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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

me too...

A popular theme I found in blogs today, was parents contemplating the way their children were growing too fast, leaving the nest, flying past milestones...

I can really relate. It's been on my mind a lot lately. My daughter has four girls, spread out in age from fourteen to two. The fourteen-year-old used to think I was neater than sliced bread. I was the world's greatest Nana, and I have the letter to prove it! Now, I sometimes embarrass her. The two-year-old just thinks I'm fun to play peek-a-boo with. The four-year-old has become very possessive over my attention as the baby vies for it. (And I love it.) But it's the eleven-year-old that my thoughts have been dwelling on lately...

I usually refer to her in my blogs as #2. #2 can be difficult at times. She is one of those children that you don't always know what she's feeling. As outgoing as she is, she can be quite introverted. Sometimes she's hard to get close to. Though she can be distant, there are times when we are extremely close. She loves to sit on my lap and have me scratch her back. (Truthfully, I think she'd sit on anyone's lap for a good scratch.) But the very best times we share are in the bathroom. (Nothing weird here folks, so don't get crazy on me.)

#2 is the one who is always particular about how her hair looks and if her clothes fit right. She puts great thought into her accessory choices. She loves to have me help her with her hairstyle. I guess almost everyone enjoys having their hair brushed by someone else. We take great care in selecting just the right perfume for her to wear. When she stays with us and takes a bath or shower, she likes me to pamper her like a princess. At home, there is too much going on with four kids for her to get that special attention. Mommy's goals are to get the kids to the point where they don't require assistance in the bathing and grooming department. So, starting when she was young, she loved the special 'salon' treatment she got from Nana. When she would shower, I would scrub her back for her. I would wait outside the shower door, and when it opened, quickly wrap her in a bath sheet before she got a chill. I gently combed out the tangles in her long wet hair and then dried her hair for her. I sometimes even referred to her as 'Your Highness' as though I was her hand maiden.

Now she is eleven. #1 was starting to develop at that age, but #2 is quite a bit slower in that area. I'm glad. When she spent the weekend not long ago, she wanted to take a bath in my whirlpool tub. I added foaming bath salts. She wanted me to shampoo her hair as she leaned her head back under the faucet. I happily obliged.

I know it won't be long before she is repulsed by the idea of her Nana running her bath, washing her hair for her, or waiting with the towel. That will be a major milestone for me... it will mean she has grown from being my little princess. No matter how many times I tell her she will never outgrow my lap, I know in my heart that time is very near. I hope that I can find another way for us to have that close one-on-one time. At least there are two more waiting in the wings...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter chicks

There's something special about baby chicks on Easter. Easter is about new beginnings. And spring is in the air; a good time for baby chicks. Ironically, twenty-five of the pullets (future hens) are nick-named Easter-egg chickens. The eggs they lay are a bluish-green - very rich and tasty! Wish I had some now. Next year I'll let you know how they look in the grandkids baskets.

My daughter and her four daughters saw the chicks for the first time today. Jen doesn't like the idea of eating chickens that she knows. I try to reason with her... Our chicks are probably treated much better than the ones she normally eats! And I guarantee they don't suffer when it comes their 'time'.

I'm not particularly fond of the slaughter idea, but there's something about being self-sufficient, providing our own food source, that is quite satisfying. I could end up liking this farm life!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Steamer Trunk

On the outside it was beautiful... a thing to desire. The delicately carved wood told the story of hands that took pride in their work. The patina on the hardware gave evidence of its age. and yet only added to its beauty. In spite of all its delicateness, it was dotted with dings and gouges that appeared as badges of strength. It looked as though it could continue on through endless voyages, riding on crested waves, being packed onto trains, off to every exotic adventure under the sun. Every eye that glanced its way felt envy. Although not quite majestic, it appeared a symbol of success.

