Rudy

This week was not the week to be a chicken around Casa de Ford. Not even if a little bit.

For anyone faint of heart, kosher, or a dedicated supporter of PETA you may want to go ahead and skip this post. I won’t go into visual details, however, the nature of the content will, by nature, lend itself to be rather graphic.

And if you’re still reading, here we go. Prepare to be, at the very least, heartsick at the end.

Monday evening: Chris and I ran into the big city to do some grocery shopping for Adventure Camp and get off of the compound for a couple of hours. We were after dark getting back – usually we put the chickens up before we leave if we think we are going to be late, but this time we didn’t think we would be gone so long. We stopped at the coop before taking the groceries down to the lodge – at first Chris just stopped in the road, but because I’m a big chicken (no pun intended, seriously) in the dark I asked him to re-angle so the car lights hit the coop.

Beady eyes stared back at us. From inside the run. Not good.

I run to the house to get headlamps, flashlight, and a sharp object of some sort. I run back down the sidewalk and across the road, toss Chris the rake so that he can go inside the coop where the varmint is hiding, chickens are going nuts in the run, the rooster is squawking and flitting about, and about the time I get to the gate the perpetrator scurries under the hole in the fence from, we assume,  whence it came.

I shine my light in the coop. One, two, three, four, five… there’s one missing. I shine my light in the run. We’ve lost one – she’s laying lifeless in the middle of the run.

Sadness. Anger. Hurt. Defeat.

Chris takes the shovel and starts to dig a hole up behind the house. He tells me I don’t want to be a part of it. I check on the other birds, making sure they aren’t injured, close them up, kick in the hole and put large toolbox in front of it, and go up the hill to help him dig. Chris lays her in the hole and we cover her up.

Wednesday evening (sun is just setting): I went out to close up the birds – a little earlier than usual to play it on the safe side. Tuesday was fine, but we weren’t t taking any chances. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The silly birds like to perch on the rope to the trap door until they are closed up for the night – then they flutter about to the roost and hang out there til morning. The fluttering typically makes quite the ruckus – birds jumping down, flapping their wings, squawking at the surprise – this time it did not. I think to myself that something’s not right. I peer through the big window like I usually do after closing them up – one lays limp under the roost. I can’t find the fifth one and I can see the rooster is hurt bad and cowering in the corner.

I run back to the house, devastated and frantic, and tell Chris the news. He goes out to survey the scene. He finds the fifth bird. She’s dead, too, under the rooster in the corner. We think he was trying to protect her still.

We stand there totally perplexed- at a total loss of what to do. We know we have to bury the birds. We know we have to separate the rooster, due to his intense injuries, from the remaining two.

Chris starts digging. I get the dog crate. We wrangle the rooster into the crate, away from the hen he was protecting. I help dig, mostly to blow off some frustration. We bury the birds and go back to the rooster. I try to clean him up with water and peroxide, he can barely stand. The left side of his face is in bad shape, swollen beyond recognition, maybe missing his eye. His comb and waddle are limp, he’s missing a patch of feathers on his upper right wing. His beak and jaw are cockeyed.

I figure he’s close to the end but I’m not willing to let him suffer. I think he will likely die during the night or have a miraculous recovery. For the latter, I am not so hopeful.

I call Derrick, the coon trapper, and settle a time for him to come set traps the next day. I don’t care if he takes them or offs them – I’m done with the varmints killing my birds.

We close them up, him in the crate & hens on the roost. We will wait and see what tomorrow holds – it’s likely not good. No matter how much I try to convince myself that I will nurse him back to health with love, salves, peroxide, and antibiotics, the realist in me knows otherwise. I flip through our trusty chicken book, email the chicken lady, Ashley English, for her input, and go to bed. I toss and turn for a while and eventually drift off.

Thursday morning: His condition is the same and worse than I originally thought. I doctor his wounds again – this time knowing for sure that he is permanently blind on his left side. Death for him seems eminent, I just won’t let myself believe it yet.

