Saturday, November 28, 2009


Roy's obituary is online at the New Albany Tribune.
Let me say, it bothers me more than a little that our names aren't there, considering we're the only family he has had for the last eight years. Particularly, my sister who cared for him twenty four hours a day and my nephew/brother who has lived half his life with him. Oh well, life ain't fair.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in Pictures

Jakster pointing to is pies

Handy Man's first fried turkey- dee wish us

Kaye was fairly exhausted after an early dialysis, but seemed to enjoy her dinner.
A ginormous egg for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

All is Well, God is Nigh

Roy Stebe
May 13, 1928 - November 26, 2009
Rest so peacefully now

I called Mom to check in about 7 this evening when the last Thanksgiving guests had gone and Aunt G-Lou told her while I was on the phone that the time was close.
I went on down to Mom's house. Mom was worried that the end would be a struggle for him to breathe, so my niece and I sat with him the last twenty minutes. She patted and I sang and breaths were smaller and smaller, till finally no more came. A very peaceful ending.
Aunt G-Lou can feel very satisfied that he was in his home, safe with her and Mom and no suffering. My sister would not have done any better job loving and caring for him than if was her father or her child.
If you know and love my Mom, I'm sure she would appreciate your thoughts, prayers, or maybe a visit.


Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His Son
Give thanks.

That chorus always comes to mind on Thanksgiving.

It is early. The sun is oh so slowly lighting the tips of trees I see out my window. Though tired, my night was not restful, I'm up, trying to find some energy swimming around in my favorite green coffee cup.

My Mom's husband has suffered from an Alzheimer like brain disorder for the past couple of years. Each time I've gone to visit since summer, he has been a bit more "gone." This past week, his jaw shut and would not open and now he is not conscience or communicating in anyway and Auntie G-Lou says it will just be a few days.

Mom had planned to come for Thanksgiving and Kaye too. This was not at all what I would have expected for our Thanksgiving this year. The depths to which Kaye has gone health wise since last February and Mom as well, that did not allow me to hope for another Thanksgiving with them.

Do you know how it feels for something to be uncomfortable, yet normal. Way back in the day, after Daddy's stroke, they told us his life expectancy would be about seven years. So, for twenty-two years I always wondered if he'd make the next big family hoo-ha. Pre-cell phones, I never left the house for a few hours or went on a vacation that I didn't wonder what might happen when I was gone. Ahhh, it's back.

Anyway, the stress and sadness has impacted Mom's breathing, so she doesn't know if she can make it today. After the news about Roy, I wasn't expecting her. I mean, I wouldn't leave Handy Man and don't expect her to leave him. What I'm feeling like is just going to her house and holding her hand until he has left her, but Auntie G-Lou is there and a couple of dozen people are expecting some turkey and stuff around two this afternoon.

A long, long time ago, both my brothers stopped living with their boy's mothers. I said then that I'd have Thanksgiving at 2 and Easter dinner until the nephews were grown. I wanted them to have something traditional, unchanging. I have only veered from that once, with a change to one o'clock, because said brother's new girlfriend needed to leave early. This year said brother will not be here for the first time in so many years I've lost count, and I've had no report on his boys either.

All of the above to say, I'm feeling a little bluesy, however I am still thankful.

Thankful for:
  • a Handy Man who rubs my back at the end of a long day
  • a delight of a daughter girl, who helps with veggie chopping and casserole making
  • a fine friend who peels endless potatoes while we laugh and visit
  • a sweet sister who'll help with the clean-up
  • a growing-up nephew boy who called to ask if he could help and made two pumpkin pies
  • a precious parent who's DNA for all things family passed to me
  • seven smiling babies I'll smooch and squeeze today
  • delectable dishes of all kinds to sit on our Thanksgiving table
  • a devoted dearly loved brother-in-law, who is the reason Kaye is here
  • an astounding sister, due to her devotion, Roy will end his days here peacefully, with dignity, in his home
  • cheery chickie girls who lay lovely eggs daily

and the list could go on for pages and pages.

Hmm, I feel better already. I must be off to turn out the cinnamon rolls, put a turkey in the oven and freshen up Cluckingham Palace before guests arrive.

