Fowl play

blogIMG_1407Why did the chicken cross the road?

It didn’t.

When you live in a rural area, you’re always on the alert when you’re driving on back country roads.  All sorts of critters can suddenly appear on the pavement ahead of you and you never know what you might see scurrying off.  Often it’s deer.  Or sometimes, it may even be a bear.

But usually you encounter smaller creatures – groundhogs, raccoons, possums, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, maybe even a wild turkey or pheasant.  On one of the side roads near our house, chickens roam free and I often must apply my brakes to avoid hitting one as it darts across the road.

Early one morning I was on my way home from having some lab tests done at our local hospital.  Since it was my day off work and pleasant cool weather, I decided to take the ‘scenic route’ and travel some back roads home instead of jumping on the four-lane highway.

Sack of potatoes

Sack of potatoes

As I meandered along, I spotted some of the usual wild creatures sprinting across my path.  But in all my years of driving country roads, I’ve never encountered what I’m going to tell you next.

What appeared to be someone’s dinner plans were sprawled out on the pavement.  At first glance, I thought it was just litter but as I neared the scene, I honestly exclaimed, “What the heck?” out loud.

What surprised me so?  It appeared to be a  chicken.  A plucked, cleaned chicken without head or feet laid smack dab in the middle of the road.  And further along rested its dinner companion – a plastic bag of potatoes.

Obviously, I’ve seen a ton of road kill in my lifetime but this one beats all.  I maneuvered my car around that naked for all the world to see fowl laying so unceremoniously there, pulled over and grabbed my camera to shoot a few pictures.  Because this was one for the books.  This was one unbelievable tale.  Who would believe me if I didn’t have photos to back up my claim?

Fowl play?

Fowl play?

Then I realized it wasn’t a chicken, but a small turkey.  Not a wild turkey, but the plump kind you buy at the supermarket.

And it had met with fowl foul play because it was missing a leg!  Yep, a drumstick had been ripped or chewed right off, probably by a wandering dog or maybe even a coyote.

So how did the turkey get there?  I don’t know if someone, on his way home from the grocery store,  got angry and decided to chuck the whole idea of making dinner by throwing fowl and potatoes out the car window…or maybe it fell off the back of a pickup truck although there were no grocery store bags lying around….or ???   I’m out of scenarios.  This one has me stumped.

But all that thinking about fowls did make me a little hungry for a trip to Chik-Fil-A.  Oh wait, I live in the country.  There aren’t any here.  Just store-bought turkeys….lying on the road….with potatoes.  And that’s no joke.  Ah, life in farmland.

And with that thought, I’ll leave you with a chicken joke.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  To prove to the possum it could actually be done.  (You can groan out loud and cry foul now!)


Picture perfect mornings make me sing!

blogDSCN7828You awaken to sunshine streaming in your window accompanied by wafts of fresh, clean air gently blowing through the screen.

You realize it was so cool during the night, you pulled the quilt up over yourself and you’re snuggling inside it because it feels a little chilly.

No harsh buzzing of the alarm clock rings in your ears because it’s your day off work, but you do catch the lilting melody of song birds coming from outside.

You leave your place of slumber and glance out the open window to see the most glorious baby blue sky decorated with bits of cottony fluff here and there.  A dazzling sun gleams from the east causing the yard to look resplendent in verdant trees and grass.

The temperature hovers around the upper 60’s with an expected high in the mid 70’s. Throwing open the patio door and kitchen windows invites a cooling breeze into the house refreshing enough to compel you to linger at the kitchen table with your soothing hot cup of tea.  You observe a tiny sparrow hopping along the deck railing and notice butterflies chasing each other, flitting hither and yon.

There’s a faint rustle of leaves as the cooling wind blows through the trees.  You hear cicadas chirping, morning song birds, and occasionally a car driving by.  But that is all.  It’s peaceful and serene.  It’s beautiful and picturesque.  It’s life here at Mama’s Empty Nest.

And that’s my idea of a picture perfect morning.

That’s what it’s been like here the last few days and I can’t express how much I enjoy mornings like these.  Quote anthologist Terri Guillemets wrote this:  “I used to love night best but the older I get the more treasures and hope and joy I find in mornings.”   I couldn’t agree with her more, especially on mornings like these.