We decide to leave the birds inside for the day. We will be gone for the better part of the day and don’t want to take any chances. If something returns through the hole or digs a new one, it at least won’t be able to get to the girls and the wounded. Hopefully the coon trapper will be there later and we can resolve this once and for all.

We headed out for the day, taking Noah to school, meeting Adventure Camp in Soddy Daisy, and picking up chicken antibiotics and wire to bury under the run to prevent anymore digging. We stopped at the Farm Supply on the way home. I told the fella what we were dealing with. He said, “Do you want to know what you honestly need to do?” I told him of course, knowing what the answer would be.

“I’d put him out of his misery.”

Apparently once a rooster is injured, especially on his head, and is hiding his defense mechanisms (ducking his head, not crowing, not puffing his feathers, etc.) then he is in a lot of pain. Even if he recovers he will likely continue to be in a lot of pain that could literally make him go mad.

The man tells me that  I can go get a rooster and as many hens as I want from his farm, just call his wife and tell her I’m coming. My first thought was “How am I going to take on more chickens if I am losing my babies by the day?”… I will likely call him in a couple of weeks, just not yet.

Derrick, the coon trapper, never calls. I am hoping we won’t be given reason to call him back.

Thursday evening: On the way to supper at the dining hall I find a good ole boy, one who I know is privy to farm life. I ask him if he knows anything about or cares to take care of our rooster for us. He obliges. Chris leads him over to the coop, loads up Foghorn, and he takes him off. I didn’t ask any questions. I tell myself that he took him off and gave him lethal injection – he never felt a thing.

This was probably the hardest part of this whole situation- I had grown rather attached to him and he fought as hard as he could to protect his domain. He just wasn’t old enough or big enough or even have his spurs yet to rightly defend what was his.

I make sure the girls are safe and sound, no holes in the fence, trap door shut.  They are in for the night…

Friday morning: I go to let the two girls we have left out for a few minutes while I take the crate out and fill up their food and water.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Another one is gone. Dead under the roost.

Son of a…

I am so over it. So done. How the heck does this keep happening?

I start to fine-tooth comb every inch of the coop & run – but I didn’t need to look far:

Need a closer look?

The terrorist is coming through the window – the double reinforced window four feet off the ground.

Defeat. Frustration. Confusion.

What in the world is small enough to fit through a 2×4 inch slot and push through the chicken wire? Raccoon? Opossum? Weasel? Rats? The folks at the co-op had varying opinions, solutions, and personal tales to tell – those will have to wait for another day…

The gist is this: Raccoons and opossums are scavengers – they like for whatever they eat to be well into the decomposition phase before feasting. This is likely why the vandal was only killing the birds, not taking them away – because they will wait a few days and come back for their kill, once it’s had time to reach that aforementioned phase. When it came back, couldn’t find it’s original victim, it struck again, thus, extinguishing all but one of our flock.

And the one that remains? The runt.

After three, maybe four separate attacks she proved to be the strongest some way or another. And we are very proud of her strength and her survival instincts. We had held off on naming any of the birds, except Foghorn, until they were fully grown, so we really knew how to tell them apart. With her being the lone survivor, we decided to name her Rudy – after the 1990’s movie about the football player who never gave up. Appropriate, I think.

We hang our heads in sadness, but will not be taken so easily. The flock will be avenged.

So tonight, we set traps. And wait.

Update: I started this post Friday night – it’s Sunday and we’ve had a whole lot of action:

One trap set, baited with a chicken taco (I know – the irony), behind the coop in the run next to the ramp into the house. Rudy is closed up tight, new shavings replace the old, the window has been reinforced.  We are sitting in the living room watching a program, the windows open listening to the rain.

A cry comes from the coop – not of the avian variety.

“I think we just caught something,” I say to Chris and Jess.

“Yeah, I heard that, too.”

We wait. Give it time. Make sure he’s really good and caught.

