There were times while we were there that Blog Posts were bursting inside my head waiting to get out. At times, I told Bud, “I just have to write this down while the ideas are flowing.” I told him that it must feel like he feels when he has an idea for a piece of music and has to work on it right then or it will be lost forever.
He has told me before how Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak and Mahler all kept notebooks of musical ideas or motifs that popped into their head because they knew that if they didn’t jot it down, it would just be forgotten. Just think of all of the Symphonies that might not have been written if they hadn’t done that!
I have tried so many times in my life to keep a journal, and I tried, yet again, while I was up there in Arkansas, but a couple of days would go by without writing because I was so tired, or so busy and when I tried to recreate my previous days I couldn’t keep one day straight from the other.
I said all of that to say this: I’m just going to have to backtrack on a lot of things that happened while we were there. I guess that is sort of a good thing since we won’t be back up there until November.
We drove home yesterday (Friday). We got up at the crack of dawn so that we could take the chickens off the roost and carry them to their cages in the car without a fight. I mentioned before that though they have very keen eyes during the day, they are practically blind in the dark. We had to load the cages into the car before we put the chickens into them, because the cages had to be turned sideways in order to make them fit into the back seat.
The ‘Burgers and Shower’ neighbors had stopped by a couple of days before to help Bud out with something. They strongly encouraged us to come take a shower before we had to drive back home. I called them during the day and asked them if we could come sometime before the chickens had to be locked up for the night. Everything revolves around that because they have to be locked up at dusk to protect them from predators. Dusk and at night is when they are the most vulnerable because of their eyesight.
We so appreciated these neighbors who graciously extended their hospitality to us. Not only did we get a shower the night before we left, but we also had good conversation while we were there, too. The Mom sent us away with a couple of cucumbers from her garden, and a ziplock full of dried apples, ‘because you’ll get hungry while you are traveling.” Such a sweet, sweet lady. We DID get hungry and we really enjoyed those dried apples!
I have to post another one of these pictures. As we were driving back from the neighbors’ house after our shower, this was the sunset view we had. I wish you could see it in person. It took my breath away when we rounded the crest and saw it. The picture does not do it justice. This was just taken with my I-Phone
There are so many things I DIDN’T get pictures of. We were so busy, I’m surprised I took as many as I did. I kept telling Bud that when we move there, I want to drive around just taking pictures…better pictures than I got, where I can take my time and really try to capture things in an artistic way. For example, the Mennonites have Buffalo in their pasture! They are really cool to see. Their church, previously a school house, is up on the hill and is very picturesque. There are so many neat old barns, mailboxes set in milk jugs, etc., that I’d like to get pictures of.
Bud and I both agreed that we both had the worst night’s sleep the night before we left.
We had take the tent down the day before we left since we would be leaving so early in the morning. I swept and mopped one room (the living room) of the house for us to sleep in. There is a lot of wood with termite damage and holes that I made sure to plug up with boards or bricks in that room. It was obvious that critters had made their way into that house in the five years that it had sat empty. There are some broken windows, and gaping holes that open up to underneath the house. This is not to mention that the bathroom floor is completely open to the dirt on the ground. (More on that, and the work we have done in another post.)
That is an air mattress we slept on. It was hot inside, and we had a noisy floor fan going directly on us the whole night. I insisted that Bud leave a light on in one of the other rooms because I was scared of critters. On the one hand, it was comforting to have the light on, but on the other hand, the light kept me from falling into a deep sleep. Bud said he woke up with a start after hearing something (a meow) and had a cat snout inches away from his face.
We stopped at McDonald’s about 30-40 minutes out. I went inside to use the restroom, and while Bud was getting our food, I waited outside by the car. I was amazed that two people who drove up beside us to park made comments about our chickens in the back seat. I didn’t know it was that obvious. Though I can’t remember exactly what was said (or asked), they were very nice and friendly comments. The further we got away from our home, the more strange looks we got when we stopped, but no one said anything.
