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, March 30, 2010

Easter Past

When I was little, we spent all holidays at Granny's big house in Scotland Neck, NC. My cousin, Trey, would always be there, too. Easter was one of the best!

Brother Dave, Trey, and me
On Easter morning, we would get up early and wake up all the grown-ups. They would torture us by moving slowly and making us stay upstairs until everybody was ready to run down the stairs to see what the Easter bunny had brought us.

No dead rabbits here!
The Saturday before Easter was spent at Sister's house with all of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cousins for an Easter Egg Hunt. When I was about 2, I didn't find a huge pile of eggs, but I did find a dead rabbit. I wigged out all the women when I drug the poor dead thing from the field.

My basket is looking awfully empty!

Somewhere, there is a video of Cousin Trey watching one of the grown-ups pointing out an egg to one of the little kids. She swooped in and snatched it out from under his slow-poking nose! When it came to egg hunts, we were ready to wrestle...especially if chocolate was involved!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody

I don't think I have ever made this confession on my blog. Here goes...

I'm a QUEEN junkie!

I was in high school when We Are the Champions and We Will Rock You was popular. All of the cheer leading squads had a dance routine to these songs. No, I wasn't a cheerleader, but I was in the stands contributing to the STOMP, STOMP, CLAP that the whole auditorium did along with the music.

Since Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant lead singer for the group, died in 1991 from AIDS, I figured I would never get to see my favorite songs performed live.

YAY! I was wrong!

Way back in September, I saw a Ticketmaster ad for "One Night with Queen." Knowing that my kids and husband were fans, too, I bought 4 tickets. Then, I promptly forgot about it!

Fortunately, another ad for the tickets showed up in my mailbox 6 months later reminding me that the date was three days away! If I hadn't gotten the e-mail, I would have missed one of the best concerts I've ever seen!

Now, here's the best part...


We had the best time!

Gary Mullen had Freddie Mercury's stretchy dance routine down perfect. He even sported the porn 'stache! He engaged the audience, suggested we start our boys young and buy them beer for the event. He sang all of my favorites! Every time I looked at one of my three boys, they were singing, smiling and clapping, too.

They even did a version of Jailhouse Rock. Tony and Rick got to sing "Dancing to the jailhouse rock" into the microphone for the whole audience to hear. If these Brits are headed anywhere near your hometown, I highly recommend you get tickets and go! You are guaranteed a good time...and, they don't care if you take photos!

You just need to have a faster trigger finger than I have! When he was standing right in front of us or holding the microphone in front of Tony and Rick, I stood there with a grin on my face and the camera hanging at my side!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Things We Do for Our Children

Will is in his high school's marching band. In order to pay for all of the trips they take during the season, it costs almost $800 per year. Since the recession has hit us so hard, I have been volunteering at one of the food booths at the RBC Center during Carolina Hurricane Hockey games. We earn anywhere between 30 and 60 dollars a night for our efforts. The money goes into Will's account. Hopefully, there will be enough money in his account by the time it is due that we won't have to write a check for any of it. (Keep your fingers crossed for us!)

Last night, we arrived at the booth an hour before the doors opened for $1 hot dog night. They are usually $3.50 each, so $1 is a big deal! Once all of our routine work was done, the volunteers helped the kitchen folks wrap hot dogs.

Usually, we have bursts of busy-ness between periods, but with Dollar Dog Night, we never got a break! Between orders for 5 to 10 hot dogs, we also passed out nachos and cheese, popcorn, M&M's and cotton candy. Of course, $8 cups of beer and $4 bottles of Pepsi get tossed into most orders, too.

After the third period started and our doors closed down, I looked at my co-worker/volunteers and saw the exhaustion and thrill in their eyes. We hadn't slowed down enough all night to look at each other. Instead, we bumped butts, yelled orders, and slung hot dogs throughout the night! We won't know how much we earned for another week or so, but it felt like a good night!

The only other fundraiser that earns money for Will's account is the selling of oranges in October and November. Come Fall, if you live nearby, be expecting a call from my boy! It's time for him to do a little huffing and puffing to earn himself some money! It's a good thing I love that boy!
Unfortunately, the Hurricanes didn't win! Looks like the play-offs are not in our future!

Friday, March 26, 2010

More White Stuff!

Thank heavens I'm not talking about snow!
Spring has busted out all over my yard. The white shows up so pretty.

With a faint touch of pink on the quince blooms, these are beautiful and sweet.

And these little teeny blooms will soon look like snow on the ground. I can never remember if this is spirea or bridal wreath.

Star magnolia looks like ribbons blowing in the breeze.

