Showing posts with label chickens. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chickens. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Heartfelt Losses/ Endless Gratitudes

Goodbye to my sweet Edith, the black and white speckled Wyandotte that was one of the four earliest chicks to take up residence in my ..goodness sakes alive..dining room over a decade ago when she was only a day old.

Raised her from dining room to laundry room to the warmth of an early spring only to lose her now as she went into old lady chicken age over the speckled chicken rainbow bridge. Goodbye sweet, sweet Edith.

You join my other loved and lost feathered girls...Orphans and Adoptees...Sophie, Matilda, Penelope, Georgette, Gigi, Pia, Maxine, and Blanche and the rest of her dining bin nestmates Little Nell,Dorothy, Francine, and Angelique. Sad, sad losses, I loved and mourned them all.


Four at a time, batch after batch, all raised in bins...yes, with quilts on top at night!!! our dining room or laundry room. So much work but oh so much fun. And when the tiny grandchildren came along..oh how wonderful to visit Grandma and Grampa's funny farm of fun!

Leaving behind her human family and her feathered friends, Priscilla, Hazel, Esther, Nellie, Mildred, Clementine, Ping and  Duke. All but one raised in our house..yes, that infamous dining room you'd never know by how clean I am that I raise chickens inside as well as out. I like to keep an eye on them as tiny chicks too young for our usually cold and occasionally snowy late winters.

Here they are trying to revisit their childhood home. Darn chickens they do love their memory walks and yes, I forgot to close the dining room/patio sliding door to the back deck where free range to our girls meant "Home, Home on the Free Range" inside or out❣

I called them back outside and like all well behaved home raised chickens they single filed right on out that door once again!

Losing my beloved chickens, cats, and our three almost human dogs.... not to mention dozens and dozens of all of the those animals most people refuse to have in their houses as pets.....oh yes, iquanas, lizards, frogs, turtles, snakes, rats, a scorpion, a black widow spider and so many mice we had to have a Barbie Car shotgun wedding where we married two of them off before their 11 offspring were born illegitimately.

The very young children who acted as ring bears and bridesmaids for our " Mice Family Wedding of the Century" have never forgotten the fun at the Bilyeu Family Funny Farm.

And yes, it's still pretty darn crazy out here. Squirrels took over the place once my prayer flag making began. I hang blessing strips from my arches and trees out back as well as prayer flags inside and out. The squirrels love their bright colors and even more so  love lining their nest with prayers and blessings for their young.

Caught this little fellow in the act. Snipped through one side, then the other, then carted it up, up and way to his/her young's fine and well decorated home. 

Once the kids grew up and flew away to begin children, pets and farms of their own.... the fun only increased because then I channeled my crazy old lady energies into being a crazy cat lady plus big time sewing and quilting extravaganzas.

My husband has his shop. I get the house for me and the garage for, I meant my car and our holiday decorating bins 😊

At that point, pretty much everyone who still lived most of the time inside when they weren't escaping my frenzied fabric fun, wanted to hide and/or leave home. Here above,  a photo of Keira my very beloved magical healing energy cat. She didn't want me leaving for Alaska to care for my parents there and tried so hard to be included on the trip.

I wish I could have brought her with me now, as I was gone for several months, but she waited patiently for me and passed away after being able to spend a really loving month with me day and right before she went over the rainbow bridge. I cried for 2 weeks I loved her so.

 After we lost Keira, only her litter mate Kermit and our beloved Willow, shown above and below (my youngest daughter most favorite gift the year she turned 9.) That gift all those decades ago now, became a blessing for our entire family,

Willow lived with us as our cat during DDs college and away years and we loved our lovely fur girl so when she passed at age 16 ....after months and months of feline dementia... and me tracking her down with a flashlight day and night as she went ..blind and forgetful to sit by a small bit of water under deep grasses and have her own special adventures and times each day until dusk. Sundowning for sure.

I spent days with her in my own candlelit vigil ...petting her, talking to her and making sure she knew she was loved. Some thing I do for all of our pets when I know they are about to pass. Accidents are too horrific to sense ahead of time so those babies have much harder grieving periods. Sometimes like with humans, thry feel endless. ..But Willow was well loved with such a happy, joyfully loved life. I still cried but knew it was her time.

Then our once feral cat, Tao... who came to us on the day we buried our best friend since the 70s and neighbor of  over 20 years as he suffered a sad hiking accident and crossed the 17 year of deepest loss to join his beloved wife and 12 year daughter (my and my daughters best friends) who died in a car accident in 1997. 