I opened the lid to an atrocious contrast. Whatever care had been taken of the external wood had not been bestowed upon the inside. The stench of mildew arose from the darkness. The frayed remains of a once-elegant fabric lay crumbled in the bottom. Why had it never been crafted into a luxurious ball gown? Maps that led to nowhere were yellowed and disintegrating, their purpose never fulfilled, the journey never taken. The framework, once square and straight, revealed well-worn edges as they bowed under the strain of time.
Such a life...

3 days old and counting...

Well, the babies have been here for forty-eight hours and all are still alive! Thursday, there was one that we didn't think would make it, but now we can't tell which one it was... That's a good sign. We've read and been told that you can plan on losing a certain percentage right off the bat. So I guess we're pretty lucky. If you call having seventy-five chicks in your garage lucky!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

I just got home from our Good Friday service at church. It was humbling... Humbling to think of what Jesus went through for me, for us. To spend any block of time with only that focus is an experience that really draws us closer to God.

The sanctuary was dimly lit with candles across a table in front. Right behind the table was a rustic cross holding a crown of thorns and draped in a black cloth. The music pastor and his wife who led the singing with him, were off to the side and dressed in black. The mood was solemn as we heard scripture and sang songs about the cross and the crucifixion.

This was not an Easter celebration. There was no mention of the joy of the resurrection. The purpose was to focus on the sacrifice that Jesus offered for us. As each speaker read their scripture and said a prayer, they blew out a candle until there remained only one. The last scripture was read by the principal of our Nazarene school. As he exited the platform and walked to the remaining lit candle, we all expected him to lean and blow it out. But instead, he picked up the candle and carried it down the aisle and out of the sanctuary. I felt the symbolism was that our Light had left us, although temporary.

Most of the time I contemplate the crucifixion, I think about the physical pain that Jesus endured. But what about His followers' pain? Can you imagine how they felt? Here was a man whom they believed was God in the flesh, Who spoke of eternal life, and yet He was now dead!

Jesus gives us strength and holds us up. What if we suddenly felt that He was gone? What if the whole foundation of our faith was pulled out from under our feet? I can't imagine the anguish I would feel if Jesus was taken from me. Yet, that is what His early followers went through on that terrible day. I can understand... To watch someone hanging, nailed to a cross, seeing Him breathe His last breath, would we, at that moment, understand His promise to rise on the third day? Could we fathom the reality of that?

landscaping a goat house

Some farm people might think it strange to waste time landscaping a goat house. Well, our goat house is directly in front of our home. When I sit in my rocking chair and look out across the front yard, this is what I see. So it's a bit fancier than the standard struction most people would have for their goats.

We bought a 12x16 garden shed, complete with a shuttered window. I added a solar porch light just for ambience. The front door is for people, the back door for goats. The inside is divided off with a fence, gate and their feed trough. They are free to run in and out anytime they please. The fence runs off both sides of the shed so they cannot get to the front of their house.

I had planted a couple of shrubs by it two years ago. The one under the window looked so lovely in the summer with its eight-foot branches blowing in the wind, I didn't want to prune it. So the man that is helping me with the yard work dug up the bush and replanted it out in the yard. It looks much better in its new location. But then I had nothing in front of the goat house to dress it up. I decided the Japanese bloodgrass that I had such a large supply of, would look splendid across the front.

I dug out the remaining grass from in front of the shed and filled a row with two wheel-barrow loads of the grass. I also added several clumps to the corner on the other side of the double doors. This grass gets about eighteen to twenty-four inches tall and is a lovely green on the bottom and deep burgundy on the top. I placed an old bird bath behind the grass to fill the 'blank-wall' area. The grass is not yet cut back, as there isn't new growth yet. I can't wait to see it in the summer! Later I will add a trellis and some ivy to the side that I can see from our porch. If I didn't have the goats this would be the lovely little writer's cottage I've dreamed of...

As usual, Sadie has to get her butt in every shot! You can see a sillouette of Derby inside...