PLAYING WITH CHICKENS AND BLUEBERRY PICKING

Last Saturday I went for my usual visits with my family. I only stayed at Katy's for an hour because the big Saharan dust storm was over Atlanta, which meant the air quality was really bad and Katy was unable to be outside for long. 

Next stop was Cary's where Tessa immediately asked if I wanted to play outside in the backyard with her. Well of course I did. I couldn't think of a better way to spend an afternoon, and Tess had activities planned. 


First she brought two stools outside so that we could sit in the chicken coop with Trixie and her brood. Trixie was more than happy to have us visit with her, although she tried to escape the confines of her prison cell twice and as warden (Tessa) and guard (me. I know my place in the hierarchy) we managed to get her back inside. 


The four younger chicks have been put outside in the coop now, but they are afraid of Trixie who doesn't recognize them as belonging to her, which of course they don't. I'm not sure that she wouldn't sacrifice them to the owls if they got outside the coop.


After chicken playing we moved onto blueberry picking, which apparently was fraught with danger for me. The blueberry bushes are covered with netting to keep the birds and me out. Tessa moved the netting back, jumped over the low fencing, and told me to climb over. 


To my credit I did get one leg over the fence before I realized that the second leg was not going to cooperate, because if I tried to lift it over the fence I was going to lose my balance (it happens with two knee replacements). 

Tessa, the natural problem solver, was trying to figure out ways to help me out. I am so glad that there was no one there to video it, because I started laughing and Tessa started laughing and I was afraid we were going to have to call the fire department to rescue me (I forbade her to go inside and tell her parents on me)

Fortunately, I was able to get the first leg back out of the enclosure and Tessa remembered there was a way to open the fencing so we were able to get inside and pick the berries. Of course what I didn't realize was that when Tess went inside to get baskets she tattled on me. The name Benedict Arnold comes to mind. 


It was at that point that I felt we needed a cooling off period so Tessa suggested we move the stool over under a tree to watch the ducks. When my daughter Cary came out and asked what we were doing way over there I began to have my suspicions that Tessa had been positioning us so that we weren't visible from the house and no one would disturb our closer than we probably should have been time together. 


As for the rest of the week I developed a kidney infection and had to go to urgent care on Tuesday. I was really worried about a trip to the doctor, but they were taking wonderful precautions and I felt very safe. 

I seem to be slow at kicking the infection, which means I am forced to stay at home and rest. I am sick of staying at home and resting, but it means that I am researching how to use the camera on my new Iphone 11. 


I am not going for my weekly visit today, but Monday is Tessa's birthday and I won't miss that. Katy is hopefully going to be able to come and stay out in the yard away from everyone. It will be her first time out of her home, other than her one medical appointment, in over four months. 

It may not be a typical birthday celebration, but I'm sure it will be wonderful. After all it's Tessa's big day. 

Happy July 4th. 

OWLS CHICKENS AND DUCKS OH MY

My daughter has become quite the urban farmer (along with the help of Tessa of course), and like any farmer dealing with the livestock is a continuing concern.

Trixie has not been particularly happy about being cooped up so much recently, but with the continuing presence of a pair of owls her safety and the safety of her chicks is a big priority.

This owl was staring my daughter in the face right outside her back door one day. 


Cary and Tessa were not too happy about the threat it posed to the chicks, but in no time at all the owl swooped down, plucked up a mouse, and flew up over the fence. It definitely moved up a notch in their good graces, but unfortunately for Trixie she and the chicks are still mostly confined to quarters.

She was outside for a bit, keeping a watchful eye on the three older chicks, while I was there one day, and it seems that she has rewarded the family by starting to lay eggs again. 


The baby chicks aren't the only ones who are growing up. I can't believe how much the ducks have grown. It probably won't be long before they start laying eggs as well, and they are now bigger than the owl so I think they are safe.


Kyle, my son-in-law, has been working hard on a new home for the ducks, which will keep them safe from predators. No more duck dinners for the fox that comes sneaking around at night.


I didn't get to see Tessa last week because she was over swimming with her other grandparents, but I dropped her off  some taquitos from Trader Joe's on Wednesday morning and I am going over for a visit this afternoon.

