Guest being chased by a donkey!

As most of you know, we have a nice room that is on Airbnb (bed & breakfast). We have an older couple staying with us all weekend from N. Carolina. They aren’t exactly animal people and have no interest meeting the large fur balls in the pasture who have been staring at them like stalkers every time they go outside to eat on the porch. The llamas along with Dunkay, line up at the fence and watch these folks…every move they make, they see it…watching…waiting…hoping they will come over and give them a treat. Heck, it even creeps me out! Any who…I got up this morning and went downstairs to check on my guest.  They were standing by the front door, in their jammies, holding plates of food and coffee. They looked a bit ‘startled’. I asked what was wrong.  They told me they fixed some eggs and toast went outside to eat, hoping to enjoy the beautiful morning, when Dunkay barreled through the gate and galloped straight towards their plates of food! They sat there frozen to the chairs not sure if they should give up their breakfast to the beast or grab everything and run! They chose the latter! They got up, held the plates high and quickly walked to the front porch. Dunkay knocked over a chair and broke a plate as these two elderly folks tried to get away!  After he was done ‘wrecking havoc’ as she put it…he trotted to the front porch where they were trying to eat and demanded all the food…NOW! They ran back into the house, stood at the door, staring at it in disbelief.  That’s where I came in. I assured them that he really is harmless,  and coaxed them back to the kitchen.  I tried to make a joke out of it, but they didn’t think it was funny. They just looked at me with a blank stare!  I went outside looking for Mr Pain In the Butt. He was already back in the barn harassing the chickens.  I swept up the shattered plate, picked up the chair and scolded Dunkay as he stood inside the barn with his head peeking around the corner cause he knows better!   I don’t think these folks will be back.

Amish Llamas?

Very sad news, Amish Acres in Nappannee is closing. We have been going there for years…the festival, the food, the tours, the plays in the round barn theater. Chad and I go for the day and take pics, buy stuff we don’t need and relax as we stuff ourselves with homemade fudge, and buy a years worth of Amish butter.

Well, I was telling my hubby about how we can’t go anymore and walk around in the Amish barns taking notes on how to keep ours. As I was going on and on, I noticed that he had a huge smile on his face. Oh, oh!
I stopped my ‘oh woe is us’ for not being able to go there anymore, and asked him, “Now what?!”

He jumped over to me, got real close and said, “Do you know what this means?” Uh, no, and I don’t think I want to either. He got a serious look in his eyes, took my hands into his and said with all sincerity, “Addie Amish Acres…A.A.A.” I quickly took my hands out of his, stood up and said, “Nope, ain’t gonna happen!” He got this shocked look on his face and said, “Why not? Can’t you just see it? We can have the llamas in the barn, you can sell your pics for a ton of money to mesmerized tourists, and we can be the only place in the world that has AMISH LLAMAS!!”

What?! There’s no such thing as Amish llamas?! Have you ever seen a buggy being pulled by a llama? Or gazing in the field with an Amish farmer close by doing work? No you haven’t, and I’m not doing it!

So for an hour he followed me around the house spewing his great idea about how to create Addie Amish Acres. Oh my gosh, I thought I was going to hit the man!

Thank goodness we cant afford to buy the place! (Though he was convinced there just had to be a wealthy patron or partner willing to give it a go!)

This morning he has all kinds of paper spread out on the table, making notes about how to create the world’s first and only Amish llama farm. Unfortunately, his non-supportive wife in this farm adventure of his, is going to crush his dream by saying once again, “Nope, ain’t gonna happen!” as I push him out the door to feed his ‘almost got to be Amish llamas.’ I think I heard him mutter under his breath that he was going to miss me as he joins the Amish community. The Amish Super Farmer…cropped beard and all.

My eyes are still rolling!

