Category Archives: Original stories by Kate

Sleds and Santa

I am sitting here and it’s Christmas Eve remembering the wonderful Christmases I had when I was growing up. Christmas always centered around the Christ child. There was church and nativities and carols sung and candles glowing.  Packages under the tree.  Trips to the department store to see Santa.  How I wish I could relive those years again. They were the best of times.  I heard that some people don’t even think of Christmas as a Christian holiday anymore.  I don’t know what they think it is or what the word Christmas means to them, but for me, it always is about Jesus.    Years ago I wrote a story about Christmas and I will share it with you now.   It’s as true as I can remember it.  Most of it really happened and some may or may not, but that is for you to decide.

Sleds and Santa Claus

A heavy blanket of snow covered Daddy’s Indiana farm.  Katie looked out the kitchen door and saw drifts of snow on the sidewalk and back porch.  Daddy came in the back door stamping his feet and  carrying an armload of wood to put in the big black iron stove that sat in the kitchen.  As Katie ate her breakfast of hot sweet tea and cinnamon toast, she felt warm and cozy.  Daddy sat at the head of the table and Mommy sat next to him.  They were discussing what needed to be done that day on the farm

Katie’s brother’s came down from the cold bedrooms upstairs.   The window in Katie’s room had had frost on the inside of it that morning and she had not wanted to leave her warm nest in her bed.

“Hey! Let’s go sledding this afternoon,” cried Andy. That sounded like a great idea to all the children, but first all the chores had to be done before play.  On a farm the livestock comes first and all the animals must be fed and watered before anything else.  The eggs must be gathered before they froze in their nests.  That was Katie’s job.  Soon they were all bundled up   to go outdoors to do their chores.

The cold wind whipped Katie’s face as she walked to the chicken house.  Inside it was warm and the chickens began to cluck.  Sometimes Katie would have to reach underneath a setting hen to take her eggs. The hen would not like this, but it had to be done.  Eggs were never left to be hatched in the henhouse.  Mommy used many of them in her baking each week ad the ones she didn’t use were carefully washed and crated and taken to the grocery store to be sold to the grocer for him to sell.   Mommy’s chicken eggs were especially good. They were fresh and the yolks were almost orange.  That was because the chickens were allowed to scratch and peck outdoors and to eat a lot of different things like juicy bugs and worms besides the ground corn Daddy fed them.  The grocer was always glad to get them.

After a good hot midday meal, Katie and her brothers dressed in several layers of clothes and snow boots and went out to Daddy’s workshop where the sleds were kept. They walked down the road to a hill owned by a neighbor, Mr. Bond.  They climbed over the fence and trudged through the deep snow to the top of the hill.  The first few times sledding down was not very good because the paths had to be made through the snow.  After a few rides down the hill, it became slicker and slicker until you were absolutely flying!  At the bottom of the hill was a little grove of tree that you had to steer your sled through.  It was dangerous, but fun at the same time. Sometimes the neighbor boys, the Clevengers, would join in the fun. The boys would throw snowballs at one another as they slid down the hill.

All too soon for Katie it was time to go back home.  She was chilled to the bone but hadn’t noticed while she was sledding.  Back in the warm house Mommy made hot chocolate and Daddy made popcorn balls.  After all the exercise, it all tasted so good!

Sometime in the winter,  Daddy and Mommy would begin whispering to one another and hiding things from the children.  It was Christmas time, one of the best times of the year for a child.  Soon after Thanksgiving, the tree would be put up and decorated and Mommy would put up the red plastic wreaths with the red candles in the windows.   A plastic Santa riding a white reindeer and that lit up was one of Katie’s favorite Christmas decorations.  The nativity that Daddy had built was put in a place of honor where Katie would look at it every day.  It had a blue lightbulb that gave the holy family a heavenly glow.

Soon it was Christmas Eve and the children were all excited about Santa’s coming visit.  The boys wanted Davy Crockett coonskin  hats and Katie wanted a doll.  Her older sister, Joanne, wanted new clothes.   Katie wanted to stay up and see if Santa really was the one who brought the toys each Christmas.  She begged Mommy to allow her to stay up if her sister stayed up with her  “You may stay up, but you will be asleep before Santa gets here,”  Mommy told her.

That night Katie and Joanne each picked a chair to sleep in. With pillows and blankets, they settled in and  prepared to stay up and see old St. Nick bring their presents.  Everyone else went to bed and the house settled down into a deep, dark quiet.  Not a thing was stirring.  Katie was so excited.   She waited and waited until her eyelids became heavier and heavier.  All at once there was a soft glow in the room.  Katie rubbed her eyes because she could not believe what she was seeing. Right in front of her, so close she could have touched him was a short, round little man in a beautiful red woolen suit with the whitest fur trim. He was bent over putting something under the tree.  It was Santa!   Katie was afraid that she might get in trouble for being there, but suddenly, the little man turned and looked right at her with his kind eyes and said, “Go back to sleep, honey.”   The next thing Katie knew she was waking up in her own bed. It was Christmas morning!

