Saturday, June 30, 2012

Melting Chickens

Whoa, it is hot.  I was much relieved to find this pen of spring pullets spry and in good form this morning, as when I came out yesterday afternoon to give them a cold treat, they were nearly comatose.
I mentioned yesterday that I had moved this pen out of the coop, so I could access these girls without opening the coop.  I didn't realize I had sat them in such a sunny spot.  Back in the day, well, for 22 of the years we've lived here, the area behind the garage was the woods.  Now the area around the chicken yard and coop is shaded, but everything green and growing within has been systematically removed by the girls.  It looks like concrete.  Anyway, I spent all day yesterday feeding them cool watermelon edges and cold squash and icing down water and ventured out to be sure all waterers were still full, oh about oneish,  and happened on the four of them huddled in one corner, practically lifeless.  I usually keep their waterer on a tree stump, as chickens are scratchers and they fling the bedding into the waterer.  Well, they were to weak to even get over to the stump to get a drink. I iced the water down, sat in on the ground and individually dipped their beaks into the water until I revived them.  Next I grabbed whatever was handy to provide some shade.  I had Handy Man keep this box with the intentions of turning it into a puppet stage.  Instead, it is a chicken's salvation. Lastly, I ran for the fan and quickly provided a breeze.
I was very relieved to see them back to their scratching, pecking, clucking  selves this morning.

 My newest hatch decided to blow that hot coop as well.

They are so very tiny that it makes me nervous when they are out and about, but Mama Yellow Chick Awesome stays close and doesn't let anyone near.
I'm freezing old milk jugs of water to sit in Arwen's drink bowl and to put in the pen to help with cooling.  The girls love squash, cucumber and melon, so I keep them cold and pass them out like Popsicles. Supposedly those melon type seeds prevent worms, so hey.

How heart wrenching is it to know my dog and chickens are more lovingly cared for than many children on our planet.
Since October, I have followed the journey of a little girl named Katie.  It is so hard to learn of what goes on in the place where she came from.  I don't feel I'm young enough anymore to go fetch one of those poor children, but it seems wrong to turn and look away.  If you click on her name you can learn all about it. 
There's another man I know (a boy/man to me) who shall, for security purposes, remain nameless, in a place that must also remain nameless. He visited a school this week, though there was evidence of adequate furniture, students were on the floor, guards all around with sticks, hitting the students at will, no actual teaching happening, no one engaged.  How have we come to such a place.
 At least the man has found the chickens there aren't treated a bit better.

On a happier note, I was happy to find tomatoes for my brunch.  I would likely have toast for breakfast every day, but I know I need less of carbs and more of protein. Since my protein is packaged so nicely and delivered fresh daily to the coop, I try to include that, but nothing perks it up like green and red freshness from the garden.
Last night it was a veggie medley of squash, cabbage, potatoes and onions.
I nearly squeal from delight with each garden meal.

I am now off to see the Wizard one last time.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm Melting

Well, we survived our first 100 plus degrees Playdate of Summer 2012, but it looks like it may not be our last.  Aunt Lois is 92 and having her in such heat is a worry, so we took some extra precautions and set up two fans in the rabbit pen, as it was way too hot for bunnies, and to keep them out of reach of tiny fingers.  Baby Giddy-up was not amused and looked for his funny bunny boys all day long.  A cooler of ice water and drinks  were close by and we made sure everyone was drinking a lot. 
 A cool, fun treat from Ceece and Bugg.
                 Bears on the Beach-ha!                                                     

Lots of art. Here the girls are making pictures with glue, that are then covered with salt, then lastly painted with water colors.

 Next some princess frames.
 Best activity on a scorching day, ice. No mess to clean-up as it shortly disappears in the heat.
 Swords for the pirates.
 A sweet friend dropped by with a bucket of plums that were much enjoyed.                                                     
 How many tiny mermaids can one girl carry?
 Loved this little activity. Put together craft sticks, hold together with painters tape, draw or write a message, paint (we used shaving cream paint).  Take it apart and you have a puzzle.

How many balloons does it take to arm 14 children?   Too many.

 Ahhh, it was an interesting Playdate.  I was expecting some out of town company and wanted the pullets that the kids hold and pet out in the little pen for the day, but not the other girls who are quite annoying, ever seeking treats and well, you know, doing what they do a lot of, pooping.  Typically, I don't let them out until late afternoon on Playdates. Yesterday I wrestled the pullet pen out of the coop (you put them in the coop in a separate pen for a time to be seen and heard by the other girls, but where they can't be mistreated as newbies). And set it right beside Arwen's doghouse in the chicken yard, so no critters could get them. Then I have to leave the screen door shut and the trap door open on the screen's door, so the girls can get in and out, but not Yellow Chick Awesome with the tiny new babes.  Anyway, I forgot to close the trap door and when I went out Playdate morning, half of the girls were out.  I tried luring them back in the coop with some scratch and it was a Keystone Cop event with two running in and three out.  Ughhh. Anyway only three managed to ultimately be in the yard. Someone sat the plum bucket on the ground and this particular little missy, named Davy Crockett by Bean years ago, thought she'd gone to heaven.  She decided to join us for snack time.
 The kids made a mud hole by the pool and were unrecognizable by the time supper rolled around.  I got the bath foam and everyone cleaned up, amongst other things, with the foam. I love this picture because my Blue-eyed Boy has taken a very long time to be content with me out of Mommy's sight. Over and over, he just wanted one little handful of foam.
 Not so with my other cherubs.

