I'll have a chance to see it in the early morning.

Here is what the bird feeder looked like this morning:

There are four blue jays and a cardinal in this picture... minutes later there were 8 blue jays.  I am feeding a mix of gamebird feed, mixed birdseed (cheap blend from TSC, 9.99 for 35 pounds) and a black oil sunflower (on sale last weekend 19.99 for 50 pounds) plus some half peanuts I mix in.  We keep open water in the bird bath you see on the ground. We also have a nyjer seed feeder, and a suet feeder, both very popular. 

Keith was going to burn all the saplings which Chris has been cutting, but with a family party on the 17th, we are now going to haul them down to the brush pile in the pasture for the wildings to use, and do a general garden cleanup next weekend, as this is expected to be very rainy.
We had snow on the ground, albeit light, this time last year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Aztec, Part Two

Well, we decided to wait for a bit and watch Azzie's lower eyelid, but after showing her picture to a vet tech at my office, I decided maybe we should have our vet out after all.  Imagine my surprise when I called the vet's office yesterday (thinking it would be Thursday or Friday, at best) and was told the doctor's new associate could be there in just an hour or so.  Yikes!  I got hold of Keith to make sure he could swing by, since it was late afternoon, and he said yes.  Of course, he beat the vet here, and hung around, waiting, calling me with "Where is she's???".  (I have been through this before, People). 

Then the vet pulled up.  Sorry, I have no pictures of what ensued, but I got the encapsulated version when I got home, JUST as they were releasing Aztec from the catch. 

Vet pulls up in humongous vet truck.  Views llamas, tells Keith to catch the patient, and goes back to truck.  Keith manuevers Aztec into catch with help from mama and papa, Inca and Tony, then runs them back out into the pen while he tries to keep the upset Azzie in the catch.  Maintains choke hold on her nether regions, all the time praying that she doesn't kick him in his Manhood.  Vet goes back to truck again. 

Keith asks vet to get halter... vet brings halter and lead rope, while waving shot apparatus full of sedative dangerously close to Keith's arms and legs... Keith maintains additional hold on bucking llama while vet gets halter on her, so that Keith can move up and try to exert additional control.  Vet finally takes a stab at sedative, and administers some.  Examines eyelid, and decides that IT WILL HEAL WITHOUT A STITCH because the tear is in the middle, and it is too far to pull the skin together.  The top eyelid comes down fine, and protects her eye.  She dabs salve all over it... gives a penicillin shot, and, as I come down the drive, the patient is loosed.  Father, mother and baby all gallop out to the pasture as the gate is opened. 

I met Dr. Beggs, who assured me that if I had been there 10 minutes earlier, I would have heard her cussing like a sailor, along with my husband.  However, there was laughter all around, and she gave us instructions on how to make sure Aztec gets her penicillin for the rest of the week... ground up and watered down on her feed... and did we think we could put more salve on her boo boo... emphatically NO.... and then she told us she'd send us a bill and was gone in a flash.  We loved her, but then, we love Dr. Jeannie, too. 

Keith did mention several times during the evening he was unusually worn out. 

So here was the scene this morning as I was leaving for work:

Mom and Dad, post breakfast.  Why, o why did I not think to ask Dr. Beggs to look at Inca's skin condition???? 

Here is our little patient.  You can see her eye still looks sore.

Go to work!  Let us chew our cuds in peace!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Back to Our Regular Programming

Since I wrote about the animals last, we have had an accident here.  Aztec, our yearling llama, has wounded her eye, in fact, torn her lower eyelid.  We are watching it, but, as the llamas are not truly halter-broken, we have not touched it yet.  If it does not look like it is healing in the next week or so, we will have Dr. Hauser out, who does equines and camelids.  We have the catch... and can get a halter on her by using the catch, but it will be a llama rodeo until she is haltered.  I've said before... we love our llamas, but should have bought halter-broken critters. 

Looking rather lurid here, it was the day it happened.  As you can see, it is kind of a nasty wound, and we think she either plunged her head into the hay buffet and got a piece rammed in, or did it somewhere in the pasture while they were galloping around.  It looks marginally better now, and it is not dripping blood, as in this picture.  As I said, we are watching it closely, and are very grateful it is not the dead of summer, with flies everywhere.

