Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Ghost Story for Halloween

(please see addendum under this post)

You all know that I like to watch Ghost Hunters on TV (though I am sceptical of them)... and Ghost Adventures, and the late, lamented Paranormal State.... but oddly enough, I am scared of Paranormal Witness, maybe because those are "regular people" who relate things that have happened to them.
I myself, have had several encounters with something unexplained in the past, and for Halloween, I'll talk about them.  You can remain sceptical, believe me!
About 15 years ago, I took myself on the only real vacation I had ever had in my life.  I grew up in a loving family, with parents who sent us to private schools, went to church weekly, had a rich family life with my cousins and friends, but did not believe in "fripperies"... we didn't go to the circus, to the ice shows... to vacations.  One time we planned a vacation, but by then my dad had had a heart attack and the doctor put the kibosh on it before it got very far along in the planning.
So, I was interested in Civil War history, and belonged to the Civil War Roundtable of Western Missouri.  I decided to go to Gettysburg.  This was a HUGE undertaking for me, because I not only had dogs and cats, but a flock of chickens as well.  I contacted a neighbor who agreed to farmsit for me for 10.00 a day. 
I duly made all my reservations and that April,  flew into a small airport in Maryland, rented a car, and drove up to Gettysburg. 
On the last day I was there, I wanted badly to ride across the battlefield, renting a horse from the local stable that advertised battlefield tours.  I was still riding regularly, and really wanted to do this to finish off my wonderful five days.  That morning it dawned rainy, and windy.  I was worried we would not be able to ride.
I got to the stable, and, when I told them I could ride... they put me on a horse that was a little fractious, and I rode at the end of a line of about ten riders and the guide.  We rode onto the battlefield from the campground, and each of us had been given headsets to listen to a recording about the terrain through which we rode.  It was raining lightly, but the strange thing was that fog had descended on the battlefield.  We rode along past the Peach Orchard, but I had turned my headset off... I wanted to just experience the battlefield.  Imagine my surprise when I heard what sounded like an explosion and shouting on my right.  I stopped the horse and turned to see what was happening... and heard pulsating yells and screaming again.... that lingered... but where I was looking, there was only fog and mist.  I did NOT have my headset on.... and I always wondered if I did, indeed, hear the yells from down through the years... my horse stood there and had his ears pricked forward, and then, seeing that the line of horses was disappearing into the fog, I turned him and we rode forward and joined them.
When my kids were little... we rented a house from a relative.  The boys were five and seven, respectively, and they each had their own room in this three bedroom house.  It was unusal in that it had not one but two doors on the staircase to the second floor, one from the living room, and just around the corner of the wall... one from the dining room.  The door at the bottom of the stairs into the living room looked right onto the front door when it was open.
After we had been there a couple of weeks... I heard some voices one night and thought they were coming from outdoors.  There had been some loud partying going on on that street, and it had kept me up at night, so I assumed it was more of the partyers.  I went to sleep and didn't think about it.
Then, it happened again, and I realized it was coming from directly below me, the living room.  The voices moved into the dining room, and I heard the chink of dishes being passed and used.  This didn't happen once, but many nights.  It finally got so that the last thing I did at night was make sure that the doors to the dining room and living room at the foot of the stairs were shut tightly. One night, I realized I had left the living room door open, and was scared to death to run down there and close it in the light from the hall above! 
This went on for some weeks, and then, one morning... I found oldest son Jim having convulsions in the bathroom.  He had become wedged in the doorway and I don't know how I found the strength to get it open, get him, and get him to the bed.  I called an ambulance and off we went to the hospital, where he stayed for 4 or 5 days. 
Soon after that, though I had NO money and moving was very, very hard for me... I found the wherewithall to get us out of that house. 
Years later, we were about to move into a wonderful little rental house and the landlords lived down the street from the above house. 
When I told them we had lived there, they exclaimed: "The Haunted House????"
It seems that the whole neighborhood knew of the "haunts"... but I had grown up two blocks away and had never heard of them!
The funny thing was, from the day we moved in, I would not go down the basement... and would not use the back porch.  The light in the kitchen was on the back wall... I would turn it off and run for the light of the living room, every night.  I have often wondered about that house, and what has happened it it since, but I have to tell you, I breathed a sigh of relief when we left it!
I leave you all to make up your minds on your own!
It is a beautiful day here at Calamity Acres, and we remember those who are not having a good Halloween.  Tonight we pray for the Poor Souls, and tomorrow, remember the Saints who have preceded us.
No, not my Halloween costume, but a leisure suit... circa 1972... remember those? 
Son Jim as Bullwinkle, aged four. 
Oh, so many Halloweens ago!
For a very amusing post, please go here and see what the
AMAZING Pea has done on her blog today to celebrate Halloween!
It's truly funny and inspiring!  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Superstorm Sandy

I admit it, the little girls and I spent the day yesterday glued to the news, and praying for all those in harm's way.
Keith got home from work, and we watched together.

