Thursday, August 28, 2008

Confessions and 100th Post

So today, without even noticing, I missed one of my favorite weekly activities: Word Filled Wednesday. I thought that the ONE time I missed it, on accident (NOT while on vacation - the away from home kind of vacation) that nobody would notice. Heck, I barely batted an eye. After all, it was just once. But today (and I know, technically it was YESTERDAY) I missed it completely!

I just now remembered. And it's Thursday already. Well, 59 minutes into it (give or take). Come to think of it, the garbage was supposed to go out to the street last night, because not only is Wednesday a WORD filled day, but it's also garbage day. We missed that too. I say WE, because I'm generally not the one to take the rolling cart to the edge of the road in the middle of the night (unless Mr Nice Guy is hospitalized and I'm feeling sorry for him), I'm just the one who nags gripes reminds gently. I guess that explains it then. I missed my cue! I'm so not to blame for this. I mean, really...

I keep telling myself that next week everything will be back to NORMAL. The kids are headed back to school (thank you JESUS!) and even my youngest will spend a few hours away from his blissfully free lonely Mommy.


Here's how my week will look in the near future:

ON MONDAY: The children will arise to the heavenly smell of baking biscuits, which they will devour with blackberry honey and any number of freshly picked fruit or berries from our surrounding gardens. Juice or milk, whichever they desire, will flow freely into their nice clean glasses and bacon (turkey, of course) will tease their tastebuds into a delightful sense of awakefulness as will the farm fresh eggs cooked to order. Coordinating outfits laid out on the floor in "kid" shapes the night before will be put upon freshly washed bodies. Hair combed neatly. Teeth brushed squeaky clean. Lunches packed before I went to bed early the evening before will be taken from the refrigerator and placed in the well organized backpacks. Spiffy new jackets will adorn my four precious youngsters as they wave goodbye to me while I stand on the front porch in my workout gear and my new pair of Nike's. My second cup of coffee in hand, and my granola breakfast and banana eaten, I make my way to our "workout room" and spend 20 minutes on my stationary recumbent bike. What a great feeling... I haven't seen my bike since last Christmas.


By FRIDAY:

The kids wake up to the sound of me hollering for the umpteenth time to get up or miss the bus and by the way I'm not driving them because it's nice weather and they can walk themselves to school. They trudge to the kitchen, the eldest child pours them all huge bowls of chocolate covered sugar bombs into somewhat clean bowls and dribbles over them whatever was left at the bottom of the milk carton. After pouring drinks, one of them will inevitably knock a cup of of juice over on the table, where they will then all proceed to watch as it spills off onto the floor in slow motion. Then they will all get up, walk through the juice and slop their way into the bathroom where they will yank a brush only halfway through their hair, making sure to leave more hair in the sink than on their heads. Then one by one, they will put a toothpasteless toothbrush in their mouths, if they remember to actually pick one up, and then proceed smoosh it around on their gums for six seconds. After that, they will spend a great deal of time bickering over whose brush is whose, and someone will end up crying that their hair things are in the wrong place and SOMEONE STOLE THEM. My youngest will retrieve his toothbrush from the toilet, where it fell in the commotion, and he will gingerly place it where his sisters toothbrush belongs, and they will all proceed to get dressed.

After looking in the dryer seven times for a matching pair of socks, an executive decision is handed down that all children will be wearing summer sandals as a special surprise for the day. Much huffing and whining takes place as they go to the deck to knock the beach sand from their sandals and then finish getting dressed. The sandals fit exceptionally well now that their feet have a sticky coating from who knows what. There is good news. Stripes and florals, accompanied by plaids are perfectly acceptable now, especially when it's all you've got left in the closet, so we got off easy. The bad news is that one son has no clean underwear and he's scratching at himself rather curiously. I stop to ponder when he got his last bath, but the date escapes me.

The school bus is heard coming down the next road, so I hysterically begin handing out backpacks and signing forgotten permission slips. As my son wanders around looking for his lunchbox, I steer him out the door with the others and sweetly tell them that they had lunch money left over from last year so as a treat they can buy lunch at school. They wave at me as I throw their jackets at them on their way down the drive. Good Bye. Have a nice day. I love you!

