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Pickles is a Mommy

This morning was the anticipated day. Pickles became the mommy of three little kittens. We had been watching her full, rounded belly and knew it would be any day.

One is yellow and looks like Pickles, one is a calico with spots of yellow on its head and the third one is mostly black. It is obviously that she had a visit from the neighbors male cat!
One is yellow and looks like Pickles, one is a calico

She had snuck into one of the feed rooms in the store, found the perfect spot-a narrow box sitting on its side on the top shelf. When Summer opened up the room this morning and turned on the light she made herself known. Bubble wrap in the box made a soft cushiony pillow for her little fluff balls.

Pickles was obviously pleased with herself and wanted us to know about the kitts. She let us hold them with some fussing, meowing that we be very careful and under the glare of her watchful eye. Gene was going to turn her box over so that she had more room and put it on the bottom shelf but she made it clear that she was not going to allow that.

For now she is in a safe place and at a spot we can keep watch over her and love on her kittens. That is until she decides to move them!

Congratulations Pickles. You did a good job.

Kat Rides in the Tractor

Gene went out to feed the cows and there was Kat sleeping on the tractor seat. Gene had left the back window part way open and she apparently scampered up the back tire and scouted out this thing that daddy seems to like to ride off in every day. Kat can be no where around but if Gene comes in and stops by the house in the tractor, Kat comes running. She knows she will get rubbed and fed.

During the day when the sun is shining, she likes to bask in the sun on the upstairs door stoop where she can scope out the land and watch what is happening on the farm and when her daddy comes home for lunch. She seems to be partial to high places!

Your Royal Highness!

Gene shut the window and took Kat on a ride with him to feed the cows. She looked out the window and messed around on the floor. When Gene opened the window so he could see to back up, Kat escaped and off she scampered on adventure.

After feeding the cows, Gene walked around checking on the cows. It wasn’t long until Kat came tip toeing back through the cow lot looking for him.

I wish I had pictures of Kat’s adventure, but I didn’t know about it until later.

The other adventures of Kat:

Kat On the Tin Roof
Kat On the Tin Roof-Part 2

Puzzles: 2020-2021

I think I have become addicted to puzzles! For me they are not only fun, but also very relaxing. When I start one, I can hardly stop until it is put together. I have sleeked off to bed in the wee hours of the night quite a few times.

Let the fun begin!!!

Last year the ladies at church had a puzzle table where we all contributed our puzzles and shared them around. We had to have some kind of entertainment during covid!!! It was a lot of fun and we collected a significate amount of puzzles. This spring when it was time to move them out, I took them home and made a puzzle shelf in our store as most did not want their puzzles back. You can borrow a puzzle just like checking out a book in the library. Feel free to stop by the store and help yourself.

2021 Puzzles

This was a gorgeous picture when I finally got it done. It almost stumped me as there was too much birch tree!
General Store
Map of Virginia
Farm Country Eggs

Ice-Cream Parlor
Flock of hens in barnyard

Cabin with water wheel
The Presidents
Horse and buggy with covered bridge and cows
Horse, barn and picket fence
Log Cabin

Puzzles from 2020

Shaped puzzle-Cabin with wild animals
Market with quilts and ducks
Valley Farm with Amish children
House on pond with geese and dogs-Sunset
Horse Farm
Sweet Corn and Summer Dreams

Cat On the Tin Roof-Part 2

This morning, like every morning, I heard Gene open the patio door and go “meow, meow”! It struck me so funny! He was calling for Kat and soon she came running for her breakfast.

A little later we saw her on the warehouse roof. This is a low roof with only a mild grade, and a low-hanging tree for climbing up and down. We saw her there the other day playing a game of “pounce” with the leaves.

Obviously she has not learned her lesson about roofs! She was sitting on the roof crying “meow”.

We snapped a few pictures of her looking over the edge and left her to her own devices. After a while she disappeared.

Sorry, Kat, but we are not going to play your little “come get me” game-unless you are in real trouble!!!

Other adventures of Kat:

Henny Penny Wonky-Wackers

Just when we think we have heard it all, answered all the questions….. we hear some more!!!