Sorry I didn't respond to comments last week, but my phone bit the dust and my computer was apparently having sympathy pains. I have a new phone now and the computer seems to have come out of its stupor. I'll share more about the phone next time.

Have a great weekend.



CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Am I getting old or is it all of the time I am spending on my own these days that brings up old memories. Maybe it is a combination of both. 

It seems like there are so many things these days that trigger memories that were hidden in the back of my mind. 


I belong to a Facebook group that posts photos of the little town where I grew up in southern Ontario in Canada. It was a beautiful picture postcard town. 

The downtown was filled with local shops, restaurants, a skating rink, and a movie theater. 

It was a place of parades, dances, and swimming in nearby Lake Erie.


A war memorial carillon tower stood in front of the high school and chimed out the hours every day and Christmas carols in December. 


A river meandered through the town. Park areas surrounded the river and most days I crossed over the wooden bridges walking or riding my bicycle. In winter I bundled up and cut through the park on my way to toboggan at the golf club.



I loved going to the town's historic little library. I think I must have read every book in the children's section. 

Still to this day busloads of visitors come from all over the province to see the Christmas decorations in the park.


My home was set on two acres, which backed up to the river. What a wonderful place to play as a child. I would go down and sit under the pine trees or wander the dirt path beside the river. My parents told me there were blood suckers in the river so I never tried to go in the water. I'm not sure if that was true or if it was a way to keep us from drowning. 

We had two identical elementary schools in town, South Public and North Public. I attended North from the fifth through seventh grades. The left entrance and playground were for boys and the right entrance and playground were for girls. 


These days when I close my eyes I can see those long ago images and sometimes at night I dream of them. They are comforting to me. 

Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we?
Could we?
                                                       Barbra Streisand

I know I would love to have one day of experiencing it all again, knowing that the aroma of my mom's fresh baked chocolate chip cookies was waiting for me when I walked in the kitchen door. 

SAFE HUGS AND TRIXIE

Where does the time go? I'm not really doing a whole lot and yet the time still seems to be zooming by.

Last Saturday I went to visit my family. I am now going once a week because I really just get too lonely when I don't get to visit with them. I am very lucky to live only nine miles away from both of my daughters. 



My daughter, Cary told me that the New York Times had written a column about safe hugging during the pandemic. She knows that I have been feeling really sad about not getting to hug my grandchildren for three months. You can read the article here.

Human touch is important for all of us, and going for three months with no human touch is not good for your mental health. It is especially hard on grandparents. 



So when I went for my visit, I hugged each of my three grandchildren using the safe hug guidelines. They have been primarily self isolating, as have I, so the risk was very low. 

Those three hugs were the best hugs that I can remember. Although I hugged the two older ones inside the house, Tessa and I hugged outside and I gave her a kiss on the back of her head through the mask. 

I think it is best to assess the risk versus the need to have that important contact if you are thinking of hugging members of your own family. 



Tessa and I had a visit with Trixie while I was there. Trixie was not a happy chicken because she was still confined to quarters due to the two large owls who are lurking in the yard. 

She did seem happy to see me and let me know that I needed to rescue her from her mean old family who are trying to protect her. 



I tried being nice by poking some chickweed (a favorite of hers) through the chicken wire, and she did eat it, but also pecked my fingers. I felt she was being a bit ungrateful. 

Maybe the fact that I told her she now has some online fans went to her head. It is ever so hard being a celebrity. I'm hoping the paparazzi doesn't show up because there is no telling what she will tell them about her perceived mistreatment. I'm counting on Tessa to ward them off. 




GARDENING

Mistress Laura quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

Despite having the worst space for sun my little garden is doing its best to grow. 



The wildflowers have popped up and are starting to reach to the sky. I'm hoping that by next month they will start to produce blooms that I can cut for bouquets for my apartment. 



I'm noticing different things with the veggie plants.

Although both of the pepper plants have a small pepper already I have noticed that they are slow growing and the leaves are a bit yellow. They may be suffering from too much water, but unfortunately I can't control Mother Nature.



