Friday, October 30, 2009

Whoa, Wacky, Weirdness

What do you think of this? I have read about all the weird ways eggs might come when the hen first starts to lay. Some can be very tiny, mishapen, quite oblong, deformed, as in an earlier post, or rubbery with no hard shell.
When the hens first started to lay, we founded a splated rubbery one that had obviously been expelled from the roost. All following eggs have been hard-shelled until yesterday when Handy Man found another one on the coop floor. Now, today, the above. Yes, the little deflated balloon looking thing is attached to the very normal looking egg. Looks are deceiving though, the big one is a rubbery egg too. Interesting.

My poor Bean had to have surgery today on his little arm and have two pins to hold it in place. He did well, but missed his big holiday fun in kindergarten. Poor boy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Blue-eyed Buttercup, Button Bushes, Baths and Butterfly Weed

Sunday was spent with Missy Buttercup. There was much to be done on a cool fall day. She needed to feed the chickens, find her very first egg, swing in the dolphin swing, examine all the seed pods in the yard and discuss how they travel, taste a few, then have some fun water play. She's getting big and reminds me very much of her daddy. Hmm, so that's what all the fuss is about huh Pappy?

I like these silky ones.

Yep, some seeds travel by air just like that.
Don't tickle me Pap!

Don't be fooled, these Button Bush pods look a little better than they taste.

Time for some water play.
I had read where first eggs are sometimes sort of deformed. This is the first one we've gotten that kind of looked folded over on itself. Then we got another one today.
Bean and Bugg came this afternoon to carve pumpkins. Bean did a really good job considering his arm is broken. He goes to have it checked tomorrow and maybe get a hard cast. Before carving, they gathered several eggs, then fixed them for themselves for supper. Both chose big eggs and both eggs had double yolks. They were excited. Bean ate two and 1st Lt. ate four.
Pete called me at school today, an unusual occurrence. With much trepidation, I scurried out to the hall to take the call. Good news, another negative test on the Klebsillia bacteria-thank the Lord.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Break of Sorts

Well, after the night on the town with the little princesses, I continued on with big fall break plans.
In order to attend the Granparent Day activities, I would have had to miss work. I asked Bean, if since I had a fall break just a couple of weeks later, would he rather I come to Grandparent's Day, or wait and come to read a story or do something on my fall break. Bean chose fall break. Since his teacher is a sweet friend of mine, she kindly invited me to do whatever I wanted to do. Umm, well, I don't do so well without boundaries. I am a plate-colorer you see. Oh, you don't see? Perhaps an explanation is in order.
Back in the day of children's birthday parties, I was often forced to cancel due to weather, as my kiddos are all born the end of January or beginning of February. So, after we moved to this house, I only had family for birthdays and then had a big summer party for the kidlets. One year, I had Christmas in July, but I couldn't find any Christmas paper goods, because way back when, those didn't come out until after Halloween-gasp, imagine. Yes, it was the dark ages. Anyway, I got my little stencils and green crayons and colored them-plates, cups, napkins. Yes, I did. I sure did. Now, do you think one of the wee folk even noticed the beautful Christmas motif on their plate, cup, napkin? Hardly, but of high interest was the goody on and in paper stuff.
I realized I have a bad habit of doing what doesn't really amount to much, but takes a lot of time, hence I've used the term, Plate-Colorer, for myself ever since.
It wouldn't be so bad, except I rope innocent bystanders in on the plate coloring fun. I've probably lost you. Okay, back to the story.
Well, earlier this year I took a couple of chickie girls to school and showed them to pre-school and pre-K and read, as you might guess, Little Red Hen. I asked Bean if he'd like me to visit with the girls and read a story and he did, and the sweet teacher friend agreed.
Well, if you're going read the story, you need some wheat to show the kids, and some wheat kernals and some ground wheat you know. Naturally, they are going to want to taste that bread Little Red Hen is bragging about. What is homemade wheat bread without some homemade butter? Then, you want them to get into the story, so each of them have to have a little mask of a story character to hold up and quack, "Not I", said the duck. One must be sure the story was comprehended, so puppets of the characters are needful for re-telling. Puppets are no fun without a puppet stage. Lucky for me, I had Bunco the night before and duck bill and puppet coloring were passed off on my friend girls, who did a particularly marvelous job. I just don't think kindergarten students could grasp Little Red Hen's dismay at all that grinding without giving it a whirl. I had no mortar or pestle, so while I was at Bunco, Handy Man Pappy was coloring plates in the wood shop. Woo-hoo, a big time was had by all. Little Red Hen and Davy Crockett were on their best chickie girl behavior, the kids inhaled the bread and butter, and Bean was a happy, butter making boy. And the sweet teacher friend, God love her, managed to keep smiling throughout.