After months and months of calming, befriending and finally, finally getting Tao into our house, our home and our hearts..oh we loved that boy! We brought him to the Vet to have him neutered and the vet claimed he couldn't do surgery without blood tests for contagious feline disorders. He had one... and the vet euthanized him. I still weep for the lost of that so loved boy and wish I had grabbed him up and ran screaming out of the clinic ...noooooo!

 Such is loss and such is life.  

So now, just Kermit..not a he but a she... who we were told was a he, and made croaking frog noises as a tiny kitten long years ago. Now old and barely hanging on but still here!

Kermit the hermit, our little left behind, blind and deaf in her advanced years now and senile,, she can no longer hop on top of ironing boards or go upstairs to my sewing loft. But she loves bins, baskets, and boxes and has the best life she can with all the best tins and bags of food her predecessors didn't get when they were still with us as she has other dietary challenges.

Gratitudes and deep love and los for every single pet I've ever had and all the pets my children and grandchildren have loved and lost beloved grandcats.

And then the ones that I had since I was a very young child growing up on my island in Alaska.  I snuck tgem in from the cold to play in my closet or fed even more outside when my  room and closets were full and my poor mom couldn't take my big heart any more. Loved them all ..Rusty, Dusty, Lady, Pandora, Bitsy, Taffy..shown in this old photo as a kitten.... and all the ones who never made it inside but were loved and fed the best I could being a child..with scraps every day.


Our three soooo loved dogs from before the days before digital and now faded photographs in dozens and dozens of albums ferreted away like the little photo lover that I am...Snitzy, Gypsy, and Sparky..all crossed over, three little Schnauzers that we loved before and during our early child raising years..miss you so much our almost human beloved parts of our family! No photos of them in digital of course.

Now, I have a much loved Grandpup to pupsit and make pillows and quilts and fleece blankets and toys for..just as I do our oh so beloved three little grands!  Sweet Ocho has had such challenging but miracles abound and he survived two surgeries to be loved for much, much longer, now!

Now, my heart has opened up as big and as bright, as deep and as high and as wide as a heart can open from the loss of all of my pets, from the loss of friends and family that I loved with all my heart but now, it swells to bursting with love of grown children, their partners and 3 beloved grandchildren now ages 3,2, and 1. Oh the joy the such love brings!!!!!


As I look at my chickens now...Duke the unwanted but still loved rooster and his harem of the remaining 7 girls, I am grateful for them now, safe and sound behind our now fenced and gated back yard from marauding packs of raccoons and neighbors dogs. But of course the last batch came out knowing how to fly! 

And yes, I know about clipped wings but after trying to snip and clip Tao, I'm not willing to alter nature and if these chickens and one rooster cross over one by one, I will now tgey had soo muvh fun in trees and on coop-tops.

Someday,far far away in time, I pray,  it will be my turn.

I will fly free and over to join them and all of my loved ones. But for now, I am far happier than I am sad, far more filled with gratitude than with losses and laments.

But now, in the month when  our hearts glow brighter and love flows freely from quilts and crafts, my heart remembers all of my lost loves.  All our pets both feathered and furred, such loves one and all. The month of and for remembering giving, showing, and sharing love❣

Our tiniest grand turned 1 yesterday and as I sewed for her, I counted my blessings in word and in deed as I count them every day for her beloved 2 year old brother and precious little 3 year old cousin. Thank you Lord, for my pets, but thank you most of all for my family, here, there and forever everywhere in my heart!!!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Snippets and Threadtales

I've been sewing and quilting, I've been playing with chickens and training them to be friendly, I've been setting up tables and fabric for a gigantic $1 yard fabric sale, and I've been otherwise working on my skills as a multi-talented chicken and fabric whisperer as I continue to sew for my two grandbabies and make comfort blankets and quilts for good causes. Variety is the spice and the adrenaline of life.

Unfortunately, I've also been chasing away a coyote that was after my chickens as well as all kinds of other predators. Not my kind of a rush, trust me!

They coyote was the biggest adrenaline rush ..mostly for him. I thought my heart would stop when I saw him attacking the closed up for the night chicken coop during early daylight hours. But I guarantee his heart did stop when this absolutely stark raving crazy chicken woman began running after him hollering and screaming at the top of my lungs!