This look familiar.  This is every Playdate afternoon. I'm jealous.  While I'm wrangling bearded foam monsters, Pap is rocking the new girl.  I love babies and this one is just adorable.  Ahhhh.
Well, the overnighters are up, so off to some more fun, only with the AC this time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I SPY With My Little Eye

Much garden loveliness and goodness, as I stroll through in the mornings.

Just unfurling with a sleepy hello to the sun.

Ah, 1st Lt.'s favorite garden gem.  I'll be sending him seeds this week in hopes he can grow some for himself.

And for me, this is the Queen Bee of the garden delectables.  I will eat them for breakfast, lunch and supper for a very long time.

And lastly, I spy myself on another grandparenting blog- Grandma's Briefs
A very real  grandma is making plans and adapting over those awful fires in the west.
She refers to her interviews as "grilling."  How appropriate in this week of 100 degree temps.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Any Guesses?

Phil was pondering about gardens and such and remembered an item his grandmother used about this time in a gardening year.  He asked his mom about it and she found it.  I'm sentimental  and emotional and this seems another of those "moments" weekends.  Anyway he imagined that it has sat like this since she wrapped it up.  Always resourceful that Ma, using string and twine and old grocery bags.  She passed away when Rae-Rae and Drummer Boy were two and half years old.  They are 29 now. I didn't want to throw away the wrapper.  Isn't it strange that our grandchildren likely will not grow up with brown paper bags?  Seeing that paper and twine brought her back for just a minute.
Can you guess what's inside?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

We've Been to See the Wizard

 Bean and Bugg debuted in their first drama this evening as munchkins and flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz.  What a big time.  Sorry that the pictures are less than stellar. I couldn't use a flash.

 Bean giving his big line.
 This little blonde in the front and the tiny one to the far left would've stolen the show, but I only had eyes for two little munchkins.

Cutest munchkins ever.
Oh, and Pete got married today.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weddings Abound at Playdate

My brother snatched up a wedding veil someone was parting ways with and brought it to the Gramerly toy box.  Alas, one veil amongst this gaggle of girly geeses was not quite satisfactory.  So I found some net on sale and set about to add a few more to the stash.  They were a big hit. Sometimes they were fairies, sometime princesses and sometimes brides.  Here they are lined up for their bouquets.


 Everyone wanted pink and blue and lavender and white.  Thankfully my hydrangea of many colors accommodated all the requests.

The brides are ready.

Here they've all completed their turn at the fashion show for Aunt Lois, with exception to Miss Linee who needs to add one last turn.
 The heat and humidity were quite dreadful.  It took a couple of hours for them to shed their finery and then it was time to paint.

Miss Swee-Tee arrived late and spent the entire evening in her wedding attire and  really wanted to take it home.

Buttercup wasn't terribly interested in dress up.  Smart girl wanted a swim suit on, then a big swing time in the breeze.

Aunt Lois wanted Giddy-up to have a riding toy.  He loved it.  He was barreling across the yard when he noticed me with the camera, so he stopped, flashed me a big smile and then was off.

I am completely worn to a frazzle.

Monday, June 18, 2012

It Just Doesn't Get Old

Yellow Chick Awesome has been broody for six long weeks.  The first eggs she sat on produced nothing. The big Cluckingham Mystery that has never been solved. There was nothing in the nest, no eggs, not a trace of a shell or a chick. That still hasn't been solved to my satisfaction. She was not deterred, so we slid another set of eggs under her.  I thought they were due on around the 14th or 15th and I came in on the 15th to find her off a nest full of unhatched eggs.  I assumed that another batch of eggs were infertile, though I can't understand how that could be as annoyingly active as our roosters are.  I realized those eggs must be pretty awful by now, so I knew I'd have to get in there and get a mad hen off that nest and physically move her outside every day.  When I came in today, she'd already done me the favor of moving off the nest and was just plunked down on the coop floor, a bit puffed up as broody hens are.  I pulled out the nest box and before I could examine the contents, what did I spy?  A baby chickie.
No, just a minute, two, wait, three baby chickies.  I just can't help but think that is the cutest bit of fluff ever!
I brought in a little cup of food and they wasted no time diving right in.

 I love to watch them disappear under her.  They peck her around the eye to get her attention.
 She raises just a tiny bit.
 And under they go. First one .
 And then another, until all are safe underneath.

 You would never know that all three are nestled beneath her.   I figured she was pretty thirsty as well.  She's a ways from the waterer and I never quite know how she gets them from place to place.  In the beginning especially, she's never let me see how she moves them.  The front edge of the nest box is taller than the babies, so it always makes me wonder.  Anyway, I brought another wee cup of water and she seemed glad to have it.  After she drank about half, she made a chirping sound and out the babies came.  She modeled how to drink and one of them pecked her beak, then stuck their heads right in and started drinking.
Speaking of babies, Rae-rae is finishing up the details before their home study for adoption.  Praying every day for that little baby and the brave girl that makes the decision to let Rae raise her child.  I wish there was a way to tell her how loved and devoted Rae and Michael, Aunt Lois and Pap and I will be to that new little wonder.  I can't help but feel it would ease her mind. We will be anxiously awaiting number seven.