I slam the door quickly so the bus driver won't have to see my t-shirted, bra-less, medusa-haired horror show and the pup-tent sized pajama pants that are the fashion mistake of the century. I open the door back up a tiny sliver, just to make sure they actually GOT on the bus and that none of them were crying, and then I heave a giant sigh of relief. I walk back through the kitchen, curse the coffeemaker that has 3 day old grounds sitting in the filter and make a detour for the "workout room". Mysteriously, the recumbent bike has gotten lost under the avalanche from Mt. Washmore. Who's idea was it to shove excercise equipment in my laundry room anyway?? As if!

So, defeated and exhausted, I head to my cozy oversized recliner, pull up a laptop, and hunt down my favorite blogs. It's probably all I need to get me up and going for the day. I'm thinking that my "getting up and going" will happen sometime around 3:30 in the afternoon, when I hear that school bus coming down the next road, but that's our little secret.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Life (Lately) in Pictures

Things are keeping me really busy. Life. It's all get up and go around here. Honestly, it's not so busy that I can't blog, just so busy that I don't know where to start! So, I've decided to catch you all up with a long line of some of my favorite photos from the last week and a half.

First, it's all about the chickens. They take all my time. These pretty sisters were only day old chicks back in February.

They're all grown up now. Almost. And laying. So of course they need a new place to live.
NOBODY wants to lay eggs without posh resort-like surroundings.

Well, we're trying. Ok?



I'm also trying to keep up with this garden. We got some FANTASTIC rain, and so now we have some FANTASTIC pigweed taking over. You can't tell in these photos, this was BEFORE the rain.

The 'maters are SO on.


And so, evidently, is the hair of the children of the corn.
Don't worry, I HAVE cut his hair since then.

CSI: Chicken Farm case CLOSED. Unfortunately, we found out it was our own dog performing the criminal acts. He has since taken 2 of our little girl chicks as well as the mother. *sigh* They are now orphans! But, they are turning into nice, well-behaved kid-handled birds. R.I.P. Momma Chicken. Thanks for bringing these sweet babies to us!

This has been the summer of reunions. Get-togethers with friends from near and far. Friends I haven't seen in as much as 25 years. I've also got to meet the KIDS of the friends I haven't seen. They are just like their parents. hehehehe!



These particular kids are the offspring of my ol' High School friends.
I also got to meet up with Bible College friends, Kindergarten friends, and even NEW friends!
I got to meet my new niece. (As you've already met in my previous post).

Ain't she just the sweetest?


She knows it.

Then Grandma went and made her unhappy.
It's ok little princess, Auntie will make it all better.



Yeah right. Like I can make any kid miraculously turn into a happy person without a huge bag of candy. Or ice cream. That works too.

Speaking of kids. This young man is not a kid anymore.



Well, he still is to me. When you used to babysit someone, they are always a kid in your eyes.



Gorgeous Bride
Happy Groom
Even Happier Parents that it's all over

Man, what a great photo opportunity - I got lucky.

And... so did they.


Hahhahaa
Let's see... after the wedding, and time with family and friends, I went along to Boise to hang out with my husband's brother, his wife and their 2 boys.

My nephew is learning the violin.


So naturally, his mother is too.

Now I want to!

Wait, I'm sure we have time for one more picture!!

Nothin' sweeter than my OWN kids lovin' on a baby.
*sigh*

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Why I must take road trips

Because of this...


Do I really need to add to this post, or can you all get the idea that I Looooove my new little niece?? She's a ham, and I love her, and this trip was totally worth it.
I'd have MORE photos, if I hadn't left my memory stick STUCK in my laptop before I went to spend time with my family at a beeeeutiful wedding. I did get some pics, but they are affixed to the internal memory on my camera, which, I understand, can't come off unless I have the stinkin' USB cable! Arrgh! The misery of pictures taken prisoner by technology! No worries, it could be worse. I could have broken the whole BOX of canned beans in the back of my Suburban instead of just one big quart jar. (I know, where did THAT come from? You must have missed the last post). The road trip adventures continue!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

If trouble comes in threes, can we be done yet?

