Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Some Other Things About Me

In the interests of sharing more information about me, I have to tell you all that I'm a Gleek. Yes, I love Glee.  I think it's not as good story-wise as it was in the beginning, but the musical numbers slay me. I was not a big Michael Jackson fan, but tonight's Michael Jackson tribute was well done, especially Human Nature.

I also love Downton Abby, and almost anything on Masterpiece Theater.  A long time ago I had watched a 13 episode Masterpiece theater piece about life in New York City at the turn of the 20th century, and that December, what did we have at the theater but a traveling production of the play "Da".... and one of the actors from the Masterpiece production was an understudy to the lead, and spent lots of time with me that week.  I think he was mystified that someone in Kansas City (read podunk) recognized him, and I spent a lovely Christmas Eve afternoon with the cast having dinner after the matinee. We also went to see "Kramer vs Kramer" the next afternoon after my Christmas with my family.... and he cried through most of the movie.  Funny how you remember things!

I did chores before Keith got home tonight, after getting the little dogs fed.  Bessie continues to do well, she is able to go to the bathroom now with no problem, and we were actually worried about her ability to eliminate after months of starvation.  She seems to be doing well, and was housebroken at some time in the past, as she has had no accidents.  Her eyes are already looking better after two days of medicine.  No, she is not taking Hannah's place... Hannah is irreplaceable, but she is a sweet little girl who deserved better than she got.

Here are the birds of the big henhouse tonight, already roosting when I went in to re-do their waterers:

In the middle there, next to Boots the Mille Fleur, is the tiny rooster Speedy, the Old English Gamebird.
This tiny little guy attacked Keith from behind on Monday while he was filling their big waterer!  Keith said he felt something hit his leg, and looked down, and here came Speedy again, spurs at the ready!   We're voting him Least Likely to Hurt Anybody.

These four are the only ones using the roosts now, and you see they were all jostling each other for space.  Buffy the Polish STILL needs her beak trimmed, so Keith and I will try to remember to do it tomorrow night.

Here are the porcelains and Reddy, over the feed room.  Butch roosts on top of the big white storage cabinet.  Reddy has actually been crossing over on the rafters and going outside with the other birds several times a day.

Here is Lil on the Stalk.  I stood and watched her.  It was nearly dark, and that's why the color is so bad.

Here she is, leg lifted to go on point.  I did not get a picture of the point, because I switched over to movie mode and filmed her, but I CANNOT GET MOVIES TO LOAD ANYMORE.  I have no idea what I'm doing wrong.  She pointed, moved forward very slowly, then ran at the fence.  On the other side, at Troy's, was the Big Black Dog that was haunting us a few weeks ago.  I have learned since he belongs to a renter down the road.  Lilly ran up and down the fenceline, barking and growling at him for ten minutes.  Keith told me she had also done it earlier in the day.

I feel the cold that has hit everyone at work in the last three weeks coming on and am going to hit the hay early and PRAY that it leaves me alone!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I ask you... does this little girl look like she is going anywhere?

She turns out to be about 8 years old, her eye problem is conjunctivitis, not cataract, and as you can see, there IS a second eye.  Her organs are working well, and her clumps of hair so stuck together have been shaved.  She has all of her shots.  She needs a dental, but will have to be sedated for that, so it will come soon.  She does NOT like her eye drops, but we will insist.  She is purebred Shihtzu, as near as the doctor can tell.

She is now listed as "Bessie" on our records at Dr. Tom's. 
What do you think?

On another front, we have a new old china hutch in our bedroom.  I saw this hutch many months ago at Wild Horse Antiques.  When Michelle closed her shop and moved to Texas, I forgot about it, but now the shop is open and the actual owner of the hutch is running it.  It is kind of an antique/flea market place, but I saw the hutch and realized it was down to 100.00.  I went back and talked to the man, and he told me he had given 165.00 for it at auction, but wanted to move it.  I went back again and asked him if he would take two payments, one of $50.00 and one in two weeks.  He agreed, so Saturday, we brought it home.  Okay... Keith brought it home and Keith and Nathan somehow got it unloaded and in the house. It is sitting in our bedroom, and I unloaded about half of what was in the kitchen hutch and moved it into this one, so we can get to our everyday plates easily now in the kitchen.  When you only have six cabinets, you have to use everything you can for storage.

