Friday, April 28, 2017

our newest baby

It's not uncommon for church kids to ask me: Any new animals? after visiting my house. If they ask this Sunday, I can say YES!

Not the best pic, but shows them both.

close up of the chick

strange angle with both

The crazy thing is that at least 2 of the 3 eggs this bird is hatching is not her own. I'm hoping the others hatch tonight or tomorrow morning. And we have a different bird sitting on a different pile of eggs now. So I'm thinking I may close her off and force the others to start laying elsewhere so we don't lose all the eggs. This is only the 2nd time we've had a hen hatch out eggs naturally (and the first one only had two hatch and neither survived past 3 days), so we've got optimistic hopes for this go around.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

flooding

With every major storm (hurricane or tropical storm), or even torrential and long-term downpour, we can expect water to overcome the pond drain and head over the spillway (which is how it's designed so the water pressure won't break the dam). This week's 5+ inches in two days was no exception. Our pond level didn't get quite as high as during Hurricane Matthew, but came fairly close. 

Water rushing from the spillway down the hill.

This doesn't do the spillway justice. The water was a little over my ankle and moving fairly fast.
I thought this was a turtle, but as I got closer to snap the pic, I thought it resembled more of a frog. As I went around Bobby to zoom in, I saw the body and quickly backed away, which he found quite funny. As we returned from our walk it was actually out on the dam a little ways out of the water...a brown water snake.  I'm not sure but we think we saw an eagle take one off while fishing last week. 

Over the new drain pipe...it was actually swirling in slow motion like the water going down the bathtub drain!

And water gushing out the other side of the pond drain. We could actually hear it halfway from the house.

and silly me, even after seeing the snake, waded through the water on the spillway to see the other side. I was able to save a few of these guys (about half of them), but I tossed them downstream instead of back into the pond. We've got enough bream without saving any.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

the rains came down and...

In our new church building, one of the artists has painted/illustrated children's songs along the walls. One of them is "The wise man built his house upon the rock".  Before two of our three year olds moved into their classroom, they had a LOT of questions about that song. Evidently it was new to them. And with all the rain we've had the last two days, I found myself humming it this morning. Which then made me think of the kids from church, which had me smiling.

 On either side of our driveway is a HUGE puddle. The geese are using it as their pretend pond, and instead of bathing in the real pond, they did it beside the driveway this morning.

 And all this rain has helped the first planting of green beans to come up. This one's little head is barely poking above water.
 Above is the whole row...in their river.
 And a few of the beans planted Friday didn't stay submerged in the ground, or else I missed some while covering them. But it was cool to see the few that were above ground but underwater sprouting.
And we have a few gullies beside the new driveway. I'm hoping once the grass seed takes root this won't be a problem anymore, but we'll see.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I can't believe I did that...

In all the craziness and upheaval of this week, I forgot I had a hair appointment today. Who forgets a hair appointment? Granted, compared to grieving parents and sick friends and a broken wheelchair hair is nothing, but I can only think of one other time in my life when I've forgotten about an appointment I had.

So tomorrow when I get home from our Quilts of Valor meeting and before the yardwork begins, I need to call my hairdresser tomorrow and beg forgiveness and ask for a reschedule.

On the flip side, while Bobby was at his meeting this morning I was able to go to the nearby Wal-mart and pick up a few things we needed, including tomato cages. Between appointments I was able to get all of them in the ground (though I'm still 3 short) and witness my dog chasing a rabbit around the shed. Earlier this week we saw an eagle dive for what we thought was a fish, but it came with up with a very long, wriggly thing. Do eagles eat snakes? If that is what it was, I'm very thankful it got it.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

chair shopping

One of the motors in Bobby's chair died yesterday morning, so between texting family and phone calls from a friend in the hospital, we spent the day on the phone with insurance companies and medical supply companies. The company he has used for the last 30+ years is not taking our insurance. Hence all the phone calls. At some point toward the evening I started researching new chairs. We hope to know something tomorrow about whether or not his chair can be repaired and if so, will insurance cover it. Everything is so different with medicare. I'm just hoping whatever route we go everything can be completed by the end of May. Either way, it would be nice if we could have enough of an answer tomorrow to know whether or not to move the chair that is supposed to go into the driver's place in the van in its spot. Meanwhile, I miss his independence. It's the little things, like going to get his clothes off the closet door and they're not there because I didn't think to push him to the closet last night so he could pick them out. And we need to add an extra five minutes before we go anywhere so there will be time to get his manual chair tied down before leaving and untied upon arriving. None of those things are hard, but it makes me realize how much freedom he loses when he's not in his power chair and just how much I take for granted.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Truman

