Saturday, December 30, 2017

The End of Another Year

If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones, as I am... or blessed, 
if you prefer to think of it that way. 

We have reached the end of another year.  2017, which has been 
full of disaster and despair, but also, lots of hope and kindness. 

Desperate cold has settled into the Midwest, along with the 
eastern seaboard and upper Midwest.  I have been 
preparing for it for a week. 

Jester, as you see, did not want to get up this morning.  I had just taken 
those sweatshirts out of the dryer, and he was content to just lay there 
and be warm, but to be fair, he had already been out. 

Rarely does he opt to get back into the big bed. 

It was time to pack these guys away.  I particularly loved that Santa, I 
think he embodies the spirit of Calamity Acres... welcoming 
all the creatures here.  I have a big Santa collection but no longer have the 
shelves or furniture on which to put them... so... there is more paring down to 
do in the future. 

It seems like a month ago already, but on the 23rd, son Jim and his family came to have Christmas treats. 
There I am back in the background, I was holding great-granddaughter Maci Lynn.  I am  not sure who had control of the camera. 

Maci and her mom, Maddie... Maddie has taken to motherhood like a duck to water. 

They had to leave early to go to a gender-reveal party for her best friend. 

I am on continual... I mean CONTINUAL cute overload in this house. 

This is me yesterday, trying to get some typing done.  I did not know the camera was 
laying there on, but I'm glad it was.  This happens many times. 

There is possum Fang on the deck last night, and I'll tell you something interesting.  I love trying different things.  

In the fortex to the right, there is a mixture of seeds, full peanuts, cracked peanuts, corn, etc., called "Critter Mix" that I get at the feed store.  In the darker bowl where Fang is eating, there is birdseed in a blend called "Backyard Bird", made up of two kinds of sunflower and many other seeds.  See what he is eating?  I love to learn things like that. 

The crows and squirrels will get to the critter mix. 

This is the fifth night at least I have seen NO raccoons. 

That is Spooky's tail end, Spooky, one of the feral nearly-grown kittens. 
I have not seen Harlequin for days now.  I don't know what has happened to her. 
It was suggested I check my other outer buildings, and I will, actually, in a bit. 

Here I come up on the deck this morning, lined tights under my jeans, two pairs of socks, 
two pairs of gloves and hand warmers, a shirt under my sweatshirt, my Carhartt watch cap on and my Carhartt hood on.  It's going to be like this all weekend (even worse) and I will have permanent hat hair for the next week. 

You gotta do what you gotta do, but.... I am hesitant to get any large animals because of this, it has reminded me of the drudgery. 

This is the heated water bowl in the old henhouse from which the 
feral cats drank.  It honestly looks as if no one is eating in there. 
I did bed down the goat barn, the only dog house left, and made sure the 
duck house still has good bedding... it does, and I noticed last night that 
something has slept in there. 

I quit putting food in the little red henhouse, despite the fact that the straw to either side looked as if something had slept in it... no one has eaten the food in three or four days now.  The litter box in there is no longer used, but I have left it (for now). 

This poor little girl hurts me just to look at her.  She is one of the original flock, 
now almost 2 years old... and has lost all her feathers, I literally have never had a bird moult naked. 
Because of her, I did this (and she is staying inside, wisely)

Keith and I used to hang a light in the worst of winter in the henhouses. 

This is, in fact, hanging from a rope he tied five years ago. 

It casts just enough warmth, and just far enough above the 
straw that there will (hopefully) be no fire.  Of course,
I got up to check it six times last night. 

I am praying my naked little girl, a brown Leghorn, makes it through the horrible cold coming the 
next two days.  We are supposed to have a record below zero reading on New Year's morning. 

I did let the chickens out today, however, because the sun came out and they wanted out.  
Tomorrow and Monday will be another story. 

We actually ran an electric line from the big henhouse to the little red one, the hole where the line went through is behind the pophole door.  It hung from the rafters in there, and kept one corner warm for the little birds that used to live there.  IF I were to use this, I probably would not run a line again, I think healthy birds are capable of keeping themselves warm.  However, that featherless Leghorn needed help. 

I hung this huge block of seeds from a pole this morning, 
it will be so interesting to see what goes after it.  It smelled GREAT. 

It is a new product which my feed store is carrying. 

I hope everyone has a safe New Year's Eve tomorrow, 
and are back here to see more adventures at Calamity Acres. 
I thank you again, for the ninth year, for reading about our little place, and yes, 
even though Keith is gone... it is still our little place, mine, Lilly's, Jester's, Autumn's, 
Twinkle's, and all the wild things that live here. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017


There are my feet again, those of you who follow me on Insta and Facebook will recognize me in this position, in my recliner. 