The mirror

The Mirror

While visiting my father in the nursing home as he battled the relentless enemy Alzheimers, I walked past an elderly lady resting in her room on a typical hospital bed with worn metal rails. She seemed to be lost in faded memories of yesteryear. I noticed a large dark wood dresser with an oval mirror that was held up by two long curved arms on each side. Covering scuffed marks from decades of use, was a white floral crochet runner. An antique green hand mirror with painted delicate pink flowers, danced around the edge along with a matching hair brush. A mixture of long blonde and silver strands intertwined together in the soft bristles. I glanced up to see on both sides of her treasured family heirloom, tiger wood oval frames with non-smiling family dressed in 1800’s attire.

One small vintage frame with a black and white photo caught my eye. Inside was a photo of a little blonde girl around the age of 5 tightly clutching a larger than life plush rabbit and a slight smile on her tiny dimpled face. Her eyes shyly peered as a large satin bow in her hair competed for space.

A passing nurse saw me standing there and stopped to say hello. I asked her about the old dark dresser. She said that it was Miss Betsy’s grandmothers, the brush set belonged to her mother. She pointed to the big pink bunny half laying on the chair next to the dresser and informed me it was Miss Betsy’s when she was a small child. I could see it was the same bunny that the pretty little girl in the photograph was hugging, but was now missing a button eye!

The busy nurse walked away to redirect another lost patient who only wanted to go home. I stared at Miss Betsy sleeping peacefully as her family lovingly stared down at her from the walls. I paused as I realized this would be Betsy’s last home here on this side of eternity.

I was drawn inside, not to intrude, but to say a quiet prayer for this elderly lady who at one time freely danced, laughed and loved during a time when life was simple, where Model-T Fords sputtered down one lane streets paved with red bricks.

She opened her eyes, saw me standing there, and smiled. I was a bit embarrassed to be caught in her room…a complete stranger. Betsy got up on her elbows, her long silver hair falling back onto her pillow. She weakly said hello. I apologized for breaking the calm and turned to walk away. As I retreated, Betsy gingerly pulled her frail body out of bed and stood in front of the antique dresser staring at a century of family laughter, tears, triumphs, tragedy, secrets, and unforgettable memories hidden deep inside the wooden drawers that now creaked when opened. As she picked up her faded green hair brush and ran her fingers through the soft white bristles, I could see a lone tear weave it’s way through years of life, now in forms of wrinkles down her sad face. She then lifted her eyes looking deeply into the mirror and I followed her gaze.

What I saw shocked me! I didn’t see an elderly lady…I saw a beautiful young woman with golden blonde hair, piled up on her head with long curls framing her smooth face. She had sparking blue eyes with a grin that would melt any young man’s heart in a matter of seconds! I watched her form in the mirror fade away in a swirling mist. As I willed my eyes to focus, I saw in that mirror a tall handsome man with jet black wavy hair, he had olive skin with big brown eyes that shouted romance that could’ve swept up any woman with that look!

I closed my eyes tight telling myself that I needed more sleep. I looked again. The elderly lady was still standing at her dresser, her aged hand touching the cool glass. The dashing young man still stood waiting with an extended arm out and finger tips touching hers through the glass! I looked a little closer and saw that he was holding a toddler around the age of two, a sweet little boy with wavy blonde hair, his eyes matching the color of his mothers. I could see that he was giggling, waving at Miss Betsy. The family stood there together, the aged wife and mother on one side, the young husband and child on the other.

Miss Betsy caught my reflection in the mirror so she turned around to speak to me. I sat on her bed wondering if I should confess to her that I’m seeing things. She slowly walked over, sat next to me, took my smooth hands in her wrinkled ones and gently rubbed her arthritic fingers across mine. She smiled at me, those baby blues shone with life. She cheerfully told me that she would soon be joining her husband and little boy.

She then bowed her head and tearfully recounted how they were taken away from her in a tragic car accident 67 years ago today and how she has been waiting for her time on earth to end so she could be reunited with her family. She also told me that everyday, she searches for her beloved family inside the mirror of the treasured dresser. It was the last gift given to her on Valentine’s day from the love of her life, her handsome husband of 3 short years, it belonged to his mother.

