Sunday, July 29, 2007

Marital BlissNot


How Old Married Folks Plan Their Piggledy Meals

Charles: I feel like smoking something today.

CarolineNot: We don't have any meat thawed.

Charles: I think I'll do ribs. I wouldn't want to put them on until noon, anyway, and they'd thaw by then.

CarolineNot: Nuh-uh.

Charles: Yeah, I'll put them in the van. That'll heat 'em right up.

CarolineNot: *gasp* You're gonna kill us!

Charles: *satisfied chuckle* And we need to have some of that corn.

CarolineNot: (in her best pouty voice) I don't want no little-bitty, unripened corn.

Charles: Oh, it's ripe. A lot of it's ready to eat.

CarolineNot: Nuh-uh.

Charles: Oh, you don't know anything about corn.

For how great [is] his goodness, and how great [is] his beauty!
corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.
Zechariah 9:17

Chick Jammies

Too tired to wiggle by Friday evening, I postponed the planned trip into town to purchase a new heat lamp bulb for the chicks and hoped they'd fare well overnight with just a regular light bulb for heat. They did...whew!

Confessing my slothfulness and reporting to OAO Daughter that the chicks survived, she suggested I make pajamas for the chicks and forget about the heat bulb.

"Yeah, I could do that." I could use the flannel fabric I bought last December to make my then-expected and now 4-month-old grand-nephew a blanket. "...You know, a blanket which requires only seaming together two pieces of fabric and binding them. Sure, I should use that fabric to make jammies for 35 chicks. That's going to happen."

Maybe there will be a blanket by the time the snow flies. And if I ever sit down to weave in the loose ends of the one I knitted for the little guy, he'll have that one too.

Someone smack that saucy little girl for me. She must take after her dad.

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us:
and establish thou the work of our hands upon us;
yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
Psalm 90:17

Saturday, July 28, 2007

"The Reformed Dumpster Diver" or "Boopsie Gets a Friend"

When Uncle Kemtrail reached his forties, moved away from a college town (where semester breaks create wonderful "trash"), and wasn't quite so agile any more, the reformed dumpster diver became a garage sale addict, so Friday and Saturday mornings, we all wait eagerly for him to stop by for coffee and show us the bargains he's nabbed.

Today's finds included a great wall hanging for his home:

I was on the phone when he arrived this morning and let himself through the back door, near where I was seated at the time. Because I was having a phone conversation, and because he was clutching to himself a rather large ball of fur, he didn't get a verbal greeting, a wave, or even a smile. My brows were knitted, as I tried to determine whether or not there was life in that furry bundle.

At the conclusion of that phone call, I discovered he'd brought me a minky-looking teddy bear, and when I commented specifically on liking the bear's eyes, I explained that I'm smitten with close-set teddy bear eyes, and I really don't like wide-set ones.

"Well, Boopsie has wide-set eyes, doesn't he?"

"Yes, I suppose he does, but that's different," and the mention of this old friend prompted me to open my closet door and take from his perch my beloved Boopsie, who many decades ago had much of his fur loved off and lost his voice, though his belly-held, exhausted larynx is now prominent in his furless, compacted body.

"How old is he now, or do you even know?" inquired Uncle Kemtrail.

"Sure, he's 53."

"Wow, you should take him to the Antiques Road Show or something," said Uncle Kemtrail, which prompted Charles to display for us the disgust with which the appraisers would lift him from me, holding my friend by the ear and as distant from their airspace as possible. Poor Boopsie.

Uncle Kemtrail, still examining Boopsie, said, "What'd you do, bite his toenails or something?"

"Uh-huh. I chewed most of them off; gave him a manicure and a pedicure." I remember doing it. I don't remember why I did it. My sister was a nailbiter. I reckon I preferred Boopsie's to my own.

I'm reminded now of a song I learned in Brownies:

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver
And the other gold

A [good] name [is] rather to be chosen than great riches,
[and] loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22:1

Friday, July 27, 2007


At 6:51 a.m., I got that much-anticipated phone call from the postmistress: "You have a box of chicks here." Since I'd dragged my sorry self out of bed to answer the phone, I told her I'd be there in about 45 minutes, knowing it would take me that long to accomplish the rigors required, so I wouldn't look so very scary when I arrived at the post office. Niece Kate would say I used the time betwixt phone call and departure to work my Oprah-magic, but she'd say it just to watch me squirm and hear me moan. [<--- a little UNFUNNY inside joke there for dear Katie's benefit)

It was already 74º when I loaded the box into the van, but that's fully 20º lower than the recommended temp for chicks, so I cranked up the heater in the van. The chicks were happy; I glistened all the way home.

The little peepers are nestled into the newly created brooder section of the chicken coop and are seeming peepily happy, which is a more positive report than I can give today regarding the hens' and rooster's reaction to this noisy invasion of their space. They were curiously interested at best and ticked off at worst, as they took turns perching above and peering down into the chick space. I couldn't discern whether they were plotting a bloody rebellion or performing the tasks of a welcoming committee, so Son3 got a broom and whisked them all outdoors. We netted the ceiling of the brooder just in case.