Road trips are fun! The last couple times we've ventured out of the house, we had our vehicles injured. And trust me, this time, as I was loading up the Suburban (that has yet to be fully repaired from getting whacked by a motorhome) I could tell that I was just a little bit on edge. This trip would be different. I wasn't going with Mr Nice Guy - the guy who can fix anything, can diagnose everything, and generally makes me feel over-confident in any vehicle we drive. The certificates that litter the wall of his office could make any ASE Certified Technician feel inferior. He's a car repair GOD - ok, so he's really REALLY good at what he does, and is very VERY rarely wrong.

But I stumped him. Yes I did.

I like to challenge my husband. Especially when I'm on the phone with him. I like to call him up and describe "thumping" noises, or "rattling" sounds. I baffle him. I always smell smoke when I make phone calls like that, because the little wheels in his brain have to go into overload just to try to understand what I'm saying, and at the same time keep the relationship from seizing up. It's probably two different gears in that brain of his, and they're going opposite directions.

Today, as I was rounding a curve and barreling cruising down a hill to approach Pendleton, Oregon I had a fleeting thought of the need to stop for fuel. Well, that fleeting thought flitted right away as a little bitty car with a couple of our friends from the fields entered the highway at a high rate of speed and swerved across all the lanes to join me in some sort of freeway-dance that only Nascar drivers could appreciate. As he slowed down right in front of my bumper and attempted the upcoming hill (because his car couldn't possibly pedal as fast as a big suburban full of people, people stuff and four BOXES of freshly canned grean BEANS can go with lots of momentum), I reacted by putting some serious muscle into my brake pedal and some major adrenaline onto my horn.

EGADS! That was a close call. I was SO careful - there was no way something bad was going to happen on this trip! Whoever was driving the getaway car in front of us, quickly took the next exit and disappeared into town somewhere. I just proceeded to take my adrenaline and focus it on keeping my eye on the road construction that we had to muddle through, and then what next? Oh wow, we only had about 85 miles left to go! Yessss! My fancy schmancy digital readout showed me I had 90 some miles left on my tank of gas, and it was a good thing, considering I forgot to stop and fuel up!

No worries, the next town was 40 miles away, and I still had an eighth of a tank. It was all good. Or so I thought.

I proceeded to start climbing HUGE hills. Then the corners got tight, the elevation increased, and the temperature hit a sweet 106 degrees. Wow. I'm pretty sure we passed one rig that was going 1/2 mph. I thought how fun that would be to get out and pretend to push. hehehehahaha

It was all fun and games until just before I hit the summit of the hill, my RPM's dove to about 1000 and the Suburban sputtered. It choked. It shimmied. It shook. I thought it died, but putting my foot into the gas kept it going forward, but only in what felt like first gear. Aaaargh! My friend that was traveling with me, was mid sentence and you know what? I just let her keep going. I told her later that I had no clue what she was saying, I just knew I had to squeeze between some reeeeeally slow trucks to get off the highway and FAST but I didn't want to freak anyone out. I just knew I didn't want to be stuck with a dead car, on an incline. A really STEEP incline. In the fast lane. People would laugh at me. They would probably blog about it. Was it not enough that I just avoided 2 farm workers in a getaway car? How about the mattress that fell off the boat in front of us that we avoided - we laughed at the guy who hit it, because he pushed it along for quite a ways, and now someone is blogging about it. A 60 mph mattress... now that is funny!

I turned on my hazard lights, squeezed between the heavy duty rigs, and pulled over. I admitted to my passengers that something was definitely wrong and did the "listen test". It's where you sit there and listen to your car, so that you can define the problem in the most technological terms imagineable and your technician will know what your problem is, send you get-well vibes, and then you'll be on your way. Welllll... that wasn't the case here. The listen was good - it gave me good words to tell my husband when I called him.





