Counting chickens…

Or not.

I have been putting off writing this post for nearly a week now in the hopes that putting a little time and distance between me and “the event” would make it less true or painful.

Baloney.

I couldn’t help becoming attached.  I couldn’t help being giddy with anticipation.  I couldn’t help loving them.

Just.  Couldn’t.  Help.  It.

The chickensare no more.  And this is how it went down:

It was Tuesday morning.  The Man grabbed a few extra winks before heading to work, leaving no time for the chickensSo it was all me.  It was my first time to care for the chickens and I was halfway looking forward to it.  I had The Man on the phone to make sure I went about it correctly.  

I carefully measured the feed into the bucket and playfully chatted with The Man as I crossed the lawn to the coop.  I opened the door and found it eerily quiet.  Odd.  I asked The Man if he had moved the chickens to another building.  Confused, he rejected that notion.  I questioned, “Are you sure?”  And then I took note:  feathers.  EverywhereLoads of feathers.  And not a bit else.   I darted outside the coop.  More feathers.  And a hole.  Dug right under the other side of the door.  My heart sank.  More so for The Man than for me.  And for my girls.  10 weeks of hard work and anticipation of our first farm-fresh eggs.   

We were so close.  

Feathers.

There must have been a struggle.

The hole.


To make things worse, our dog was incessantly barking like mad in the wee hours of morning.  We shrugged it off as nothing… still relishing every bit of sleep with a new baby in the house.  Darn critter.  Or critters.  

My princess angels are devastated.  We never should have named them.  Each of the girls went out to the coop to gather a few feathers as a keepsake in a Ziploc baggie.  Peanut wrote and illustrated a book for Hamburger, her favorite.  Ladybug drew a memorial portrait of Fluffy.  Lovey has shed plenty a tear for Joseph.  

I suppose we will have another go of it once The Man has time to beef up our poultry living quarters.  I consider it a life lesson learned. 

But in the meantime… I’m oh-so-sad.  

Extra-sugar-in-my-cup-day.

Love & coffee.

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Chick-a-licious

They are here. 

We.  Have.  Chickens.  

Not that I have anything else going on around here… like a newborn baby to tend to.  However, I digress.  

Cupcake was barely 2 weeks old when The Man says, “I think we need chickens.”  He called me from the farm store, where he and the three older girls had just finished a class on caring for chickens.  I wish I could have seen my face.  In a lack-of-sleep induced delirium, I agreed.  And the next day there were 10 peeping chicks, making themselves quite at home in our foyer.  That was well over a month ago and they now reside in the lovely little coop down by the barn.  And now that they are outside, I miss them.  Just a little.

I have zero ideas on what to do with the critters.  This was his idea.  And his responsibility.  The Man and his chicks.  (People say they don’t know if he’s talking about his animals or all of the young women he has at home.)  

At present, I mostly just feed the baby.  And change the baby.  And make googly eyes at the baby.  Like all the time.  And I’m okay with that.  I mostly forget the chicks are even around anymore now that they aren’t inside.  And it’s pretty awesome that at the moment, I get a free pass to not have to care for them.  

They aren’t quite so cute anymore.  I had no idea how quickly those sweet little things would turn into… chickens, which aren’t nearly so cute.  They are all quite feathered and strangely fierce-looking.  My girls have named three of them.  Mary.  Joseph.  And Hamburger.  (Yeah, I have no idea either.)  The Man just wanted to name them Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. 

Guess I’ll just pour myself another round of coffee while I wait for those farm-fresh eggs…  tick, tock.



Love & Coffee.

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9 Lives?

So along with my profound love for the changing of the season, my sweet little ones are learning to deal with the seasons of life.  (Cue Lion King soundtrack.)   

As we were feeding the sweet little kittens recently, the girls noticed our sweet Fozzy wasn’t there.  It wasn’t unusual, because as country cats those critters roam all over and come whenever they please.  Later that evening, we discovered him in the road just in front of the mailbox.  Just like a pancake.  

*sigh*  

I cried.  I’m pregnant.  So I really cried.  He was my favorite.  

When we arrived home from church later that evening we couldn’t see him in the road. Ladybug said sweetly, “Oh, heaven has already come for him.”  (Or a coyote.)  Nevertheless, bestill my heart.  I love that child.