Here it is empty:

Just what every bedroom needs. 
My mother's crystal water glasses are in it, my grandma's candy dish, some old milk bottles, a Pysanky egg someone gave us for our wedding, a needle case from my mom's sewing basket, and some salt and paper shakers that I like.  A little collection of dogs.  Christmas plates. It has two shelves down below, now full of things, so it was lucky Keith put a shim under it.
My Puss N Boots cookie jars look nice in it, don't they?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Wonderful Evening and a Good Day

We had a quiet, at-home evening last night, but it was good.  Nathan watched some tv, (they have very limited tv in Garnett) and Keith did an errand, while I blog-hopped. 

I love Sunday mornings.  I used to go to church at 8:00 AM, so would get up very early, do chores, and then change clothes for church.  Now, I sleep a little later on Saturday and Sunday, fix a good breakfast for Keith/me/Nathan, make a batch of cookies for Nathan to take home with him, and then go to church at 10:30... and I forgot to say I feed all the dogs and do chores, too!  It's so peaceful here, and I can sit down at the table with the Sunday Kansas City Star, and read it slowly.  I love it.

It's Sunday evening now, and the starlings only hit us once today... early in the morning.  I banged on a pot several times when I saw them coming back, and once it warmed up to the fifties, they flew away to eat somewhere else.  The chickens had a great day, and the big flock spent it in the pasture.  I have so many older birds in that flock, but I hate to get rid of them, they are like old friends.  I thought originally if we had another bad winter like the last two, that we would lose the older ones.  So far, except for poor Widget this week, we are good.

Keith has gone to wash my car off, and that brings me to an observation.  We need rain.  The little ponds are drying up again, and the marsh near Lawrence usually so full of water and herons... is almost dry.  I mean literally, almost dry, there is one pool.  When a car goes down the road, the dust billows like a fog, rolling into the fields and yards alongside it.  I am constantly dusting in here.  I'm starting a prayer for rain, because I'm getting worried.

Before I left for church, Keith gave Bess a bath.

As you can see, the dust of the road had covered her little body well

We thought for a while last night that she had only one eye... and that that eye had a cataract in it, but after Keith washed her, we realized there was a good eye on her left.

Tomorrow she is going to go to Dr. Tom, and we will have him assess her health all over.  Then we'll decide what to do.  We have a good relationship with the rescue from whom we got Hannah and Abby, and they specialize in small dogs.  We don't want to approach them until we know what's what.

Keith left after I got home from taking Nathan to meet his mom.... he was in a hurry to get to Lee's Summit to do this:

Yes, he was visiting the Little Prince.  Need I tell you he was over there all afternoon?

I was asked to go, but to tell you the truth... I have become happiest at home, and nothing makes me feel better than puttering around here, cleaning, doing wash, baking or cooking, and taking care of the animals.  Our neighbor Troy came over to trade me some egg cartons for eggs (which I was glad to do) and he met Bess.  He told me his wife is now looking for a Peke, but I am holding out hope. 
I cooked some green beans "slow and low" with onion and bacon, and when Keith got home, we had a piece of a ham steak, with some rice and mushrooms, and the green beans.  The fat pugs got to have some green beans, too!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Wherein I Reveal Some Secrets - Worth Reading!

I'm still not used to typing these blog entries without my Little Doll at my feet, snoring.  I miss her.  I could cuddle my toes into her side and she would snuffle and go back to sleep, keeping my toes warm.  I was so used to her being on my right side that it seems empty now on the couch, though Gertie has moved over there, and her contented little mewlings have done much this week to help us along.