She tightly closed her eyes, lifting her face to the ceiling. Her smile smoothed out the lines of age. In a soft whisper she called out to the Lord, reminding Him that she was ready to go home, how her heart yearned to be reunited with her husband and child that her arms have been aching to hold again as she fondled the simple wedding band that was placed on her finger 70 years ago. I quietly got up and tiptoed to the door, I refused to interrupt her precious prayer to the One who would soon come for her.

I cried on the way home. I prayed for Miss Betsy, asking God to hurry in taking her home. I cried thinking about my own mother who still loves the husband that doesn’t remember her…my mother loves him just as much as Betsy still loves her husband. The one memory she refuses to let go.

I learned that love doesn’t fade away, that some wounds can never heal with time, that life can be tucked away inside an old tired dresser with its top stained by daily tears, dented with pounding fists that screamed out anguish, and scratches made by a red metal firetruck as a little boy sat on it watching mommy apply her make up. I found that this antique dresser, as with many others, can tell you a story just by running your fingers along the top feeling the scuff marks and chipped off paint. You can almost hear the laughter by opening up a drawer. And, by looking in the mirror, one can almost see the faces of people who spilled tears, who smiled with joy, displayed anger…emotions of the people that this dresser touched in their lives. I was blessed to be a part of this hurting woman’s life…even if it was for ten short minutes.

Turkey in the fence

It’s going to be one of those days!

I went out to feed the dingbats and of course Biscuit goes with me. As most of you know by now, BOB our tom turkey hates Biscuit…not a dislike, not him viewing him as an annoyance…but hates.

I walk to the fence with my overflowing cup of scratch grain hoping to feed a few birds before Remi the not-so-small, nor petite, potbelly pig gets wind that yummy grain is flying through the air!

Well BOB sees the large black dog and instantly goes into attack mode. There’s a small problem though…he has to half jump/fly over a fence.
So BOB takes off like a Delta! He’s running, flapping as fast as his drum sticks can go and soars through the air over the fence! But poor BOB doesn’t quite make it. His foot gets stuck in one of the top holes.
So…I have this huge turkey hanging upside down with his foot stuck in the fence…Biscuit is barking at the bird in defiance and Gooble Gobble is freaking out because her man is hanging upside down mere inches away from a Pitbulls mouth! At first I stand there in disbelief thinking…’really’!? How am I going to get this 35lb turkey free from this metal fence trying to peck at Biscuit who is teasing him, being smart enough to keep a 1/2 inch away from his non stop open close, open close beak?

I look around willing Super Farmer to magically appear to save me from this farm drama!! But no, my hero is working and I have to save BOB all by my little lonesome!
I grab my turkey and hold him up as far as I physically can to get his leg in a better position to easily slide out. I’m sorry, did I say ‘easily slide out’? Hahahahaha! Riiiiiiiight!
Nothing is ‘easy’ on this funny farm!
His leg did not just ‘slide out’ like my mind told me it would! It was wedged in there…of course!!
So now I’M freaking out because I’m afraid his leg is going to break and we’ll have to put him down. Not my BOB! 😢
So Nancy is holding this large, heavy turkey up above the fence line trying to get his leg unstuck! The llamas see me at the fence and come trotting over in case I have a snack for them. Remi is already there weaving her fat little body through and around, the chickens are squawking because BOB is, the dog is acting like a mexican jumping bean and Dunkay has his nose in the gate opening, pushing at it because he thinks it’s his only chance to escape for the week! I’m frustrated that I can not get this bird leg free, as 3 llamas, 1 alpaca stand there watching in amusement at the circus performance that they for once, are not the main act!
In desperation, I loudly say, “God I need help!”
Within 10 seconds, his leg was free! Thank you Lord! I carry my still snapping at the dog turkey to the one gate that Dunkay is not working on, and open it up to get my ding bat bird back where he belongs!
I was so happy to see him walk and not limp! I turned to my audience of four legged creatures and told them that the show was over…go away! They lowered their furry heads as if the say, it wasn’t that much fun anyway, and galloped towards the back pasture to see what Laci our mini tank was chewing on as Dunkay kept pushing the gate like a mechanical robot!

