Sunday, August 28, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #404

Nancy White Kelly

Buddy doesn’t talk to me until after ten in the morning. He tells folks that until then I am a few French fries short of a Happy Meal. It’s true. I need a strong cup of coffee and a couple of hours before being mentally sharper than a basketball.

My guess is that this ole body of mine is getting revenge. For years I had to be first at the school to unlock the big steel doors for the teachers. It didn’t matter if it were cold, hot, rainy, snowy or that I was foggy.

Thankfully God doesn’t depend on my morning speed. He knows that in spite of my slow start, I try to get all my daily tasks done before midnight. In fact, God knows all about me. You, too. Read about it in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee.”

When you were a child, did you ever lie on the ground, stare at the clouds and ponder life’s big questions? Recently a friend emailed me a science commentary that stirred my fuzzy brain and strengthened my faith as well.

Mathematics was never my strong suite, but the study made me wonder. If calculable, what would God’s Hypothetically, maybe something like 777 to the 7 millionth power into infinity.

We will never know. Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD “

Have you ever seen a potato bug? They hatch in 7 days. Buddy and I used to raise cockatiels, parakeets and even canaries. Canary eggs hatch in 14 days. We now have hens. Those eggs hatch in 21 days.

Notice the pattern. Ducks hatch in 28 days. Parrot eggs hatch in 42 days. We have raised them all. What do these eggs and others have in common? They all are divisible by seven, the number of days in a week.

I was never was a whiz at physics or geometry, but do remember what a fulcrum is. The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. In the wisdom of God, he gave the quadrupled elephant four legs (fulcrums) that all bend forward. This massive animal couldn’t rise from the ground on just two.

Walk in the garden and notice more of God’s perfect handiwork. Observe a watermelon and its stripes. Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind. Open an orange and there is an even number of segments.

Yesterday I shucked a couple of ears of my generous neighbor’s corn. Each ear of corn had an even number of rows. After a short pass through boiling water, Buddy and I enjoyed every kernel. Thank you, God, for perfect summer corn.
Though we don’t grow wheat in the mountains, observe a stalk when traveling west. Again, you will notice an even number of grains.

Okay, so maybe you don’t travel by wagon train any longer. Surely you go to the grocery store. Look at a bunch of those yellow bananas on the produce aisle. Starting on the lowest row of the banana bunch, you will count an even number. Each row decreases by one. There is the pattern. One row has an even number and the next an odd.

The storms on the East coast have garnered our attention lately. Did you know that those waves of the sea roll on shore at a count of 26 to the minute no matter what the weather?

Some dear friends live on Chatuge Lake, host fabulous fish fries, and maintain a beautiful yard even in their late sunset years. A famous botanist named Linnaeus said that if he had a conservatory containing the right type of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the blossoms that were open and those that were closed. Our friends don’t need a clock.

I may not have the brains or wit of a tit-mouse in the early morning hours, but I don’t worry. My omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God neither sleeps nor slumbers.
That insurance is guaranteed non-cancellable! I am in good hands with the Almighty.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #403

The serious column I wrote last brought more response from Sentinel readers than any other I have written in the last twelve years. Even today while breakfasting with Buddy at McDonald’s, I was approached by a man who commented on its bold truthfulness. If missed, you can read it at, column 402.

It has been a struggle these last few days to decide whether to continue writing now as a serious pundit or return to a sometimes humorous style of reporting daily living. My feeling is that if a survey were taken, most would feel that there is already an abundance of pundits in the media and few who try to bring a smile. Regardless of opinion, I must today write about water- boarding and murder.

Besides our rude rooster who announces morning, Buddy and I have three female chickens. Their names are Henney, Penney, and a pet hen I used to call “Not Inney.”
Not Inney finally got a name change when she too began giving us an egg a day. We looked forward to baby chicks during the early summer, but none of the hens cared a cluck about sitting. In desperation, I dug out our ancient incubator. The instructions were lost long ago, so I had to guess at the temperature and humidity settings.

Son Charlie and I both have new IPads with cameras, so grandson Micah was able to watch the hatching of Spunky#1 in real time. He was excited because the first chick born was promised to him.

Unfortunately, out of the dozen eggs, only two chicks hatched. Spunky was first. The other one died within an hour of hatching. From my former hobby of raising cockatiels, I learned how to hand-feed birds with a syringe or dropper. I did this quite successfully with over a hundred cockatiel chicks and no fatalities. With hand-raised, exotic birds, you can push food or water down the side of their throats, filling their crops, until they are able to eat on their own. It seemed logical to me that what was good for the cockatiels would be equally good for a Rhode Island Red baby chicken.

At first I placed a drop of water on baby Spunky’s beak, allowing the water to drop into her gaping beak. This was obviously an unwanted hydration attempt. She vigorously shook each drop off the edge of her beak. Yet, her annoyingly chirps continued non-stop.

Figuring she had to be hungry and thirsty, I took the syringe full of water and tried again. Spunky still wanted no part of it. I pushed the resistant plunger with a tad more pressure. All at once the water gushed down.

Surprisingly Spunky relaxed. She rested perfectly still in my hand. My elation lasted just seconds when it became obvious that the water had not gone into Spunky’s belly but into her windpipe. Spunky was dead. I had accidentally water-boarded her.

Spunky was guilty of nothing. I was guilty of second-degree murder. The least I could do was to attempt artificial respiration. My thumb pressed rhythmically and gently on her breast. It was to no avail. Within minutes she was cold and stiff. I was sweaty and nauseous.

Determined to get it right, I gathered another dozen eggs and have waited patiently for 21 days. Yesterday, Spunky #2 hatched. After her fuzzy exterior dried in the incubator, I placed her in a make-shift brooder and sprinkled tiny grains of mash on the floor along with a jar lid of water. Minutes ago, a sibling hatched and will soon join Spunky.

If all goes well, maybe I have been redeemed.