Yesterday's trip to the post for my checkup was a very good one, and I want to share it with you.  Like most other bloggers, I don't quite tell everything that is going on around here.  Some personal things I think are not things that you all would be interested in, and some are just not things that I want to share.  But I think it's time to share one thing, and not because a famous chef has done it lately.

You know, if you've read this blog, that Keith and I believe that this place helps keep us healthy.  Neither of us wants to atrophy as we get older, and though it is harder for me to lift the water buckets now, I compensate by not filling them as full.  I usually park far from the stores and groceries to walk, and try to walk as much as I can while doing chores.  Keith has begun playing golf again, and is walking, instead of riding a cart.  In fact, he played 18 holes today, and came home exhausted and starving, but he WALKED.  A year ago, he could never have done that, and I am so proud of him.

Eight years ago, while on a checkup at Great Lakes Naval Air Station in Illinois, where we were seen while Keith finished his Army career up at Fort Sheridan, I was diagnosed with Type Two diabetes.
I have to admit that at first, I did not take this very seriously.  We were about to move back to Kansas, and the diagnosis came a day before we left.  I had a fast class with a technician who showed me how to poke my finger with a needle, and gave me some simple instructions to do it five times a day, and off we went.  I was stunned, to say the least. 

When we got settled in Leavenworth, I signed up for some courses at Munson Army Health Center, where I was soon to start temping.  There I learned a little more about this disease, and what it could do.  I had had a friend at my old job, Bob, who had been diagnosed with diabetes some years earlier.  Bob would not take his medication, and eventually lost his sight and his leg, and this scared me but I STILL didn't take it very seriously.  I began about a four year period of going to the doctor and being told my A1C was 7 or above, and not getting too concerned.  I ate as normal.

Finally, three years ago, the doctor suggested to me that I have lap-band surgery.  I did, and my life has never been the same.... more about that in a later post. 

My A1C dropped down to six as I lost weight, and I was mighty proud of myself, though I did not do extra excercise, I COULD, once again, do lots of chores here.

As my weight stabilized (I'm three years out on surgery), my A1C began to climb again, until in November it was back up to 7.6.  I should tell you that retirees were switched two years ago to a nurse pracitioner who was herself in the Army.  She is stentorian, and I never mixed well with her. About the time it went back up to 7.6, Keith and I began to make small changes to the way we eat here. We did not give up all treats, in fact, I baked more this past Christmas season than any other in my life... but we began to eat less red meat... to eat more vegetables and fruits... and other things that changed the way we were eating. We had frozen or canned things from our own garden, and we ate those.  We did chores regularly, even those days that were miserable outside, cold and wet... slogging back and forth taking care of the animals.  Even as late as last week, I asked myself WHY was I still doing this. 

I'll tell you why.

I went up to have blood drawn on Thursday morning, and to see the NP yesterday. 

My A1C had gone down to 6.5, and I HAD LOST WEIGHT.  Over CHRISTMAS.

For the very first time since being diagnosed, I was elated.  All of the little things we are doing are paying off, and we are going to continue to tweak. I also mentioned our food pantry to the Nurse Practitioner, who immediately began talking about the new food pantry at her church in a town five miles from us, where there has never been one, and there is such a need for it!  We continued talking about eggs and the need for food for a good ten minutes.

I'm not bragging here... I'm just saying that I'm finally coming to my senses and realizing I have control over this insidious thing inside me.

So, if I am beating my own drum tonight, it's because I am still dancing on air, even though I had to re-fill the waterers and put down some new feed THREE TIMES TODAY.

Poor chickens.

So, here's the second important thing about this post. 

Nathan is here with us today, and we were glad to see him.  His mother brought us something she found on the way here today... she scooped it up off the road.

It's a little Shih-tzu girl.  She is emaciated, and has a cataract on her eye.

