Category Archives: The Chooks

Chickens in the House

When I was growing up, Daddy had a sick calf who would not drink milk from its mother.  It was winter and cold in the barn so Daddy brought the calf into the house. It laid on a blanket in the kitchen by our old wood burning stove.  Mother would try to feed it bottles of milk, but it became weaker and weaker and one day it died.  We were all sad about it, but that was life on the farm. Sometimes animals died.    We took each death personally.  Or, at least, I did.

Look what I got this week.

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Today I have chickens in the house. Baby chicks to be exact.  We brought in an old metal tub and put pine shavings in it and with their food and water, the chicks are surviving nicely.   It’s been very cold the last few days and I usually would have them out in my shop, but I was worried they would freeze even with the heat lamp on them.  They eat, well, like birds.  Constantly.  I fill their feeder twice a day.  It won’t be long before I will have to cage them as they are testing their boundaries and one day I’m afraid we will wake up with a baby chick running loose in our house.

This time I bought two Golden Laced Wyndottes,  one Buff  Orpington., one Black Orpington and two Barred Rocks.  I won’t be keeping them all.  I am raising some of them for my daughter who keeps chickens also.  That is, if I don’t get too attached to them. David said I shouldn’t name them, then, because I would have to keep them all.   I haven’t decided what to call them.  My present chickens’ names are Dorcas, Beatrice, Freedom, Phoebe, Penninah, and Ada. Maybe I will name them after the ladies in my Sunday school class. Hmmmmm.   Shannon, Janet, Linda, Donna, Marilyn and Mary Foster.    I wouldn’t have trouble remembering their names then!

I love watching the little chicks as they act like, well, chickens.  They preen and stretch their legs and eat and eat some more and sleep and grow.  They already are getting their pinfeathers.   I wonder what they think when I tower over them and talk to them?  When we first got them, they would go into panic mode and try to hide behind the feeder or water jar.  Now they just kind of stand there and just look at me.  I pick them up and talk to them to get them use to me.   I don’t want my chicks afraid of me since I need to check them out for anything wrong.

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Aren’t they cute?

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Little. white, fluffy bottoms.

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“You lookin’ at me?”

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Fast asleep under the heat lamp.  The striped one is a Golden Laced Wyndotte. Isn’t she beautiful?

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Barred Rocks.  I just want to hold them and pet them.

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There are so many different kinds of chickens.  If we lived on a farm, I would try one of every sort.   I wanted some that laid blue eggs, but I chose these instead.  Their eggs will all be brown.  And delicious.

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Around the watering hole.  They eat and drink so much for such tiny creatures.  I fill their feeder twice a day and change their water once or twice a day.   They are growing fast. Next week they will be moved out to my shop and into a bigger cage until they are ready to join the other chickens.

I got this the other day when David and I were out antiquing.  It caught my eye and looked like something I would have loved to have had when I was a girl.

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A sewing kit.

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Inside were patterns for  “dolly” dresses,

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a plastic doll with dresses already cut out. I wonder who was the little girl who played with this?

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These cards were in the box.  I don’t think they were part of the original sewing kit.

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These were Disney button sewing cards.  Sew buttons on the balloon areas.  There was also thread in the kit.  I may make copies of the patterns and save the originals and try making some dresses for the doll.  I loved playing with dolls when I was a girl despite the fact I was a real tomboy.   I remember getting some tiny dolls on a trip we took that Mother bought at a little store along the way and she said I played and played with them the whole trip.  This doll reminds me of them.

Well, I must get some more feed for the chicks.   Between them, the chickens and the wild birds we feed, I am kept busy filling feeders.

Here’s to baby chicks and sewing kits. Bye.

 

 

This is Retirement?

I don’t think David and I thought very much about retirement when we were younger.  We were just trying to make a living and raise our three children and keep food on the table.  I always heard that retirement was the time when one could kick back and relax.  Do some traveling.  People picture Grandmas and  Grandpas sitting on the porch, Grandma with knitting in her hands.  Well, a little of that happens around here, but we evidently didn’t get the message about how to behave when retired.