The buff brahma rooster in the front in this picture, Barney, and the two little buff brahma hens behind him (the smallest in the picture) went to a new home today.  Recently, I was asked by the head vet tech at my vet's office if I would consider selling some chickens to her uncle.  I told her I would not sell them, but would give him a few.  I picked out
Barney, the two little purebred brahma hens, and the two little cochin-brahma crosses (hens) that are very small.  On top of these, they were nice enough to take Ratchett, aka Elvis

In the last two weeks, the two young bullies roosters, Brutus and Rocky, have been attacking Ratchett constantly.  He was at the point where he had to stay inside all day with the Coop Dwellers, or be beaten to death.  I was so glad when Rhonda's aunt fell in love with his frizzle feathers and took him.
I had good vibes from these folks, and when they told me that they had covered their runs now because of some raccoon attacks, I felt better.  We are going to have to do something soon, since a hawk has picked off three of ours recently.

I thought this was a cute picture this morning of Nathan, waiting for his mom to come, and watching cartoons with his little buddies.

And finally, the Behemoth in our bedroom has been removed... son Jim came to help Keith load it, and son Jeff met us on the other end.  It just about killed the two of them to move it to his apartment, it is VERY HEAVY.  This big entertainment center held a 37 inch Toshiba tv that I bought from a friend at work several years ago, but it was followed up within six months by a flat screen, and we rarely used this one in the bedroom, then never used it.  We dropped the satellite from it over a year ago.  I thought to ask Jeff if he could use it, and he jumped at the chance to get it, so tonight, entertainment center and tv are in Independence, and we have room to move around in the bedroom.  He is also going to take a huge clothespress bought at a garage sale by a friend for us, that has not proved to be truly useful, and also takes up room.  We are going to get a simple dresser to use for Keith's clothes. I'm so glad Jeff took them, he's a hard worker, and will truly use them.

I hope everyone has a good start to the week!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The 1857 Marshall's Office and the Bingham-Waggoner

There is a package deal in Independence, as it were, during the Christmas season.  You can buy one ticket, and go through the Bingham-Waggoner house, the Vaile mansion, and the restored marshall's jail on the square in Independence.  I'll only show you a couple of pictures of the jail.  It does not have the support from auxiliaries that the two big houses have, and is not decorated as much.  However, it is full of history and very interesting. 

This folks, is a mighty homey jail cell.  It was lived in for six months by Frank James, the bank robber.  He had many privileges that the other prisoners did not get.  Their mattresses lay on the stone floor, and trust me, I stood in one of those cells for a while, and it does not smell good in there.
To wit:

Here is a "regular" cell, and there was a tiny thin mattress on the floor, to the right.  Notice the leg irons. They meant business when they put someone in jail back then.
This is the marshall's actual office, the desk is behind me.  That's the family parlor through the right door, and the first floor of jail cells through the left.  The marshall's family lived in the jail building, and their bedrooms are upstairs.  There is a room currently used as the greeter's office/shop that was probably a keeping room.  The kitchen was out back. Notice the painting of "Order Number 11 (Martial Law)" above the mantel, by George Caleb Bingham.  He painted it in response the terrible burning of much of Jackson and Clay counties by Union forces during the war when General Ewing ordered the rebel families to move out and burned their properties.  If you ever have a chance to look at this painting, it's very moving.
The family parlor, not nearly as elaborate as the two big mansions I was visiting.
When I came out of the jail, look what was parked in front:

Independence is known as the "Queen City of the Trails", because easterners took the train this far, and then bought their covered wagons, their teams of mules, horses or oxen from outfitters here, and all the things they would carry with them as they started out on the trails.  The Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails all started here, and there are numerous places in this area where you can still see swales from the hundreds of wagons that passed over the land.  This gentleman, with his half quarter horse/half Clydesdale team called Ruby (blaze) and Pearl, gives rides around the historic parts of Independence for various amounts, depending on the tour.  I wish I had had the time and money to take the tour, but it was windy and chilly yesterday (and REALLY windy and chilly today!).
I love history, can you tell?

On to the Bingham-Waggoner, rightfully called the "Lewis-Bingham-Waggoner" house because Mr. Lewis built the two-up and three down original house. The painter George Caleb Bingham lived in it during the Civil War, which was hard fought in this area.

There are eight bedrooms, because the Waggoner family, which owned the local grain mill, had a lot of children.  It is a family home, and you feel the family vibe in it when you go in the door.  The mill was just across from the house and acreage, and they had only to walk down their own sidewalk and cross the street to be at work.  In the fifties, the mill had an explosion and fire, and what is left of it, is now part of the Three Trails Museum, worth visiting!

The mill sold a product for which they were famous, a flour called "Queen of the Pantry", and there are crowns on the fireplace screens in the house.

Here is a tree in one of the two front parlours.  The theme for the Bingham this year was "A Woodland Christmas".

Notice the topper.