Today our family's smiling, buoyant, and vivacious Kaitlyn will go through unimaginable pain and heartache - delivering her stillborn son. I am heartsick. The child (yes, I know she's been out of college for several years, but I held this girl's chubby little hands as she learned to walk and played "house" with tupperware containers in the floor at holidays with her when she was 2), who has yearned to be a Mom for many years now is cruelly having that dream ripped away in one of the most awful ways imaginable. I know over 20,000 women go through this in America every year, but that doesn't ease the pain any.

So our prayers and thoughts continue to rotate between Kaitlyn and Nathan, and the grandparents who were so excited, and for the very hard days to come...the dates for the upcoming showers, the delivery due date, etc. Little Truman's nursery was decorated and ready to go, and walking by that room itself is going to be painful when they come home.  Sometimes life just hurts.

Monday, April 17, 2017

happenings

Yesterday evening we received word that a close friend of Bobby's was on his way to the ER. We knew someone from the church would be with his wife (who is on hospice), but since they have no family close by, we decided to go be with him. We left last night and headed back this morning expecting him to be having heart tests and procedures today (he had a heart attack), only to find out everything was on hold until they could get a clearance from his oncologist. About 4 years ago they operated on him to "remove" parts of both lungs due to cancer. It was to take 5-6 hours. They basically opened and closed him, as the tumors were so widespread the dr said there was nothing that could be done. The given diagnosis had a life expectancy of 6 months. That was 4 years ago.  So now the heart dr is waiting to make sure it's okay to fix the heart. As we left late this afternoon that clearance had actually come but there won't be any procedures until tomorrow when they transfer him to Raleigh. Meanwhile his wife is now in a hospice hospital and Raleigh. That situation hinges on everything else and remains a large question. Deep down inside I wonder if this will one day be my future - childless and in need of help but away from family. And regardless of what people say about the church being your family, legally, they are not and cannot make decisions for you without legal documentation, which makes total sense.

And while all this is happening here, miles away a distant family member is facing one of the worst days of her life, with some bad days to come. My heart is grieving for her. Sometimes there's just no words.

On the trivial side of things, the chickens like our new driveway, and have used it as a poop pad a fair amount. So I spent some of this afternoon hosing part of it off. We don't have grass along the edges of it yet, which fuels some of the dirt wash and also left me with some very muddy shoes.

In the creative arena I'm actually starting a new quilt project. Yes. I am very aware my goal last year was to finish 3 projects for every one I started, BUT this project involves using up some of my quilt scraps, so I'm not totally certain it can be counted as a new project. It's just a new quilt top. So far it's moving along fairly quickly, and I'm pleased with how it looks and how quickly it's progressing. And it's simple.

We have a chicken still on her nest, and if I'm remembering correctly she should have chicks sometime next week. Now I just need to figure out how to stop one of our donated birds from roosting and pooping in the garage. Today is one of those love/hate days with my chickens.

I'm behind and out of space in my garden area, though hope to get things rolling tomorrow. Tomato plants are growing well, some already have blooms; corn will need replanting; green beans should go in this week as well as okra. I can't believe how early things are growing this year. Pecan trees already have tassles and my flowers that bloom around mother's day are already about to pop open. I fear we are in for a very hot summer.