It seems we are busier than ever.  Work just as hard and the days go by much, much more quickly. Here it is, June already.  Where did May go?  I spend most of my days outside in the garden or taking care of the chickens and playing with the dogs.  Between laundry, cooking, cleaning, and other household chores, I keep pretty busy.  I don’t know how our ancestors did it without all the labor saving devices we have now.  My great-great-great grandmother had to heat the water for the laundry, wash everything on a washboard, hang the clothes outside, weather permitting, iron all the clothes and by the time she was done with that, it was time to start all over.  She did this while raising a garden, canning enough food to get the family through the winter, cooking every single meal, and raising a family.  Whew.  I get tired just thinking about it.  I can stick a load of clothes in the washer, go outside, and when I come in, the clothes are washed.  It almost seems like a miracle to me.  But I see miracles in a lot of things.   Not all that long ago if you had leftovers, you had to get out pans and heat them on the stove and then you would have all the pans to wash afterward. Now, with the microwave, we can fill up a plate with leftovers, heat it for a few minutes and have a good, hot meal, almost as good as the original you cooked before.  Miracle.

But I got off subject. I do that all the time.  Here are a few things that we have been doing the last few weeks.

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We celebrated Memorial Day, a day to remember our fallen soldiers and also to remember loved ones who have died.  David’s grandmother always called it Decoration Day because it was the day she always took flowers and decorated the graves of family members.

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I fix a pot of grass for the chickens every once in a while.  They need their greens, too.

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“What are you looking at?  Can’t we eat without being disturbed?”

I’ve become a sock model.

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Why do I always have a bruise on my shins?

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See that pie safe in the background?  I took that step ladder there and climbed up to see if it needed dusting on top.  Well, since I  haven’t dusted up there in years, I found a dust storm up there.  I was a little amazed, thinking I kept a pretty clean house and there was such a dusty place almost right over my nose.  I took everything off it, washed what I could to include several American flags I had in a can.  I scrubbed the top three times until I felt like it was clean enough.  Now it’s good for another ten years!  I reckon if I looked hard enough, I could find several dusty places in my house, but I’m not going to look too hard.  The thing about dust.  It will always be there.  It won’t go away on its own.  I read one time that we could have the dust from the first Adam’s body in our dust bunnies under our beds because dust travels all over the world.  Maybe I have Moses under my bed or maybe Christopher Columbus.    If so, they will be quite safe there as I don’t like to dust all that much unless I really feel like it.

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We had sixteen people here for dinner the other day and the kids all played in the pool. I love having lots of kids in the pool.  They had so much fun.  Besides that, they stir up all the stuff on the bottom of the pool and that actually helps to clean it.   And the water definitely was stirred.

David and I have eaten at a couple of different restaurants lately.  One was called Stone’s Family Restaurant in Mihousen.  The food was so-so, but it was worth the trip to eat the fried biscuits and apple butter.  We could have made a meal out of those.  The restaurant is in this little off the beaten path town time has forgot.   We drove several back roads to get there and the scenery was so pretty.  I don’t think any place is prettier than Indiana in Summer.

The other one was in the little town of Vernon.  Vernon hosts a town wide garage sale every Labor Day weekend.  There are yard sales all the way along the highway to Vernon. We went one year and there was just about everything for sale, plus there were vendors selling their wares.   We have eaten at this restaurant before.  Really good food.

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We missed the Karaoke.

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This is what it looks like on the outside.  Nothing special, but I don’t think I have ever had as good fish as I did there.   It was done to perfection.  Not greasy and not fishy tasting.

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We ate there on the way back from this place.  Streamcliff Farm.  A nursery, winery that was having a flower sale.  I was not going to buy anymore flowers this year. But…..

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Of course, I did.  You took a little red wagon through the greenhouses to pick up your plants.

I bought several perennials and a rhubarb plant. By the way, our rhubarb has done wonderfully this year.  I have several packages of it frozen so that in the middle of the winter, we can have rhubarb pie and think of Spring.

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The plants sold here are so healthy and big.  I don’t know what kind of fertilizer they use,  but the plants sure do flourish.

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There are little gardens everywhere.  I wonder what it is like to wake up every morning and know all this is yours and you can walk through it anytime?

