Freaks, Tweaks & Beaks!

OK, here are the FREAKS…

Farmer Jim & his Chick

Farmer Jim & his Chick

And here are the TWEAKS…

We planted a little October Glory Maple tree in the back yard.

We planted a little October Glory Maple tree in the back yard.

Jim finished the picket fence at the back of the new carport.

Jim finished the picket fence at the back of the new carport.

...and I replaced the miniature red rose bushes in the front of the house with Confederate Jasmine.

…and I replaced the miniature red rose bushes in the front of the house with Confederate Jasmine.

As it matures, we're going to train the jasmine to climb along the columns and porch rails.

As it matures, we’re going to train the jasmine to climb along the columns and porch rails.

Won’t that be cute?

Now for the BEAKS!

 I visited my Daisy this week. :)

I visited my Daisy this week. :)

She’s still spunky, although she’s lost weight and she looks like a little old lady chicken now.  Debbie says she’s not laying anymore and it made me sad to see her a bit “faded”.

She and her boyfriend, Claude are still a hot item in the barnyard.

She and her boyfriend, Claude are still a hot item in the barnyard.

Although we didn’t encourage her to jump, jump she did for her beloved bag of grapes.  Debbie handed out the grapes while I took the photos.  I couldn’t get one of her jumping but believe me, the girl’s still got game.

Bring it!

Bring it!

OK, Debbie is going to kill me.  She made me PROMISE not to show her Crocs in the photo.  Debbie, my friend, I’m sorry I broke my word, but those Crocs are the most amazing and wonderful footwear I have ever seen and I really, really, really needed to put them in my blog.  I know that someday you will find it in your heart to forgive me but until that day, just remember your friend is weak and self-centered but you love her anyway! RIGHT?

Later, Debbie told me a sweet story about Daisy & Claude that put a big ole lump in my throat.  Claude had a problem with his beak and Debbie and Walter needed to catch him to they could give it some medical attention.  Well, catching a fully-grown rooster is no easy matter, even if the guy is as good-natured as Mr. Claude.  A time-honored practice among chicken owners who need to capture and treat a chicken in need of care is to wait until they go on the roost at night and then grab them when they are in a semi-catatonic state.  (Chickens sleep HARD and you can almost always finish your procedure before they even realize what is happening.)

So, they waited until bedtime and grabbed Claude and clipped the injured beak and then tried to settle him back on the nest.  Needless to say he was VERY upset.  His agitation woke most of the other chickens and havoc ensued.  Eventually everyone calmed down and the birds began to relax and fall asleep again.  What happened next is the “lumpy throat” part.  Daisy scooted next to her beau and leaned against him, putting her head on his shoulder.  She seemed to be trying to tell him everything was OK now.  If any bird knows what trauma feels like, it’s that girl.  No one can convince me that chickens don’t have the same emotions and feelings that Fido and Fluffy have.  I love that Chicken!  And I love my friend Debbie for having a heart as big as Texas.  (So sorry about the Crocs, girlfriend!)

GREATEST...SHOES...EVER!

GREATEST…SHOES…EVER!

Wrappin’ It Up

All of the major construction on our rental house is done.  There are still some small things we have to do but the really messy, noisy stuff is over.  Chris’ crew finished the privacy fence and I planted a little dogwood tree just outside and next to our neighbor’s carport.

It should flower in the spring and be a nice sight to drive up to.

It should flower in the spring and be a nice sight to drive up to.

I’ve made a brick path that leads from the golf cart shed to our backyard gate.  Of course Jim will install them properly later, but for now they look nice, if a bit wobbly.  We’ve decided to hire Darryl to make the patio in the back yard.  It just looks kind of daunting to us and we know he’ll do a great job.

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Darryl did the pretty golf cart parking pad and we’re very pleased with how that turned out.

Jim still has to do the electrical stuff in the carport and storage shed.  He’ll put a light and outlets in the shed, a motion sensor light in the carport and some outlets in the garage and golf cart area.  Of course we have to get everything painted too, but the treated wood has to cure for about a month, so we’ll put that off until the first of the year.  For now we’re going to take a break from all things related to rental house improvements and focus on being as lazy as possible for a while.