There were a lot of natural elements used.
The Bingham has the most wonderful dining room. It was huge, not just for the big family, but for guests as well.  I don't know if my shots did it justice.

Here is the fireplace. There was a huge tree to the right, and many vignettes in the room.
I did not get a good picture of the long table with it's beautiful red swath of netting.  That is a gorgeous lamp hanging above it... when gas came, the candoliers were changed to gas, and then when electric came... they were all converted to electric, though the family remained suspicious for a while.  Many of the earlier (front of the house) fixtures retain their gas knobs and handles "just in case".
The kitchen was surprisingly small for such a big house, but it featured something interesting... there is a wood stove, a dry sink, and a "modern" stove, used by the cook/housekeeper until the last Mr. Waggoner died in the 1970's.  This Mr. Waggoner, who never married, left the house and grounds to his housekeeper!

This bedroom upstairs is set up as a gentleman's sitting room right now, and is lovely.
This gorgeous antique clock sits over a bookcase in the same room. There are many furnishings in this house that are original to the family.

This picture, from a front bedroom, shows how progressive the Waggoners were when they built on the back of the house.  They put a washstand in every room, with running water.
I chose this picture of the "sewing room" because it shows part of the frieze painted on the walls.  Each room has it's own decorative frieze in this house.  This room, in the front of the house over the front door, was originally the upstairs hall, when the house was two up and three down. There was an original bedroom on either side of it.  That stairway was removed when the second portion of the house was built on.  I suspect this was a smoking room of some sort, because the frieze is of monkeys in the jungle.
The Bingham-Waggoner house has a third floor that is open to the public, and is used for snacks at the time of the tours.  It was the domain of the house servants, and had four or five comfortable sleeping rooms, and a large bathroom. There was a cistern up there, also, and a large common area. 

As you can see, the help had well-appointed bedrooms, all had at least one window, and this corner room, two. 
The drivers and stablemen lived over the carriage house and the stable.  They were all referred to as "the help" and not "the servants".
This look down the hallway towards two of the back bedrooms gives some idea of the size of this beautiful old house.  You notice the original frieze on the wall, and on the left you will see a tube protruding.  There was a "modern" call system downstairs when someone needed something on the second floor.  There is also a linen press visible, and steam heat from the radiator.

And here, folks, is the only "Reason for the Season" I saw in all three houses... the nativity scene in the women's parlor at the front of the Bingham House. 

On my way outside, I snapped a picture of the side of the house to give you some idea.
If you enlarge the picture, it will be easy to see the first part of the house, the second part (first addition) and the third part, which was of a different brick, because the first was no longer available.  The house at that point was painted pale green over the red brick.
And finally:

Here are some of the dependencies, taken from the car. The carriage house is just out of sight on the left, but what I wanted you to see was the bit of ramp still existing to the back of the horse stable... and the chicken house.  Only if you biggify the picture can you see the nest box on the outside wall, between the stable and the chicken house.   There is an outhouse (you can just see it to the right) and a smokehouse, as well.  Off to the right are about five acres of land, and on this you can walk by trail to a section of wagon train swales. 

I love history and the holidays, so to take a morning (about two and a half hours) and combine both was a lot of fun for me.

Next weekend, the annual horse drawn parade happens in Lawrence (another city around here with a huge Civil War history).  The only things allowed in the parade are horse-drawn equipages, and horses ridden or led.  I have a friend from work who will be riding with a group in the parade, and she has made beautiful saddle blankets for them to use. I hope to get up there early and stake out a good place to take pictures. I also hope the wind chill is not below zero, for horses and humans!

It is dark and very, very windy tonight here in Tonganoxie.  Keith has gone out to do some Christmas shopping and I am home typing this up, and listening to the wind blowing.  The dogs are restless, and barking and growling, and Keith said when I called him that they are hearing things on the wind.  We noticed, too, that when I came home from church late this afternoon that the llamas were also restless, and running up and down the pasture crazily.  I tried to get them on camera, but it had gotten too dark.  We still don't have the heaters set for the waterers, so I hope we have one a few more days of reprieve to get them out!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Off to the Vaile

This morning, I combined my trip to the wonderful old Victorian mansions of Independence, Missouri, with a visit to see my youngest son, Jeff.  Jeff does not figure much in these pages because, unlike most men, Jeff has never liked to drive.  He has lived in Independence for some 25 years now, and has never had a telephone!  I contact him through letters (the snail mail kind!) or by calling the store at which he works, a very large grocery.  It was so good to see him, and I will see him several times more before Christmas, so will post a picture then.  I took him some Thanksgiving meal.  He had the day off yesterday, but has laryngitis badly, and stayed in all day, so he can at least have a taste this evening.