One last thankful-

I'm thankful for My Little Pixie Girl who celebrates her birthday today. I love you-make it sweet!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This n' That

Went to see Kaye on Monday. She reminds me of Bean and Miss Bugg sometimes.

When Bean was little, he had a hard time adjusting to fall, after being here so much in summer. He wanted to do in an afternoon all we had done in a full day, and was quite unhappy when his mom and dad arrived to fetch him home after only a couple of hours of play. Now I'm going through the same thing with Bugg who throws herself in the floor and begs to spend the night.

Kaye also seems to have a little of the same problem. I had been going to stay with her a weekend day and two nights since her fall in March. Now that she's home, and can understand and be trusted not to try and get up or pull anything off or out, I don't go as much. Three of us sisters, and a brother, go on Monday and Thursday nights, and the three of us sisters take turns on Sundays. Sometimes, that means I go a few days without seeing her and usually she's calling me before I get back, sometimes in tears. Though she's always adding new words, it is still difficult to understand her, and I can never get it all on the phone. I just tell her I'm coming soon and that seems to pacify her awhile.
She's had another bladder infection, e-coli this time. Don't ask, I can't even guess. Pete caught it before it rendered her comatose, thank the Lord. She is swallowing her medicines now and eating well. The picc line is out and I imagine the stomach tube could go as well. I have mixed feelings about all of that. When she takes a turn, it is fast, furious and near deadly.

She is going to a rehab hospital again for out patient speech, physical and occupational therapy. Her first speech session, which was an evaluation, was quite upsetting to her. She said it made her feel stupid. Breaks my heart. The one this week was better.
Pete is always so joyous over every bit of progress. I bought a book of short stories about a boy's wild childhood that I knew would make him laugh. He called me tonight and said he was reading it to Kaye and he was laughing so hard he could hardly keep reading, and she was laughing so much at him laughing. So, I laughed too, thinking about them. I don't know where he gets the strength for each day. I guess the Lord is faithful to leave it where he can find it.

Bean got his pins out yesterday and now just has a little bandage on his arm. I'm so thankful that ordeal is over and the arm is now healing nicely-thank you Lord!

We've gathered 29 eggs over the last two days. The novelty still hasn't worn off. Buttercup had two for breakfast Saturday, and Bean and Bugg cooked and ate them for supper again tonight. It's a big thrill for me sharing them with all the people we love. Just love all around. We love and nurture these chickie girls. They give us little multi-colored packages of sunshine that we delight in eating and passing around some of that joy to others. You gotta love when a plan comes together.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Glitter, Glitter, Gone

Today was Veteran's Day. My fourth graders prepared and served about 45 veterans breakfast. Then we have a very sweet and touching program. It's a lot of work, but when a 94 year old gentleman hugs me and tell me through tears, how much he loved it and others about knocking me down to tell me it's the best program they've ever been invited to and how appreciated they felt, then I'm like "Okay, that was worth it. Ha, there are others that just want to tell about how good the breakfast was. 1st Lt. and my sweet Bugg came for breakfast, then had to leave for Bean's program. Bugg was all decked out in firecracker finery. I picked them up after school and they gathered 11 eggs. Bugg fixed and ate one and Bean ate four. Then, it was time to make the pine cones sparkle. Bugg did not feel a cone was complete until all glitter was shaken from the jar. The fact that every speck of glue was long since covered ten times over, made no difference. The joy is in the shaking I guess. Look at her blue-eyes, my sweet girl.
Now Bean, he took this very seriously. He told me, "I'm making some of these for ornaments for the retired home ( did you know they're retiring homes these days), then for the Army, then the Navy and , well, those other ones, oh, and for the hospital." His momma is all about service projects and his daddy too with military, so it's precious to see it falling out in him. He got a cast change today. Pins come out next Tuesday- eeeee, I'm dreading that for him.
A friend asked to see pictures of my Easter Eggers that lay colored eggs. They are the shyest of my girls. Henny Penny picks on Cheeky, I don't know why, but anyway, here they are.



And our first laying Easter Egger-Elvira.
We had our local free range beef delivered yesterday and are about to enjoy (I hope) a steak.
Then off to the Science Fair and lastly, Bunco. I really need a few more things to do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's the Simple Things

I suppose there will be a day when Handy Man and I aren't so intrigued by this whole chicken/egg business. The skinny one in front is the first we've gotten from an Andalusian. We know this because they are the only ones who lay white eggs. Those girls are still so small (see pic in last entry) that I'm not surprised that egg is so skinny.