She has huge clumps of hair stuck all together on her legs, like something you would have seen on Animal Cops years ago on Animal Planet.  We think there is no left eye, but we can't tell for sure.  She was so hungry.  We spread food out over the entire day, so she would not be ill.  She wants to be held, and to be near you.  I lay down for a few minutes this afternoon on the couch, and she jumped up lightly, and curled up near my chest.  She can't weigh five pounds.  Keith is calling her "Bess".

On Monday, he'll run her down to Dr.Tom, on the way to work.  We'll have Tom assess her chances, and tell us.  If she is adoptable, (and temprement-wise, she sure seems to be) then we'll contact the rescue from whom we got Hannah and Abby, and see if they will take her.  They specialize in small dogs, and have great success. 

If the eye is bad, then we will make another decision, one that won't be as pleasant, but she will have had a few days of warmth and food, and a resting place here near Hannah.

God does have a way, doesn't He?

Friday, January 27, 2012

The End of a Long Week

I can't say I am too sorry to see this week come to an end.  Unfortunately, we had one more sad occurence... a very nice little cochin hen, Widget, who was the last to go in every night, had to be put down this morning.  I saw her in the dark in a far corner of the little henhouse, bent over, and ran to get the flashlight.  I am so glad I did, as she was in bad shape.  Keith put off leaving for work long enough to take care of her.  She had managed to push her egg bed all the way out, and had prolapsed.  Once that had been taken care of, I could finish up chores and change clothes to leave myself.

The day started beautifully...

This was taken to the east at 7:20 this morning.  That's the Spehar's pond you see in the distance.

Aztec was in there somewhere, too... they were all having a leisurely cud chew as I left for work, having eaten their breakfast.

I had to go to Fort Leavenworth this afternoon for a doctor's appointment, and this is a barn I pass everytime I go... it always makes me feel so sad.  It was full of hay, and they have just let it sink into the ground.

As I left the post, I passed a big flock of turkeys (I know they are not a "flock") almost at the gate, busily eating away just off the sidewalk that runs along Grant Avenue... almost at the guard station... as if nothing was wrong and no people were near.  I could NOT get a clear picture, you can't stop there and cars were coming up behind me.  My picture turned out to be a blur, and I wish that I could have shown you how beautiful they were.

As I drove home through the countryside, I passed hundreds upon hundreds of geese in the beanfields feeding, and on the bigger ponds.  I didn't get good pictures of them, either.

Here's something I did get a picture of:

I counted 28 mares in this field, there were more stretched off to the right and left.  Keith and I have been watching this herd the last few weeks.  You see, they belong to a young man who used to take care of our horse's feet, he was wonderful with them and very quiet, but then began to miss his appointments and we gave up on him eventually.  We have noticed that he has moved all of his stock to this field, which is across from his home and barns.  He breeds Arabians, but many of these mares are paints, appys, and a couple of palominos.  He appears to be rebuilding his corrals at his home place, but we have also noticed that these mares are going through hay like you wouldn't believe, and today, they appeared to be eating maybe hay that had been thrown out for them (because they were so spread out) instead of big bales.  We just wonder what is going on, and if he needs help. He has some beautiful horses.

Of course, I got home to find these:

UGH.  Even worse than yesterday.  Poop in them, poop all around, wherever you see white, it's poop.  Double ugh.  It wouldn't be so bad, but it smells! And the waterers INSIDE were as dry as these.

Not a lick of water or feed for our birds left at all.  The big henhouse flock is going out into the pasture during the day now, so I think they are finding enough bugs, etc., but I can't let the little henhouse side out at the same time, Rambo and the two young boys will fight... Rocky and Brutus.

Someone suggested something last night that I am going to write her and find out about... we are ready to go to extreme measures (laugh).  I guess extreme would be blasting away with a shotgun.

When I got to the door, my help came out to do chores with me...

Here they come, barreling out of the henhouse.  Biggify it, and you'll see Abby is at the gallop.  Gertie is looking around for Lilly, who goes after her savagely if she gets too close to the henhouse, where Lilly is Queen of Mice Control.