Like a scene from a movie – I with my garden rake under an umbrella (I was quickly told that it’s not very tough to raccoon hunt with an umbrella… at least I was dry.), Chris with a large machete, Jess with the mag light – we walk into the night while it’s raining and the steam rolls over the gravel road.

So caught. Beady little eyes cower at the light. It’s a raccoon, just as we had suspected.

The next series of events, I will spare the details. Just know this – the villain was “relocated” far, far away and will never be messing with our chickens ever again. I don’t particularly love the means to the end, but it’s necessary. There’s a chain of life and we sometimes must be an active part in it.

And then we set the trap again… same place, different bait.

Same result.

After much thought and good talk with the Chicken Lady, we will get Rudy a companion tomorrow before leaving town at the end of the week so she won’t feel as though she’s been abandoned, left to fend for her own.

For now, the traps remain – and I honestly hope to find them empty from here on out.

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Von(fly)Trap

Dear pesky fruit flies,

I believe it is not your intention to live in my house, use my air conditioning, drink my water, and so on – you just want to indulge in my overly-ripe fruit, afterall you are a fruit fly. I get that.

However, I find this arrangement to be rather problematic because I, too, want to eat my fruit – without you and your friends swarming around my head or billowing out of my peeled banana. It’s just gross and not so very appetizing.

I could be on board if it were just you and a few friends, but you tend to multiply. Like rabbits. Herds of frisky rabbits.

And frankly, I’ve had enough of you and your shenanigans and you’ve left me no choice.

Very soon you will smell the sweet aroma of an overly-ripe strawberry. You will be so overcome with the desire to have this scrumptioulescent berry that you will plummet into the funnel of doom, trapped inside my recycled bottle where you will live out your final days (are fly days like dog years?)…

I’m very sorry to end our relationship like this – it just wasn’t working for me anymore.

Sincerely,

the Mama

Sophisticated Fly Trap – thanks to Kiwi Magazine

Fort Knox

Since I told the fella at the co-op my story of my iron-clad security at the chicken house, I suppose it’s only fair to share the wealth (of laughter) here. My sister likes to refer to this as Chapter 1 in the book that I will write. One day. Not today. Maybe tomorrow…

So while the Bullington kids were up for Spring Break (can I say how much I love that it’s become their family tradition to come camp out with us for part of the week? – love it) we moved the little ladies over to their new house – pictures to prove it soon, promise. Well, Tuesday was a busy day for us – take Noah to school, plunder the wonders of River Sports in Knoxville, explore the Southwest Point Fort, lunch at Handee Burger, retrieve Noah from school, come home and clean up and prep for cooking out over the campfire. In between all that the chickens needed tending to, of course.

Sidenote: I like to refer to myself, thanks to Ashley English – see her book down & to the right a bit, as a Chicken Tenderer. Not to be confused with a chicken tender – you see how that could get confusing? She kindly signed my personal copy when I took her class, “Happy tendering, Beth!” hence the title I’ve given myself.

Back to the story.

So, we gathered up all of our campfire goods and headed down to the water’s edge for some old fashioned kumbuya-ing.  At some point I wandered off to take something somewhere for someone and decided that it was getting late and the little ladies needed to be put back in their house, safe from our pesky raccoon bandit.

I merrily went along shutting windows, closing gates, locking latches, refilling waterers, topping off feeders, herding pullets… you know, the typical tasks of a Tenderer. I was hanging out with the little ladies in their house, teaching them about their perches when I realized that in all my latch locking and window shutting I had securely secured myself in the hen house.

Secured securely surely.

So secure I had to squeeze, and I mean squeeze myself out of the trap door – you know, the one that’s big enough for a full-size chicken to scurry out of.  The good news is that I fit through the hole fairly unscathed by chicken droppings and was only nearly beheaded one time by the door that is eerily similar to a guillotine when you are staring up at it ( I have no idea how to spell this word and really why would I?).

Escape from the chicken house – success.