We could help you out with that!

We’re experts at that!

Kitty Tummies

If you are not a cat owner, then perhaps you are not aware of the most prized possession a cat can bestow on his “human”.  It is the great honor of scratching his fluffy tummy!  A cat will only grant this experience on those he loves and, more importantly, TRUSTS!  Thus it is with great happiness that I present you with this latest photo of our little wild cat, GT.

The elusive kitty tummy!

The elusive kitty tummy!

Although this was the only photo I could snap at the time, I can assure you that mere seconds earlier, Jim was scratching away at this taut little tum tum and GT was purring with happiness.  I asked Jim what it felt like and he said it was as tight as a drum.  This little guy lives on the wild side and has only recently found the safety of our porch and the fullness of our food bowl so he’s spent most of his life, hunting, running, hiding and surviving on his own.  No soft cushy life for GT!  Our cats, on the other hand, have soft, ample, wiggly tummies that sway side to side when they walk.

Rowdy offering her generous tummy in the comfort of her sunbeam.

Rowdy offering her generous tummy in the comfort of her sunbeam.

GT has also discovered that soft warm beds can be found at Chez Burlingame.  Now that the nights get near freezing, we’ve rigged up a cat box with a fleece pad on top of a heating pad.  He won’t get in anything with a cover, so he just sleeps in the open on his makeshift mattress.

So far he hasn't decided to chew on the cord. That would be a shocking experience!

So far he hasn’t decided to chew on the cord. That would be a shocking experience!

He still won’t come inside unless we leave the door wide open and even then he’ll only come about three feet inside the threshold.  When we try to shut the door, he panics and starts darting around looking for an exit.  We’ll probably never make a house pet out of him, but one day we hope he’ll come inside occasionally to watch TV on the couch with us like our other three pampered, worthless, lay-a-bouts do.

The construction project on the little house is nearly finished.  We’re just putting the finishing touches on the fence and back yard.  We’ll plant a little tree here as soon as Chris can finish putting up the rest of the boards.

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Finally, Jim entered the 21st Century and got a smart phone this week.  As he was cleaning out all the pictures on his Star Trek communicator and he found this…

Rhoda, my foster chicken, Buster-Man & Mulder.

Rhoda, my foster chicken, Buster-Man & Mulder.

This was taken over a year ago, when a couple who lived in Cloverdale brought me this chicken that had just wandered into their yard.  They found me by Googling “Montgomery Chicken Lady” or something like that and they asked me to find a good home for her. (I did).

Now that’s some real KITTYBUNNYCHICKEN! :)

Soddy Sunday

So we constructed the carport and moved all the pavers from the former parking area.  Now we needed to turn this space into a yard.  I was all for hiring this part out, but Jim had other ideas.  I did have to hire some help to get out a lot of the asphalt and gravel that was formerly the end of the parking area that connected to the road.  No amount of Jim Burlingame muscle could do the work required to dig this stuff out.

This was not easy and it took about 2 hours to clear the ground for sod.

This was not easy and it took about 2 hours to clear the ground for sod.

Once the Bobcat had done its job, (Thanks to Darryl and his hard-working crew) I stared at the expanse of yard requiring a layer of dirt and sod.  I was not looking forward to this.

Can't wait!

Can’t wait!

We began early Sunday morning and finished in about 4 1/2 hours.  I have to admit, it was kind of fun and we were very proud of our efforts when we finished.

You can play football in this yard now! Almost twice as big as before.

You can play football in this yard now! Almost twice as big as before.

At the far end of the yard we plan to make a patio area out of the pavers and place a fountain in the crook of the fence.

A job for another day.

A job for another day.

Darryl’s crew also paved the golf cart area this week. He used the available pavers and I think it turned out so well.

Before...

Before…

During...

During…

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After!

After!

We still have a few more things to do, but it’s nice to have all the big stuff done for now.  Jim still has to wire the carport and storage room for lights, plus the window and door for the store room have not arrived yet.  Chris and his crew have to complete the last section of the privacy fence, and Jim needs to build a gate for the picket at the front of the carport

In other news…Rowdy is happy to report that fires have resumed in her house…

I smell roast kitty!