"Come butter come, Bean is at the gate, waiting for his butter cake, come butter come." Recited by all children in turn as they shook the cream.
Tah-dah ! A mortar and pestle, and just let me say, it is very hard to grind that stuff. Thanks Handy Man.

My friend girls are so talented. Thanks Bunco.
Okay, so I left school, returned the girls to their pen, and went to decorate for Baby Boy's baptism.

Then on Saturday, we baptised him.
How precious is this hunk a hunk of burning love?

I needed to smooch those chubbiest cheeks.
Then I cleaned up, and went to the hospital to check on my poor Beanie Boy, who took a tumble off the monkey bars and broke his wee wrist in two places.
On Sunday, Buttercup came to visit, then poof- fall break was done.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Magical Experience

I've arrived!
Now for a little magic!

Our carriage awaits!
I was worried they might be intimidated by the big horse and carriage. Sometimes reality doesn't look as interesting up close. Uh, well, they ran right out the restaurant doors shouting, "It's here, our carriage is here." SueZQ and I were frantically trying to keep up as the princesses were climbing in their seats. Then, the driver turned on the twinkle lights and Antebellie declared, "We're on our way to the castle." In every place with lots of lights, we imagined a ballroom, ready for royalty. They were sure the lighted trees and fountains were there to entertain them. Being three is so wonderful.
"This is a knife." "Yes Antebellie it is."
"You can use it to put butter on your bread." She thought it was more fun to use it to put butter in your mouth.

What sweet princesses.

Psketti-dewishus! Missy Bugg wore those awful plastic, pointy toed, high heeled torture devices the whole evening. I couldn't believe she could actually walk in them
In July, Bean chose a friend to join him for a day of science museum fun, with IMAX and a gift from the gift shop for his birthday. At the time I told Missy Bugg that I would do a special outing with her and she chose her cousin Antebellie as her guest.

My sister, SueZQ, noticed a carriage that resembled Cinderella and since both girls are quite into the whole princess drama, we decided to take them downtown to dinner and a carriage ride for a princess adventure.

It was precious. They were totally absorbed in the moment, speaking to every person they met and making three-year old magic like no body's business. It was magical it seemed for the many people who saw them as well. They were photographed with cameras and cell phones all over town. People were stopping to roll down windows and express amazement at their beauty and charm. Antebellie was sure she saw several Prince Charmings and smiled demurely at each hopeful prince.
In spite of my best efforts, I could not get these pictures in order and the way I wanted them- so no magic, just confusion in this lil' ol' entry (the last paragraph and pictures first). Anyway, you get the idea. I am off line more than I'm on these days. I have no idea what is up with Insight, but it kind of takes the fun out of blogging when it takes you three days to post and it's still wrong.
Nothing could have taken the fun out of our Princess Adventure- our little missie's thrill of the evening made it a worthwhile endeavor indeed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Delightful Days

Remember this picture from July when they were first let out of the coop into the yard?At the time, I thought they were simply adorable. Now, they seem a little scrawny.

They've grown a bit since then.