And if I ever get around to downloading pictures from my camera, I might actually post some.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

excited but nervous

Due to some scheduling conflicts we had to move the kids' Easter party at church to this Friday night. The seemingly obligatory conversation has already taken place (If it's not, you're being legalistic for not letting us have an egg hunt and the easter bunny come then it's I don't lie to my children and teach them myths and Easter has nothing to do with plastic eggs and bunnies so if you have either I will not allow my children to participate. No offense to you, but...and the fall party is even worse for those conversations), so now it's down to the final preparations.  We've done a lot of different things over the years, but this year we're doing things a little different. We're having a variation of a passover feast. I say variation because we're having things I'm certain they don't have (a LOT of fruit, dill pickles, etc) and I'm making some sloppy joe meat to go with the pita bread because I KNOW some of the kids will not even attempt/try sliced lamb, but the pita bread...we got it yesterday from the Jerusalem bakery in Raleigh. It smells SO good, and it's all I can do to keep from eating it now. I did tear off one piece. Had it not been for the clean smell of my kitchen, I could have sworn I was back in China by the kosher/halal Muslim bread makers. I know most of my picky little eaters will not even want to try it, and that's okay. Their loss. We were laughing yesterday at the grocery store as we were picking out things that when we started all this 10 years ago the kids were SO happy to do anything and eat anything that kid complaints were quite rare. This group is quite a bit different. So I'm very excited about tomorrow night, about celebrating and sharing our most important Christian  holiday of the year, and yet I'm also a tad nervous. I want them to have fun, to make memories...to experience that abundant life in every sense and nuance of the words. So as we eat/paint/walk/run/jump/skip/tag/hop through Passover and Good Friday (come on...hasn't the trial where Jesus was blindfolded and commanded to prophesy who hit him always made you think a little bit of blind man's bluff?), we'll hopefully end on a calmer, more serious note. After all, Sunday's coming...


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

happenings

Today, on April 11,  I had the fun experience of watching a 3 yr old boy for several hours. We spent a LOT of time outside, and I had more "poop" discussions than I ever have in my life. (He noticed the differences between the chickens, geese, and dogs, and wanted to know which animal made which pile.)

Today, on April 11, my only nephew on my side of the family turned 17. It seems like yesterday we were chuckling over his unique method of crawling.

Today, on April 11, Bill Parrish, my brother-in-law's Dad, saw Jesus face to face, after facing months of infections and illness due to a ruptured intestine. I have many memories of this dear man, and not a one of them is even slightly negative.

Tonight I hope to work on my "game plan" for Friday night's kids activity and finalize what I need. And work on a song, and maybe sketch out a quilt design. At this point it's too late for a movie, as I expect Bobby home from his meeting within 1.5 hours.

I'm not ready for this to be April, and yet, here it is, pushing toward the half-way mark.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hormones have no brains...

Since the new high school opened across the street from my mother-in-law, she's had some problems with teenagers trespassing onto the farm to fulfill their lustful desires. And no, I do not mean stealing or plundering. There's been one couple that has been run off twice during the school day, and this weekend a car actually came and parked in the middle of the field, headlights shining right on the farmhouse.  My husband was quite shocked when he heard, and asked "Have they no sense? Don't they know they're sitting out in the open between TWO houses?" We all laughed, and his uncle replied "Hormones don't have brains." And we all laughed, and Bobby nodded his head.

Obviously they don't, but I'm still flabbergasted that people will walk, in broad daylight, beside a barn near a field and boarding stables, and think no one is going to find them. At night when it's dark I can comprehend a little bit more, but parking in the middle of a farm field? I'm hoping that since they've now been called twice at night, one of them on the weekends, that the young men who have the farm rented will now remember to keep the gates closed.

On a different note...our driveway is getting paved this week!!!! :) They're scraping up the gravel and shaping things up as I type. We've waited almost 18 years for this!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday, Monday

The Bible Study I've been attending on Tuesdays finished up today. Yes, I know this is Monday, but our group leader had a scheduling conflict so we moved it to today. While I know timing wise it's the perfect time to take a break, I'm really going to miss meeting with these ladies. It's been a great group, and a good study. I look forward to finishing the book in the fall.