The children all had to wait until Mommy and Daddy said it was okay to come down the stairs.  When they did there was a mad dash to get to the Christmas tree and see what Santa had brought them.  Katie doesn’t remember what she got that year, but she does remember it was the year she saw the real Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.  Bye.

Jack and the Beanstalk My Way

Once upon a time in a land that is no more, but lived for many years in the Black Forest of Germany there lived a boy named Jack.  He lived with his mother and father in a little cottage in the forest.

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His mother and father loved each other very much and all was happy for several years.  Then Jack’s father passed away leaving  Jack and his mother penniless because he had not invested his money wisely in mutual funds.

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All Jack and his mother had left was one tiny cow who had gone dry and gave no milk.  So Jack’s mother told Jack to go into the village and sell the cow to get money to buy some food.  Jack was all excited about getting out of the house and going into town even if he didn’t have any money to spend.  He and the cow walked down the dusty road toward the village and along the way Jack met a strange little man.

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A little man with soulful eyes and a big, wet nose who carried with him a sack of beans.

“Would you like to buy these beans?” asked the little man.  He held them in front of Jack’s eyes.  “They are magic beans,” said the man.  Jack, not being the brightest bulb in the chandelier, thought this was a pretty good deal so he agreed to buy the beans with the cow.

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A full sack of beans.  “What a deal!” Jack thought to himself.  “I wonder what is magic about them?  I forgot to ask.”  He turned to look and the strange little man and Jack’s cow had disappeared.  “Oh, well,” said Jack and he turned to go back home.

Once home Jack ran to his mother to show her the magic beans.  Needless to say, she was not happy.  Nor was she too bright either as she threw the beans out the window instead of making a good bean soup that would have staved off starvation for a while.  “We may as well go to bed,” said Jack’s mother.  “We will have to think of something tomorrow.”

So Jack and his mother went to bed.  While they slept, the magic beans began to grow.  They grew higher and higher until their tops reached clear into the sky and beyond.

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Jack awoke the next morning and went outside and to his amazement saw a giant beanstalk growing in the yard.  Without further ado, Jack began to climb the beanstalk.

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Up and up he went, into the clouds and beyond.  After climbing for hours, he came upon a magical land in the clouds and there stood a giant castle.  Jack ran up to the castle door and knocked, but no one answered, so he slowly opened the door and peeked inside.  There he saw a table groaning with all kinds of good food to eat.  He climbed the leg post, onto the table and began to feast upon the delicious food.

Suddenly, Jack heard the castle door bang open and a loud voice yell, “Fee, Fi, Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman.  Be he alive or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.”

Now Jack, not being an Englishman, but a German from the Black Forest did not fear the giant even though he was very scary looking.

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The fact he had no clothes on was a little disconcerting, but Jack rolled with the flow and decided to make friends.  Before he spoke the giant called for his chickens.

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He had several chickens who he had named.  Dorcas, Beatrice, Penninah, Jemima, Freedom and Phoebe.  They all laid golden eggs.  Every last one of them.  Sadly, the giant could not eat their eggs, but he could afford to buy lots of eggs at the grocer.  He began to sing to his chickens and they clucked back to him.

Jack suddenly popped out from behind a salt shaker and said “How do you do,” to the giant. Well, that giant almost fell out of his chair, but soon Jack realized the giant was not friendly and would, indeed, grind his bones, if he didn’t get out of there.

So Jack grabbed one of the chickens thinking at least he and his mother could eat it, and ran for the beanstalk.

Jack heard the giant running after him so he climbed down as fast as he could as he heard above him the crashing of branches as the giant slid after him.

Once down on the ground Jack ran for an ax and chopped the beanstalk down.  Down, down fell the giant and with a huge crash landed on the ground.  Jack stood over him, thinking the giant was dead.  But he was only gravely injured, so Jack and his mother bandaged him up and cared for him until he became well. In the meantime, they all became good friends.  With the one chicken and her golden eggs, Jack was able to buy his mother a castle, beautiful clothes and all the food she could want.  As for him and the giant, whose name was Fred, they became close friends and built a cozy cabin in the woods where they raised a herd of milk cows and raised beans. None of which ever grew as high as that first beanstalk.

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The End. Bye.

 

Sleds and Santa

This is one of my Hoosier Girl stories.   Things I remember.  It may not be what other members of my family remember,  but I’m sticking with my story.