The one tomato plant is very healthy and is growing rapidly while producing flowers. Hopefully I can harvest a few tomatoes off of it this year before the squirrels get them. 



I'm a bit concerned about the cucumber plant. It is behind the tomato plant and I am worried that it is being shaded, which is keeping it from growing. 

I'm finding that the eggplant and summer squash that I bought most recently are doing better than the ones I bought first.



These are all photos I took earlier this week right after I weeded. Things have grown since then, including the weeds, so I will be out weeding this morning before it gets too hot and in between the rain showers.

My little garden may not be big, but it is helping to take my mind off of everything that is going on right now. Sorry for only one post this week, but like a lot of people I am a bit stressed right now and so I am taking mental health breaks as I need them. 



I will be going over to visit the family this weekend. Tessa was gone when I was there last Saturday, so even though I missed seeing her it gave me a little more time with the other grandkids. 

Stay safe, my friends.

P.S. Trixie has been confined to quarters after an enemy attack by two giant owls this week. Fortunately Trixie fought them off and there were no casualties, although Tessa appears to be MIA. I'll be searching around the backyard for that girl on Saturday.  

RANDOM COVID THOUGHTS

Yesterday was a rainy Georgia day. It was a day to sit and gather some relevant and not so relevant thoughts on this what seems like one millionth day of the pandemic. 

This is relevant to the fact that I need to somehow get up off this chair and get myself back out on that sidewalk. 


source unknown

I don't know how relevant this is to the rest of you, but it is definitely relevant to me. I haven't sunk to drinking wine for breakfast, but not only am I missing people I don't like, I'm missing people I haven't seen in 50 years and didn't like back then.


This is definitely relevant because we can all use some humor these days.



I can't stress the relevance of this enough. Please continue to wear a mask and social distance.

source unknown

Well, this has absolutely no relevance other than to remind myself that I was once very cool and that the person I see in the mirror is definitely not me. 

source unknown

Stay safe, my friends.









CHICKENS AND CHEATING

No, this post isn't actually about cheating chickens. If chickens are actually able to cheat I'm afraid I wouldn't know. As much as I have tried to communicate with them, it seems that we don't speak the same language. All I can get out of them is clucks and cheeps. 


There have been some funny chicken stories coming out of my daughter Cary's home. They mostly have to do with Blackberry and how she nearly drove the entire family insane.

It seems we wrongly maligned Trixie for booting Blackberry out of the coop. After bringing Blackberry into the house it seems she began to think she was one of the family and would not stop cheeping unless she was held.

This is Tessa at the height of the insanity. Even her patience had worn thin. 




At that point Cary decided to try and give Blackberry back to Trixie. Trixie did try, but after an overnight visit where Blackberry failed to integrate Trixie once again gave her the boot. A mother can only take so much.

It was at that point that Cary decided to get some new baby chicks to put in with Blackberry. One of the new babies, Pumpkin, tried to make friends, but Blackberry jumped on her head to try and get out. OUCH!!!

This is Pumpkin

Cary decided she had to do something so she moved them out of the kitchen and into the schoolroom. That seemed to do the trick. Blackberry finally seemed to realize that she was a chicken, not a house pet, and is now coexisting with the three new babies. 

WHEW!!

Now about that cheating. Tessa and I played Go Fish on FaceTime the other day. Once again I came out way behind. I'm thinking I'm going to have to set up a spy cam to catch that girl. She is pretty tricky though and gives me lots of laughs so I am willing to let it slide. 

Have a happy Memorial Day.




PUZZLES AND PORCH SITTING

I realized in the last few days that I really don't have tons of things to write about on my blog these days. I admire those who are able to churn out posts on a daily basis, but I am finding myself to be sorely lacking in new material, and some days as I sit in my apartment I think about giving it up. 


I love the friends I have made through blogging and that is what has kept me going, but I feel like I need to cut myself some slack and just post when I feel like it.

I also know that I need to find some new stay at home activities to keep my mind challenged and to avoid as much as possible the inevitable boredom and loneliness.


I have started back in on the puzzles this last couple of weeks. For some reason my interest was rekindled and I have completed two puzzles. I ordered a new one from Amazon and it arrives today.

