chickens

For as long as I can remember, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Dixie have had a place on Squaw Creek Road on the western edge of Casper, Wyoming. Here they raised their kids, and had some chickens and such. Over the years they also ran a daycare, which took in mostly family members’ kids, giving the young parents in the family peace of mind. Of course, Uncle Jim worked outside of the daycare, but he made enough of an appearance, that the kids all knew and loved him. I can see that, because Uncle Jim is like a big teddy bear. I don’t know of a single person who doesn’t like my gentle uncle. He is a very loveable guy.

I think the greatest lesson Uncle Jim ever taught his kids, and any other kids around him is to have values and to live up to those values. Always do the right thing, and you will never have to live with regret. I think one of the greatest testaments to the nature of a man is the amount of respect given to them by those around them. Uncle Jim is a man of deep core values, and that is very likely why everyone has such great respect for him. He always makes sure that he does the right things. His core beliefs wouldn’t let him do otherwise.

Among those values, and probably at the top of the list…family comes first. Whether it was his family, his parents and siblings families, or his in-laws families, family is everything. If your family has a need, you do your best to help fill it…no matter what it is, from a place to live, to fixing something that is broken. Sometimes the greatest need someone has is simply a need for words of wisdom or kindness. Uncle Jim has always been quick to offer those words too…not in a pushy way, but rather just helpful words, when asked. Uncle Jim was and is a man people can count on, and that says a lot about a man. Today is Uncle Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Hattie Parmely is the second child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. They live on a farm outside of Casper, where Hattie and her siblings Reagan, Bowen, and Maeve are learning the ropes of taking care of farm animals. They have chickens, goats, cows, dogs, cats, and horses. Hattie and her siblings have no qualms about helping out. They get right in there and help clean out stalls, feed the animals, and of course, love on the new babies as they come along. They totally love their fur babies.

Hattie has mastered her bicycle now, and is becoming quite the equestrian. She looks so cute riding her little pony. She can’t get up by herself yet, but that will come as she gets taller. Hattie has grown up around these horses, so she has learned to make them comfortable with her. It’s strange to see this little girl standing in the midst of great big horses. Yet she is not afraid, and they aren’t either.

Hattie, along with big sister Reagan, are their parents big helpers. With a little brother and a new little sister, there is lots to do. Hattie is learning all the things that she can do to help her parents around the house, and she stubbornly sticks to things until she has mastered them. Hattie is in the unique position of the two girls, because she has a big sister to show her the ropes. Reagan loves her little sister. The two girls are very close, and very good friends. I find that siblings who live in the country tend to be good friends. Maybe it is the distance from other playmates, or maybe it is a mutual love that comes from learning to cooperate to get anything done. Whatever the case may be, these two girls are the best of friends. Of course, they both love their younger siblings too. Hattie is a very caring girl who often puts the needs of others ahead of herself. Kindness and compassion are traits that will carry her all her life. Today is Hattie’s 5th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grand-niece, Hattie Parmely is the middle child of my nephew, Eric Parmely and his wife, Ashley. Hattie and her siblings are being raised on a little farm outside of Casper, Wyoming. I am amazed at how well Hattie and her siblings get along with the animals in their care. Children are not always careful with animals, but those who are raised around them, have a heart for their animals. Hattie is a soft-hearted girl anyway, and I think her animals know that about her.

Hattie and her siblings have a trampoline, and they love spending time on it. Most of us would just love to have the energy to jump on a trampoline for hours at a time, but lets face it, most of us would get tired after 5 minutes. It is the common problem that adults have when it comes to kids, and their endless energy. Of course, kids get lots of sleep with naps and all, and I don’t know how well Hattie naps, or anything, but if sleep has anything to do with her energy level, I would say she naps or sleeps pretty well.

Having a big sister, Hattie had a helping hand in learning all the cool things to do around their place. Reagan, Hattie’s sister, has taught Hattie and their little brother, Bowen many things about life on the farm. Things like milking the goats, or just playing with the goats, in general. The girls totally love the goats…especially when they are babies, and Bowen is quickly becoming a big help with the animals too.

Life on the farm is not only active, but is usually spent mostly outdoors. We hear about kids today being couch potatoes, but Hattie and her siblings don’t have time for that much. They are always busy doing things out in the yard or with the animals. Cleaning out the pens and feeding the animals are high on the priority list, and they like that very much. Animals depend on their owners to take care of them, and the Parmely kids are great animal owners. Their parents are proud of all the help their kids give them in running the little farm. Hattie is a big part of that, and will be an even bigger part of it as she grows. Today is Hattie’s 4th birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Ashley Parmely, who joined our family when she married my husband’s nephew, Eric Parmely in 2011, is a girl of many talents, and amazing patience. When Eric first brought her to meet us, we liked her instantly, and then as we watched their pictures on Facebook, we could see that Ashley was raised in the country with horses. I thought that was cool, but that was really the tip of The Ashley Iceberg. Ashley loves all things country living. She loves all the animals, from chickens to ducks, from goats to horses, and of course, you have to throw in cats and dogs, but lots of people love animals. Ashley takes that one step further, in that she works hard to help her animals have babies, because that is a great way to grow your farm…and after all, babies are great, and according to Ashley, it doesn’t matter if they are human or animal. Yes, all babies are great, and Ashley loves each and every one of them.