Gertie was a little worn out with tv at that point, and glad to have Daddy home.
Lilly Ann was tired, too, having spent more than an hour doing this!  If you look closely, you can see where she has started a tunnel underneath, on the left.
3 places in the yard.  Cutting this for salad tomorrow night.
We were absolutely blessed by God in this time of wild weather... this was the scene last night, the Halloween full moon, shining down into Spehar's ponds.  We are so grateful for this peace, and are still praying for those whose lives have been turned upside down.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday before the Storm

I am praying this morning for all of our fellow bloggers on the East Coast... I have CNN on, and don't usually have the TV going during the day, but Keith and I turned it on early this morning to keep track of the storm's advance.  It truly looks horrifying, and I have stopped to say a prayer over and over for the safety of those who are in harm's way today and tonight.  To know that it has not even officially "hit" yet is terrible.
We had another hit here, last night, from one of these:

Courtesy Wikipedia
(Honestly, you can wiki ANYTHING, folks!)
Somehow, Keith, who is totally deaf, heard the ruckus from the henyards, and called me from the new henhouse, where he was working. 
I ran out there. 
All birds were in hiding, those who had not made it inside were hiding behind the 4 x 4 pen, or under the now leafless trees.  It took a while for everyone to calm down.
I have not missed anyone yet, but that doesn't mean there isn't anyone gone.
All morning, between watching the weather channel and commenting on blogs... I have been twisting in my chair to look out the window, to see if it has come back again.
Just now, I went to the door and did not hear anyone, so ran outside.  Most were in again, so I suspect it is out there, somewhere.
This young lady, however, was being naughty again.
(She's by the door into the porch)
Day Five, and I still can't figure out how she is getting out.  Maybe flying over, but I'm not sure.  It's a miracle Lilly Ann has not found her yet.
Here she is on her way to the gate to go back in the pasture... you can see that Rambo is keeping a close eye on her. 
This is very worrisome to me, I tried keeping the birds in their yards this morning, but I like to have them in the pasture to eat their fill of bugs, etc. to take a little weight off the feed bill.
This little girl, Suzi, our tiniest little adult hen, is in the middle of her molt, and her chest is growning bare.  She is an Olde English Gamebird.
Here's a better picture of her poor little feather-bare neck and chest!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Sunday Surprise in the Country

The day got off to a good start when I woke up before church to find it 25 degrees out... realized I needed to warm the car up... ran out the door and across the porch (It was 7:36 and I was going to church at 8 AM!).... and saw the big barred owl take off from the fence of the big henyard and fly low down the pasture!  I watched it sit in a tree down there... watching.  I ran back in... woke Keith up and told him don't let the chickens out yet and why.... and then left for church, praying that the owl would move on.
Still watching for him right now as it's going on for dusk soon, and I've already locked all the birds up.  Yes, they were mad and stood at the gates, wondering why they were being punished. 
I wish I had had the chance to get the camera out of my pocket... for four days we have come home and found a hen in the yard, usually somewhere near the fenceline of the pasture. It was always a red young hen from this year, the ones just coming into lay.  I have been approaching them quietly and opening a gate and shooing her in.  When I got back from taking Nathan home today... I found TWO hens out as I went out to do chores with all four dogs.  I did not see them til I had gone over to the big henhouse and filled a bucket, gone into the henyard, and then looked up to see them walking along the fence line on the yard side!  I ran out, ran around the henhouse looking for Lilly... and Abby followed me.  For the second time, she froze... watched the chicken, and then moved forward a few steps, still watching it.  I yelled to her to help me... and she came forward a few more steps, curly tail up.  Then I stopped and slowly walked the chicken down the fenceline and into the pasture.  By the time it was in, the other chicken (who had gone the opposite direction) had come back up... still no Lilly... so Abby and I got her in, too!  The hens will be in now daily until we can move them all to the new henhouse, we think next weekend.  The interior has really taken shape this week, and Keith hopes to have everything finished by next week.
Keith and I both did a lot of baking last night... and I forgot to take any pictures of it!  I made several dozen small cupcakes, decorated with Halloween sprinkles and faces... and chocolate-dipped pretzels... for these guys and their sisters:

Nate, Jake, and that little ham, Jax.
Then Nate and I left for Garnett and home for him.  We were able to nearly fly down there now that the new 59 Highway south is open from just south of Lawrence to I 35.... it shaved literally an hour off the trip, but, as I told Keith, now I won't get to see the farms and their animals that I always looked for, because the old highway has been shut down.  Sometimes speed isn't everything.
Coming home after dropping Nathan off, I took a little side trip.  From the highway, I could see the sun shining on a church spire several weeks ago.  I decided to take a look at it.
St. Boniface Catholic Church sits out in the middle of pretty farmland.
It had an absolutely beautiful stone rectory attached to it, and you can see the copper spire in this picture.  Off to the south was a beautiful old cemetary, and to the north of the church, a building that was either a school or the parish hall... looked like a school from the old days.
On the corner was this:
You know how I LOVE me some school houses!  My gosh, this one was called "The Old Rock School".... but is now a photography studio.  You can see where they enlarged the original one room school to a two room.. incredible!   If you click on the photo, it will be easy to see the merry go round in the yard that the kids played on at recess.  I was so glad I had made this side trip as I love history so much.
Please join us in prayer for all the people on the east coast tonight and tomorrow who will be in danger.  We have watched the gathering of the storm, and are worried about all the bloggers that I read regularly, who are facing these unknown things coming their way.  I hope everyone survives and in good stead. 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Postcard from the Past

Today is the fifth month anniversary of my sister's death. 
I still can't believe I'm writing that.
I still haven't written about her, but will, one day.... I promise.
Her husband... widower... is in the Netherlands today, visiting his daughter, an ex-pat, who lives with her husband and raises their tri-lingual son at Den Hague.  I spoke with him briefly this afternoon, not realizing he was so far away... and the day had weighed heavily on him, too.
Not really what I had meant to write about tonight, though... after a day spent planning treats for the grands.  I'm going to get to baking as soon as I finish this post.  I made iced pretzels, but among Nate, Keith and me, we have managed to decimate them, so I'll make one more batch tonight for Nathan to take home tomorrow.  We missed our trip to the pumpkin patch today, since it was so very cold out... stayed down in the 40s for the day, and the parents decided not to take the kids out for a couple of hours... so, next year.
Tonight I have something to show you that I was given with a batch of letters a few weeks ago by my first cousin, Mary Frances, from things her mother left when she passed away last year.  I finally sat down to read them all this week, and laughed and cried as I did.  How I wish my mom had seen this, and could have told me about them!

This, for those of you too young to remember, is a telegram.  It doesn't arrive over a phone, either.
Or a computer.
It was hand-delivered at the door.
It is a telegram from my mom and dad, Joe and Mary Peterson, from San Francisco, CA, on June 4 of 1944, letting my
Grandpa and Grandma Trehey know that they had arrived safely at their destination.  My mom duly wrote her mother a long letter that same day, to tell her about their new digs.  My brothers Pete and Mike were with them, and Dad was stationed there in the Navy.  He was in port for the moment, but due to go back out.
Mother and Daddy had been moved up and down the state since he had been shipped out there the year before... but after being offered a full commission at the end of hostilities, he chose to come home to Kansas City, Kansas because my mom was so lonely for her family so far away.  I've always been grateful that they did, for, you see.... my sister and I would never have had the best parents in the world. 
Kathleen, I wish you could have read the letters!
Now we would just send a text.  Seems less important, doesn't it?


Thursday, October 25, 2012

From 82 to 42

That's how fast and far it fell this morning!  Yesterday afternoon saw an unseasonable 82 degrees fahrenheit, and this morning, it began falling... down to 42 and on down into the 20s tonight.  Autumn, or, in this case... FALL!
Everyone wanted to curl up and be warm.