But then there’s the run that I was now standing in. Good thing dad thought it would be a good idea to put wire across the top of it to keep aerial threats at a minimum. Yep, real good thing.

And to keep climbing out at an even smaller minimum.

Well, crap. The family is down by the water’s edge surely devouring delicious hobo stew and moving on to chocalatey, marshmallowy, banana boats by this point and I am pondering the most poop-free spot where I can sit until someone realizes I’ve wandered off.  Brilliant.

So what did I do?

Well, what any tough, rugged, wilderness woman of the woods would do – I started hollering Chris’ name at the top of my lungs – waited – and hollered some more. You have no idea how defeated I felt… standing in a wired-in chicken run waiting for my knight in khaki shorts.

I’m such a girl.

I could hear the crunch of the gravel and knew my rescue was near – followed closely by my humiliation. Chris got within shouting distance and said, “Where are you?”…

“In the run. Don’t ask questions. Just let me out.”

He chuckled – gracefully.

“Don’t tell them what I did.”

He smirked – not near as gracefully.

The biggest chicken in the hen house.

Alligator Lullaby

Rough doesn’t begin to describe the scene at our house last night.

Let me back up and start in the afternoon:

  • 5:00pm – Pick Noah up from school. Head to the big city to run a few errands.
  • 6:00pm – Kids Eat Free at EarthFare – always a favorite of the week.
  • 7:45pm – Get back home. Give Bubs a bath. Get in jammies.
  • 8:30pm – Give kisses, go night night.
  • 8:45pm – Bloody murder scream from the boy’s room. Go in to survey the scene. Inconsolable. Pick up, stand and rock, continues screaming. Okay. Well. Take him into the living room figuring he hasn’t met his mama/daddy quota for the day since he’s been at school.
  • 9:15pm – Falling asleep standing up, begins whaling. (Did I mention he rarely cries about anything?) Is it his teeth? Put finger in Bubs’ mouth. Yes, must be his teeth. Put amber necklace back on, give some acetaminophen – all the while he’s pushing against me to lay back on my knees. I lay him back. Falls asleep instantly. Weird. But okay. Hold him for a few more minutes then put him back in his bed. Turn a little music on. Silence.
  • 9:45pm – Watch an episode of Netflix-ed Psych.
  • 10:30pm – Our usual bedtime routine. Get in bed. Snuggle down with Poisonwood Bible.
  • 10:35pm – Blood curdling scream over the monitor. What the heck? Wait a minute – screaming proceeds. Go check on him. Not happy (duh). Scoop him up and take him to the rocking chair. Squirms and cries and cannot be comforted. I lay him on my knees flat on his back. Out like a light. Still weird. Put baby boy back in his bed, head back to mine.
  • 11:00pm – Make-the-paint-curl-off-the-walls scream over the monitor. Seriously? Daddy’s turn. Scenario much the same as above. Lays flat on back on knees and he’s out. Daddy returns to our room.
  • 11:15pm – Hair-raising scream much louder than the rest over the monitor. I am at a total loss. Go to baby boy’s room. Scoop him up. This time I rock him like a baby alligator right away and then bring him back to our bed – this is an extremely rare occurrence. I pray that it will help. It doesn’t. We continue like this until 3am. Give baby boy more pain reliever, lay him in his bed. Out like a light until 8:45am.

A few things to know about Noah Matthew – he loves to sleep. He loves his bed. He loves to fall asleep on his own in his bed.  It is few and far between when he lets us rock him to sleep – much less like a baby alligator:

Photo from Florida Memory

I find myself at a total loss for what ailed our home last night.  I go back and forth between wanting to cry because I know my little guy was in some sort of torturous pain that I couldn’t relieve him from, trying to remind myself that those moments are fleeting and I won’t always be able to scoop him up and lull him into a trance like a baby alligator, and feeling guilty about sending him to school because it must be correlated since he’s never done anything like this before.  I could sit here and “if” until the cows come home but it would solve nothing, only perpetuate the self-loathing.

