Get up.

I woke up this morning with a song in my head.

It went something like this:  I get knocked down, bum ,bum, bumbumbum, bum, bum, bumbumbumbumbumbum bum bum.

As you can see, the lyrics escape me.  As do most lyrics. 

For years, I thought Van Halen was saying “Animal” instead of “Panama”.

Aniimmmaaalllll, Ani-ma-a-a-a-al!

When you’re married to a music person like I am, they don’t let you get by with it.  They correct you at every opportunity.  I argued with J-Dub to no avail on that Van Halen one. 

 But they’re also good for when all you have to work with is bumbumbumbum.

As I pondered the song, I thought it was on oldie from my childhood.  That said, “I’m a yuckmouth, cause I don’t brush.”  It was a commercial from my Saturday Morning Cartoon era of the 1980’s.

But that was not the song. Even though it’s pretty catchy too.

So I say to my husband, “Hey, I got this song in my head.”

  It goes like this,  I get knocked down, bum ,bum, bumbumbum, bum, bum, bumbumbumbumbumbum bum bum.”

And of course, J-Dub recognized it immediately, and breaks out in song:  I get knocked down, but I get up again, cause you’re never gonna keep me down.

He knew the name of the band, the song, the name of the album, from what country the band hailed,  the trumpets that play in the middle and female voices that start singing “Danny Boy.”

Me?  I didn’t know any of that.  I don’t even know the song, but obviously I’ve heard it somewhere in the background of a movie or department store or somewhere for it to permeate my subconscious. 

I like the lyrics.

The ones about getting up after being knocked down.  And then there’s the ones about drinking a whiskey drink, vodka drink, and pissing the night away.  Come to think of it, after I read the lyrics, maybe he’s been knocked down after drinking a whiskey drink, a vodka drink, a lager drink.  It’s just a wild guess.

I don’t know what’s going on in your world today.

Maybe you’ve been knocked down.

But get up, okay?

It’s A Boy!!

It’s calving season out here on the Golden Spread. 

Spring is in the air. 

Trees are budding, tulips are blossoming, and heifers are birthing.

Heifers are young cows, first-time mamas.  I might even be as bold as to call them teenage mothers.  Unwed, teenage mothers.  My husband says you have to watch heifers closely because some of them have a little bit of mothering instinct, but they also don’t know what they’re doing.  For example, an old cow won’t leave their baby right after it is born, but a heifer might come a running at the feed truck, and then wig out when they realize they just left their baby.  They’re inexperienced. 

Because of their inexperience, a good cowboy will put them in a smaller pasture, close to some pens, and check on them sometimes twice a day, just in case one of them runs into trouble with calving.

Tonight J-Dub needed to check the heifers.  So I tagged along.  Only one time have I witnessed a calf birth, but it was under poor circumstances, and I would really like to see another one.   No such luck tonight.  We arrived right after the baby was born.  Probably 15 minutes. 

The mother and baby were off by themselves.

You can see the afterbirth has not completely been expelled.  The mama cow was licking him and cleaning him up, which is a good sign and shows that she is going to accept him as her calf. 

When she saw us driving through the gate, she got a little agitated and began bellowing at him and nudging him a bit aggressively.  He hadn’t even stood yet and she was eager to get him up and out of there.

We didn’t stay long.  It’s best to let nature have her way, and cows don’t send out birthing announcements.  They like their privacy.  So we headed home.  As we were pulling off, I asked J-Dub if he could tell if it was a boy or a girl.  He said it was a boy.

I came home to blog about this beautiful birth, and of course my pet chicken Freedom wanted out of the box.  She was perched right on my hand and I was just typing away.  I thought to myself, what a cute picture.  I grabbed my phone to take a shot, trying to get Freedom, my hand, and the keyboard in view, and just as I was about to click the picture, Freedom squatted down and took a grunt right on my desk.

Look closely and you can see the squirt shooting out of her chicken butt.


Okay, laugh at me all you want.  

It’s what I get for having  house chickens.

A Little Fruity

I walked down the hallways of my school today and the scent of strawberry shortcake assaulted my nose.  Not that strawberry shortcake is a bad thing, quite the contrary.  It wasn’t real strawberry shortcake however, someone was burning a candle, or had a smell-good of some sort in their room. The smell immediately took me back to my childhood home on Seminole Street and a doll I used to have.

It was a Lemon Meringue Doll from the Strawberry Shortcake Collection.  The best part about this doll was when you squeezed her tummy a little burst of lemon scented air would escape from her mouth.  I think my sister had a Strawberry Shortcake one.  They claimed they were blowing you kisses.  But I loved her.  I squeezed her tummy and smelled her breath all day long. 

Isn’t it funny how a smell can lift you from the place your standing (even when it’s outside the stinky restrooms of a schoolhouse) and plant you  in a place you haven’t visited in years.    