Shimmy

Shake

Bump bump

Blug blug blug
huhuhuhuhuh

Bump again


Yeah, you get it. Why couldn't he tell me what was wrong? I told him EXACTLY, in car-speak, what was going on! Poor guy, he probably felt really helpless. I told him I had plenty of fuel. But guess what? My little "automotive instructor wife" brain is getting to be SO smart! I asked, if he thought, that going up a steep incline, at very warm temps, with very little fuel, might make the vehicle THINK it was all out. Kind of like drinking a milkshake, with the straw at one side of the bottom of the cup, and then tipping it the other way. It sorta felt like that. Sucking up nothing but air and some bubbles.

The AAA guy was nice. I asked them to bring fuel just in case. And, a tow truck that could also carry five passengers. It only took an hour for them to get to us. An hour in ninety degree temps (thank goodness the 106 was over with!) The kids kept occupied. They argued, they smacked each other, they mouthed off to me, they threw rocks (not at each other) (not at me either) and just generally were annoyed at the fact there was no A/C and they were Soooo bored.

I called my husband again. Told him we had AAA on the way, and that he didn't need to worry about packing up to come rescue us. You WERE doing that, weren't you honey?

AAA brought a can of fuel, part of which they CHARGED us for (is that ok?) and guess what? That baby started right UP! Woot Woot! I was really happy that I ran out of gas. I think it was an honorable way to run out. After all, I still had some in the tank - it was CLEARLY not my fault.

But, just a note to other car owners. When on vacation, FILL YOUR TANK. Fill it BEFORE you climb big hills so your car won't think it's sucking an empty milkshake. Kind of like I am. Right now. Yum, I wish you were here. Then I wouldn't be laughing all by myself.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Word Filled Wednesday 1 Samuel 2:2

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday is to share the WORD through photo and a verse.




No person, no where, no how, need I say more?

I love this picture of this HUGE rock. It's one of the many scenes I got to enjoy on our Yosemite trip, and I was so amazed at the MASSIVE size of every rock formation. It was amazing, but nothing compared to the size of our God. Those mountains are but a speck in comparison to how big and how loving and how holy HE is.

Happy Word Filled Wednesday!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

On the Other Hand

It would make things SO much easier if the guy driving the other car, or should I say motorhome hadn't changed the story about how his inattentive driving led to an accident that caused damage to our Suburban.
On the other hand, we are EXTREMELY blessed to have auto insurance. We might only get stuck with $500 to pay instead of a couple thousand.
My life would have been lots less stressful if we hadn't hit a deer the other night and caused several thousand dollars more in damage to a DIFFERENT vehicle.
Oh the other hand, we have a very attentive body shop and insurance adjuster who took care of things within 24 hours of our call and now what happens next is up to us.

Farm life would be calmer if I didn't have four roosters (who I can't bear to eat) always making a racket and getting into my garden or duking it out with each other.
On the other hand, Backyardchickens.com has some wonderful members, and I am able to give one of my roos away to a home who really wants one - he'll be the only boy there! I'm thrilled!
Speaking of chickens, my garden keeps getting invaded, and those fluffybutts seem to be competing with me for who gets to the cucumbers first.
On the other hand, my chickens continually give me wonderful eggs, good company and there are more cucumbers than I can eat anyway.

My husband is really busy right now. He isn't going to make the trip to Idaho this weekend with me, and it makes me really sad. I wanted to spend time with him, I like him! I enjoy being with him and I hate being apart.
On the other hand, I am SO lucky that he gets the summers off, and I am also blessed that he spent several weeks with ONLY us, and not off doing things for his job. We got undivided attention, and he now deserves a few days to catch up on his projects (one of which, is MY new chicken house!)

