Wednesday, November 30, 2011

He...oh wait, I mean SHE....did it!!

Laid an egg, that is!!!  
A "he" is incapable of that feat, correct?
So the debate has ended. 
 Clarkson the chicken,
Clarkson the suspected rooster,
 is indeed a hen.

We'd kind of wondered, you see, since Clarkson's comb was bigger than the other chickens and because he (I mean she) walked with a bit of a manly swagger.  In our inexperience, this chicken looked rather rooster-ish.

Our chicks were supposed to reach egg-laying age at the end of October, but every day when we eagerly checked the nesting boxes, we came back empty-handed.  Apparently if chickens reach maturity during the dark winter months, sometimes they won't lay eggs until the Spring.  Dang it.  I wanted a Halloween egg but would have to wait until Easter.

Lyle built this handy-dandy egg collection door into the side of the hen house.  It opens right into the nesting boxes, the nesting boxes which the chickens showed no interest in.  So, I basically stopped checking.  Then, two days after Thanksgiving, I was out with the dog when I heard a mighty ruckus coming from the hen house.  I figured that Clarkson the rooster was finding his voice.

I opened the side door to the nesting boxes and there sat Clarkson, squawking to beat the band!  It felt like I'd walked in on someone using the bathroom, and quickly apologized and closed the door.  I ran up to the house to tell the kids an egg was on the way.  Much to our surprise, there wasn't just one egg, but THREE!  Clarkson had laid the first egg on Thanksgiving!  In all of the excitement, with kids carrying the eggs, only one of the three made it into the refrigerator intact.

No matter.  Clarkson is now consistent as Old Faithful, delivering one egg a day.

We all find it pretty amazing.
Miraculous, really....

........especially coming from a rooster.  
Way to go Clarkson.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

He Dreamed a Dream

No, Lyle is not Lehi, or Pharaoh, or (thank goodness) even Fantine from Les Miserables.  He did, however, dream a dream.

He woke up with a start at about 3:00 in the morning.   In the dream that roused him, he saw that our basement was flooding, our sump pump was broken, and water was lapping up near our raised, newly purchased, oh-so-pricey heater.  He was so troubled by the clarity of the dream that he knew he'd never get back to sleep if he didn't go investigate.

Our "basement" is really a glorified crawl space about 7 feet tall that you can access only by removing a heavy hatch which is set into the floorboards of our back porch.   In his robe, braving the cold, wet morning, he took off the hatch, shined his flashlight down the stairs, and saw the exact image of his dream......a completely flooded crawl space, a broken sump pump, and water rising dangerously close to our heating system.  It was a long, wet morning, but all is well and we are deeply grateful.

All of the children were impressed by Lyle's dream, but it was Cholita who shared the experience with her class, saying that she was thankful for Heavenly Father's help in saving our heater.  She also now looks at her father with a sense of awe and feels comforted that he will be warned in the event of family danger.   "Mom," she said very seriously while we were driving in the car, "If Dad ever dreams that a tiger is in our house, eating the kids, make sure he wakes up!"

 Will do.  But if he has a Lehi moment and dreams that our family should leave our house, travel in the wilderness and live in a tent?

 I'll tell him to go back to sleep.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

If Franklin Could Talk

Do you want me to sit?  I'll do it!

Do you want me to lie down? No problem!

Do you want me to stay?   Got it!

Just tell me I'm a good dog.  Please, oh please, oh please tell me I'm a good dog.  

Because I love you!

You're beautiful!  Have I told you lately?  I only have eyes for you.  

Well, you and everyone else who wants to pet me.  Or feed me!

Your wish is my command.

Please, oh please, oh please let me do something for you.  Anything!

And then scratch my belly.  

Because I love you!

In case you can't tell, he's a pleaser.
At nearly 15 weeks, he knows sit, down, stay, leave it, and go potty.
He knows that he needs to sit and wait when we walk through doors.
He knows to sit quietly while we put on his leash or give him his food.
He knows not to jump up on people......mostly.
Little people are still too great a temptation.

At 15 weeks he does not know:
that everything in our home is not a chew toy and
that all manner of animal manure is not food.

Not bad for 15 weeks.
But seriously?
The ick factor of the manure eating nearly cancels out all of his great qualities.

We know he's a keeper.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Frankly Speaking: Life with a 12 week old puppy

As I type, Franklin is sitting on the floor next to me.  It's not the calm bonding moment that you might imagine, however.  The leash he's wearing is pinned to the floor by my foot because if given free reign,  I can't even image the scope of destruction. The word "catastrophic" comes to mind.

These past three weeks with Franklin have reminded me of the personal oath I'd made after raising each of our canine babies, an oath that obviously I'd forgotten.  "I will never get another puppy."  I picture Scarlett O'Hara with the sun setting behind her, a fist raised to the sky.  It's that type of oath.  And yet, here I am, yet again, raising a puppy.

Those people who raise guide dog puppies, only to send them off to formal training school once they've gotten through all the hard stuff?  There's a special place reserved for them in heaven, I'm sure.

And speaking of Heaven, it was the loss of Charlie's dear doggie brother, Olaf, that prompted the addition of Franklin.  Charlie just wasn't himself and he looked lonely and we just knew that he'd love a little puppy brother.  We were wrong.  Very wrong.  At his advanced age, he's like the grumpy 80 year-old man who yells at the neighbor kids to get off his lawn.   Right now, Charlie wants Franklin off his lawn.

I read somewhere that by 12 weeks a puppy should meet at least 100 people.  Since I'm a bit of a homebody, I've had to make a conscious effort to take Franklin somewhere every single day.  In our quest to find people of all ages and sizes, we've explored parks, visited schools, window shopped downtown, and blasted through many a scene of Autumn peace and tranquility.  And as tiring as it's been, I honestly can't remember a Fall that I've appreciated so fully.  Nothing says joy quite like a fat puppy rolling and romping through leaves.  I have no doubt that lurking within this bundle of fur are the makings of a great dog.

I just...

need the energy....

to get him there.