Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ring Out the Old!

Bloggers everywhere today are producing 
"The Year in Review" on their blogs, and indeed, I 
did last year. 

Instead, this year, I'm going to show you the things we 
have been thankful for:

Eight, almost nine years with our big old boy... Big Dog,  Ranger Boy... how we miss him, but we are grateful he is no longer struggling to stand or walk, especially in this cold. 

Cousins to hang with. 

Baseball games to watch, both small....

and large, and oh, those wonderful anthems at Community American ballpark, well done, T Bones!

 Our snake friends keeping the old henhouse free of vermin... another well done! 

The first sight of our baby goats, the two we lost... Kody and Kaycee... thank you from our hearts, Michaele, Rielly and Rickee Oleson... we appreciate your kindness so much. 

And three of the four we have now, accompanying me on chores this afternoon. 

And one waitin' for a Ritz at the door...

And for a healthy chicken flock, who gave the food pantry 9 1/2 dozen eggs last week! 

When will I ever learn to "step out of the picture"?

For new babies... 

And their big brothers... 

and 2012 babies, celebrating their birthdays...

and hangin' at the mall with granddaughters... 

For nocturnal visitors who were fascinating to watch... 

And sometimes scary!

To gardens from the git-go...

to fruition, and good eating! 

And surrounded by beauty and flowers all summer... 

For Lilly Ann, Protector of Us All,

For Abby Lynn, 
Farm Assistant and Associate Protector of Us All, 

For Keith, without whom none of this could be happening, and especially...

We are grateful to God that we still have Nathan, (second from left) who fell through 
the ice of South Lake in Garnett on Thursday afternoon trying to get a football... his friend Manny, who went in after him, and their Guardian Angels who brought them up through the ice and back to land... a disaster averted... 

And ye, beneath life's crushing load,6
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,7
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold8
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,9
And the whole world give back the song10
Which now the angels sing.

Brandon David, 

9/10/1991 - 5/7/2013 

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Here, There, and Everywhere Post

I have a lot of little things to talk about today, and 
the first is kind of a big thing. 

One of my favorite bloggers and a good person is leaving the blogging world. 
Our friend, Deweena Callis, of "Across the Way" on our sidewall down below, is 
going to stop her blog.  She has only been blogging for a year, but I can 
tell you she is a beaut.  She found it was taking up much precious time, and has decided to stop. 

Deweena will be a loss to the blogging world. 

Deweena is not the only one to leave... some others I used to follow 
regularly have stopped, because folks, life and circumstances change, and 
that's all there is to say about that.  I just know that I'll miss Deweena's wonderful posts. 

I'll leave her last post up on our sidebar for a few days, in case you want to read it.  I thank her for reading us so faithfully for the last year. (The link above will take you to it). 

After talking about how I was going to leave everything up until Epiphany, I have undressed the Christmas trees and have taken about half of the things outside to move to the storage sheds.  In a few weeks, Chris will come up to help me rearrange things out there, and we will store everything where it is easily found next year. I am leaving our Nativity scene up until Epiphany. 

Look what I'm doing:

Chris will be so proud of his old Gran. 

I am marking EVERYTHING this year. 

On the top and on the side, so we can SEE WHAT WE ARE DOING. 

Quite the organizer! 

Of course, there is a mess in the living room right now. 

And a mess on the porch, which stretches out by the sheds... because I have things stacked out there, too. 

Lilly Ann, by the way, would absolutely blow a gasket to know that there are CHICKENS ON HER DECK.  I let the henspa flock out to get some exercise.  Mysteriously, it has gone up to 30 degrees, so I am going to go out shortly and hitch up the cart and move some of those boxes the easy way across to the storage sheds.  The goats are in the pasture getting some exercise, and away from where they can get in my way. 

Here was the start of our soup for tonight's dinner.  I added orzo and small pieces of chicken. 

We're having corn muffins with it.  Simple and filling and good. 

And I made some celery sticks filled with pimento cheese for Keith to snack on, as we are trying to get away from the Christmas candy. 

I wanted a goat ornament for the tree this year, because we have goats now. 
I found one in the unlikeliest of places... at the Vaile Mansion gift shop.  I got a goat, a rabbit and a deer, all like this little one.  They were each 3.00, and I was glad to get them, as there were only the three. 
I never saw another goat ornament the whole season.  

Last night on PBS was a holiday special for "Call the Midwife", a series I dearly loved. 

While watching it, I looked down at the afghan covering my lap. 
This is it... is it not beautifully made?  I paid 3.00 for this one and for a plain 
brown one at an estate sale this year.  They were beautifully and probably lovingly made by someone in the past, and I am blessed to have them. 

I'll tell you something else I am blessed for... as I sat at the kitchen table this morning 
writing the checks for the few bills I pay around here... I began to decide to which charities to send 
money this month... I have a few that I try to get several times a year... and a new one or two. 
I realized while writing the small checks to them that I am able to do this because of Keith's kindness to me. 
It is Keith who carries the financial burden here, and always has.  Yes, I helped while working... and I have used my 40lK money to do some of the improvements... but Keith is the one who carries the load, and because of his largesse, I am able to help others.  God bless him. 

