Friday, September 28, 2007

Mama's and baby's

The chicken/chick saga continues...

I'm still trying to figure out how to relocate Mama and family. But, Mama now has at least 8 chicks, maybe 9. She still has 4 eggs to "hatch," but I don't think they will. I think she'll abandon them today. I hope.

Last night, when I got home, I counted 9 live chicks, 2 dead chicks and 5 eggs. One egg had rolled away from the nest, and was cold, so I tossed it far far away into the pasture. I couldn't get to the dead chicks, as Mama wouldn't give me a chance to get that close. She had one chick who was still wet, he was rather far away from the nest, so I pushed him closer to her and he snuggled under her.

About 7, 7:30, Kim and I debated on how to move her. I've been told to pick her up after dark and move her, but she had chicks under her wings, and I was afraid I'd hurt or drop them if I picked her up after dark. So, instead, we wedged the dog kennel right up next to Mama. It made her pretty mad and frantic, but any predator will have a really hard time getting to them through all the sage and the kennel and maybe through the cats. The cats were all observant of Mama and family. Mama pecked 2 kittens that I saw, so they may learn to stay away.

But I still need to move her.

Today, my young "rooster", the 16 year old one will be in the Homecoming parade. He's the Junior class attendant. He's not at all impressed with this honor. He's rather annoyed by the whole thing. I, however, think it's great. How many people are Homecoming attendants or royalty? O well, no matter what his attitude it, I'm going to watch the parade (and hope he smiles and waves), and I'm going to watch the ceremony tonight at the game, and I'm going to have that familiar heartache of pride, love, and joy, watching my little boy reach another milestone.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

bunnies and chicks...chicks and bunnies

I haven't posted anything about animals lately, so it's time.

We have rabbits. We got them in April. Our intent is to breed, raise, and eat rabbit meat. Miss Kat is in charge of the rabbits. She does a pretty good job with them, but she's rather possessive of them and has informed us that we can't eat any of these rabbits, because she loves we ever listen to her! Our thought is, once we start having baby rabbits, she'll want to get rid of some of the bigger rabbits, so we can safely butcher and she won't notice....that's the plan.

And you all know how my planning works. Yep.

Have you ever tried to sex a rabbit? Well, it ain't easy. Kim and I sexed the rabbits. We determined we had 2 females and 7 males. That's a little off for breeding purposes. We ideally should have 7 females and 2 males.

But, we bred one of our females. We bred her once, it didn't take. Wasn't sure if the male knew what he was doing, or if the female didn't know what she was doing. I do know that some of the time, the male was backwards, trying to mate with her head. I do know that at times, the female was on top.

Neither are conducive to a successful mating. The rabbits might have enjoyed themselves, but this kind of behavior really doesn't result in baby rabbits.

So we (really I) tried again. This time, the male "fell off" upon completion. The book says that he'll "fall off" when he's successful. Of course, he'll be ready again pretty quickly, but he should grunt and fall off. Ok then. He did, and he was in the right position, and so was she. We waited.

Last Thursday, I told Kev and Kim, that we'd probably have to mate the female again because it evidently didn't take. I'd been following the directions of the book...I'd put straw in the cage, 3 days or so before her due date, but she'd eat the straw instead of making a nest. So, I assumed it didn't take, and our 31 days were over. (Gestation for rabbits is 28-31 days.)

On Friday night, as I was helping Miss Kat do chores, we discovered 4 baby rabbits in a small nest of fur. What a surprise! I checked them to make sure all were alive, and we left them alone. Lollipop, the new Mom, seemed protective, they all seemed to be well fed. We were excited with these little ratty looking lumps of babies. One disappeared over the weekend. We assumed that it had died and that Lollipop had eaten it, common behavior. But, on Tuesday night, we discovered 3 dead babies. Lollipop had evidently thrown them all over the cage, because they were scattered and quite dead. Also fairly common rabbit behavior.

The book assures me that she can still become a good mommy, and to give her three tries to raise babies. Miss Kat was sad, but not devastated.

Last night, Andy called me from home and said, "We have 3 baby chicks."

This past weekend, we painted the house and discovered a broody hen nesting in my Russian Sage bush, right against the house. We painted around her, but all assumed that she hadn't been there long. Boy are we observant. Because she had to have been there 19 days to hatch chicks yesterday. (Chicken gestation is 21 days.)

