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Chicken Funerals

So we had our first death among the chickens. It was a very sudden thing and she died very quickly. They are 7 months old and when we first got them from 4-H they told us there would be about a 20% mortality rate among the chicks. We also heard out and about, as we were gathering supplies or picking up feed, that one of the neighboring towns had gotten a bad batch and nearly all of them had died.

We’ve been so proud that all 12 hens and both roosters have survived and are laying. We have had to change a few things like wood shavings instead of straw and we need metal water/food containers instead of the plastic ones for the winter. We also put a tarp across the top to help insulate against the cold nights. We have learned quite a bit in the process of raising them as well. I have found it both fun and fascinating.

Twice so far we have had the dominant rooster we named Kellogg have his wattle pecked bloody. The first time it happened we did some research and came up with some stuff called Blue Kote. (we picked up a different brand from Tractor Supply but it does the same thing). It had antiseptic properties, helps numb the injury and covers the smell of blood so that the hens and other rooster don’t peck him to death. He healed so quickly the first time and we coated him a couple of times a few days apart.

Well when Ordinary Dad and I were out gathering eggs one morning and I looked down to see the back of my hand was covered in blood. Sure enough, Kellogg was bloody on his other wattle this time. We are pretty darn good at getting this done now without struggle from the chicken or getting ourselves stained blue in the process and we grabbed the blue junk and coated him. Now there are a few hens that seem to chase Kellogg around and pick on him but that stuff tastes nasty so we just throw him back in immediately and figure he is gonna be safe after they get a whiff of him.

Later that day I went out and checked the egg situation again and one of the hens was huddled in a nesting box. That usually means one is sitting on an egg or a few of them. So I tried shooing here but she wasn’t budging. I rolled her out of the way and then stopped short. She didn’t even respond. I rolled her the other way and then laid down the eggs in my hand. I picked her head up by the feathers on her neck and shook her gently. Her eyes barely cracked open and my heart jumped up in my throat. I hot tailed it inside to tell Ordinary Dad that I thought we had a dead chicken.

We went back out the check the situation out and decided she was definitely sick. We took her inside and put her in a box with some newspaper and set her up near the heater hoping she would get to feeling better. In the meantime I headed out to pick Tornado up from her detention. Bubba and I rode down, picked her up, ran some errands and headed back to her school to go to parent teacher conferences. After that was done we went over to Bubba’s school for open house and their bookfair.

On our way home, I warned Tornado what was up with one of her chickens. She of course got upset and when we got home she made a beeline to go check on her. Unfortunately I did not beat her to it and the chicken was dead. It was already too dark and cold to do anything about it that night but the smell was atrocious. We put the box in our toolshed until we could deal with it the next day.

Ordinary Dad got called out of town for one of our clients and didn’t get home until late. So that left me, Bubba and Tornado to do the honors. I am still in the sling for this torn rotator cuff so I cannot help dig the hole either. It was already dark when Tornado got home from her second detention and dad had run off to take care of stuff. We are all out there in the dark, I’m holding the maglight and the kiddos were digging the hole. Two shovels and a post hole digger later we finally have a small, round hole that is roughly a foot deep.

So I get the box and realize I forgot to grab some gloves and I figure it should be easy to lift it out with the shovel and put it in the hole. NOPE!! The darn thing was matted solid and so as my kids watched horrified I keep trying to scoop this corpse out of the box while trying not to burst into tears. LOL. Finally I get it and then the damn thing rolls off the shovel and falls with a thud into the hole. I look over to see my daughter’s lip quivering and her eyes wide as saucers. I sigh and try to gently rearrange the chicken neatly in the hole and that is when it all unraveled.

Without gloves, I was unable to set it at the bottom and so when I finally get it wiggled into place I notice that one leg is sticking straight up. At this point I am sure that I am going to scar all of us for life and I take the shovel and try to push the leg gently down. It isn’t working and the more I try the worse it gets. I’m jabbing desperately now in between apologizing profusely to my daughter and praying the damn thing will just freakin get in the hole already. FINALLY we get it decently settled and I drop the newspaper on top of it and tell them to start burying it. We flattened it down and said a few words over it. My daughter couldn’t find any flower but she put a handful of their favorite type of clover on the grave.