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Fish in the fishpond. Everyone needs a garden they can escape to whether it’s on several acres or on the rooftop of a city building.

There was a man there playing  and singing Johnny Cash songs and he sounded just like him!

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Man in black.  I love Johnny Cash songs.  He was a great song writer and singer.

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This is what I have been doing today.  David is replacing the fence boards along one side of our back yard so I decided to stain them.  There will be hundreds. Today I stained forty some.  He went and bought some more and some more stain, so guess what I will be doing tomorrow.

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David put up the original fence about twenty-five years ago.  It’s held up pretty well, but it’s time to be replaced.

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Just so they won’t think I have forgotten them, here’s the puppers.  Always watching for me to come out.  Playmate, come out and play with me, and bring your dollies three, climb up the apple tree.  Look down the rain barrel, slide down the cellar door.  And we’ll be jolly friends, forevermore.  My mother use to sing that song to me.

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Molly looks like she has a big cigar in her mouth.

Hope you are having a wonderful Summer(or Winter in some parts of our world.)  Soon the longest day will come and the days will start to shorten again.  It never changes.  Bye.

 

Where Did Last Week Go???

Where did last week go?  For that matter, where did the month of January go?  January use to be my least favorite month, but through the years I have grown fond of long winter days, making things in my shop, sleeping in late in a toasty warm bed, baking and cooking comfort foods, and feeding the birds.  January and I have grown rather fond of each other.

but January sped by this year like every month seems to speed by nowadays.  This was what happened at our house last week.

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I gave our living room a fresh coat of paint.  Through the years  I have painted every room in our house at least three times or more.  I love to paint although climbing up and down the ladder is a little harder than it use to be.

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The room was a light sage green and now it’s a sort of pinkish brown.  A few years ago I painted our bedroom and wanted a soft, darker pink.  It turned out Pepto Bismo pink.  We lived with it.  While painting with this color, I got some on my arm and looked at it and thought, ‘Ah, calamine lotion.”  So now I have a calamine lotion painted room, but I rather like it. It looks really well alongside the grayish diningroom.  We shall live with it.

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This painting looks really good on the wall.

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The fireplace mantle stands out better.  I am getting use to it.

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We had the wolf moon.  I almost missed it, but I got up earlier than usual last Sunday and saw it just before it set in the west.

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I love full moons.  They say people go a little crazy during them, but they have never bothered me.

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I have almost knit to the heel of another sock.  Now I will have to change to double pointed needles to knit the heel flap and then the dreaded heel turn.  I will have to try this when no one is around, all phones must not ring, the light must be just right, I must be well rested and alert, the moon must be in the right phase and nothing, but nothing must disturb me or the stitches will fall off the needles like they did the last time and I tore out the whole sock.  How did someone figure out how to knit the very first sock ever?  How did they teach themselves to turn a heel?  It boggles my mind that someone did it for the very first time without any instructions.  I have instructions, and it still boggles my mind!

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Finished piecing my chick quilt top.  It turned out even cuter than I though it would.

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I could make another one of these, it was so much fun.  It will get quilted soon.

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Today I finished piecing a basket quilt.  This was another really fun one, but oh, so many little pieces.

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I love every piece of fabric in this quilt.

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Of course, I continue to feed the birds.  They are a continuous source of joy for me.  Every time I see a titmouse or chickadee I just have to smile.

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Today I was keeping an eye on this cardinal in the crabapple tree.  She sat there for the longest time watching the other birds at the feeder.

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I kept trying to get a good picture.

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This is the best I could do.  The sun was shining on her making her feathers seem to glow.

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Walking around the yard I noticed that bulbs were starting to sprout in the garden.

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This little bush has stayed this color all winter.

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I’ve been doing a little coloring in this book.

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I have ordered a tin of seventy-two colored pencils to make my pictures more enhanced.

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There is something rather relaxing about sitting down and coloring a picture.  I loved coloring when I was a little girl.  So glad that adult coloring books are in vogue right now.  I love working with the colors and shading and trying to pretend I am an artist.   I saw in Sam’s Club the other day there was a Donald Trump coloring book.  We had our grandsons with us and one of them wanted one, but I said his mother would kill me if I bought him one!  But I thought it was funny.  He got a book, instead.