Days off are so delightful. Perhaps I've developed a greater appreciation for them when they seem so few and far between. Anyway, I'm always surprised at how much I can accomplish. Laundry caught up, bills caught up, chickie coop cleaned, daffodils dug, plants planted-ahhhhhhh.

One time I bought some beautiful daffodil bulbs (well, the bulbs weren't none too beautiful, but the promise they held intrigued me) and planted them over the septic tank. Just stuck them out there in three inches of soil over concrete and they've bloomed profusely on tender loving neglect ever since. Last year they were looking a little thick and I know they don't bloom as well in that state, so I dug them up and planted some all over the yard. I planted so many that I thought I might not have left much for spring. Well, I was surprised to find what seemed to be just as many blooms as before.

I told Rae-rae I would dig some for her new diggs.

Ummm, well, guess I was having a senior moment when I thought I dug all those bulbs last year, or there is something magical about growing over a septic tank.

It is hard for me to imagine not gardening. I can get so lost in all the interesting things happening in, on and above the ground that my troubles and stress seem non-existent for a few minutes. I love the sharing that comes with gardening. The blessing is mine to have found a friend in Ms. Gardener J. By her own admission, she's a bit snobbish about what goes in her garden, but most generous with what comes out. My little fourth graders have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience from her every spring as she brings a bounty of sweet wildflowers for them to plant in our little wooded area at school. My mind easily transports itself to a day 18 or 20 years down the road when those kids will be bring their own little ones down to the creek to see all the spring jewels blooming under a canopy of trees. I love to imagine them sharing how they came to be there.

Now, another yard to set afire with color. Speaking of Rae and her yard. She is having an Open House on Saturday, the 31st from 1-5. She would love to have you come.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

True Blue

Three brown eggs, one with a double yolk and a
blue egg!
What fun!
Off to Bethlehem on the River!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cold Autumn Rain

Goodness, it's turned chilly, brrrrr!

Last night we were brave and opened the chickie pen for a little more intense free-ranging. Well, not terribly brave, as we didn't open the gate until after 6:30, and the girls head to roost around 7:30. Anyway, all the Easter Eggers, the two silver/blue Andalusians, one Silver Wyndotte, one Gold Wyndotte and some Australorps wandered out to scratch and peck. I guess you can now add Chickieherder to our resume. The girls stayed pretty close, Arwen was good and they enjoyed their outing and were easy to go back at bedtime. Hopefully, we'll do more and more of that. We're getting two or three eggs a day now. Bean and Bugg each found one today.

This week at school has been wild and woolly-conferences. In addition, I'm trying really hard to wrap up this Egypt unit. I was determined that the pasting and papering balloons for the sarcophagus would be finished today. Others were working on canopic jars for their desiccated orange/Pharaoh innards.
By the time school was out, my patience had taken a hike to a warmer clime. As much as I love messes, even I grow weary of paste/glue from here to there and repeating directions five hundred and thirty two times. Anyway, I feel bad when my patience is gone on the day I get Bean and Bugg. Handy Man was kind enough to go fetch me a caramel coffee and, well you know, they are so funny and cute that it wasn't long before the woolly afternoon released me from it's clutches.

We decided to see if there were any peanuts at the bottom of plants they've been growing all summer. Sure enough, there were peanuts. Bugg called them walnuts. Bean brought a little pumpkin he'd started painting at school and wanted to finish painting it. Bugg asked could she paint one of her walnuts. So, front porch painting in our coats-good times.

My little peanut's peanut.

Our beautiful finished products.