So, if this every happens again we will be doing it the first day it happens, in the light and with gloves so that the whole thing is not one horrible traumatizing event again.

She was very distraught when I spoke to her later and I pointed out that the chicken had a great life. Food and water on demand and a safe and cozy spot she didn’t have to worry about predators in. I explained that she at least died safe, warm and not pecked to death by the other chickens. She started to wail “She died with dignity….” it took everything I had to hold it together. It was so funny and yet I feel so sad for her.

We figure that when we coated the rooster’s wattle that the hen continued to peck at him, got a mouthful of that stuff and perhaps a piece of his wattle and it poisoned her. The stuff is heavy duty and it says not to use it on an animal that you intend to eat. It also has poison control warnings for touch/ingest/eyes etc. All of the other chickens are fine as well as both roosters. She was a very aggressive bird so it is highly likely that is what happened.

Tornado hasn’t really mentioned it since then but I’m hoping she isn’t too upset and I really hope that my parenting fail the other night didn’t scar her forever LOL – because that was just awful and funny and absurd all at the same time.

I will say one thing my friends, if you had told me when I was my son’s age, that I would live in the mountains of TN and have 4 dogs, 2 cats and a butt load of chickens I would have laughed right in your face. But I would not change it for the world.

Until we meet again my friends, stay safe and be blessed.

chicken crossed the road

Not Goodbye…..Until we meet again.

Today is going to be a hard day for me my friends. Three years ago we lost my nephew. He was one of the most special people I have ever had the honor of knowing and loving. He was born with SMA – a severe form of Muscular Dystrophy.

He taught me so much and I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken; but mostly how to love without boundaries.

Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.

I miss him with a fierce ache this morning. But I sent my kids off to school and his mother can only cry today in remembrance of the days she did the same. And so it is with humble gratitude that I remember him today and his mother and father as well as our family.

RIP my sweet angel, take care of everyone until we meet again.

 

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For about eight years this day has meant to me what it means now to all Americans. A day of remembrance for the greatest sorrow my generation and those behind me have born witness to. A day when the Nation’s heart broke as one, where our anger and disbelief flared as one, we bled together and shed tears as one. A day when we all stood shoulder to shoulder, division lines gone. It has changed our lives forever.

A year ago today, this day took on a whole new meaning. Hearts broke and tears shed for a great grief once again that could not be contained. For on this day the Lord took my nephew Garrett Allen Buthe, who had turned 10 the week before, into his loving arms and welcomed him home. I could not be at his side though I wanted to badly. We left when my son was 5 1/2 and peanut was just 2 1/2. I had promised my son we would be back to visit, and then four and a half long years had passed and life had gotten away from me, I hadn’t visited like I wish I had. I think they only made it back there once. I inadvertently broke a promise to my son and we both know it. I was able to attend his funeral thanks to the great generosity of a woman I didn’t know, but consider a friend now. She knew Garrett, had been one of his paras in school, and everyone who met him and knew him, couldn’t help but love him. It was the least she could do she said.

I remember this day so clearly….

They were very nearly brothers. Born into a close family and born with a mere 8 month difference in their age. Their fathers were brothers and they grew up as close cousins. I have such fond memories of them all. There was not a single bit of difference between any of them and they all loved each other mightily as children are so capable of doing. Want to play tag? Sure thing. Garrett tears out on his ‘hog’ and Ean and Alexandria join in on their bikes. See, not a bit of trouble. Down Uncle Cory and Aunt Lana’s driveway. The three of them were glorious together.

