Friday, June 27, 2008

Chicken Update

Well the chicken's are 13 weeks old now and I have two funky chickens. In the past week I've noticed two have developed problems. One of the New Hampshire Reds has a funky leg that looks broken. The knee is totally knocked in. She's getting around but it sure doesn't look very good. She's still roosting too. I think that's probably what happened to her in the first place. I think she might have hurt herself jumping off the roost.

The other chicken with a problem is one of the Americanas. I noticed last weekend one of them has a beak problem. I don't know if it's crooked beak (I never noticed it before) or overgrown beak. So NOW I have to figure out what to do with them. I'm trying to get a chicken consultation for the Americana. I may just try to trim her beak or take her to the vet if it proves too challenging. She's not going to like being handled. It may be a big deal. The crazy thing is I guess I'll have to put her in the cat carrier to get her there if I do take her in. Sort of ironic huh. She's obviously smaller than the other Americana and I have no idea how she's eating with her beak so askew.

We may be having chicken and noodles sooner than I thought.

Monday, June 23, 2008

O' Colorado!

Our Colorado trip was great. This was the first "family" trip we had taken together and I was more than ready after 5 years for some landscape therapy. I was a little worried about how it would all go down, 13 hour car trip and all, but it went amazingly well. All I can say is thank God for whoever invented the tiny dvd player and decided to put it into cars. Grace watched several movies the first night on our way out but the way back she watched six videos and some of them twice! Sure they'll rot her brain but let me tell you, if it's one more showing of Soccer Dog or whining preschooler...crank it up baby!

We were going to leave Saturday morning but inpatient bunch that we are we decide to leave right after work on Friday. I hired Austin Huggler to chicken sit for me while I was gone. A quick stop at Mom's in Bolivar to drop off the cat and a lesson on the Garmin Street Pilot GPS from Dad and we were on our way. We drove about 4 hours and stopped in Manhattan,KS at a lame Econolodge where Bryon was sure there were lice in the bath tub (I was pretty sure they were gnats). We were there, and tired and already paid up so we let it go and went to bed. Bryon was like a Dateline reporter checking for bed bugs behind the pictures and bed frame, but we managed to sleep the night away and head out the next morning.

Let me tell you Kansas is one vast prairie that would in fact lead you to believe the world really was flat after all and if you just keep going into the horizon you would eventually fall off of it. Thankfully, just outside of Limon, Co that fear was assuaged when the first mountain peaks popped up at the edge of the sage grass.

We had booked four nights at a KOA Kamper Kabin in Colorado Springs and three nights in another KOA Kabin in Estes Park and they were really great. They were sparse with only a queen bed and a bunk bed but Grace was thrilled to get to sleep on the top bunk. The KOAs had lots of activities, cheap breakfasts and dinners and ice cream socials every night! I partook quite a bit (I joined WW back Sunday afternoon in fact!)

We pretty much wore out Colorado Springs and did every touristy thing there was to do except Cave of the Winds and Seven Falls. We went to the Royal Gorge because Grace is just ate up with being "big high" and the higher the better. Well you can't get much higher than the Royal Gorge with out the help of Mary Jane. We went all the way down to the bottom on this ridiculously constructed tram and across the bridge on foot then back again on the aerial tram. Did I ever mention I'm afraid of heights? Grace didn't get her courage from me that's for sure. The next day we rode the Cog Railway up to the top of Pikes Peak and I summitted my first (and likely only) peak. Grace saw half of the trip and the top but slept all the way back down. That girl likes trains a LOT and every train we saw she wanted to ride. She ended up riding three: the Cog and two little kiddie trains. She also ate a TON of candy and now we are paying for that indulgence because you can't take candy away from a preschooler without consequences. We visited Manitou Springs which was just like Eureka Springs but not quite as DIVERSE (you Wild Women know what I mean :). Lots of neat little shops. We had a few really good meals and a couple of bad ones.

Grace also learned to doggie paddle with her life jacket on in the KOA pool which was pretty exciting for her and us. She was motoring around like crazy, she just couldn't remember to keep her mouth closed (a common problem for us Medley's).

Estes Park brought Rocky Mountain National Park and lots of sight seeing. I really didn't expect to see much wildlife because I've been so spoiled by all those years (8) of going to Yellowstone but we saw probably 200 elk, a dozen big horn sheep way up a mountainside, mule deer, yellow bellied marmots, a million chipmunks (much to Grace's delight) and four moose (much to my delight).

The second day there Bryon really wanted to fish at Deckers, a trout stream where the fishermen were voted most likely to get into a fist fight by one of his fishing magazines. He didn't break into any brawls but he did catch about a dozen fish over the five hours Grace and I spent at Santa's North Pole riding rides. It was a great park and Grace could ride every thing there. The only thing she likes more than candy, trains and big high is fast rides. She was a maniac. Now I know why Dad would never ride the tea cups with us at amusement parks. I was about ready to hurl and she was laughing like a wild woman!