This is the first time in 11 years that these white camellias bloomed. They are such a pure white.
Next week, these buds will be opened and my front fence will be covered in a pale yellow Lady Banks rose.
However, this afternoon, we could watch the temperature fall on our digital thermometer. This morning, we were at a balmy 65. By 5:00, we were at 47 degrees.

I'm wondering which animal will hunker down in this knot hole for this cold spring evening.

Hopefully, all of these pretty blooms won't freeze tonight as the temperature continues to drop! My electric blanket is on high!

Happy weekend!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Forgot!

I forgot to add this to the last post!
What's the 10th photo on your camera disc? What's the story behind it?
Make sure you see my 10th...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

10th Photo

Okay, I'm a little slow lately!
It's been at least a week since my buddy, Randy at Chicken Boys, tagged me to find the 10th photograph on my camera. Since the disc was empty, I went to my chicken photo file and pulled the tenth one out of there.

There really isn't a big story behind this photo. These are two of my oldest hens and certainly my two favorites, snuggling in the hen house. Cora Bell has the bars and Shakira is black. Cora is a dingy girl. She is a loner these days. She comes to the garage to look for me because she knows I'll give her snacks. When I pick her up, she snuggles in and closes her eyes.
Shakira is much more reserved. She doesn't like to be held. She is beautiful and big. She reminds me of the dignified older ladies in church.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Country Roads

On a recent trip to Blounts Creek, North Carolina, I passed this unique mailbox.
I was so intrigued, I had to stop and take photographs!

I guess I'll have to start saving my extra large Ball jars.

We get so much junk mail, I would need a couple of gallon size jugs strapped to our post!

Don't you wonder what happened to their previous mailbox?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Trails!

Neighbor Mary left a message for me over the weekend. She had found a home for Hazel the Rooster! He has gone to live with 6 hens. I'm not sure what happened to the previous rooster, but the hens were in the market for a new dude and didn't care that he had a feminine name.

The driver who would be taking Hazel to his new harem had a photo of his predecessor on his cell phone. I would say this is a good sign for Hazel.

No longer do we need to worry that Hazel will cross the road!

Thanks a bunch Mary! Tony majorly appreciates the silence at 4:00 am!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Aw, Hell No!

My buddies at SuzAnna's Antiques needed some help today...Jenny, The Red Bulletin Board, was supposed to be off to spend time with her son but wound up in the bed with a bug and Susie is still recovering from back pain! So, I got to go in and spend the day with some of my favorite people! Susie sat and wrote tags for goodies she purchased first thing this morning. I was proud of her! She priced and pointed. The rest of us tagged and displayed. With her work done, she went home to rest.

A customer came in with a baby carrier and the cutest little girl napped while mom shopped. When she came into the office to check out, Pretty Sam looked at the baby and, I swear if it was possible, the man would have lactated! He said, "I want another one!" He swooned over the baby and made faces. I rang up charges and did nothing to prepare for his next comment...

"Anna, why don't you have one for me? I'll go buy a turkey baster."

Being pregnant at 44 1/2 would send me right over the edge! Job hunting and pregnant? I'd say they don't go hand in hand! I can just hear my explanation to a future employer...

No, it's okay. I'll just spit this baby out, hand him/her over to her two daddy's and I'll be back at work within 48 hours. If it's born on a weekend, you won't even miss me!

You never know what kind of proposal you'll get when you enter SuzAnna's Antiques!

Aw, hell no!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

GRRR! Bad Manners Suck!

I have spent much of the last two weeks cruising help wanted web-sites. I spruced up my resume, wrote a good cover letter (even if I do say so myself), and sent them to the e-mail address they listed.
Turn everything down, close your eyes, turn up your hearing aides and listen carefully, and you'll hear the responses I've gotten.
Did you hear it? Yep! NOTHING!
I don't like this age of technology! There is a quick fix to everything. Need to find a McDonald's? There's an APP for that. Want to ditch a girl? Just change your status on facebook. In church and can't answer your phone? Shoot out a quick text.
Come on potential employers! We're feeling a little desperate, unloved, inadequate. You just don't know how happy an e-mail saying, "Thanks for submitting your resume. We wanted you to know that we got it and will be in touch soon," would make me! I'm feeling invisible! Hello? Is anyone out there? Can you see me?
If I don't meet your needs or requirements, would it kill you to say, "Thanks but you're not what we're looking for."
Come on future employers! Throw a girl a bone!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Drawing Conclusions...

Today, I learned two things I didn't already know. I found them funny and a little disturbing!