Ean, baby Alex, and GAB
 Watching them tear into Christmas presents together, or playing at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Going up to the cabin with the family for the weekend in Fall River, where they would swim, and jet ski and boat. Where we would watch fireworks and celebrate the Fourth of July. We would lay on rugs and blankets in the living room of the cabin and watch movies and nap together. And there were always card games. Those days are filled with love and laughter. True they held their own trouble and stresses but there are things I would give anything to have back for even just a day. I will never again hear the sweet melody of the three voices raised in laughter together over something silly. There are things you miss so much and they are the little things that tear holes in your soul and let you feel the lonely wind whistle through.
His parents were and still are fabulous. Not a day went by that they didn’t make every wish or dream of his come true. In his short life he accomplished so much. From bagging a deer with his daddy, to scuba diving, to his Muscular Dystrophy involvement and the sweet love of his mother; there wasn’t anything I can see that Garrett ever lacked in his life. They filled it with all the love and excitement a child could desire. With more patience and endurance than I feel like I could do – they worked every day with him. Every Halloween came with an amazing, well thought out costume to include his ‘hog’. They would all head out together to collect the sweet treats in their grandparent’s sub-division. They parented in a way I wish I could always do. In a way that I will always admire and strive to emulate. And we all love with a desperation born of the knowledge that life is so fleeting and unfair at times.
Ten years ago, I dropped my baby off at the sitter and went into my college classes for the day. I was in school for Journalism at the time and we were in the first class of the day, which happened to be Reporting 101. We heard the commotion as it began, the professor stepped out and got some basic information. The whole class was begging to be let out to go into our press room. Then we laid the argument down that if something of great importance was happening, better than sitting in class reading a book, would be to be out there doing what it was we were meant to do, report. Finally after what seemed like forever we were out and staring at the T.V. The first tower had been hit, and the great dark plume of smoke froze our hearts in our chests. Not a sound was going on in the room. We all stood, eyes locked on the screen, hearts in our throats.
When the second tower was hit, the great torrent of tears poured out as we learned what our fellow brothers and sisters were going through. We watched the fire burn so hot that many chose to leap from the burning towers. We watched their bodies fall. And we cried, we raged, we demanded retribution from the ones who had struck at our souls. On our own soil. Then even more horrible than before, we witnessed the collapses of the towers and when we thought we couldn’t be more shocked or grief stricken, again the tears flowed unchecked down our faces.
The thought crossed my mind that people who were alive for the JFK assassination or the Challenger explosion had stood as a Nation united and grieved. Still somehow I guess I never thought something like that would happen in my lifetime, and you hope not in your children’s either. Yet here it was, that moment for our generation and theirs. We stood united again in grief and confusion trying to sort the pain. The professor in charge of the Journalism program called us to attention and said. This is your moment, you can’t stand here and do nothing. You are journalists, get yourselves together and get out there and get the news.
So we mopped our faces, sucked it up and did. But we also grieved. I sat at a bench watching a group pray around me and the flagpole. I felt a solidarity with them, though I did not physically join them. I thought of a good friend, who I knew was a fireman in New York. He had been an engine chaser when he was a kid, then a volunteer fireman when he was old enough. I knew he was there. And I prayed for him as well as all touched this day. We brought back the news. It was my honor to collaborate with a fantastic editor of The Lantern on the feature article. We cranked it out through tears and sweat. It was a one headline day, a triumph in the journalistic sense, and yet there was no joy in it. For one word was all that was needed to speak the depth of this atrocity.
My son was too young to know at the time, just barely approaching 2. But he was overwrought by it this year, when they talked about it in school for the 10th anniversary. I spoke quietly to him about it, while I held him on my lap, his head close to my heart; and I ached. A decade has passed. A year has passed. It still hurts with a burn that won’t stop. I won’t forget the lessons from either one. I will teach my children the lessons. Cherish your loved ones, time is precious, don’t get impatient – for this too shall pass, you are stronger than you thought you ever could be, breaking down doesn’t mean broken. Those and so many more. I grieve today for the memory of that day. But I grieve the hardest for the little angel who left. Both were senseless, both touched my life in a profound way. A day doesn’t pass when I don’t see those laughing brown eyes and that freckled face reflected in the eyes of my children. Today I grieve. I will never forget.
In Loving Memory
Where were you? I hope you are safe and blessed my friends.

