Tuesday, November 12, 2013


As most of you know my husband is a Vietnam vet and I am very proud of that.  He enlisted, he was not drafted, nor did he run off to Canada.  Instead he chose to go into the army and fight for our freedom and the freedom of others when it was not a popular thing to do.

I didn’t meet him until he’d been home from Nam for almost a year, for that I am thankful too.  I don’t know that I could have bore the stress so many of our nation’s families bear now when their military spouses are in war zones.

I met my husband 41 years ago this month and we wed the following spring.  He seldom speaks of Nam and when he does it’s just briefly.  I’m still learning after all these years what he did there and how it shaped the man I know and love today.

For years he didn’t stand up when different organizations saluted the vets, because he came home during the “baby killer” era.  He was told to NOT wear his uniform on leave to avoid trouble and that stuck with him for years. Things changed a few years ago and now he proudly wears clothing designating him as a vet and stands up when saluted for his service.

Until this year we have never taken advantage of the free meals for vets offered by so many restaurants.  Oh occasionally we’ve picked up a fast food sandwich offered for free to a vet, through the drive-thru, but we’ve never gone into a restaurant for the free meal.

This year I convinced him to take advantage of the meal offered at Golden Corral.  I am glad I did, because it affected both of us greatly.  I want to thank Golden Corral, the Disabled Veterans of America and Gary Sinise for making the opportunity possible.
I know that sounds strange that a free meal can impact your life and make you think hard about what it represents, but it did.

We almost didn’t go because we knew it would be crowded and neither of us is big on crowds, but we did go.

When we were got there the double line reached out both doors and we almost left as the wind had started to turn chilly and neither of us had a jacket on.  But then a man came up to us and asked if Gary was a vet, as another offered us our choice of cookies from a platter.  

My husband nodded quietly, and the man placed a sticker on his chest and said “thank you for your service, enjoy your meal, you earned it and much more.”

The sticker read simply “I served” That said a lot in those two words.  As we stood in line we looked around to see men and women of all ages and all conditions of health.  Some were minus limbs, others in leg braces, a few on ECV’s and some just had a totally lost look on their faces.

Once we got into the atrium of the restaurant I could hear the background music playing on the P.A. system and soon realized it was a combination of military salute music and music from each era of the various veterans that were there.  I smiled when “White Rabbit” played.  

A quiet announcement told us that all the servers were NOT being paid for waiting on our tables today that they had all volunteered their service in an effort to say thank you to those that helped them maintain their freedom.  There was no asking for a donation or tip for the servers, but I noticed that every vet, including us, left a tip for the servers as we left.

When one vet walked by with a service dog no one objected to the dog being there and a small child in front of me said “puppy Daddy” as it went by.  His young veteran father replied—“son that dog is a soldier, helping another soldier.”

Something about that words, and looking around at all the brave men and women from wars from WWII forward made tears well in my eyes. 

These were the people who had fought in one way or another to give us as a nation the right to have all we have and to strive for more if that is what we want.

When we reached the register my husband was again thanked for his service and a greeter took us to a seat among other Vietnam vets.

As we went through the buffet line I realized that my husband’s age and that our era, the Baby Boomers, were the largest represented and while we were almost entirely surrounded by those that proudly wore hats, pins, leather motorcycle vests stating they served in Viet Nam the older and younger vets were sprinkled in, but far fewer in number.

Was it because only our generation was ready to be saluted in such a manner?  Or has our patriotism taken a hit?  I pray it’s the former and not the latter.  I hold out hope for our younger generation, after all like the young man said “ a soldier, helping another soldier.”

During the meal my husband grew quiet as he watched groups of vets that knew each other meet up and hug each other.  He later told me it made him, like it made me, realize how many of our friends didn’t come home, or who have since died from wounds and Agent Orange from the war.  It was a bittersweet moment, knowing that these fine men and women had served and survived to inspire future generations, like the young soldier holding his toddler son and telling him the dog was a soldier, helping another soldier.
Veterans Day is over for this year, but many soldiers still need our support and gratitude every day of the year.  Let’s not forget how important their service is to all of us as a nation.