Gertie likes to snuggle on the back of the loveseat, where she can watch for Daddy to come home.
Jackson comes in every night and muscles everyone off the top roost.  One brave hen stayed up there tonight.
Wait 'til you see what Keith has made for the rafter roosters in the new henhouse.
Fancy and April always roost on the door to the nursing cage, go figure.
We hope to tear out all the nasty drywall in this henhouse when we move the birds in the next week or so.   I hate to think of all the baby mice we're going to disturb.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mille Fleur d"Uccles

Or Dee UCCles, as they are called here... if I say "D'Uccle" (in French, of the town of Uccle) I am corrected! 
Coming from a small Belgian town, the d'Uccle bantam is a true bantam breed, there is no standard version of it.  It currently comes in four or five colors, and we keep the Mille Fleur (thousand flower) and the Porcelain varieties. 
They are friendly little birds, they talk a lot to you, and I have a friend who kept one in a cage in her apartment, and the little hen commonly rode around on her husband's shoulder outside, with no tether!  Tilly the Milly!

This is Boots, from the March, 2011 hatch.  He is not a correct Mille rooster, he has too much white and his feathers should reflect the pattern that shows on his breast here.  He's a plucky little thing, though, and I like him a lot.  Nugget, the golden cochin bantam, is his best girl.
This little guy here doesn't have enough white, but he is a purebred Mille from this summer's hatch in the pasture pen.  He is a son of Cocky, the deceased older Mille that the owl got.
This is a more correct Mille rooster... it's Junior, the second oldest son of Cocky, born in the doghouse next to him.  He's taking great care of his dad's little harem.
And that little tiny guy in the back is the smallest of the Mille roosters... I don't think he is purebred, I think he is Mille and silky, though his head does not look silky.  The three "spotted" hens are the purebred Mille hens from the pasture pen... they all have nice coloring.  The bigger brown hen (she is actually a bantam) is Fleura, a cochin/silky cross. All the hens in this pen are laying.
And here, of course, are Muffy and Bitsy, the two Naughty Girls.  Bitsy has really whitened out in the last six months... she was not always so white, but more like Muffy, in the foreground.
All of the Mille Fleur hens will be moving to the new henhouse as soon as it is open.  I haven't made a decision about Junior, yet, but I think Boots will stay with the older hens and his girl Nugget. 
We're getting very close to the move... Keith has been doing some really nice things to the interior of the henspa, but I want to wait until it is almost ready to show you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Windy Day

And back up in the 80's again, for October 23rd!  Too warm, we ended up having to turn the air on again for Keith's hayfever sake, and the sake of the pugs, who are bothered by the heat and stuffiness in the house.
This somewhat gross picture... I never said Farmlife was all peaches and cream... shows that the pullets from this spring's feed store purchase are beginning to come into lay.  Pullet eggs are turning up in several places, and you see by the blood on one of these that they are just now figuring out how to expell them.  The eggs will grow in size over the next few months.

There are actually three pullet egg in that picture, one with a lot of blood, one above it that is darker brown, and one on the upper left.
I got sixteen eggs this afternoon, there were two more in the barn when I went out there just now.
Tiny's little flag of a white tail cracks me up.  Her rooster, Three, stayed in there with her until she was finished, and didn't take anything off the younger birds.  These are hens that I won't move, the tiny ones that are paired up with the old roosters.  They each have one little hen in their harems.  I had to take this from far away, so I wouldn't disturb them.  There were two eggs in the nest, and I suspect the other was one of the new girls.
Oh, boy... I had some fun this afternoon.  First, I threw together a stew out of things I had in the refrigerator and freezer... and even though it was warm out, it was so good.  Then I made an apple cake, and Keith was kind enough to stop and get some whipped cream and ice cream for us to enjoy this cake.  I tasted it, it's wonderful.  The recipe was on Chickens in the Road, and you can find it here,
where it was posted by Kate S.  She isn't kidding when she says it's an easy cake to make, and though I baked it a hair too long, it's moist and oh, so gooooooddddd.  I highly recommend it. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Following Up

This guy.... just starting his molt, by the way....