Yesterday all day I found myself singing “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from the musical Oklahoma.  I’ve actually lived in that state and while I’m sure native Okies believe their mornings are the most spectacular, I beg to differ.   Rising to incredibly hot temperatures isn’t my idea of a beautiful morning, and that’s what I remember most about summertime there.  I’d much rather sing about mornings right here in my home state.

Treated to a repeat performance of my picture perfect morning today, my mind’s card catalog of songs brought up “It’s a Beautiful Morning” by The Rascals.

“It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh

I think I’ll go outside a while an jus’ smile

Just take in some clean fresh air boy

Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside

If the weather’s fine an’ you got the time

It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day

Either way

It’s a beautiful mornin’ ahhh”

Morning songs just keep playing in my head on this magnificent Page 11, Chapter 8, in my book of Opportunity.  Cat Stevens’  “Morning Has Broken”  comes to mind.  As soon as I run through that song, a Herman’s Hermits tune, “I’m Into Something Good,” follows with “Woke up this morning, feelin’ fine, there’s something special on my mind.”

When I dig a little deeper in my song file, I find myself singing “Good Mornin” from that marvelous old movie, Singing in the Rain.   That tune reminds me of crooning my version to our awakening children when they were young:  “Good mornin’, Good mornin’, You slept the whole night through, Good mornin’, Good mornin’ to you!”

And lastly, I find myself humming an old English folk song called “Early One Morning.”  I don’t recall when I first heard that song because it seems like it’s always been in my memory. “Early one morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard a young maid singing in the valley below.  Oh, don’t deceive me, Oh never leave me. How could you use a poor maiden so?”

What about you?  What morning song are you singing on this fine day?

© 2011

Who really has the power? Linemen that’s who.

blogDSCN7812The scorching summer sun, suspended low in the western sky, slowly disappeared out of sight. 

Darkness enveloped the house.   Twinkling fireflies flickering here and there were the only light visible.  

The steady creaking of the porch swing swaying slowly back and forth seemed to be the only sound, except perhaps for the buzzing of insects.

Using as little effort as possible to move in the sweltering heat, they fanned themselves and tried to catch a wisp of any breeze that happened to float by.   “Ahh,” she sighed wistfully as she sipped a glass of already tepid water.   “I think it’s a little cooler now.”

When they couldn’t bear swatting at pesky insects any longer and darkness had completed descended upon them, they moved inside the unlit, still, and noiseless house.    He found the box of wooden matches and carefully lit the kerosene lamp in the kitchen.   An aura of light radiated in a very small circle around the lamp.

They positioned themselves, he on the easy chair and ottoman, she on the couch.  In the dim light, they could barely see one another.   They sat in silence, each one thinking, “What should we do now?”

Minutes passed slowly and he finally stood up, stretched and said, “I think I’ll just go on up to bed.  Maybe get up early in the morning when it’s light and try to get a few things done.”

She agreed there was nothing else they could accomplish and followed him up the stairs.  The bedroom windows were flung as far open as possible in hopes of allowing wafts of air, now not as heavy-laden with humidity as before the violent storm, to circulate through the screens.

She tossed and turned through the night, trying to find a cooler, comfortable spot on her pillow.  What would tomorrow bring?  What would they do if morning signaled another searing day of this heat wave?  As she tried to nod off to sleep, she whispered her prayers and thanked the Lord for yet another day and that she lived in this century.

That scene may sound like a vignette from yesteryear, back in my grandmother’s day before electricity and modern appliances, but in reality, it described our house last Friday night.  A violent thunderstorm blew into our area, bringing gusty winds, rumbling waves of thunder, and wickedly long, jagged bolts of lightning along with torrents of rain that resulted in flash flooding.  Trees downed across power lines, transformers on fire, and a host of other problems across our area were the end result.  We lost power around 5 p.m.

Let me just state right here, for all to read, I am a wimp.  I am way too dependent on my household appliances and electricity at the flip of a switch.  When the weather turns monstrously hot and humid, I rely on air conditioning, big box fans, and my refrigerator’s ice maker to keep me sane.

