Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dog Days!

Since the dog days of summer seem to be over, Neighbor Terri and I have started walking two miles every morning after I get the guys off to school. Our old dogs come along, too. One morning last week, Riley Dog refused to go. Usually one to start jumping up and down and running in circles, he wouldn't even come out of the garage! He had walked three days in a row and must have been feeling it.

I'm not leaving this garage today!

Yesterday, he agreed to go. He really wasn't that into it. I knew he was tired when he hiked his leg and started to pee. Mid-stream, he had to adjust his tripod. He dropped his right leg and raised his left. As far as I could tell, he didn't dribble on either leg!

She did NOT just take a picture of me peeing!

The best walks are when our buddies come along, too. If you get tired, just walk in the middle and the others hold you up. Isn't that what friends are for?

Bear, Zoe and Riley...friends forever!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Marching Band Heaven!

I'm soaking wet! My throat hurts from screaming! We spent 45 minutes looking for a school that our GPS couldn't find. Thank God we didn't give up and go home!

Will (my oldest) plays the trombone in his High School's marching band. They have been practicing their performance of The Manuscript since July. It has rained over half of the practice days causing them to be behind in learning all of the moves.

Last night, the rain kept them from one last practice performance at the Friday night football game. Today, I kept waiting for the phone call to go to the school to pick Will up. It has been raining a good chunk of the day. Fortunately, nobody pulled the cancellation trigger. On Thursday, the drum major came down with mono. She tried to pull her weight in practice this morning, but was too dizzy to stand on the scaffolding to direct. Devante stepped in and did a wonderful job leading the band.

After making several phone calls to friends for on-line directions and a tiff over asking for directions, we pulled into the fire department to find out where the heck Panther Creek High School is. (I refuse to go to the town of Cary for anything other than marching band!)

We only got to see a few of the performances, but Wakefield pulled it off beautifully! The Guard Girls were wonderful, graceful and so pretty. The music sounded great. My Will looked like he knew what he was doing.

Will is 6th back on the left

The six sectional leaders and two guard girls went onto the field for the awards presentation while everyone else went back to the bus to change out of their uniforms (wet, sweaty uniforms will stink for the rest of the season! Febreeze can only do so much!), so the band didn't get to see how well they did. They won awards in every category and BEST OVERALL BAND PERFORMANCE! We were the only Wakefield fans left in the audience. The rain had run everyone else home, so we had to scream extra loud! My redneck whistle came in handy and got a good workout! I can't remember when I have been so excited!

Wakefield High School Marching Wolverines

I am just so damn impressed and proud!
PS Just before I hit the publish button at 11:55 pm, Will got home, went straight upstairs, dropped his backpack, kicked off his shoes and fell in the bed. He said he has never been this tired. Goodnight sweety. Sleep well. I promise I'll be quiet when I wake up in the morning! So much for celebrating with your Mama!

Yellow Bird, Yellow Bird

Look what was in the chicken house yesterday afternoon!

I have never seen a bird like this at any of my feeders or in the woods. I wonder what attracted him to the chicken house. It couldn't have been the lovely smell!

It looks like he is wearing a yellow Batman mask over a black cap. He was smaller than a goldfinch and larger than a hummingbird.

He wasn't very happy with me holding him. When he finally escaped from my grasp, he flew a lap around the garage (I'm sure he saw my baby quail in a cage and thought he had barely missed that fate!), found the door and was gone.

I have searched my bird books but have had no luck in identifying him. If you know what type of bird this guy is, please let me know. I want to add him to my "Look What I Saw" list!

Note: Even though it looks like I'm squishing him in the photos, I promise he was not injured!

