Friday, April 16, 2010

"Feather" Has Two Mommies - Round II

About three weeks back, I must have been very busy.  Though animals were watered, fed and cared for by other family members, the eggs were not collected for four days.  Four eggs a day by four days made 16 eggs.  Aunt Mary saw this and settled down to hatch them out.  By the time I found them, two more eggs were added.  We marked all of them with an X to make sure if new ones were donated by other hens, I could pick them out.

About a week and a half later, Aunt Rita elbowed her way into Mary's nest and stole it.  Mary didn't give up and stayed nearby, stealing eggs when she got a chance.  She finally got five to sit on.  I wondered if Mary and Rita would be kind to all the chicks or only their own?  Today, they began hatching.  Five so far.  One little black one, one of the first to hatch, has chosen Mary as his mother.  The yellow ones all stay with Rita.  The eggs seem to be getting passed back and forth.  I can tell due to size and color.   Some are bantam, some are not.  Some are green, some are brown.

It appears that Mary and Rita are possessive but sharing.  I am hoping they will mother the chicks together and that cooperative education will work with these two.  It isn't the first time they've done this.  I think it worked out okay last time.  Photos tomorrow.  I didn't want to disturb them much today as they are still hatching.  Oh, and by the way, not all the eggs were laid by Aunt Rita and Aunt Mary.  The other chickens lay their eggs and walk away, not interested in hatching them at all.


Have you ever been in a roomful of people and just think of all the stories there must be if you had time to listen to the life story of each?  Sometimes, I have time to hear those stories, particularly with loquacious septic system men or farriers.  Yesterday, the story was about growing up on a dairy and getting up earlier to milk cows before going to school.  Not that I'm not familiar with such  a story, as my dh grew up similarly.

I asked Mr. Septic Man what happened if he refused to work.  "Well, I was only asked onest.  Then, a limb off the tree would be brought to change my mind."  While I've never used physical means to train my children, I do believe some children today would benefit from getting up before school to milk cows and work.

He talked of the small country stores before the advent of Stuff-Mart, and that there wasn't all that much to do as a youngster, but that wasn't much an issue as there was always hard work to fill the hours.  Much of their food was grown on the family land.  He lost his first wife to cancer when she was but 25 years, and his second wife tried to mother his two young daughters, but the daughters never warmed to her.  He and his wife, as a result, "just up and left".  I was afraid to ask details about this, likely to degrade my opinion of him.  Who raised those girls?  Were they grown?  I wondered, but didn't ask.

Another character to add to that book I'm going to write someday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

That Stinks!

Boys observing man working on the septic system

The genius who plumbed our house put the overflow for the septic system in the garage.  Yesterday, the aging system belched and then threw up all over items stored in the garage.  On my way out for William's baseball game, it had to wait with instructions to family members to not flush, not shower.  This morning, I called for backup from a poo expert, who came just as I returned with three boys from a production of Mr. Stinky Feet.  How appropriate.

A technology and science lessons ensued with the opening of the septic tank:  everything flushed or flowing down drains ends up here, I explained.  Boy Z asked, "Are my missing socks in there?"  They are if you flushed them down our toilet, I said.  The boys were full of questions for the older man who, after removing a large tangle of tree roots from the pipe, sent a "snake" up the line to find yet another root blockage.

Shooing the boys off, they returned when he, having cleared the line, started the process of pumping out the tank which starting with aeration which causes, shall we say, vapors to rise.  The boys covered their noses.  WHAT are you doing?  Boy A had offered to help dig up the septic tank, but said he wasn't interested in helping anymore.  The boys scampered off.

The older man seemed taciturn at first, perhaps not a fan of 20 questions, but he opened up when I began asking him questions after he stated that he'd lived in our county all his life.  I find such people a treasure - they can tell me what it used to look like here, what changes they've observed, how they lived.  A former dairy farmer, he'd found the life too difficult, "like being in prison" he said, and quit to go into the septic system business.  He claimed it was an improvement.

The weed eater and my cell phone screen also broke.  I'm afraid to touch anything.  It's a breaking week.

A silver lining was that the mess in the garage compelled me to clean out the garage today and spend time outside watching the boys play.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Notes to People

To Louise the Cat:  You still haven't learned, have you?  We KNOW you were on the kitchen table while we were out since your face is now orange, though it is normally white.  The crime was confirmed when you threw up three orange lily petals.  That should teach you.

