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Chick talks “Birds and Bees” A Cautionary Tale

It’s spring…kind of…and I’m thinking of the birds and the bees. We already have the birds, specifically the chickens, but we have no bees. We have fresh “free”eggs and wouldn’t it would be great to have fresh honey, too?

My husband hates bees. Hates…them! Every year the conversation between us goes like this:

“I’d like to get some bees.”

“If you got bees, who says they won’t just go next door? They sting. Why do I want anything that instinctively wants to harm me? For what?”

He had a point. (Pun intended.) So, I decided to table that discussion for next year…since currently we’re nursing our rooster back to health. (Soooo, we’re back to “just” having the birds!)

Thurston, the rooster is on my enclosed porch as he’s healing from a hawk attack. He was just doing his job to protect his ladies and BAM! He was scooped up and fought his way out of the talons of a bully chicken hawk. He’s now wearing a (custom made by moi) cone of shame to deter him from pecking himself to death.

So yesterday I went back to my second home, aka the feed store, to get medicine and food. (Just a reminder to those thinking of getting chickens for “free eggs”…there’s no such thing as “free”!) Since I knew what I needed I went directly to the order counter and paid for the goods.

“You qualify to receive 6 free baby chicks!”

“No…no…no. Oh, their so cute! I already have the heat lamp. My husband will give up his shower for another month, again. I’d just need a bag of crumbles….”

I slapped my own face and said…”NO!”
The sales lady said she understood and quickly walked away. (She basically dropped the chicks and ran!)

“I mean, I have enough to take care of right now!” (Did I just say that out loud?)

Feverishly I grabbed my supplies and exited the store. Surely someone else has had that same reaction…surely. Embarrassed, I scrambled out of that parking lot and insult to injury, my tires may have spun some gravel. (No one was harmed….that I knew.)

There’s so much to know when having chickens. Mine happen to be pets so I don’t cull them when they’re ill. I treat them. In fact, my husband almost died when he heard I’d taken Thurston to the vet…in my car. (I left the sun roof open. Gosh!)

I can’t believe I was able to walk away from then but sometimes you have to know your limits. I mean, they weren’t the kind of chickens I really liked so that helped! The saleswoman who knew me hollered as I was leaving the building.

“Next week we’re getting Buff Orpington’s!”

“Really?! I love these birds! Maybe next week.”

Did I really just say that? I was so proud I didn’t get the chicks and expressed my pleasure to the hubs in being able to walk out without a half dozen chicks. He was relieved, too. Then I told him about next week’s arrival of Buff Orpington’s and shockingly…he spoke…

“We’ll, since you’re not doing the bee hive…”.

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Chick Can Do Bluegrass

As I have taken on a challenge to write everyday, I found some lyrics I wrote long…long…long ago!

If you want to make a girl’s day, set some bluegrass music to it and let’s make some music together. Tag! It’s your turn! I’d love to hear your creative melody…It would be sweet!

“Oh Sweet Collards”
By: Summer DeCoste

Oh how I miss you
It’s been only a year
Your butter bean – green eyes
In my mind…
and I fear…

You’ve found another
She stole you from me.
I miss you, my sweetheart.
Well, I miss your sweet collard greens…

No one makes ’em
Quite like you…
Mmmmm, they were tasty
Miss ’em, sweet Honeydew…
How did you do it?
Pulled me in with yer rod
Must have baited with yer collards
Cuz it wasn’t your charms

Sweet tea to chase it…
Life just isn’t the same…
But the sun has gone down on that missin’ you game.

How I’m missin’ those sweet collards now

Maybe it’s time I get rid of yet stuff…
Most of it’s gone
But that perfume
Ugh…that stunk!
Can’t rid of that smell
It won’t go away.
But a pot of yer collards
Well, those…they can stay.

So maybe it’s not you,
That I miss at all…
Them sweet collards…
Those sweet greens
Had my heart all along.

Well goodbye sweet darlin
I’ve had enough…
Of you and this silly sweet missin’ you stuff.