I am really distraught about the condition of my house. It is a disaster. It's quite obvious that we've been spending many hours and sometimes days, away from the home. Someone complimented us the other day, on how our place always looked so nice when they drove by. I'd freak out right now if they needed to come inside for some reason!
On the other hand, I am continually AMAZED at how God has blessed us with the home we have, (even though it is quite small for the six of us) on the acreage we own, with the view we have. How did I get HERE? Now, if I could just stay IN the house more than 20 minutes at a time, maybe I could whip some of it back into shape before school starts. Or - maybe I'll do it after school starts, I'll be a stay at home Mom with no kids for four hours a day beginning September 2. And this, my friends, is why I don't homeschool. LOL

One last thing - I'm sort of sad at the amount of "friend time" that has been missing in my life lately. Being BUSY has kept me from the emailing, the instant messaging, the little tid-bits of time that kept me in touch with those that keep me sane.
On the other hand, I get to spend some really GOOD bits of time with some really GREAT friends in the next week. Not emails, but in PERSON. How fantastic is that?

Speaking of friends and sanity, Nancie from More than Conquerors has blessed me (and several others) immensely with not one, but TWO awards! I know Nancie from her contributions to Word Filled Wednesday. She is someone else whose words and images help keep me sane, and she's a wonderfully sweet person!
The first is the Sharing the Love Award. I, am passing this award to all of you who have posted comments to my blog.
The rules of this award are: SHARE THE LOVE!!! Share this award with all those blogs out there that you love. All the people who make you smile. All those that make you laugh. All those that make your day. All those that leave uplifting comments on your blog. **All I ask, is that you include a link to this post at Memoirs of a Mommy with the award and ask your recipient to do the same**

I was also given the Friendship Award!


Thank you friends! I'd like to pass this particular award on to ALL my blogging friends, because each one of you is so very special to me. I thank God every day for such a world full of wonderful people that God has put in my path.
Blessings to you!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Do we attract trouble?

It wasn't much over two weeks ago, we had our side view mirror sheared off by an oncoming CruiseAmerica motorhome that had decided our lane looked more inviting. Since then, we've taken our vehicle in to have an estimate done of the damages. It's not terrible, not much more than a couple THOUSAND dollars (which includes the $600 mirror we already replaced). It hasn't kept us from driving it around and it makes for an interesting conversation piece in the parking lot of the grocery store.

Yesterday, we decided to take our OTHER Suburban (you know, the one with the big "FOR SALE" sign in the window?) to the church because we're having a big whoop-de-do event today at a park instead of holding church services at the actual church building. Who's idea was this?

Anyhoo, we removed the back seat, folded down the middle seat, and are using the for sale Suburban as a transport vehicle for equipment. It's currently holding an entire drumset, all the microphones and the sound system, my keyboard, stand , bench and all that jazz, a case of bottled water, and guess what? It fits nicely. Today, my husband will be driving the for sale Suburban to the park - and will unload all that stuff and have it set up before I get there, in our other, banged up, but still useable newer (to us) Suburban that will haul children, lunch and lawn chairs. Are you still with me here? Again, I say - who's idea was this?

So - back to the trip home last night. We just took ourselves, as obviously, there was only two seats left in the for sale Suburban, and we loaded up all the STUFF, and proceeded to stop off at the local retail store for extra STUFF before we stopped for dinner at a place where I can get the most fantastic Chicken Parmigiano Pasta and Mocha Smoothie, and then headed for home. We always manage to turn church work into a pretty decent date night.

We got a couple miles out of town, on a dark road I like to call "Road Kill Highway" (which is a few miles from "Road Kill Lane" that has a lower speed limit) when out of nowhere this ginormous (it appeared to me) DEER leaps out from the side of the road. Well I had a millisecond more to think about this oncoming deer than the driver, because I saw it first (because it was on my side of the road) and I managed a snuffled GRUNT before Bryan saw it and reacted with all he could - which was to FLING his eyes open wide and hold onto the steering wheel tighter. The deer hit the front corner of the 50 mile an hour for sale Suburban, taking out the running lights before plowing across the fender, leaving a kiss mark on the windshield, removing the antenna, partially detatching the side view MIRROR from the frame of the vehicle (NOT ANOTHER MIRROR?!!!), breaking the glass ON the mirror, doing a pirouette and slamming into first the front door and then the back door and caving it in a couple inches while still managing to scratch through the paint with his 6 or 7 points and leaving some hair behind in all the door handles.