It's a happy day on the higgledy-piggledy farm.

This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

Monday, July 23, 2007

Drive-Thru Perils

Since the family-favored fast food restaurants are a block apart, I stopped first to get spicy chicken, onion rings, and red beans and rice to deliver to Charles at work as a surprise. Son3 suggested I do the drive-thru, but I abhor those machines that speak gobbledygook, so I parked and placed the order indoors without much ado.

Not wanting Charles' food to cool, I next braved the talking box at the fish joint, and boy-howdy did I regret that:

I'll have 4 fries, 4 chickens, and 5 fish.

Okay, that'll be 4 fries, 5 chickens, and 4 fish.

No, 4 chickens and 5 fish.

Oh, okay -- 4 fish and 5 chickens. [Was this groundhog hour, a dyslexic talking box, or WHAT?]

No, 4 chickens - 5 fish.

Okay, lkeoidvm ckadie pkdfmkd (tractor-trailer rig drove by, drowning and halting the insanity) and pull up to the window.

There was a long, stagnant line at the window, and the Sugar Plum had pulled the rubber band out of her ponytail again, so I leapt from the van, hairbrush in hand, and raced around to the other side, so I could re-tail her wispy 'do before she visited Poppie in the workplace. Wouldn't you know it, the line decided to move just then, so I treated everyone to what must have been perceived as a one-(idiot)woman Chinese fire drill, jogging all the way around the van, and back into the driver's seat without skipping a beat. Ew boy.

So we delivered Charles' tasty meal, and I consigned myself to the rest of us having guess-whats for lunch. Guess what. We actually and thankfully had 4 chickens and 5 fish. I kinda think, though, it would have been easier and less stressful to just go home and cook lunch.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all [things] under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, [and whatsoever] passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth! ~Psalm 8:3-9

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chicks on the Way Next Week

5 Ameraucana Pullets -- 5 Ancona Pullets
5 Barred Rock Pullets -- 5 Black Star Pullets
5 Golden Laced Wyandotte Pullets & Cockerels
5 Partridge Rock Pullets

And God blessed them, saying,
Be fruitful, and multiply,
and fill the waters in the seas,
and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Genesis 1:22

Nana Candy

The little Sugar Plum was a mere 5 feet from me, but the computer armoire door was blocking my view of her. When I realized she seemed to be crunching awfully fast and loudly on those bits of cereal in the bowl, I peered around the door to learn how the little darlin' was accomplishing such a feat without choking.

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous:
and shout for joy, all [ye that are] upright in heart.
Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Almost Free Day

Sons and I had the afternoon free yesterday, so I phoned Charles to see if he wanted to meet us in town for lunch at our favorite fast food fish face...uh, make that place -- got a little carried away with the alliteration there. He was agreeable to the plan, so we snarfed some cod and hush puppies, then parted ways with the father-figure.

Sons were then willing to abide my foray into thrift store dress racks for much longer than was reasonable to expect of them. They both gave a pleading nay to my favorite find, and I suppose the fabric was a tad on the clownish side, so I grudgingly put it back on the rack. It was one of them who said, "Hey look!" when he spied a carbon copy of my favorite slouch-around t-shirt dress. Just last week I'd noticed it's beginning to fade, and I'd wondered how much longer I'd be able to wear it in public, so this pristine copy became mine for $5, which was a bit high for thrift store prices, but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. For $2.99, I found a soft knit skirt (with pockets -- pockets are wonderful, especially in the absence of an apron) for OAO daughter, and if she can't abide it, she's agreed to mail it back to me, so I can cut it up and make clothes for Granddaughter.

When Son3 said, "My head's starting to itch," I knew these patient boys had reached their clothes-shopping limit, since that itching head is Son3's stress meter, and I quickly assured him we would leave now.

"But what about those chickens?" said Son3, reminding me he'd spied some poly chicken something-or-other across the room, so we made our way to the chicken-thing, and even though it was ugly as homemade sin, I lifted it to look at the price sticker.

"Whoa, I don't think so!"

I didn't think I'd said it very loudly, but about 5 seconds later I heard a voice ask, "How much?"

I turned toward the voice, saw a nearby shopper looking at me expectantly, and I answered, "$8.99."

She glanced at the chicken, said not a word, and turned back to the rack she'd been browsing, which made me feel a little uncomfortable, so I said, "They're thinking pretty highly of that chicken," and made haste to the check-out counter. We left the store with 3 me-dresses, 1 daughter-skirt, 2 dresses for Granddaughter, and my purse lightened by a-twenty-and-change. Not too bad.

We wound our way around the slow-moving train in the middle of town and pulled into the antique mall parking lot on the other side of the tracks, only to discover they're closed on Mondays. Uh-oh. It was Sons' favored destination for the day, their prize for watching me finger dresses 'til they itched. Bummer.

I made a screeching stop at a roadside sweet corn stand, and we had our vegetable for dinner.