My original plan for today had been to work some in the garden today and get some things done before the rain started. But when I stopped at Ken's Produce on the way home, two unplanned things happened. One, the bales of hay I needed to purchase were out. Two, they had tomato seedlings in 4pks for $2.00. I usually wait until later in April to purchase my tomato plants from Lowe's or Home Depot. You can get a qt pot for about $2.50.  So these are nowhere near the same size that I normally get, but I figured since things have been SO warm this year and I'm planting a lot earlier, it's okay to go with smaller plants. Yes. I'm a sucker for a bargain. Except in order to get the varieties I wanted, I had to get more plants. Last year I went with 8 plants and it was the perfect amount for us. I think I planted 12 today, taking up some of my pea space, and I still have a few seedlings left. I could plant them beside the house or along the privacy fence, but then they're exposed to my crazy chickens who dig and claw around plants, leaving them horizontal on the ground. So I'm not sure where I'll put the extras. But I'm still ahead in the cost department. :)

Since I really needed to get the straw out before the rain arrived, we headed to Hudson's Hardware after I got home. They had the straw. We brought our three bales home, got them out of the van, swept the van, then had a very shocking discovery.  There were two baby bunnies sitting on the newspaper in the garden beside the last bale of straw. I'm not kidding. We don't know if they came home in the bales, or if they hopped out from under the shed...but there they were...in my garden to be. So with thoughts of Mr. McGregor and Peter Rabbit, I pulled out the rabbit cage from many years ago, prepped the bedding for it, and nervously headed near the garden with a net. One immediately hopped away and hid between the old dog pen and the garden gate. So I went for the closer one, gently tapped his bottom but he hopped through the net (which unbeknownst to me had a hole or two in it), across the garden, out the garden fence, and under the privacy fence onto the school property. When I turned to the second bunny, I actually had my hand on his hind quarters, but I didn't want to squeeze it too hard and the rascal wiggled out and hopped under the little shed. They're cute as all get all, but I'm not thrilled with the idea of two critters helping themselves to my garden. I'm contemplating placing poultry netting along the edges of all my garden fence to help deter them. I know they'll simply tunnel under, but it might at least slow them down long enough that I can get at least some food from the garden.

If that was not crazy enough, the cabbage head that has been growing so nicely in one of my planters...the geese have discovered it and have sheered two of its sides. Grrrr...

And instead of finishing up my to do list for today we tackled the penning the animals up (not quite successful with 3 of the chickens) as the work on our driveway begins tomorrow. I have to remind myself that it's really not necessary to do everything all at once in the garden. Spring crops don't normally go in until the middle of the month. I'm only doing things early because the temps have been so unusually warm this year.

Then some things came up with a family I sometimes help. I now have two days set aside this week helping with some unexpected health issues they have. I'm thankful I can help, but I also know that's going to really cut down on how much I can get done here at home this week. One step at a time...that's all I need to focus on...

Sunday, April 2, 2017

So not ready

I was adamant that I would not cut grass until March, and I didn't. But now it's officially April, and our yard is beginning to look like it needs a real cut, not just a perfunctory "let's take care of the weeds and such". There's no point in talking about the fact the yard is now strange to cut because of the way the road paving project and school turn lane took sections of the front yard, nor how they've yet to remove the black silt fence and pile of gravel in the midst of the back section of our yard, nor that we still have the dog's underground fence line laying ON TOP of the ground as it can't be buried until all of their work is finally finished. Discussing it won't change a thing, and the grass in and around those areas still must be cut. My great-aunt who lived with us while I was small (she was tiny and weighed about 90 lbs soaking wet), would sometimes sigh and say "Sounds like somebody needs to go to the bathroom and get their panties out of a wad" when we complained about things. And the very fact that came to mind as I was typing all this let's me know how much I'm complaining here...

There's not an insane amount of things on my calendar for this week, and yet this is already going to be a very full week. That happens once garden and grass season arrives. I always forget how much time it takes to do those things. So cut grass, plant spring items, catch up on the quilting class I missed last week and flesh out plans for the kids Easter party at church...I think that means my week is full. And I'm not ready for it.