The third day at the park we hiked around a little lake just inside the park in our flip flops (it was NOT very far) and got a little more confident that maybe Grace could hike a ways farther. We came back the next day and hiked a mile up to Dream Lake where Bryon was planning on fishing. The first 15 minutes of the hike were trying because she wanted to be carried despite the talk we had at the beginning about everyone walking on their own feet. It was a 600 ft. climb over a mile so it was pretty easy but for those who are height challenged it was a real feat! She finally got in the groove and made it and Bryon fished for about an hour and a half and caught 6 green back cutthroat trout.

The last day there we rode horses at the Sombrero Ranch an hour up the mountain to a steak dinner then an hour back. She and I rode doubles and Bryon got an ornery horse named Puppy Dog that did NOT want him on her back. She kept trying to knock him off by walking under and against trees. Personally I was good with the hour ride and would have been perfectly happy to ride the wagon back, or the ranch pickup, but horse it was and Grace talked to our horse, Forrest, all the way back. She said Mama a couple of times and I said, "What babe?" and she said, "I'm not talking to you, I'm talking to my horse!" Well then.

A couple of really funny things that happened along the way was one night Bryon was trying to put Grace to bed and cover her up and I grabbed the little fleecy blanket and it got caught on his fuzzy head and stuck like Velcro. I laughed so hard I almost threw up. It still makes me chuckle to think about it. One day during our park site seeing we had to stop at big pull out along the mountainside for Grace to potty. She had been talking to herself and what we thought was her baby for several minutes and after we got back into the car and on our way she said, "Where's my baby?" Well I undid my seat belt and tried to find it in the garbage heap that had become our car and could find it anywhere. When we stopped next several miles later, we all dug around and looked and couldn't find it. We figured it must have fallen out at the pullout and decided to look on the way back. We finally got there and no baby. Thinking someone must have picked it up we headed back to the Kabin and guess what was right there on the top bunk waiting for Grace...her baby. What a wild goose chase, she had been talking to herself the whole time back there. At least she has a good imagination :

We have a ridiculous amount of photos from the trip on my flicker site if you want to subject yourself to that. Just click on the link to the right.

It was such a successful trip that in our post vacation euphoria we decided that next year we would go to Glacier Park in Montana. Now that we are card carrying KOA members the world (or at least the US)is our oyster.

Happy Kamping :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thank you, Barbara Kingsolver

Funny, funny song about Barbara Kinsolver's new book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Country Life

There are lots of reasons why I like living in the country. Too many to try to list. But one of our favorite country pastimes is joy riding down back roads we have and haven't visited before. Mostly, I like the thrill of the new roads looking for wonderful and strange things. Bryon likes looking for wildlife (he ran our truck into the ditch once while he was looking for turkeys and it had to be pulled out by a farmer's tractor).

Grace likes the rides too because Daddy shares his sunflower seeds with her and they both spit them out the window. Okay, Daddy spits his out the window, hers end up all over the car seat, seat and floor but she sure likes those seeds. We've gotten into the habit of stopping at Hannah's for ice cream cones to snack on during the ride. Those Ice Cream rides are the best on a hot summer evening. We've seen some awesome sunsets on the tops of those hills and we've seen some goofy stuff in the hollers.

One weekend while Grace was at Nana's, Bryon and I went on an Ice Cream Ride and passed an old farm place with a concrete cattle ramp for loading cows and sitting on top of that ramp, right in plain view, was a old yellow Tom cat. Not unusual sure but right next to it sat a raccoon. Now, it took a few seconds to figure out exactly what I was looking at but that was about the nuttiest thing I think I've seen. Okay, maybe not THE nuttiest but it was right up there. One day in Niangua walking down one of the streets I saw a goose and a dog walking side by side like they were best buddies. Now you don't see THAT everyday.

County life is pretty good as long as the electricity stays on. I'm a grid girl for sure. Of course sometimes we get too much electricity like today when I stopped by our tiny little post office for some stamps. I tried to buy a book of stamps but I hate those ugly "forever" stamps. I think they made them ugly on purpose so they wouldn't sell as many but could say, "See we tried to save you money". I asked for some pretty ones and the Post Mistress pulls out some cute heart stamps and says "I can sell these to you tomorrow, but I can't today." What? So I decided I'd just take the ugly ones since I was there. I whipped out my debit card and she says "Can't take a credit or debit today, there's our machine sitting down there on the floor. Lightening strike. Can't use it until tomorrow." Well, I still don't have stamps.

