Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Sorry, Girls!!

There were bad vibes, accusations of disloyalty,  a little bit of name calling (Slackers!), and even some occasional talk of summary executions.  But, before you wipe me completely out of your cyberspace, hear me out.

Just before it got cold this winter - I mean the first stretch that was real, single digit and not all of them positive cold - the eggs pretty much dried up and almost the whole flock went into a molt.  The timing was exquisite and couldn't have been worse.  Feathers were everywhere, eggs were nowhere, for more than a month they rarely left the coop and on the coldest days we left it closed up.  It was a pitiful sight to see.

Everyone gets a pass on egg laying during a molt.  They pretty much get a pass when its really cold or miserably hot.  For the molt we stocked up on "Feather Fixer" and let it run its course.  And, as you all knew would come, first there were pin feathers then there were full feathers then there were warmer temps and chickens out happily scratching in the run.   And still no eggs.

That's when it started.  For a week we talked about how we would replace the lot of them.  The following week we got more irked everytime we went to the laying boxes.  We were getting one or two eggs every other day, and were not pleased.  Being chickens and all, they were all pretty much oblivious to our frustration with their shoddy performance, which which did nothing to enhance their position.  They had just about sealed their grizzly (but nonetheless tasty) fate when, on a lark, De checked the little 'nursery' annex we added to the coop.

Oops...  Sorry, girls...  Nevermind all that talk about you getting up close and personal in the crock pot with sweet onions and baby carrots...

For now...

Col. 1:9-12,


Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Fresh Start!

It's cold here in NE Indiana.  Again.  With the exception of one anomalous 50F day last week, we've had single digit positives and negatives or low teens in both directions for several weeks now.  After a while it starts to kind of sink into your bones, which makes those occasional warm days even more of a blessing.  This morning was no exception.  Depending on whose thermometer you were looking at it was somewhere between -4F and 9F at first light.  Brrrrr!

There was one difference between this morning (Sunday - January 14) and the way most of our bone-chilling mornings have been.  The sun was out.  One of the reasons the morning was so cold is that the clouds cleared off during the night and the open sky just sucked what heat there was right out of the air.  (The physics behind that phenomena is really cool - no pun intended - but most folks know that clear skies=cold nights and are justifiably not really interested in the mathy specifics of how God designed it all to work.  Still...)

I suppose it works this way in most places but, here at least, sunny skies after a clear, cold, cold night makes for a simply glorious morning!  We had a light, soft snow whisper in early last evening with no breeze, so when the sun came up every twig in every tree and every standing stalk of roadside grass was painted with a frosty, glowing blaze of sunlight.  It was clear and crisp and wonderfully perfect.  Adding to that, while I was doing the Church Security team thing and watching for other things, I got to watch a dozen or so deer pick their way across an open field between wooded areas near the church building.  Glorious!!

And to make life even better, the garden seed and tree catalogs have started to arrive.  De and I have always enjoyed planning the garden in the months before we can actually work it, and the seed catalogs always provide fuel for that fire.  For us, when the planning begins, it's much like the dawning of a new day like we had today.  It's like a fresh start!  Never mind we couldn't do all we wanted to do last year, or the year before.  Never mind there is still a bit of clean-up to do before we can really get things started in the spring.  Never mind the 'new health realities' mean focusing on less labor intensive methods of doing things.  It's a blank garden canvas that we can paint however we choose.  Once again, simply glorious!!

Speaking of wonderful things, last post I promised a picture of the grand kids, so here it is.  The family did PJ pics for family Christmas this year, and this is ours with the grands.  (The oldest never gives you a natural smile unless you catch her off guard!)  As many of you know, grand kids are such a blessing, and De and I are loving being grandparents.  We don't get to see them nearly often enough, so when we do its always a wonderful (and exhausting!) time.  We are so looking forward to having them come to the homestead in the spring.

While we were down at their place a few weeks ago the oldest one, as kids often do, was asking her dad for something that was not going to be in the family spend plan.  Dad was telling her if she wanted something like that she would need to get a job and, since she did not have a job, that item was not going to be forthcoming.  Her reply just made my heart sing.  "Yes I do!! Helping Papa in the garden!!"  Papa resisted the urge to whip out his wallet and buy whatever it was she wanted, but it sure made my day!   It assured Grammy De and I that we are making an impact and a difference in the life of those children!  And that is truly glorious.

Col. 1:9-12,