Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Big, Beautiful (P)Earl

Some of you may remember the story of (P)Earl Chicken, but if you don’t, here’s a refresher:  After our beloved Ruby Chicken died, we were afraid that Opal Chicken would be lonely.  Our friends, Jill and Ricky (who sold us Opal and Ruby) said they had some more young chickens, and if we wanted one we could just come pick one out.  When we went, I found the most beautiful chicken I had ever seen; soon (s)he was on her way home with us and was given the name of “Pearl”.

The only problem was that although we were quite smitten with Pearl Chicken, Opal Chicken made it clear that she did not want another chicken at all.  Opal chased (P)Earl all the time and was so mean to the little chicken that we had to let (P)Earl stay in the chicken tractor instead of bedding down in the coop just to keep (P)Earl safe.  When we were in the yard, (P)Earl was never far away from me (which I actually kind of liked).  However, all of this drama was short-lived when (P)Earl began to crow every morning.  Our city ordinance bans roosters from living within city limits, so (P)Earl  (who was really an “Earl”) went back to live with Jill and Ricky.

Well, Jill just kept telling the cutest stories about (P)Earl, so a couple of Sundays ago Robert and I asked if we could come for a visit.  Jill said, “Come on over,” so we were on our way!  I was absolutely giddy on the drive over to Jill’s house.  I was going to see my sweet (P)Earl Chicken!

I absolutely LOVE Jill and Ricky's place -- it is so fun to go there!  I swear, it seems like Ricky’s yard is at least four times bigger than ours, and even though they live in town, they are pretty much able to live “the country life”.  (Their town ordinances are also less prohibitive than ours.)  Therefore, when we started to the back of the yard, we were greeted by chickens everywhere:

There were some ducks, too!

And they even have a peacock!  This peacock showed up at the house one day, out of nowhere, bloody and pretty beat up.  After finding respite and help there, it just decided to stay!  It walks about freely among the chickens:

Hangs out with the ducks (and even has a tendency to herd them, according to Jill):

And makes itself the “King of the Hill” on top of the chicken coop:

After having some fun watching all of the other critters, we finally caught sight of the true catalyst for our trip:  (P)Earl Chicken!

(P)Earl is so beautiful!  And so-not-the-scrawny-little-chick that we once knew!  I bet Opal Chicken would think twice before bothering (P)Earl now!

(P)Earl has quite the harem:

While we were there, (P)Earl decided to romance his “favorite” girl right there in front of us.  Jill has told me stories of watching him try to get girls by pretending his foot is hurt.  She doesn’t know where he picked that up, but he does it quite often, and it always makes her laugh to watch him.  He hobbles around on his “hurt” foot, and as soon as the concerned females rush to his rescue, BAM!   He’s on it.  He did not show such finesse when we were there – he pretty much just jumped the poor girl.  However, she was later chasing him around, so I guess she likes him, too.  Here is the happy couple:

As fun as it was to watch him, the best part was getting to cuddle him again!  Jill was able to catch him, and Robert and I took turns cuddling our beloved (P)Earl Chicken!  Here’s Robert holding our big guy:

So there you go…(P)Earl Chicken is now loud, proud, and living large!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Rambling Update

Since my last post about the dogs, I’ve been feeling a little low and had the need to disconnect for awhile.  There were days that I didn’t even turn on my computer at all - no e-mail…no Facebook…no anything.  Although I have not been plugged in, things have been happening around here, so here’s a little update for anyone who might be interested:

Since my previous post, Molly has already moved to a new home.  The Golden Retriever Rescue Alliance did a wonderful job, and I can’t say enough about them.  (To visit their website, click here).  Due to a scheduling conflict, Ashley actually ended up picking her up on a Tuesday and by the next Monday she had been adopted!  Here is the cute little advertisement they had on their site for my big girl:

I don’t know exactly who adopted her, but I was told that she went to a more affluent part of the metroplex in which we live.  Her new parents are older (one of them is retired and one of them works from home), and they usually have three Goldens at any given time.  One of their dogs had passed away a couple of weeks before, so Molly joined the two remaining “kids” for romping and playing.  She is living in a big house, with a big yard and a swimming pool, so I’m pretty sure that I am missing her more than she is missing me.  And I would have it no other way.
I couldn’t bear to get rid of her bed right away, so it stayed in our room for several days:

After awhile, I couldn’t take it anymore, so it was gone, leaving me with just my memories.  It seems I was not the only one who was missing her; Nestlé used to sit on Molly every chance she got whenever we were hanging out in the family room together.  With Molly gone, Nestlé has taken to trying to cuddle with Cookie, but it’s not quite the same:

Toffee is still here with me; the Brittany Rescue has not found a home for him yet:

However, it’s okay because I will only be at peace if I know that he goes to the perfect home for him, and if that takes some time, then so be it.  Besides, it’s a long walk to the chicken coop from the porch, and what will I do without Toffee to protect me from “who-knows-what” as I go out to tuck in Opal Chicken each night?