Mr. Bean already has a long history of doing crafts with his Gramerly. His ability to stay with something, and his dexterity for one so young has always astounded me. He's been the proud owner of scissors of every make and model since he started "nipping" at eighteen months old. He's always played with buttons and scissors and beads and glue, though I am always right with him. He and his sister are so very different, but again, Missy Bugg has that same dexterity. Bean wanted to do this caterpillar craft and so Bugg wanted one too. I told her she was welcome to try, but that the beads were small and the wire tiny for a just barely three year old. She strung all of these beads except the last two and the littlest feet.
I have this collapsible nylon barrel like thing I keep upstairs for costumes. Bean dumped all the costumes out and stored them under the bed and told me he wanted to put all the craft supplies in the barrel. I explained that it was deep and the craft supplies small and they'd be kind of hard to manage in there. So he picked Bugg's pants she'd taken off, threw them in it and said, "Well, we'll just use it for a hamster." Everyone needs a good hamster to keep their clothes in I guess.
Poor Tiff. In all these five years of letting the poopies in the creek, on the lawn mowers and tractors, hoe the garden, shovel plants, peel wall paper, hammer and cut, we've never had a serious boo-boo. In the past few weeks, Miss Linee fell and broke her arm, Ol'Henry tripped and had to get stitches in his chin, and last night Antebellie was playing chase with her sister, tripped and had to get stitches in her head. I can't believe it. Bless her heart, Antebellie's, but mostly the mama's.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

An Even Dozen

Well, six days into egg production and we've gathered an even dozen. In addition to the thrill of eggs, chickens are sure interesting to watch. Yesterday at noon, there were still no eggs, but Henny Penny was checking out the nest boxes-in one, hop out, then another. Finally she settled on one and you've never heard such racket.
All of our married life, whenever I've had trouble settling in of an evening and have done a bit of tossing and turning, Handy Man has always said to me, "Are you about to get your nest made?" Now I know where that comes from and HP flitted all over that nest box before finally getting down to business. While HP's sitting, Little Red Hen decides it's time for her to lay an egg and very timidly tip toes around the nest boxes, but the one that interests her is, as you might guess, right under HP, who won't get off the nest and Little Red Hen won't go in hers while HP is sitting.
In the midst of all this, Bean and Bugg arrive and HP finally decides she's done and leaves another beautiful brown blessing for Bean to find. Now Little Red Hen can get in her spot, and, in addition to Bean, at least half of the other girls line up across the nest boxes to watch her, like she was the latest soap opera- poor thing. Eventually, she delivers and Bean is as thrilled with this one as any before, and can't get over how warm it is and rubs it all over his chilly cheeks.
And me, well, I smile awhile because this is just exactly what I wanted this to be.

While Handy Man and 1st Lt tore out the living room wall to put in insulation, I took the kiddos and some plants and went for our first dinner in Rae and Michael's new home. Well, first one she cooked for me. I took dinner the day she moved We enjoyed a yummy chix and stuffing meal and had fun planting some mint and thyme, pulling weeds and planning for spring. Lovely.

Today was Kaye day. I fixed Handy Man and I some blueberry pancakes and took them some along with two little brown eggs. She and Pete were excited to have their very first fresh eggs and she enjoyed them. I made her some butternut squash for supper and she loved it. I hate butternut squash. It's orange and smells like pumpkin, blek! I saved the innards and peels and leftovers and brought it home to the girls, who devoured it.

Pete was not feeling well most of the week, so I was able to cook them two good meals, leave leftovers and get the laundry done. Her output today was very low and cloudy. Not a good sign and I have to just not think about it. Pete will have it tested tomorrow.

Any idea what it costs to have your heart fixed and your leg damaged and your life and the lives of those who love you irrevocably changed? Just a mere 289, 000 dollars. That's just for the thirty days at Floyd.

I came back home and found all three Australorps out of the pen and two of the Andulusians sitting on the gate. I shooed the gate sitters back and Handy Man got on the other side of my black girls to shoo them back in. I opened the gate and Big Cat Daddy Rooster flew out of the pen and rounded up his girls himself, marching them right back through the gate- too funny.