Sleds and Santa

  A heavy blanket of snow covered Daddy’s Indiana farm.  Katie looked out the kitchen door and saw drifts of snow on the sidewalk and back porch.  Daddy came in the back door carrying an armload of firewood to put in the big  black iron stove that sat in the kitchen. As Katie ate her breakfast of hot sweet tea and cinnamon toast, she felt warm and cozy.  Daddy sat at the head of the table and Mommy sat next to him. They were discussing what needed to be done that day on the farm.

  Katie’s brothers came down from the cold upstairs.  Katie’s bedroom window had had frost on the inside of it that morning!   She had not wanted to leave her warm nest in her bed.

  “Hey, let’s go sledding this afternoon,” said Andy.  That sounded like a great idea to all the children  First all the chores must  be done before play.  On a farm the livestock comes first and all the animal must be fed and watered before anything else.  The eggs must be gathered before they froze in their nests.  That was Katie’s job.  Soon they were all bundled to go outdoors to do their chores.

  The cold wind whipped Katie’s face as she walked to the chicken house.  Inside it was warm and the chickens began clucking and stirring when they saw Katie.  Sometimes Katie would have to reach underneath a setting hen to take her egg.  The hen would not like this, but it had to be done.  Eggs were never left to be hatched in the hen house.  Mommy used many eggs in her baking each week and the ones she didn’t use were carefully washed and crated and taken to the grocery store to be sold to the grocer for him to resell.  Mother’s chicken eggs were especially good.  Thy were always fresh and the yolks almost orange.  That was because the chickens were allowed to peck and scratch outside and eat a lot of different things besides the ground corn Daddy fed them.  The eggs purchased in grocery stores today have very light colored yolks and are not always as fresh as they could be.

  After a good hot midday meal, Katie and her brothers dressed in several layers of clothes and snow boots and gloves and hats and went out to Daddy’s workshop where the sleds were kept  They walked down the road to a hill owned by a neighbor, Mr. Bond.  Sometimes he would have cows in the field where the hill was, but they never came near the children.

 They climbed over the fence and trudged through the deep snow to the top of the hill.  It seemed gigantic to Katie.  The first few times sledding down were not very good because paths had to be made through the snow.  After a few rides down the hill it became slicker and slicker until you were absolutely flying!  At the bottom of the hill was a small grove of trees that had to be maneuvered through.  It was dangerous, but fun at the same time.  Sometimes the Clevenger boys, who lived across the road, came over and joined the fun.  The boys liked to throw snowballs at one another as they sled down the hill.  Katie liked it when they threw snowballs at her even though she cried for them to stop.

  All too soon for Katie it was time to go back home.  She was chilled to the bone but hadn’t noticed while she was sledding.  Back in the warm house Mommy made hot chocolate and Daddy popped corn and made popcorn balls.  After all the exercise it all tasted so good.

  Sometime during the winter season Daddy and Mommy began whispering to one another and hiding things from the children.  It was Christmas time, one of the best times of the year for a child.  Soon after Thanksgiving the Christmas tree would be cut down and set in the front room and decorated and Mommy would put the red plastic wreaths with the red bulbs in the windows.  A plastic Santa riding a reindeer was one of Katie’s favorite Christmas decorations.  It lit up and looked so merry.

 Katie became so excited  that she was about to burst with excitement.  There would be a Christmas party at school and a special Christmas program at church to celebrate Jesus’ birth.  It was all wonderful.

  As Christmas drew nearer Katie could hardly contain herself.  What would Santa bring her this year?  Then, finally, it was Christmas Eve.  One year Katie wanted to stay up and see if Santa was really the one who brought the toys each Christmas.  She begged Mommy to allow her to stay up if her older sister, Joanne, stayed up with her. “You may stay up, but you will be asleep before Santa gets here,” said Mommy.

  That night Katie and Joanne each picked a chair to sleep in.  With pillows and blankets they prepared to stay up and see old St. Nick bring their presents.  Katie waited and waited until she felt her eyelids becoming heavier and heavier.

  All at once there was a soft glow in the room  Katie rubbed her eyes because she could not believe what she was seeing.  In front of her, so close she could have touched him, was a short, round little man in a beautiful red wool suit with the whitest fur trim.  He had a grand beard that covered his chest.  Katie sat in silence for fear the man would notice her.  It was Santa Claus and he might be angry to see her watching.  Suddenly he turned around and looked directly at Katie and smiled at her and said, “Go back to sleep, Honey.”  Katie felt no fear, but a feeling of love surrounded her.  The next thing Katie knew she was waking up in her own bed.  It was Christmas morning.