Now - I know what you're thinking. You're thinking OH MY GOSH. HOW can this happen to such a nice family? Ok, what you're actually thinking is OH NO!! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEER? OH MY GOODNESS, I HOPE IT WAS NOT LAYING THERE IN THE ROAD WRITHING AND CRYING OUT IN PAIN . Well, that's exactly what I was thinking too, and when I jumped out of the car looking for carnage I couldn't find any. Matter of fact we looked for over half an HOUR for that deer and could find no trace. I did find a couple of tracks down the other side of the ditch that looked fresh, but in soft gravel it could have been anything wandering through in the last day.

Nothing.

How could there be nothing? The kiss mark on the windshield was definitely not a shade that Covergirl sells, so it must have been "Deer Red". You would have thought there would have been some evidence (other than glass for a 100 feet) that proved we'd hit something. I am not sure what we do to attract stuff like this, but I think I'm a little grateful that nobody (other than an animal) has been injured lately. We have definitely been under the protection of our guardian angel (who's working overtime) this past month! Ok, I gotta admit, I'm a little bit nervous about driving to Idaho this week. Just a teensy bit.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Word Filled Wednesday - Psalm 100:5

The purpose of Word Filled Wednesday is to share the WORD through photo and a verse.



I have MISSED not doing a post for the last two weeks while we were on vacation. I missed, missed, MISSED it! I did, however, post seven thousand other words and photos, but those can never measure up to what God has to say to us. Today's verse means a lot to me because I have a little issue with INSECURITY. But... the Lord is GOOD and He LOVES me and He loves me FOREVER no matter what my kids do, no matter what my parents may have done, no matter what I have done - it makes no difference whatsoever. He is faithful to me. Little, old ME! I have done nothing to deserve this, but yet it is a gift, and I choose to accept it. Thank you Jesus for accepting me as I am - and loving me forever.

Happy Word Filled Wednesday!


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Monday, August 4, 2008

Random Things

I came across a fun little meme from Farm Chick Paula and since I had nothing else to do except laundry, dishes, weeding, making lunch and chicken head counting, I thought I'd sit back, relax and let you see a little bit of me that you either already knew about, and pretended not to notice, or you didn't know and now you'll never leave me another comment because you're afraid of being associated with me.


Six Random Things


1. I like hot dogs. But only if they are all beef and only if they are on a bun with the mustard on the bottom and the ketchup on the top. I like sweet pickle relish and mayo on them too. But the relish must be with the mustard, not the ketchup.

2. Grown ups who give lame excuses annoy the snot out of me - or people who try to rationalize why they are doing what they are doing even though they KNOW it is wrong. Then, I start making lame excuses not to be around them because I can't stand it.

3. I am a human lie detector. Don't even TRY to pull a fast one on me because I'm a pro. (Probably why the previous random thing bothers me so much)

4. I'm also a human spell-check. If you ever see a typo in my posts, it's because I was typing too fast and didn't even bother to look back and see if there was anything wrong because usually there isn't. That's about all the bragging you'll ever see me do. Thanks Mom and Dad - I got that from you.

5. I appear to be extroverted to many, but I have a hidden introverted side. I very rarely take the first step to get to know people, because I fear rejection. I usually have to say a prayer before I try to say something to someone new.

6. I'm hiding out at home this week. After our vacation, where I got a whopper of a sunburn, I came home and developed an unusually PAINFUL fever blister on my lower lip. As you know, they are ugly. This one takes the cake - and it hurt so bad it made me cry last night. I get one every time I get a sunburn on my face and don't use lip balm with sunscreen. You think I'd learn.

I'd love to see YOUR six random things in my comments! Let's hear it...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

CSI: Chicken Farm

Well, the chicken head count came up short.


I know, I know - that's why farmers don't take vacations. As of right now I'm not sure how many chickens we DO have, but I'll find that out when they go to bed tonight. (I laugh when I say that - and wonder if you picture me out there tucking them all in at night under a pretty quilt and reading them a bedtime story and telling them that Colonel Sanders is make-believe and bringing them one last drink of water).