is shortly going to have two new girlfriends.  This year's hatch, one poult is a purebred Bourbon Red, and the other, a half.  As we are not breeders, we don't mind the mixes. 
He is so lonely, he is following the chickens around, and now roosting in the henhouse, for his own safety (and not to the chicken's liking!)
The new little girls will start out in the henhouse, as well.
Keith and I did a lot of talking tonight.... over a supper of a simple salad of some of those carrots I pictured last night, lettuce, bacon, tomato, and cheese.... and homemade croutons, which I cook in butter (Yum) and then dry a little in the oven...
One of the things I have noticed since retiring is that I am paying for more things with cash now.  I used to pull out the debit card and swipe it, and it was not "real" money.  Yes, the balance went down... but it was not like spending "real" money.  For 2 1/2 months, I have been trying to pay with cash, until my first Social Security check comes this week.  Yes, I have bill payments to make... but I am going to continue to use cash.  I stop and think EVERY time, before buying something.  It has been a good reminder that we don't really need all the "stuff" we see.  I'm even cutting down on my magazine addiction, and believe me... it was hard the first few times that I passed them up, and now I realize that when my subscriptions are up, more than half won't be renewed again. 
The other thing we notice is that my diabetes A1C is down again, very much so.  I have gotten weight off and maintained the loss... and my jeans that I wear everyday now are flapping on me.   Yes, I'm diabetic.... I don't mention it often, but I am controlled with medicine, thank heavens.  That medicine was cut in half last week, because my primary care, who is a nurse practitioner, told me I was doing so well that it was time.  What do I attribute this to?  You see, we are eating MUCH better... I put thought into the menus now, and decide several days in advance what we will be eating.  I hope to get that up to a full two weeks at a time.  We are eating lots of different things, casseroles, salads, etc. and things that we didn't eat while I was still working.  I bake every other day... some goodie.  I don't bake bread, as we don't eat enough of it to use up a loaf with no preservatives, but we have had an array of cookies, apple dishes, etc.  Keith even bought me a new stove because of this, and it's a DREAM stove!
I am also getting regular excercise, getting up and going out in the yard, puttering around in the garden, taking care of the chickens. 
But Stress is the real thing, I think.  As Keith has told me over and over... I'm the most relaxed I have ever been in the ten years we have been married!   Life is fun, and even after the death of my sister this year, I am so happy to be here in our little house, taking care of the pugs... taking care of Keith.... doing the laundry, baking, cooking... it's no wonder things have changed.
Big De-Stressing Help above.
I know better than to try to diet around the holidays, but in the spring, we're going to make a conscious effort to start walking together as much as we can (Keith is still working, remember) and get in good shape to enjoy our years together.  How blessed I've been!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Garden Bounty

This afternoon, after cutting some grass (!) I wandered over to the vegetable (not) garden for the year... and found some things still available:

Some of those onions are pretty small, but all are usable.  I stripped the greens from them and brought them in, along with the carrots.  I'll use them in stew in the next few days.
I had completely forgotten I had this vibrant purple mum still.  It's a beautiful color, and I am going to look for some the same color to replace these leggy plants with. 
As you can see, the perennial snap in front of it is STILL going strong, despite drought, etc.
I love this little flower, and don't want to lose it, I haven't seen any for sale anywhere this year.
Some more mums blooming now. 
Love the orange... got them at The Henry's Plant Farm last year.
The yellow came from Wal Mart this year, for 1.98 each!
I think these actually were from Howard Pine Nursery in Lawrence, there is a matching plant in the other barrel planter to this one's left, and two in the washtubs on the deck.  I love the yellow eyes.
When I cut the north end of the yard, I found this...
See that strip of yard at the fence that almost looks dead?  I am not sure if the trees sheltering over the ground killed off the grass, but ...
The strip extends down into the pasture, which worries me.  It's time to have someone from Extension come and take a look.
Tiny (6:15 PM Sunday) is still on the Layer List, and says
Goodnight, and Have a Great Start to your Week!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


In the little henyard, there are three Welsummer hens, they are March 2011 hatch, so just about a year and a half old.  For those of you new to chickens, it takes anywhere from six to nine months for a pullet to begin laying.  In fact, this week, I found two eggs that I suspect came from THIS year's April hatch, for the first time. 
After a year or so of laying, a hen begins to slow down, and lays only a few eggs a week, sometimes three or four.  I had always heard good things about Welsummers, so last year bought three from the chick man at the feed store.  It's a pain to raise baby chicks, sometimes... you spend lots on feed and keep warm lights on them and take special care of them... and sometimes, before they even lay an egg, a predator gets them or they disappear into thin air.  I had high hopes for the Welsummers and for the gold-laced Wyandotte that I got with them.
Here is Hilda, one of the Welsummers.  Mind you, they are molting, but still...