  The children all had to wait until Mommy and Daddy said it was okay to come down the stairs.  When they did. there was a mad dash to get to the Christmas tree to see what Santa had left them.  Katie doesn’t remember what she got that year, but she does remember it was the year she saw the real Santa Claus.

The End

   I remember this as though it were yesterday.  It is as real to me today as it was when I was a little girl.  I believe.  Bye.

Bees and Honey

I am going to include another Hoosier Girl story from my past, but before I do I would like to show a few pictures of the goings on at our house.

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I still commune with my chooks although they haven’t been getting as much attention lately as I have had many things to do. See Penninah and Jemima at my feet?  They stand there and chatter to me looking to see if I have brought any treats.  All I had in my pocket this day was a dog biscuit so I gave it to them.

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Of course when one hen gets something, they all gather to get their own treats.

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I am Queen over all I survey and these are my subjects!  Ha.  You should be here to hear the clucking and talking they do when I am around.  I don’t know if they are happy to see me or wish I would get out of there so they can go about their business.

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This is Ada, the Australorp.  Isn’t she beautiful?  You can’t see in the picture, but she has the most beautiful teal feathers among the black ones.  She has started to squat, as chickens who are getting ready to lay will do.  I think she may have already begun to lay as I am finding some very small eggs in the nests.

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Beautiful Abigail, the Silver Laced Wyndotte.  She is gorgeous and I think she knows it.  She is the biggest hen now.  David says she looks like a nice roaster and I just say, “Not going to happen.”  I don’t think she is laying yet.

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Here is a normal size egg next to a new layer egg.  In time the hen will lay bigger eggs, but she’s just a beginner.  Their eggs still taste good.  I have noticed the yolks are almost orange now.  I have fed them the last of the marigolds and I think that is why.

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Molly Marshmallow continues to grow.  She is a very active little puppy.  She drags up all kinds of things onto our back deck.  She brought a huge board with a nail in it the other day and I was afraid she was deconstructing one of our buildings, but David said it was just a piece of wood she had found behind the shed.  Nothing would surprise me with this dog.

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She is so sweet and wants attention all the time.  Still working on that nipping.  See those teeth?  They are like little razors and have drawn blood.  Belle, in the background, has felt those teeth a few times and Molly gets a good nip back sending her whining.

 

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When the weather starts to get cooler, I have the urge to bake.  This is pineapple upside down biscuit.  It is delicious.  If you were here, I would give you a piece.

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I cannot keep these in the house and it is not because I eat them.  David is hooked on these and eats them all.  I don’t really like them because I think they taste like paraffin.  He has gone through three bags, but I’m not saying anything.

Now for my story.  Remember, these are stories from my childhood and it is how I remember them.  My brothers and sister may remember things differently, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Bees and Honey

By Kate Pentecost Craig

Katie woke up to a long, warm Summer day ahead of her.  She stretched in bed and lay quietly for a few minutes listening to the noises of the awakening house.  Mommy had been up for hours.  She always got up at 5 o’clock to read her Bible and drink her morning cup of coffee in peace before all the children came running down the stairs.  Katie always wanted to be able to get up that early too, but Mommy discouraged her from doing so.

Now Katie got out of bed and pulled on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt.  She took the stair steps two at a time and jumped off the last two steps.  “Good morning,” Mommy said to her,   “What do you want for breakfast?”  Katie had been fixing her own breakfast since she started school. It was almost always the same, tea and toast spread with peanut butter or tea and cinnamon toast.  Sometimes she would have a glass of chocolate milk.  While she was eating, Daddy came  in from the barn. After washing his hands and sitting down at his place at the head of the table, Mommy poured him a cup of coffee and placed half a grapefruit in front of him and two slices of toast.  Daddy almost always had the same breakfast too!

“What are you going to do today, Snicklefritz?”(Daddy’s pet name for Katie) Daddy asked.

“Play!” said Katie as she jumped off her chair and ran out the kitchen door.  Once outside the whole big world waited to be explored.  Katie began to run out to the the side yard when she saw a strange sight on the clothesline.  A big black mass of moving objects hung suspended on Mommy’s clothesline.  Bees were flying around this mass.  Katie ran laughing right into the swarming bees.  Back and forth she ran flailing her arms and hitting the flying insects.  Not one stung her.  She then ran into the house yelling, “Come look and see what is on the clothesline.”

Mommy and Daddy came out the back door while Katie made a dash toward the roiling mass again, but Daddy called her to get back to him.  “Those are swarming bees,” said Daddy.  “There must be a queen bee in there.  They were too busy swarming to bother stinging you, but you are a very lucky little girl.”  Katie wanted so much to run among the bees again, but she was not allowed.  Her brothers came out to look at the  swarm.  It was a very strange sight to see so many bees piled on top of each other.  In the center of the mass somewhere was the queen bee.