The chickens were grazing in the backyard. Off in the distance, I could hear helicopters heading our way. The chickens froze. As the helicopters got closer, the chickens were doing the "oh shit! oh shit!" run for cover. By the time the whirlybirds were overhead, the chickens were safely tucked under some dense shrubs. The best I can figure...they thought those helicopters were gigantic hawks (maybe they were black hawks. I don't know my choppers) preparing to swoop in for the kill.

Conclusion...Chickens are scared of helicopters!

Later, just before dark, I heard sirens coming down our road. Upstairs, my smart-ass son hollered, "Are they coming here?" Knowing dinner had been cooked, eaten and cleaned up, I knew I hadn't overlooked anything flammable. I stepped outside to see where the firetruck was headed. To my horror, Neighbor Terri had come outside, too, and was looking over the fence to make sure flames weren't shooting from our roof. I assured her we were safe and walked to the end of the driveway to make sure I hadn't left the stove on at a neighbor's house!

Conclusion...I am responsible for all sirens that come through our neighborhood.

Go ahead! Laugh! I can take it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Fever, Literally!

You know you have a bad cold when you laugh, and instead of giggles, a bark erupts from your gut followed by spasms of wheezing and a shower of really gross stuff that sprays anyone in a three foot radius! Two pack a day smoker? Nope! Spring fever with a mix of viral infection! Saturday, I spent the entire afternoon and evening on the couch. I did get out Saturday morning long enough to see the Dr. and pick up prescriptions. I managed to get some things done today, but had to rest between chores!

Thanks for the photo Netflix!

Should this cold come knocking on your door, I suggest you don't watch The Big Lebowski. Even though it has gotten poor reviews, I watched it anyway because I could download and watch on my computer (thanks again Netflix!) This is how I found out how gross and painful laughing was. Jeff Bridges plays goofy, lovable, unemployed bowler named The Dude who gets tangled up in somebody else's drama. In an effort to keep the bad guys out of his house, he nails a two by four to the floor with about 50 nails (many of them bent from a crappy hammer job). He wedges a chair behind the two by four and under the door knob, only to have the bad guys open the door and have the chair fall out. Later, The Dude returns home to discover his house has been trashed. Of course, he trips over the two by four he nailed to the floor!

I laughed so hard, I thought I would cry (from the pain and the comedy!) I gave this movie four out of five stars! I wonder if I would have liked it if I saw it in a healthy state... Hmmmm. Have you seen it?


Did you know I have an obsession with yellow birds?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pecking Order

Okay, I need to have my camera surgically implanted. Last night, I headed out to see if the chickens were in the hen house. I was carrying Cora Bell because I found her sitting in the sink in the garage (the first thing I needed my camera for). As we rounded the side of the house, I saw Riley Dog doing the butt clenched, "oh shit! oh shit! oh shit!" run across the back yard. He had his head turned to the side in an effort to watch behind him and in front of him. Running a couple of paces behind Riley Dog was Skippy. He was on a mission to peck some Riley Dog ass! (For this, I needed the video feature on my camera!)
When I busted out laughing, both snapped out of it. Riley Dog hid behind me and returned to his cool, nonchalant self, and Skippy wandered back to the group of girls.
When I got closer to the hen house, I discovered what the chase was all about. Riley Dog had found an egg and chowed down. The shells were left, but he wasn't through licking. The chickens wanted to eat the shells (I don't know why, but they do this after an egg hatches or if one cracks.) Riley Dog thought about bullying his way back into the crowd of chickens for the egg shells, but Shakira popped him on the nose, grabbed the egg shells and ran into the woods. (Number three missed photo op!)
I just stood in the back yard and laughed while tears ran down my cheeks. I do love my feathered and furry friends!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Chicken Funnies

This morning, I went to the hen house to let Skippy and the girls out. Cora always holds back. I usually take her some special treats from the kitchen. This morning, it was stale Cherrio's...Honey Nut to be exact.

I grabbed a handfull from the bag and held it out to her. She immediately started gobbling them up. A few hit the ground in her haste to eat them all before the others realized she had treats. All of a sudden, she looked up at me with her eyes crossed! A Cherrio had gone over the top of her beak and stuck there...sort of like a ring on a finger. She couldn't swallow it and couldn't push it off. I should have run for my camera, but didn't have the heart to leave the poor girl crossed and confused. I plucked the Cherrio from her beak. To teach it a lesson it won't soon forget, she ate it!

I do love my Cora Bell!

FYI...No signs of Hazel, so far. We hear him calling, but he hasn't been enticed to cross the road!

When I Grow Up

Today, I'm working on my resume. Yes, my boys are old enough for me to go back to work and make a contribution to the family instead of being the plughole that sends our income spiraling out to various credit card companies every month! The theory is...if I am at work all day, how can I spend money. I'm sure I'll figure a way around this one! Even more important, with two kids headed to college in two and four years, we are going to need more income!