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I’m beginning to write stories about my two younger grandsons called “The Adventures of Tristan and Foster.”  I have several ideas for stories.  They always want me to make up stories about them when they visit, so I thought I would try my hand at writing some for them.

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We lost Abigail this week.   David went out to make sure they were in the coop and she was laying out in the garden.  No feathers around, no blood.

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We had been getting these really long skinny eggs lately and I was thinking one of the hens must have something wrong with her egg canal.  Since Abigail died, we haven’t got anymore of these eggs so I think she got bound up with an egg.  So sad.  That happens sometimes with chickens.  They can look really healthy, but have an egg stuck inside them and it kills them.

Besides all of this there’s been church going, cookie baking, roll making, grandboys visiting, laundry doing, book reading, dog playing, chicken feeding, Bible study planning, David’s birthday celebrating, and much more.  I haven’t been to the hair dresser for months.  I need a cut and color, but I keep putting it off.  I am getting so lazy in my old age.  Just love staying at home and doing at home things.  I feel blessed.  Bye.

 

 

 

Flowing Along

My very favorite month, April, came and went so quickly I hardly had time to turn around.  I wait for twelve whole months for the flowering crabapple to bloom and the lilacs to come out and now they are all almost gone.

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Now it’s time for peonies,

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and irises,

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and snowball bushes.  I have planted three more of these.  This one came from David’s grandmother’s garden years ago.

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Right outside our back door so we can see it as soon as we get up in the morning.

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The garden is almost all planted. Pumpkins, Indian corn, sunflowers are planted and tomato plants and cucumbers will be planted today.  I have cut back on vegetables and added more flowers.

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Our little patch of rhubarb has provided us plenty for pies.

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So yummy.

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I made this sponge cake for the Bible study that meets at my house.  It took eight eggs which made me thankful we raise chickens.  One of my friends made cucumber and egg salad sandwiches so I said we were having high tea.  It was all good.

Speaking of eggs, or, rather those that lay them.

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The hens give me endless entertainment.  Abigail is looking at me as if to say, “Why does Colonel Sanders get away with murdering all those chickens?”    Shhh, don’t tell her I love Colonel Sander’s fried chicken.

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This is chicken scratch, or as I like to call it, chicken crack.  The hens are addicted to this stuff.  They recognize the bowl in which I bring it to them.

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See, they are all crammed against the gate waiting for the crack.

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I set the bowl on top of their nesting boxes and first one hopped up.

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Then two.  Beatrice and Dorcas are always first in line.

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Then there were three.  Abigail came up for her fix.

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Then Ada says, “Where’s mine?”  It was getting crowded so I began to throw it all over their pen.  Chickens are funny.  They can be eating in one place with plenty of food, but if they see another one eating at a different place, they all run there.  I like to play games with them.

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First here.

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Then there.

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Then all in one place for a short while.

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Ada was not happy with me taking pictures.

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She disappeared behind the door.  She is so pretty.  She should be posing.

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Teal feathers are really standing out.  From afar she looks all black and then you see these feathers.

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Abigail has such pretty markings too.  There are so many kinds of chickens and I wish I could  have one of each, but my little plot of land could not sustain them.

Speaking of dogs.  Oh, I wasn’t?  I saw in the paper that there were chocolate lab puppies for sale.  David thought I was just kidding when I told him and told him I wanted one.  But, alas, I cannot have a fourth puppy.

We are still trying to raise this little lady to be a good, well behaved dog.

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What is this, you are asking?  This is a clean, fresh t-shirt that I put on one morning and went outside to start the day.  What you are seeing is Molly’s paw print, in perfect  outline, smack dab in the middle of my nice clean shirt.  Such is life when you have a puppy.  I have taken to wearing aprons when I go outside to protect my clean clothes.

Here’s to crack eating chickens and dog printed t-shirts.  Bye.

 

Textiles and Me Part2

Yes,  I love textiles.  There is something about walking aisles of fabric stores looking at all the beautiful fabrics, feeling their softness and silkiness.  There are fabrics for every taste, every color in the rainbow.  I feel the same way about yarns although I don’t use yarns very often.