R.I.P. Sweet Angel…

My heart is breaking right now and I fight to see through the blur of tears. My Aunt passed away today. Cancer, that awful faceless enemy, has claimed another life. I know that she is with our Lord, I know that she was with family and is now, I know also that the angels were around her bed as well. But still I grieve.

My heart grieves a beautiful, womanly soul. A quiet, gentle, loving woman who has always been a rock. Her children are all good people and I can’t remember her ever raising her voice (not even when we couldn’t quit giggling upstairs that summer). The light dims as a candle is snuffed, though heavens light shines brighter for it. Her children, my cousins, my blood – they have lost both parents and my soul aches and prays for them. We are all so young for so much grief. I watch the love as my family gathers close once more to support one another and I have never felt so lonely in my life.
Grandpa’s passing was hard on us all, especially Grandma, and now to lay to rest her daughter after losing her soul mate? How much can one person/each of us bear? Does enough grace come for each day? Why do I feel like I have to hoarde it then as if there isn’t enough to go around? Why do I feel weak and emptied? How come it hurts so much damn it all?

ARE YOU THERE?!?! ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING?!?!?
I’M MAD AND SAD AND CONFUSED. But most of all I’m hurt and want to curl up like a child in someone’s arms.
I will miss you always Aunt Pat. You have been a blessing to everyone your life has touched. We may have ‘lost you’ from your earthly home, but we will meet again upon those golden shores. Give Grandpa a hug and tell him we love him.

IT’S THE CLIMB………………….Thanks y’all-s, thoughts and reflections

First of all I would like to start by thanking Debi and her husband Robert for making this trip possible. Being a journalist and finding myself at a loss for words isn’t usual for me. :p As hard as it was to say goodbye, thank you from the bottom of my heart for making it possible for both my son and I to have that opportunity. We BOTH needed it and the pain will ease but the regret would have lasted forever. May God bless you and yours for the unselfish generosity, loving compassion and honor to Garrett that you showed by sending me those tickets. I am forever in your debt and mightily humbled by how loving of a God we have.

Secondly, I would like to say it was truly a pleasure to meet Kellie, her children, the new baby (aka chunky monkey), and all of the extended Buthe family, as well as seeing everyone I knew from the family there as well as friends from long ago. Saddened as we all were by the reasoning behind it all. I am honored to call you all family, you made no differentiation between me and Ean and I cannot tell you how welcomed, comforted and part of it all that made me feel. Thank you, it would have been difficult without family by our side. Thank you for the warm and open love and welcome you gave to my son, he NEEDED that family connection and you guys were wonderful! Gloria, I hope that this past few days has changed you as it has I. I feel as though we could have a great and close connection not only with us but the kids as well. And it is comforting to know that they have those family roots and connection there and now they, especially Ean knows that. And again, it was EXACTLY what he needed. From the depths of my heart thank you. <3

Thank you to my awesome Kansastock crew (Ames, Coleo and his lovely gf Arielle) for the love and support and in person hugs and time spent with me. Arielle is lovely, intelligent and just perfect for Cole. You could see the spark between them and my aunt even asked me when y’all were getting married. She went out of her way to bring her and Cole to meet my aunt and I at the mall, just so they could support me and give me a hug and I could meet the wonderful woman who stole our best friends’ heart. *on a sidenote, the brownies disappeared, did not make it home with me and I didn’t have a single one )-; but THANK YOU for sending them.

All of my galz who offered all their words of love and support as well as prayers through this whole difficult time, thank you. I know you will all say “pshaw, it was nothing you wouldn’t have done for us, what are friends for” but there are no words for how soothing that was to my soul. <3

We took Ean to see his father’s grave (since GAB was going to be buried next to him and I wanted him to be prepared ahead of time). All in all I think it went well. Gloria, Ean and I cut fall flowers for his headstone planter, Ean carefully trimmed the grass away and had a few private moments to himself. He didn’t say much but he seemed thoughtful. I wouldn’t say upset but hopefully it gave him some needed closure.