Farewell, Adios, & have a good life
Just leave me a note
With some collards sometime….

Chick Can Draw from Horses

In college, one of my electives was “Horses and Horsemanship”. I was from Texas. I wore boots. How difficult could this be for me?

I thought I was going to be riding and enjoying the beautiful, flat, tumbleweed rolling land of Abilene. Well, it was sort of like that. We did clean stalls. We fed the horses. I met some fine cowboys. I made some fantastic friends…and tutors!

Here’s what I did not imagine. It was the most difficult class I had ever taken. Not only was the class work challenging, the terminology was exasperatingly difficult! Then, we had to dress the horse and ride the horse. (God help me.)

After 3 weeks in class, we finally got to ride! I was excited. My “friends” I met in class promised not to let me down and they did not disappoint! They helped me back up on my horse as many times as I fell off that horse. When my horse broke into a gallop with the hint of a race from another horse, I hung onto that baby for my LIFE!

The Professor called me aside after that class. She said she’d never seen someone with such determination, as she helped pull the grass out of my hair and my teeth. I was so proud…until. I was so proud until I finished that grass filled, teeth grinning talk and realized I never…tied…my horse…up. Where was she?! (Later, and I mean hours later, I found that my “friends” had hidden her from me.)

In conclusion, I finished this course. I met some cowboys and cowgirls with heart. I tore muscles I never knew existed. I learned that when you don’t ride correctly, you are actually doing consecutive leg splits, when galloping. (I didn’t know I could do that many splits at once! No one said I wasn’t talented!)

So, what do I do with this now? I take this determination decades later and I write. I do my watercolor illustrations. In fact, I’m writing about a barrel racer in my next book…right now. I admire the sheer talent, drive and determination they have. I’ve met some of the PRO barrel racers and they’re encouraging me! (Imagine that!)

The lesson I’ve learned: Find the lesson in anything that you do. I may not be a barrel racer, but I’m determined, with grass in my hair, to get up and move towards my goals. I will paint. I will write. I will make it and I will achieve great things, even if it’s not on a horse, and it will be for God’s glory..not mine.

Now, Keep MOVING!

Chick Can’t be a Veterinarian

Reflecting on the past is important in order to know where I’m going in the future. There’s two ways to look at this. For one, I’ve made a lot…a dozen or possibly a million mistakes and I believe I’ve learned a lesson or two from those ugly incidents. Frankly, that’s why I am who I am. It’s why I think too much now.

Let’s take my job search, for instance. It’s been difficult after being laid off of the same job twice. (By the way, I don’t think many people can say this…or would admit returning to a job which laid them off even one time…but I digress.)

Because of our rural domain, I decided to interview for a local veterinarian’s office. I mean, I love animals. Sure, my college degree is Interior Design, but I was open to new possibilities! After the interview, they offered me a position which sounded perfect. It was close to home. I would work with humans and the dogs alongside the vet. How hard could this be?

I’m shaking hands. I’m excited! “Oh and you’ll want to come in at the end of this week. On Friday’s we put some of the shelter dogs ‘down’. We’ll just need you to cuddle and comfort them.”

Silence.

I couldn’t hear another word.

“See you on Friday. Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it.”

Returning home, my face was swollen and puffy. I cried for hours before my husband got home. I washed up…put on a happy face and reported with tears the size of alligators that “I got the job!”

Hubby called me repeatedly for the following two days to say,”Call them back…you’re not taking that job. We don’t have a kennel. I know you. We’ll end up becoming a shelter for everyone of those animals on Fridays!”

I continued to cry for two days as I tried to convince myself with their words “you’ll get used to it.”

He was right. I wouldn’t get used to it. I don’t work there and we are currently are the house of 4 dogs and 17 chickens.

Can you imagine if I’d taken that job? I had to examine my past and my present to determine my future.

What’s next, you ask? Stay tuned.

Chick Can Change Direction

Actions and doing are better than sitting and stewing. So, I’ve been busy.