To Dad:  Thank you for the Easter lilies.

To William:  Of course you couldn't have known that I was cleaning the horse's sheath, but please don't come shouting "HEY MOM!!!" when you enter the barn, and then proceed to loudly talk about the television show where an alligator grabs a man's arm and drags him around the pond and how alligators kill.  Yes, I know the man lived, but all the alligator talk killed the horse's relaxed mood.

To the teen boy in the gold sedan who shouted out the window as you passed my riding arena twice today:  Firstly, shouting at a rider on a horse risks the rider's life.  On your second trip back, I'm sure that with my riding helmet and sunglasses on that you could not see that I am old enough (at least in Kentucky) to be your grandmother, but I think if you had known, you might not have shouted "TITS" out your window.   Thanks for the compliment though, I guess.

To my family:  Don't let Daisy the Dog lick you.  You don't want to know.

To my nephew:  It really isn't a fossilized turd I gave you.  It was a horn coral fossil.

Monday, April 12, 2010

MTM - Louisville is blooming!

The redbuds are so full of color, it seems they must hurt from the effort.  This is the Main library in nearby Louisville, which to me is like a free candy store.

Want to read about more towns?  Go to My Town Monday and click on the links.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Plein Air Painting

Art class yesterday took place along the Ohio River. 
The man in the red ball cap is the teacher. Anna is the farthest student.

A peek at her next finished painting.
Lauren's college decision has been made.  Now, I get to start all over again with Anna.

Dh and I took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday to go on a ride.  The horses were particularly, shall we say "feisty", yesterday.  I believe they just wanted us to let them go into overdrive, rather than a controlled canter.  They need a lot of ring work. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Friday, April 09, 2010

Spring Work

For the zillionth time, I got the manure spreader stuck in the soft, wet spring earth.  I should know better, but I'm slow to learn.  This time, however, I was able to unhook it, get the lawnmower free, unload the spreader, hook it back up and get it out of the muck.  All with the help of my boy.  His job was to stand on the back of the spreader giving me leverage.  His reward was that he got to spread two loads of manure himself.  I don't think there is a happier event for an eight year old than being allowed to drive the lawnmower unassisted while spreading manure.

This is Aunt Rita and her sister, Aunt Mary (in the front).  Aunt Mary started brooding the original nest, but was ousted by Rita, who evidently has seniority.  Rita (in the back) now sits on the larger nest, while Mary has but five eggs.  Today, I noticed two eggs abandoned just behind Mary.  She was ineffectually trying to get back her original nest, and in doing so, lost two eggs.  I put them back and given the temps, likely no harm done.  They are ugly hens, but very effective brooders.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Creek Walking

William and I walked along our creek yesterday, he in his rubber boots and with a fish net and bucket. I had a large coffee can to collect the broken glass that washes down the creek and gets lodged in the mud. Occasionally, I'll find horn coral to add to our "natural history museum". Water skippers were observed and formed a basis for discussion about habitats and why the skippers were only found around water.  Bent over the clear water, William called out that he'd found a fish.

Now, our creek is several feet deep in places where natural dams are formed, but mostly, it is a quickly running shallow stream. Sure enough, however, he'd netted a Etheostoma spectabile or Orangethroat darter. He put this in his bucket with some water. A little while later, he brought his net over, showing me with remorse that he'd found another - and accidentally stepped on it in trying to find it.  It was dead. William felt so bad about it, he was still hanging his head at dinner when we discussed our finds with the rest of the family. Still, the fact that the fish was now dead and could be closely inspected helped in our identification.

We learned that these fish need insects to live, so back down to the creek we went to dump the live one back where it belonged.  Science class in action.

"Aunt Mary", a bantam hen, had so many eggs under her that she had to spread out like a jet plane to cover them all.  "Aunt Rita", her sister, thought she could help by stealing a few of her eggs. Actually, Aunt Rita wanted to steal ALL of the eggs one day when I lifted Mary to check on how many eggs remained, and if any were cracked. She had no reservation about sneaking right in there to settle on the nest.  Later, I noticed that Mary had ousted Rita and reclaimed her babies, but Rita had somehow stolen away four eggs and now lay peaceably next to Mary. The two sisters are "due" in two weekends. The babies are promised upon "weaning" to a friend.

William and I painted some of our black board fence yesterday.

