How to train your chickens…

fuzzy wuzzy love

This past weekend was Father’s Day weekend.  As it happens sometimes my birthday is co opted by Father’s Day.  This is one of those years.  That has never been a problem when I lived back in California.  We just made it one big ol celebration.  We grilled, we swam, we opened presents.  My grandma Claudena would have a wheeled cart full of condiments or iced tea.  (Have I said I miss her?  I do.)  I am thirty-seven years old.  Yay me.  I made it this far by the grace of God.  I am the age of fading starlets, too old to play the love interest, too young to play the mother of the love interest.  An interesting place to be.

Since Father’s Day was on my actual birthday, I decided to claim Saturday as mine.  The family got up early and we ventured off to Collinsville, Al to Trade Day.  I had put my hair up in a hair band the night before (see this video ).  I woke up with a cascade of fabulous curls.  I put on makeup and looked like a blond bombshell.  (which was good because I was really ticked at my husband.)  I wore a cute polka dot shirt, jeans and flip-flops.  A bit much for Trade Day, I guess, but I wanted to rock the curls. After we parked and walked to all that is Trade Day, I figured the kids should get a biscuit before they cried for one.  There was a booth right away, and I ordered various biscuits for all of us. (I recommend a tenderloin biscuit with mustard.  In fact, a biscuit with mustard is unreal.)  We waited for what seemed like an hour, and finally sat down at a dirty picnic table, noshing on our bread stuffs.  Jacob saw that they offered deep-fried Oreo’s on the menu.  He had to try one.  I confess, so did I.  (WOW!)  Full and frisky, we made our way up the rows of vendors.  I wasn’t interested in too much.  I was on a mission.

I wanted some bra’s and some baby chicks.

There were adorable puppies galore, baby goats, piglets the size of my big toe.  Oh, the cute was almost too much.  St Bernard pups.  Free kittens.  If you know me, you would wonder why I don’t just go ahead and build an ark.  As we came to the chickens, my heart began to sink.  There were plenty of pullets and full grown hens, but I wanted some babies.  I lurrrrrve my babies.  I had all but given up when I found a vendor that had baby chicks and bunnies.  I had planned on getting 4 or 5 to start.  I told the gal we were just getting started and were open to any advice.  She said to start with 10 chicks.  TEN!  Whaaaa?  I had already worked out a set up in my mind for 4 or 5.  Okay, so ten.  At a dollar a piece, that wasn’t bad.  I would have to readjust my plans a little, but the more the merrier.  I asked if they had a way to verify that they were indeed hens, (I READ IT ONLINE, OKAY?), she smiled and said “No, not really.”  I asked, “Well, what if I get 10 roosters?”  She laughed and said that wouldn’t happen.  So I picked out ten, and then one more little buff that I knew was my true love.  She put them in a cardboard box and we continued our Trade Day jaunt.

That’s when the muggy came out.  All kinds of muggy.  Instantly my curls turned into wet noodles.  My skin was covered in blisters of sweat.  Sweat ran down our backs, fronts and sides.  I started to look a little Tammy Faye, so we headed back to the car.  Jacob had ditched us gotten separated from us, so I had to come back and search for him.  I found him staggering and sweating.  “Where were you guys?” he cried in his best Oscar Nom.

And now…introducing the Clements Brood.

huddle up!

bigger, snarkier....rooster?

Oh, the places we will go!

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Decoration

Memorial Day weekend is a time of patriotism, grilling out, and sunshine (hopefully).  I guess there are sillies out there who take the weekend to protest and tear down the troops, but we’ll just pretend they don’t exist.  I send out the most beautiful, heartfelt thanks to our men and women serving this great nation.  I also bow my head to honor those who have fallen.  No matter how one feels about war, it is easy to remember and send big love to those who have lost family members and loved ones.  Thank you for sharing them with the nation.  They are not forgotten.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to experience a small snippet of what is called Decoration here in the South.  Decoration Day was the original name for Memorial Day.  Its roots of origin can be found in several places, but the South loves to lay claim to it.  A group of ladies would go around laying flowers on the graves of the blue and grey before the end of the Civil War.  They carried on the practice after the war ended.  A hymn from the time period was sweetly titled, “Kneel Where Our Loves Are Sleeping” and was dedicated to these women.  The practice has grown from decorating the graves of soldiers to remembering all loved ones lost.

Like everything else in the South, Decoration is taken seriously.  No joke.  Signs go up for Decoration flowers weeks in advance.  They are elaborate, fancy, gaudy, and fantastic.  Oh, and usually quite fake.  Sunday morning we left for church about 30 minutes early and headed to the cemetery where Jon’s PawPaw, MawMaw, and Aunt Myra are laid to rest.  He had put together a little bouquet of day lilies and wild flowers.  A meager white milkglass bud vase held them lovingly together.  The sweetest thing.

The cemetery was a mad house.  Cars were backed up to the entrance.  We had to park on the lawn near the main road.  Jon said he wasn’t sure where the graves were, so he went to look while we roasted in the car. While we waited a gentleman pulled up in a white pickup.  The truck was beat up, and he looked like he had combed his hair and put on his best chambray shirt. The man grabbed up three bunches of fake flowers.  I told Jacob that I wondered what the story was behind those flowers.  Jacob said “I don’t”.  I told him they all had a story, and so did the people carrying them.  I wondered what the story was for this man.

It took too long for Jon to find the graves, so when he came back we had to go on to church.  Jon said he had to call his stepmom to find out where the graves were.  People were everywhere.  Garbage cans mounded over with flowers.  Jon seemed to think that a lot of people got dressed up for Decoration and didn’t even go on to church.  I couldn’t believe that, but weirder things have been true.