And here is the aforementioned Queen, surveying All She Commands.

Sunset was as beautiful as the sunrise.

And here is Lilly again, waiting for Keith to come through the gate in his truck when he got home from his trip up to Doniphan County, to look at the levee repairs.

Yes, the "Christmas" curtains are still up.  They are lined, and are keeping out the cold.
I'm strill trying to think what to put up in their stead when we are feeling compelled to take them down (like, um, Easter).

(Linking this to Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday)

Thursday, January 26, 2012



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nosey Poseys

First off, we want to thank all of you who have left comments or messaged us privately about Hannah.  We appreciate all of your comments and prayers and advice so very much.  We tried very hard for the last four months to give sweet little Hannah the best life she could have under the circumstances, and when we could see that nothing was helping, we decided it was better for her to do what we did yesterday.  Yes, we miss her, and there will always be a hole in our hearts where she was.

Tonight, while we were in the pasture, we had some interested observers.

Inca still has the skin thing going on, and will be scraped by Dr. Jeannie the next time she is here.

Meanwhile, in the yard, this one was on duty, waiting for a mouse to show his nose

Thank you all again for your kindness.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In high school (lo, these many years ago) we had to read the Trilogy of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  A lot of the students complained about it, but I loved the books, and re-read them over and over.  In the trilogy, as many of you know... the elves leave Middle Earth by taking a boat into the west. 

Today, Hannah's boat crossed over.

Here she is in happier days... very, very rarely did she come out into the yard. Even when we adopted her, her eyesight had gone south.

This photo is remarkable... in it are four of our friends who have crossed the bridge and are waiting for us on the other side.... Hannah, Addie Mae, so sweet and loving... Nick, who traveled from Kansas City, Kansas to Texas to Illinois to Leavenworth to Tonganoxie with aplomb, and Beau, the pony of my heart, who decorated our yard for the last three years of his life.  Always one for a visit, it took only a gathering to get Beau up to hear the conversation.  I swear he would have joined in if he could.
And yes, your blogger is about 70 pounds heavier there.

Hannah and her daddy, same night.  She hated being held and restrained, even though the other dogs liked it.  She wanted only to sit or lay by you, where she could hear your voice or feel your hand on her back.  Only in these last few weeks did she want to be held.

She often would watch me quietly as I worked or baked in the kitchen.

Or snuggle next to you when it was nap time.

On January second, we removed her left eye, because it had developed glaucoma during the fall.  During the enucleation, the vet also did a tooth cleaning.  During that, four teeth fell out, they had been very bad.  We think she had suffered from toothache for a long time.  She did not bounce back well from the eye operation, and she and I had gone to see Dr. Tom four times since.  Last Monday, a week ago, I asked him for a fair assessment of her future, and he told me the best we could hope for was another six months to a year, if we could get her sinus infection healed.  But you see, in worrying about the head, I missed something else.

She had not eaten since Sunday morning, and had only drank a little milk now and then.  I noticed last night that she sat, instead of laying by me on the couch... sitting in a slump, head hanging for almost two hours.  Twice, when she tried to lay down, she sat back up abruptly, and I mentioned it to Keith.  We talked about having to do what we had put off and planned for Friday afternoon.  Again, she tried to lay down, and didn't yipe, but pulled back abruptly, though I could tell she was worn out and wanted to lay.  Finally, she slumped down and sighed. 

You can see what it is in this picture, taken earlier today, I had made a last-ditch effort to get her to eat a little cottage cheese, which she normally loved.
Her left front paw is badly swollen.  She had managed, somehow, we think maybe in her crate, to tear one claw partially out.  There was a very, very sore spot there, where matter had stuck together and infection had set in.  We aren't sure when it happened, but I know that Sunday night she could not put weight on it.  I never even saw it, and it has hurt me all afternoon.