Thanks to Katie, Terri, Sharon, and 437 for identifying this guy! He is a male hooded warbler. He was probably heading south for the winter when he slammed into the window in the chicken house and couldn't figure out how he got in there! Let me think of some other questions I want answers to and get them posted.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

White Trash Country

My favorite morning radio crew, Bob and the Showgram on G105, do a weekly show on their sister station, 106.1 Rooster Country. Bob wanted to combine his sense of humor and his love of old-school country music into a weekly show. It used to be called Bobby J's White Trash Country, but when they decided to pursue syndication, the higher ups thought the name might be offensive to other stations and/or their listeners. It is now known as Bobby J's Honky Tonk Country. His morning sidekick, Weird Creepy Jon, turns into Tater every Thursday night. Regardless of which show he is on, Jon is forced to do anything that will embarrass him and make him scream. Often, alcohol is involved.

During the morning show, they often have me laughing so hard that tears stream down my face. This week, they did The Wheel of Getting a Snake Massage. The two losers have to spin the wheel and do whatever punishment it lands on. The squeals from Mike, the 250 pound, hairy-everywhere-but-his-head-bleeper-of all-cuss-words guy, when they put a little corn snake on his back were so funny, I nearly slid down in the shower. Other Wheel Of's include getting shocked with a bug zapper, mooning your boss, eating lint, and snorting Kool Aid.

Tonight, I was listening to Bobby J while, once again, I was in the shower. They played a song called "Rebelicious". I don't know who sings it, but it's hilarious. Who needs Fergie? They followed it up with an old-school song from Loretta and Conway called "You're the Reason Our Kids are Ugly." If I keep listening to them, I'm going to have to put bumper pads in the shower.

I do believe my redneck roots are showing!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Okay, so one of the two remaining babies squeezed out of a hole in the cage
in the middle of the night.
Apparently, it caught Riley Dog's attention.
Since it was moving around HIS garage in the middle of the night
and probably making lots of squeaking noises,
he treated it as he would any other squeaky toy...he bit it.
RIP Barbara!

Mr. Innocent

With just one lonely quail left in the cage, I felt guilty. No friends to snuggle with. No friends to PEEP to. No friends to, well, you know... Too ashamed to call my brother and ask for more, I visited and found a lady in Zebulon who had some babies about the same age as Bob the Survivor. Off I go!

I purchased five and saw it as a rescue mission for them. There must have been over a thousand birds roaming the yard...chickens, doves, turkeys, ducks. Just too many to take in. The babies were kept in a small building with the heat on high. Not conducive to good smells! Forget about dodging poop piles!

From their humble beginnings, the babies seem to be doing fine. Bob accepted them into his humble abode. All snuggled and ate and drank and pooped. It should be a couple more weeks before they, well, you know!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meet My New Feathered Friends, Bob and Barbara

When I was little, I recall waking up to the sound of Bob White quail calling to each other throughout town. I haven't heard their call regularly since 1976. In case you've never heard their call, it sounds like the name "Bob" being dragged out and low, followed by "White" in a quick, high pitch tone.

My brother is raising several kinds of birds, mostly to release into hunting compounds. When I found out he was raising Bob Whites, I decided I wanted some. My plan: I want a pair of love birds who will hatch a brood a couple of times a year. I'll raise them until they are old enough to release, then I'll let them go into the woods behind our house. According to Brother Dave, once the birds start their "Boooooob White" calls, it will attract others in the neighborhood. We should be able to hear them every morning. I had to assure Tony these little fellows would not be louder than Skippy Rooster!

Last week, Mom came from Nashville to visit for a day. She brought along 4 little quail, about 4 weeks old. Unfortunately, two died before I could get them set up in a cage with a heat light on them. I should have been better prepared. Yes, I feel guilty! (I had to go to SuzAnna's Antiques to get a vintage bird cage on a stand!

But once that heat lamp was on the babies, they were very happy. If they could hear us nearby, they would sit quietly in the cage and watch us. If we got quiet, they took it upon themselves to fill the silence with increasingly loud PEEPS, no Booooob Whites yet. Will, my oldest boy who is a perpetual noise maker (whistling, humming, singing, talking in redneck, Scottish, British, Australian, etc. accents), so I was surprised when he complained that he couldn't sleep with these chatty birds carrying on.

Once again, poor Riley Dog got new roommates. Bob and Barbara White moved into their new cage in the garage. I can't wait until my woods are filled with their mournful calls. I think I was telling the truth when i said the quail wouldn't be as loud as Skippy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Here's Your Sign!