It’s like the pie my co-worker gave me a couple of weeks ago.  It was a strawberry cream pie.  I had never had strawberry cream pie.  The minute I tasted it, my mind went a’whirlin’, trying to place the familiarity of the taste.   I couldn’t quite find it, so I had another piece while I pondered.  I was getting a little bit closer to solving the mystery, but I needed one more piece.  Then I nailed it. It was exactly like a strawberry parfait from Kentucky Fried Chicken.  You know the one with graham cracker crumbs in the bottom and then layered whip cream.  Just to confirm, I had one more piece.  Score on The Little Bucket Parfait.  My dad used to always buy us those.  He loved KFC.  I prefer the lemon parfait.  I think it has something to do with the sprinkles.

Little Bucket Parfaits

All good things must come to an end.  Eventually the scent from Lemon Meringue’s breath wore out to just plain old air.    What became of her, I don’t know.  But I noticed she’s worth about $45-85 bucks today.  Even the parfaits seem smaller to me now.

Nothing stays the same.   

But today, I stood in the hallway of my school waiting on my boys to finish playing in the bathroom, and I spent a little time in a memory. 

One memory led to another and then that one  to another. 

Then my mouth started watering.

And it hasn’t stopped.

Crazy Chicken Lady

While others are being entertained by Monday night TV programming, I am entertained by a chicken.

My husband has nicknamed me The Crazy Chicken Lady.

I don’t care.  Sticks and stones and all that jazz.

Although videography is not my forte, and I am using my phone, and there is a red light in the box making the video hard to view, this is just a snippet of how almost every free waking minute of mine is spent.

I’m easily entertained.

And a little bit crazy.

Freedom

 

We have a pet chicken.

We call her Freedom.  She wants out of the box in the worst way imaginable.

She’s the only one who discovered how to fly to the edge of the box.  Since then we taped up the sides.  She appears to be a Barred Plymouth Rock with a long stripe down her head.  She is only one of 3 that we can differentiate between.  They all look the same.

Freedom dreams of wide open spaces.  When she lays her little chicken head down and closes her little chicken eyes she dreams of eating grubs in the garden not hanging out in a cardboard box.  The brown cardboard walls are closing in and driving her chicken crazy.

She is not content in this box with these other peeps.  There’s a whole world out there waiting to be discovered and she knows it deep down in her little chicken heart.  She’s destined for greater things. 

When you lay your hand palm up in the box, all the other chicks scatter, but not Freedom.  She hops in ready for a ride out of that place.

She’s curious, friendly and bold.   

But manners?  She has none.  How does she expect to get far in life with antics like this?

She has so much to learn.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

Today was a windy day.  I went to put my hat on and it didn’t fit.  I think my head is swol up over all your compliments on yesterday’s blog.

Good grief!  My intention was not for you to leave me comments about me or my blog, but you’re cool like that.   I thank you all for the sweet words.  Really, I mean that.

You rock.  Plain and simple.

************

I took all the names from yesterday’s comments, put them in a box, turned my head, ran my hand around a couple of times, and drew out a name.  And the lucky winner is:

#6—-Leon!!!

Leon has been my fan probably the longest.  He was one of my first readers way back when I had a different site, and one of my first commenters, and oh yeah, he happens to be my uncle, brother and best friend of my dad. 

 

Congrats Leon!!

********

 I got 3 suggestions in comments yesterday for chicken names:  Bob in memory of my dad, Bookworm, and Sassafras.  I am taking all of them to heart.  I can’t guarantee that I can remember who is who, but I’ll try.  All these chicks look the same.  Except some are black, some are yellow, and some are black and white.  But besides that, they all look the same.

Customer Appreciation Post

Today I just want to give a shout out and let you know how much you mean to me.

Yes, you.

You make me want to do this every single day of my life. 

Even when I’m tired.  Even when I’m hungry.  Even when my brain is a pile of mush and the thoughts I think shouldn’t be shared with others. 

As I write this now, I see you.  Your faces, your comments, your encouraging words are swirling in my mind.

It isn’t always easy.  For instance, I’m in the process of changing addresses.  I was supposed to get internet service last Saturday at my new house.  You know how that goes, “Your technician will be out sometime between the hours of 8:00 a.m.  and next Friday.  Please have someone available during this time.”  As if I don’t have a life.  Okay, okay, I don’t have much of a life, but geez.  Anyway, the technician was supposed to be there on Saturday from 8:00-12:00.  So I woke up early on Saturday, (which should be against the law in the first place), and sat around in the quiet to wait for him.  Around about 8:35, I received a phone call from the company telling me that my technician called in sick.  Really?!?!  I wasn’t buying it, I’m sure he was probably hung over, or fishing.  They said they couldn’t have anyone else come out until Wednesday.  Not wanting to take time off from work, I rescheduled my appointment for tomorrow.  Another Saturday to wake up early.  This inconvenience in internet has meant that each day after work, I have come to my old house to blog.