This was her favorite place, then, at my feet, where she could smell me and see me and hear me a little, up very close.  I could reach down and pat her little head.  Not rambunctious like the two little girls, she was sedate and staid, and the perfect little dog. 

Daddy and Mommy will miss you, Hannah Jean, until we see you and Addie, and Oscar, Nicky, Gwen, Jenny, Beau and Lacey across our own bridge bye and bye.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Okay, this was yesterday in the big henyard.

Notice the ice that Keith and I had broken out of the fortexes.  This was the second watering of the day, and oh WHEN will I learn to take a picture from the correct angle so that my shadow doesn't show?   We have been pouring out the fortexes at night so we don't have to break thick ice in the mornings.

This was today:

Notice the absence of ice?  We went from 18 degrees yesterday to 57 degrees today!
Keith took Hannah out at midnight or so, and told me this morning that it was warmer then than it had been all day yesterday.  The starlings came early this morning while I was at church, and ate their fill... once I replenished the feeders, the birds had feed and water the rest of the day. 

Keith worked in the garden today for a while, getting rid of debris and doing some weed-eating.  We are going to start preparing the beds for spring, but we have not ordered any seeds... yes, the catalogs are tempting, but the fact is, we can get most of our seeds here and not pay any shipping. Burpee seeds are sold at Home Depot, and Grasspad carries many more.  It's fun to go through the catalogs, but not very practical for us. 

 Here are some of the older birds... the original flock was mostly black and white, sons and daughters of Fred, our bantam Japanese rooster.  You can see the old roosters One, Two and Three, and the little hens with them.  These birds are now five years old.  That's the dividing line between the two henyards, and Rocky and the bigger hens to the right.  Today was very gray, though the sun tried to peak through several times.  We are expecting some rain (possibly snow flurries!) tonight.
We could use the rain.

Here is Keith with Hannah this afternoon.  Hannah would never let anyone hold her like this before... she has always wanted to be near you, but not ON you.  We know she has changed profoundly since losing her sight, and now she is also eating only sporadically, as well.  We'll see Dr. Tom one more time this week, and then are going to have to decide what to do about this little girl.

Last week wore both of us out, we admit it.  It's hard work taking care of animals even when the weather is good, but extreme heat and extreme cold make it worse, and we aren't, amazingly, getting any younger.  I spent the day after church baking and dozing... I admit it.  I made an apple brown betty to my own recipe.... a layer of buttery croutons I made myself.... a layer of brown sugar with tabs of butter laid over it... a layer of Granny Smith apples, with another layer of oatmeal and brown suger and butter laid over... baked for an hour at 350.  YUMMMMM.  Tonight we are having simple hamburgers for dinner, I am out of oomph and Keith thankfully changed the llama trough for me, and we finished evening chores together.  Now for an evening of football and Downton Abby!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Week's Worth of Whining

Good. Gravy. Gert.

I have spent a week, literally, thinking I was locked out of our blog, and lamenting it to everyone near and far.

Guess what?  All I had to do was log into BLOGGER, not my own blog link.  Duhhhhhh.

Last Sunday, I changed my blog to reflect some of the new dynamic views.  I actually like some of them very much, but when I tried to go back and post Sunday's post, I could not get back in.  I let the whole week go by (trying to use the link on our computer) and this afternoon, have sat down and thought about and went to www.blogger.com, and was able to log in as if nothing had ever happened. 


Sometimes the easiest way is the only way.

We have had a very hard week here.  Those of you up north will laugh when I complain about the cold, but it has been hard here this week.  Doing chores in low temps in the dark in the morning makes you wonder why you are keeping so many chickens.  Next winter, by hook or by crook, the little henhouse will be out of commission for the winter.  We cannot put a heated waterer base in there, and it is very, very hard on the birds.  We do have a red heat lamp going in there now, and the inside dwellers are rarely leaving the pool of warmth it provides.  The hardier Welsummers, Rocks, Silkies and the two Naughty Girls are going outside, though.  The waterers outside freeze again by 10 AM, if they have time before the starlings drink everything in them. Starling poop is everywhere, on everything, and the smell is disgusting.  We are going through layer pellets like gold chips.