I swear this stuff only happens to me!!
Aaarrrggghhh!!

Screaming out frustrations

I friend of mine Lorrie was having a bad day and posted how she just wanted to scream! Well, I asked her if I could scream with her, because my day wasn’t so good either. She responded by asking if she could come over and we could scream together at the animals to see what they would do! Well, you know me…my over active imagination takes over and I can just picture what it would like if we stood outside and screamed out our frustrations!

This could happen…really!

It is a beautiful Fall day. Gold and orange leaves are gently swirling to the ground already blanketed with their comrades. A few song birds on their journey south to a warmer climate, are chirping away, resting on the branches of our huge oak tree that has lost its green color replacing it with yellows, reds and browns. The llamas are grazing nearby, lost in their thoughts of winter coming and how to claim the only warm spot in the barn without ‘that pig’ touching them. Dunkay is laying in the sun napping, his legs twitching as if he’s chasing a llama or two away from the barns warmest corner that he plans to guard with limb and hoof all winter!

Laci is in her usual coma from eating, Remi is vacuuming up all scratch grain that she chased the chickens away from, and BOB? Well, he’s “gobbling” at every noise that remotely sounds like the word BOB!

Lorrie and I stand at the gate to let out all frustrations from the past 60 years or so. We face each other, hold perfectly still, clasp hands, take a deep breath, and yell like there’s no tomorrow!!

The llamas will jump up and start running in circles, bumping into each other as spit flies! Lincoln, our alpaca, will stand like a statue, ears flat and join in with his warning cry in case we are yelling at a coyote sneaking around! Dunkay will hop up and gallop towards us in case he’s missing something exciting like a tasry dandelion just popped up! Remi will come waddling over because she’s convinced that we are calling her over to suprise her with breakfast, lunch, dinner and five midnight snacks given to her all at once. Bob will gobble because he thought he heard his name again, and Laci wont move because she’s still in a 24/7 coma from eating.

Lorrie Lotter-Audette and I will just keep yelling and yelling and yelling until the cows come home! (well, if we had cows) In our case, until the llamas hide in the barn, Dunkay HEE HAWS with us, Remi angrily grunts at us because no food has dropped in front of her dirty little piggy snout, BOB will keep on gobbling, Laci has one eye focused on us out of her coma, and the new neighbors will look at each other, shrug their shoulders remembering that the nice folks across the street warned them about strange and unusual sights and sounds coming from the funny farm that borders on twilight zone instead of normal so don’t be alarmed!

Morning wake up call

Well, I unwillingly got up early this morning because of something making a loud annoying noise outside our bedroom window! Your all thinking, ‘that darn C.S. (rooster known as Chicken Soup, thus C.S.) is at it again!’ Nope…C.S. has been taking a break lately…I hope he isn’t sick! Anyhoo…at the crack of dawn I woke up to this horrible, loud crackle like sound. My mind wakes up slower than my body and automatically goes into ‘figure out the noise mode in case its dangerous’!

The first place the ‘refusing to be alert before the birds’ mind goes to because it already lives there…is the twilight zone, complete with music as Rod Sterlings voice whispers into my ear, “you have now entered into the twilight zone”…that usually wakes me up quick!

I now have one eye open. I listen…there it is again…the noise in the wall? Under the bed? Hiding in the closet? Hanging off the ceiling fan? Under the pillow, the covers? It’s hard to make out between Chad’s night sounds! So I cover my hubby’s mouth long enough for him to pop his eyes open because he can’t breathe! He glares at me with a ‘what are you nuts…trying to smother me again’ look? (I get those looks everyday after I ask him a simple little question like, “should we bring the ducks in out of the rain? They’re getting wet!”). I hush him before he can speak, get close to his ear and whisper…”Do you hear that horrible sound? Do you think we’re being bombed? Could it be the barn falling down? You think Dunkay is chasing another neighbor down the road? Is it Remi’s tummy grumbling from hunger? Is it the end of the world?” I am now shaking the poor man to get up, get dressed, grab a baseball bat, get the pitbull riled up, make chippie growl…just do something and protect the farm!!

