The Good Ole’ Days…

Mine and Ed's family enjoying a picnic in the yard

Mine and Ed's family enjoying a picnic in the yard

It seems that today everyone is busy, all of the time.  There’s softball, soccer, football, cheerleading, dance, and the list goes on and on.  Someone has to shuttle the children to all of these activities, put meals on the table, do the laundry, clean the house, and ususally hold down a full time job, too!  The weekends bring grocery shopping, birthday parties,  and church activities.  I miss the slower pace of the good ole’ days…

When I was growing up families visited each other–especially on Sunday afternoons.  We didn’t wait until holidays to get together.  It was still somewhat like that when Ed and I got married, but it was on the decline, I am sad to say.  The only extra curricular activities that were available was school sports, and they were limited.  There wasn’t any shuttling of children here and there and everywhere.  Mama’s actually cooked full meals every night, to get to eat a hamburger was a special treat!

After Ed and I moved back to the country, we frequently hosted our families at our house.  In the spring we’d gather outside under the huge oak trees in our yard and have a picnic  meal.  I don’t know why, but food is always better outside–especially in the company of family and friends.  After eating, we’d sit around in lawn chairs and talk and laugh.  The children were content to play outside.  This was before the days of video games and satellite television.

We never worried much about picnic tables or such, although we did own one or two.  The best tables are made from two sawhorses and a piece of plywood!  Spread a sheet on top and we had a “redneck” dining table!  In some cases, we’d just spread a cover on the ground and sit.  Of course, that was in the days before we had chickens!

As the years passed, everyone got busier and busier and we had less and less picnic get-togethers.  The children grew older and preferred to be indoors with their entertainment.  One of our children was involved in sports, another in dance lessons, and I got a job.  Our parents grew older and their health declined… 

Now it’s  Ed and I that are the grandparents and our daughter has get-togethers in that same yard that we used to.  I am glad that she enjoys entertaining and that her husband enjoys grilling.  We enjoy family get-togethers at her house very much.  It’s a lot like old times– that could be because she now lives in the house that we raised her and  our other children in!  It’s good to know that “you can go home again”…

***Picture: back row, l to rt-my mother, Jackie, Me, my sister-in-law, Kay, Ed, my daddy, Bruce, my brother, David, Ed’s mother, Vivian, Ed’s daddy, W.A. ***front of pic- standing- Jeremy,Ed’s nephew, on lawn chair- our baby, Brandy, squatting by lawn chair, my neice, Michelle.

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Published in: on June 30, 2009 at 7:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Not me, Monday…

NotMeMonday180Wow!  I can’t believe it’s Monday again!  It’s time to reflect again on the blunders of the past week and ‘fess up!  As always, if you enjoy reading this type of thing, you can go on over to Mckmama’s and read her blog carnival.  Just click the Not Me, Monday button on my sidebar.

First of all, let me say, it was a slow week for me.  I didn’t do a lot of exciting stuff this week, fate was kind to me and I didn’t make any  major boo-boos.  I will share what did happen within the family though.

No, I didn’t have Madison over for a visit on Monday and present her with a new toy…and no she didn’t look at the toy, tell me to “go away” and “I don’t like it!” (the toy) No, Maddie wouldn’t do that!

No, I didn’t get out the playdough to play with Madison only to discover that I didn’t know how to use some of the accessories…never did figure out how to use some of those pieces, not me!

No, I didn’t sit down and watch the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button all by myself and no, I didn’t sit and cry through the last 30 minutes of the movie…No, Not Me!

No, Ed didn’t get a new tracfone for Father’s Day only to STILL be trying to get his minutes and number moved over from the old phone…talk about slow progress…to the new phone

No,  I didn’t get a phone call from my oldest son on Friday telling me that someone had just stolen his wallet and cell phone from his desk when he walked across the hall…

And last but not least, no I didn’t order the ultimate boxed collection of Michael Jackson’s music from Amazon after he passed away…(I haven’t told my hubby yet, he’d probably talk ugly!)  Hey, I wasn’t the only one, there’s a three week wait to get it!!!  Have a nice week friends….

Published in: on June 29, 2009 at 1:59 am  Leave a Comment  

More Chicken Tales…

Our second flock of chickens

Our second flock of chickens

After the fiasco with 50 roosters, you’d think that we’d had enough of chickens…but no, we hadn’t.  My daddy always liked chickens, too, and he got us more chickens from some people that he knew.  He decided that Brandy needed some chickens to grow up with…

We had black chickens, red chickens, and spotted chickens.  I know that the red chickens were called “rhode island reds” and the spotted chickens were “dominickers”, but I don’t remember what the black ones were called.  We had several hens and just a rooster or two to begin with.