Another good thing about country life is there is always tomorrow...and maybe another Ice Cream Ride.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rockaway Beach Weekend

We went camping this weekend in Rockaway Beach. It was Bryon's 40th birthday and he really wanted to camp. It's the first time we've had the camper out all year and we'd been debating over whether or not to just sell the thing, but we got such a good deal on it we could never replace it. Looks like we'll just keep it. We had such a good time this weekend.

Bryon had wanted to go to Bennett Springs but it was "free fishing weekend" so every trout park in the state was booked solid. Even the cabins. He surfed the internet determined to trout fish somewhere and came up with Rockaway Beach. Let me tell you, the internet lies. Photo's lie too. He got down there to the campsite and called very disappointed because the Hugglers were coming too and he'd worked hard to talk Tammy into going and this place was pretty lame as campgrounds go. We made the best of it though and everyone really had fun I think. Grace, Tammy and I shopped while the boys fished. We rented a big pontoon for Saturday and the boys drove us in the boat down to Branson Landing about 10 minutes away for shopping. That was pretty cool. They fished and we called for a pickup when we were done so we could all go back to the camper and eat lunch. When we got back to the boat, Austin had a 7 pound Brown Trout in the cooler! He had caught a big lunker brown and those guys were EXCITED! It was a HUGE trout! He was one lucky boy! The conservation dept. guys happened upon them as he was trying land it and loaned him their net so he could scoop it up. They are going to get it mounted. He was really proud. Bryon was too!

We're going to Pomme De Terre the last weekend of July with the Thiessens and to Bull Shoals in October so we'll have a few more trips to look forward to :)

Clothes Line

I just hung out to dry our clothes for the first time in 18 years. When Bryon and I first got married in 1990 we moved into my Grandpa Clifton Lower's old rental house out on Hwy 32 on between Fair Play and Bolivar. We didn't have a washer or a dryer so Mom and Dad bought us a new washer at Sam's for a wedding gift. We still didn't have a dryer so I had to hang our clothes out on the clothes line out beside our house. We lived right on the highway so the kids that I was teaching at Fair Play HS drove by on the bus and in their cars and could see all our laundry flying in the wind. Not normally a big deal but I didn't necessarily want the whole world seeing my underwear flying in breeze!

Thankfully now we live in the boonies so only the chickens and pop-in friends will see them. Bryon fixed my clothes lines last weekend and I just now got some clothes out there between rainy days. Out at the house on 32 we had to hang them out year round so there were several days they got rain washed because I didn't get them in before a storm or froze solid on the line. It's nice to have options :)

Snake in the tators

I was just outside taking some updated pictures of the gardens and the chickens and was surprised to find this guy in the garden. Bryon had just said he'd seen about a 3ft black snake in the fire ring by the pond which is a long way from where I just found this one. Bryon had killed a HUGE 5 ft black snake in the barn last weekend. I know, I know they eat mice...whatever. I don't like them. Somehow, though, this one didn't totally freak me out. It actually seemed sort of friendly. It did shock me when I first realized what it was. It took my brain a few seconds to catch up with my eyes! I hope this was the same one Bryon saw and not one of it's many friends!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Niangua Lake Trout

We are thinking of opening our home as a Trout Lodge now that Bryon has finally cultivated and caught some Niangua Lake Trout in our spacious pond. He caught this fine specimen on a 4 weight rod with the much coveted Fish Food Nugget fly. I think I smell a trend here.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sassy Pants

I've been seeing premonitions of things to come lately with Grace. When she got back from Nebraska with Bryon she was pretty sassy and "all that" for a few hours around the house. I know it's because she was around mostly older girls all weekend and thankfully most of it wore off after a good night's sleep.

This morning was the kicker though because after finally cajoling her into going potty before we left for school, I tried to help hurry her along and pull her pants down and she said very matter of factly, "Mom, I'm 3 years old. I don't need help". WHATEVER! Now she has started ordering me out of the bathroom and instructing me to turn on the fan and shut the door on my way out. I am so in trouble.

She's so independent...of course unless she isn't. Like when she hangs on my leg at school or wants to be carried. She certainly has her own mind. I'm glad for that most of the time, but it sure can be exasperating when she defiantly does the exact thing I've asked her not to do. Sound familiar Mom? Now when she does something I've asked her not to she'll say "It was an accident" Nice try. She's also gotten good at trying to school me on how to ask nicely. Last night she wouldn't move out of the door of the chicken house after I told her to move THREE TIMES, so I grabbed her little shirt and pulled her out so I could close the door. She said, "You're not very nice. You should say, excuse me would you move please, and I will". Um, I've tried that thank you. She's also gotten very good at saying in her sassiest tone, "Mama, listen to me."

The other night I asked her to take her shoes into her room and she let out a huge exasperated sign and said "I will later, I'm busy". I asked her to NOT make that noise (the big sigh) because it's infuriating. Then not 3 minutes later Bryon said something to me and I caught myself expelling the same sigh. Guess that apple didn't fall far from the tree.