Neither hubby nor I slept well without power, not just because we had no air conditioning, but because we kept waking up asking each other, “Is the power back on?”

blogDSCN7817And it wasn’t.  The next morning, still no electric.  No electric meant no cooking (and no pickle making either, by the way).  Using the side burner of our propane gas grill on our back yard deck, we heated a kettle for a cup of tea.  Then we decided to acclimate ourselves to the heat by working in the garden.

I know.  What an idea!  As the temperatures soared and the humidity closed in on us, we sweat buckets while we hoed and pulled weeds and did some general clean-up in the garden and yard.

I didn’t last as long as hubby did.  He’s obviously made of more sturdy stuff than his wife.  Why I’m so wimpy is a puzzle because my family background consists of people who most definitely were made of strong stock.  All I know is that I probably wouldn’t have survived being a pioneer woman.

So after my eyes burned from sweat rolling into them and my lips were the saltiest I have ever tasted, all I wanted was shade and a huge glass of water, with a scanty smidge of ice cubes still left in the freezer, which I grabbed out as quickly as I could so I could slam shut the door and keep the coldness inside the appliance.

Later that afternoon still with no electricity, we listened to generators hum through the neighborhood and chain saws cutting up fallen trees.   We decided the outage was lasting so long, we needed to act fast to prevent losing our refrigerator and freezer food.  Hubby drove off in search of any nearby store that still had bags of ice.   When he returned, we loaded up our coolers to commence packing them with food.

And that’s when we heard it.  The distinct hum of the refrigerator sounded after almost 24 hours of silence.  The air conditioning unit sprang to life once more.  Our electric clocks flashed at us screaming, “Set me!”  All was right with the world once more….except for this…I made a resolution, and it’s not even January, to start being more grateful and less helpless.

It’s Chapter 7, Page 25, another day in my life named Opportunity, and as I’m refreshed by central air and ice cubes, I’m so very thankful for electricity and modern appliances.

But I’m even more thankful for all of those power company workers who toil many, long hours in blistering heat and freezing cold to restore our power just so I can flip a switch.  Thank you God, for those who make my life easier because those who do so surely are not wimps.


Will Spring ever spring?

No time for deep thinking today or even putting my thoughts (such as they are) into words.   It’s just another dreary, bleary, depressing day of constant rain, fog and general dullness.   Spring is slow in arriving in our area this year.  So I’m trying to think happy thoughts of the season by viewing  some of my old photos from springs gone by.

Hope they brighten your day as well!

blogSpring 2009 038

blogSpring 2009 024

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blogSpring 2009 047

blogSpring 2009 046



Waiting for spring


Zapped crocus

The sun shines brightly, but oh, the bitterly cold wind nips at my ears and bites through my jacket making me shiver and pull up my hood!

Frost sparkled across our yard this morning when, shortly after awakening, I peered out my window for a “look see” at the day.

That frost zapped my lovely yellow, purple and white crocuses and now they’ve wilted and seem to have the saddest look to them.


View out my window

Today I would have to agree.  We’re very close to flipping over the calendar to April, but at 20 degrees this morning, it still feels like winter.

The scene outside my kitchen window unfolds in all its brownness.  Drab, depressing, lifeless brown.

I step out onto my deck to snap a few photos, pull my winter jacket tight around me and brace for the cold even though I can feel the contradictory warmth of the sun shining on my face.

Transition to green

Transition to green

And that’s when I notice not all is clothed in hues of tan and russet.   Shades of green make themselves visible in my yard.

There’s a slow transition working its way through our lawn as the grass commences to green up.

I glance at the flower bed adjacent to the deck.  The plants that burst forth into bold color throughout spring and summer and long into fall now appear as dead as can be.

But then I observe bright spots of greenery poking through the cold, hard ground.   The plants are slowly coming back to life.

blog012Out front, I mourn the loss of the crocuses but note the daffodils have pushed their way above the surface and there….my favorite hyacinths are gradually beginning their journey upwards.

Color, glorious color, patiently waits to unveil itself and I also must be patient to wait for it.  Because spring will come.  The flock of red-breasted robins scouring the yard for tasty worms tells me so.  One season does follow another and spring’s time is near.

“Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.” ~ Virgil A. Kraft