Since Spring is coming(I hope) and I don’t plan on spending time in my shop sewing when the weather is warm, I have been sewing up a storm the last few weeks. I found fabrics I had forgotten I had and brought out some of the fabrics I purchased recently and began sewing.

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This is a skirt I just finished.  I paired it up with a little bolero jacket I made a couple of years ago.

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I used a handkerchief for its pockets.

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I made this skirt and paired it with a top I bought last year and a shrug I bought several years ago.   I love going through my closet and finding things I haven’t worn for a long time and find they go with something else.  I like wearing shrugs or bolero jackets because I am five foot one and long jackets just don’t look good on me.   I can’t believe I am five foot one. I feel about six inches taller.  Really.  But my doctor says that’s how tall I am so I can’t argue with him.

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This is the dress I wrote about a while back.  The one that I am not sure I like how it fits.  It may be because I am not used to wearing fitted dresses or fitted anything for that matter. I will buy clothes one and two sizes too big because I can’t stand anything close to my body.  This little bolero jacket is kind of a different shape also.  We shall see how much I wear this.  I love the fabric though.

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I just fell in love with this fabric.  Kind of wish I had made another skirt from it.  Maybe I will do some changing to the dress later.

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I put the quilt I hand quilted on our bed this week for warm weather.  Then it got cold again.

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I made these pillow cases from feed sack material.  I told David these are just for show as I don’t think these would hold up to washing after washing.  I do love how they go with the quilt.

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This is what I am wearing Easter Sunday.  I am also wearing a hat. I want to start a hat revolution.  Too many women tell me they don’t think they look good in hats.  I think it’s just because when they wear a hat, they are usually the only one wearing one and feel like everyone is looking at them.  If more would wear hats, then no one would think anything about it.  As it is now, if I wear a hat, someone always says something about it because it is a rarity.  I love hats and want to see them come back.  My mother had so many hats.  One day I will show you some of them which I have, of course.  I also have a little hat I wore when I was a little girl.

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I’m loving my purse.  This pattern is so easy.

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Now I will talk about Miss Molly Marshmallow.  Look at what she is doing to poor Bonnie.  Sitting on her head.  I know it’s a sign of dominance, but I wish Bonnie would bite her on the behind just once.  This is how she sits.   Like a queen on her throne.  David and I have been seriously talking about changing her name to Termite because this dog eats wood.  She brings up whole logs from the wood pile and gnaws through them.  She pulls branches off trees and chews them.  And I told you about the big hole she chewed into our house almost clear through to the inside.  David was not a happy camper about that and words like, “That dog is gong to find itself in a new home,” to ” Something has to be done about that dog,” were being said.  I was close to tears.  But, David repaired the hole and so far, Molly has not chewed the house anymore.  I think she may have heard what David was saying.  She is getting spayed in a week and I am hoping that will settle her down a bit.  Poor baby.

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Here are two eggs David gathered today. See the little one?  See the jelly bean?  What in the world happened with that chicken???  Smallest egg we have gotten since the hens all started laying.  Must have been a bad day.

Here’s to fabric, dog sitting dogs and tiny eggs.  Life is always interesting. Bye.

Antiquing, Wood and Eggs(or AWE)

I couldn’t think of a clever heading to this post so this is what I came up with.  We have done some antiquing, mainly because I wanted to get out of the house and go somewhere besides the grocery store or church.  I have to get out every few days or I will turn into a pumpkin or something.

Wood first.  Many years ago when our children were young, we use to burn firewood in a wood stove in our living room to help keep our old house warm.  We had an old antique furnace that I think was put in during the fifties and it wasn’t all that efficient.  Earth stoves were sold back then.  They were very efficient little stoves.  People who had them would brag about how long they would burn with one stick of wood.  Someone told us that he put a leaf in his Earth stove and it burned all night.  I think he was pulling our leg.  If you burn wood, you have to get it from somewhere.  You either buy it by the rick or cord or you go out in the woods and cut your own.  Back then we cut our own.  David worked at Camp Atterbury at the time and got permission for us to cut downed trees in the camp.  We had an old beat up red truck that I loved and we all piled into the front seat(we couldn’t do that today) and drove to the camp on cool Autumn days and searched for trees that had fallen down.  The children would play while David cut the wood and I helped him throw it into the back of the truck.  When we got the truck loaded, we brought the wood home and had to restack it again.  I read somewhere once that cutting your own wood warms you three times, when you cut the wood, when you stack the wood and when you burn the wood.  It’s true.