I raked. The chickens then climbed to the top of the piled leaves and started kicking their legs furiously through the pyramid of fallen leaves to make a nice flat circle for me. Time wasted? No. They loved it.

I cooked. I made a roast. My husband obtained a cold so I transformed it into a beef and vegetable soup. Waste of time? I don’t think so. He feels better today.

I wrote. I received feedback from others, who cared enough to read my manuscript. I reconfigured my words, not once but a couple of times. Hours gone but am I upset? No, because the book is only getting better.

Looking back over the weekend, I notice I’ve been busy! Doing for others is never a waste of time. (Funny thing is..I didn’t look at it that way at the time!).

Sitting and wallowing over spilt milk…what others might or might not be thinking…what may or may not happen? THAT is a waste of time!

I think I’ll keep doing. I’ll keep loving. In the end, I keep receiving, but only when I take the time to “see” that.

Today, I’m thankful.

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Chick is NOT a chicken

Chick is NOT a chicken

Yesterday was not my best day as a chicken and dog lover. I read stories all of the time how the dogs and the chickens get along. I see pictures of little chicks sitting on the backs of cats. That is not the story I have to tell today, from here.
We have a backyard for the dogs. We have a large house and outdoor run for the chickens. I love letting the chickens free range, so if I am going to be home, I let them just roam the property. Typically they don’t get in the dog yard. Typically. That is not the story I have to tell today, from here.
Yesterday, I was looking out my kitchen window and all was right in the world. The chickens were doing their chicken scratching and roaming through the woods. I was also looking up whether or not I needed to get plastic surgery for my rooster, Thurston. His top beak had broken off and don’t ask me how or why. I don’t know. They do have Vet’s that will perform a surgical procedure for that, by the way. I digress…
All in all it was a successful day. I completed a painting and sold it. My chores were done. Dinner was ready. In walks the hubs and I was happy. As I normally do, I fed the dogs and before letting them into their yard, I checked the backyard just to make sure there were no chickens there. None. I release the hounds.
I went out with them and Louie who is our 80 pound pup ran along the fence line. He loved to see the chickens fly. It was then that I tried to get Louie back in the house. I do not know why, but Lacey, the 6 month old hen flew right into the backyard. Cue the chase. I mean, I calmly tried to say “leave it”. Didn’t work. So, the chase began. I latched onto Louie. I rode my dog through the backyard screaming “LEAVE IT!”
He didn’t leave it. Now, my husband is with us as I am pinned against the fence, with grass in my teeth. He removes the frightened hen from Louie’s mouth. Believe it or not, Lacey wasn’t hurt. There was no blood. There was no harm done, or so I thought. I just laid there. It was me who ended up injured. I cracked my two front teeth. Yes, I did.
The last time I cracked one of those very same teeth, I was riding a lawnmower. At .05 miles per hour, I ran into a “Neighborhood Watch” sign. (That sign is still crooked, by the way. I wish someone would fix that. They won’t let me touch it. Imagine!) In the end, I got the experience of having an implanted tooth. Do you know that I’m no longer allowed to borrow any lawn equipment from any of my neighbors, nor will they entertain my requests. All of this over one little accident! And, I digress once again.
I’m thankful that no animals were harmed in the aforementioned situation. On the other hand, my body and my teeth feel like I rode a bucking bronco bull yesterday. And, in essence, I did get a taste of how sore a bull rider must be the day after his competition. Ouch. That brings me to a phrase I heard yesterday. “Danger is real. Fear is not.” How does that fit into my scenario, you ask? Because I say so! I am now not afraid of the unknown because I am going to get out there with courage, no matter what the situation is and nothing can stop me.
David of David and Goliath in the Bible, stepped up and without thinking said, “I can slay the Giant.” Don’t think he wasn’t prepared. I mean, he’d had plenty of practice in his everyday life as a hunter. Because of those experiences, he knew just the right size pebble or rock to put in that slingshot, depending on his intended target. He was ready and he had God. He had a God sized belief. He let God lead him and he won.
I posted my traumatic experience on FB in short, and ended it with “Jesus Take the Wheel”. My niece responded with “Dear Jesus, Please take the wheel.” With support like that, I can’t lose…ever. Courage, with God is underrated. He’s got this. Let him have the wheel, as Carrie Underwood so adequately conveys in her song. Change your tune. Have courage.