Jan who is VERY proud to be the wife of a Vietnam vet in OK

Monday, November 4, 2013


One of the many things I remember from my childhood is every spring my parents would load up in the car and spend a day driving around certain parts of Oklahoma doing the Dogwood Tour”.  I don’t remember where they actually went but I remember it was south and in the hillier regions of Oklahoma.  I need to check into that.  I just remember they looked forward to the beauty of the trees in bloom.

Then again in the fall they’d head back to those same regions for a fall foliage tour. I hadn’t really thought of that until a month or so ago we received our copy of the October 2013 issue of Life’s Vintage Newsmagazine.  A free publication we receive from Life Senior Services.  

There were two good articles in the newsmagazine that talked about “Leaf Peeping and Fall Travel”. One was called Fall’s Fiery Colors in which Oxley Nature Center’s Eddie Reese explains why the various colors and has suggestions for the peak viewing times. 
While I knew the basics of how the change in chlorophyll works I found two things in the article very helpful.  One was a list of the common deciduous trees and what color they would be in the fall.  

Quoting from the article which gives its sources as Better Homes and Gardens and the OSU extension center.
AMUR MAPLE: bright red
BALD CYPRESS: reddish –brown
BURNING BUSH: red and pink
Chinese Pistache: orange-red
Common Hackberry: occasional yellow fall color
Dogwood: purple-red
Ginko: golden yellow
Golden Raintree: occasional yellow color
Japanese Maple: red, yellow and orange
Lacebark Elm: yellow with red fruit
Redbud: occasional yellow color
River Birch: yellow
Possumhaw: red fruit
Serviceberry: orange and red
Shumard Oak: reddish yellow
Smokebush: orange and pink
Stewartia: red, yellow and orange
Sugar Maple: red, yellow and orange
Sumac: bright red
Sweet Birch: golden Yellow
Sweetgum: yellow, orange, red and purple
Viburnum: red
Witch Hazel: golden yellow.

The other was tips on photography of fall colors. 
After I finished reading that article I went on to read suggested routes to see the best foliage in OK this time of year.

Since our part of OK had a fairly wet summer my husband and I planned a fall foliage tour of our own.  We took it this last Saturday.  While we didn’t get to spend near the time we wanted to travel a complete route suggested in the article we did drive down to Gore first going down I-40 and then getting off at Checotah, home of Carrie Underwood, to get on the back roads to drive toward goal.

I’ll admit the first part of our trip we thought we had decided to make the trip maybe a week too early.  Many of the trees were just starting to turn, but many things would keep us from going a week later. 

Before we hit I-40 we decided to make it a true vacation day.  Usually when doing such trips we will pack a picnic lunch so as to not spend extra on food, but we were both feeling fairly mellow and decided we would eat out all day.

Therefore, our first stop was at Massey‘s BBQ in Okmulgee, OK.  This is one of our favorite places to eat.  We’ve been Massey’s customers since he had the small trailer that he served lunch out of just certain days of the week on the corner of where his restaurant now stands.  
Located right on highway 75 as you enter Okmulgee from the north on the west side of the highway you can’t miss the red and white building.  He opens at 11:00 am Monday through Saturday, but is “closed on Sundays to observe the Lord’s day” to quote the owner.  

The prices are reasonable for bbq and the food is divine.  We both had the Big D special ground pork sandwiches a small for me and a large for my husband.   The special includes one side and a soft drink.  I went for the deep fried corn nuggets which were sweet perfectly fried and delicious.  My husband chose the baked beans and we shared with each other.  The meal that ran roughly $14 for the two of us filled us both beyond full. 

Once we had filled us up, we fueled up the truck and headed toward Gore, via Checotah as I have already said.  