Daddy went back inside to call a man he knew who kept beehives and sold honey.  soon the man arrived to collect the bees.  He put on a big hat with a mesh face protector.  He wore long sleeves and gloves.  He had one of his wooden hives with him.  Carefully he put the mass of been into the hive and closed the lid. “Your little girl was very lucky the bees were swarming,” said the man.  “She could have been very badly stung.”  Katie hung her head, but inside her mind she was thinking about how much fun it had been to run through all those bees!

 

Several weeks later the man came back to their house bringing a gift.  He had jars of fresh honey, some of them with the comb in them.  Katie stuck her fingers into one of the jars and pulled out a piece of the honeycomb.  The sweet golden honey dripped from it.  She stuck it in her mouth and chewed the delicious sweet comb.  When she had sucked all the honey from it, she threw the comb away.  She was glad the bees had chosen their yard in which to swarm and she was glad to have some of their sweet honey to eat all summer long on her toast and ice cream.

Hope you have a wonderful day. And don’t get stung by any bees!  Bye.

Hoosier Girl Stories

I am a Hoosier girl through and through.  Born and bred on an Indiana farm smack dab in the middle of the state.  For those of you reading this who wonder what a Hoosier is, it is anyone who was born in the state.  Where the name comes from, no one can say for sure.  Some say it happened many years ago when the settlers lived in cabins and when someone would be coming toward their cabin they would yell out, “Who’s yer?”   There are other explanations, but no one knows the true meaning.

Over the years I have written stories about my growing up years on my daddy’s Indiana farm and today I will publish one here on my blog.   It’s written as me as a little girl and the facts are as I remember them.   My brothers and sister may remember things differently.  I had a wonderful childhood and remember many fun things that happened while I was growing up.  So here is my first story.

Ducklings by the Back Door

It was Spring on Daddy’s Indiana farm.  New baby animals were being born every day.  The one animal Daddy did not have on his farm was a duck, but that was soon to change.

One day Mommy came home from visiting a neighbor carrying a box in her arms.  Inside the box were eggs.  Not just any kind of eggs which Katie saw every day. These eggs were duck eggs that the neighbor had taken from a setting duck.

Mommy had gotten an egg incubator at a sale and had been wanting to try her luck at hatching some eggs herself.  She carefully placed the duck eggs inside the incubator.  It was round and had a lid that raised.  It ran on electricity to keep the eggs warm.

“Your job will be to turn the eggs every day,” Mommy told Katie.  “You will also have to sprinkle water onto the eggs to keep them moist.”

Katie was excited.  She knew that if she did her job correctly, there would  one day be some baby ducklings hatching from the eggs.

Every day Katie would go down into the cellar where the incubator was kept and she would turn the eggs a quarter turn.  This was so that the eggs would get warm all the way around.  She sprinkled water over the eggs then carefully closed the lid.  She looked at the eggs through the glass top and wondered how soon the baby ducklings would be poking their beaks through the eggshells.

The days followed  slowly one after the other.  Each day Katie watched the eggs, but they just lay there.  She knew that inside them ducklings were growing and would soon be too big for their eggshell homes.

Then one day it finally happened.  Katie went down the cellar steps expecting to see the eggs just laying there as usual, but instead she found that the ducklings were finally being born.  There were cracks in several of the eggs and she saw one tiny beak poking out of one of them.

“Mommy, come quick!”  Katie called.  “The eggs are hatching!”

Mommy hurried down the cellar steps and watched with Katie as each duckling emerged from its shell.  The ducklings had to work so hard to get out of the shell that when they finally emerged they were exhausted.  They lay on their sides breathing hard, their yellow down still damp from being inside the eggs.  Soon they were standing on their tiny webbed feet and stretching and flapping their wings.

Not all the eggs hatched.  “That is nature’s way of saying that the ducklings inside those eggs would not have been healthy,” Mommy told Katie.”   “They did not develop enough to hatch.

Even though all the eggs did not hatch, there were eight baby ducklings to care for.  They had to be kept warm, so Mommy fit a light bulb above a  box and put the ducklings inside.  Katie fed them baby chicken feed that Daddy bought for the hundreds of baby chickens he raised on the farm.   Day after day the ducklings grew.  They thought Katie was their mother because she was the first thing they saw when they hatched.  They would come running to her to be fed.