And I miss my kitty.  

Loving on the kittens.

Boss Kitty (the gutsy, orange, and dangerously overweight cat who is Garfield incarnate) has been missing for weeks.  I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that he has tempted fate one too many times by wrangling with a combine or one of the free-spirited teenagers who speed down our road.  

In other news, I am officially declaring that I am giving up on giving up coffee.  It’s simply not working.  I love this baby and I take pregnancy pretty seriously, but this girl has got to have a little more caffeine in the tank or life will not be possible.  Or at the very least, I will be a more pleasant person to deal with on a daily basis.  One a day.  And then it’s on to decaf… ugh.  

I hope this is not a slippery slope… 

Love & Coffee.

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Seasons.

I love the changing of the seasons.  I love preparing for the onslaught of the cold, biting wind.  I love filling my kitchen with the warm, toasty aromas of autumn.  I love everything about this time of year.  Almost.

It’s that daRn calendar again.  That whole hiding-from-my-calendar trick didn’t work.  (See:  Hiding It got me.  And I swear I am officially saying NO to everything else.  Everything. 

Please, don’t peek into my laundry room.  Or my kitchen.  If you happen to drop by, you will be blindfolded and hastily escorted to my lovely dining room for a steamy cup of coffee and some sort of gooey baked goodness.  Because at the moment, my dining room is the only room that is remotely presentable.  And I am still blaming my calendar.  

I find myself relishing every sacred moment of the cool autumn air that has at last made a radiant appearance.  The trees are in full color and my coffee pot is working overtime.

Perfect.

However, in addition to my suffocating schedule, I have spent the bulk of my free time weather-proofing the house.  As anyone who has ever lived in a turn-of-the-century home can vouch for, there are old windows to be cloaked in plastic, doors to be wrangled with weather stripping, holes to be perfectly patched, and on and on and on.  And the windows… are gargantuan.  Lovely and grand and so entirely huge!  Just when I think I am almost done, I remember all the rooms I forgot.  

My sweet hubby and I tackled a few of them together one evening.  He measures.  And measures.  And measures.  I eyeball.  And estimate.  And eyeball.  And estimate.  I appreciate his precision.  He appreciates my free spirit.  And we both agreed we could better express our appreciation for each other by not working together on the windows.  Moving on.

My darling husband has been just as busy keeping up with the outside of the house and teh acreage despite the dwindling daylight hours.  He’s a rock star.  

And tomorrow is field trip Friday.  One whole day to go exploring with my sweet angels, including the aforementioned hubby.  There will be brownies and coffee and hiking along the river.  (And my calendar is not invited.)

Love & Coffee.

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Survival.

I’ve tried to hold my tongue.  Really.  I’m not usually one to complain.  Most of the time, I am eternally optimistic, but quite frankly, I just can’t take it anymore.

Its hot.  

H.  O.  T.

I am well aware that among most of the people in my social circles I am in the minority because I truly adore fall and winter.  Summer is my least favorite time of year.  I love a good barbecue on the 4th of July and I’ll even take good water fight now and then.  The true saving grace of summer are the storms.  I love a good, pounding rain and the thrill of an unexpected thunderstorm, but so far, we haven’t had much of that either.


The grass is brown (and crunchy), my feeble attempts at minor landscaping are wilting, and I am completely terrified to open my electric bill.  


I suppose on the bright side of things, I could say that my laundry dries on the line in virtually no time at all, the mosquito population is practically nil, and I don’t have to worry about the kidlets dragging mud all over kingdom come.  


Regardless, we are trying to spend time outside during the coolest parts of the day.  There are simply too many amazing things to explore out here.  

Last weekend, my oldest, Peanut, found this out by the barn:


Scores of freshly emerged baby caterpillars.

A couple of days later, it looked like this:





They were hungry.
Peanut rescued eight of them from that lone milkweed.
The next day, we thought we should go see if we could rescue the rest and transplant them to the other part of the field that is thriving with milkweed.  But they were gone.  
So we have eight lovely Monarch caterpillars who have taken up residence in our kitchen.  
Can’t wait to watch miracles unfold before little eyes.
Time to whip up an ice cold frappucino before heading out to water the tomatoes. 
Stay cool.
Love & Coffee. 
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Critters.