There is my sweet little Twinkle. 

I have also written about how he has been scratching and biting me, and someone (Sally) suggested that I discipline him now so that he would not turn into a biting, scratching adult. 

Actually, I have been using a small squirt bottle on him, which we used with
Lilly when she was a puppy, lo, these many years ago. 

What I found was that after a week, he responded better to "NO", than being

Here is the reason he is on my lap, curled up. 

That's Paiton with Autumn, our new family member from 
Kitty Cat Connection. (Thank you, Tammy Potts)  I went over to pick Autumn up 
last Saturday, and she had to spend some time in the bathroom 
getting used to everything.  When I am here, she is now allowed to 
roam throughout the house with Twinkle. 

Oh, we have had some fun. 

They have been up hill and down dale. 

They are not allowed outside, tho Twink has escaped a time or two. 

They are strictly indoor cats, from here on out. 

Lilly is not sure about Autumn,  so I monitor them. 
Jester wants to play so BADLY, and Autumn is not used to 
dogs, so there is a lot of hissing. 

In fact, he is feeling very left out, he was Twinkle's main man. 

He had been jumping and grinning, play with me, play with me, 
for five minutes before I took this, and they ignored him. 

Here is a dorky picture I took with one hand last night. 
I was watching the Voice finale (sort of) and Twinkle climbed up 
into the recliner and went to sleep nestled on me.  Autumn, for the first time, 
came up with him and also went to sleep.  It didn't last long, pretty soon 
they started wrestling again, and they wrestle HARD.  She is just a hair bigger than he,
and gives as good as she gets. 

However, he has not bitten or scratched me one time, now that he has a playmate. He was just desperate to play, before. 

I got Jester up a little later, and gave him scritches until he was almost asleep, 
to let him know he is still MY  main man. 

Here was Spooky in the old henhouse this morning.  I knew something was 
sleeping in the closet... there are two depressions in the deep straw I put in there, there 
is another just beyond Spooky to the left.  No sign of Harlequin, I have not seen her in two days, and you see that Spooky wanted his breakfast, he was telling me.  He was also telling me "Don't come any closer".  

There is also something sleeping in the little red hen house.  I leave about 
a cup of cat food in there every day, just in case one of the other two ferals is still around... I have not seen them in weeks though, and I know my neighbors at the bottom of the hill feed ferals. 

Something eats it, and something sleeps there, but is gone when I go out in the morning.  It is 
cat or possum sized. 

Speaking of the possums and other wildings, I am moving the feeding station off the porch and into the yard by the pasture.  I'm going to move it INTO the pasture once they get used to not finding it on the porch. 

The cats come to the porch every night, despite the fact I feed them in the hen house. 

The water in the warmed bowl will stay on the porch.  One thing I have NOT done is 
started feeding the wild birds on the deck again.  I have enough fun watching them at my feeding station, and I keep water out there. 

It looks like all I shopped for at the commissary today was cat food, doesn't it? 
I stocked up for the next two weeks, and then got everything else that was on my 
Christmas - party list, like bowls and cups, etc..  We have ham and cheese sliders and potato soup on the menu, but I did get a container of potato salad, just in case. 

While I was there, they had a scavenger hunt, giving 10 minutes to get all the items on the list, and back to "go".... to win a big sack of items, PLUS an Xbox One system.  It was fun to see everyone careening through the aisles trying to get their list filled, and fun for the parents.  The store was not too full, either, so it did not put anyone out. 
What a fun way to win an Xbox for your kids. 

Here is a much-cropped picture of the new rooster, whom I am calling Ferdinand, after the 
bull from the cartoon of the same name, recently re-made by Disney. 

Ferdinand was a big, blustering bull who was a baby at heart, and so is this 
rooster.  I had to pick him up and carry him in 3 times, he has never 
roosted inside, his home had other roosters and they beat up on him all the time. 
My friend who gave him to me told me she felt so sorry for him.  

This is how he slept the first two nights.  Now he gets himself turned around in the nest box, and nestles there, next to one of the hens.  I have never had so many chickens who like to roost in the nest boxes, and I have to clean them out every morning.  As I am getting so few eggs, I guess it doesn't matter!  

I thought this was interesting, I always fill this fortex in the morning, 
because the squirrels and little birds drink from it all day, along with whatever chicken is near. 

Those are raccoon paws in the fortex.  Uh huh. 

I used to be afraid to look out because of Cogburn, however, if I even show my face for a minute, I hear tap-tap-tapping at the door.  See the red hen?  She had been tapping.  
They are spoiled. 