As I type, both of my boys are sleeping peacefully in their own beds. I likely should be, too, just in case we have a repeat episode. Pray that’s not the case – but if it is I will persevere, attempt to soak in that he needs me at least for now, and remind myself that it’s just one night’s sleep lost and to be thankful that I have a little baby alligator to sing a sweet lullaby to.

 

…because before you know it,they don’t fit there anymore.

When the Cat’s Away…

The dogs will come and stay?

I don’t think that’s the way it goes – but that’s the way it’s happened.

Meet Shrimp (clever, I know…):

He showed up at our front door this evening. I thought he was a fox at first glance and was kind of excited at the imagery of raising a wild fox. (I don’t get out much…)

I combed the “neighborhood” looking for someone looking for him.  Nada. The few folks I spoke with told me that he was likely “dumped off” by someone who didn’t want him anymore for some reason or another. One kindly soul, who happened to be walking a dachshund that she’s temporarily fostering for a rescue group, told me that she gets at least four or five cats, two or three dogs, and a handful of other critters dumped at her place every year. She believes the “dumpers” should be locked up – maybe they should make them stay in the pound for a while. I wonder if anyone would claim them?

Poor fella – I couldn’t stand the thought of him sleeping in the cold tonight, shivering his little paws off. So he’s bunking with us. And by bunking I mean he is currently curled up on the chair behind me. Snoring. Snoring and dreaming.

I can’t take him anywhere until at least Tuesday and I am not sure I am real fond of my first option anyway. He’s very sweet, lap-doggish but not yippy, seemingly potty-trained (potty-trained? That’s a child, not a dog. Poor Noah, I will likely tell people he’s housebroken…), very good with big dogs (because Grits is very vicious – ha!), and likes little people. He would make an excellent little companion…

I think I just convinced myself to keep him. Theoretically.

If anyone is interested or knows of someone who might be, please let me know. I would love to give him to someone who will love him and take care of him. He’s a charming little fella…

Grits, you are a dog. Not a cougar. Relax.

Raccoon Raucous

In case I’ve failed to mention, we live in the middle of close to nowhere. (Or so it seems.) I call it home, others call it the sticks, to some a slice of heaven, and then there’s a select population who refer to the locals as “South of the River Trash”. Nice.

A friend of mine once said after traveling from the “big city” on a first time visit: Drive until you think you are lost. Then go five more miles.

It’s true. We are a “fur piece” out here in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. And the shenanigans are wild – as wild as the couple of people in Roane County I can name who still make and consume some of the (self-proclaimed) best moonshine this side of the Mississippi. Cure anything from the common cold to tuberculosis.

I’ll take their word for it.

And last night didn’t disappoint in the “shenanigans” category – only fitting because it was one of the two times all year that I am the acting “master” of the house. Figures.

About nine o’clock I was snuggled on the couch, pooch at my feet, boy in his bed, watching a movie. I hear the sounds and see the lights of either an older model pick-up with chest congestion or some sort of ATV coming down the main road. No big deal – locals drive down to the end of the road, stop a minute, and go about their merry way all the time.

And then I see them pull into camp and head the opposite direction of our house – out toward the more primitive side of the property. I figure it must be some of the guys who are coming out for the weekend to work on our building projects – don’t really know why they are going that way, but that’s for them to know and me to well, not know.

Snuggle back down, call off the dog, watching the movie.

Annnnd they’re coming back. Lights blaring through my front window. Mother Bear instincts kick in and I go over and shut the light off so I can get a better view of our “guests”.  At this point I see them park their vehicle next to the XTerra (and I actually locked the car last night – which I never do…) and shut the engine off and grab their headlamps.

Apparently my turning the light off was not a clear enough sign that I wasn’t buying what they were selling because now two rather burly looking gentlemen are strutting onto to my front porch, setting off the motion light. I can now see that they are burlier than I first thought – mountain men, if you will – decked out in Lord-knows what kind of gear to do Lord-knows what to some poor unsuspecting creature.