I have also spent some time with these favorites this morning.  
I was sorely disappointed with my "heirloom" tomatoes last year, and the touted 
SuperSauce.  I am going to be much pickier with what I order, because I hope to start seeds indoors again. 
I am looking at flower seeds, too. 

I do have some Baker Creek lettuce left over, and some other odds and ends, but am 
in no hurry to get everything out... yet. 

One other thing, in this eclectic post... I realized after "speaking" with 
Deweena that I have changed in my blogging habits, too. 

For several years, I sat down at the computer for several hours a day, reading blog after blog. 
I don't do that anymore.  It seems I have enough to do without sitting in front of the computer for hours on end, and Abby lets me know by barking when I have sat too long.  I rarely am on Pinterest any more, either... because I realized that once pinned, I was not going back to really LOOK at things.  Yes, I still pin... but I am more judicious in what I am pinning.  Things change, don't they? 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Yesterday's Post and Today

I missed yesterday's post.  You see... the thermometer went all the way up to 54 degrees! 
I took advantage of it. 

These guys got out for some much-needed exercise. 
You can see they were glad to run and jump! 

Big Mama Jamma Delilah was off on her own, investigating things. 
She has become much better, though, with the little ones... and I don't worry about her near as much as before.

I decided to take the Santa collection down, and got in the "holiday" storage building... I'm ashamed to tell you that you are looking at bins of Christmas things that were not even used this year! 
The tree on the left is my prim tree, though, which has been used as a spring tree, a fall tree, and for several Christmases... one of the Christmas trees!   There are two small lofts in this building, and Chris and I aim to have everything labeled, and up in the loft when all is said and done.  I pulled four bins from here and one empty big bin from the other storage building and threw them onto the cart and took them up to the deck. 

Within the next three years, Keith and I hope to have bought a Wardcraft Homes building... 
a new home for us here at Calamity Acres.  I have never written about it, because I 
don't want to jinx it, but Keith is very wisely getting all our ducks in a row 
before we jump into the site changes, ordering the new home, etc. etc. that goes 
with the whole project.  We hope to live in this house until our new one is sited on 
a basement about fifty feet east of where this house is... then this house will be razed and removed, and
the ground landscaped.  In order to do this, we need to put in a new well and a new septic system, so there are lots of things to think about.  The hay barn will also need to be moved. 

In August, we took a one day trip to Clay Center, Kansas, to see the homes being built 
in the factory there.  Keith became convinced that they are as tight or tighter than site-built homes, and we were very impressed.  It was so interesting to see homes from the bare walls to the almost-finished stages. 

Here is the one we love, the Hanover II. 

So you see... I am trying to keep most of those Christmas decorations because at some point... we will have space for everything in our home!  

The home above is simple and good for a rural homesite such as ours... and not fancier than we need. 

And... as we remind ourselves... if it never happens... we will still be happy living here right where we are. 

After I hooked the Duck Pond Express up (oh happy day, I did not have to lug the buckets clear across the yard)... I got ready to move the feed bags I had run to purchase earlier. 

Delilah jumped right up to help me! 

She knew there was a treat awaiting her in those bags. 

Using the cart, it took me less than thirty minutes to get all the bags loaded and moved around 
to the two henhouses, and bucketed out.  I also got two bags of back yard blend for the wild birds. 

I got a bag of scratch, which I have not fed for ages... I have been feeding chopped corn. 
I noticed, however, that the ducks are ignoring a lot of the corn and so are the chickens.  I got a bag of scratch and the chickens went to town. 

And I let the henspa birds loose as I was moving the grain... and threw them a scoop of scratch... you see that Moe and some of the girls highly approved! 
Until Friday, all of this garden area was covered by snow, and the henspa flock had been in for five days, restricted to their big yard.  They were so glad to get out on Friday and Saturday. 

In the old henhouse, there is only one small window... the light you see on the left is coming from the lower pophole (there are two) and from a small vent in the east wall.  I took Gorilla tape and heavy plastic, and on Friday... I taped this window shut... I noticed last week that cold air was pouring through it, despite the plastic that had been stapled to the outside of the window.   Rinky-dink, but it's working.  I also taped the high pophole shut. 
All the dirt on the walls is from past starling invasions, and yes, yesterday they came in, though not in the hundreds, and fouled everything. 

Butch's wounds have all dried now and he is healing.  I was just worried that he had managed to hurt his only good eye. 

You can see that I took this picture this morning, when it was all cloudy again.  Our drive melted and thawed in the last two days... and in this picture it's apparent that there is just enough of a rise to the gate, coming around that bend... that we have to make a run at the gate when it's snowy or icy.  I have to trudge up... open the gate as wide as it will go.... and then make a run for it.  I have been stuck many times in the drive, and if you get off to the left here in the picture... you are doomed. 