Once they were large enough, they were put in the chicken  yard with the chickens and lived in the chicken house.  When Katie came out the back door they would run to the chicken yard gate and quack at her.  sometimes she would take them out of the chicken yard and let them follow her all around the yard.  soon their soft yellow down became snow white feathers.  They became noisy and destructive and tore up some of Mommy’s flowers in the garden. Mommy said they would have to stay in the chicken yard.

The big white ducks lived for several years on Daddy’s Indiana farm.  Mommy tried hatching chickens in her incubator, but never had any luck.  Katie sometimes gave uncooked oatmeal to her pet ducks because they were spoiled and they loved oatmeal. The ducklings by the back door were her babies and she would always have a special place in her heart for them.

Hope you enjoyed my little story.  Bye.

Two Desperadoes

Two desperadoes rode into town on 350 horses with several compadres.  These were bad dudes.  Or dudettes as it were. DSCN8093

Look at her fierce look.

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Now look at this sweet and sort of dorky face.  Not a bad thought in her head.  Or was there?

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Angry dudette.

 

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Sweet, wouldn’t hurt a feather on your head face.

Then these two met and feathers flew.  It was a fight to the death.  Jail was the only answer.

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A well built, can’t be broken out of jail.  Oh?   The two desperadoes had other ideas.

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The two desperadoes escaped and hid in a nearby bush. A bush that is as tall as a tree.  Clear to the top.  With much straining, cackling and scratches(and that was just David), they were taken back to jail.

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More work was done on the jail to make it escape proof.  Oh?

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Up in the tree-bush again the next night.  Let’s play find the chicken.

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Back to jail with more wood, more sticks, and bricks to keep the prisoners inside.  Finally, it worked, but the two desperadoes were not happy with it.  They continuously looked for an escape.

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Meanwhile, happy dorky chicken remains free to fight another day.

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“Who you lookin’ at?   I did nothing, I saw nothing.  I’m innocent.”  Ahem.

After contending with that, I decided to paint the floor of my shop porch.  We removed everything off the porch.

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When I saw all this I told David it looked like a really good garage sale or auction find.  And it all belonged to me!

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I got up really early on the hottest day of the summer so far and began to paint.

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Then when it was painted and had dried, I had to put everything back, but in a better order.  I am happy with it.

A little something about painting.  David is a very slow, meticulous painter.  He does a really great job, but takes a long time.  I did this floor in about an hour.  When David paints his shirt looks like this afterward.

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When I paint I am more of a fast, kind of sloppy painter.  My shirt looks like this after I paint.

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I watch those remodeling shows where the perky, cute well dressed hostess paints a room in jewelry and white pants and doesn’t get a drop of paint on her.  How does she do it?    How does David do it?  I keep this shirt for all my painting so I won’t ruin all my clothes.  I also have a special pair of paint pants.  I can roll in the paint and I wouldn’t worry.   Sometimes it looks as if I did.  I also have to take a bath after I paint and get the paint off my hands, arms, face and out of my hair.  But even at that, I have painted every room of our house at least twice and some three or more times and they don’t look too bad for a messy painter because I don’t get any paint on anything but the walls and me.

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I will leave you with a picture of a vintage tablecloth I purchased at an antique mall this past week.  I collect these and it is getting harder to find any I like, but this one really caught my eye and was a good price.

Here’s to desperado chickens and the fun they provide.  Bye.

 

 

Once

Once there was a little brown house.  A comfortable, modest, little brown house.  It had a nice little porch on its front.

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Well, it use to have a nice little porch on its front.  The family would sit on the porch and watch the world go by.  Children would watch the trains as they sped down the tracks.  Visitors would come through its front door.

Then, an angelic contractor came and transformed the little house.

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See, he even had a halo.

The little house didn’t know what was happening to it.  Windows were being removed.

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Rafter boards were being painted and nailed on it.

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New, airtight windows were installed.  Windows that would keep out the cold, winter air.

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The little brown house was beginning to feel that maybe, just maybe it wouldn’t  be the little plain Jane, little brown house any longer.

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Grandchildren came to watch the building.

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Grandchildren who have played on this porch and watched the trains go by.

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Old men stalked in the shadows.  Wait a minute, that’s David. He owns the little brown house.

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Nice, wide, wooden steps replaced the cement steps that had been there for decades.

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A big, wide deck replaced the little porch.

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Birds liked the new porch so much, they began to set up housekeeping, not knowing that their nests would have to go.  Poor birds.

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There’s a nice birdhouse you birds could live in.  In fact, there are several birdhouses to choose from.  The big house belongs to people.

While the little house was transforming, the garden was changing too.

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Rhododendrons, lilacs, redbuds and tulips were making the garden look so pretty.

And then there was light.

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Two of these.  One on each side of the front door.

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And a fan. Oh, joy, a fan.  The little house’s porch would always have a breeze if needed.