As we left Checotah and wound our way around the two lane back roads more and more color slowly appeared and often we found ourselves driving through colorful tree tunnels.  
We became so relaxed as we drove and chatted we neglected to ever take out even one of the two cameras we had brought with us.  The photo on this blog is one taken here on our place many years ago, but it is a prime example of the type of foliage we saw as we drove.
As we drove through the small towns and wound our way around LakeTenkiller we took notice of various things, like Gore being the Trout Fishing Capitol of Oklahoma, the old cemeteries, the large farm equipment harvesting the last of crops, or in some cases already preparing the land for the cover crops of winter.  
As we came into Tahlequah, OK we were surprised by the sight of the Greenleaf Nursery.  This vast expansion of plastic hoophouses  spreading for a great distance would make any avid gardener envious.  
At Tahlequah we stopped for a $1 hot fudge sundae at McDonald’s and decided that instead of winding further away from home we’d loop around the other side of Tenkiller Lake and head on toward home because it was already after 3:00 pm.  
Glimpses of the lake framed by a quilt of brilliant leaves of every color were awe inspiring.  We were so busy watching the colorful trees roll by that we were both first startled and then wished we had stopped to take a picture of a beaver standing upright beside the road waving at us as we went by, or maybe he was trying to hitch a ride, I’m not certain which.  He was certainly a cute fellow.
He was not the only wildlife we saw on our drive.  The buzzards were everywhere, swooping on the wind currents, as were the large hawks of winter and the “smoke clouds” of small birds that fly so close together they look like waves of smoke as the swirl through the sky. 
We caught sight of a couple of deer as well as deer hunters donning their brilliant colored vests just before twilight.  
We had originally thought to visit the Cherokee Village in Tahlequah and some other sites, but as we drove we had time to catch up with each other, relax, talk, and plan.  There was no need for any other entertainment. We were in fact a little reluctant to go home.  
But hunger was starting to set in by the time we reached our farm to pick up my son and head for Chili’s for dinner.  It was after all a vacation day.  
After lingering a long time over dinner discussing all we had seen with our son we headed for home pleasantly tired and very relaxed. We felt that the less than $100 we had spent on fuel and food for the day was well worth it. Who said you need to have a rush around entertainment filled day to have a vacation.
We both now understood my parents love for the fall foliage tours and are now considering that a Dogwood Tour may be in our future this next spring.
Jan who says take a day to get reacquainted with your spouse and take a drive in the country in OK.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


June 22, 2013

Technically our next staycation date wasn’t scheduled to be for another week, and the budget wasn’t looking good for that.  Nor had I done any real research on where we might go and what we could do when we got there.  The prospects were looking pretty glum. 

I had reconciled myself to saying our visit to Claremore last weekend to Dave’s RV for their annual open house would have to be the staycation for this month.  We’d had a good time, played some games, won some prizes, consumed free refreshments, brought home two free t-shirts for our usual souvenirs and counted our blessings for the fifth wheel we already had after we toured several.  It had been a relaxing day for us that had only cost the fuel money to get there and back and we’d actually done errands in that round trip, so zero extra dollars had been spent.

Just as I was going to bed last night I decided to check my daily calendar on my computer.  Generally I check it first thing in the morning, but the day had got away from me and I hadn’t done that yet.

The first thing that popped up was the Muscogee Creek Nation Festival at Okmulgee, OK was going on this weekend.  I made a mental note of it and decided to check it out more in the morning.

When I mentioned it to Gary this morning he mentioned that nearly the same distance the other direction from our home Glenpool was having their Black Gold Days.  Both events were more or less free.  Hmmmm, what could there be at these events we would be interested enough in to endure the heat?

After morning chores I pulled up the websites for both events.  Both had artisans displaying their wares, both had a carnival going on(with of course a fee for the rides), both were having races and tournaments of various sorts and both were having concerts FOR FREE.

