The perfect storm

Mammy Camp is going great!  Payton loves the park, 

but I’ve discovered that if you give the boy a barn, a feed barrel and

a chicken coop, he will be entertained for at least an hour. He’s a very busy little guy!

The girls, being princesses and all,

are a different kind of busy. 

Last Friday, after a trip to the park and then to the store to get some Skittles, I decided to put up my hammock for them. Everything seemed to be going my way.

I had a chair and a bottle of water. They were in the hammock…

laughing and having a fabulous time.  All I had to do was sit there and swing them.  

But somebody had guzzled down coffee milk at breakfast and then ate half a bag of Skittles.  That, combined with swinging in the polka dot parachute, created the perfect storm. 

I guess you know she threw up in my hammock.  

Chick wagon

We have an old tracking wagon that we weren’t using for anything, so I decided that it would make a good portable chicken house.  We finally got it finished, and yesterday Joel’s brother, Marc,

backed it out of the shop and moved it down by the barn.  Of course Hudson and Denton made the trip locked inside.

The thing resembles a covered wagon, and is complete with a roost, nests and a removable ramp.

The chickens were a bit curious, but had no clue that, come dark, they would be swept off their familiar roost and locked in that ‘chick wagon’.

At the appropriate time, the twins and I went down to the barn with a flashlight for the surprise move. I ended up manning the gate on the wagon while the boys caught and transported the chickens.  They had named the bloomin’ things and for the life of me I don’t know how they tell them apart. They would go in with the light and say, “There’s Pecky. That’s Fat Cheeks. Hey there’s Jedi.” ……And on and on. Finally I said, “It doesn’t matter who’s who.  Just catch ’em and come on.”

After the wagon was loaded, we moved it to a fenced in area, which is now their new neighborhood.  Of course we got stuck, but Joel pushed us out with the tractor.

Then, we left them to settle in.  This morning I let them out and

it was business as usual. They even layed eggs in the new nest.  

As it was nearing sundown, things seemed to be shaping up pretty well.

One at time, the chickens began heading to bed in their new quarters.  

But, when I went out after dark, ten chickens and Fasma, the turkey, (I didn’t know that was her name til today) were camped out by the water trough next to the fence.  So…I scooped them up and carried them to the wagon.  It took six trips, but I got ‘er done.  And…I am just hoping beyond all hope, that this doesn’t become my new nightly routine. 

Plenty of adventures to be had

Payton has started coming to “Mammy Camp”, and it’s  amazing how much a two year old can accomplish in two hours, not to mention how much ground can be covered. 

He LOVES to be outside, so that’s where we mostly stay.  

We hike and climb hills.

The only thing is, when he reaches the top, he’s ready to go back down and start another adventure. And…that’s okay, because there are plenty of adventures to be had.  

Yesterday, we rode the golf cart to the park.

He had fun, but before long, he was ready to move on. So, we came back home and went inside for a snack, 

which he decided to feed to Piper.  

There is plenty to do inside…

things to figure out,

and piddle with…

things to ride, and 

shows to watch.

But the thing that can occupy him the most at my house is

is the chickens. And you KNOW that makes me proud.

Everything about the barn seems to interest him, and that’s fine with me because I like to hang out there myself.

He’s still a little bit cautious when it comes to the turkey.  I can’t say that I blame him, since she is about as big as he is.

But, he’s figured out how to watch her

and still feel like he can have the upper hand.

And now you’re six

Mammy Camp is going well.  We do different things, depending on the weather.

Sometimes we feed the animals.  Sometimes,

we just visit with them.  We go on walks and 

find sticks to throw for Piper and Jasper. 

We started eating lunch at Mammy Camp.  Today we had gumbo.  When I told Josie what we were having, she said, “I used to like gumbo, but now I don’t. Besides, I’m not a very good eater.”  I said that if she ate her gumbo, she could make a necklace,

and that took care of that. 

Wednesday we had spaghetti. Josie noticed that the little fork she was using had three prongs. Then she asked how many my fork had.  I showed her my fork and she started to count.

“One, two, three, four.”  Then she said, “I used to be three, but now I’m four.”  I replied, “That’s right. And I used to be four, but now I’m not.” She looked at me and said, “That’s right. Now you’re six.” She was close…give or take a zero.

Hope they weren’t disappointed

Not last night but the night before, Joel and I stopped for the night in Chatanooga, Tennessee on our way to Wears Valley.  Since Piper is traveling with us, we needed to book a pet friendly hotel.  Sometimes it’s easier to go with what you know, so we went with one we had stayed in two years ago;

the Read House Hotel in the downtown area.  

The Read House boasts of such guests as Ronald Reagon, Gary Cooper, Winston Churchill and Al Capone.  Al, was put up there during his federal trial.  He stayed in room 311, three doors down and across the hall from where we stayed on Friday night.

The thing the Read House is most known for is the haunting of room 311.  Legend has it that a prostitute named Annalisa Netherly resided in that room for an extended time during the 1920’s and 30’s. She not only lived there, but she also died there…in room 311. Some say she was murdered, and some say that she took her own life. 