He is now wide awake and NOT happy! He pulls back the curtain and looks. What terror could it be?! Then, in disbelief states, ‘Um, it’s only YOUR stupid duck quacking.’
Chad looks at me with his famous ‘you really have lost it’ look as I say in my best, sweetest, coy little voice…”but honey it could’ve been something really horrible and I just wanted my big strong, brave, handsome man to protect me!” He didn’t buy it and the duck quacked away until C.S. joined in for a morning duet serenade!

Waiting for hay man!

Another wagon load of green, fresh, yummy hay is coming today! And the ding bats are lined up at the gate already! They’re whispering back and forth to each other…just like fans lined up behind the gold rope next to the red carpet, excitedly waiting for their favorite movie star to pull up and waltz past them!

Three llamas, one alpaca, a naughty donkey, a comatose mini-horse, and an overweight ‘doesn’t-need-any’ more-food-ever potbelly pig will all stand there and wait for Charles the hay man to drive up the driveway, get out and walk past them to the barn to see which gate he should go in with the truck load of gold! They’ll swoon and, as always, one will surely faint from the sight of they’re favorite non family human who brings them the best hay with a touch of alfalfa for them and only them.

Perhaps Charles will give out autographs to his adoring fans!!

Cupcake race!

Ah baby showers. A place where the old and young gather to touch a protruding tummy, and Ooooooo over the lucky mama to be. It’s also a place where everyone eyes that last cupcake on the counter.

Well, I wanted that last cupcake, I wanted it real bad. I just didn’t want to jump up and grab the sugar mound of frosting, so I talked my niece Tami Gilpin into getting the treat that was calling my name! She kinda grumbled about it, but I promised to let her feed Remi and chase Dunkay. Well that perked her up and she got up to get dear old auntie a cupcake!

I noticed as she was weaving through the tiny aisles of seats crammed with ladies excitedly telling each other stories about “how they labored for 6 weeks just to give birth to an 18 pound baby boy that was teething already” when I noticed a cute little grandma with a pink flowered cane, making her way to the one and only, final, soon-to-be-gone cupcake with MY name on it! I pssssst’d as loud as I could to get Tami’s attention without having every horror story of the worst birth ever known to man to stop being told and all eyes turn towards me. She stopped and looked at me with a ‘huh?’ expression. I pointed to the little old lady who had picked up speed heading straight towards MY cupcake!

My loyal niece nodded and started a little jog towards the counter. The cute little granny, wise in her years of cupcake grabbing experience, picked up the speed. Woo hoo! A race! I elbowed everyone beside me and asked if anyone wanted to take bets on who was going to get that cupcake?! We all piled our money on the table with a slip of paper inked with odds!

It was exciting as we sat on the edge of our seats watching the young whippersnapper and the elderly lady with the pink flowered cane careen toward cupcake paradise. I couldn’t help myself so I started to announce the race…”Here they come ladies and ladies, Tami the Wind and Miss Galloping Granny. Tami is coming up fast, turning past the table of gossip…Granny is going straight up the aisle swinging her cane back and forth, warning folks not to push their chair in front of her, ignoring the story’s of birth horror. Oh no…a child is standing in front of Tami the Wind and refuses to move! Jump, Tami, Jump…get MY cupcake!!!

Ahhhhhh, my girl jagged left past the now screaming toddler and is ahead of Galloping Granny!

Well…you get the story.

My niece got the cupcake! And, the elderly lady? Turns out they had another full tray behind the counter that they brought out and she got two. Turns out Granny truly did know best on how to run the Cupcake race at Baby Shower Racetrack!