On Wednesday, WordPress (this blogging site I use) had technical difficulties.  I had written a post about my house I’m moving from and memories from my dad in the house, but when I went to click the publish button, I got this error message stating no changes could be made and how they were working very hard to fix it, but to keep trying.  

Because I committed to doing a “Postaday” challenge, and because I am a little bit obsessive-compulsive when I make commitments (except exercise) this went against my grain and ruffled my feathers.  I had problems.  How was I supposed to publish a blog post with technical difficulties?  How could I try later when I don’t have internet at my new house and I needed wanted to get home?  How could I live with myself if I broke my “postaday” commitment to myself and the handful of readers that I have?

As much as I hated to do it, I waved the white flag and posted a status update on Facebook that read:  to my blog readers: My blogging site is experiencing technical difficulties. I don’t have internet at my new place, and I’ve got chickens to tend to, so there may not be a blog posted today. Please don’t eat rat poison. Or dance a jig.

I didn’t expect to hear much from my Facebook friends, but instead I got this: 

(Suzanne)   WHAT?!?!?! I DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD DO THIS!!!!

(Michelle) Ack…..I knew it was only a matter of time before the chickens took the place of your loyal & faithful fans!! 😉 enjoy your evening Angel!!

(Donna) ahhhh, I so look forward to them.

(Lena) Ok double blog tomorrow

(Lara) What will I read tonight??

(Sheryl) :-/

 (Jennifer)  Aww man, I was looking forward to it. 😦

(My sister Jolea, as if there is any other) What??? Nooooooooo!!! You must blog now…:/

(Linda) aww snap!

(Jay) I don’t think that was the deal!

I wish words could express how wonderful this makes me feel.  To know that my writing matters to someone out there  inspires me, encourages me, and uplifts me.  It makes me trudge ahead. 

Needless to say, I got a post up that day.  Not because I’m awesome, but because you are. 

I want to let you know how much you mean to me.  I want to give you something back in return for  the commitment you’ve made to read my ramblings, which aren’t even half good half the time.  But you stick with me anyway!

I’m going to have a small give-away to one faithful reader.  All you have to do to enter, is click here, print this form, fill it out, make sure and state your mother’s maiden name, and the last 4 digits of your social security number, have it signed in front of a notary, in blood, and witnessed by a celebrity on a deserted island.

That’s all.

No really, just leave me a comment here on my blog (not on Facebook).  Be clever, be cute, be serious, be snide.  I don’t care.  Tell me what you like to read, what you hate to eat, what I should name a chicken.  Anything.  I just want to hear from you.

In exchange, I’ll randomly choose one of you for a $25 Visa or Mastercard or something-like-that-gift card.   Accepted at lots and lots of places in the nearest 3 blocks. 

It’s not much.  I wish it could be more.  But I’m just a poor, broke cowboy’s wife schoolteacher with 14 mouths to feed.  Chicken mouths, but nonetheless mouths to feed.

I’ll announce the winner tomorrow after my internet is installed at noon.  Better make it afternoon, well sometime between noon and midnight. 

Waiting to hear from you and hoping for a sober technician…….

My Peeps

The sweet little chicks aren’t very little anymore.

           

They are growing faster than anything I’ve ever seen.  I don’t know if you can tell the difference in their size between the first and second picture, but it’s quite substantial in “real life”.

The first picture was their first day with me, the second was taken  this week.

           

Here’s another picture for comparison.  Here are two of them lying on a thermometer in the very corner of the box.  The first one was taken when they were a couple of days ago.  The second one was taken a couple of days ago.  You can barely see the thermometer.  Two of them almost cover it completely now.

It’s silly I know, but I am plumb smitten with their new tail feathers.  At first they just had little rounded butts, but now these cute tails are emerging.

 Not only are they growing, they are gaining some serious confidence and boldness in their flight ability. 

I created a small perch for them in the box, which was probably a big mistake.  But, thinking like a chicken, I thought they would like to roost on something.  The perch serves the purpose well and also adds some extra height so they can fly to the top of the feeder and waterer.  Once there, they strain their chicken necks as far as they can to look out.  They want freedom!

      

The other day, I temporarily stored them in a smaller box while I carried their larger box outside to replace the straw.  When I returned, here was this booger checking out the view from the cord of the heat lamp.

Jason called me the other day to report that one of them flew to the top of the feeder and then managed to fly to the edge of the box and perch there.  I wish he would have gotten a picture but he didn’t. 