After I saw Jeff, I hastened across town in the Black Friday traffic to the old downtown historic area.  The Vaile mansion is actually north of downtown, and sits on 4 1/2 acres, though it used to be a 50 acre home place.  There was a beautiful lake to the north of it once, and a lovely greenhouse to the south, with many other dependencies, but those, except for a carriage house, are all gone now. 

Warning... this is a picture-heavy post and all about CHRISTMAS!

Here is the front door.  I was at the bottom of the steps.  I could not wait to get through those doors!

This pier glass is in the main hallway, and all the decorations on the tables there were "food" decorations (fake food). 

This is a wedding dress, isn't it beautiful?  It is in the music room...there are four large public rooms on the first floor, two parlors, the music room, and the dining room. Behind them are the kitchen and a small room that was a breakfast room or food prep room... remember, there were servants in this household.  There were also several storage rooms or work rooms at the back of the house. 

This is the dining room fireplace, and you can see the pass-through in the wall next to it, so that dishes could be handed through from the kitchen behind it.  The ceiling in this room has been restored in the last year.  All the ceilings in this house have been decoratively painted.  For many years, the house was used as a home for old folks, and as a sanitarium... and was divided up so that there were many little rooms where there are now the rooms we see on the tour.  I can't imagine the old folks having to go up and down the staircases.

This picture is out of sequence, but I wanted you to see the "round" rooms at the back of the house.  This was a huge cistern built in by Colonel Vaile so that it could be filled with water for the house.  The cistern was on the second floor portion. Now that you have seen this picture, I'll show you the inside of the first floor room.
This is normally set up as a breakfast parlor, though if it was in the old days, it was for servants.
It literally took my breath away!

There were 28 trees in the small room!  Biggify it to see how beautiful it was!  Of course, I could only get a few in the camera shot.

Here is another shot:

Then I went upstairs.
This vignette is on the top of an antique partner desk.  The room was used as an office by the colonel.  High schoolers decorated this room this year, and our tour guide told us they were very glad to have the young people donate their time, as young persons are needed to continue the work as volunteers at the mansion.
Here is a room, now set up as a bedroom, but was used as a parlor by Mrs. Vaile.  It had an "en suite"... a bathroom attached to it, and was next to the master bedroom. 

It was, as you can see, highly decorated.
On the second floor were three bedrooms, or actually, two bedrooms and a sitting room for Mrs. Vaile, and an office for Colonel Vaile.  We aren't sure today whether or not all the rooms were used as bedrooms, because the Vailes actually only lived there for three years, until Mrs. Vaile died of an overdose of laudanum.  She had been shunned by polite society because the Colonel had an unclothed lady painted directly over their bed, and it scandalized society.

In the back of the house were a room for the housekeeper, and several other "servant rooms".  They are now occupied by the mansion's shop.

This area is in the front of the second floor, directly over the doorway below.

The thing about the Vaile is it was never really a family home... there were no children born or lived there, and it was a paen to the Colonel's social standing at the time.  After the death of Mrs. Vaile, the third floor, intended to be the ballroom, was never finished.

Except for the housekeeper, it is surmised, the Vaile servants all lived in the basement, whose rooms are not on display.

It is a gorgeous example of it's kind, though, and a privilege to see every year as it has been decorated.  This year's was entitled:
"A Whimsical Victorian Christmas."

One interesting thing about the trees this year... they all had "bursts" on top of them, rather than traditional angels or stars... or even bows. 

Here is an example:

I'd like to try this on our tree this year.
And finally, one last picture of Santa warming his feet by the fireplace in the master bedroom.

Tomorrow I'll show you some pictures of the Jail and Marshall's home, and the Bingham-Waggoner mansion on the south side of the Independence Square.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

(Turkey courtesty of Vintage Catnip)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Getting Ready

It's going to be a quiet Thanksgiving here tomorrow... just Keith and me.  We're having chicken, and mashed potatos (which we rarely have) and some vegetable sides.  I'm hoping to stretch the roast chicken into either chicken and noodles or chicken pot pie for Friday's meal, yum! 

We are slowly but surely moving away from eating so much processed food, and trying to cook a little healthier.  Keith is losing weight steadily, and really making an effort to begin excercising again and being active.  We don't want to atrophy in our bodies, and that's one reason we like doing chores and yardwork, etc.... so that that won't happen.  I hope to get a pasta maker at some point in the near future, and start making our own pasta WHEN we eat it, which is not regularly any more. I'd also like to get the dehydrator that was on our list for this year, but never purchased.  I keep saying I'm going to bake bread, but the fact is, we do not eat lots of it.  I can get it at the breadstore across from my office cheaper than I can make it, for what we use.  In fact, at 59 cents a loaf, I give the birds a bread treat almost daily.  They also eat all of our leftovers. 