In the words of comedian Bill Engvall,
"Here's your sign!"
While shopping at SuzAnna's Antiques,
my favorite antique store,
(visit their blog at
with my mom and a friend from Nashville,
this sign was pointed out to me.
I do believe it was created just for me.
I even bought it for myself.

Good thing I'm not sensitive!

Monday, September 14, 2009


So, I got this rusty, ugly swing from an auction on Saturday because I was being a witchy woman. (See my previous post for the "before" photo. ) But, once I got it home and came up with a plan for the beast, I was very excited. After 5 cans of paint, a trip to Home Depot for more paint, an extracurricular trip to Goodberry's for ice cream and a couple of hours of drying time, I love my swing!

It now sits near my chicken house, the perfect spot to watch my feathered friends play and eat. I foresee spending lots of time there. Note to self: take a large bottle of OFF to the chicken house or I could be hauled away by the monster mosquitoes!

While I was having a swing this morning, Skippy came roaring out of the run with his hormones raging. Bless his heart, he is not a debonair fellow. He pinned down poor Ruby in the midst of all the other chickens and started having his way with her. Cora Bell was close by and offended by this public display of affection, so she pecked Skippy in the eye. The End! Yep, I'll be spending lots of time in my new, old swing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Witchy Woman

Last night, I went to my buddy's auction. Janet is a wonderful auctioneer. When she is in pursuit of a bid, she sings the numbers. She and her husband, Ronnie, take turns auctioning. Between items, they bicker and play which earned them the title of MY FAVORITE AUCTION. Last night was Janet's 49th birthday. Woohoo! Happy Birthday!

These auctions are always fun, but last night, the witch in me came out. From time to time, a woman, we'll call her Number Seven, shows up at Janet's Auctions and bids on nearly everything in the building. Number Seven must have unlimited funds because I have only managed to outbid her once...well twice, now.

Last night, I went to the auction because Janet had a beautiful pile of vintage pillowcases that I wanted to make into dresses for little girls. I planned to bid up to $22 for these. There were a couple of McCoy planters, a homemade ladder and a vanity that I wouldn't mind having either. A couple of the planters came up first. Ronnie was on his countdown and Number Seven was the only one bidding. I think she had a $2 bid for a beautiful pink McCoy planter. This just made me mad. I would pay up to $18 for that. My Number Forty went into the air and Number Seven wound up paying $19.

When my desired box of pillowcases came up for bid, I was ready. I started the bidding at $5. To my disgust, I saw Number Seven nod her head. I bid $7. She raised her hand. I bid $9. She raised her hand and held it there. This jumped all over me! My broom appeared out of no where and the witch was on a rampage! My $22 bid came and went. I just couldn't put my hand down. $30 came and went. At $35, I was ready to swat Number Seven with that broom I was flying around on. When the bidding reached $40, Tony's broom (from all the way back in Wake Forest) smacked me in the back of my head, and I reluctantly put my hand down.

I pouted and fumed. Before long, other bidders were commiserating with me. They had missed out on a bed or a table or a china cabinet or some glassware. We discussed syphoning the gas out of her car before the next auction or sending her a bogus flier with the wrong address or paying a guy to stand outside and tell her the house is already full and the Fire Marshall won't let anyone else in.

Since there was nothing else I could do, I set out to run Number Seven up on any item I even remotely liked (just in case she stopped bidding). This worked well until an old metal swing set came up. The bidding started at $25. Number Seven bid $30. Nobody else raised their hand. My Number Forty shot up. Number Seven sat still. What the heck? Come on! Somebody put your hand in the air! "Sold for $35 to Number Forty!" Well, shit! What am I going to do with that big-ass swing? And how in the heck am I going to get it home?