I was proud of how the chickens and cat did on the trip. All in all, they were so good. We had worked out on the trip up there which Hens worked together the best, and we had decided to put Corla (the head hen) and Henrietta (who likes to pick on others) alone together in one cage, with the other four, more docile hens in another cage. It worked out well.
The last hour or so of the trip, Henrietta was trying to build her nest in the wood shavings so she could lay an egg, and Corla (one of the few other hens that Henrietta will cowtow to) had taken her spot. Henrietta is very partial to her egg laying places and gets very attached to them, so Henrietta cackled the last hour or so of the trip. Come to find out, I looked back there once and saw Corla gingerly moving Henrietta’s egg underneath her in the place Henrietta had so nicely built, keeping Henrietta’s egg warm.
One of the hens in the other cage also laid an egg. There were wood shavings all over the back seat. It was a small price to pay for their relatively peaceful time back there. Hens scratch. It’s what they do. So be it.
I mentioned in another post that the seller’s wife gave me a book about a neighbor who lives in the area who wrote a book about her life there in the Ozarks and how she built her house. She lived alone and built her own homestead by adding on to her trailer up on the mountain behind us.
Bud and I took turns reading it aloud to each other on the way home, and we actually finished it. I’m very much looking forward to meeting this interesting, ‘can-do’ woman!
There was still some daylight when we arrived home. I guess it must have been about 4:30. Bud got the cat all settled in, while I took the chickens out of their cages in the back seat to the backyard. I had been worried that they would be disappointed being back in their small backyard, but they seemed excited to be out. I guess being trapped in a cage in the backseat of the car without food or water for 11 hours will do that to a chicken! They went right to their hen house that night…hadn’t forgotten it or their routine. They even went to bed early.
I don’t know if you remember the beautiful volunteer acorn squash plant that sprung up in the backyard.
Bud hired a former student who lives in our neighborhood to mow the lawn while we were gone. He was only supposed to do the front yard. I had even taken out the latch to the backyard, but he somehow got in there and mowed the back, too! We were actually grateful to come back to a nice mown yard. The acorn squash plant was probably hidden in the tall grass (based on the length of the tall grass that had been cut) and I found one acorn squash that had reached maturity. I never looked up the growing cycle for acorn squash, but it looks like every other acorn squash I have ever bought at the grocery store. We are looking forward to eating it, and also, to growing more of them in the future (on purpose)!
(Please excuse the dirty window in the background. The dirt is on the outside. This window is about a foot off the ground. I spray water underneath that bush because it’s a shady spot where the chickens like to hang out to stay cool, and the muddy water splashes up on the window.)
All’s well that ends well. Though I really didn’t feel disgruntled about it while there and ‘in it’, being back home, I’m grateful for a flush toilet just a few feet away, hot, running water, a soft bed, and a climate controlled environment! Though I had some trouble getting to sleep last night, I slept like a rock! As Bud said, it was almost like an alternate reality out there…a whole different world. Being back in civilization with modern facilities, Bud asked me how it was to cook on a real stove this morning. He bought me a really nice camp stove to cook on out there (more on that later), and the cooking was not so bad. The clean up was not fun washing dishes in cold water, or water that I had to heat, and hauling water, but while I was there, I really didn’t mind it. You just do what you have to do out there, and I have to say that I really liked working hard all day and going to bed so tired I felt like I would drop.
This blog is written from my point of view, and someone asked me in the comments section how Bud felt about it all. Bud told me at least once (spontaneously and unprovoked) that he loved it there. He worked so hard while there. He was tired, sore and quite frankly, WORRIED about the work that needs to be done, especially the many surprises and unexpected obstacles that showed up. He is an administrator of my blog, and I hope he will make a post someday with his own comments. I would love that, and I’m sure you would, too!
Thank you all for your wonderful comments, and for being so excited with me. I have loved putting the blog posts together, and sharing them with you. I’m humbled that you all have enjoyed them. I wish and hope that someday you can come visit me there. I know you would love it as much as we do.