Monday, April 05, 2010

My Town Monday - Pretending

Saturdays, Anna has a class in Louisville, a long enough drive that I find things to do in the city while she's at class.  I go to the library, and then sometimes head to a coffee shop, pretending to be the urbanite I'm not.  Lauren and I shared this stolen moment, and we sat outside, watching young couples pull their children in wagons, singles walking their dogs, and cars whizzing by.  Tiring of this, we browsed antiques and pawed through other people's forgotten treasures.


I found nothing to take, but that wasn't the point in looking.  

The river floated by, quiet and peaceful this day.  When I look on it, I always try to imagine what it looked like several hundred years ago.

I have to clean the hen's nest today.  She managed to crack an egg, or perhaps an interloper did, and now it smells.  You see, though she is sitting on too many already, her hen-mates try to add to the nest daily.  We marked the ones we want her to keep with a permanent marker, and have to check daily for new additions.  These new ones will not mature in time and will only lessen the chances of the eggs in progress.

What we are reading this week:

  Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System---and Themselves

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan and The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.

The Boleyn Inheritance


The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Modern Library Classics)


The Enormous Egg

ACK!  I forgot earlier today to post a link to the My Town Monday site, that hosts all the MTM entries.  Go over there to read about interesting places.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

I sit on my front porch alone and watch the grass grow green.  Changes are coming.  And yet, it is okay.  For what is life except to know that you did the best you could, and there are people who share memories of a time when all was well and you were loved, of times when you felt safe and happy?  And then, times change.  But yet, you have always the memories of a time shared, of a good place with people you loved. 

Many people have come and gone on this Earth, many forgotten, many lives lived and unrecorded.  And yet, they touched this living place.  Perhaps it is not important that each person be remembered, but rather each moment be lived fully and good memories passed on.  It will be summer soon.

Friday, April 02, 2010


"Mom, what does "Happy Whore, 2 to 4" mean?" William asked asked as we drove about town yesterday. WHAT? His reading skills are improving leaps and bounds but I need to teach him how to read the word "hour" with an OW sound!  By the way, we were at Sonic, not at a bar.

Driving about town, he now reads each sign we pass, checking the odometer to make sure I'm going the speed limit he can now read, reading all the exit and road construction signs. He asks me questions about driving and the lines on the road, then chants, "Now they can pass, now you can pass, now no one can pass, now you can pass...." He'll be a well trained driver in eight years. OH! My baby will be driving in only eight years!

In other news, we attended a private reception last night at the local art gallery for a juried art show.  The first place winner could not partake of the wine and cheese party, as she was too young:

My friends and I tried without much success to contain our delight and joy that she won.  My friend, Becky, fanned her face to keep tears from coming.  What a night!  There were many wonderful pieces in the show, and I dared not hope that Anna would win.  It is now hanging in the gallery until June, unless of course, it sells before that time.

A friend came by last night with six eggs for my broody hen.  We decided that the many eggs the bantam was sitting upon had already gone too far, a week already.  I have a neighbor with an incubator, however, and am going to ask him to hatch them out.  He's an old retired shop teacher who regularly begs composted manure from me for his spring plantings.  He wants to do something in return, and offers me chicks in exchange.  Like I need more!  But - my friend does.

I had quite a day yesterday.  It started with knowing I had to have another piece of Anna's finished art re-stretched onto a new frame.  She had painted the Ohio River painting on a gallery wrap canvas, which is too thick to frame, and the contest rules clearly stated that it must be framed.  Luckily, our small town is artsy and sports it's own frame shop.  I took it up there, and voila!  They fixed it up.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Design on a Dime

This past weekend, I came up behind dh as he was washing his hands in our master bathroom.  He turned to wipe his hands on the curtains.  Before you think him a bumpkin, I had taken down the real bathroom curtains to wash, and covered the window with towels for privacy.

"You like that don't you, curtains made of towels?"

He admitted that it seemed to be very efficient, especially since the window is right next to the sink.  I am wondering if Wal-Mart sells terry cloth curtains?

Louise (the cat) loves feathers that the chickens cast off.  Last night, Anna dangled them over her head and got the cat to do two complete back flips!

Reading:  The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
Quote:  "deep practice x 10,000 hours = world class skill"

Our house is bare.  Anna's artwork is hanging or about to hang in four art shows in the month of April.  We also send dh to pick up some artwork, and found that one piece was not returned.  Didn't find out until later he had taken it to work to hang in his office.


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