Okie Dokie, that is my type of price, free is always good. Since neither of us is big into carnival rides that wasn't an expense we needed to consider. We only had chores/repairs scheduled for today, so maybe we could change the schedule and do a staycation day instead.  

I made the suggestion to Gary and he liked it.  Especially when he saw that the performers for Okmulgee tonight were Smokey Robinson and Natalie Cole!  Our type of music. 

The only conflicts we had was the Glenpool Black Gold Days was also having a concert of country western music, including a fellow that had been on American Idol for awhile, Josh Woods. We love Country/Western music too.  Then there was the fact back at the Okmulgee Creek Nation Festival there was a rodeo, which dh and I both enjoy.  Decisions, decisions.

So then we told Sean what we were thinking about doing the rest of the day and he told us he would like a day alone to do things by himself.  Okay, if we went to one or the other for the rest of the day it would give him his time alone, just as it does when we travel without him for regular vacations and us a day away, but which event.

Looking over the entire calendar of events for both, which were amazingly enough quite similar even down to the time each event was we finally decided on going to the Creek Nation Festival, it was about 6 miles closer and had some mid afternoon events we were interested in that Glenpool Black Gold Days didn’t have.

We quickly changed from chore clothes to “vacation” clothes, packed an ice chest full of food, filled our Brita water bottles with cold water and headed to the event that was just 10 miles away.

A word about the Brita water bottles here.  No I am not a representative for them or do I get any kick back from them.  I am, however, a big fan of them when traveling/vacationing. 

We were first introduced to them by themouseforless@yahoogroups.com  . As much as I love Walt Disney World I absolutely hate the taste of their water.  I cannot gag it down at all straight from a water fountain or faucet and I drink a lot of water every day, especially when traveling.  So when it was suggested by the great folks on the mouse list I immediately purchased one for each of us, I later purchased a back-up for each of us so we had two bottles each.  They have well proven their value to our family. These handy little bottles are a sports bottle that has a replacable water filter built into it.  Because I am sensitive to certain “ingredients” in some waters being able to filter the water before I drink it is a great thing for me.

While Okmulgee is only about 10 miles from my home it is on an entirely different water district.  Using the Brita water bottle with water from home and then refilling it as I need to is far cheaper than purchasing pre-bottled waters.  In fact many of those pre-bottled waters have minerals in them I do not care for the taste of.  Like I said I love the Brita water bottles.

Now end of the Brita commercial and back to our staycation day.

Our first stop was at the “Mound” as we call it in this household. It's actual the Creek Nation Superior Court building, but that's a mouthful, so we call it the Mound due to it's shape.  They were having a traditional archery cornstalk competition. We wanted to watch it for a while.  I’m not certain what I expected, but I was soon very bored, as in watching drying paint is more exciting bored.  Dh referred to it as watching a golf game of sorts.

We are both certain that had we known some of the competitors it would have been far more interesting.  I had packed our camera along hoping for some good photos. 

Because we did historical re-enactments for so many years we both expected the competitors to at least be dressed in traditional clothing since this was billed as a traditional competition.  Not unless the Creek Indians of old wore t-shirts and shorts.

Next stop was the Creek Nation Superior court building there on the same grounds.  We’d never been in it, despite living so close so we thought we would sneak a peek.  It was a typical government building, with a nice diorama in the front lobby.  It took us all of 5 minutes to study that and decide to leave there to go to the original Creek Council House Museum that is on 6th street in Okmulgee.

We have visited this museum on various occasions so our disappointment that they had already closed it up for the day was minor.  If you have never been to the museum I recommend it.  There is no fee for the museum and it has many Native American items worth looking at. 

There were suppose to be several Native American artisans with booths of items for sale there until after 4:00pm.  We arrived at the museum at about 2:30pm and nearly all the artisans had either already packed their wares and left or were in the process of doing so.  There were only four booths still open, but they had nice items, mainly Native American pottery and art work when we arrived.  We took our time to look at each of the four booths and then went in search of the music we could hear playing.