I smell roast kitty!

And the poor rose bushes have given up their last blooms of summer.

What a way to go out!

What a way to go out!

And as happens every year, Jim sorted the leftover Halloween candy.

He's been doing this for near 50 years.

He’s been doing this for near 50 years.

Hope your holiday season got off to a good start. Until we meet again. :)

 

Back to the Grindstone

I went to Purvis High School with a boy who carried around a tape measure, pliers and a slide rule in his pocket.  He was the smartest kid in our class, so of course we all made fun of him. (Yes, I was educated in South Mississippi–the bastion of intellectual pursuit in the late 70s.)  This guy endured high school, (he was our valedictorian) and went on to get his Ph.D. in Astrophysics. He is now an esteemed professor at Auburn, a father of three beautiful children, and is a patent holder for a new kind of engine, among many other achievements that are way over my head.  Roy does things the right way, or he doesn’t do them at all.

My buddy.

My buddy.

I tell you about this classmate (I love you dearly Roy!) to compare him to another great guy I know and love–my husband.  Jim and Roy have many qualities in common.  They met at my 25th class reunion, and while my classmates and I were shakin’ our groove thangs on the dance floor, Jim and Roy were huddled in the corner discussing the Space Time Continuum or String Theory or whatever.  It seriously looked like a scene from NERDS GONE WILD!  So you’ll understand when I tell you that when Jim undertakes a project, he researches it to DEATH!  He won’t buy a lug-nut without investigating the merits of said “nut”.  Lord help us when he buys a car!  He plans even the most mundane project with meticulous preparations and refuses to do any job unless it’s done to his exacting standards.  This boy did not go to the school of “Half-Assed”.  I however, am the valedictorian of THAT school!  Case in point:

Here is how I unload a truck of sod and dirt.  Took me almost an hour and I had to use a wheelbarrow.

Here is how I unload a truck of sod and dirt. Took me almost an hour and I had to use a wheelbarrow.

Here is how Jim unloads 40 bags of dirt & sand.  Took him 20 minutes.

Here is how Jim unloads 40 bags of dirt & sand. Took him 20 minutes.

As we finish up the little jobs needed to complete our construction project, I’m doing as much grunt-work as I can because I simply have way more free time than Jim.  If I can do my part by hauling, raking, digging, spreading or hosing, I happily get sweaty and dirty for the cause.  Last Saturday we spent the morning fixing the area by the new driveway by removing gravel and laying dirt and sod in the curve.

I would have just dumped a whole bunch of soil in here ant laid the sod on top.

I would have just dumped a whole bunch of soil in here and laid the sod on top.

But Noooooooooooooooooooooo!  Jim spent two backbreaking hours with a shovel and wheelbarrow, removing every little morsel of gravel leaving an even deeper hole for us to fill.

It did look pretty awesome when we finished.

It did look pretty awesome when we finished.

Thus, I freely admit that I am the Queen of “GIT ER DONE!” and Jim is the king of DO IT RIGHT!  So when he comes home from work today and sees the results of 3 1/2 hours of my hard labor, I know he’ll have something snarky to say.

Before...

Before…

After!

After!

I spent the morning leveling the dirt, filling in holes, spreading new dirt and sod, and laying the pavers down in the pattern we have planned for the walkway.  Did I lay the pavers correctly? No.  Do I care? No.  I just wanted my tenant to have something clean to walk on, plus I wanted to see how pretty they would look when they are properly installed.  And PROPERLY installed they will be!  Jim will probably align the pavers with the Prime Meridian and further have their placement coordinated with the Global Satellite Positioning System while consulting the Periodic Table for the correct mix of mortar and sand.  OH THEY’LL BE INSTALLED PROPERLY MY FRIEND, YOU CAN BET YER SWEET BIPPY ON THAT!

But still, I’m proud of my efforts and I keep looking out the window to gaze upon what I hath wrought.

Coming along nicely don't you agree?

Coming along nicely don’t you agree?

And now I’ll close with a photo of two of my favorite guys.

Quirks & all! :)

Quirks & all! :)