Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Flu

Kyle came home from school yesterday feeling sick. I sent him to school this morning because he had no fever, no vomiting and wasn't bleeding out his eyes...so off to school you go. Well, he called about 30 minutes after I got home and said he had thrown up. I called the doctor, got him an appointment, picked him up from school and off we went. His strep test came back negative but the flu test came back positive. YUCK. Now I feel bad that I sent him off to school to expose other helpless victims to this horrid virus. We went to Wal-Mart to get prescriptions and I stocked up on hand sanitizers and lysol. I sure hope none of the rest of us get this. He has been strictly forbidden to be around his Pa for at least a week. Poor Kyle. A couple days at home playing video games and having Mom wait on you hand and foot, what a tragedy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wind

video

The sun showed back up today and brought with her, the wind. I was wishing I had been more specific with my request for the sun. This afternoon, I was out working around the chicken houses when the alarm went off. Soon I was bombarded with calls from Rodney, who had gone to Mena to pick up the tractor, wanting to know what was going on. The alarm calls Rodney's phone first and then if he isn't around, he calls me. Anyway, the alarm was directing us to the #4 house, so when I showed up over there, I immediately went to the computer to check the alarm log. There, flasing on the screen, low temp alarm! So I stuck my head in the door and to my shock and dismay, tunnel fans were running, the cool cell doors were open, all of the vent doors were open and every brooder was burning wide open. I ran back to the gas tank outside and it was whistling with the force of so much gas running into the chicken house trying to heat it up while fans were sucking cold air in. I started to run around like a crazy person...save the gas, save the gas! I must have run 5 miles around that chicken house, back and forth from door to door in my big ol rubber boots and baggy sweat pants, which kept falling down, trying to get things together so that the precious gas would stop pouring out of the tank. After I calmed down, talked to Rodney about 10 times on the phone trying to figure out what the problem was...I got the vents and cool cell doors closed and somewhat calmed the running of the gas. The whole problem was caused by the wind which had blown the louvers off of one of the tunnel fans causing a static pressure problem and sending the house into survival mode. Anyway, this was quite an adventure for this farm girl and I learned a little bit more about chicken farming. I was also very glad that I didn't care much what my hair looked like because what the wind didn't dishevel, I managed to mess up in the throws of my panic attack. Rodney has told me on many occasions that "this isn't a job, it's an adventure", I think I had my share today

Monday, January 28, 2008

Winter

The sun came out yesterday for the first time in what seems like forever. Today, however, it has gone back into hibernation. How I am longing for spring! I have heard of a condition called "seasonal depression" and I think I am in the throws of it. I got my farm work done before noon this morning and by the time I got home and cleaned up, I was feeling tired and gloomy. I watched "Legends of the Fall" probably one of the most depressing movies ever and decided I needed something cathartic to do. So I ran out in my bare feet in the cold wet gloom and took some pictures of the whole gray thing. I thought maybe if I embrace this ickyness, take it's picture and write about it, perhaps it will be kinder to me. I turned on all of my lovely lamps surrounding my desk, let in the gray light from the window and sat down to write. I guess I'm feeling a little better now. I need some coffee and maybe some cookies but I know that the only thing that will fix my icky spirit is some warm, glorious sunshine, and for that I guess I'll just have to wait. Groundhog day is Saturday, and that little critter better hope he doesn't see his shadow. I wonder if there are any good recipes for groundhog stew???

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Charlotte

This doggy is an endless source of joy for us. She was born right here in our house last December and we knew from the start that she belonged to us. Out of six other puppies, she was unique and always making us laugh and causing our hearts to swell with love with her curious little eccentricities. I mean just look at her, snoozing on her back with her feet and ears going every which way and those pearly whites showing (which we call her dentures). She has a bit of an under bite which just adds to her personality...Rodney says she was just "born with big gums"...like Bubba from Forest Gump. Just about a week ago, she and I sat on the front porch and watched the sun go down and I wondered how I became so blessed in my life to have a heart big enough to love my family as much as I do and still have love left over for this weird little dog who sat with me and gazed out into the sky like she knew that we were both participating in some sacred ritual. I hope she is around for a long time for she never fails to make me smile...and smiling is always a good thing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dissapointment