And here is a picture of me taken by a very sleepy Keith this morning... we'll get a better one later... in my new-to-me snowsuit! 
My cousin Mary Frances (Fuh Fuh) gave it to me yesterday after we ate breakfast 
together at I Hop.  
My gosh... it is the most comfortable and warm suit!  The collar actually comes up 
quite a ways and buttons shut... and I had on my little knit cap with it... the hood is not with it, but it reaches down and zips over my boots, and is so very warm!  It was 15 degrees out this morning and I worked up a good sweat for an hour doing chores. 
I'm going to ask Keith to make a trip to Cabelas today to get me a face-mask pullover hat... and some glove warmers, and then I'll be set! 

Thanks, Mary Frances!!!

I'm trying to get around to everyone's blogs here in the last few days to read and catch up on all that's going on. 
I'm  also trying to sit down long enough to look at the seed catalogs, but I have a confession 
to make... I'm not as eager this year.  
I know there are certain things we grew last year that we did not take advantage of, and 
things we have grown that we no longer need to grow.  I am going to take a hard look at 
what I buy to plant and start from seed this year. 
Yes, the catalogs are SO enticing... but we need to hark to what we actually need and use, too. 

Have a great week, everyone, and thank you all so much 
for all your comments! 

Farm Assistant Abby, waiting patiently in the cold this morning. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

What Greeted Me This Morning

This is Butch, my one-eyed pet rooster. 
He lives in the feed room, where I keep bedding for him.  His sole partner now is Buffy, the 
Polish hen, who is retired from laying and has trouble getting around herself. 
She can no longer roost. 
They have a warming light, because Butch will be six this spring. 

This scene greeted me this morning when I went in to bring fresh warm water to everyone. 

See the chickens on the other side... the "coop side"? 

And here is the other combatant, and it looks like Butch gave as good as he got. 

One of the three Elvi. 

The opening was just to the left, the corner between the wall and the door... you can see a bit of blood on it. 
There are actually two layers of chicken wire there, because I made a repair this fall.  
My guess is, I'm going to have to put some wood up to prevent the fighters from seeing each other, because as you see... they wanted to face off again. 

If worst comes to worst, I can put Butch in the nursing cage for a few days to calm everyone down, but we are supposed to dive into the twenties for a daytime high, and the teens and zero for nighttimes lows the next two nights after that.  
I'd like to keep him where he can sleep under the light. 

I'm going back out to check on them in a minute. 

On other fronts... the driveway has thawed and re-frozen and is now a sheet of ice.  To get out, I have to trudge up in my boots and open the gate, and then make a run for the gateway.... if I stop on the drive, the HHR can't get going again. 
Keith has 4 wheel on his work truck, a Tahoe.. and has no trouble, but we do not do personal business in the state vehicle. 

At least he can get to work. 

I hope everyone reading this is warm and has heat and light... so many were without over the holiday. 

We also thank God this morning for a family miracle...
Nathan and his friends Jay and Manny were playing football at a park in Garnett yesterday... and the ball went out on the ice.  Nathan tried to get it... fell through... nearly drowned... his friend Manny jumped in to save him... and by the grace of God, both boys were able to get out of the lake, despite being cut badly by the ice. 
Jacob called Nathan's mother... instead of 911, and yes, they have been explained and explained to that 911 comes FIRST.  
We are so glad their guardian angels were at their sides. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

And Now, Back to Regular.....

3 Days of thawing and re-freezing have left the driveway a treacherous place. 

There is just enough of a bank to the left that if we slip down that way, we can't get back up. 

And everyone doing chores, watch out for re-freeze in your gateways... they can become so 

One slip on the ice... 

Everyone was very happy with the blue skies this morning... and we are up to 43 right now out there. 
The goats are loose in the pasture... the chickens are out... and everyone is glad to be in the warm sun. 

We are supposed to be back down at 25 for the weekend. 

One last Christmas shot... we visited younger son Jeff yesterday... he dwarts me, as you can see... but it was good to see him.  Jeff does not keep a phone, so we see him infrequently.. and I was 
glad to have this visit for Christmas.  Yes, that's a new hoodie he's wearing! 

The ducks are always so glad to get that first drink in the morning, since their water freezes at night. 
I should explain... at 6 or so, I go out and dump all the outside water, except for a low fortex for the ducks, and the goats inside green bucket. 

Everything else is poured out, so I don't have to deal with deep ice in the morning. 
I also empty the three containers in the old henhouse, because they would freeze during the day. 

So the ducks are very glad to see me coming in the morning. 

See the mess all around their fortexes?  The starlings descended on the water and feed, and wiped them out several times.  They drink the lower fortex down to the bottom, and drink as much of the high one as they can reach.  They eat ALL the pellets, and leave the cracked corn. 
I notice there are a lot of other little birds around, though, as well. 

It just creates a real mess that is going to smell badly when it really thaws. 

I'm going to close today with a short video that I took this morning... 
goat friends, check out this behavior and keep in mind that Delilah is still trying to breed Winnie off and on. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

A blessed Christmas to all of our readers and followers!