Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Look for Spring

Yes, I feel that spring is coming soon--thanks Puxatawny Phil!  With spring comes rain, and we've had our fair share of that the past few days, but, with rain, comes a new garden.  I need to start on that today, so, while I'm out with the chickens today, I'm going to plant some eggshells and sprout some seeds.

The last week has been awful.  One of my chickens died--always a sad event.  But the worst was yet to come.  My beloved Uncle Anthony--Tony--died on February 9, my youngest brother's birthday.  I haven't been to New Orleans since Katrina. Perhaps, one day soon, I will go.  Katrina was, I think, ultimately responsible for my uncle's decline.  Before Katrina, he was a vital, energetic man.  After Katrina, he seemed to give up.  I can understand that, but I am sorry for it.

Sunday morning, a thunderstorm hit here with a fury.  Lightning, thunder, heavy rain.  The chicken runs were all mud, the feed turned mushy; we were all cranky.  As often happens at my house, the electricity went out.  While I was without power, a tree limb fell on the telephone/Internet line.  I spend most of Sunday afternoon and part of Monday morning without the home phone or Internet.  This is just the situation that calls for a cell phone and one of the few times I will use it.  For me, a cell phone is useless.  It's nice to have when I need help on the road, or when the home phone goes down, but, otherwise, it's an expensive annoyance.

AT&T managed to fix the phone line by 9am or so on Monday, and I was back to business as usual.  I'll be honest--I didn't want to work at all during the Mardi Gras Holiday.  I just wanted to sleep and/or watch TV.  Thanks to my hefty work ethic, I powered through the ennui and graded/returned assignments.  That's the true definition of "discipline"--doing what you don't want to do because you must.

Today, more grading--always grading.  But, this afternoon, my heart belongs to the garden.  And that's where it needs to be as I remember my uncle, whose funeral is today.  I'm sorry I'm not there, but I will dedicate my efforts to making the garden a beautiful place, just for him.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Sad and Sadder

In the "bad news" department, one of my Leghorn hens, Eliza, died Sunday.  She probably suffered from bound egg syndrome; this happens when a hen cannot pass an egg.  I hope I didn't stress her more by giving her a warm soak.  That's supposed to help.  But she wasn't used to being handled.

When one of my chickens dies, I generally burn the body in a bonfire.  I either have to bury the chicken deeply to keep the carcass away from predators, or I have to burn it.  Burning is easier for me, and it's less risky.

We're all a bit sad here at Casa Smith.

Things are going fine, otherwise.  The girls are getting through their molts, and the egg production has picked up.

I'm hoping I can get through the year without another chicken death.  I also hope I can get through the spring without buying more chickens!

February 9, 2013

My mother called today to tell me that my Uncle Tony (Anthony Rigaud) died this morning.  His is the second death in two weeks--my mom's oldest brother, my Uncle Christie, died in January.  His wife, my Aunt Agnes, died last year.

Uncle Tony was the most wonderful, funniest man I've ever known.  He was married to my dad's sister, Patricia.  Tony could fix anything, build anything, imagine anything.

Until Katrina.

My uncle opted to stay in his house in St. Bernard Parish with my aunt and my cousin, David.  He had no clue that the levees would break and force them into the attic of their home.  They had weathered many hurricanes, and, though this one seemed serious, he and his wife felt they could survive it.

They did, but not by much.  They spent quite some time in the attic before rescue.  My cousin started having seizures because he didn't have his medicine; he and my aunt went by helicopter to Lafayette.  My uncle spent some time in the high school in St. Bernard before being bused to Texas.  We thought we'd never find him, or my aunt and cousin.

After that, my Uncle Tony just seemed to give up.  According to my mom and my daughter, he just sat in his recliner in the living room.  He developed congestive heart failure--my aunt, also.  I didn't want to see him that way.

I'll always remember him as larger-than-life, a big Italian man who could do anything, who always made me laugh.

I have missed him for a long time.