As I drove around my old hometown I found that though there had been changes, it was still very much the place I remember. I felt pretty nostalgic as I toured old areas and these lyrics ran through my mind by Toby Keith……Something made me smile. Something seemed to ease the pain Something about the universe and how it’s all connected. I felt how deeply I had changed and the rightness of that change. I KNOW for certain in the depths of my heart that the move was the right thing to do, that the universe had aligned in my life the way that it was supposed to unfold, that however does nothing to stem my grief or my regret at them not having those years together. I wish I could give those 5 years back, but the path cannot be untraveled and so my peace with it all has been made, and allowed another door to open. We look forward to the kids enjoying long summer visits with their family.

I left the young, in love, foolish, untrained girl behind with you and only the woman returned. I’ve let go of all the what ifs and anger and regrets now I hope for peace and healing to flood in.

Lana, Cory and Kellie, I cannot tell you how deeply sorry I am for your loss. I can only say that as deeply as I feel it cut me it has to be 1,000x harder for you. Nothing could ever hurt as badly as having to bury your child, especially so young. I felt the brush of it when Aley and Alexandria had that wreck and it horrified me. As you go know that there are many many people praying for peace and healing and standing around you to support you when times get rough. The grief will never leave but I hope for you an easing and a knowledge that this isn’t goodbye only until we meet again.

Thank you to the Harley bunch, it truly warmed my heart and I know GAB was smiling down when y’all pulled up to pay tribute to such a powerful young soul.

Karen and the CDC crew: it was AWESOME to see you and I <3ed Ean’s face when he saw and remember y’all. Each little connection was such a powerful comfort to him.

My nephew’s funeral was packed, so was the overflow room and I believe there were people standing in there. There were many many more who wished to be there and were unable to do so: Awe insipiring how powerful his impact was in the time that he spent here. I hope that everyone remembers that and takes from it the knowledge that your OUTLOOK on life has a power to effect other and change the world. We can choose everyday to hold our heads up and keep going no matter what life may throw at us with the knowledge that there will always be hope, there will always be dreams and even when life knocks us facedown in the dirt or throws a curve that we cannot begin to understand that we can keep climbing and choose to never quit. How could any of us do less than Garrett with all that he faced with courage every day of his life?

Joel, thank you for the ride from KC to Augusta, it was much appreciated. Kate & Steve thank you so much for opening your home to us we appreciated the support. And I cannot thank you enough for the loan of your vehicle while I was there it made it possible for me to be a part of what I needed to when I needed to.

I am sorry I missed many people I would have liked to spent time with and hope they understand that it was certainly not personal it was just really hectic and emotional. I am hurt by the insinuation that I was not under an obligation to spend every moment with my “Buthe” family because I flew there ONLY FOR MY NEPHEW’S FUNERAL , however that was such a tiny blip and I’m certain wasn’t meant in the way it came out, I was awfully raw and emotional at that time…..

Thank you for the “special gifts” for my children to have a “piece” of GAB with them always. I appreciate the unselfish generosity.

In conclusion, the hole left behind by that little freckle faced kid will gape large and raw for a long time for a lot of people. Let us turn our minds towards “solutions” to the situation by using our energy to support people who supported GAB through his life. MDA was a HUGE part of Garrett’s life and they were his other family. Please support MDA and honor the memory of those who lose this battle every day. Ewalt elementary school taught GAB from Pre-K-3 and all of you showed up in force many time to support them and never made GAB feel as though he were any different. We should get more involved with supporting our schools, in our children’s educations, and in making changes where we can when we find lack.

Most of all, thank God for every day that you have. Each one is a gift and may house a memory to cherish for a lifetime.

RIP?

This is a video of one of the songs played at the funeral and it really touched me:

too bad Miley sings it, LOL……………J/K