On to W*Mart, where everyone can find something they want or need. I returned to the service desk the bottle of foundation I'd bought the day before. "I need to return this. I didn't notice until I got home it has sunscreen in it, and most sunscreens contain caustic petrochemicals and increase cancer risks, since they also block the absorption of vitamin D, and it's one of the best cancer fighters." *kidding* I stopped after I said it had sunscreen in it, but I did get my money back and chose a health-friendlier brand.

We ate (mood-friendly) orange creamsicles and Butterfinger ice cream bars on the drive home, where we put said treats in the freezer, then struck out for the post office and library in our little no-horse town. I picked up the first in a series of books containing pioneer women's blogs (formerly known as diaries) and plan to read women's takes on Wagon-Ho! Oh. Moving right along...

We had just enough time to unpack sacks, cool off, and flip a few library book pages before Charles was home early for dinner. Granddaughter can nibble every kernel from an ear of corn. We're impressed.

It was a good day.

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same
the LORD'S name [is] to be praised.
~Psalm 113:3

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Not a Great Blog Entry

Nothing comical or whimsical in this one, but there are seasons, and there are seasons.

A coyote was within 5' of the chickens and 15' of me in broad daylight a couple of weeks ago. My roaring noises through the kitchen window distracted him from his intended prey, and the fellows chased him off the property. A series of nighttime hits on the chicken coop followed, and through a maze of ignorance and dismay, we lost all but one rooster and four hens. We eventually spied a fox and suspect raccoons were involved as well, since they've been ravaging the neighbor's corn field. Who knew some varmint(s) would be capable of literally ripping off a piece of siding from the coop in order to get to the chickens? We're secured now, though, and will soon begin to build the flock again.

An evening storm brought high winds, knocked out power, and dropped over 3" of rain in under two hours. Surveying the property for damage when it passed, we discovered a shelter board had been dislodged and fell on our most newly acquired and favorite little goat, killing him.

God weaves tapestries, and we see only threads of His whole cloth. His plans are always good and right. We look up, and we walk on.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew [their] strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
[and] they shall walk, and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

Sunday, July 1, 2007

July 1st

...I think. I'm calendar-challenged, but I checked two of them just now, and if today is Sunday, it's also July 1st. Calendars remind me of wondering throughout my childhood why teachers told students to look up words in the dictionary, when they asked how to spell them. I couldn't figure out how someone who couldn't spell could look up a word in a dictionary. Similarly, what good is a calendar if one doesn't know either the day or the date? Just as Webster's book contains a whole lot of words beginning with duh-duh-dee, there sure are a lot of squares and numbers on a calendar.

Global WarmingNot isn't helping my calendar whine, and I wonder if I need to flip the calendars back a few pages. Should I have been wearing a sweater the past three days? I have been. At 3:15 this morning, I had to unload the top of the antique toy chest which serves as a coffee table and pull out a quilt, because I was getting awfully irked over waking repeatedly with a shiver.

Capitalizing on the WarmingNot, I baked my first ever fruitcake yesterday. [A few months ago I bought, after checking expiration dates, quite a stash of candied fruits from the rotting rack. I'm awfully suspicious of contents when a food doesn't expire in the coming 3 years, but I did it anyway.] It's a good thing I didn't read the entire fruitcake recipe before I embarked upon this project, because I didn't know it would still be requiring my attention at 10:00 p.m., and it just wouldn't have happened. Open a box and dump a cake mix into a bowl at 4:00 p.m., and a couple of hours later, one can be snarfing a frosted cake. Not so, a fruitcake.

Plopping all these fruits and nuts into a bowl was easy enough, but what's bourbon, and do I have any? There's a cubbyhole in my pantry where I store tall bottles of what's this, so I began rifling through the bottles. Red wine vinegar, port wine, burgundy something-or-other. Ah, Jim Beam. "Charles, is Jim Beam bourbon?" I think the label said "whiskey," but he gave an assenting response, and I hadn't found a bottle with "bourbon" on the label, so I went with it. I can't for the life of me remember what recipe called for Jim Beam, but we don't drink from any of these bottles, and there sure wasn't very much in it. Come to think of it, maybe that's why I can't remember what I made out of the stuff. That's a chilling thought; maybe I need a recipe monitor overseeing my cooking. The fruits were supposed to belly up to the bar for 2 hours, and when I learned that startling fact, I decided to read the rest of the recipe. Oh, this thing has to bake for 3½ hours. What have I done!?

As it turned out, Granddaughter was still chasing the dog, building block towers, and requesting Nana-songs when the oven timer beckoned me to the kitchen, so the fruitcake didn't keep me awake. And in this WarmingNot climate, I would have slept better had the oven run all night.

I cut/crumbled a piece of the hot fare when it came out of the pan, and it's not too bad, but don't expect Son3 to parrot that perspective, and Son4's discriminating palate and artistic eye for beauty brought him to a quick decision that he wasn't even interested in trying it. Granddaughter happily accepted a bite from my plate, and summarily deposited it, with a noisy phfloop, back where it came from. Maybe it was the whiskey.

Charles and I have one whale of a lot of fruitcake to July.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:18-20