Friday, October 27, 2006

My Two Moms

I am blessed to have two moms. No, I am not adopted in the conventional sense of the word. However, I do have a biological mother and, in addition, a mother who has taken me into her life and her heart and loves me unconditionally. I speak of my dear mother-in-law, one of the most humble and selfless people I know. She has seen me at my worst as well as my best (the day I married Dwayne of course!), and I know she has prayed for me faithfully. I believe that when I married my husband fourteen years ago, I became her daughter. Just today she appeared at my door ready to lend a hand as I sat, yet again, wretched and aching, with another episode of back pain. She will undoubtedly be embarrassed to read my proclamations here (though she will be thankful that I'm not posting any photos!) but I want to share how very blessed I am. Thank you Jane! I love you! You are a wonderful woman and one of the bestest friends I have ever or ever hope to have in this life, and not only that, we get to live together in heaven for eternity!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Joy in the Morning

After breakfast, Anna-Rose has the daily task of letting the chickens out of their coop and tossing them a bowl of dried corn. The guineas follow in hot pursuit creating a wild teeming mass of feathers, beaks and squawks in the driveway each morning while they gobble their goodies. The way they go at it you'd think they had been prisoners of war for six months on a starvation diet.
What I find extraordinary is the way they have developed a daily routine without any direction from me. Following the corn feast, they adjourn to the patio to whine (chickens) and screech (guineas) for more snacks. They know, you see, that this is the time of day when I am working in the kitchen. After being ignored and/or chastised, they then proceed to demonstrate the answer to the riddle: Why did the chicken cross the road? Why, to get to the neighbor's yard of course. Yes, I have raised a flock of malcontents who find the grass greener on the other side.
This creates several amusing scenarios each day as they cross back and forth holding up traffic or chasing cars (yes, the guineas do this) or inspecting horse-riders and dog-walkers (you never know who might be carrying a handout). Braveheart once decided to challenge a Jeep Wrangler and staunchly stood his ground until, arms waving like a lunatic, I chased him back into the yard. Thankfully the driver and his dog sat patiently the rooster or me, I don't want to know.

Here's a recent picture of Braveheart, looking dashing and debonaire. In reality he is a glutton. He actually sits on the back doorstep crowing until someone comes out and throws some leftovers at him. And to think I once called him charming. We've decided that his crow sounds like, "Where's my coooorn?!!" Where once he strutted, he now waddles. Shameful.

Now that the guineas are on the loose, we are seeing fewer insects and absolutely zero ticks. This more than makes up for their homely faces and fingernails-on-a-blackboard-at-an-ear-piercing-pitch screaming. Not to mention their low IQ's. I must say that they will come when I call them. All I have to do is yell, "Treeeeeats!" and shake a cup of millet and I can even get them down off the roof (or out of the neighbor's yard).

Not much else happening in the way of agrarian adventures. We had the most pathetic crop of tomatoes I ever hope to see. All green. We had to pull them because of the frost coming last weekend. And not one pepper......not one. Something bit off most of the blossoms as they were growing, and when they did miraculously bear fruit, it was immediately nibbled off as well. Just looking at those two baskets of green tomatoes made me cry. It was so disappointing after all the work, and in my case, a trip to the emergency room for my back when it went out after transplanting them. So I've got a $1000 chicken coop and a $500 tomato crop. Realistically, we really shouldn't have planted this year, not having prepared the soil properly. My flower garden did much better. We still have loads of gigantic pink and white cosmos blooming. I had to laugh the other night. Some potatoes had sprouted in the compost pile and Dwayne brought one in to show me. It was the size of a pea! Maybe we should just stick the seeds right in the compost next year seeing as how my tomatoes are greener than my thumb.

But at least I can raise chickens. And look at the benefits!