Chick Can Wear a Swimsuit

Agreeing to drive a car from Texas to New York, I ended up wearing my swimsuit and I am not a spring chicken.  I suppose an explanation is in order.   A cousin, whom I met about in the last six months, put a request on FB.  Her son had just graduated from Army Boot Camp.  He had only so many days of leave and he and his family wanted all of that time with him at home, in Houston. 

Since I live in Virginia and I work from home, I figured this would be an adventure and especially for someone who is in the military.  He’s working to secure my freedom, but “freedom isn’t free”.  Sure, I could do it!   I mean, I hate to ride in a car for any length of time!   How hard could this be?  Within  twenty-four hours of saying that I could probably do it, she booked my ticket from Virginia to Houston to include a return flight from New York to Virginia a mere five days later.  It was only twenty six hours of driving.  Never had I traveled such a distance except when on a family trip in my youth.  And those were some long trips.  “She’s staring at me!  She touched me!  She’s on my side of the seat!”  Ohhhh, I loved being in the car for twenty four hours at a time!  NOT.

And….I digress, once again.                                                

My husband pampers me and I pamper him.  On this particular day of packing for my trip, he was out of town on business.  I threw just about all I thought I would wear to include my undergarments…all of them, in the washing machine.  I figured I would pick a few things after that and put them in my suitcase the following morning.  I am not a high maintenance wife, that’s for sure! 

The following morning:  I take care of my chickens.  I feed my dogs.  I shower.  I go to dress and pack from the dryer.  THE DRYER!!  I forgot to put the clothes in the dryer.  Quickly, I throw them in the dryer.  The clock says I must be ready to leave in 45 minutes.  Since my neighbors agreed to take me to the airport, I didn’t want to be late.  In the event that I wouldn’t have dry clothing, I went to Plan B. 

Plan B:  I put on my swimsuit as undergarments.  I layered clean, dry clothes over it.  At this point, all I could do was pray that the clothes would dry in the dryer.  Staring at it wasn’t helping, so I paced.  That wasn’t working either. 

I wrote to some of my girlfriends and explained.  I wanted them to know that in case of a SUCCESSFUL water crash landing on the plane… that I was wearing a swimsuit!  I mean, when all of the major networks were filming from the helicopters, I wanted for one of my good friends to call in and let them know why “THAT GIRL” is wearing a swimsuit AND WHY…she is able to swim out with her swimsuit on and rescue with ease, so that the other passengers may get back on the wing to safety!  And without skipping a beat, one of my friends said she was going to tell them it was “Divine Prophesy”, IF, that happened. ( Yep, those are my friends!)

So I go through security and as I walk through the machine, they pull me aside.  I’ve got nothing to hide, I think.  The Agent says you have a shadow under your clothing.  I pull up my shirt and say it’s because I am WEARING A SWIMSUIT!  I start to explain why and they wave me onward….Wait.  I didn’t get to explain the rest of the “why”! 

And I loved it.  It was comfortable.  1800 miles and let me just tell you that swimsuits are the way to travel!  My swimsuit was so comfortable that I recommend it highly, and in case of emergency, your’e always prepared!

In that same vain, I kept hearing God’s voice.  He says not to worry about what to wear.  With Him in my life, I’m always prepared.  He asks me to have his words “written on my heart”.  With God, “all things are possible”.  He says I’m going to have “troubles” but He has “overcome the world”.  If He has overcome the world, He can take care of me. 

Wearing a swimsuit under my clothes is not the end of the world when I know Jesus and His promises.  So thankful for the invention of the swimsuit and also thankful for this Labor day that it’s the end of swimsuit season.  God is good.  Isn’t He?