Here's Tilda, her sister.
And this is Wilda, the third Welsummer.  Go figure.  Has her figure and all of her feathers.
Here is the sad thing.  I'm lucky if I get three eggs a week out of any of these girls.
In the little henhouse yard with them are Rockette, the gold penciled Wyandotte, and Mabel and Mack, two elderly mixed hens that I got with the bunch in the spring.  Mabel and/or Mack still lay twice a week, a large buff colored egg.  Rockette also is only laying maybe two eggs a week, so looking back, these birds have not been good additions to the flock.  (I'm referring here to the Welsummers and to Rockette).  Oddly, the little hens in this yard, the silkies and mixed silkies, are all laying daily.
When I bought chicks in the spring, I did NOT specify Welsummers, which were some of the sexed birds the chick man had... I asked for black and red sex links.  Somehow, another Welsummer got into the batch, and I realize it as I have watched them mature.  They are also kind of the flibbertigibbets of the fowl world.
I have never put a hen down because she did not lay... but now, in these days of high feed costs... I am starting to reconsider.  There is a poultry processor in the little town where my oldest grands live... and it would be convenient to take a batch down to them.  They would be stewing hens only, but I don't know if I can actually do this.  We'll see.
I'll take some pictures tomorrow of what Keith has accomplished in the new henhouse in just a few hours of a very busy week for him.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Cow Post

Gosh, all of you with cows, know that I have Cow Envy. 

I have liked them ever since I was a little thing, wandering amongst my Uncle Marcus's huge Holsteins as they waited patiently to be milked at my grandma's farm.  My little sister was afraid of them... they were so huge to her, and she hated, hated, hated getting manure on her shoes.  (Let me emphasize that again, because it could bring on a huge tantrum!)

I like the whole idea of having a family cow to milk, make butter from and to make cheese.  I don't like the whole idea of being here twice a day to milk now, though, because I am finding out slowly that there is more to life than work and chores, so I would have to ponder long and hard over a cow purchase at this stage of life.

Here are some cows that live close to us, just past Troy and Kathy's next door.  A nice young man is building on this property, and for three years, he has cycled these cows in and out of the property. In the last two weeks, four calves have been born... one mama had a set of twins.  I especially like these cows because I can see them from our deck. (sort of!)  I also like them because they are not just the ubiquitous black baldies, which are so prevalent here, but a mixed group of colors, and I think they look lovely grazing in their pasture.

And I just realized there are FIVE calves... there was a black one off to the right, laying by itself!
Here are some babies I like to stop and look at.... they are from a Jersey dairy herd here in Leavenworth County.  They all raised their heads eventually to see me take a picture of them this afternoon.
And this grainy picture you can click on to biggify is of their mamas... a milking herd I would love to know more about.  I love to go by this place, it reminds me of my grandma's, where my uncle milked for so long.  I see these cattle heading in for milking regularly.

You can't see them in the picture, but there are three cows coming out of the barn after their evening milking... gosh, sometimes I sure wish we had waited and found a place with some barns before buying... we have often thought that. 
I am sure people here in the county think I'm nuts for stopping on the road (when no one is coming!) and taking pictures from the car. 



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Windsday, no, Thursday!

Oh, my, almost blew away today!

I kept waiting for branches to come down from the old maple tree.
The wind blew in clouds, but it didn't faze the little bunch from the pasture pen... Junior is taking good care of them, and the big roosters are actually leaving them alone.  He has two little brothers to help him, one is pure Mille Fleur like he, and off to the left, and the other is the pretty mix just to his left... yes, another pretty rooster I hate to put down!
They went as far as the horse pen today, and it was so good to see them out digging in the dirt like happy chickens.
The fiery red tree beyond the ponds (from our header) has dulled now, but is still a beacon in the distance. 
What's this empty picture?
That, my friends, is a llama bathroom, now composted by the chickens.  I am going to plant grass seed there so that we can get some grass started again in the pasture.
And this is another "empty" picture.. you see, we have plans to replant our pasture come spring.  This is the area grown up to weeds where our little pond once was, the pond that sat on a limestone shelf, discovered when the pond man came to make a real pond for us.  Since he had to fill it all back in, he stirred up a whole huge patch of weeds.  We hope to be able to get this area harrowed in the spring, and replanted to good pasture seed.  We're praying for snow and rain.  Right now I can't even get in there with the John Deere lawn tractor, because rocks were stirred up, too, and I don't want to tear it up.
The yellow tree is a mulberry.
And here's the Range, tonight.... he was playing with a planter he had found near the garden, and ran off to chew on it.  Lilly usually takes anything he finds away from him, so we were glad he got to play for a minute, since he's our good old boy!
Still blowing hard out there at 5:53, and sprinkles are now coming down as I wait for the last birds and turkey to go in to roost!