So here's my quandary. How do I make my life as a Mom sound like a real job? I know you other mother's out there know what I mean. My husband and I made the choice for me to stay home with our guys and I have loved almost every minute of it. But something tells me a future employer might not find my list of duties as applicable to their job...

* getting the kids to school on time, (time management)
* made sure they brushed their teeth and combed there hair every weekday (no guarantee on weekends),
(maintenance supervisor)
* fixed breakfast and dinner and sometimes lunch for the family,
(short order cook)
* tackled a mountain of laundry twice a week,
(laundromat operator)
* supervised room clean-up at least once a month,
(janitorial supervisor)
* walked the dog, (dog walker)
* fed the chickens, (avian specialist)
* paid the bills,
(finance agent)
* planted the garden,
(master gardener)
* regularly visited the pediatrician and dentist,
(taxi driver)
* volunteered in classrooms,
(teacher's aide)
* walked in the woods to collect sticks, leaves, feathers, dead stuff, etc.,
(nature observer)
* been the homework enforcer, (whip cracker)

So, keep your fingers crossed for me. Jobs are few and far between. Finding a job that pays more than minimum wage are almost non-existent. Let's not even think about all those cute, young college grads ready to snatch any professional job right out from under my old lady ass!

You see what I'm doing instead of working on my resume! But I like doing this. Okay, I'm off to get this done! Send good, creative, big-word karma in my direction! Lord knows I need it!

NOTE: No photos accompany this post because my resume exists only in my head!

As of 1:30 pm, I've been to Southern States, purchased plants for my garden, filled up bird feeders, organized some medical reports for a new insurance company, eaten lunch, sat in the sun, and played with the chickens. Resume still unwritten! Where is that whip-cracker when you need her?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Heavenly Sunday

Today was a sign that spring is coming! With the temperatures in the 60's today, I could not make myself come inside. We even ate a bowl of chili on the front porch.

I had piles of outdoor chores on my list of things to do and couldn't wait to start checking them off!

First job, prune all butterfly bushes to the height of my waist. They were about 10 feet tall before I started cutting.

Number 2...Remove all of the dead-heads from my snowball hydrangea bush.

Once I was done, there were loads of hydrangea flower tumble weeds blowing around the yard.

Number 3...Take this pile of dead leaves and slime and pull as much away as possible so next years blooms won't have to weave through this yucky pile.


Look at these green shoots ready to spring forth. This reminds me of Amaryllis with its large white blooms with 4 to 5 on each stem. The blooms smell like gardenias. They bloom all summer and multiply like crazy. Ten years ago, this was one bulb. There are probably 50 now!

Number 4...Liriope is supposed to be cut back in February. But since we had snow and rain nearly the entire month, this chore did not get done.


Riley Dog moved from his sunny spot. Will cranked the lawn mower and raised the blades as high as they would go, and I whacked the tops off of what felt like miles of liriope.


If you prune the tops off in February, the new growth isn't tall enough to get chopped off. And, the stuff you cut off would turn brown by the middle of summer if it wasn't removed.


Number 5...Last spring, I found these Lenten Roses on craigslist. They were teeny tiny. I left them under the sprinkler all summer and just let them grow. Today, they finally made it into the ground!


Now, if the chickens will just leave them alone and let them spread out their roots and bloom!

And finally, number 6...I started some seeds in peat pots.

I collected seeds from a red spiky flower that I love. (I don't remember the proper name.) Plopped about 5 into each little pot, watered it good, and put them under some glass for that greenhouse effect (and to keep the chickens out!)

Two windows hinged together works great!

And these fun glass globes are especially good chicken repellents? Do you know what they are?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chickens, Veggies and Messy Missy

Hazel, my hen that turned out to be a rooster, has been sleeping in a cat cage at the end of the garage for the last week. For months, he has been waking up at 4:00 am and, without stopping for a breath, cock-a-doodle-dooing for an hour or more. I can't hear him, but Tony can. It took me forever to figure out I could just relocate him somewhere further from our bedroom.

Today, Hazel the Rooster was adopted by my neighbor Mary. She lives across the street. He has a very distinct yodel to his noise, so we could hear him calling to the other roosters in the neighborhood. Tony and I have been trying to figure out if he is smart enough to come back home. It gives a new twist to "why did the chicken cross the road?" Will he be running to the familiar or from the unfamiliar? Will he cross the road at all? Stay tuned for updates on Hazel's travels!