Several people at work, when finding that we were eating alone, were concerned and offered invitations, and we appreciated them, but the fact is, as humble as this house is, we love to be here and are happy to be eating here.  Yes, we could afford to go out and eat, and there are many restaurants not even ten miles from here that are serving Thanksgiving dinner, but it will be fun to cook our chicken and then sit down and watch a little football (nap) and read (nap). 

Here is what our flower gardens look like right now.  I need to get in there and clean, clean, clean.
You can still see a little bit of purple of a late-flowering mum.

Now that I look at the photo, you would have to click on it to see the purple in the middle!
I need to cut back all of the now-bloomed mums, and clear out dead stalks and baby trees, etc. and put this flower bed to bed for the winter.  I'll try to do it Saturday, if it is not raining too hard.

Farm dogs Abby and Gertie helped me this afternoon as I carried things out to the Dierksen buildings to store for the winter.

Here's a homey group hanging out in the big henyard.  As you see, the two buff brahma cochins are outside with the others.  There are actually four little white hens in this picture, but Teeny is, indeed, gone.  Her remaining two chicks are still with us, and have turned into pretty little pullets.  I think a hawk must have gotten Teeny and Little Red sometime in the last week or so.  George the partridge cochin and Speedy the brassy back OEG are still with us, in the lower right hand.  Three, one of the old Japanese roosters, is up on top of the cage like apparatus in the middle.  (They all use it as a roost).  This cage, extremely heavy, was built by Keith to push up against the duck house door to protect some ducklings at night.  Trouble was, the snakes could get through.  It's so heavy we never cut it up, and the birds use it to roost on.  Some saplings grew through it, and have now become small trees, providing shade for the henyard.  At some point we'll probably take the chainsaw to it, but for now, it's a makeshift roost, and yes, the birds use it daily.

It was a beautiful day today.

And as you can see, my scolding yesterday worked... we had a good egg day.  The two Ameracauna pullets have not started to lay yet... I'll know when they do, because I'll have green eggs again. 

I have a batch of chevre in the oven (where it's warm and consistent) making... and can't wait to drain it and salt and put some herbs in it tomorrow.  I was also going to make mozarella, but it does not keep for long, so I don't know how practical it would be.

Happy cooking, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dancing with the .... Pugs

I admit it... I just spent two hours on the couch watching the DWTS finale.... and it went to JR Martinez, which I think was a done deal.  I really, really liked Rob Kardashian, (did that just come out of my mouth????) but I noticed in the final congratulations over the closing credits, Rob had not come over to congratulate JR on camera.  I hope that was not for real. Hasn't everyone wanted just for once in their lives to be able to dance across the floor and have everyone look at them???  I am the world's worst.... so I really enjoy watching them, and watching some get better week after week. I also admired JR very, very much, for going out there and going for it and representing people who are burn victims or war survivors and keeping such a great attitude!

Lilly was NOT enjoying it.... she was sleeping.

Here is why she is so tired:

Yes, that's right.  She's currently excavating to China in hopes of catching what's denned under the Dierksen building. 

I suspect it's going out the back while she's digging on the side.

Keith is actually at the point where we are going to have to fence off the space between the buildings, as we don't want Gertie to get under there. 

Meanwhile, in the big henhouse, the coffee klatsch is still going on with the usual lineup:

These girls (except for Boots on the right) need to shake a leg and lay some EGGS!  They've been slacking off this week.

No, that's not Baldy from the previous picture, but Bitsy, one of the two Naughty Girls that lives in the little henhouse.  It was bleak and grey out today, and we got a little more rain last night, which is a good thing.  Tomorrow is supposed to be fair and in the sixties, so I will get started on Thanksgiving prep.  I think it's just going to be Keith and me this year, as son Jim will go to his in-laws, and Keith's kids to their in-laws.  We may or may not have Nathan, we won't know until tomorrow.  I love the Thanksgiving holiday, and am sorry it's one of the "forgotten" holidays... it's so important to sit down and thank God for the blessings that we get every year, though we do that daily, too.

On Friday, I'm making my trek to the Bingham Waggoner and Vaile mansions in Independence, Missouri, and to see son Jeff at work and drop off some treats for him.  I'm planning on taking at least as many pictures as I did last year.... 300 or so!!!  (search for either of those two grand old Victorians to see them dressed in their best for Christmas).

Stop staring at me, I'm trying to EAT!