Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Day

Cooling Off

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Despite the wise recommendations toward supporting our broody hens in following their natural instincts, we have chosen to proceed with the process of reorienting them. We want them back with the flock, scouring our acres to control pesky flies and ticks, and providing unequaled eggs as an added benefit.

It’s what these girls were raised to do.

Based on all those images of “Broody Breakers” I viewed on Friday, and seeing the costs for a new crate to do the job, I figured we had enough raw material lying around to make one ourselves. I’ve still got leftover scrap lumber from when we took apart scores of pallets to build the chicken coop.

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First, I built a frame for legs, then we folded up some fencing that we reclaimed from around the willow tree in the paddock, where it had been protecting the bark from gnawing horses.

As I understand it, the goal is to bring the hen’s body temperature back to normal, which will swing their hormones out of the broody drive and get them back to their old selves. The open bottom and sides allow maximum air to flow, which is purported to do the trick after about two days of caged confinement.

They only got a short visit yesterday, before we had to return them to the coop for the night, but it went reasonably well, for a couple of hens who wanted nothing but to return to the nest box each had claimed, whether it had eggs, or not.

This morning, they seemed noticeably more accepting of their temporary confines. They had more interest in the food today, which is something they tend to forego when in the brood.

It will be very satisfying when we are finally able to put them out with the rest of the hens and not have them immediately bolt for the coop. Every time they try to return, it will cost them another day in the broody breaker.

It seems like a sad way to treat hens that are behaving maternally on Mother’s Day, but at the same time, it is Cyndie’s maternal instinct that has us working to cool them off.

Here’s to the mother of my children, and to all mothers today, for the love you shower upon your children (and pets), and for also sharing that love with the rest of the world!

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Written by johnwhays

May 12, 2019 at 8:47 am

First Ever

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This is the first time I ever tried to do this. In honor of Mother’s Day today, I have given Cyndie the day off and I have taken over the job of making her classic caramel rolls for the family brunch this morning.

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What an adventure. Just melt too much butter, a lot of Karo syrup, and way more brown sugar than can possibly be healthy, on the stove and then pour it in the pan(s). I lined one with nuts, first.

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Using a pre-made sweet dough cuts the job down to size, but what a challenge it was getting that sticky blob to roll flat and then stay formed for the cutting.

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Arranging the rolls in the pan is a guessing game of wondering how much the dough will rise before baking.

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With a little creative arranging, I got everything to fit.

I’ll be a nervous wreck in front of the oven, but the hard part is done.

Best wishes to all you mothers out there! I have great respect for all that you do.

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Written by johnwhays

May 13, 2018 at 6:00 am

Laking It

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Happy Mother’s Day all you moms out there! We are starting the day up at the lake with Cyndie’s mom and dad. This afternoon, we have dinner plans with our children and whomever can make it from her brother’s families.

It feels like the middle of May.

Plants and trees up at the lake place are a week or more behind the growth that has popped at home. I find the perspective it offers points out the end of opportunities for easy access to our wooded areas. Up here, we can still walk easily in among the trees, while at home the explosion of leaves is quickly closing down views and avenues of travel.

On the plus side, we have the return of a shade canopy over our forests. That makes Delilah much happier.

With her thick coat, she is quick to seek out shade when we have her outside on sunny days. I assumed she would be thrilled with the opportunity to cool herself in the chilly water of the big lake this weekend, but she has surprised us with a distinct timidity at the water’s edge.

She has behaved totally non-fazed by the new confines of the cabin, and seems to adore exploring the grounds on her leash. Alas, the water holds no allure, even with the added excitement of spawning fish splashing about in the shallows.

I think it’s a good thing there are no signs the turtles have been burying eggs in the sand of the beach yet. She would be very pleased to dig for such treasure.

Between walks, she naps nearby during our card games, with only occasional startles or barks over the squawking crows and rare boat traffic happening by.

It’s been a soothing, calm getaway for us, nicely described by the term, “laking it.”

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Written by johnwhays

May 14, 2017 at 7:15 am

Hi, Mom

with 4 comments

It’s a tough thing to lose a parent, but my mom lived a long, full life. She was ready to go when her time came, and I was ready for her to go. It’s been many years since I’ve been able to spend time with her on Mother’s Day, and as each additional year passes, instead of getting easier, I find I miss her more and more.

Here’s to my mom.

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Written by johnwhays

May 8, 2016 at 9:23 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Early Attention

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DSCN3427eIt may not be 4 a.m., but it always feels like it when Pequenita, our cat, decides she has had enough with our being asleep and tromps on us before daylight is visible, kneading and purring, as if being cute and sweet will offset the annoyance of unwanted attention at such an early hour.

She puts her face in mine and tries a few head butts to make sure I know she’s there, but I practice the art of remaining comatose to convey to her that my sleep is not to be interrupted. It is the kneading with those front claws that I am forced to react to if the covers don’t sufficiently cover my sensitive skin.

Some mornings she decides to settle back down and join me in continued slumber, unbeknownst to me since I was practicing being comatose, and I will suddenly fling her off the bed unintentionally when moments later I realize my bladder can’t wait until sunrise for relief.

DSCN3429eI am surprised by the amount of abuse she tolerates from me, continuing to lay and sleep at my feet as I jostle her rudely while moving my legs in search of a position my body will accept as sleep-worthy at the beginning of the night. Maybe it is because she knows she will have her vengeance in the wee hours of the following morning.

It is not entirely unlike the relationship of a mother and her child, though it was not my original intention to write all that as a segue to get to acknowledgement of all mothers and their loving sacrifices on this Mother’s Day in the US. Yet, even the title I chose for today’s post, before starting the first paragraph, could be interpreted as an homage to that which all mothers give.

Our kids are grown and gone, but with our dog and cat, we have accomplished a way to feel as though we are still parenting infants, just ones that never grow up.

Happy Mother’s Day all you moms!

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Written by johnwhays

May 10, 2015 at 8:48 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

Mommas

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from the moment
she conceives
mom carries her child
in a way
no one else
could possibly match
something about
that maternal bond
through the years
every day
she will always be mom
like a lion
when need be
she will fight to protect
yet gives love
at the times
children least expect
from this dad’s view
it’s a magical thing
far beyond my ability
to grasp
for what mothers convey
let’s pause on this day
sending love momma’s way
mom means the most
to those she gave birth
there is no formula to measure
how much that is worth

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Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2014 at 8:40 am

Posted in Creative Writing

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