  • Hens are not chickens.
  • Are the chickens unisex?
  • If they are unsexed, does that mean they can’t go out and run around with the rooster?
  • Are the baby chicks humanely hatched?
  • A hen can lay eggs then “change” into a rooster.
  • Not all breeds lay eggs. (Answer: All breeds lay eggs. Bantams lay smaller eggs)
  • Their hens lay multiple eggs a day. (Answer: hens can only lay one a day at their peak. Every hen will not lay every day.)
  • A rooster has to be neutered to not have babies.
  • Hens can’t lay eggs before one year old. (Answer: hens start laying by 20 weeks or 5 months of age.)
  • Hens can’t lay eggs without a rooster. (Hens lay just fine without a rooster. A rooster is needed if you want the eggs fertilized.)
  • Roosters have to be a year old to fertilize eggs. (Answer: by 5 months they are fully mature.)
  • Green eggs are lower in cholesterol. Green eggs are higher in cholesterol. (There has been no proven data on this. Just wishful thinking.)
  • White eggs are better than brown. Brown eggs are better than white. (Answer: the color of the egg shell has nothing to do with the quality of egg; it is what they eat. The more grass and natural foraging they do, the richer, more flavorful, and darker orange the egg yolk. Typically backyard chicken owners like the hens that lay brown eggs and the commercial farmers like the white leghorns because of their smaller bodies, feed conversion and higher egg production.)
  • Only chickens lay eggs. (Answer: Turkeys, guineas, ducks, geese all lay edible eggs).
  • Debeaked chickens can’t eat right.
  • One backyard chicken owner bought his eggs from me and threw the ones from his into the woods. He can not eat something that comes from his pets.
  • Another chicken owner buys their eggs from the store. They say it is disgusting how their chickens lay eggs!!! They didn’t want to know how store bought eggs came to be!
  • You can’t eat fertilized eggs or they taste different. (Answer: you can not taste any difference in a fertilized egg. Most times you can not even tell.)
  • A lady wanted a hen that lays chicks, not eggs, and neither did she want a rooster.

Folks, we just can’t make this stuff up!!!

Hen House Talk: Interesting True Facts

  • Did you know that you can tell the color of the egg the chicken will lay by their ear lobes? Chickens with white ears lobes lay white eggs. The ones that are dark, red or brown, lay brown. The Araucanas that lay tinted eggs are greenish or blueish in color.
  • There is a gland in a hen’s eye that is light sensitive that determines when a hen lays eggs. When the days start getting shorter, she molts and stops laying eggs. Yes, she loses her feathers in the fall or winter. When the days start getting longer, she feathers out again and starts laying. You can counter this by having a light on a timer and extending the daylight hours to 18 hours so there is no variation in daylight hours. It is best to have it come on in the early morning so that the hens rise with the light but go to roosting naturally. They can not see in the dark.
  • Chickens sleep by roosting on a roosting rod. Their leg joints lock so that they do not fall off.
  • Baby chicks can go three days without food or water after they hatch. The last thing that happens before a chick hatches is that the egg yolk is absorbed into the body providing them nutrition for about three days. That is the reason they can be shipped through the mail.
  • The reason they nip and cauterize the beaks on hens is to prevent pecking and cannibalism. In small flocks this is not an issue but the bigger the flock and more confined the area, the more they bully and are cruel to each other. The pecking order is extremely strong and if they draw blood, particularly in the rectum area, they will literally degut and kill the “picked” on hen.
  • Do not feed egg shells or toss an egg to the chickens to eat. They love eggs and you are introducing them to something they love. They will start breaking their own eggs and eating them and it is impossible once it starts to break them of the habit. You have to get rid of the offending bird.
  • You can not mix different ages of chickens together until they are 5-6 months of age. Before that, the older birds will pick on or kill the younger birds. If a hen hatches chicks, she needs to be separated immediately from the flock with her young ones or the other birds will kill them. The exception is if they are free range and the mother hen can separate herself from the others and protect her chicks.


I’m not sure there is anything as striking and colorful as a field of sunflowers. The tall stately plants seem to smile in delight.   Whenever I see a field I just have to stop and take a picture.

In the early stages, the heads turn to face the sun. As the heads mature and they get heavy with seed, the heads droop downward.  Deer can be hard on a field, especially in the early stages, as they love the tender shoots when they first come up. Bees are very attracted to the flowering stage and birds flock in as the seeds mature.  In almost every field of sunflowers unless you spray them, you will find a tangled web of Morning Glories winding around the stalks. The heads are left on the stalk until the are fully ripen and brown.

There are three kinds of sunflowers; decorative, black oil and striped. The decorative are smaller stalks with very small heads and are for looks rather than seed. The striped seeds have huge heads and the seeds are used mostly for human consumption as they have a larger nut, however, they are used in some bird seed mixes as well. But the favorite of our songbird friends is the black oil seed. The seed is smaller and rich in oil.

Sunflowers are known for their beauty and food source, not as a fragrant flower.

The following website,, states the following interesting facts about sunflowers……..

“Sunflowers are one of the most important oil crops in the world, and are a valuable food source in many countries. Just one ounce of sunflower seeds contains about 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of oils. The fats are almost entirely unsaturated with 9 grams of polyunsaturated and 3 grams of monounsaturated fats per ounce (NSA). The oil is high in linoleic acid and is a good source of vitamin E.”

In western Powhatan County at the corner of Route 13 and Ballsville Rd there is a field of sunflowers that a lady has been planting for quite a few years just for her and our enjoyment!  People stop to take pictures and enjoy the beauty. The word on the street is that she wants us to take a bouquet along home.

Thank-you Georgianne Matthews.

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