Monday, March 28, 2011

Free at Last, Free at Last

Berry Gibbons,96 years old, no longer bound by a mind and body that would not do his bidding, left us today for greener pastures.
He and my Aunt Lois ( Daddy's sister) married when she was fourteen and he was an old man- twenty. So hard to wrap my my mind around such a thing. I've always been curious about their life before me. After me, I know about because I enjoyed making them my business. They got married after seven dates, over seven weeks, just three days before Christmas. The knot was barely tied before Aunt Lois came down with a terrible flu and she wasn't over it before he was seriously injured in a mining accident that broke his pelvic bone, tore up his shoulder and left him in a body cast for three months. I can't imagine folks of a more worldly mature nature managing that well, but at fourteen- have mercy!!
He was one of the hardest working men I've ever known. I married the other one. He was always working.
My dad's parents died before I was one. My Mom's mom when I was sixteen and Mom's dad when I was twenty three. Berry had red hair and Aunt Lois always had a heart for red heads. I blessed her with three. She and Uncle Berry stepped up and filled the roll of grandparents in my heart and life. She came and stayed when the twins were born. After they moved to the lake, most of my children's vacations were spent at their house. I can only imagine how thrilled Uncle Berry was to be descended on by three children with the oldest being two and a half. Always though, I was met with a warm hug, a big smile, and an offer of something cold drink, and a helping hand with whatever needed doing.
It was so difficult for him these last days, as his thinking was cloudy, to not be able to go to work. That's all he wanted was to do his work.
I am so thankful that he was able to stay at home under the care of his son and Aunt Lois and not have to be separated from the two people he loved so very much.
I hope the Good Lord had a hammer and drill and something that needed fixing waiting on him when he showed up this morning.
Thankful for the peace that is now his. After humming Just a Closer Walk Thee for years, how wonderful picturing him getting as close to Jesus as he's been praying and wishing for these past several months.
Ahh, blessed peace.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle

The hand that rocks this cradle will be be my daughter. A lot of love and hard work by the Handy Man goes into each cradle he makes and he has made quite a few. Since this is our last child to gift a cradle to, he's thinking of hanging up his cradle making hat. So it might be the last cradle and it was the last of the cherry from the tree that fell near here. What a beauty for our little Gideon and his siblings. I can hardly wait for him to get here. Turn Around Gideon, turn around- please.
Great Aunt Lois continued her tradition as well, though she's nearly blind. Raechel was thrilled with her beautiful blanket for the boy. She was equally thrilled by all the love and gifts she was blessed with on Saturday. A special thanks to Ol' Mother Hubbard, Ceece, Auntie SuZq and Aunt Tish, for pulling together, or cleaning up a special afternoon brunch. It was delightful.

Speaking of Aunt Lois, I've been there twice this week and am waiting for the call that Uncle Berry has left this life for another. He's been in a coma since Wednesday morning. He has suffered several ailments, including Alzheimers of late. Thankfully, due to the great help of his son and other family and friends, he's been able to remain at home with Aunt Lois and is there now in their tender loving care. We continue to pray for all them at this sad and difficult time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little Work, Big Reward

It was time.
Daffodils are up, seeds are ordered, the day dawned warm and sunny, and Cluckingham Palace was stinky.
Time to clean the coop.
Most every week, I turn over over the pine/poop bedding, clean the water container, check on the nest boxes, but today was the big overhaul.

The girls loved being out in the sun and dusting themselves whilst the Handy Man and I dismantled their apartment.

All the nest boxes came out, along with food and water containers, the ladder to the high roosts, and all the bedding. All thousand pounds of brown gold compost was trucked to the garden by the wheelbarrow load. Everything that could be was scraped, then scrubbed with bleach water, rinsed and sunned. Handy Man and I are exhausted.