This swing and a box of wood shelves shaped like bows are the only two things I got. The box slipped right into the front seat. The swing was a different story. I backed my truck up to the loading dock and drug the swing set across the room to the big overhead door. Then, I stood there staring at the two trying to figure out how to introduce them. A man came over and asked if I needed help. Never one to turn down muscle, I said yes. I jumped in the back of my truck and he undid the swing from the bars and passed it to me. Next came the bars. Since they wouldn't lay down or come apart, all I could do was push one end up to the cab of the truck, grab a couple of ratchet straps and bungee cords and tie a bunch of huge knots.

I vowed not to take any turns too quick so it wouldn't tip out sideways and not to go over 60 miles per hour in case the knots came loose. If the swing set were to blow out, I would not stop to retrieve it! I said a prayer for any cars traveling behind me, called home to tell them I was on the way and hit the road. An hour later, I pulled into my driveway with all parts still attached to the truck. Tony and Rick came out to see my treasure. Both wanted to know what I planned to do with that ugly swing.

Well....Tune in tomorrow for the rest of the story!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What I Meant to Write About...Before the Firemen Came

While eating dinner the other night (before the fire alarm went off), Tony and I were watching the robins frolicking in the wet grass. Since robins don't tend to visit our bird feeders, we don't notice them much. But the rain brought them out in masses! They rolled around in the grass and fluttered their wings and chased each other around the yard. I think the robins were scoping out the berries on the holly trees for later in the fall. None there yet, but lots on the dogwoods.

September isn't just for sending our kids back to school. Soon, my favorite speed freaks will be heading south. At times, we have so many ruby throated hummingbirds buzzing overhead on the deck it sound like an invasion. As they bicker over whose turn it is at the feeder, we hear the more aggressive guys sword fighting with their beaks. These guys are usually gone by September 15th. I wish I had thought about how soon that day will be hear BEFORE I mixed up my last big batch of hummingbird food.

In the front yard, my gold finches are starting to look muddy. Their bright yellow feathers are beginning to fade. These spots of sunshine are another favorite during the summer. What's missing, though, is a bit of a mystery. We usually have 5 to 15 squirrels at the feeders in the front yard. For the last few weeks, we are lucky to have just one. I'm not sure if food in the woods is abundant. It doesn't seem like a good time to be having babies, but, I'm not a squirrel! I haven't noticed lots of furry, flat smudges in the middle of the road, so I'm not thinking suicide. Maybe they are heading south, too.

Since our summer was so mild this year, all of these changes seem to be coming so early. I'm not ready for long pants and sweaters yet. But, as these feathered and furry creatures make their adjustments, I guess I should get ready, too.

Note: Sorry, no pictures. Those dang hummers move too fast! The robins blended into the grass. And the squirrels were a no show!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not My Fault (This Time)

Tonight, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and ate dinner on our covered back porch. Rain fell softly. Riley Dog watched on hopefully. For once, both boys complemented me on a yummy dinner (chicken from Trader Joe's and fried okra from my garden...I did have to cook the chicken).

When the boys finished up, they went inside to their various obsessions. Tony and I sat on the porch enjoying the quiet. We heard beeping coming from inside, but couldn't figure out where it was coming from. When it didn't stop, we opened the door to discover the kitchen filled with smoke and the fire alarm blaring.

Quickly, I went through my electronic list...I cut off both eyes on the stove; I recall turning off the iron in my sewing room; Tony had called the electrician earlier today because the AC upstairs wasn't working; what else had been used? In a panic, I didn't notice the smoke coming from the toaster. Who put something in the toaster? I hit the release button on the toaster, and two bricks of charcoal popped up. There was so much smoke we could hardly see, but, THANK GOD, no flames!

The alarm continued to blare. It took a while for me to remember I could punch in the code to silence it. Since there was so much smoke, the alarm refused to be silent for long. It would hold it's breath for 60 seconds then scream again. The alarm system is connected to our phone, so I couldn't get a call to go through to 911 to cancel the fire trucks. I retrieved my cell phone from the car and finally made the call. They would try to intercept. Finally, the alarm company called. We assured them we were all fine and to cancel.