When I was growing up on the farm, we burnt wood and coal oil.  There was a big black wood stove in the kitchen and it was the warmest room in the house.  Getting up on a frigid winter morning and coming down from your frigid bedroom into a toasty warm kitchen smelling of coffee and  food was heaven.  It was a warm oasis in the wintry weather.  I always felt cozy in the kitchen in the winter and Mother always had something good to eat prepared.

We cut down a big maple tree in our side yard this Autumn and David planned to split all the wood.  I really thought it would take him all winter, but he finished the job this past week.

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There is a lot of wood there.  Our son-in-law and one of our sons plan on getting some of this and the rest we will burn in our fire pit.  There are three giant pieces left that David said he will have to work on.  One of them I plan to make into a garden table.

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My man cut up more wood we had laying around the yard this week.

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Our older son gave him this saw at Christmas and it has really come in handy.  We cleaned up a lot of wood in the yard and have it neatly stacked now.

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We love burning wood in our fire pit.  I love the smell of burning wood and it was nice having the warmth while we worked outside.  Our dogs like to lay around the fire too.

Antiquing.  We took a day out and went out to eat and found a really nice antique mall in Bloomington.  There was so much there and I found a few things.

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Feed sacks.  I don’t often buy feed sacks because I think they are a little too expensive for what you get, but I fell in love with these.  I got two of the grandmother’s flower garden ones.  I am thinking of making pillowcases from them.

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A pretty Spring tablecloth.  I already have plans for a ladies’ tea with pretty tablecloths on the tables.    On our big front porch.

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It’s funny, but almost a year ago to the day I bought a book by this author at another antique store.

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Jessamyn West is an author who was born in Indiana and the two books of hers I have are about a Quaker family during the Civil War and afterward.  Friendly Persuasion was made into a movie starring Gary Cooper.  I love that movie and watch it every time it’s on tv.

Eggs.  Okay, my hens are laying sporadically right now because of the cold weather, but we still are getting enough for us and some to give away.  One of our hens is laying gigantic eggs  and I know it’s not the biggest hen because I found an egg under her that is rather small. I wish I could find out who. She deserves some extra chicken crack( I call the chicken scratch chicken crack because they go crazy over it.)  Here is the giant one compared to the regular sized egg,

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They are big eggs and heavy, too.  I say my chicken eggs taste like butter and they do.

Here’s to AWE.  Bye.

I’m Here

Oh, I just want to have some time to upload some pictures and get some things written down here.  I have been sewing my fingers to the nubbins and baking and decorating and taking the dogs walks and trying to throw some feed and water at the chooks as I pass by.  My hens haven’t had a lot of my time lately.  When I go out in their yard they all surround me and you should hear the clucking, tsking, and garbled talking.  I actually thought I heard a word come out of one of their beaks the other day.  I looked at her and said, “Penninah, what did you say?” and she just kept clucking up a storm.  I heard a bird last summer as it was swooping down and I felt like I was Snow White and the bird said something to me. It was really weird.  I am sure you are thinking I am weird, but I know what I heard.

Anyway, I cannot believe Christmas is just four days away.  Is it earlier this year?  Seems there was no time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I want to grasp the meaning of the season and keep it close for a while.  I watched the Mormon Tabernacle choir’s Christmas special the other day and it was amazing and really was filled with the true Christmas spirit.   On the same channel there was a story about Handel and how he came to write the Messiah.  I have never heard the entire thing.  I have sung in a choir that sang the Halleluhah chorus and have heard it many times, but there is so much more to Handel’s Messiah.  It is the story of the Christ and why he came to earth and died for us all.   Handel gave proceeds from some of his concerts to pay the debts of those in debtor’s prison.   He paid the debts he did not owe for them who owed and could not pay.  Sounds exactly like what Jesus  did for us on the cross.  He paid our sin debt so that when we die, we won’t have to pay it.  We all have sinned.  Not one of us gets out of this life without sinning.  A tiny babe comes into the world wanting only what it wants.  Unless it is shown the proper path, it will continue a lifetime of sin because of its sinful nature.  That is how we all are born.  But Jesus paid our sin debt.  That is why we sing Halleluhah to Him.