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Now the little brown house sits and awaits a new coat of stain and rocks around its posts.  It can’t wait.  One day soon it will be the pretty little house it was meant to be.  Bye.

 

 

My Last Cat

Growing up on a farm, there were always cats around.  There was always a litter of kittens to play with in the barn loft.  I would sit for hours playing with the kittens in the cozy loft among the bales of hay and straw.  Our cats did not lack for affection or attention.   I would watch my daddy spray milk into a cat’s mouth directly from the cow.  The cats knew when it was milking time.

I have always named all the cats I knew.  Susie Sa Bette, Skitter Cat,(named for the Skitter Cat book I read as a child) Blackie, Fitzgigg, Cornflake, Muffin, Harley, because he had a harlequin look about him, and there were several more.  My daughter always named her cats Melissa.  We had a litter of cats and she had named them and we gave them away and she always was unhappy we gave away Melissa so we got a white cat and she, of course named her Melissa and that cat lived to be eighteen years old.  I was through with having cats until a friend at church said she had a litter of kittens.  I decided I would like to have one.  She brought a box of cats to church and I picked one out and brought her home.

This little kitten was to be in my shop and was to never get out.  We had lost most of our cats on the road, you see, and I couldn’t stand to lose another like that.  We did have one, Harley, drown in our pool which was a tragedy.  So I brought Prissy Pink Toes home and wrote a story about her for my grandchildren.

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Prissy Pink Toes is black and brown with a white stripe down her nose and one white paw.  She has blue eyes and pink toes.

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Then one day Prissy’s owner, April, put her in a carrier and off they went in the car with April’s children, Skye, Austin and Neea.

They arrived at church where Grandma was waiting to pick up Prissy,  It was love at first sight.

Grandma picked up Prissy and her motor began to run.  “Prrrr,” purred Prissy as she settled in Grandma’s arms.

She decided she liked it very much!

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We loved Prissy, who was, by the way, named after the Gone With the Wind character, Prissy.  All my pets except for the chooks are named for people from Gone With the Wind.

Anyway, I tried my best to keep Prissy in the shop where she was cozy and safe, but as cats are want to do, she wanted to wander and slipped out of the shop door one day.  I had to go somewhere that day and when I was driving home, I saw her lying in the road.  I cried.  I have not had another cat since because we live on a busy road and cats do tend to want to cross the road, like chickens.  Why do we never see dead chickens in the road?  Are they wise to the way of road crossing?

I have had thoughts lately about getting another cat for my shop, but I have my doubts that I could keep it inside.

Do you have a cat or cats?  They are sweet lovable creatures except for one I heard about on the news just lately who was terrorizing its owners so much they called 911.  He is now in an animal shelter waiting for adoption.  Would you want to adopt him???

Here’s to cats and the people who love them.  Meow.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrappy the Raccoon

  It was a gentle early Summer day in the forest.  Scrappy Raccoon was playing along the side of the road with his brothers and sisters.  Scrappy was called Scrappy because he was known to get into little fights with others at the least provocation.  Scrappy’s mother had scolded him so many times about his temper and how badly it made her feel to know he would fight with anyone.   What would happen this Summer day would make Scrappy’s mother think differently about her fighting youngster.

  Mrs. Craig, who lived across the road, decided that afternoon to take her dog, Belle, for a walk.  They walked across the road and since there were no cars on this road on the weekend, Mrs. Craig removed the leash from Belle and allowed her to run free.  Belle loved running and sniffing in the woods, but this day she smelled a different smell than any she had ever smelled before.  She snorted and snuffed and suddenly she came upon a strange creature.  Something she had never seen before.  It was Scrappy and he had not seen the big brown dog coming along in the weeds.  The dog was upon him before he could make a run for it.  Belle began barking and Scrappy fluffed up his fur to make himself look bigger and began to hiss. 

  Around and around Scrappy Belle circled, barking and snapping at him all the time.  Scrappy hissed and lunged at the big brown dog, baring his sharp little teeth, but it kept barking at him and trying to bite him.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Craig was screaming and yelling at Belle to stop.  She grabbed Belle’s collar and Belle jerked and pulled until she got herself free of the collar and went back to attacking the little raccoon.  Mrs. Craig grabbed Belle’s tail and pulled and still Belle kept barking and snapping at Scrappy.  This went on for fifteen minutes.  Suddenly, it became very quiet and Mrs. Craig thought that either the raccoon or Belle was dead.  She had heard that raccoons can kill a dog and that is what she feared had happened.  Then the hissing and barking and snapping began again and she knew the dog and raccoon had just paused to catch their breath. 