I did a lot of research before setting up chicken keeping. I read books and looked up stuff online and perused a number of blogs. I think all that research paid off. My goal was to use whatever we already had that would suffice, and purchase things that would serve us well in the long haul.
You know there are only about a million things out there for chickens. We cleaned out the old shed for a coop. Built nesting boxes from scrap wood. Made the roost from old bed rails. I read about making feeders from buckets. Luckily for us, my nephew was employed in a bakery at the time and could provide lots of buckets.
You know those big ones that are full of flavored Crisco and sugar, with the only redeemable quality being the taste. Let's don't mention the unredeemable quality of making us fat as wee suckling pigs. I digress.
Anyway, it said to drill holes in the bottom sides, screw a flowerpot tray on the bottom and wha-la. It works great. These buckets have held the chickie girls food for two years now. I also read that you can make the water bucket in a similar way, but the lid would have to seal for it all to work well. I didn't want to trust something as important as water to an iffy set-up, so I went with a three gallon waterer. It too has served us well.
The only thing we've changed is to add a bit of a front to the nest boxes. My girls like their privacy whilst producing and cardboard stapled to the front doesn't last too long, so the Handy Man fixed them up.

It was a lot of work, but it is such a good feeling to get it done. With the addition of fresh chips, dried herbs from the garden, and the roost bottoms turpentined, it even smelled good. One day of BIG work for a year full of golden treasures, for which we are thankful.
My thankfulness includes
-sharing a fun hobby with my help mate
-knowing my new grandboy is growing healthy and strong on eggs from happy, healthy hens
-smiling from my friend's report of lower cholesterol after chickie girl gifts
-sighing that the curmudgeonly custodian can be gifted with something that brings him some joy
-having the perfect contribution to my son's diet
-watching Bean eat them with eagerness and enthusiasm
-having the opportunity to bear a gift that is always appreciated
-feeding my garden with awesome compost
-waking every morning to the freshest breakfast available
I love when a plan comes together- Praise the Lord!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Baby, Baby

My baby girl is having her first baby, as I've already announced. He is due in, wow, about 4 to 5 weeks. He's been breech this whole time, so if you want to add Rae-rae and little Gideon to your prayers, that he gets his wee self the right direction before time to make his escape, we'd all appreciate that.
My talented daughter-in-law, of Courtney Paris Photography, snapped some cutest little piks to mark the big event.

This is a spoof on the usual "Daddy with hands making a heart on Mommy's belly," picture.

Thanks Ceece.
Looking so forward to this new little love.
Several folk have asked me if she is registered and she is at both Amazon and Babies R Us. She's a lucky duck that she timed this pregnancy right as Ol' Mother Hubbard decided to give up baby making, so she's been blessed to inherit a ton of wonderful baby products.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Journaling- LONG POST

Recently a blogging friend asked grandparents if they were keeping any grandparenting records in writing. I shared about paper bag journaling. She hadn't heard of it, so I said I would share mine.
Later in the week will be the specifics, though you can probably figure it out yourself. Then I was invited to share a devotion with the women at a church who's leaders and people are dear to my heart. My topic was "Thankfulness." I brought all the supplies and together we made a Thankful Journal. Today, when I was capturing some pages of these little paper bag journals, I was again reminded of how thankful I am to have been given the opportunity to love these wee folk God put in my life. I am blessed!
This journal would be four brown paper lunch bags folded one inside the other, in different directions.
My hope is that some far off day, when Bugg or Bean is feeling low, they can look back and remember how very much they were loved, just for being who they are!

I dressed up the books with scrapbook paper, ribbons, a "C" charm and stickers.

After I got the journal together, I slit the folded bottoms so I could stick something in there. This is a visual of the whole Dolphin Swing experience. Folded onto the bottom of the first pik I have of him in the swing is a letter I wrote to him and Lilli about a swinging experience.

Here it is unfolded.

This is folded up and put back in the slot.
For the opened ends I wrote about other experiences, laminated them and slid them in the opening.

Back it goes into it's slot.