Speaking of animals and birds talking, when I was a little girl I heard a story about how the animals talk at midnight on Christmas Eve.  I always wanted to go out to the barn and hear if our cows, pigs or dogs were talking to one another.  What if I go out to the chicken coop this Christmas Eve and peek in on the girls and maybe I will hear a conversation that is going on like this….” Well, did you see the egg Ada laid today.  What a show off.  She thinks she’s better than all the rest of us because her eggs are larger than ours.”  Another hen will answer, “Now, Jemimah, it’s Christmas and we should love one another and just try harder to lay bigger eggs ourselves.”  In which Abigail will pitch in, ” Would you ladies please stop your talking?  I’m trying to roost over here.”  Phoebe will laugh and say, “Hey, it’s the only night of the year we can speak.  Too bad there isn’t any humans out here to hear us.”  I will be giggling softly to myself as I listen to them, thinking I need to teach them some grammar.  Then suddenly Freedom, being the watcher and protector of them all screeches, “Zip your beaks, ladies, we have company!” and suddenly  all becomes quiet in the chicken coop.  Anyway, that is what I imagine I would hear. Then I would walk back to the house and suddenly my dogs would start singing Christmas carols to me.  Now that would be a fun Christmas Eve!

My next post will have pictures and I still have that story about Christmas when I was a little girl.  Hope you are getting things wrapped and baked and visiting with family and friends, but  save a little time to give to the babe who was born two thousand years ago just for us.  Bye.

Excitement at the Coop and a Frazzled Hen

If you have read my blog for very long, you know I have chickens.   I love my chickens.  Their names are Dorcas,  Beatrice, Phoebe, Freedom, Penninah, Jemima, Abigail and Ada.  I take very good care of my girls.  They are a little spoiled.  If I open the back door, they come running to the garden gate to wait for their treats.  Treats being leftover salad, pumpkins, sunflower seeds, bread(they go wacko over bread),  or anything leftover from meals that the dogs won’t eat.

I check them once or twice a day to be sure they have water and feed in the feeder.  Every night David goes on chicken patrol to be sure all the hens are on their roost.  They are usually in their house before the sun is completely set.  But tonight, one of them was missing.  Abigail, the Silver Laced Wyndotte.  The most beautiful chicken I have.  Where was she?

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David took a flashlight and began looking for her.  In every tree, over the neighbor’s fence(if she had escaped the yard we might never find her), all over the yard.  I put on a coat and got a flashlight and began to look too.  I looked behind and under and on top of everything in the yard and garden.  I rechecked the chicken coop to be sure we hadn’t missed her.  I couldn’t believe how awful I felt that Abigail might be lost to us forever.  This makes me think of a story in the Bible about Jesus looking for the lost sheep.  That lost sheep was so important to Him he left the others to go and find it.  That is what I was doing with that lost chicken.   Then, I said a little prayer.  I said, “Dear God, please help us find Abigail.   She won’t survive the night outdoors.”   Then I looked some more and then I looked behind a piece of lumber in the chicken coop and there she was.  She had flown between the shed and the fence and gotten wedged in and couldn’t get out.  Her wing was caught in the fencing.  She must have been there for quite a while and put up quite a struggle because she looked frazzled and almost dead.  In fact, I thought she was dead for a second.  My heart dropped. Then David touched her and she clucked.  He had to pull her out and if a chicken could scream, she sounded like it.  She was tramatized I could tell.

David placed her on the roost in the coop.  She was breathing so hard and was all fluffed up and her head hung down.  Poor girl.  Chickens have a way of beating another chicken when it’s down and Freedom hopped up on the roost and started picking on Abigail.  I brushed her off the roost and told her she better leave Abigail alone.