They.  Are.  Everywhere.   

And I don’t necessarily mind.  It’s just all so new to me.   There is something genuinely spiritual about being in the presence of so much life.  

Takes my breath away.  

Sipping morning coffee on the side deck, watching the cats wrestle (and sincerely hoping they don’t kill each other).

Savoring afternoon coffee on a well-loved quilt, lying in the grass, and listening to the tree frogs croak above me.

Delighting in an evening coffee around the campfire in the trees, while watching thousands of fireflies perform for me.

I love being in the center of God’s handiwork. 


So much discovery.


My girls were beside themselves when they discovered a nest of baby birds in the lilac bushes.  We watched them for days until… one morning last week when we returned to see their nest destroyed and ummm… pieces on the ground.  To put it delicately.  This was only a couple weeks after finding the remains of baby robins and their eggs scattered about the yard.  Sad, but an important lesson for those sweet girlies on the circle of life (Elton John, anyone?).


The girls captured a tree frog the other day and were mesmerized for nearly an hour.  He climbed up their arms, tangled his sticky feet in their hair, and jumped back and forth amongst the three of them.  Pure joy.  


We have a skunk who prowls the yard late in the evening.  Hoping against all hope nothing gets him too riled or we will have a serious problem on our hands.  The woodchucks still duke it out in front of the chicken coop every afternoon around 3:00 pm.  Serious comedy. 

There are fresh deer tracks nearly every morning, however, we have yet to actually glimpse one on our property.  (Only a matter of time, I hope.)  I hear coyotes singing most evenings and lately, the crickets have been chiming in, too.

And then there are the cats.

Everyone told us we would have to get cats when we moved to the country, utterly ironic since hubby is ferociously allergic to them.  But they are already here.  Everywhere.

We have seen at least ten different cats that come around, migrating from Lord-only-knows-where, and they all have names, thanks to my little darlings.  Two of these creatures seem to be making themselves quite at home, sitting on the front step at precisely 6:30 am expecting breakfast, napping on the deck in the afternoons, and fending off the evening skunk.

And they fight.  They hate each other.  We call the timid white and gray one Sandy, although I’m pretty sure she is a “he.”  The big orange cat which bears a striking resemblance to Garfield is affectionately “Boss Kitty.”  Because he’s clearly the boss.   Of everything.   When Boss is around, the other cats bow down.  I have seen them smack each other across the face with a powerful paw over the leftover chicken I set out and I once saw Boss intentionally push Sandy down the deck stairs.  Boss is always picking a fight.  And Sandy has the wounds to prove it.  And oh, the stare-downs.  Ultimately, I like Boss.  He’s tenacious and gutsy.  And I fancy that.  

Fine country entertainment.  

My coffee cup is empty and the laundry is about to blow into a nearby field on this breezy Monday.  I have grand visions of finally unpacking every last box by Friday.  

Until tomorrow…


Love & Coffee.

“God looked over everything he had made;
      it was so good, so very good!” 

Genesis 1.31 (The Message)
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Going Rogue.

Ah.  Monday.  He shows up precisely every seven days, yet I am never quite prepared for him.

The deep, earthy aroma of freshly brewed coffee is wafting through my kitchen as I savor every pleasurable drop of coffee heaven.  For just a few more minutes, I would like to forget about the miles-long to-do list awaiting me on the kitchen counter.  Would love to run and hide for a bit longer…

The weekend proved to be entirely rejuvenating.  Although we still work and primarily conduct our daily business and errands in the “big” town 20 minutes away (population 7000ish), we are only 2 minutes away from the “little” town (population not-quite-a-1000) that is now a part of my address.  We ventured to the “little” town just to explore and meet people.  We dined at the sweet little eatery on main street, picked up some locally made root beer and barbecue sauce at the darling market on the corner, and watched the girls play and make some new friends at the local park.  God has an uncanny way of putting me in places I never thought I would be.  And helping me to love it anyway.  And I am truly content.