I'm going to take what eggs I have to Mom tomorrow. She's not doing well. Ten days on the steroid this time, and still she can hardly breathe. I know that she is eighty one and will not live forever, but I would not wish this end on anyone. It would break my heart, if my heart could ever get unbroken, instead, it just stays in pieces. I pray she could get over this and have some good days again.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Late Breaking (get it) News at Cluckingham Palace

Today after school, we headed out to the palace to check for eggs. A dear friend fondly remembered collecting eggs, at her grandma's as a girl, in a lard bucket. She kindly provided Bean with a lard bucket and Bugg with an egg basket, so they were ready. I know some lay as early as 16 weeks, so we've had golf balls in the nests for three weeks now, just in case.
The search is on!

Look at bottom left- There they are- two beautiful eggs.

Though Bean actually found them both, he sweetly shared one with Missy Bugg.

She enjoyed collecting all the golf balls as well, so I'll have to put all of those back later. She let out a big "Cock-a-doodle-do" upon filling her egg basket.
Time to cook the eggs.

Bugg is scrambling hers. Bean's went the wrong way when he broke his and it mostly landed on the floor. So we shared Bugg's. DEE-WISH-US
A dream come true, for which I was careful to express my gratitude to Mr. Handy Man Pappy!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blue Skies Smiling at Me

Wow, I thought it was supposed to rain this weekend. Of course, the last I checked the weather, it was probably Tuesday.

It was really a hectic week. For the past four weeks, I've done an Interact simulation game about Egypt with the 4th - 6th grade. A little guy in our school asked me a couple of years ago if I would do Egypt when I had him and I told him I would. This is the year he came to me, so it's been Egypt all of September. In an interesting turn of events, the world King Tut exhibit was in Indy at the Children's Museum and I applied for free tickets for the kiddos last March and got them. Our big field trip, 6:30 am to 7:30 pm was this past Wednesday. Tuesday was Kaye day, Mom's birthday on Thursday and Kaye day again Friday. By Friday night at 10 I was almost too tired to drive home.

Mom is pitiful and that's all. She can't breathe without the steroids and they make her shaky and food unpalatable. I'm so very sad that she has to be in such a state. My sister takes excellent care of her and Roy, but still, she is having a very hard time of it.

Kaye's last dose of antibiotic for the infection was Friday, which scares me to death. It's just hide and watch for it to rear it's ugly dragon head again. I don't feel like she talks as well as she did before this last bad bout. I however have finally gotten a game face and can nod with assurance that convinces her I know what she means. She either dreams or imagines some fairly interesting things that she wants to whisper to me in conspiritorial tones. Sometimes I do not get one word. Other times, just a word or two and I can piece the content together. She ate a really good super when I was there and was relatively content throughout the evening. Which translates to mean she only cried twice and didn't have me call Pete at all.

Today I had to the joy of leaving town with a couple of sweet friends to introduce them to Stream Cliff Farm in Commisky. Imagine, we chose the most beautiful day of the year.

Soaking up sunshine, herbs, flowers and good conversation with great people is a wonderful way to shed the heaviness of the week. Add some good food and it felt a little like I imagine paradise to be. I got a great deal on a few plants for Rae Rae's new house. I came home feeling quite refreshed.

I was happy to find 1st Lt. and Bean at home. I haven't seen Bugg or Bean since last Saturday and was missing them most fiercely. I bought Bean a little hard sand sarcophagus with a mummy inside waiting to be chiseled free by wee hands. That kid spent over an hour working on that little project to free Mr. Mummy, then carefully put him together. 1st Lt. said, "You would never spend that long on anything at home." Bean replied, "I never have anything this fun at home."

Then we had a little time in the dolphin sing. After the new version of "Twinkle, Twinkle," he wanted to hear it right off. Of course, we needed to write a new chorus about freeing the mummy in our great archaeological dig. Good times.

I also got Rae Rae's wedding album and a new little Jewish Prayer book, so I'll end the evening with that. Sweet.

Did you get to enjoy this beautiful day? Hope so.