16% layer pellets are now 10.10 for fifty pounds at our feed store, actually having gone down a bit.
50 pounds of Snickers Senior, which is a horse feed we are currently feeding the llamas because they dropped the sheep feed we were buying, is 12.20 per bag.  To give a comparison, at Tractor Supply (where I love to shop) Dumor, Purina and Nutrena are all 14.95 a bag for 50 lbs of layer pellets. Llama chow is actually 17.99 per bag.  Yes, it's all about economics. 

We were buying a simple back yard bird feed from TSC for 9.99 a bag for 35 pounds.  It has gone to 11.99.  To this mix I would add peanuts at 11.99 per ten pounds from our feed store, and some black oil I would get at Wal Mart, where it was cheapest. I make ten pounds of peanuts last for two weeks.
Now we have gone back to buying Backyard Blend from our feed store, Valley Feeds in Bonner Springs, Kansas, because even though it is 19.99 for 40 pounds, it has a good blend in it and really doesn't need anything added.  They actually have a premium backyard blend for quite a lot more, but it's beyond our reach at this point.  I am buying suet from either TSC for 99 cents to 1.39, or at Wal Mart (for about the same).

Our brome hay, because we are buying a small amount at a time, is costing us 6.00 a bale, and we notice that the feed store is NOT getting good hay now, and has warned us they will not have hay a couple of months from now  We tried to stock up and have about 14 bales now in the little haybarn.  This latest bale I opened this week does not smell as good as the previous, and I notice the llamas are not eating it with as much relish.

This morning it was 14 out when I went out to do chores, and 20 when I took eggs to the food kitchen. On the way back, after a ten minute stop at the little store in Tongie, it dropped to 19 and then to 18. BRRRRRR.  I can see through the window that some of the birds from the big henhouse are coming out into the pasture, since I have left their entrance open all week.  Lilly is out there, laying in wait if some bird comes too close to the perimeter fence. 
This doghouse is in Butch's old pen, and there is a reason that Three the old rooster is standing there.

This tiny little hen, from the same hatch as Teeny, is using it daily to lay her egg.  Yes, I have to crawl on hands and knees to get it.

Keith will kill me for this one, but here he is at noon after doing some errands, taking a nap with Gertie and Abby.  They love their daddy.  He drove many miles this week to meetings in Topeka, and then yesterday to meetings in downtown KCMO and other places.  Doing chores in the cold and stumbling around in the dark take it's toll on you. 
This little girl is at my feet:

Yes, Hannah is still with us.  She has just about recovered from the enucleation, but the jury is still out.  She is having a very hard time, and we think has now lost 99% of her hearing.  The vet, after checking her this week, said he thinks she could still tell light from dark before, and now sees only black.  She will cross the kitchen, come to a corner, and simply stand in the corner, waiting for someone to rescue her.  Twice this week she nearly fell off the bed, and finally, Wednesday morning, I woke to find her on the floor by the dresser.  I am now crating her during the day, and also, now, at night, so that she and I both get some sleep.  She is the dearest, sweetest little girl, but we are both thinking now that it is not fair to her for the way she is living.  We're trying to make a decision based on her needs, not ours.  We have noticed now she is "snugglier" where before she slept near us, but not against us.  Anchoring herself is probably helping her.

I have chicken breasts to fix for dinner tonight, so am going to stop now and go look at recipes.  I did see a good one this morning on the television for chicken salad, so am keeping that in the back of my mind.  Sometime this week, or perhaps next weekend, we are going to have brisket, which we do rarely.  Yummm!