The really big news is that my mountain man has gone back to Yellowstone.  I thought that it would get easier the more he comes and goes, but this time actually was the hardest of all.  It was more than just my son leaving home – my friend was leaving!  The only thing that makes it okay is that he seems so happy.  And this time, he actually scored a position as an Assistant Manager of one of the stores.  He won’t be at Old Faithful this year, but he will be in some other part of the park.  He also won’t be living in a regular dorm, but instead will be in a little log cabin with a wood-burning stove.  Before he left, he got to spend some time with his number-one girl:


With spring here, I’ve been paying more attention to the yard.  Well, I say spring is here; actually, we’ve been having spring during one part of the week, followed by a quick blast of winter, followed by a little more spring.  The plants and animals aren’t quite sure what to do!  I looked out one windy, chilly afternoon to see two little squirrels snuggled up in the jar in the squirrel feeder:

Despite the crazy weather, the scrawny little rose bush that Alan and I transplanted last year has been doing great:

And remember how we had those tents over the raised garden beds?  Well, the aloe vera and lemon thyme not only survived the winter, they had babies!  I have transplanted the main plants to a bed in the back and put some of the “babies” in little pots to give to friends:

I bought this little greenhouse thing at Tractor Supply Store for $20 and have been using it for rootings and seedlings.  It has done a really good job:

In fact, the lavender and the lemon balm are from some cuttings I did a little while back:

I also have some parsley growing (at Mom’s request):

Since it has been going back and forth on the temperature, it has stayed cool enough that my spinach and lettuce are hanging in there (I think Nestlé has eaten more spinach than anyone):

Here’s a look at the overall garden…some things are doing well, and some things are struggling against the surprise freezes we have experienced (as well as my “gan-green” thumb!):

Despite all of my effort, Robert still leaves me in the dust on vegetable gardening.  Before I even had things planted, he was bringing home more monstrosities from his community garden (Ugh!):

This year, I’ve added some more stuff to the yard.  I bought three rose bushes (and they have grown from tiny stumps to pretty decent in no time!).  The cute little “bug-eyed” critter in the middle is a little something that my sister bought for me when we were in Pinedale, Wyoming.  A great momento from that trip!

I’m always on the prowl for new planting containers.  Here is a party tub that I picked up at Wal-Mart for less than $5.00:

I bought three of them; I filled one of them with lemon thyme and another with moss roses.  I put them on the ground with the idea that they belong to Opal Chicken for her snacking pleasure:

Robert loves to go to auctions and brought home this cute little wagon.  It sat in the yard, leaned up against the house on its side, until I snatched it and filled it with some extra plants:

The wagon is truly a blast from someone’s past.  There is an inscription on the bottom that says,
“To Ryan
From Granddad &

We attend a free gardening education meeting at our local library, and Russell Feed store is one of the sponsors.  There are drawings each meeting and I won this little cloth pot…my squash plant seems to really like it:  

I was really thrilled with this little beauty.  I have come up with a way to make self-watering planters out of 2-liter soda bottles.  Even though it isn’t an issue now, I’m hoping that they help keep my new strawberry plants safe and happy once the blast-furnace that is Texas summer arrives.  I asked Robert to make a box to hold all of them for me, and I must say, he did a really great job!

A friend of mine showed up at the house last week with a really neat thing that she had bought at a craft fair, just for me!  She was excited to give it to me, and I was very excited to get it!  Isn’t it cute?

In addition to planting things, I have been doing a lot of yard clean-up.  It is getting a little aggravating, though.  Just as I get everything perfect, I come out and find small branches everywhere:

The squirrels are making nests, and apparently they like clipping off more than they need.  But, sure enough, the jar in the squirrel feeder has been filled with leaves, making it comfy-cozy:

Nestlé loves the fact that I am in the yard more often.  With better weather and me outside to protect her from hawks and other predators, she gets to spend more time hanging out:

She also gets to run around in the large area (with the make-shift fence) that we call the “big girl” pen when I am outside.  The little pen in the back left area of the picture is her “little girl” pen, and it is covered so she can be out there when I am not in the yard:

One of her favorite things to do is to “taunt” Opal Chicken whenever Opal gets close to the fence.  She darts back and forth, and I swear I can hear Nestlé saying, “You can’t catch me!  You can’t catch me!” in a little sing-song voice:

As for the rest of our little family, Mandy and her crew are doing fine.  Our baby boy will be here in a couple of months, and Paisley is talking more and more about her “baby brudder”.  They recently enjoyed a Texas tradition - bluebonnet pictures:

Well, there is more going on, but I won’t prattle on any more.  There are more posts coming soon, including an update on (P)Earl chicken (yes, I got to see (P)Earl today!).  I’m also going to be catching up on a little blog reading, too!