The weather in Texas is notoriously strange. It can be storming in the front yard and clear in the back. This was not the case, however, during our recent hail storm which destroyed our roof and totaled my car (more on that next week).
The hail was impressive in size and came down with the force of a power washer cleaning black spots off the back patio.
I was naturally concerned about the chickens and ducks in the back yard.
I waited until the sky stopped falling and went to check.
Despite their bird brains, they all managed to take cover and not one was hurt during the storm.
I cannot say the same for the duck pond and water bowl.
Fortunately both items were easily replaced and the ducks are blissfully unaware of the danger they had escaped.
In contrast, Beekeeper Brian and I are keenly aware of the blessing it was to get away with only material damage.
We have an amaryllis in our front yard. This year it has bloomed twice and is particularly lovely.
Last week we had a horrible hail storm. Beekeeper Brian was at work, so I was home alone and it was loud and scary.
As I watched out the front window, the gutter came down.
It was disconcerting to say the least.
The insurance adjuster came by yesterday, and we are getting a new roof and gutter.
My only question to him was – can we take the gutter all the way down now? He assured me that was fine as he had pictures.
It will be a relief not to have that reminder hanging off the roof.
Meanwhile, when I walk through the living room I can see out the window the fallen gutter and the amaryllis.
I realized this morning how hard it is to look past the gutter to see the amaryllis. The gutter is much closer and represents a very scary time. But if I focus really hard, I can see the amaryllis which is quite beautiful and makes me smile.This is very much how life is right now. The things that are closest – the pandemic, the civil unrest – are scary and hard to see past. But if I focus really hard, I can trust there will be beauty beyond it all.
I really enjoyed my English classes in high school. I remember reading James Joyce. I don’t remember exactly what we read, only that he used a technique called stream of consciousness.
The way I remember it being explained is writing as your mind wanders, like right before you fall asleep. You just move from one topic to the next with only a thread of connection.
I believe the children’s version of stream of consciousness is seen in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.
I thought about this as I got ready to go to work this morning.
I opened the fridge to make my salad for lunch and remembered I needed to clean out the produce drawer. We have some peaches in a brown sack that needed to go into the drawer.
So I cleaned the drawer and moved the peaches.
Then as I moved the peaches I saw my jar of sour dough starter. That reminded me that I was taking some to a friend this evening so I took it out to feed it.
Then I remembered I wanted to take some blueberry bars to our community group tonight also. I got them out of the back fridge and moved them into a different container that would fit in the front fridge where I could see it.
Then I remembered the teacher I am helping at school right now asked me to bring my paper shredder to school so I went to get it. When I unplugged it, I saw all the dirt and dust and dog hair that had been under it so I cleaned the floor in that area.
I loaded it into my car and came back into the kitchen to get my lunch and my water. When I opened the freezer to fill my cup with ice, I realized the ice trays needed to be emptied.
At this point I needed to get to work and I was afraid if I emptied the ice trays, I would remember something else so I went to work.
So instead of saying I got sidetracked I say I had a “stream of consciousness morning.” It sounds so much better.
This transition from house ducks to outside ducks has been the smoothest ever. I was concerned, as always, that the smaller ducks would have to go through an initiation before they were accepted into the flock.
This did not happen.
I started by putting the ducks in the wire cage in the pen with their new friends.Usually it takes a fair amount of time for the littles to venture out. These ducks are particularly attached to each other so they went out together.They spent a few minutes cuddling and surveying their surroundings.
It reminded me how important it is to have a friend when facing a scary situation.
Before long they were eating and drinking. I could rest easy for the rest of the day.
I went to check on them before I went to bed. I was going to put them in the coop but I found them cuddling in the middle of all the big ducks.
The newest arrivals to our duck pen really seem to enjoy the “duck pond” (i.e. kiddie swimming pool). Since we built the duck pen in the front corner of the chicken yard, I can watch the ducks swim from my kitchen window. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so I get to see the ducks often.
At least once a week I empty the “pond” and refill it with fresh water. This is the ducks’ favorite day. I stand outside to get a better view of them in the clean pond.
Ricky is always the first to get into the water. He is the oldest duck and I call him the daddy duck.
When he is in the water, no one else comes around. Ricky doesn’t share.
The younger ducks are content to play in the puddle created by emptying the “pond.”
After Ricky has finished playing in the water, the rest of the ducks can take their turn.
The younger ducks are much better at sharing. They are not so good at social distancing.
When Beekeeper Brian and I were first married, we lived on the second floor of an apartment in Houston. I clearly remember standing at the bottom of the stairs one day with a basket of laundry completely terrified of a grasshopper on the stairs. I stood there until it hopped away and then I quickly ran up the stairs and into our apartment.
Fast forward almost 33 years and I now think nothing of scooping a cockroach out of the chicken waterer or walking through the bees on my way to the chicken yard. What brought about this transformation?
I’m not really sure. It is either growing older (and wiser) or living on Miller Farm where there are an abundance of critters.
In any case, it serves me well to be less afraid of creepy crawly things.
A couple of weeks ago, I was weeding in the succulent bed around the mail box when I felt something crawling on my foot.
I have overcome my fear of most things, however, I have a healthy respect for fire ants. I thought I might be on the menu for lunch that day.
I quickly removed my shoe to discover…a small rough earth snake.
I watched him for a minute then decided he was unhappy in the gutter so I gently picked him up and put him back on the dirt. He quickly burrowed to safety.
There was a point in my life when I would have hurt myself trying to get away from that snake. Then I would have refused to check the mail ever again for fear of another snake encounter.
Life is much calmer for me now. I’m thankful for that. The world seems to have more and more things of which to be frightened. I just chose to be fearless.