I have only recently, in the past couple of years, become a football fan. My brother started my interest with his deep passion for the Bears. I have always been a Favre fan but never really watched football religiously. Brett is just a lovable kind of guy, he is so real and just seems like a big ol' bubba, a country boy with a big heart and a big dedication to his team. Anyway, this year the Bears didn't make it too far and I shifted my focus to the Packers and became obsessed with their progress. I watched in horror as Favre suffered an elbow injury earlier in the year and I was thrilled that he came right back. Almost like a super-hero. I am still very new to all of this and have to ask Rodney questions throughout the games, like "what did they mean by 'off-sides', and why did they rule that an incomplete pass and not a fumble??" He is patient and explains everything where I can sort-of understand it. I was so excited when the Packers made it to the playoffs...and just knew that they would go on to the super bowl. I wanted them to be the team that beat the undefeated Patriots, but I guess now that isn't going to happen. I ordered a Favre t-shirt last week, jumping the gun and thinking it would be proudly worn while I watched the Packers kick butt in the super bowl. Well, I shall wear my #4 shirt with pride while I watch the super bowl, even if my beloved Favre isn't on the field. I realize that I am new to all of this but the disappointment is real. I know now how Dwayne felt when the Bears went on to the super bowl last year and then lost. Oh the grief and despair, oh the pain and agony. Now I will have to anxiously wait to find out if the great #4 super-hero Packer will be back to thrill me again next season.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Boots

When you live and work on a farm, boots are an essential tool in your daily life. These are Rodney's boots, they are somewhere around 2 years old now. If they could talk, what a story they could tell. They have seen a couple of hay seasons, and the winters that followed. They have trampled through cold mud, and hot dry dust, trodden through warm green pastures and stalked through woods on dry leaves. They have walked hundreds of miles through chicken litter, driven many miles on tractors and stepped in their share of cow pies. They have been hot, cold, wet and dry... and now, they are languishing. When I was observing these pitiful boots a few weeks ago, I felt angry. Angry that our life's occupation wouldn't allow us to freely buy a new pair of boots. I felt that life was unfair and that the hard work that went into creating such a weathered boot wasn't enough to allow for a new pair. How ironic.

After some prayer and consideration, God changed my mind about this. I began to feel blessed that the feet that fill these boots belong to a man that loves me, that they find their way home to me every evening when the day is done. I started to cherish the fact that we live in such a way that the condition of our shoes doesn't determine the condition of our hearts. The love that we feel for each other and the dedication we have to our jobs and our way of life, far outweigh what our apparel may look like. Rodney will soon have a very well deserved new pair of boots and I feel blessed to have a husband that will work as hard as he does and not even complain about the shoes on his feet.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Is it??

We have a controversy over whether or not this beautiful bird flying about our farm is a golden eagle or a juvenile bald eagle. We have researched our bird book and Kyle is convinced that it is a golden eagle. He took this picture by the way. He said he saw this bird sitting in the midst of some bald eagles and he was much larger. Golden eagles are bigger so we all think that it is one. It is breathtaking to see it in flight. He is so enormous. The picture is a little blurry but it is better than anything I've managed to get so far.

walking on water


The pond was completely frozen over this morning. The thermometer read 11 degrees. I thought it was amusing that the ducks were still on the pond even though they couldn't swim...they must have some really amazing feet to be able to stand that. I couldn't stand the 30 seconds it took to run out of the house and take these pictures...my hands are still frozen as I type this. These mallards (I don't know that it is the same ones) have always taken refuge here on the farm. I don't let anyone hunt ducks. When it is duck season and we wake to hear the shots being fired from neighboring sportsman, I at least know that some of the ducks will have a safe haven nearby. I like to think that the ones that have been here year after year are the same ducks and that when they are making their winter nesting plans when they are off in Vermont or somewhere up north, that they are thinking about the farm here and waiting for the day that they can come back.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Golden Eagle

This is the picture that Kyle took. I know that it looks like a hawk but you should see the size of this thing when it is in flight. I'll be looking out for the bald eagles and keeping my camera handy. Hopefully I'll get some pictures before they leave.

Deer


I went out this evening looking for eagles with my camera. We have had about 15 or 20 of them on the farm the past week or so. Rodney said yesterday that there were at least that many on the west fence line when he went over there, so I thought it would be easy pickins to get over there and get some pictures. Well, there were no eagles, only deer. They looked so beautiful in the evening sun, watching me curiously as I snuck closer and closer. They only watched for a moment and decided to leave. We saw a golden eagle earlier today. Kyle was so thrilled that he went out with the camera, trying to find him again. We thought it was a hawk when it was just sitting in the tree, but when it took off, wow was it big. I bet it's wing span was 6 or 7 feet wide. When we got back home we got out our bird encyclopedia and sure enough that is what it was. We were thrilled that we had seen it. Kyle did get a picture and I'll post it as well. It is a little blurry...Kyle?? But you can tell how big it is.