So last night, I went out and counted 4 chicks, maybe 5. (And, these chicks look like Barred rock chicks, not Rhode Island Red chicks, like their momma. Momma evidently was messin' with that OTHER rooster, not the Rhode Island Red Rooster. The hussy.) Momma is still sitting on 2 eggs, cause I saw them and she wasn't eager to move around much yet, so she must think more will hatch. I put some chick food out near her. She ate some, and a couple of the chicks pecked around a little bit. I also set out a waterer for them. But, here's my dilemma...I don't think that up by the house is really a very safe spot for young children. What if another skunk discovers them? What if something bigger discovers them? So, I'm trying to figure out how to relocate them all to a safer spot, like the big dog kennel...

Stay tuned, the next saga will be titled "Moving a hen who doesn't want to be moved." Or, it could be titles "Taking lessons from rabbits, breeding 101..."


Kevin called me a pessimist. It made me mad, because I don't consider myself a pessimist.

He then clarified, and said that I'm a worrier. That one, I can agree with. I do worry. I can't help it, I was trained by the best, my mother. But, yes, I worry, but I don't let worrying stop me from doing anything, or from changing what I'm doing. And, I'll express what I worry about out loud, to him. Why? Because expressing my fears, my worries makes them less worrisome and I can then move on and just deal with life.

Don't tell him, but he's a worrier too. He's more cautious than I am. Where I'll worry, express myself and move on, he's an "internal worrier" and I'll find out later about how worried he was. So, all in all, we're a good balance.

O yes, remember that job I hadn't heard about? Well, I heard. They've offered me a job. We're negotiating about money. Scary...worrisome stuff. Life changing stuff. And, yes, I'm worrying.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I had an interview for a new job last Friday. I went to this interview thinking I was wasting my time, that I'm "content" right now and that a big move just isn't in our future. But, they'd asked me to come and I decided I would.

This job is a parallel move for me but it would move our family closer to my folks, something I've been wanting to do for a couple of years. They're in their 60's now, still very healthy, but Dad did have that accident with the horse and was laid up for almost 9 months, and Mom's been struggling with "elder care". I've worried for them. I've felt tremendous guilt that I'm not there when they need some help. Being the eldest child, and the daughter, I know that someday I'll need to be there for them. So, I've been watching job openings in the area, one came up, I applied.

I felt comfortable in the interview, not nervous at all. They asked questions, I answered. The body language of the committee was GOOD. I felt like I nailed that interview. They asked this question, "Can you start Oct 1?"

That one threw me for a loop, Oct 1 was 2 weeks away. I was a little evasive and said "Probably, but you realize that I will have to break my contract." Maybe too evasive. But, true. I would have to break contract and be faced with a huge fine. I am short staffed right now anyway, which would leave this place really hurting. But, I figured that maybe we could work something out if they called.

It's been a week. No calls, no rejection letters.

I don't know what to think. I left the interview thinking it had gone really, really well. Now, I'm doubting myself. I've waffled about if I even want to take this job, it would mean that I'd leave before my family did. It would mean selling a house I love, friends I adore, leaving a home of 20 years. It would mean uprooting my kids, one in his Junior year. It would mean uprooting my husband, who is very supportive, but still, this has been his home for almost 30 years. It would also be an exciting career change for me, a chance to stretch my wings, to make a place --a different place, MINE. Just the interview made me realize how much I've done here, how far we've come. I'd like to do that somewhere else too.

But still, no calls. No rejection letters. I don't know what to think anymore. Today, I want this job and since I've finally realized that I want this opportunity, I'm probably not going to get it.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Going together"

I have finally arrived into that group of people known as "old, lame, dumb" parents. I was told by my worldly and very knowledgeable 16 year old that I "just don't understand kids today."

Yeah, right. Whatever.

Apparently, Andy has a new girlfriend. She works with him, at his new job, Pizza Hut. They are "going out," but haven't had a date yet. But, they are planning on going to the Homecoming Dance together, sometime in October.

Now, last Friday, last FRIDAY, 6 short days ago, he had a date, an honest-to-god date with another girl, a "Freshman." They met at the theatre and went to the show. Andy couldn't pick her up or drop her off because her parents didn't want their daughter in a car with a Junior boy--one they didn't know personally. (I say, good for them.) But, anyway, Andy came home from the date, said they had a nice time and that was that. On Tuesday night, 2 short days ago, he informed me that he and this Freshman girl had decided to "break things off."

Break what off? They went out once! Evidently this is part of that "you just don't understand teenagers today." Ok. Whatever. They went out once to the movies, where they arrived in separate cars and left separately, so now they need to put this torrid affair to rest. I can live with that.

But, last night, not 24 hours ago, I hear from Kim, not my son, but Kim, that he had a new girlfriend, that she used to live in Atwood and that she worked with Andy at Pizza Hut.

All news to me.

Andy came in the room, confirmed that yes, he had a new girlfriend and that they were going to the dance together and were in fact, "boyfriend and girlfriend."