The hens laid eggs, sat on them and hatched baby chicks.  We enjoyed watching the hens with the little chicks following them.  Then our problems began again…

First of all, for some reason when a hen hatches baby chicks from her eggs, more of them turn out to be roosters than hens.  You know that you are in trouble from the start!  Pretty soon, there are three roosters to each hen and that just won’t work.  The old roosters fight with the new roosters, the poor hens get humped to death by roosters (trying to fertilize her eggs), and everybody ends up in bad shape. 

By then, we didn’t have a dog anymore, but we still had plenty of chicken eating varmits in the woods around our house.  Sometimes the varmits were smart enough to break into the chicken house at night.  There were many nights that I’d hear the chickens cackling and wake Ed to go and see about them.  Finally, one night Ed just wouldn’t get up and see what was after those poor chickens.  I couldn’t stand to hear them crying for help and not do anything, so I got the rifle and went outside.  When I got outside I saw a raccoon running away and shot at it!  That woke Ed up and he came to see what was going on, because I never shoot a gun!

Some of the hens  made nests under our house in the tires that were removed from our mobile home.  In the middle of the night we’d hear a fuss and some varmit would’ve found the setting hen and raided her nest.  That’s what happened to one of our rhode island red hens.  She survived the attack, but her feathers were all gone and she looked terrible.  I nicknamed her “Rags”, and she became sort of a pet.  “Rags” hung around the house and would even go in the house if she got a chance.  She liked to walk in, look around, then stroll back outside, but she never stayed long enough to poop, thank goodness!

We had a black hen that had a nightly encounter with something that ate a hole in the side of her neck.  She survived the attack, but whenever she ate the corn would fall out of the hole.  Ed decided to go to the hospital and get a sucher kit and sew up the hole, which he did with the help of a good friend.  Our friend held the hen and Ed sewed her up.  She did fine until something else caught her and ate her!

We had a few lucky hens that actually managed to hatch baby chicks without getting attacked.  I loved to watch the hens with their babies.  On occasion I’ve watched in horror as a hawk swooped down from the sky and stole a baby from it’s mother.  I still hate hawks to this day!

Understandably, our chickens began to refuse to sleep in the chicken house.  I guess they thought they’d take their chances outside.  They began to sleep in a large tree in the backyard.  It wasn’t safe there either, a raccoon found them in the tree–a three legged raccoon at that!  After that,  late one evening I witnessed an owl sitting on the clothesline pole trying to catch himself a chicken, and he succeeded!  It was a never ending problem with varmits.

We eventually ended up with a lot more roosters than hens, of course.  The roosters were constantly fighting, crowing, and the few hens that we had left had no feathers left on their backs.  I felt I had no choice but to order an execution of some of the roosters.  I know that is terrible, but we couldn’t catch them because they slept in trees!  Brandy and I hid inside while Ed killed the roosters.  My parents happened to drive up in our yard during the execution.  Daddy said he didn’t know whether to get out of the car or turn around and run!  He thought the sight of mild- mannered Ed out in the yard shooting at roosters was sort of funny and he laughed about that for years afterward…

Eventually the last  of our chickens disappeared, despite our best efforts.  We decided that it just wasn’t worth the fight.  I was especially glad to see the last roosters gone, because of their crowing.  I dont’ know how they could tell when we were sleeping, but they were notorious for crowing and waking us up–even from a nap!  I missed the hens, but to the roosters I said, “good riddance!”

Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 3:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Chickens, chickens, everywhere…part 1

Swimming with the chicks

Swimming with the chicks

         …there are 7 chickens in the picturesee if you can find them all…

Ed and I were so thrilled to be living in the country after 5 years of city living!  We really enjoyed having cows and goats for our neighbors.  At one point, when our daughter Brandy was still a toddler, we decided that we would like to have some chickens.  I can almost hear you laughing…

We saw a sign in the feed/seed store that said they would give you 25 free baby chicks if you purchased a large bag of chicken  feed.  Well, I am the type of person who thinks more is better, so I talked Ed into getting TWO bags of food and 50 free chicks!  What was I thinking???  We brought all of those cute little baby chicks home and the fun began! –Did I mention that there were 50 chicks???

Problem number one was our dog!  He was part lab and he just loved to chase those chickens…

Brandy & chicken killer

Brandy & chicken killer

He would play too rough of course, and several chickens met their demise due to the dog.  It was a never-ending problem, until we got rid of the dog… 

The next problem was finding out just how many varmints in the woods like to eat chickens.  We had a never-ending assortment of intruders breaking into our chicken house at night.  There was a never-ending line of opossums, raccoons, foxes, owls and yes, we even had chicken hawks attack our chickens during the day while they were in our yard! 