Did anyone make the Cheeseburger Salad I wrote about last Saturday?  It is SO good!  I love the Pioneer Woman and I love her recipes. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Late Saturday Post

Nathan has been here today with us, and absent the television, we let him use the computer tonight.  Keith went somewhere to watch a bit of the playoffs, but the second game, the one we wanted to see, is not going so well for the Broncos. 

We had a very quiet day without the squawk box going in the background, I must say.  I have to admit that I am going to sorely miss Downton Abby tomorrow night, but I will catch up next week. 

Today Nathan and I saw a very good movie after doing our Saturday errands.  We saw "We Bought a Zoo", and despite it's so-so reviews, we liked it.  Based on a true story, it stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansen, and I have to admit I had tears in my eyes at the end.  Despite the fact that there were several curse words in it (which Nathan noted afterwards, asking how it could be considered PG13), the subject of puppy love in it was handled very well, with the young couple of 13 and 14 hugging, instead of kissing, which I thought was very refreshing for once. I am going to look up Benjamin Mee, the actual person who did this, to read more about it.

Tonight I made the most wonderful dinner.  Keith was still out, but Nathan and I enjoyed it, and then I fixed Keith a big bowl when he got home, and he devoured it.  I found it here at the Pioneer Woman, and it is as good as she says it is!  Called "Cheeseburger Salad", you just follow her instructions and do it like she shows... and believe me, it's good! I highly recommend it!

Last night I stayed up for a while and did a little surfing, reading some blogs and doing some research. 

When I bought the chicks last March, I was told that the larger chicks were Rocks and Welsummers.  As time wore on, the Rocks began to look like Wyandottes, so I got very confused.  I had a rooster and two pullets, all gold-penciled, and what looked like a rooster and three pullets of the Welsummers.  So last night, I got on Feathersite and took a look.  Here is the Welsummer rooster on Feathersite (thank you, Barry Koffler)

And here, this morning, is our Brutus

Definitely the Welsummer rooster.  Note Starling poop on the fence and doghouse.

What then, was Rocky?  Wyandotte or Rock?

A Buff Rock trio on Feathersite.

Rocky and Rockette, this morning.  We lost the second hen months ago.

I think Rocks, for sure, since they do not have rosecombs.

And last, Speedy, the OEG rooster, whose little pullet I also lost months ago, and we now think was the first lost to the hawk.

I had many pairs of OEGs at the first Calamity Acres.

On Feathersite:

But then I started to think... I don't ever remember a comb like this on one of mine, and I think it has been dubbed.  Here is another picture:

This cock looks more like Speedy, and also like those I had years ago.

Here are the three roosters Boots (Mille Fleur), Speedy, (OEG) and George, the partridge cochin, with Buffy, the Polish girl.  Buff caught herself AGAIN today, a long toe that you see here, stuck through the metal grill of the juvenile hutch, trapping her.  I realized everyone had gone in but her, and knew it.  It took me a minute to free her, and then I set her inside the pophole on the ramp of the big chickenhouse.  She froze... they have so much trouble seeing.  Tomorrow, I am going to have Keith hold her while I trim her beak, and cut some feathers around her eyes.  No more Polish!

Here is what I found after sleeping a little later this morning, when I opened the back door of the little henhouse:

They are on the INSIDE.  All the feed was gone, of course.

And outside:

If you biggify this, you'll see some of them perched on the branches of the walnut tree, waiting to swoop down. They were only a few of the hundreds around.  I ran outside three times yelling and clapping my hands, til Keith was laughing at me. He ended up having to replenish twice.  It's pitiful.

I spent an hour looking at home built feeders designed to keep vermin, ground and flying, out of the chicken feed. My problem is I have six little tiny hens, and I don't know if they could open the lid to eat.  I have a design I am going to run by Keith tomorrow and see what he says.

We close the night with gratuitous cuteness:

Notice the toys are in the bed with them. Gerts must ALWAYS tuck her little nose in.  Abs just likes to be close to you.  Keith and I were talking for an hour in the office, he standing in the door and me at the computer.  The girls settled in, and Hannah was at my feet.