This is the first time I thought I had lost one of my hens and I realized I am entirely too attached to them.  My dad never mourned a dead chicken.  If one got eaten by a pig he’d just say, ” The pigs got another chicken,” and take a big bite out of the chicken leg he was eating.   If he found one dead in the chicken yard he would throw it over the fence to the pigs.

Speaking of chickens, I have been cooking one all day to make broth to make chicken and dumplings for Thanksgiving.  I didn’t know this particular chicken so I don’t feel bad about eating it.

Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving and give thanks to the One who provides all we need.  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.

Road Trip

Before I tell you about the road trip David and I took yesterday, I have a few things to show you that are going on around our house.

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Molly is holding her own with the big dogs. As you can see here, she is not at all intimidated by Belle, even when Belle barks right in her face.  She hangs out with Bonnie and Belle pretty much all day now.  She doesn’t like being in the shop.  She wants to be where the action is.   I love her little tail that curls over her back.  This is her, “you’re not scaring me,” stance.

We are training Molly to walk around the pool, not get in it.  So far, so good. She walks right up to the edge and then walks away.  I still cage her at night as I am afraid she will fall in the pool and get drowned.

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The birds are busy eating sunflowers. I am going to plant more next year.  We have had dozens of birds including several pairs of goldfinches eating on the sunflowers.

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See the chickadee at the bottom of the picture?   It’s hard to get their picture as they grab a seed and fly off to peck it to get the good insides.

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I believe this is a female goldfinch as she is not as bright yellow.

While sitting at my sewing machine in my girly room I saw a lot of action on the top of my shop.  Cardinals were going in and out of the  gutter getting seeds or bugs or something.  Then I saw this one.

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A rather henpecked orange cardinal.  Yes, it was orange against the reds of the other cardinals.  I think this may be a young one. He looked kind of sad.

Then another critter came to eat.

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There must have been something really good in the gutter to make all these birds and squirrels come to dine.

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“You lookin’ at me?”

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Chomp, chomp, chomp.

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David and I took a road trip.  We headed to Danville to eat at a special restaurant I had read about.

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We landed in Mayberry at the Mayberry Cafe.

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Barney’s police cruiser sat outside ready for him to jump in to catch another criminal.

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All the televisions inside the cafe ran Andy Griffith shows continuously.  The food was good too.

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We sat at Opie’s booth.

We walked around the town square and saw this little guy.

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While driving to Danville we went through Bargersville and Mooresville.  We found a couple of really good antique stores. Did I buy anything?    What do you think?

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I found this cute chalkware chick and a child’s old watering can.  I  will use these for Easter decorations next Spring.  Never too early to plan, you know.

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We stopped at this antique store and it was full of treasures.

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I got two yards of this beautiful fabric for four dollars.  A good deal.  It’s already hanging out on the line drying after I rinsed it to get the dyes set.

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I collect American flags and found this 48 star flag at a very good price.  I have several 48 star flags and one 49 star flag which is kind of hard to find as the 49 star flag wasn’t around very long.  Some day I am going to hang all my flags all around my house outside just to see how many I have.

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I have never been in Avon and we were passing through and I saw this quilt shop and we had to stop.

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I just got a few pieces for a quilt I am working on right now.

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We so enjoyed our drive on the back roads of Indiana. My state is so beautiful in the summer even though it is so hot.  Everything looks lush and green.

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The fields are getting ripe for harvest.  It is said our corn crop is great this year.  I am glad for the farmers and I hope they fill their barns and silos and make a good profit on their crops because some years can be very poor for farmers.  We have had just enough rain to make everything grow well.

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It saddens me that the old wooden barns are disappearing from the landscape.  Someone said once that most children don’t even know what a haymow is.  It’s to store the hay.  It was a great place to play when I was a girl.  It’s where mother cats hid their kittens among the hay bales.  It’s where you swung from the hay hook suspended high above. The hay hook that would hook the bails of hay and then they would be swung into the haymow.  I have so many happy memories of the haymow on my daddy’s farm.  We played basketball up there also when there wasn’t hay in the way.

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I will leave you with a picture of the calendar I bought the other day.   Everyone should keep chickens.  I highly recommend it.  Bye.