Of course there was an enormous amount of chicken poop on the ground.  We kept the chickens shut up at night in a chicken house, but let them run free during the day.  All chickens do all day is eat and poop!

chicken poop

chicken poop

  With that many chickens running in the yard, we had to really watch our step!  More than once I felt a squish under my foot, which is really annoying, especially if you don’t have shoes on!

The biggest problem happened when we discovered that all of the chicks were white roosters!  Anybody who knows about chickens will tell you that one rooster is all that you need!  All roosters do is fight and crow.   We didn’t many chickens left , thanks to the dog and the other varmints– our flock had grown small, but we still had a lot more roosters than we needed.

We asked around and found out that one of our neighbors was interested in our roosters–to eat!  I’d raised these roosters from babies and held them in my lap.  The thought of them becoming someone’s fried chicken dinner didn’t make me happy. 

 Unfortunately, we didn’t have a choice.  Roosters will fight and kill each other if a bunch of them are kept together.  Sadly, we took the roosters over to the neighbor’s house.  Imagine the look on my face when I saw our neighbor  beginning to wring the necks of my pets–before we even got out of the driveway!!!  It was beyond awful!  That was one of my worst animal experiences ever–and believe me, I’ve had plenty of them!…to be continued tomorrow…..

Published in: on June 25, 2009 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thumb sucking and hair rolling

100_0710In searching through my old photos of Brandy I found this one that reminded me of a couple of things that I didn’t mention before.  The first thing is the fact that Brandy learned to suck her thumb when she was somewhere around 2-3 months old. 

Once she started doing that, she was a much better baby!  She could comfort herself when she got upset.  In fact, that thumb continued to bring her comfort until she was about 7 years old…

The down side of thumb sucking was the effect that it had on Brandy’s teeth, but that’s what braces were made for, and she eventually wore some!

The other interesting thing was Brandy’s hair.  She was born with a head full of it and none of it ever fell out!  It just got longer and was as straight as a board.  By the time she was 4 months old I was trimming it.  I guess  I am my mother’s daughter, because I thought Brandy’s hair needed to curl. ( my mama always gave me those horrid home perms)  I didn’t ever subject Brandy to a permanent, but I used to roll her hair on tiny pink sponge rollers when she was a baby.  She was so cute with those rollers and she didn’t seem to mind them.

Brandy's daughter

Brandy's daughter

Now that Brandy’s grown up and has a daughter of her own, sometimes I roll my grandaughter’s hair on tiny sponge rollers.  She’s not quite the good sport  that her mama was, but I can usually talk her into playing “beauty shop” with MiMi!  Oh, and by the way, Madison sucks her first two fingers–and loves it, just as much as her mama loved her thumb…

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Lot of Firsts…

Brandy, the day after coming home

Brandy, the day after coming home

Brandy’s birth was the first time that I had ever been a patient in a hospital.  I’d never had an IV or an enema or any of the other stuff that they used to do to expectant mothers back then.  What an experience!

Brandy’s birth also marked the first time that Ed and I spent the night apart since we’d been married, almost 5 and 1/2 years.  I hated that so much!  He went home to get a little rest and to borrow his mama’s car to bring us home in because our car didn’t have air conditioning.

I hate to admit it, but I didn’t bond instantly with my new baby girl.  Part of it was trying to over the ordeal of her birth, while the other part of it was the fact that I was terrified of her!  I’d never held a newborn before and it didn’t feel natural.  I was afraid I’d hurt her.  I was too afraid to even change her diaper.

Ed, on the other hand, was a “natural”.  He’d worked with small babies for several years, doing x-rays on them, and he knew she wouldn’t break.  He was so comfortable handling her, that he did the diaper changing and getting her dressed for the first few days.  Ed stayed home with us for 2 weeks and boy  was I nervous the first day that he went back to work and I was on my own!

I was bonding with Brandy by then, but more problems were beginning.  She was suffering with constipation and had to have 2 formula changes before we found one that she tolerated well.  It happened to be that smelly old soy formula!   Of course, like most babies with formula problems–Brandy was a spitter!  She spit up all of the time!  Then she developed colic…she’d cry from about 5 in the evening until around 9 at night–every day!  We tried everything to soothe her, but nothing really worked.  She did like the infant swing and spent a lot of time in it.  If she went to sleep while swinging–we didn’t dare wake her!  What little relief we got came from the swing.