Look at the difference in the size of these eggs. If eggs do get bigger as the girls age, we're going to have ostrich eggs.

Last night at the grocery, I found this so tiny T-Fal griddle. Handy Man was off somewhere searching for an elusive toothpaste to go with a coupon we had. I told him they had this cutest little griddle I wanted to show him, but couldn't find him. God love him, he goes back, finds the griddle and puts it in the cart. So tonight it was Progresso Tomato Basil soup, my favorite, and grilled cheese with Provolone, on the tiny griddle. Look at that, it makes a perfect grilled cheese. Land's we've gotten easy to entertain in our old age.
We'll probably liven things up and make grilled peanut butter and jelly before the week is out.
Woo hoo.
We've had 16 eggs in two days. Good times. Thank the Lord for chickens and Handy Mans.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Our Basket Runneth Over

Snowy and Black Thermostat, who's name I'm changing to Pappy's Girl, since it fits her better.
We're getting 6 or 7 eggs a day now. I really enjoy the egg sharing aspect as much as anything about this little adventure.
So, in addition to chickieherder, I'll add chickie vet to my list of accomplishments. Some little Cluckingham witch is picking on Snowy and made her little comb bleed today. Handy Man snuggled her up and I put peroxide and antibiotic oinment on her. I've read that chickie girls like the taste of blood and will kill another chicken. How disgusting, I mean seriously. So we doctored her up and put her in the coop on the roost until she gets to feeling better.
Bean and Bugg came to visit this week. Bean really seems to be handling his broken arm quite well and is doing pretty good in his school work in spite of it. He made me a thank you card for coming to his class with the girls. I wish I had a scanner so I could post it. So sweet. His teacher was kind enough to send me some pictures she had printed in a class thank you as well.
I love how Bean tells me about poems and songs he's learning. Then he said, "I have a book I want to show you." I thought it was a little kindergarten picture book, but no, it was a Ripley's Believe It or Not and he wanted to show me a chicken who got it's head cut off, but lived for three days. Though headless chickens aren't as exciting to me as to him, I love how interested he is in reading. No matter what I read him now, he's picking out every word he knows. Music to a Gramerly/teacher's heart.
He has always been so aware of what is going on around him. When I picked them up from Playplace, I told them we were going to a Cross Country meet. My little fourth graders think it is very important for their teacher to show up at a game. Anyway, Bean said, "Oh, Cody's going to a meet too, to watch his brother." Sure enough, his little friend was there. Bean also picked the principal and assistant out of the crowd and walked right up to them and said, "Hello."
We went by my Mom's to take her some eggs. Bean asked why we needed to visit her. I told him, "When your Daddy was little that was his Granny, just like I am your Gramerly." "Now she is much older and has been very sick and still isn't feeling well, and sometimes gets lonely, so we need to visit her." Of course it's still his Daddy's Granny.
My sister, who lives and cares for my Mom and her husband, Auntie G-Lou, entertained them with bubbles, then took them on a pinecone hunting adventure. Now I have a gigantic sack of pinecones that Bean and Bugg can't wait to make a glittery masterpiece with. Thanks Auntie G-Lou!! Mom was glad to see them and to have some more eggs. Neither she, nor her husband are doing very well. She just can't get enough air to get through a sentence, and he is just slipping away.
I am off to Hobby Lobby this afternoon for gallons of glue and glitter-yee, haw!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Arwen's Fall from Grace

Pretty Chickie Girl Jetta
Yesterday morning I was cleaning Cluckingham Palace. I'd let Arwen out of the pen and fed the girls some delicious leftovers and they were happy chickies, clucking about contentedly.