  Unable to get Belle away from the little raccoon and afraid Belle would kill it, Mrs. Craig knew she needed help.  She walked back to her house and called Mr. Craig and said, “Get the truck and come quickly.”  Mr. and Mrs. Craig rode in the truck to the place where Scrappy and Belle were in the fight of their lives.  Mr. Craig walked right into the middle of the hissing raccoon and the barking dog and grabbed the scruff of Belle’s neck and pulled her out of the brush.  Mrs. Craig opened the truck door and Belle willingly jumped in and they all headed back to the house.  Belle was covered in mud and the truck and Mrs. Craig were also by the time they got home.  Belle, looking a little chastened, went and got a long drink of water and collapsed on the deck panting heavily.

  Back in the forest Scrappy dragged himself home.  He was mangled a little, wet from dog saliva and completely worn out from the ordeal he had gone through.  His mother saw him walk in the door and said, “What happened to you?”  “I fought a dog and the dog lost,” bragged Scrappy. “Hmmm,” Scrappy’s mother was not sure she was hearing the whole story, but she was happy her little raccoon was home safe.  Belle told her sister, Bonnie, how she fought a raccoon and lived to tell about it.  Scrappy, on the other hand, stayed away from the road from that day forward.

  This is a true story except for the parts I made up.

The Tale of the Stuck Sparrow

  It was a beautiful Spring day.  The flowers were blooming, the sun was shining, the white fluffy clouds were  skittering across the sky.  Buddy sparrow rode the air currents up and down, stretching his wings wide and gliding back and forth in the breeze.  Buddy had not a care in the world other than he was supposed to be looking for a new house for his wife so that she could build her nest.

  Buddy didn’t take many things seriously, so house hunting was not at the top of his to do list for the day.  He searched for fat worms in the warm soil, took a dirt bath in the shade of the old elm tree and spent the greater part of the morning trying to keep out of the way of Mrs. Craig who was busy planting flowers in her flower beds.

    He landed on a tree branch and who should land right next to him but his wife, Betsy.  “Have you found us a house yet?” asked Betsy looking at Buddy suspiciously.  “Uh, I’ve sure been trying, but all the good houses are taken.”   “Well, said his wife, ” You better find one soon because I feel an egg coming on.”  “Oops,” said Buddy and flew off on a mission.

   Around and around the yard he flew stopping at each house where an angry sparrow would say,”Get out of here!”  He was beginning to give up hope when he spotted a cute little house that looked like a cabin.  “Betsy would love this,” he said to himself.  He flew down to take a look. 

  Now Buddy was a sparrow and this house was built for a wren so he didn’t realize he might be just a little too big to fit in the house, but he was going to try.  He stuck in his head.  Oh, oh, the rest of his body would not go inside.  Then he tried to pull his head out. It was stuck!  Oh, no.  Twist and turn as much as he could, he still could not get his head out of the house.  “I’m done for,” Buddy thought.  Then his beak got caught on the wood and he really was stuck.  He hung there, head in and body out of the wren house thinking this was the end of him.

  In the house Mr. and Mrs. Craig were talking about getting some food for the chickens.  Mrs. Craig wanted to show Mr. Craig the flower beds she had been planting that morning.  As they started to go out the back door, Mr. Craig said, “Is that  bird trying to get into that bird house?”  Mrs. Craig looked and saw the backend of a bird with its wings flapping crazily seeming to try to get into the birdhouse.  “That sparrow is too fat to get into that little wren house hole,” said Mr. Craig.  Then they both realized the bird was stuck.  Now Mrs. Craig cannot stand to see anything suffer and she pleaded with Mr. Craig to try to get the bird unstuck.  “Oh, don’t pull his head off,” she cried as Mr. Craig began to pull and twist Buddy’s head around to try to get him loose.  Then he stuck his finger inside the hole and felt around and realized Buddy’s beak was wedged into the wood.  He popped it out and out popped Buddy.   Buddy flew to the ground and suddenly two big dogs were running after him. Would his troubles never end?

  Mr. and Mrs. Craig got the dogs under control and then tried to get Buddy to move where the dogs could not reach him.  He was too dazed yet to fly and felt kind of woozy, but he hopped like mad under the rhubarb leaves and sat there catching his breath.  Mrs. Craig was so happy he was okay.

  After he sat for a while, Buddy tried his wings and soon he was flying again.  He flew to find Betsy to tell her of his adventure and how he was saved by the humans.  But Betsy was not impressed.  “Where am I going to lay my eggs?” she cried.  Buddy spent the rest of the day searching for a home and at last he found the perfect little house and he and Betsy set up housekeeping in it and raised a family of four little chicks.  Also, Buddy went on a diet.

 True story except for the parts I made up.  The end.