There is a small park just down from the courthouse and there was a free concert going on there.  We listened from our truck for a few minutes and then remembered there was suppose to be a gospel sing going on back by the Mound so we headed back that way.  We had no luck in finding it and decided that must have broken up early as well. 

In all fairness to everyone it was in the mid 90’s and the events were scattered out all over Okmulgee, which cut down the flow of visitors easily from one place to another.  I also understand that different venues require different locations.

Besides the events we were trying to attend there was a horseshoe tournament, a basketball competition, a mid-day segment of the rodeo, which we didn’t know about when were driving around mid day.  There were a lot of different venues, plus the carnival that was going on all day as well.

Well more than all day, this is actually a four day event and next year we will be trying to hit more of the events now that what we know what to expect.

Because we had not studied the calendar of events well before leaving home, and we were unable to get a proper smart phone signal to check the schedule we found ourselves sitting in the truck trying to figure out what to do around 3:30 pm. 

We were parked some distance from the Omniplex and had no idea what was scheduled to go on in that area at that time.  Despite the decent breeze that was blowing neither of us relished walking in the 93 degree temperatures through the large crowd at the carnival rides to see what MIGHT be going on.  Then to walk back to the truck, have dinner from our ice chest and then walk over to the rodeo that was scheduled to start at 6 pm.

I suggested we eat an early dinner to avoid the walk back to just eat.  Gary said he was definitely hungry so we ate our sandwiches and set in the air conditioned comfort of the truck for awhile.

I then mentioned that Burger King was running ice cream cones for $.50 each and that we were less than ¼ mile from a Burger King.  You guessed it we got ice cream, and took advantage of their facilities while we were there.

Maybe we just weren’t observant enough, but in the entire time we were at the festival we can remember only a handful of available port-a-johns scattered about all the different locations.  While we are not above using “hooters” as they are called at Rendezvous we were not anxious to use them with the long lines that were at every single unit we saw.  So we were both most thankful for Burger King.

The B.K. is next to the rodeo arena so it was simply out of the B.K. parking lot and into the arena parking lot to get parked for the evening.  This put us a lot closer to all the events we knew we wanted to attend than we’d been previously parked.

Note to self:  Next year take our stadium seats.  We entered the arena at about 5:30 pm and were there until about 8:30 pm.  The seating in the open air arena is metal bleachers with no back.  To say my fat back was tired by the time we left there is an understatement.  But it definitely was worth it.  The rodeo was a good one, not to mention it was FREE—there’s my favorite word again.

Even better, we got another free souvenir t-shirt.  They periodically threw t-shirts into the stands and dh caught one in my size for me.

We knew the rodeo was going to be a good one when it started out with a horse mounted drill squad riding to the song “Oklahoma Rising The sight of the four US flags later joined by the Oklahoma flag was a moving ceremony. 

The opening ceremony also included a version of “If Our FlagCould Talk spoken by the Master of Ceremony while “Golden Dreamplayed in the back ground  (the link is to a utube video of how I first became famiiar with this song at Walt Disneyworld in their World Showcase at te American Adventure The video is not mine, but it gives you a good sense of the theme of the entire show leading up to the song Golden Dream that is played at the end of the second video.  We are very proud of our country here in Oklahoma!
Despite the minor discomfort of no back support we truly enjoyed the rodeo.  The main rodeo clown was great entertainment.  Many of his jokes were old ones, or predictable, but still funny none the less.

Once the rodeo was over we hiked back to the truck to change out water bottles and put up the t-shirt.  We found our truck was totally surrounded by other vehicles, it was a good thing we hadn’t planned on leaving at that point. 
Instead we grabbed fresh water bottles and headed toward the open air stage we now realized was where the concerts were to be performed.  Since it was nearly 9:00 pm by this time we had missed the free concert by Natalie Cole, but we were told it had been very good. 