My husband thought the house was on fire and came running as fast as he could. He caught enough of a glimpse of the coyote to know my identification was correct and know that the coyote probably had not stopped running until he hit the town of Silverton..a good 40 minutes by car away!

The new little chickens weren't outside yet (but are now as seen above) so we spend parts of each day after my husband's work away day designing and redesigning the most effective but economical way of keeping the coyote and the 6 dogs we caught on trail cam video..all trying to also break during one two week period!!!

We need to keep them out and away from my babies while still giving us the feeling of free range and free spirited country living that we and the girls treasure.

So, it's very sad to have to add more fences to the pastoral scene we have out back, but keeping my girls safe is more important.

Insides the house, its been Spring Cleaning...that should be all capital letters. Airing of the bits and pieces and add to that lots and lots of vacuuming, carpet shampooing, dusting, and so forth.

I am as crazy of a cleaning and organizing woman as I am a coyote chaser or chicken and cat lover sewing and quilting woman! Most people have signs warning others of dogs, my family tells them to look out for me!!!!!

And I've been sewing bits and pieces of fun. With a year and a half of being a new grandma under my sewing machine needle, I've sewn ..believe it or not...somewhere over 300 baby things. I did mention crazy right? All caps on the crazy. But its the most fun I know how to have..making little things for little precious people. And not just my own, anyone I can! Things you can do in 15 minutes to an hour and the sense of accomplishment from that is pure bliss.

I love making blankets, quilts, cloth diapers, burp pads and bibs but mostly now, we're at the big ..cute ones..stage. So, I discovered baby bandanna bibs and have been having so much fun making these tiny little bits of precious fun!

So, not yet shared, about a dozen new baby bibs. From ones that match the high chairs cushions for my granddaughter to sit in..oh, yes..made two cushions for our almost an antique wooden high chair from my children's baby bandannas for my wee 6 month old grandson.

You don't really even need patterns for these little things. You just make your own, but here's hints and photo tips on how I do it!

  Baby High Chair Cushions: seat and back of chair

 I measured the back and the seat...where the photos are right now..still looking but basically I place pieces of newspaper up against it and simply mark lines for the shape with a magic marker! Leaving extra for the flat batting to keep it soft and sew seams as you'd expect attaching tie on however you wish. After I find the photos I'll add them in. But I made a back cushion and a seat one. Very cute when done.

Now, mine is not a kiddish print but one to match the barstool cushions and table toppers and such that I'd previously made. I love a lot of variety with a bit of commonality thrown in to fool people into thinking that I know what I'm doing ;-)

Oh, yes! The high chair bib. I added a little heart for my little sweetheart grandbaby girl.

Baby Bandanna Bibs

Lot of bandanna bibs..three different sizes as I went along with ever lengthening velcro strips for sizing up or down as needed.


The two taps at the top of my 'pattern' ignore those. Those are placement point for the line of design on the fabrics. they got cut off after stitching.

I used some hand me down very thick cotton knit for the backing on most of them..see the cute little stars. Absorbantly perfect in every way.

Front of the bandanna bib.

View from the back with the velcro on the strip across. Place the hook..rough..velcro on the inside so it doesn't scratch while putting bib on baby.

Reversible as shown..either side!

Flannel sweet. Cotton print on the other side of this one.

Quilted Fleece Play Pad:

And a really puffy play pad. It goes under one of those lay down baby activity play centers. The oens that aren't quite soft or padded enough. A couple of pieces of 36" x 36" (finished) fleece and a super soft piece of layered multiple times batting inside.

Now, I used upholstery batting...very, very thick plus two layers of thin polyester batting on each side.

I didn't want hugely thick seams so I first sewed the fleece 'blanket' together right sides together, leaving an opening to turn right side out. Then I cut the batt just the right sides, rolled it up, fit it into the opening, flattened it down nicely by hand inside. Then I sewed if down , catching it on the outside. Think about it logically instead of following these directions. Worked perfectly and easily with no bulky seams just the two fleece edges inside. 
Don't want to do that, keep it less puffy that what I wanted ;-)

 Just quilt it down here and there ..I did outlines of a few blocks..and boy did it work well!

So, there you have it. Snippets and Threadtales from the sewing room amidst the wild and crazy goings on of my life!
Now over 8 MILLION  BlOG VIEWS !!
Woo Hoo!!!

Michele Bilyeu Creates With Heart and Hands as she shares her imaginative, magical, and healing journey from Alaska to Oregon. Creating, designing, sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting... from my heart and with my hands.