Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken Games

We have a new game around here.

It's called "Chicken In the Kitchen."

Actually, it's not a game at all; I just figure if I call it a game it will seem more fun and playful. And less disturbing.

In reality, what we have are chickens who have discovered the screenless window to our bedroom, and who delight in jumping into the house. Which means we've had to be a whole new level of vigilant around here, listening for the telltale flutter of wings that our feathered friends can't disguise as they come in for a landing. That blessed flutter is the only thing standing between us and a lot of unmentionable undesirables in the house, I tell you what. (Oh, who am I kidding? I mention it all the time: poop. Poop, poop, poop. It's what chickens do. A lot.)

Last week when I had a triple whammy of upper respiratory infections, I was a little foggy coming in the front door and a little red hen snuck behind me and made it to the kitchen. I shut the door, lifted my drooping head and spied her happily munching at the cat's dish. I actually closed my eyes and uttered a little prayer, standing there in the dining room, "Oh, I really can't chase her. I can't. Please, please let her be calm so she'll let me pick her up without having to chase her around the house."

I advanced on her quietly and slowly, and thankfully, she just stood there while I picked her up.

Prayers are answered, and don't you forget it.

Anyway, this morning I realized no one would be home during the day, and I didn't want to risk the chickens having their way with the house, so I blocked the window. Then, when I was in the truck getting ready to drive the kids to school, I delighted, DELIGHTED in watching a rooster hop up to the windowsill and bob and crane his neck trying to figure out how to get into the new playground, then jump down in defeat. Ha! Take that!

There is, of course, a corner of me that realizes that not everyone...or anyone...worries about things like keeping chickens out of the house. I know that. I do. I just can't dwell on it too long or I might throw in the towel and sell the whole operation and find a nice, clean, shiny, new, well-sealed house inside city limits, with a postage stamp, poop-free lawn.

So I don't dwell. I just dodge the chicken poo and smile. And pet a feathered head. Then all is well.

Love from the farm,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fall = Grateful!

There's lots to catch up on as we bound into fall. Aside from the antics of some presumptious feathered farm animals who shall remain nameless,there have been some fun things happening that I want to tell you about. Like the fun we had with Mike's sweet sister and her darling girls and husband picking apples in Colorado...

Then, there was the adventure we had in the pumpkin patch with our Ellie, Grandma, aunt and cousins visiting from out of state...

And, I also want to fill you in on what's up with this guy, who's having a blast in South Africa. He's the one in the middle...see him there with the happy smile?

Then, I might do a little bragging about how cute these girls were in their school choir concert this fall....

But, all those updates and anecdotes are going to have to wait. Because, today, I think I need to just say thank you - to express my gratitude and overwhelming joy.

Because today, I realized we've passed a significant milestone with this guy.

Six months.

Six months Tanner has been in remission from his kidney disease.

Six months he's been free of pain and uncertainty and missing out on absolutely everything his friends were up to. Six months he's been free of worry and emergency rooms and IV's and steroids.

Since Tanner's kidney disease got off to a dramatic start when he was 10, this is the longest, actually twice as long as, he has ever gone without a relapse.

And I am so very grateful...

Because, where for a time he was sallow and weak with deep circles under his eyes, now he's the picture of health.

Where for a long time he was limited to only walking -- no climbing stairs, no running, no P.E. -- now he can do this...

...and this (and it's a darn good thing,because his Dad was too busy laughing to be of any help with this big boy).

(And, no, Mike hasn't taken up a new habit ... it's a lollipop.)

While for the past four years, we couldn't keep from reminding him he was sick because there were endless urine tests and blood pressure checks and blood draws and hospitalizations and talk of spilling and bleeding and heart problems...

...now he's having fun exploring his talents and expanding his comfort zones.

While he started out this year in the hospital, facing six months of chemotherapy to fight a stubborn, threatening relapse...

Now, he's here with us. Every day. Strong, adventurous, laughing, healthy, smiling and happy. We love this kid. And we're so grateful he's not only here, he's well.

All is well.

Thank you God, all is well.

How I pray we can hold on to this remission forever.

Love from the farm,