Kev and I agree that we were scared for this boy. We can see him dating a girl for 6 months and then they'll be talking about marriage. I mean, they are "going together" without ever going on a date, so waiting six long months to make a real commitment, a serious commitment is more than reasonable. Right?

So, being the kind and supportive parents we are, we just asked questions...trying to understand how un-hip we are.

WE: So, Andy, let me get this straight. Last week, you had a date with the Freshman. And by Monday, you'd decided--both of you--that this "relationship" wouldn't work.

ANDY: Yep. We decided to be friends.

WE: So, you aren't and weren't "going out."

ANDY: Right. But we did have a date.

WE: Got that. But, now you are "going out" with a girl whom you haven't gone on a date with yet.

ANDY: Right.

WE: But you are "going out" and are "boyfriend and girlfriend?"

ANDY: Right. She's ok with that and so am I. What's the problem? We like each other.

WE: Yes, but how can you be "going out" when you've never actually "GONE OUT?"

ANDY: "Sheesh, you guys just don't understand. My friends do. You guys are just to old to understand."

Whatever. Stay tuned...I'm sure that in 6 months time, I might be announcing an engagement. Unless something changes--next week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Monday night, Kev and I signed some papers to refinance our house. In signing, they wanted us to use our middle initials. Since I don't normally use an initial anymore, it proved a challenge to me. So much so, that on two very important documents, I signed Shelly J. Woodruff.

I haven't been Shelly J. Woodruff for 12, almost 13 years now. But, I signed it on not one, but two documents.

Kev looked at my signature and then at me and asked if there was anything I wanted to tell him...

No, honey, I have no intention of changing my name again.

My only excuse is that "Shelly J" was what I signed when I was single. That's how I signed everything. Once we got married, and my name changed, it was just easier not to use that middle initial, so I dropped it. Heck, I usually don't even pick up the pen to sign my name--it's all one motion.

My guess is that "Shelly J" is tied to Woodruff in my mind, and one just automatically leads into the other. It was automatic. And, on one of the signatures, I remember making my "W" look better, because it wasn't "right". Yeah, I'm a certified doofus.

Friday, September 14, 2007

He's home

Last night, I got to sleep next to my hubby. For the first time in two weeks, I got to snuggle up to his warm, firm, masculine smelling body and drift off to sleep. It was wonderful.

He's home, safe and sound--without any elk--but safe and sound and home with me, where he belongs.

He's a little scruffy looking since he hasn't shaved in two weeks. Ok, he has a full beard. But I don't care, I like that beard. Sometimes I wish he'd keep it in the winter months, but he thinks it's too much work to keep a beard trimmed, so he'll shave it all off this weekend. But he'll wait a couple of days, just to make me happy.

Yeah, I don't deserve him at all. He's much nicer to me than I probably am to him.

But, last night was perfect. I got to sleep with someone bigger than me rather than someone much smaller than me. I had that nice body heat to fall asleep against and had that nice body to snuggle up to all night long. And we did snuggle all night long. It was wonderful. (That's the only adjective I can think of...wonderful, so stop the gagging noises, alright?)

It's only been two weeks, yet it felt much longer. I almost felt like we needed to get to know each other again before I let this man into my bed. Yeah, who am I kidding, that feeling lasted about as long as it took me to shed the clothes and jump into bed.

But, he's home. He's mine, and he's home. And that is...wonderful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

three days

Kev will be home in 3 days. T.h.r.e.e. days. Three short days. Two long nights. While I've talked to him on the phone every day, it's just not the same. It's not the same as seeing him, talking to him face to face. It's not the same because the cell phone cuts out. He's high enough that the signal isn't the best, so our conversations are short.

He probably won't come home with an elk, but I think he's enjoyed his trip.

I can't wait till he's home, safe and sound, with me.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Read the earlier post, then come back to this one.


It's 1 hour later.

Bailey's called from school, sick. I have no wheels. Luckily a mutual friend to both of us is taking her to my house.

And, I just had a teacher ask me to duplicate a DVD to another DVD. I stupidly thought I had a machine to do that. I don't. I'm such a doofus. Now, I have to explain to him that I'm a doofus and can't help him out.

Just like I can't help Bailey.

I'm not liking this at all.

stupid car

You'd think it was Friday the 13th; that's how well my day has been, and it's 8:10 a.m.

The day started out normally, the alarm went off at 6:25 and I laid in bed till the weather report, at 6:30. Then got my bath, got Kat up and had her wake up Bailey. What's that? O yes, I had the neighbor kids last night. Their Dad is with Kev, looking for elusive Elk. Their Mom is in Wichita on a business trip. So I had 3 extra short people this morning.