I pray I am not that creature. Seriously.

I walk over to the door (this is the part in the scary movie where you are yelling at the screen telling the dimwitted actor to move away from the door), Grits at my side looking like she’s going to lick them to death, and proceed to offer a good ol’ “what for” look. And the dialogue proceeds like this:

Burly Mountain Man: Ma’am we’re out ‘coon huntin’ with our dawgs tonight and we’ve tracked ’em back on your property down by the lake and need to go fetch ’em.

Me: What do you mean?

BMM: Our dawgs are back by the lake and we just need to go get em. See, we got ’em on GPS (pulls out a pretty legit looking piece of hardware that has a blinking spot – I assume indicating their ‘coon hounds) and need to go get ’em. We just didn’t wanna wander onto your property without telling somebody first. (i.e. They don’t want to be shot…)

Me: Um. Okay. That’s fine… (What was I supposed to say – “No, Burly Mountain Man, you and your Sasquatch friend may not go find your hounds…”)

BMM: We don’t mean to scare ya ma’am. We’re just gettin’ our dawgs and then we’ll be gone.

Me: Okay. Thanks for letting me know.

They saunter off down to their vehicle, load up, and head off into the darkness to find their huntin’ hounds – which means they likely have guns.

Fabulous.

I called Bri. Then Chris. Then Eddie.

Reinforcements in place – check.

Now I wait.

Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty.

How long does it take to find a daggum dog that you have a locator on?

Forty-five minutes. An hour…

Finally, I hear the sweet mucousy roar of their engine, see the lights, and watch them pull on out of camp. Phewww.

Crisis averted.

But don’t you worry about little ol’ me – I passed on their story, description, and sketch onto the local authorities in case of any other reported roustabouting:

What Came First?

Forget the egg or the chicken, the pox came first at our house.
There are many things I like and desire about chickens, but this my friends, is not one of them.

I think he is handling it way better than either one of his parents. We just want to take the pain away, the confusion away, the multiplying red bumps. We have never felt so helpless… this is definitely the first real trial as parents, to be patient and know that God will heal his little body in due time. Say a little prayer for our little guy – and maybe one for his mama and pops, too.


Noah shows us how he really feels about those pesky bumps –
or he’s trying to lick the oatmeal bath off his chin.
Daddy always makes everything in my world much better.Can’t nobody hold me down, oh no…

The crazy thing, or at least what I find wild, about Chicken Pox is that there is a vaccine for the infection but there are no antibiotics or salves that will speed the healing process, only things to make the child less itchy. I know it’s a viral deal, but still, one would think that with the sickness that effects millions of kids and adults each year, there would be some glimmer of goopy hope.

And what better than to have Noah’s very own, very special, personalized cape (handmade by the wonderful Liz) arrive during his first oatmeal bath of the day!

Yes, that’s right – the wonders of this cape will bring super speedy healing powers and will have Noah bouncing off the walls again in no time! And he will be very cute doing it… But for real, go check Liz out and buy one of these for the little dude in your life – Etsy, everyone else is doing it.

We are on the outs right now, chickens and me, but I still think I want them in my backyard (I don’t really have a “yard” per-say, but I like to think of it that way…). I will have to sleep on it. The thought, not the chicken.

Booger in the Sugar

…no it’s-not.

To show that I play fair and not favorites, it is pertinent that I share a story that my sister, Heather, specifically looked at me and said, “Please don’t put this on the blog,”… even if it makes her crawl out of her skin, it’s a must read. Kids say the darnedest things and this kid in particular is quite funny.

Mason, age 6

The Giusti clan (minus Mike) came over and stayed with us for a few days last week. We were busily cooking dinner and maintaining the other wild banshees while Mason was taking a bath. (Note: The bathtub is practically in the kitchen. No children were left unattended while bathing.) He was playing, pretending, make-believing when he asked Heather what this blue plastic pot was that he was playing with. She said “That’s Aunt Beth’s snot-cleaner-outter!”…to which he promptly dropped in the water and scurried for something else to play with.