I woke up extra early this morning, which is strange by itself, considering I was literally falling over tired last night and "early" was only 6 hours or so later. I'm one of those "nine hours will do ya" kind of folk, so six hours seems insane. I got up, went back to bed, and got up again. I couldn't settle back down though, so I figured what the heck? I'll just stay up. Plus, something was eating at me and I couldn't put a finger on it. I got dressed and in my usual fashion, I went to the window to peer outside and see how the morning was looking. I got there just in time to see a black dog running away from our property. Aw heck. I wonder who lost their dog? How sad to lose your dog. He looked like a nice dog.


A few seconds passed. A few seconds of: I'm an idiot feelings sorry for someone who lost their dog instead of...


OH MAN! Why was that strange dog running through our place??? MY CHICKENS ARE OUT THERE!


I slipped on my new CABELA'S mocs in a delightful shade of light pink, and dashed out the door.


Momma Hen and her babies. Check
Two rabbits IN their pens. Check
Goats. Check
Rooster wandering around. Check
Bunch of hens in the field where they are SUPPOSED to be. Check
Dog.


Dog.


DOG??
HEY, where's the dog?


Oh Greeeeat! The dog is gone and some other dog is gone too. *sigh* I HATE chasing down our dog because I swear he has about 29 pounds of Beagle in his 30 pound Yellow Lab LOOKING body. We had a beagle when I was growing up, and if he got off his chain for even 1/2 of one second, he was gone. His nose was in control and no amount of hollering or yelling or beckoning or begging or pleading or... yeah, you get my drift. Well I refused to ever have a dog like that, but somehow, whatever dog jumped the fence to breed with that beautiful yellow lab momma (because I don't like that other word) was 185% beagle. He had to have been. My dog is insanely controlled by his nose. ALMOST as bad as that dog we had when I was little. Almost. Thankfully, our dog is very thrilled by praise. Food no, praise yes. Go figure.

His chain was sitting on the ground. Not broken, no collar attached, just sitting there. Eh? I hate chaining our dog up, but as you can see, we don't really have any other choice. We tried the kennel, and he just jumped and barked the ENTIRE time we were home or gone. Our dog has a 20 or 30 foot run attached to the ground at both ends (depending on which one is most recently purchased because the last piece of junk has broken) and his chain is another 20 feet allowing him LOTS of room to run. We're all pretty much happy with that arrangement. He mows the grass and keeps away predators, we feed him. haha

Back to the story. The dog was missing. So I called. I called again. I beckoned, I ... ok, so he wasn't anywhere in sight. There was, however, 2 lumps on the ground over by the fence. Noooooo....

That sinking feeling you get when you're pretty sure something you're seeing is what you think it is but you hope it isn't. Well, it was. *sigh* Two of my pretties had gone on to chicken heaven.

Now... I have this tendency to use my brains in an urgent situation (see post about the missing six pack abs boy while on vacation) and to me, this was an urgent situation. So what do I do? Do I call for help? No. Do I sit and cry? No. Do I yell and scream and go get the gun? No.

I do what any other medical examiner would do. I examine the bodies to determine what, exactly, may have caused the injuries that resulted in death. Then I got a bit mad. It was not bird of prey, I'd seen that before quite a few times. It was not raccoon, or there would have not been two little chickens laying neatly side by side - intact. It was not cougar, or there would have been just feathers. It was not snake because, I don't know but I'm pretty sure it wasn't snake. It was DOG. I've studied this in great detail, as you can see.

So then, I do what any crime scene investigator would do. I left the birds right where they lay, after positively identifying them by their wing clippings (oh brother) and went in search of witnesses. I questioned the turkeys, and they pretty much acted stupid. Like usual. I knew they'd seen something, but they weren't giving up any information. Then, the chickens... they had been standing there watching the post-mortem exam, and so they were pretty useless to me by then. I had to go deeper. So, deeper I went. Way out into the back field to question the goats. Everytime someone shows up missing, the goats always give useful information. Except that time I got a stick stabbed into my foot and they acted like they didn't see a thing. Whatever.