About 11, I finished up and came inside. I wasn't inside long when the rooster started crowing his head off and then I heard a strange little squeak I didn't recognize. I ran and before I reached the door, I saw Arwen playing ball with one of my Andalusians. I beat on the window and she dropped her, then I ran out, flipped Arwen on her belly, called her not nice names and drug her to the back porch. I could see Black Thermostat was looking around, I could see no bites or anything, so I ran and got a box and some straw and a towel and wrapped her up and waited for Handy Man to come home and assess the damage ( injuries are not my farming strong suit). While I was outside getting her warm, comfortable and out of harm's way, I noticed Jetta was no where to be seen. Handy Man pulled up and checked out the little mauled chickie and pronounced her terrified, but unhurt, and we started the hunt for Jetta. I held to hope that the chickie yard ruckus scared her into hiding, and she would wander out like she did last time when the sun went down- she did not. We even went out one more time late and looked in every hiding place we could think of. Of course, I was broken hearted and imagined all types of things that could've happened to her.

This morning, I went out to see if maybe, by some chance, she found her way home, but no Jetta.

All the caterwauling was just Davey and Yellow Chick Awesome laying an egg.

So, I went onto Kaye's still hoping and wondering.

I called Handy Man during the day and he said he was busy, and didn't act like he wanted to talk to me, which sort of surprised me. I guess he didn't want to tell me over the phone, so I didn't find out until I got home that he found Jetta across the drive ( no chickens crossing the road jokes at this time please). I guess Arwen pounced her first and she didn't survive it. No wounds on her either. I can't imagine why Black Thermostat didn't fly to safety when Arwen nailed Jetta.

I wasn't in the house long at all, so whatever she did to Jetta must've have happened quickly and at least I'm glad for that. Obviously, I'm glad she didn't mean to kill her to eat her. She's just an obnoxious puppy, who happens to be a giant, who wants to play. Though she'll get no more opportunity.

When we got her, and I was off for the summer, she was too big and the girl's too small for me to risk much time together. Whenever they were in the chicken tractor, she would also be out of the pen and she's with the girls often with us right there. Lately, in the evening, I've let a few of the girls out of the big pen to range, and I keep Arwen right with me and, of course, reward her for good behavior and she's fine. Between a full time job teaching, and part time commitments, that's about all the time I've been able to give with the training.
She tries to do the same thing with Bugg and Buttercup. My little gramerlings are not much interested in being rolled around long enough for me to try and correct the pooch. Can't say as I blame them.

I purchased Andalusians because they are good foragers and I wanted chickens that eat a lot of bugs. I didn't realize they don't grow quickly and are fair fliers. Arwen has been out numerous times when they've flown out of the fenced yard. Only once did she try to grab one and Handy Man grabbed her and that was that. So, that Arwen took down two in a few minutes came as quite a devastating surprise to me. That one couldn't get to safety doesn't make sense to me either. I guess she was terrified. When the rooster starts bellowing, they usually squat, then run. Obviously, both had flown out of the pen, but there were plenty of places to run for safety, number one being flying back into the pen.
I was thinking when I was cleaning the coop about how much I like this little slice of farm life. Between the girls being entertaining and providing eggs, I'm really very happy and content cleaning up after them. This dying is the part I hate. I know they're chickens, but when you've messed with them everyday since they were two days old, you get sort of attached. I sort wish I would've known before Handy Man buried her, as I would have saved her one solid black feather that instantly told me who she was from a distance. Well, well, well. Boo hoo!
Kaye was feeling pretty good today. She has had a cold and she still has a bad cough. I fixed them breakfast and supper and cleaned out the frig and helped out with the laundry. We read the paper. She still sometimes really struggles with speech. She is going to have some more therapy for that soon. I swing emotionally to and fro feeling so sorry for one then the other. Pete wants to let her control everything she can. They went to the cookie place and bought six very fancy halloween cookies. One each for Ol'Henry, Antebellie and Miss Linee, one for my mom. We could not figure out to save us who she wanted the other two for. Now, if it's me, I just say, "Oh, okay, that's what I'll do," then do whatever I think best and tell her it worked out wonderfully. Pete will not give up trying to figure out who or how or when or whatever. After going round and round for fifteen minutes today, she would've picked him up and tossed him out on his ear if she could have. Bless their hearts. We never did figure it out. So, if you were the person the cookie was intended for, so sorry.
Mom still doesn't have enough air to walk across the floor or finish a sentence. I feel so bad for her.
Consequently, I'm just feeling bad today, all the way around.
Rae-rae had a nice open house yesterday.