Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Sunday of Peace, and our pastor reminded us that this is a "strange" Advent, as we are not really having a fourth week... It literally was ONE day, today.  He reminded us too, that this is the week we should pay attention to our families, and to our spouses.  I realized with horror I had forgotten to turn my phone off... (he suggested turning our phones off so we REALLY paid attention to each other at Christmas) and pulled it out and turned it off, thinking... "No one ever calls me".  Imagine my surprise when I got home from church and found a message!
You see, months ago a friend at work had offered me some hens.  She bought a wonderful little coop and moved it to her home, which is in the country.

Nifty, huh?
The problem was, the coop came with seven hens, and she already had seven at home. 
She tried to sell them several times, and word was gotten to me last week that she still wanted to place them.  They are 2 year olds, but I told her I would take them, so stopped by today on the way home from dropping Nathan off with his mom.
We loaded them into carriers, and then of course, I forgot to give her the cookies and fudge I had bought them since we were visiting.  (sigh).
There were three carriers... the other was facing these.  We left them in them until the light had gone down.  That way, everyone had time to check each other out.  And yes, I should have isolated them to be sure... but they appeared very healthy.
I've turned off the overhead light and now the warming light is on.  I have noticed that several of the birds lay beneath it daily.  The four hens on the left are new birds, and that's Reddy, my almost two year old production red on the right. This henhouse is now at capacity, except for one small bantam girl I am going to move over.
I didn't realize it, but my friends lived very close to my
Grandmother Peterson's farm.  My grandmother, her son, my Uncle Marcus, and her daughter, my Aunt Ruth, lived on Moonlight Rd., west of Olathe, Kansas.  My uncle milked Holsteins, and my aunt worked in town at the bank.  I drove up the road and realized I was very close to our family "home place" where I spent such happy times as a little girl.  It was going out there that fostered my love of animals large and small, and open spaces.  My brother Mike felt the same way, and we talked of buying the place some day.  Now it is in a hugely expensive county, with luxurious homes all around it... we could never afford it, but I still dream about it sometimes.
The picture does not do it justice.  Starting on the left... the low barn is a hog barn, used for storage when my uncle was farming there.  The silo is still there, of course, and the huge barn next to it had hay storage in the middle, and then long run-ins on either side with a built in manger down each branch, so the cattle could come in out of the weather to eat in the winter.   To the right is a storage barn where tractors were parked, and lots of "farm stuff" was stored.  You can barely see the mik house through the trees... it is now a dog kennel, for an AKC judge lives there, and she has built kennel runs also obscured by the trees.  On the other side of it is a garage, and a road runs down from the house drive to the farthest barns.  The house is on the right, with it's long porch that wrapped around.  It was not the original house, but a "ranch" house, which was new in the 1950's... all on one story, but with a basement for safety during bad storms.  The only building missing 50 years after my childhood is the small calf barn that sat in a fenced area just this side of the house, and left of where the house porch ends. 
As you can see, the people are taking wonderful care of the barns, and I felt so good seeing it.  I did not drive clear down to the driveway... but turned around just as I hit the fenceline.
When my uncle died (my aunt and grandma were already gone) he had 80 acres there.  The real estate agent could not sell it as an 80 acre parcel, and it was divided.  No one has ever built on the second forty (I was at that line).  I used to ride in the pasture all the time, as my cousins and I all had horses there after the cows were gone.  The paved road was gravel, and there were two ponds on the property.  How I loved it!  What a wonderful place it was to go after church on Sunday to have dinner with Grandma.  And how my mom disliked it... we had to use the outhouse always, winter and summer, and my grandma would not let her or my aunt smoke in the house.  (laughing here).  My little sister was not brave, and hated stepping in manure... it would make her cry forever.  She was afraid of the cows, because of their size, and was afraid they would hurt her.  I ran about among them, and loved going in and watching my uncle milking, after bringing them up from the pasture.  He would always ask me if I wanted to help him... but the cows knew, as soon as they saw him, that it was time to march in.  Of course there were many barn cats, and King King, the collie who lived on the back porch in a doghouse, because dogs didn't come in the house then.  (yes, he was "King King"... two kings :-))
There was yet another farm... "the old place"... that was east of this one.  My Uncle Frank and Aunt Ellen lived there, and they farmed with Barney and Benny, a team of horses.  I used to sit in their empty stalls and think of all the stories I was told about how strong and brave they were.  There was a gorgeous huge white barn on this farm, but no house.  My aunt walked out of the house to do something one day, and it blew up behind her in a propane explosion, and of course, burned down.  No cell phones or firefighters around the corner back then.  Uncle Marcus farmed that place for many years, and then decided to remove the barn.  He took it down alone, board by board, and brought it all home to the home place.  I used to have a picture of that barn, but have lost it now.
My uncle grew sorghum there, and taught me about harvesting it, and how it was used to make molasses.  I am sure he used it in the ensilage he made and stored in the silo at the home place.
This farm, at the end of a road that became unused when they quit living there... passed out of the family many years ago.
And a postcript... my little sister fell down the pile of hay one day when we were sliding in the hayloft of the big barn on the left, and hurt her pelvis.  It was the last time she ever slid down the hay!
Now we have reached the Christmas countdown... and the Day is nigh.  Has everyone finished their baking and wrapping? 
I did not... though I went down yesterday and spent almost eight hours sleeping, I was not on top of my game most of the week.  I did not get everything done I wanted to do... and I am letting go of it.
The important things are being done... seeing family, enjoying their company.  Cookies can wait. 
( I did make a huge batch of the wonderful fudge, though!)
I have one last short grocery shopping trip in the morning, and then relaxing, enjoying Keith's company, fixing a good dinner for the big day, and going to church on Christmas morning.  Our forecast is for brutally cold weather... so we are going to hunker down and take care of us.


  1. Merry Christmas MA! All the BEST to you and Keith. The hens are as beautiful as I was told they were. I am glad you got them.

  2. Merry Chriatmas!
    Ken and i will be off the church tomorrow wvening and then do the hunkering down also.
    We went to the store today for our holiday meals so we are set.

    Enjoy your holiday.

    M :)

  3. You take the most beautiful photos! You are so busy, and we are glad you will be finally able to rest for the holidays.

  4. Merry Christmas! I really enjoyed the stories of the old home place! Take care of yourself and enjoy your family! :)

  5. A Merry Christmas to you and Keith. We are off to the store to buy some more baking supplies and then we will be hunkering down in the warm house with some hot cocoa. And maybe the newest Baker Seeds catalog. :-)

  6. Lots of old home places get split up like that. That's how I got our 27 acres.


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