Tuesday, April 6, 2010


April 6, 2010

The computer bounces on my lap as we head down highway 412 in northeast Oklahoma. It’s the Dan P. Holmes Expressway leaving Tulsa. I actually remember Dan P. Holmes. To me he was just a face on the television. He was a gentleman who was always complaining about the horrible condition of highway 412. He constantly campaigned to get that little two lane road that lead from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Arkansas repaired and widened. As a kid growing up I had no real grasp of why this interstate road was so important, or why the man was constantly campaigning to get it improved.

Now as I type I appreciate Mr. Holmes. It’s a nice divided highway that allows you to move safely and freely from Oklahoma to Arkansas and back again. Sadly the highway was completed after Mr. Holmes passed, but I like to think he’s up there somewhere smiling, knowing all the good he did for all the travelers.

In the two weeks we’ve been home from Davis the world flying by my truck window has turned from winter brown to varying shades of spring green. The landscape is dotted with colorful redbuds and stark white wild plum trees. As we drive through the towns on our way to Springdale, AR I see jonquils blooming in the yards. Spring has finally come to the area.

Pastures along the roads are filled with new calves, lambs and kid goats. Easter was last weekend and we’ve been blessed with a nearly storm free spring so far. I hope it stays that way. Tornadoes are very scary things.

I’ve actually been in about six and would prefer to never be in one again. I’ll do a blast from the past post soon about one such tornado when I was rendezvousing fulltime. It was an experience that is funny now, but back then it was really pretty scary.

Right now I’m simply enjoying the spring day.

At home Sean is taking care of the gifts of spring we’ve recently received. Easter night Gary had gone out to do some late chores when in the pitch dark he heard the sounds of new life. The sounds of a tiny chick strayed from its mother. He called into the house and told us what he was hearing.

Sean grabbed up a flashlight and headed into the woods where the sound was coming from. He soon realized it was more than one. Climbing through the underbrush he found two tiny chicks. One was white and the other was brown, plus a nest of pipping eggs. No mama chicken to be seen.

He knew that this late at night if the hen wasn’t on the nest she was permanently gone. Gary verified this later when he told us he had found the Mama dead not far away. The chicks were gathered first and placed in Sean’s shirt tail to keep them warm until he could pass them off to Gary, who then passed them off to me.

I took them into the house and warmed them up while the two men gathered the ten chirping eggs from the nest. All were far enough along in their hatch there was no sense in firing up one of the two incubators we still owned. Instead a cardboard box was setup in Sean’s bathroom vanity with a 100 watt light bulb.

By morning we were up to five healthy chicks, by bedtime last night only three eggs remained unhatched. One of them was nearly finished hatching, the 9th one is rocking and rolling but no cracks in the shell as yet. We feel no life in the 10th egg. Sean will candle it tonight to see if anyone is home and still alive. Sometimes there is one chick that hatches as much as 48 hours after the rest of a clutch.

We had not even set up brooders yet for the season, so that’s on the top of Sean’s to do list today. That way the birds can be raised properly and not stink up the bathroom.

When we last spoke with him he hadn’t decided if he was going to work on the small pen or the garden roof today. Fairy goose, Elf’s mother, is sharing a nest with a banty turken in the small pen coop. Which is very comical to see the turken trying to warm the five goose eggs along with her own tiny eggs when Fairy is off the nest.

The pen needs some major repair due to the big tree, of the emergency room fame, fell on part of the pen. The guys removed the tree Sunday, but Sean will need to do some fence and roof repair to make the pen safe for the little ones when they hatch. So he’ll probably do the pen.

The garden roof may sound strange to some of those who haven’t heard me speak of this before. My poultry all free range, so my garden is caged, complete with a chick wire roof. The repetitive snow and ice storms of this last winter knocked the roof down, as well as taking down many limbs of nearby trees.

We’ve been cleaning that up and doing the repairs ever since we’ve been home. All the limbs are now either firewood for next winter, or have been burned as brush. New saplings have been cut as uprights and the two men have restrung the chick wire.

The roof is essential because most of my birds can fly right over the fence and take up garden seeds as fast as we put them in without it. Only a small amount of work is left to complete it. Sean has plans on finishing it this week.

He’ll then start putting in his “first” garden. I had planned on getting it all planted, but life happens, so he’s decided to do it since he was “downsized” three weeks ago out of a job. He’s hoping to be employed again quickly. However, in the meantime he’s going to intensely plant the garden. The seeds are all sorted and ready. I have told him the choice of what and where is his. I’ll be curious as to what he does plant.

The fish we placed in the rain water harvesting pool (yet another post I need to write) have over doubled in size in the last two weeks. We actually thought the ducks had eaten them all. So imagine Sean’s excitement when he realized he was looking at a four inch long goldfish late last night and three three and half inch long ones today. More on this version of aquaponics another time.

Right now I’m just enjoying the bright greens of spring and the warm day.

Jan who is thankful winter is finally over in OK


  1. Hello,
    I'm sorry I only read English, and a very small amount of Spanish. Thank you for reading my blog.

  2. Nice to meet you too. I finally figured out that if I went to your blog I might find a translator. Sure enough! Interesting thing I notice you have the name Charlotte on your blog. My first name is pronounced the same but spelled Charolett,

    Jan who is sitting in McDonald's using their free wi-fi tonight in OK