The girls got up and around. The boys did not. Andy's tired because he's worked too late this week. (We've asked his employers to not schedule him after 10 p.m. any more on a school night.) So, Andy is tired and didn't want to get up. Tate got up well, but Dual isn't a morning person. At 7:00, we were still working to get him out of bed. But, I eventually got everyone fed, dressed and ready to go. At 7:30, Andy left for school. At 7:35, the rest of us loaded up in the car. I turned the key, and nothing.


Well, the radio turned on, all the dash lights lit up, but no power. No gentle rumbling of the engine. Nothin. I tried it again, nothin. I tried it ump-teen times, nothin. Got the cell phone out, called Andy.

"Where are you?"

"I just passed the Middle School."

"Well, turn around, the car won't start, so you have to come back and get us."

He made the 6 mile trip and was back home by 7:45. (I'm not gonna ask how fast he was driving.) We, all 6 of us, crammed into the Ranger pickup and made it to school and work. I think Andy was a little late, I was right on time, straight up 8:00 a.m. I called the school to have them excuse his tardiness.

Taped on the door of the library was a note from my work study saying she had a sinus infection and was too sick to come to work...but she evidently wasn't too sick to tape a note on the door this morning. If she's sick, why come to campus and bring a note?

O, my suspicious mind.

I really want to call Kev and rant and rave. But I can't. I can't because, well, he's in a tree stand in the wilds of Colorado and probably doesn't have his phone on him. Secondly, there's nothing he can do about the car when he's several hundred miles away and I don't want him to fret and worry about us when he can't do anything about it. But I really want to call and vent. He'd listen, I'd calm down, and all would be right in my world again.

Besides, it's HIS stupid car.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


About a month ago, my Grandma was put into the Nursing Home. It was necessary, as she does have dementia, and physically couldn't take care of herself. What's more, Grandpa couldn't take care of her anymore. In fact, he's taken care of her for the past 2-3 years. Who am I kidding, he's taken care of her their entire marriage. She's a needy woman. But it got really bad the older she got. But, the Dr. finally said it was time and so she's in the Nursing Home.

At the same time, Grandpa decided he should probably move to the same town, into an "assisted living" apartment. It's not really assisted living, but it is a handicapped accessible apartment and it is right across the street from the hospital. So, we moved him. He doesn't necessarily like moving, but he said it was time.

Moving him, moving his furniture and clothing from a house he's lived in since 1975 wasn't easy. I'll admit, I did tear up a couple of times. It wasn't easy, seeing this end-of-life move for them. It's making me accept their mortality. And I just don't want to accept it. But, I'm having to.

This labor day weekend, we all went back down to clean the house. Englewood is a small town, less than 70 people live there. No one lives on the street my grandparents live(d) on anymore. No one. It would be way to easy for someone to break into the house and steal everything we left. So, we decided, with Grandpa, to remove the valuables and to clean out the junk and the filth.

And there was filth. And we cleaned. And we sorted and we dumped. And we did a good job. There's still more to do, but we got most of the house straightened out. We cleaned out cabinets in the kitchen, but forgot to CLEAN the kitchen and the bathroom. And, there's the trailer house out back and the garage to clean out still. My guess is that the house hasn't been this clean in YEARS.

Sorting the treasures was interesting. I felt a little odd being the only grand daughter there. (And, I'll say now, to G, T, and R, if I took anything home that you want, I will let you have it.) But, we three women worked well together, and Mom and Sandy got to have what they want. If not, they should tell me and I'll share.

We split stuff mainly to make sure it was safe. We all know of families who have had their parent's stuff stolen when they went into the nursing home. We, ourselves have lost stuff. Grandpa was going to give my his mother's wood burning cook stove, but when we went to the farm to pick it up, it was gone. Stolen.

It felt odd to be dividing up possessions when G and G are still alive...It felt odd to just do it, with Grandpa's "blessing". (We don't have Gma's blessing, and she might hit the roof when she learns what we've done.) Cleaning the house was much easier than dividing "stuff."

Cleaning. O my. We emptied the freezer. There was meat from 1992 in it. There was 25 lbs of flour. I tried to save it, but when it all thawed, the smell made me decide to toss it. We emptied cabinets that hadn't been opened in years. I can't express how it felt to reach into a cabinet, to pull some mystery item from it's bowels and know that there were lots and lots of spiders to go through first. Mouse nests...mouse droppings...spilled food...just filth. Grandma saved many many tablecloths that were stained or torn, and fabric. O MY GOD. Fabric, spools of thread, old zippers and buttons. Lots and lots of buttons. Lots and lots of thread, quilting books, patterns, just stuff.

The house is clean, I have some family treasures and some conflicted feelings. I don't really like this part of life...I can't really express how it makes me's just...odd.