I am adjusting to country life quite nicely and have even taken a liking to the stray cats who hang around the house and love to sleep in our garage.  Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am not a cat person.  I am not even really an animal person, although I am looking forward to getting a dog in the near future.  We have a fat yellow cat.  A really fat cat.  It occurred to me the other day that this cat is probably more than just fat.  I haven’t seen her in at least ten days, although I have searched high and low.  Perhaps something wonderful has happened… 

The white and gray cat sits on the deck off the kitchen and watches me work.  She slightly creeps me out.  The sweet little gray tom hunts June bugs on the kitchen deck in the evenings.  The white and black one seems to be a fraidy-cat.  The girlies seem to think we should name them.  I don’t know if I am ready for that, but as long as they are good little mice-hunters, they will be welcome here.

Over the weekend, Hubby asked me if I wanted to mow a bit and try out the new riding lawn mower.  He gave me a quick lesson (which I found entirely intimidating) and off I went.  I only got stuck in the weeds three times.  I secretly enjoyed it.  But please, don’t compare my side to Hubby’s side.  


One more coffee.  Then off to peruse my list and make some good things happen this week.

Happy Monday! 

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Snow Day.

You had me at “Winter Storm Warning.”  

And “Travel Not Advised.” 

Better late than never.  

This is the day I have wished for

(Read more here:  Bring It On. )

I have nowhere to be, except wallowing in the white with three happy kidlets.

I.  Love.  Snow.

I have steeled myself with a double dose of hot coffee and I am preparing to venture out.


When it is all said and done, the yard will be populated with all manner of snowmen and snow angels and snow forts will abound to house each one.  


And when we eventually find ourselves frosty and frozen… there will be cocoa.  

Creamy.  Steamy.  Cocoa.

It’s Iowa.  It snows.   And I like it.

Oh happy day.




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Bring it on.

We are well into January with nary a snowflake on the horizon.  Most of my fellow Iowans are relishing these 50 degree (and even a few 60s) degree temperatures, while I dream of winter.

Hardy winter.  Like a stockpiling-groceries, canceling-school-for-a-week, freezing-my-socks-off-blizzard.  

Bring it on.

Those are the days I relish.  Hot coffee in hand and nowhere to be but home, amid the aromas of a simmering crock pot full of a winter stew and yeast rolls in the oven. 

Yesterday, we spent the better part of the day outside.  Coatless.  The grass is greening and I even saw fresh clover poking out of the ground.  The farmers are working their Iowa fields.  This is not normal.  Seriously???  (I have a cousin who says her spring flowers are starting to come up…) 

I long for winter.


I appreciate every season in it’s own time, although I really do love the colder months.  For who can truly savor the rebirth of a budding spring without a good hard freeze?  

Today is cooler.  And cloudy.  And windy.  They say there will be negligible snow.  I’m praying they are wrong.  I remain hopeful.

I’m sipping coffee from my adorable snowman mug, watching the window and dreaming of white.

And for all my friends who disagree, a song for you

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Consequences.

I spent the better part of yesterday sore, barely mobile, and wondering what in the world I had done to myself to get that way.

Then.  I.  Remembered.

See those pumpkins?  Yeah, several of them are upwards of sixty pounds each.  They are from my father’s amazing garden.  He kindly issued this warning:  “I wouldn’t eat them if I were you.  I used plenty of chemicals to get ’em that big.”  (Thanks, Dad.) 

That was perfectly fine with me as they were going to welcome visitors on my front porch anyway.

The pumpkins looked so lovely and festive there yet someone (okay, it was me) had the bright idea that they would be the perfect scenery around the big oak tree for a few fall photos of my little darlings. 

Never mind asking for help from dear hubby.  I began hauling pumpkins down the hill and over to the big tree.  Wasn’t so bad until I was down to the big three.  Perhaps we can blame this next part on the mid-afternoon slump that comes around 2:30, which normally prompts another coffee break.

I carried the smaller of the three (probably between 50-60 pounds) all the way down.  I was feeling invincible.  Now for the larger two.  I soon figured out there was no way that was going to happen.  So I carefully rolled them down the hill and over to the tree.  (Why didn’t I think of that sooner?)

Thankfully, my big, strong sweetheart lugged them back up the hill and to the porch when we were done.

Regardless, I was right.  Perfect scenery.   See?




Time for  another round of Tylenol and coffee…
Happy Halloween!!!


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