Windows and doors open, fans sucking out the smoke, children calming down, my heart still racing, we met on the front porch for some fresh air. Then, that unmistakable sound, a diesel engine coming up the road with red lights flashing. They didn't turn on the sirens this time! I guess they recognized the house number and knew we had cried wolf a few times before.

I met the guys at the end of the driveway and let them know we were okay. I asked if they had any ideas on getting the smoke out. Their faces lit up! Bring the truck on up the driveway. They pulled out a huge gas-powered fan, closed all of the windows and doors and got it running at the front door. Once the air pressure built up in the house, they opened the garage door and all of the smoke blew out of the house. No magic tricks for the smell, though. One of the guys suggested keeping a bottle of Fabreeze handy. My Mom called in the middle of all the action and insisted I call her back when things calmed down. I made sure she knew that I had nothing to do with this Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Department visit!

With all of the dramas calmed, one of the three firemen said he had been to the house before when I burned the steaks. (Riley Dog ate the steaks off of the table on the back porch while we were talking to the firemen!) Who was making toast? Tony! NOT ME! YEAH!

I called Mom back. She wanted to know if the fire department was like the courts. You know how the courts send an alcoholic to rehab...wonder if the fire department will send a chronic burner to cooking school? Bet you didn't know that being a smart-ass is hereditary!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Electric Magnetism

Whenever I go to the grocery store, it doesn't seem to matter which one, I receive regular zaps from my grocery cart. Usually, it is a very mild zing to the palm of my hand that requires me to let go of the handle and shake out my hands. Sometimes, it is full on blue arcs of electricity between me and the handle. Does this ever happen to anyone else?

The worst it ever happened was about a month ago. Will and I were perusing the shelves in WalMart. Everything I touched zapped me. Just joking, I pointed my finger at Will and slowly moved toward him. The blue shot from my fingertip and exploded into his arm. The rest of that shopping trip was spent seeing who could shock the other the most. Unfortunately, it worked in reverse as well, so he could point his finger at me and sparks would jump from me to his finger. We walked through WallyWorld giggle, zapping and hollering, "OUCH!"

Am I an anomaly or is it just my magnetic personality? Should I worry about synging the ends of my hair? Would real lightning bolts be attracted to me, too? Great! More stupid stuff to worry about!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I Know I Didn't Just See That!

On the way home from the library, I was be chauffeured by my 15 year old son. Now that I have gotten a little more used to his driving, I'm able to relax and look around (I still can't let go of the "OH SHIT" bar, but I'm making progress!) I see a couple on the sidewalk who are obviously taking their dog for a walk. The woman reaches in her pocket, removes a tissue and wipes the dog's hiney. Why? Did she put the tissue back in her pocket? Was the dog embarrassed? I was!

Riley Dog, I love you dearly. I'll remove ticks from your ears; I'll let you lick the dinner plates; I'll even bag your poops if it should fall in a neighbor's yard. But, Darling Dog, I vow never to wipe your ass!


You know the song, so be singing it in your head while you read...

I have been making pillowcase dresses from vintage pillowcases. Therefore, I can never pass a Goodwill without stopping to check for Grandma's castoffs. Today, I found a brightly colored case that would look adorable on a little girl (not that I have one!)

Off to the cashier I go only to find a Spanish speaking mother and child in an argument that does not require fluent Spanish-speaking to know it is over something the child wants to do but mom says NO. In an effort to make the mom give in, the boy behaves badly and loudly. Mom ignores. The cashier is trying to ring the duo up and get them out quickly. The boy wedges between the counter and mom. I think I hear a loud raspberry noise. No comment from Mom. No eyebrows raised from the cashier. I must be mistaken. The boy grabs a shopping basket and loudly bangs it into others.

When they are finally gone and it's my turn to check out, I looked at the cashier and asked, "Did that little boy back his butt up to his mother and..." The clerk finished my question, "Farted on her!" I became hysterical! How had she managed to ring them up without cracking a smile? She went on to tell me that this boy behaves badly every time he enters the store and mom does nothing.

I hope I'm there next time that BAD Boy is there! I will back my ass up to his head and let one rip! Then, I'm going to find his mother!