4 wks old and asleep in the swing

4 wks old and asleep in the swing

  

Brandy was also a nervous baby.  She was jumpy and scared of everything! The only men that she would tolerate was Ed and his daddy.  She didn’t adjust to change very well.  It was difficult to go anywhere with her, just taking her out upset her.  

Trying to have her picture made was an ordeal!  The minute I’d put her down she would start to scream.  Of course, we lived through all of this and as Brandy grew older she grew out of a lot of her quirks.

4 mths old and still swinging

4 mths old and still swinging

Despite a rough beginning, Brandy was actually a good child.  She was very attached to me, and didn’t like to be very far away from me, but part of that was my own fault because I was a very protective mother. 

I rarely had to spank Brandy.  Usually a stern look or a harsh “No” would stop her in her tracks.  She always had a strong sense of right and wrong and always wanted to do the right thing–she’s still that way today. 

Actually the worst thing that I can recall Brandy doing as a small child is stealing candy from the candy dish and eating it behind the couch!  She did get in trouble for that, but now, years later, that seems like such a petty thing…little did I know the things I had in store for me– from her two younger brothers!

Published in: on June 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Not me, Monday!

NotMeMonday180Welcome once again to my crazy Monday post where I confess a week’s worth of blunders for the world to read…As always, if you enjoy this type of thing, you can stroll on over to http://mycharmingkids.net and read other posts from other bloggers.

No, I did not wake up on the first day of our vacation at 5:50am to the sound of my husband hammering and sawing outside of the house…no, not me!

No, I did not plan a romantic anniversary “get-away” trip to the beach for my hubby and me, only to later decide to invite our two grandchildren and their mothers along… not me!

No, my husband did not see the name of the condo(written on our reservation slip) where we were staying–Coral Sands–and think it was the desk clerk’s name(Carol Sands??)  When we couldn’t find beach chairs,  no, he didn’t say “I’ll call Carol and ask her where they are”, to which we all replied “who is Carol?”

No, my sweet husband didn’t pull into the condos where we stayed last year thinking that’s where we were supposed to be going this year…no, not him…

No, sweet hubby didn’t lock the keys in our car in the parking garage of the condo and have to “break in” to the car, thus setting off the loud car alarm…no, not Ed…daughter reported that Ed did some fast moving to find a way to shut off that alarm…

No, my sweet grandaughter, Madison, didn’t cry everytime we tried to take  family pictures on our vacation…no, not Maddie…

No, Maddie didn’t ride 3 hours to get to the beach only to be terrified of the water…no, not Maddie….

No, I didn’t buy a kite with a pink flying pig on it and go sit beside the ocean and fly it like a kid with a big grin on my face, no not me…

And last but not least, no, I didn’t actually forget that it was our 37th anniversary when I woke up on June 18, until my husband actually wished me Happy Anniversary…even though that was our whole reason for going on the beach trip…Nope, not me!  Have a great Monday friends!

Published in: on June 22, 2009 at 2:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Brandy Denise arrives….

The last day of September, 1978 found Ed and his daddy installing two gas heaters in our new home addition.  It found me and Ed’ s mama shopping!  The idea was to get me to walk!  The baby was now 10 days overdue.

I didn’t think much about it at the time, but all day I’d had a little bit of something going on “down there”.  It didn’t occur to me that it could be amniotic fluid leaking out–until that afternoon when it hit me!  We’d already made one false alarm trip to the hospital and I didn’t want a repeat–so I  just waited…

We finally decided that maybe we should go to the hospital and get things checked out, even though I wasn’t having any pains to speak of.  We showered and left for the hospital late that afternoon.  Sure enough, it was fluid leakage and they put me in the hospital and induced labor that night.

I was in the same hospital that Ed worked in, and even though we hadn’t taken birthing classes, I’d read birthing books and practiced the breathing techniques.  Ed was used to medical stuff,  so they agreed to let him be with me during delivery. 

I didn’t have a classic labor and delivery.  It only took me a few hours to fully dilate, but the baby’s head was high in my pelvis and I couldn’t get it to drop down like it should.  I ended up having a high forceps delivery with no medication.  Ed didn’t get to be with me because it wasn’t a normal delivery.  That was the most excruciating pain I hope that I ever have to feel in my life!  It felt like they were literally tearing my insides out–which they were in a sense.  I screamed because I couldn’t help it.  I cried but had no tears.  I know what it must feel like to be tortured to death.  I was strapped down and at the mercy of the doctor–not my doctor–and he showed no mercy!  He went up in there with those huge tongs and dragged my baby out!

At 5:22 in the morning, Brandy Denise made her entrance(against her will) into this  world.  She weighed 8 pounds and was 19 inches long.  She had a head full of black hair.  She looked like a little oriental baby to me.  She had a mark on one cheek from the forceps, but thank the good Lord, she was perfect other than that.