However... I am going to start treating them OFF the porch, I have to power wash porch and deck, they are not discriminating when they have to go, if you get my drift!

I end with a Random Act of Kindness.  For years, I have read "Sugar Pie Farmhouse", a blog written by a wife and antiques dealer in the Ozarks, in Branson, who is called "Aunt Ruthie".  She linked to another blog the other day called "MorningChores".... and they both suggested doing this, a random act treating someone who helps you all year, and not just at Christmas. 

I heard the trash truck come up the road on Monday, I am the last customer on the road, and 
they commonly turn in our driveway entrance.  They were there a little longer on Monday morning as they found these on top of the trash bin.  What a great idea from Aunt Ruthie, thank you! 

The mailman will get his on Friday, and I am taking a batch to the feed store tomorrow, they help me all year (the main helper gets a cash tip, too)... don't forget all these folks that help us 
through thick and thin. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

There's Another New Sheriff in Town

Here comes Cogburn to get me on Wednesday.  I'm not kidding, he 
was attacking me every time I came out the door. 

I had an arsenal of weapons right at the door, metal and wood. 

On Wednesday afternoon, I waited til he was down in the goat yard (freshly cleaned out by Odin's Lawncare) with the hens, and I started to the henhouse across the yard to get some bird seed 
for the feeder. 

Before I realized it, he was striking me from behind.  I fought him off with my 
foot, Lilly actually ran, afraid. 

Finally, he got my foot, hard, with both spurs.  He hit me just 
behind the shin bone, on a nerve.  I hobbled to the henhouse, and got 
something I could hit him with if need be. 

I made it back to the house, and my foot exploded in the worst pain 
I have had since childbirth, I kid you not.  I could not have driven 
to the ER to save my life, I couldn't get up on it for more than a second. 

I elevated it and put ice on it, and on Thursday morning, I went to 
the ER.  After xrays, they decided nothing was broken, but 
the nerve was aggravated.  The nurse wrapped it for me (REALLY helped) and 
sent me home to rest it and ice it and elevate it, and I did do so. 
It really helped, too. 

By Friday, I was able to get up on it, still wrapped, and hobble around. 

So, the news is.... Cogburn is GONE. 

Mr. Guerrero, who is doing carpentry for me off and on, 
took him to some friends.  If that is a euphemism for eating him, 
so be it. 

Here's the part where you can laugh. 
I went out there hobbling on Friday, and HE GOT ME AGAIN. 
This time on the hand, and I was actually petrified of a rooster for the first time in my life. 

I've never had an agressive rooster like that, especially one that 
I had raised from a one day old chick. 

I have had MANY roosters, and 20 years ago, had two that I was 
worried about, but did not keep them long. 

So, surprise, surprise.  Here is his replacement, so far, nameless. 

He is gentle, and was the odd man out at his previous home, where he had to 
roost outside.  My friend Roxane brought him last night, and plopped him 
on the roost amongst his new ladies.  

The only reason you see this picture is that I called them over to see him this morning, 
they promptly left him at the henhouse and ran across the yard as they normally do, and he was wandering around calling them. 

You can see he is quite large.  I just hope he likes me. 

I brought home three hens this morning to add to the flock, as we 
dispersed the current flock at the Ag.  I am hoping I have a two month 
vacation before we start a new flock for this summer. 

Let me tell you, sometimes I go through heck to type this blog. 

Twinkle is getting a new friend this afternoon, her name is Autumn.  She was 
grievously mistreated by someone awful, and started out her young life 
in a terrible way.  She has been fostered by the wonderful Tammy Potts, (of Kitty Cat Connection) 
and is coming to me today.  I am hoping it takes some of the pressure 
off my hands and feet, which the hospital nurses were shocked with this week. (they are torn to shreds from Twink). 

Pictures to come.  She will be in the bathroom for a day or two, so everyone has a chance to smell her. 

Wow, am I glad Lilly didn't see this squirrel in the planter on the deck an 
hour ago. 

It had a nut buried in the planter and got it out... like THERE IS NO FOOD ON THE GROUND BEHIND HIM. 

You know, 50 feet from the porch where the entire neighborhood either eats ON or UNDER the feeder (laughing).  Actually, the two red squirrels do eat over there. 

I don't know how he managed, but Twinkle got a Christmas gift out of the 
closet and dragged it across the floor.  I suspect it is going to be Twinkle's from now on, but... we will see how he does with little Autumn. 

I am guessing there will be a lot of play going on. 

Sometimes I hear tapping at the door, no kidding. 