The goats were very useful. They came running from the far side of the pasture to help with the investigation. They endured some questioning, and some head rubs, and eventually one of them looked over their shoulder at the brush on the riverbank. That's when I noticed the lone branch wiggling. Thank you goat.

I hollered for the dog. Still more shuffling around in the bushes.
Then I acted all excited like I was going to go for a walk (as I nervously checked for spying neighbors who would most definitely laugh at my scene). It worked. The dog came bounding up over the edge and seemed excited to see me until he realized three things.
1. He was not at his appointed post.
2. I was not smiling
3. A walk looked out of the question

He followed me first, to the "evidence" where I questioned him, and his behavior didn't really give off many clues. The way he was talking, he acted interested and concerned, but not guilty. I was confused. Either he did it, and he didn't realize it was a no-no (which is unlikely because every time he comes CLOSE to one of my chickens he knows he's in trouble) or he didn't do it and he was interested and concerned.

Was it a coincidence that 2 chickens show up lifeless the same morning he's running off down by the river? Also highly unlikely. But then there was that other dog. The one who didn't belong. It was hard to be really REALLY mad at my dog when there was clearly another suspect who had fled the scene. Either way, I was upset. I was upset that I'd lost trust in my dog, even though I had very little to begin with, but still. It bothered me.

Once, a few weeks ago, Mr. Nice Guy was so ticked off at one of the hens who kept eluding his attempts to put her back in the field at night (for her OWN safety) that he let the dog loose on her. The dog caught up to her quick, put her down on the ground with his paw and his "Lab-like" jaws, and just sat there. It was like a duck hunting move. Swift, smooth and not a hint of danger.

I had hope for awhile. Hope that all he ever wanted to do was put the hens away for us, and maybe that's exactly what happened. They were, after all, barely injured. Maybe he got loose somehow. Which, I might add is another mystery all by itself, as it appears someONE let the dog off the chain sometime before everyone awoke. The latch was not bent or malfunctioning, and his collar was in the same condition as before. Weird.

So since I don't know anything about the other stupid dog suspect, I have to assume the story went something like this:
My dog got off his chain with his own little paws, noticed some chickens were not "put away" and he tried to take care of business for us. He pinned one down, she gave a fight, he kept at it, and accidentally hurt her. Then she died. He did the same to another one, but she didn't lose many feathers because she died of a heart attack. She was always the freakiest one of the bunch. Then he left them by the fence, laying next to each other. Then he thought he'd done such a good job that he went down by the river to round up all those hooligan chickens that don't believe in fences (or nestboxes). They party it up all day by the riverbed and even lay their eggs there. He went down to gather them up and bring them home too. His people were going to be SO proud of him for doing a good job! So when his person found him, he knew he was going to be in trouble for not heeling the first time he was told, but he was still interested in the praise he was sure to get for doing a good JOB. But, that part didn't happen.

This case is going to remain open, until after I count all my chickens tonight and contact the neighbors about who owns the black dog. I'll keep you posted, I'm sure, but for now - I'm off duty.

Yeah right. Like any farmer is ever OFF duty,
It's like taking a break from motherhood. Not. Gonna. Happen. Ever.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Memories

We're going home!!


Over six years ago, my husband and I were married in Reno at Chapel of the Bells:
The children - were not in attendance. So on this day of departure from Reno, we took a sentimental moment to stop and get a photo of our beloved children at the same location we were married.


Well, almost the same location. We actually got married in the chapel, but we had a couple photographs taken on this spot. C'mon... say it... Awwwww!!

Ok, then we headed home.

But along the way we stopped at a park in Northern California somewhere (I think it was Alturas) and I took the last of our vacation pictures.

You know you only come here for pictures of my kids.

How could you not?

Then I got home, and downloaded Paint Shop Pro again so I could tweak them to look all glamorous-like. I'm in heaven again.

Oh yeah baby, it's getting dangerous now!

Tomorrow? ENOUGH VACATION ALREADY! Time for a chicken head count and cucumber picking!