Welcome to the world, Brandy

Welcome to the world, Brandy

I, on the other hand, looked and felt as if I’d been hit by a train!  Every muscle in my body was sore, my throat was sore, and my hair looked like the rats had nested in it because I had writhed around in pain for so long.  My own husband didn’t even recognize me laying on a stretcher in the hall!

Of course to further complicate matters, I had to take antibiotics after the birth because my water had been broken for over 24 hours before the birth.  That kept me from being able to breast feed for 3 days.  By then, Brandy was hooked on the bottle and wouldn’t take the breast, so I ended up with engorged breasts the size of basketballs!  It’s amazing the things some women have to endure to become a mother!  It’s a wonder that we even survive!

Published in: on June 20, 2009 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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We’re pregnant!

I became pregnant in December of 1977.  It’s so odd how I felt–happy and scared to death all at once.  I think most women feel that way with their first child.

Ed’s mama worked for a doctor in the little town that we lived in.  She was one of his nurses.  He was a general practioner and delivered babies, so I decided to use him as my doctor.  Things got off to a rocky start with the pregnancy.

When I would go to the doctor and have a pelvic exam, I’d start to “spot”.  Dr. S. always assumed that I was having a miscarriage.  It was so early in the pregnancy that he couldn’t tell if I was pregnant by physical examination and there were no sonograms back then…but  I had six positive pregnancy tests!  Dr. S decided that I should be referred to a specialist in the city.

I went to see Dr. R in the city.  I explained the problem spotting and he said that was very common in early pregnancy in some women.  He examined me and also said it was too early to feel the pregnancy by examination, but when I told  him that I’d had six positive pregnancy tests, he said “Honey, you’re definately pregnant!”100_0624

I had tons of morning sickness, but not just in the morning.  There were days when I wondered why in the world did I want to go through this…

I still didn’t drive, so Ed would drive to the city and work a half a day, drive home to get me, drive back to the city with me for my doctor’s appointment, then back home…that’s 260 miles on doctor days…in the little gray Toyota–with no air conditioner.   What a husband I am blessed with!

The pregnancy progressed, Ed kept working on our residence, and I sewed maternity clothes and things for the baby nursery.  I made a skirt for the bassinett, priscilla curtains for the windows, embroidered baby shirts and gowns, and crocheted blankets.  Back then we had no way of knowing the sex of the baby, so almost everything that I made was pink and blue.  The summer of  1978 was extremely hot for me!  Finally, what I previously thought was misery, turned into something much worse on the last day of September…

***About the photo:  I am 8 and 1/2 mos. pregnant and wearing maternity clothes that I made… standing in front of the unfinished addition that we were still working on…notice there isn’t even a set of steps yet…no paint either…

Published in: on June 19, 2009 at 1:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Adding on…

lumber-1Several months after Ed and I moved back home to the country, we began to talk about adding on…I can’t remember exactly which came up first, but we talked about adding on to our home and we talked about adding on to our family.

Our little mobile home had plenty of room for the two of us, but there wasn’t really enough room for anyone else.  The extra bedroom was tiny and I had it full of “stuff”.  Anybody who knows me, knows that I am a collector of “stuff”.  My house has always been cluttered, it’s hopeless…my “stuff” makes me happy!  It was time to expand our living quarters!

When I tell you that “stuff” makes me happy, I am including our first little  mobile home.  Even though we were outgrowing the trailer, I didn’t even want to consider selling it.  The thought of someone else living in our “honeymoon home” was more than I could stand! 

The only other option was to build on the our “honeymoon home”.  Ed and I talked it over and decided that we would build all they way down the side of the trailer, and sixteen feet outward.  I drew up a floorplan on notebook paper.  I took all of that space and incorporated it into just three rooms, which gave us a very large living room, master bedroom, and bath/laundry room.  The existing living room in the trailer would be made into a dining room since it was next to the kitchen.  The rest of the rooms would remain the same. 

Ed found a brick mason to lay the blocks for the foundation, then he began the task of building the addition.  Ed and his daddy did most of the building after their regular jobs and on Saturdays, with some help from other family and friends.  It was a slow process and it was a l-o-n-g time before the addition was ever finished, but we lived in it as we worked on it.

In addition to the decision to add onto our dwelling, we also decided it was time to add to to family.  I threw away my birth control pills and waited a few months.  After about 3 months of trying, I became pregnant with our first baby.  By then it was 1978 and our lives were about to change…

Published in: on June 16, 2009 at 2:28 am  Leave a Comment