This picture pinched my heart so hard that tears sprang out of eyes. Just turning the page brings that day back so clearly in my mind. I made a big mud hole in the garden and let Bean and Ol' Henry at it. Such joy! This page also sports my favorite boy quote. " The definition of boy: Noise with dirt on it."
I intensely dislike having my picture made, so I include this here to say to all those who feel the same way, "Just do it." You oughta be in some of those pictures. Also, I think Handy Man Pappy is so handsome here.

Missy Bugg's.

Our little five pound princess snuggled in 1st Lt. hand.

This contains a copy of that same letter that is in Bean's swing pictures.
I take a lot of pictures. I know your surprised to here that, so by far, the hardest thing for me, is deciding which ones to include. I like this journal because it just isn't as involved as a scrapbook, but I really captured the highlights that I want them to remember.
We have bluebird boxes. Ever desiring to stir in them a love of God's magnificent creation, and our responsibility to it, I give them at up close look at the bluebirds. So, we've been doing that now for years, they are still just as enthralled. I knew swings, mud, gardening and bluebirds had to be included.
Every year I'm thankful for yet another opportunity to share, to teach, to love, and I'm thankful I can leave them a record of the experience.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Girl and Her Balloon

Who can resist a curly haired imp and her balloon. She just looked so adorable prancing around this afternoon. Speaking of prancing, last week she was standing on the stump prancing around while I was swinging Buttercup.
Me- Miss Bugg, do you need to go the potty?
Bugg- No Gramerly, this is NOT the potty dance, this is the Shake-It Up Dance.
Well then.
Today she tied the balloon to a water globe nativity.
Bugg- Look, I'm tying this here cause it's one of favorite things cause it's about Jesus being born on Christmas Eve. Did you know that God is Jesus' Father.
Me- He is?
Bugg- Yes, God is EVERYONE's father. I know cause Michael told me (and in nearly the same breath), there is a weird man living in their basement- IN THE BASEMENT!
Never a dull moment with that little missy.
This old dolphin swing has never lost it's appeal. Bean is getting so tall. I'm afraid one day he'll fold himself into this and will never get him out.
Even though it was gloomy, it was so nice to be outside.
I loved to see the strawberries and daffodils popping out everywhere-lovely.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Heroine

It's been awhile since I've done much chicken talk. The girls are laying well, with exception to the Easter-eggers. Not a single blue/green egg since October. We have twenty-one hens and get between 8 and 12 eggs a day.
It's hard to believe it's been two years since I first ordered the chickie-girls. It was an exciting time.

Then I asked the kids to check their sources and find me a dog. 1st Lt. found Arwen on Craig's List.
As is my usual wont, I worried myself sick over whether she'd be the Palace guard, or Palace predator. You might remember the one dreadful incident where she played with Jetta and Pap's Girl like they were squeak toys. Jetta didn't live through that game. Pap's Girl did, and continued to be quite partial to the Handy Man, but she succumbed to some unknown chickie-girl ailment last fall. Alas, we were broken hearted. Arwen has turned out to be a wonderful Palace protector. Actually, she'd be perfect, if the neighbor hadn't decided she's half his.
Today, I was trying to change the water when that hateful rooster Silver King came after me. Arwen raced in the pen and pounced him, then turned and walked away. Silver King decided he'd best leave me be. Ahh, my heroine.
So, it's been two years and Handy Man, the pooch and I have managed this chickie-girl thing pretty well. Time to shake it up. I felt the need to try and hatch some rarer types of chickens, so now I'm looking forward to eggs coming in the mail. These eggs will be quite colorful, from blue to chocolate brown.
It's a little risky, mail-ordering eggs. It's even more risky than a box of chocolates, cuz at least you know you are going to get chocolate, regardless of the center. The eggs, however aren't guaranteed to hatch, much less be hens. I'm not much of a gambler and nearly gave up on the notion. Finally, (after a Handy Man push, "Oh for Pete's sake, order the eggs")I decided since I don't generally drink, smoke, or gamble, I would give this a whirl, one time. So, I'm already praying over those eggs that aren't coming until April 11. If it happens that they all hatch out, I'll be looking for good home for a few of them. You interested? They are very entertaining and you can't beat the benefits-yummy!