We had to pull the box flaps up and tape them so they have more of an obstacle.  I only hope they don’t conspire to use their perch as a pole vault and high tail it out of there.  I’m currently on the lookout for a  window screen to put over the box to keep them in.

These breeds of birds I purchased, (Buff Orpington, Barred Plymouth Rock, and Australorp), are dual purpose birds.  Meaning they are good for both eggs and meat.  I might wring their necks and fry them up if the notion strikes me.  But it won’t.  Not to worry.

They are heavy bodied birds and will weigh about 7 or 8 pounds full grown.  They shouldn’t be able to fly too high because of their heavy bodies, so I don’t think I’ll need to clip their wings.  Thank goodness.

 

We are enjoying these gals and spend much of our time sitting on a stool peering into their box watching their antics.

 Here J-Dub holds a sweet baby chick in his  rough, calloused hands.  This picture is so precious to me.  I could probably write a whole blog on it.

  Maybe I will someday.

Funnies from the SchoolHouse: Class Clown

Class clowns.  They’re in every classroom across America. 

Yes, even mine. 

Today before writing time (which I love to teach by the way), I read a sweet children’s book called The Old Woman Who Named Things by Cynthia Rylant.

It’s about this cute little old lady  who’s outlived all her friends, so she reluctantly gets a dog and they become good friends.  Don’t you just love her cowboy boots? 

After reading, I told my students to think of a topic to write about.  To help them, I suggested they use the story I read as a springboard.  I recommended writing about a pet dog or cat.  Or maybe tell about a time a stray wandered up to their house.  Did they get to keep it?  Did they feed it like the little old lady in the story.   What happened?  Or, if they didn’t have an animal story, maybe they would like to  write about their grandmothers.  Their sweet, loving, kind grandmothers.

Here’s a story written by one of my girls

My Grandmol’s Flab

My grandmol has more chins than a Chinese phone book.

She can’t see her feet.

When she sits on the toilet it says a-b-c-d-e-f-g, get your fat butt off of me.

Peace.

I hadn’t read this story myself prior to asking her to share it with the class.  Needless to say, she had the whole lot of us in stitches.

Yes, including me.

I hope someday I can say, “I knew her when.”

In memory of my dad #5

 

As we packed up the house this past week, and walked out the door to spend the night in our new home, I looked around the rooms at the emptiness of them.  The pictures were off the walls, the furniture had been carried out.  There was nothing  left except an old chair or two and a sack of trash here and there.  The sun had set, the day was done, and we were exhausted.    

Pausing at the door, I took a deep breath and told my husband, “I’m
sad.  This is sad.”  He sweetly replied, “Well we can bring sleeping
bags back and stay here. ”  I giggled.  “No, it’s not that.  It’s just that there are lots of good memories here.”

 Memories of birthdays, Christmases, celebrations of many kinds.  There are memories of family, friends, snowed in days, and dog dribble.

And there are memories of my dad, who died barely 3 weeks ago.  Those are the memories I don’t want to leave.

The house I’m moving from is the last place I saw him walk.  That’s the last place I saw him alive.  And it makes me sad.

I’m leaving that place.  And it almost feels like I’m leaving him and his memories.  I can still see him coming down the hall into the kitchen.  I can hear the crinkling of the Chips Ahoy Chocolate Chip Package being peeled back.  And then there he goes, back down the hallway to the bedroom with a handful of cookies in his big old paw of a hand. 

Or I see him with his coffee cup struggling down the hallway, sloshing his coffee.  My husband used to tell a joke about him.  He’d say, “My father-in-law doesn’t drink coffee, he spills most of it.” 

The last time he was here was at Thanksgiving.  My sister insisted we watch a movie.  He finally agreed, even though he’d already seen it.  He laid on the floor with my sister and we laughed and laughed.

I sit in this house right now, the house I’m moving from.  I don’t have internet at my new place yet, so I come here to blog.  I’m alone in this quiet house, but if I sit real still, close my eyes, and listen hard, I can hear my dad.  I hear him holler for me to come fix the TV in the bedroom because he’s pushed the wrong button on the remote, or figure out how to get to his email on the computer, or get his basket of pills out of his truck. 

I see him laying on the end of the bed, on his stomach, snoring with the TV blaring when I come home from work.  I only wish I could hear him snore one more time.  Just one more.  I wish I had more coffee spills to clean and TV remotes to fix.

But I can’t look back, I have to move forward.

I have new memories to make.  New roads to travel. 

I wish he was here to travel them with me.  I wish we were making memories still.  I want him to see my chicks.  I want him to stay in my new house.  We laid laminate flooring instead of carpet, simply for the ease of cleaning up coffee spills.

I’m moving ahead, but there will be times on my journey, I must pause to remember my dad.

Just for a moment, but not too long.
I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep,
and miles to go before I sleep.