We noticed many people walking the same direction as us were carrying lawn chairs.  We soon realized why.  There was no stadium seating at this venue.  It was bring your own chair or blanket.  Neither of us thought to grab the throw out of the truck so we found ourselves standing for the entire Smokey Robinson concert. It was definitely worth it though. 

His voice is still clear and good, he told many funny stories and the songs brought back all sorts of memories from our teen years.  It was Motown at its finest.

We were told that these free concerts are part of this annual festival. Last year the two main headliners had been Gladys Knight and the Temptations. 

We are anxious to see who they book for next year.  We definitely plan on visiting all four days of the 40th annual festival next June.

By the time we left the concert we were tired, but quite pleased with our one day staycation that had cost us about 1 gallon of diesel and $1 for ice cream. 

Not a bad price for a full day worth of entertainment that included a good finals rodeo and live concerts. Not to mention another free t-shirt.
Jan who finised typing this up on Sunday and is still tired from ehr long day of walking around, but very glad she went to the Muscogee Creek Nation 39th Annual Festival in OK


Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Mrs. Frodo Goose, aka: Serenity set with her head drooping low against her chest.  She had been broody for over a month and no signs of a single gosling yet.  We the humans of the ranch had been impatient as well.  We dearly love the fuzzy little goslings and delight in their antics.

More importantly we were worried about Serenity.  It normally takes 28-35 days to incubate goose eggs but she had been broody for over 45 days.  A bird can brood itself to death and we really didn’t want to lose her.  She is Pigwidgeon’s daughter and we had just lost Piggy so we definitely didn’t want to lose her too.

We already had the small pen and coop designated for her and goslings, but now 10 days past due there was no sign of young life and Serenity hadn’t left the nest at all for over a week, nor had she shown any interest in the food and water we had put under the front porch with her trying to encourage her to at least eat and drink. 

We had given up hope and had been trying to tempt her off the nest with every treat we could think of.  We knew that a snake had been in the nest one night three weeks earlier and despite our re-homing him we had no idea if he had damaged the eggs beyond salvation or not.  She wasn’t about to give up, but we had.

Roaming the yard was Casino Muscovy, a handsome drake who no longer had other ducks of any sort to share his life with.  The geese treated him as an outsider and the guineas were far too silly to acknowledge him.  Only Piper Peacock occasionally chatted with him.  He often spent his days in such a glum funk we threatened to change his name to Eeyore.

Because we live in the woods pests of all sorts are a constant problem that must be dealt with.  We prefer natural pest control over all else.  Muscovies are tremendous at pest control.  Snakes, rodents of all types, scorpions, biting flies, wasps, mosquitoes the list that ‘Scovies like to eat is quite long.  But here we were down to one lone ‘Scovy.

After much family discussion we decided on a temporary lift on our agreed upon ban of no new animals for Mr. Casino’s benefit (and ours).  We talked it over with Cas and he told us in no uncertain terms he was lonely and needed a female or two in his life.

He dictated to me the following email which I posted on a local homesteading list on his behalf:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the list,

I am a lonely Muscovy Drake.  All my hens and male companions have gone to the big pond in the sky.  There are far more rodents, snakes, gohphers and biting flies here on the Rock ‘n Tree ranch than I a single male duck can handle.  Therefore, I have consulted with my human charges and convinced them it is time a few hens need to share this natural feeding bounty with me.  If you should know of some HEN (I want no competition thank you very much) Muscovies that would care to share their life with me please contact my female human, Jan at …

Thank you for time,

Casino Muscovy, Esquire

Within 30 minutes I had a response for not the two hens we had agreed upon but four at a reasonable cost. 

Two days later, on Friday afternoon, we went to pick up the lovely ladies you see at the right.  Ms. Cocoa is of course the chocolate colored one.  Henny Penny is the solid white lady.  Both these two already had names. 

We watched the mannerisms of the two pied ones for a bit and decided that the larger one was Faith (after all we all need more faith) and Hope is therefore the smaller one.