A couple of months ago, my mom gave me a box with photos from my childhood. This one cracked me up. I can't remember if this was the fifth grade or the sixth. It would be around 1977. We were chosen to hold up traffic while the one or two kids from our streets crossed the road. LOADS of responsibility. I got to leave school five minutes before everybody else. And if I have to be honest, I usually went home instead of waiting for Randy, Rachel and Dave to help them cross the road! So when I saw this photo, I had to laugh, and not just because I was wearing those super-hip jeans with the vegetables on them!

Hey, Messy Missy, if you're reading this, I am having trouble leaving a comment on your blog and am wondering if others are having the same problem. If you've never been to Missy's blog, add her to your list. She's very funny! Today's post is a give away for a beautiful herb book.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Funny Story

This morning, I was talking to my Dad about jobs, me going back to work, what I want to be when I grow up, etc. He knows I love to write. I told him about an idea I had to put an ad on craigslist. The ad would go something like this...

Got a funny story, a sad tale, a miracle to share?
Mom was a madam. Dad was a bootlegger.
I was an ace pilot in World War II.
Need to confess or apologize?
Got photos to support your story?
Tell me your story and let me write it down.
Pass it on to your family. Submit it to your local newspaper.
Send it to your college alma mater.
Keep it for posterity.

Me and Dad at the beach in 1968.

So, after we talked about this, my Dad said, "I have a funny story to tell you." Que the swirly music that indicates a flashback!
In the '70s, it seems all the men in Nashville, North Carolina were Washington Redskins fans. Every season, a bus would be chartered from Nashville to Washington, DC so all these guys could attend a football game. This was the premise of the escape. In actuality, they spent a weekend away from home, and the drinking began the moment they stepped foot on the bus.
I suppose most of the guys really went to the game. I'm not sure how many first-hand details they could share upon returning home. But with a hotel in Georgetown, they had easy access to all of the bars in the area.
On one of these weekends, the game was over, small groups of men spread out to various drinking establishments and the goal of drunkenness was on. Dad had taken in all he could and was ready for bed. He bid his fellow-drinkers farewell and began his walk back to the hotel.
Being the polite southerner that he is, he smiled and said hello to a man he passed on the street. Then, he heard footsteps behind him. The man he had passed had turned around and was catching up with him. Why this didn't scare the hell out of Dad, I don't know! Turns out, the man was a little on the effeminate side. He walked Dad back to his hotel, chatting amiably, and possibly affectionately, along the way. When Dad got back to his hotel, the guy followed him inside. Being a straight man, Dad didn't particularly want a gay man following him to his room.

Mom and Dad...before the divorce!

So, what's an intoxicated, hetero, southern man to do? Southern manners won't allow him to tell the guy to "get lost." Drunk, yes, but not so much that he forgot about his wife back home and no desire for a man to man tryst. Yes! Introduce him to the only other man you know in the lobby and make a quick escape to your room, alone! Poor Mike had the bad luck to be tagged by my Dad as Effeminate Man's new best friend. I wonder if Dad and Mike are still friends?

NOTE: The divorce had nothing to do with effeminate men!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Look What I Heard

Yesterday, I got my hearing aides! It's funny the things I didn't know I wasn't hearing! The first thing I had to do when I left the doctor's office was TURN DOWN THE RADIO IN MY CAR! Oh my gosh, it was loud! The second thing I noticed was the engine of my car. I could tell my car was running. There have been times that I have tried to turn my car on, only to discover it was already on! Not a good noise without hearing aides...hopefully I won't hear it any more.

So, what other sounds was I missing?

Water running in a pot...

Water boiling...

Snack paper rattling...

Cora Bell pecking dog food out of my hand...

Leaves crunching under my feet...

Riley Dog's charms clanking...

The train went by SuzAnna's Antiques today while I was chatting with Pretty Sam. The conductor doesn't believe he is doing his job unless the horn on the train drowns out all other sounds for at least 45 seconds! If you're on the phone, you just have to tell folks to hold on until the Horny Conductor eases on down the road! I thought I was going to have to remove the hearing aides from my ears! YIKES!!

The funniest think I heard was Riley Dog being a Bad Dog! I heard rustling. I went through my mental list of what was on the counter. I had put the breakfast dishes in the washer. I went in the kitchen to check. With the pantry door open, he had found his box of treats, opened it up, and helped himself!

Renee, was it you who asked about the pink thing behind one of the hat photos last week? Here he is in all of his glory. The Pink Pig of SuzAnna's Antiques. Rumor has it that Piggy could be sporting a new paint job soon. Will he become a lady bug? A turtle? A yellow submarine? A cow? Stay tuned!