Many employees and guests claim to have witnessed paranormal activity in room 311. The room is available only to guests who request it, AND it’s more expensive than other rooms.

Friday night, there were guests in room 311.  I have no clue how their night went.  I have no clue whether Annalisa Netherly noticed that she had company.  I just hope, for their sake, that they weren’t disappointed.

Silent but not still

 It has been some time since my last post, and though I have been silent, I have not been still.  So before I get this blog back on track, let me sum up the last three months.

Foraging has become a hobby of mine…not one that Joel is necessarily excited about, since he has a fear of something in the yard winding up on his plate.  However, he will admit

that my sumac merengue pie was really good.  

I connected with family for my aunt’s 83rd birthday in Tucson, Arizona.

It was a good time with good food, good company and beautiful scenery.  And, since I was in the vacinity, I stopped by the Boot Hill Graveyard to pay my respects to Billy Clanton and The McLauries.

When I got back from the desert, I started “Mammy Camp” for Josie and Ellie.  For three hours, three mornings a week, we spend time together.

We slide, play in leaves and sand, and have snacks in our secret hiding place.

Sometimes (certainly not everytime) we paint. And, one cold morning, we did some pretend open hearth cooking.

They have a good time and so do I.  Someone said, “You don’t quit playing because you get old.  You get old because you quit playing.”  If that’s the case, I’ll never get old…especially if I keep getting new playmates.

That’s exactly what happened on November 7th. 

Parker Joseph Jaques, who weighed in at nine pounds, one ounce, became grandchild number six.  So last week,

I put another initial on the mantel.  Maybe in a couple of years…somebody will buy another vowel. 

Never been to one

A week or so ago, Josie was at our house.  I needed to top off the water for the goats, so I asked her to come with me.

We got on the golf cart and rode around to the back of the house to get a hose to take with us.  I unscrewed the hose from the faucet and brought it around to the driver’s side of the cart. Josie looked at the hose and then at me and said, “Are you going to drag that?”  I told her that I was and she said, “That’s impressive.”

We drove to the goat pasture where I hooked up the hose to another faucet, turned it on, and put the other end in the trough.  

We decided to drive the one mile trail around the property while the hose was doing its thing.  Our conversation was about goats, and we discussed several goat facts before I told her that her daddy drank goat milk when he was a baby. 

Then she replied, “Yes, he was a baby, then he grew up and got married….I always cry at weddings.”

I looked at her and asked, “How many weddings have you been to?”  She answered, “Well, I didn’t go to that one.”

When I shared our conversation with her mother,  Josie looked at her and said, “I really DO always cry at weddings.” 

To tell you the truth, I don’t think she’s ever been to one.

She’s fine…but

Remember that chicken that Piper helped me catch last week by rolling her out from under the barn?

She’s fine except for the fact that she stands in the nest all day and stares into space.  

It occurred to me that the poor thing just might have PTSD; a mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event.  I’m sure that what happened to her would certainly qualify.

Now, I know that many people with PTSD do much better if they get an emotional support dog.  But somehow…I think that just might “roll” her over the edge.

Bless her heart!

Thursday evening, I let Jessie and the ‘sister wives’


out to eat some grass. I propped their door open and intended to close it once they went to roost.  However, I FORGOT.

Yesterday morning, when I went down to feed the chickens and goats, the sister wives were back out in the grass.  

Piper was with me.

He’s pretty good about helping me with chickens that are loose.  He herds them to me, then holds them down so I can catch them and put them back over the fence. The trouble is…he’s going to help whether he’s being helpful or not. Let’s just say that his heart is in the right place.

When he spied those red chickens, he went into helping mode. One missed her turn and went under a section of the barn that is up off the ground.

He went after her.  Of course she was terrified and tried to hide in and behind anything she could find.  I was not about to go in after her.  All I could do was cheer Piper on and hope beyond all hope that he would do the right thing.  

He rolled that poor chicken with his nose from one end of that place to the other before finally getting her close enough to the edge for me to reach her.

Besides being limp, muddy and missing a few feathers, she was alright. I put her in a cage until she could ‘come to herself’.

While she was in recovery, the twins discovered her.  One of them asked Joel, “What happened to Mammy’s chicken?  She looks like a zombie.”

Depending on the angle you were looking at her, she kinda did.

Later on that evening Nikki and I got the mud off her face and I put her back with the others.

This morning,


she still looked a little dazed, but she was fine.  As a matter of fact, the last time I looked, 


she was thinking about going back to work.  Bless her heart! 

Won’t bore you with the details

Yesterday was another beautiful day…not a cloud in the sky…cool, but not cold.  I opened windows and doors and left them that way all day.  Piper was free to go in and out, and mostly enjoyed the day

from the patio.

I made a fire in the fireplace and cooked on the hearth.  Another ‘go with the slow’ day.  I won’t bore you with the details of how it all went down, but I do hope you enjoy the process through pictures.



And yes, it was good.