As soon as the girls were in the garden trailer and being driven around to the small coop the very despondent Mr. Casino sprang to life!  He was wiggling with delight all over.  His crown went up and he immediately waddled to where they waited to enter their new home. 

When the tail gate on the trailer was opened he leaped into the trailer to be near them.  Inside the cage they were in the girls were saying “A MAAAAAAN!”  There had been no drakes at their previous home.

Despite whispering sweet nothings in their ears Casino refused to join them in the coop.  Holding out for when he could be in a secure run with them. 

The secure run would be, hopefully, prepared the next day.  Because Muscovy hens can fly (our drakes are always too fat) we needed to roof the small section of the pen they would be kept in for 2-3 weeks before being allowed to free range with Casino.  We also needed to put an escape proof gate on that section and it was already nearly dark.

That’s when we heard it.  Anyone who has had a flock of geese where the hens hatch out naturally the cry that goes up from the rest of the flock when they see the first gosling for the first time.  “Congratulations” they scream to the wearied mother. 

“Nooo, it couldn’t be it’s been 45 days since she went broody” ds said as we rushed around to peak and see.  Before we ever got there we heard the high pitched voice of a newly hatched gosling.  Sweet, high and clear. 

Looking under the front door we watched as the little yellow and gray ball of fluff crawled out from under Serenity as she patiently turned her three  remaining eggs.

She gave me such a look, because I had been telling her for days I didn’t think her eggs were fertile and that she should come out and eat before she died.  She had stubbornly refused.

The look told me “I told you so!” as she neatly tucked the chirping gosling under downy chest.

“Houston we have a problem” I said.  We had just put four strange adult birds, that we had no idea of their temperament in the pen that had previously been dedicated for goslings.  “Now what are we going to do?”

Since it was almost dark and Serenity still had eggs to hatch we knew she wouldn’t leave the nest until at least morning.  So we had until the next day to come up with a secure pen for her and her offspring. There are far too many hawks, possums, raccoons, crows and other predators that would delight in nabbing such a tender morsel as a baby goose.

The problem was the little jabber jaws wouldn’t shut up.  It was broadcasting loud and clear “Here I am world!” As if it was talking directly to Mr. O. Possum and his predatory friends. 

We admonished Serenity to shut it up and she quickly tucked the gosling back under her. 

Next Jolie, the ever vigilant bird protector settled herself in for the night on the front porch, with Georgia in the bushes nearby.  We were pretty certain that between the Mama Goose and the two protective dogs the gosling would definitely make it through the night.  I am happy to say we were right.

Saturday we got up early and mulled over the problem of too little space for too many birds.  I proposed one solution, but Sean came up with a better one that Gary modified even further.

Sean headed out to feed and release the penned geese and nearly stepped on a six foot long rat snake headed toward Serenity and the gosling.  Serenity was hissing loudly as he beat back the snake with a stick and used his other hand to call his dad for help. 

They tried to catch the snake to re-home it several miles away, but the snake had other ideas that involved a small yellow and grey gosling.  An idea that did not sit well with the Serenity or the two men.  The snake ended up re-homed to heaven.

As soon as the blast happened Serenity quit hissing, she’d seen this maneuver before, then calmly rolled her three eggs over and tucked the endangered gosling securely under her wing.

During the day Saturday we removed the shanty from the end of the small run.  It was in such bad shape from having a tree dropped on it in an ice and wind storm we spent a lot of time picking up pieces, hoeing and raking to make certain that there were no bits of wire or nails that might hurt the birds.

We have decided to not go back into the bird business for certain so instead of purchasing new fencing to patch the fence where the shanty had stood Gary tore down ten foot of the fencing on what was previously our big pen and moved it to the small run. 