When I look out, there is a delegation there waiting for treats. 
It's usually a leghorn who is tapping, isn't that funny? 

My friend Diane calls them psychotic birds, and they are a little frisky if you 
try to get too close, but I have found them to be very comical and friendly. 

One of our recent sunsets.  

God has really blessed me this year. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Happy WINDSday!!!

The weatherman warned us it would be windy today, but WOW.... it sure is!  

The young man whose company took care of my yard here over the summer is coming to do some clearing, I hope he doesn't blow away into the next county!

That is a shell-less egg that someone dropped off the roost the other day. 

That white thing, strung out.  It had just been dropped before I opened the 
pophole that morning, it was still all wet.  

More grit is needed, I think, of the oyster-shell variety. 

But, the girls ARE coming into lay again, good news. 

And this is the first egg at the Ag from the cochin flock currently there.  I got another the next day, and none since. 

Cochins only lay 2 to 3 eggs a WEEK... they are bred for beauty, not production.  

You should be able to pick the cochin egg out of this batch I was 
getting ready to scramble for the dogs and me for breakfast. 

The five eggs that are dark orange are from my girls here at the farm... 
and the pale yellow is from the girl at the ag, who does not have access to fresh grass, bugs, etc. etc.. 

Sunday was the last day of the 4-day Santa's Express celebration at the 
National Agricultural Center.  That's my grandson Jax in the Island Creek School, 
I was the schoolmarm that day and forgot to have my picture taken with my 
pioneer dress on.  

The weather was beautiful and we had a good crowd of lovely families. 

There is a better view from the teacher's platform.  

This school actually stood in Wyandotte County from 1917, 
and was moved to the Ag when Piper School District was absorbed into 
the Wyandotte County school system.  
The kids made ornaments (coloring pictures) for the tree, that is out of 
the picture to the left. 

Here is Fang, eating on the porch Sunday night.  

I leave just a little bit of food for him and he finds it.  There is also the water there, I know that draws him. 

Jaxton actually saw him going up the drive on Sunday morning before we left, he must have been under the deck.  He went out under the gate and over to the wild area across the road. 

If this isn't the most awkward sleeping position!  He was on my lap, stretched out his 
little legs, hooked them into the chair, and went to sleep!

He is a very loving kitty, but oh man, is he hard on my hands and feet, they are full of 
bites and scratches from play, and I am trying to teach him he can't do that any longer. 

Same night. 

I went in to sweep up the schoolhouse on Monday, and get some of my 
personal decorations out of the general store... and roofing has progressed on the school. 
There were several roofs that have to be removed... there was damage from a big storm in 
July so the old museum building (the first) and the schoolhouse are both getting new roofs. 
As the building is 100 years old this year, it's good maintenance.  We are also trying to raise money 
to get the building painted. 

I took this from the hen spa porch last night. 

It is the dust rolling in off the road, it is awful 
right now.  We are so dry, and any vehicle going up or 
down the road is stirring up buckets of dust. 
There is film on everything. 

I took this last night in the hen spa.  There are 18 birds here for now, 
but about six of them are now roosting in the rafters.  Several are also 
roosting IN the nest boxes, so I am cleaning them out regularly. 
One cochin goes all the way up to the highest rafter! 

People on Instagram probably think I never get out of the recliner 
in front of the tv, because I post from there with pictures and video of 
Jester and Twinkle every night.  I love my long nightgown.... and last night 
I had on warm, warm part alpaca knee socks I got at Marshalls.  They were 
so soft and warm!  
As of this morning, I have all my Christmas shopping finished except for the 
monetary gifts... this afternoon after I clean this house, I am going to wrap.  
I am thinking I'll put the gifts into two big shopping bags I bought at 
Marshall's so Twink can't tear them up. 

You know I lost Sister a month ago.... Twinkle came at just the right time. 
I have grown so fond of him.  God usually opens a window when He is closing a door, and He sure did for me this time. 

In other wonderful news, our big house has sold and was closed upon yesterday.  As we did not own it long, there was not a huge profit, but it covered everything I had to pay at closing, and I am 
delighted with that.  It is a chapter closed and finished, and I am finished with paying two house payments, two yard care payments, and two utility payments.  It's an absolute blessing, and I pray that the new owners will be very happy there. 

It was a wonderful Christmas present for me. 

My son took this Saturday, when he dropped the kids off. 

It was supposed to be my Christmas picture. 
Twinkle is squirming and Lilly dropped and rolled when I called her, 
only Jester is sitting pretty.  

Oh, well.  

I hope you are all well along the Advent road and getting ready for Christmas!