He landed his hands on a clear plastic cup that has lime green coloring on the bottom to which he asks, “Why is the bottom of this cup green?”…to which Heather responded, “That’s where she puts her boogers.” I tell him it’s green because the boogers turned it that color. His face distorts and again, he promptly drops the cup.

Seeing the opportunity of a lifetime, because after twenty-six years and plenty of tattling I know the way my sister feels about the olfactory and it’s functions, I ask, “Mason, what color are the boogers you eat? Green or yellow?”

He thinks about it for a minute.

“Yellow.”

And if you listened close enough you could hear a little part of my sisters heart breaking. And her skin crawling. And her head spinning. And the steam blowing. And her innermost being dying.

And me laughing, quite loudly.

And Mason going on bathing.

Random Fact: There are studies that show that kids who eat their boogers turn out to be healthier adolescents and adults. The boogers boost their immune systems and ultimately help ward off the common cold and other such funkiness.

Explains why I’ve always been so healthy

West Virginia Mountain Mama

So I didn’t actually go to West Virginia, but close.

We started the week off in Balsam at my in-laws home with my parents and sister’s brood, headed to Boone to spend time with the Ashmans, picnicked atop Grandfather Mountain, hiked in Grayson Highlands in Mouth of Wilson, VA, and ended with a quick stop in Asheville to do my civil and earth-loving duty of purchasing “locally”. (Some may argue that Asheville isn’t exactly “local” to Ten Mile, TN, but I argue that I will always call NC home. So there.)

Before we get to the pictures, funny story:
As a lot of you may know YASNY is the Ford Family mountain home where my in-laws plan to spend a lot of their time once they retire, where we all meet for family Christmases, where Chris and I introduced Noah to the mountains that he will love for the first time, so on and so forth. This was the first time that I went to the house without any of the other Fords…and well, I figured that by this point I knew how to “open” the house (i.e. turn on power, water pump, water heater, etc.)…I mean, I have been in the family now for almost five years.

So we get in the house and I immediately go around to all of the dials in each room turning on the “air conditioners”, like I have seen my in-laws and Chris do many times before in past visits. About ten minutes go by and I notice that I am sweating, which is rare for me. I figure it must just be because I am lugging around an eighteen pound weight as I move things to and fro.

Then my dad says, “Is it hot in here or is it just me?”… I think little of it, chalk it up to menopause or something like that, and move along tinkering with this and that.

My mom then points out that “hot air” is blowing from the vents.
Oh boy, I have broken the house. Great.

So I texted Chris and Grammy Nan saying: Where is the AC in the house?

No reply.

At this point I start going around checking the “AC” dials again to make sure that I did it right, at which time I notice the small little golden nugget of information inscribed on the dial: Electric Heater.

Defeated.
Or should I say de-heated?

I text back: I didn’t know that YASNY didn’t have an AC unit?

To which I recieve: It does. Open the windows.

To my defense, this is the first time going up in the summer since 2006. And by myself.
At least I looked like I knew what I was doing…

Onto the photos…

A little porch reading with my friend, Barbara.
The view ain’t too shabby either.
Little monkey climbs on everything.He thinks his Papa is hilarious.
Chris: “Can grandkids have favorites?”
Sweet angel baby sleeping with MamaBo on the porch swing.Grits likes the front porch, too.

Mainly rolling her ball off the edge and chasing it into the bushes.The Bullington Fam joined us after picking up the oldest two from

Ridgecrest and Crestridge.Noah with Aunt Krystal at Grandfather picnic & condo in Boone.

And did I mention that Noah and I did this all by our lonesome?
Well, without Chris I mean.

Yep.

Noah slept in a closet, I got blisters with the new shoes to match, and was barely able to close my eyes for more than an hour.
And I would do it all again.

Please don’t call Child Services, it was a big closet.