Ideally we would have loved to simply used the big run, but the same wind and ice storm that had destroyed the shanty had torn up the roofing and fencing on the big run horribly.  We had also had some large predator get in that pen with the flock one night and do grievous damage.  The birds refused to ever go in that pen now. So the little pen was our only option, unless I wanted to give up the garden I had already started planting.  That would be a no.

While the two men were doing the heavy lifting and chores that are difficult for me to do I was the “Go-fer” I was sent running anytime a tool was needed we didn’t already have on the work site.

Thirsty?  Lemonade was made and delivered frosty cold along with some salty snacks.  Starting to sweat?  I ran for the dew rags.  Need a different pair of work gloves, hearing protectors, any item they needed I went to gather.  I clocked many a mile all day Saturday. 

As we labored Casino sat in the shade chatting with the girls through the open coop window getting to know them the best he could from so far away.  Yet he refused to enter the coop when given the opportunity.  The drake enjoys his freedom for certain.

So by the end of the day the shanty was torn down and ready to be recycled or burned where applicable.  The fencing was up and we had recycled part of the barn tin from the shanty into a sliding gate of sorts for the newly created gosling day care center in the end of the pen.

Unfortunately we still didn’t have the roof, gates , sun shade or gosling “play pen” fencing up. 

An explanation about the gosling play pen for those who haven’t read my post Lessons Learned post.  Small birds are extremely adept at getting out of what seems to the human eye a secure pen.  Once they get out they are extremely fast and adept of out running adult humans. They will seek shelter under any feathered backside they see and most of the birds that those backsides belong to will fight you to protect those escapees.  I’m too old and fat for such antics any more. If you want to keep them where they belong you add an extra of fencing over the main fencing.  This second layer needs to be either small poultry netting or hardware cloth.  Even with that some baby birds will show you they can climb that stuff and still get out.  So you do your best and create their play pen area with keeping them as secure as possible while leaving them with their Mom.

Luckily goslings two through four had not hatched yet so Jolie and Georgia once again took up their post.

Sunday there was rain in the forecast but it never showed.  We worked hard at trying to complete the areas where goslings needed to be housed and Muscovy hens  needed to be able to get some fresh air.

Not to mention Mr. Casino was getting pretty put out about being able to see the girls through the coop windows, but not being able to really get to know them.  Bless his heart all the time we were working he would set outside the coop at an angle where he could view the lovelies on the roost in the coop and speak softly to them.  What good are other ‘Scovies if a fellow can’t really be near them?

Once again the dogs took their designated posts and the mama goose patiently set on her eggs, we were now headed for day 52.

Sunday morning started out with the aroma of a broken rotted egg coming from under the front porch.  Serenity quickly disposed of the egg, then turned her attention back to the gosling and the two remaining eggs.

We turned our attention to the chores at hand.  While the men put the sunshade over the playpen I started the laundry and baking for the day.  Once the sunshade was up I started adding the layers of wire to keep the little darling(s) in the play pen. 

Saplings were cut for upright supports for the roof for the Muscovy end and the work of putting the roof and predator proofing on began.  Sunday ended with the dogs once again on patrol and the Bird Pen A La Scrounge taking shape nicely.

Yep A La Scrounge.  Because we stay on a strict budget it was determined that this bird pen was to be created with what we had on hand.  We recycled fencing, cut saplings from the property, and the sunshade was an old tarp from another project a few years earlier.  The low gate on the play pen is recycled barn tin, and it is all being held together with, you guessed it baling wire.  Yep we live on a farm. We always have baling wire.

After dinner on Monday the men went outside to finish roofing the duck end of the pen and temporarily put up a gate to keep them secure.  The gate will be permanently hung on Tuesday evening. 

Finally the duck hens were released into the small run.  Casino was absolutely beside himself, not sure which girl to flirt with first.  He is one happy muscovy today.

Under the front porch the little squirt sits in the middle of its mother's back still waiting for those slow poke siblings. Surely they'll hatch soon,

Jan who loves her birds but sometimes thinks they are a lot of work in OK