I haven't been able to read much lately. It's been hard for me to slow my mind down enough to concentrate. I hope that will change, but unlike those who think the danger from Covid-19 is over, I don't believe that and will continue to take precautions. 



Last Thursday I drove over and visited with both of my daughters and my grandchildren again. As someone who lives alone I know that I need that in person connection with them. 

I visited with Katy first. I took her some supplies I found at the grocery for her and some more medical gloves that I purchased several months ago. She is unable to leave home at all, and like me, is alone. She will have to go for medical treatments staring in June and I know that she is afraid and will have to find the least riskiest way to do it. 


After visiting with Katy I went to Cary's house to visit with her and my grandchildren. Sitting on her front porch for an hour is so relaxing for me. I love seeing them in person and looking at the garden she is creating in her front yard. It is difficult not to give hugs though.

I do have funny new chicken stories and will share them soon. My daughter's life as a city farmer is pretty amusing at times.   

GROCERY SHOPPING

A wee bit of normal returned Tuesday morning with my trip to the grocery.

Senior hour is from 7 to 8 in the morning Monday through Thursday at Kroger so I arrived right at 7.



I felt like the new kid on the block as I had to learn the new rules for in store shopping. 

First thing I noticed was that the main entrance was locked and the other entrance was flanked by an employee who was making sure that only seniors wearing masks were allowed in the store. 


After grabbing a sanitized cart I made my way into the store, where I felt like a kid in a candy store. I noticed that there weren't any directional arrows on the floor so I made my way to the toilet paper aisle first. 


Who knew I could get so excited over toilet paper, but when I saw a pack of eighteen mega rolls of my favorite brand I nearly squealed. (Well I may have squealed a little)

Once the excitement was over I made my way over to the produce section and proceeded to make my way around the store with the list I had made the night before. As I went through the store I noticed how few people were shopping. I don't think there were over ten customers in total. 


Luckily I was able to find everything on my list except paper towels and liquid hand soap. I don't use many paper towels and as I just opened a large roll I won't really need any for awhile. I have a histamine reaction to perfume so I need unscented soap. I found some on Amazon and ordered it yesterday. 

The experience I had was definitely positive so I will continue to go to the senior hour for now. I still cleaned off the groceries when I got them home so that hasn't changed, but being able to pick out my own groceries and saving money always makes me very happy. 



A LOVELY DAY AND TRIXIE

Saturday was a lovely day. The sun was shining, the temperature felt perfect, and my daughters and I had my Mother's Day together.

Sitting outside and doing our social distancing thing we spent three hours, just the three of us, talking and laughing. 


It doesn't seem like we have enough of those times, especially these days, and it made life seem pretty close to normal for a change.

I don't really know what all we talked and laughed about, but that wasn't really the point. It was all about that feeling of belonging and love. It was about being a family. It was about being a mom. 

My daughters gave me the perfect gifts. Katy framed one of her original watercolors in an antique frame. She had painted carnations, which are my favorite flowers. Cary gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers from her garden. 


After Cary and I left Katy's, we went by her house so that I could see the grandkids. I actually went in the house for a few minutes for the first time in over two months. We kept our distance and I wore my mask, but it was so nice to be in their home again.

Queen Anne's Lace

Inside there was a surprise. Trixie had actually hatched another chick. Tessa found it on the floor of the coop where it had either fallen or Trixie had pushed it out. When Tessa tried to put it back up with Trixie she started pecking it and Tessa had to remove it.

Apparently that is fairly common when a chick is born several days after the others. She is solid black and Tessa named her Blackberry. She is very tiny and frail and although she is in the house under the lamp there is a concern she might not make it.

Tessa seems very stoical about these things. She is an outdoor child, a farm girl in the middle of the city.

Scabiosa

Life goes on. I am planning to venture out to the grocery this morning for the first time in eight and a half weeks. I will go during senior hour in order to lessen exposure. There are things I need that I can't seem to get through curbside pickup or Instacart. Toilet paper for one. Wish me luck.

I hope everyone had as lovely of a Mother's Day as I did. 
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