All the joy can be such a burden for the birdies and other lving things!

How to prepare for a winter storm watch:

You know you’ll wish you could think of everything at once, should a storm come. Here is a starter list, not in any particular order:

  1. What to do, how to do it, a checklist for you to be really ready this time!Go to the store for white bread at the last minute. (Just kidding! Real list to follow!)
  2. (For real) make sure you have enough foods to eat that do not have to be cooked unless you have a cooking alternative to electricity.
  3. If you have electric heat, only, look into some other heat source, such as kerosene or fireplace or wood stove.
  4. If you have a fireplace, consider cooking on it. You will need covered, long-handled pans because of heat and ash, a few bricks and a grate to elevate pots, and really good potholders. Oh, also firewood, which is cheap around here, due to last year’s drought.
  5. Rock salt or other means of de-icing porches & sidewalks, for safety.
  6. Plastic sheeting for over the windshield, if you park outdoors.
  7. Prescriptions filled. Don’t run out during an ice storm!
  8. Really good batteries in flashlights. Candles and matches. ETC.
  9. A generator would be nice, with fuel for it stocked up. And make sure you know how to operate it without killing a lineman.
  10. Extra bedding for cold nights. If one room is warm, you can close it off until bedtime and then sleep under tons of blankets with coats on, just fine.
  11. Water for drinking, if power is out over a week and tower is pumped electrically, which most are.
  12. Survival includes a lot more than white bread! Read to find out what all you need NOW!Watch the skies and think about livestock and pets. They need more feed than usual and some sort of shelter, if only a piece of plywood leaned against a building. Being wet makes them colder and hungrier, and more prone to illness, and they hate eating snow for their drinks. Many creatures benefit from a little sugar added to water during these times. Chickens definitely do.
  13. A bag of wild birdseed, in case your feeder is snowed under. Birds die when they cannot access wild food sources while they are fighting off cold, wet weather. Even if you do not normally feed wild birds, do so, please, when all their normal sources are hidden under snow or ice.
  14. If the lights are out, do not open fridge or deep freeze except in emergency. Check it maybe after two days and if it is too warm, use the outdoors for cooling food. Protect eggs, though, from freezing, or they will break.
  15. Make sure all vehicles are filled with gasoline.
  16. If all your phones are cellular, you must provide for recharging them. Vehicles running with an adapter in the lighter socket is an option. Hand-cranked rechargers are available, sometimes. And there are those little battery things that will recharge a phone; make sure yours are charged up.
  17. Read about The Last Snowing Hurricane!

There you have it! Hope you won’t need it!.


Where Do You Home School?

You could study in the rain, perhaps?

Some can study in the rain?

Here is a partial list that will inspire you through the end of the winter doldrums and on into the joys of SPRING!

  1. Car.
  2. Park.
  3. Blanket under a shade tree.
  4. Hospital waiting room.
  5. Front porch (although the swing may cause motion sickness.)
  6. Grandma’s house.
  7. Mall.
  8. Restaurant.
  9. Van.
  10. Oak tree.
  11. Play house.
  12. Floor.
  13. Recliner.
  14. Deck.
  15. Kitchen table.
  16. Cushy window seat.
  17. Under a tent made of blankets draped over your bedroom furniture.
  18. Inside a real tent.
  19. Public library.
  20. Church.
  21. A friend’s house.
  22. Basement.
  23. Attic.

Now. You’re turn! Which of the above would be your children’s favorites? Where else can we study?

Well, the Coons Got Us Again.

As a counselor and a retired professional mom, I must say:

Coon!Raccoons are incorrigible wasters, ruiners of all things good, heartless beasts that care neither about boundaries nor animal rights. Their ability and seeming desire to inflict gross horror is limitless.

As people who tend six hens, our job was keeping them safe at night in their own warm place during the past winter, and one we did not mind at all. In fact, I found myself enjoying the challenge and making sure my hennies had fun treats to ease their trials during the cold. I carried all sorts of tidbits down the hill to them, through all sorts of weather, and thawed their water tank I-don’t-know-how-many times, even adding sugar to it, to assure meeting their energy needs. I literally had one of them eating from my hand.

And that one is among the five survivors, I’m glad to say.

We lost one, in a most horrific way, which I will not detail here.

Chicken coop, Sabine Farms, Marshall, Texas

Chicken coop, Sabine Farms, Marshall, Texas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And I had nearly to rebuild our chicken coop and to visit them often, really often. Hourly. And they were terrified, of course, and were slow to re-learn their trust of me.

Today, though, when they hear my footsteps approaching their little home, although they still grow very still, as if trying to be unnoticeable, if I call out to them, they answer me with seeming great excitement.

And another one is learning to eat from my hand.

That feels good.


The Last Bouquet


Traces of Summer Fading

Traces of Summer Fading

Old roses, pouring out a Springtime show, a last reaching for the sun, blooming, rich scented musk, and we inhale delight.

Tomorrow we will be satisfied with the damp, spent fragrance of fading roses, and gather spent and fallen petals to dry and save for dark places that welcome old scent.

Their baby cousins left outdoors will be dead, frozen, never to be seen in bloom.

We will remark how the last bouquet is always the rarest, while dark winds blow and traces of sleet fall.

We will inhale traces of delight from the remaining blooms, longing to imprint their gifts in our memories.

And failing.

And we will satisfy ourselves with the spices of oaken smoke and old recipes.

And dried, faded petals scattered in the dark places.

And we will put them away again when the first traces of warm earth rise up like ghosts of summers past, to take us back to the roses.