And speaking of babies, Eric and Ashley have three of their own…daughters, Reagan and Hattie, and son, Bowen. If Ashley’s life wasn’t full before, putting three children in the mix has filled her home with love and laughter. Ashley is such a great mom. She is patient and loving with the kids, and they are well behaved little sweethearts, who have great imaginations, and who aren’t afraid of hard work…even if it’s cleaning up after the animals. These kids will be capable country kids who share their parents’ love of animals and don’t mind the work that goes along with it. When children are raised around animals, they naturally develop a love for them…they are like family. Ashley is passing on the things she grew up with, and the family, including her husband, Eric, are thriving on it. Some people just seem to love country living, and for Ashley, it is just the tip of the iceberg. Nevertheless, with all the love in her home, I’m surprised the iceberg isn’t melting, but there’s still more to it.

Sometimes, I have to wonder if Ashley’s life is largely chaos, and I’m sure that sometimes it really is, but Ashley is such a patient person, and somehow, I think she thrives on the chaos around her. It’s almost like having so many babies is like having a house full of love…even if only three of the babies are human. As I said, for Ashley, babies are babies. And Ashley, like an iceberg, is not just what you see on the outside, but is rather a deep person with many talents, that she is sharing with her family, and what a blessing that is. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

So much has happened this past year for my grandniece, Hattie Parmely. For one thing, she is no longer the baby of the family…now she is a big sister to her little brother, Bowen Parmely. Hattie has really enjoyed her little brother, because he is the baby, and Hattie loves babies…all kinds of babies. I think her love of babies has come from the fact that her family lives on a farm, and they raise chickens, cows, goats, and horses. There are always babies in that mix.

Of course, Hattie loves being the little sister too, because she has learned so many things from her big sister, Reagan. You see, Reagan has a car…it’s a toy of course, but it goes on it’s own power. In reality, I think the car belongs to both girls, but Reagan drives it the most. Reagan takes Hattie for rides around the farm, and helps her get up in the haystacks, shows her how to do the farm work, and how to be careful with the babies. Hattie knows that Reagan has had soooo much more experience with these things, since she is almost five. and Hattie is just turning three today. Soon, it will be both Reagan and Hattie that will be teaching Bowen all of the things he needs to know…whether he wants them to teach him or not, because he is the little brother, and that’s what big sisters do.

Hattie and Reagan are big helpers around the farm, and at their grandparents houses. One set of grandparents lives next door, and owns part of the animals that the girls take care of, and the other set has a cabin on the mountain, and they often need help cutting wood for the fire. These big strong girls get right out there and help get the job done. Hattie and Reagan have great imaginations, and they are always up to something. They might play house in the hay, or practice their milking skills…on each other, pretend, of course. They love life on the farm, and they are tough enough to clean up after the animals, collect eggs, feed the animals, and whatever else their parents might need them to do. It’s all part of farming, and they are really into it. They are always busy doing something, in fact, I’m told that the only time Hattie will sit still is if you put a baby in her arms. I can’t say that I think that is a bad thing. Being active is good and holding babies is great, so…you go Hattie!! Today is Hattie’s 3rd birthday. Happy birthday Hattie!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

goats-milkanimals-and-kidsMy niece, Ashley Parmely, who married my nephew, Eric five years ago, was raised largely in the country. She loved horses, dogs, and cats, which I knew, but what I didn’t know was that she really loves all animals. Since she and Eric bought a house next door to her parents, initially to be near her beloved horses, I have found out that her love of animals knows no bounds. She probably could have been a veterinarian. Ashley and Eric, now have goats, chickens, cows, and even little piggies. Some of these may belong to Ashley’s parents, but that makes no difference. Eric, Ashley, and their girls, Reagan and Hattie take care of the animals as much as anyone does. They just love being around the animals. Ashley is teaching her girls to take care of, and be gentle with the animals, and in turn the animals love the girls. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and Ashley treats us to lots of pictures of the her family with the different animals.

Lately, Ashley has been working to get her goats milk tested, because apparently if you are going to sell the milk, it has to pass a certain number of tests to show it is of good quality. I never knew that before, but I guess if you are around farm animals, and plan to make some money off of them, you have to find out all the quality control details first. Growing up with a farming background, Ashley knew that, and of course, her parents also did, so they could show her the ropes. Ashley and her little family are all working together to make their little farm a great success.

Of course, farming isn’t the only thing Ashley is about. She loves being a wife and mother, and her family’s happiness if her first priority. She is such a good mother…playing with the girls, and teaching them new things. taking-a-breakashley-hattie-hikingThe girls like to go on walks and hikes with their parents, and Reagan, being in preschool, is learning new things including Spanish…but I’m getting ahead of myself, because that is tomorrow’s story. You see, four years ago, Ashley was given a wonderful, but one day late, birthday gift, when little Reagan arrived. Now her life is very busy with two very active little girls, and a farm full of animals. It’s a far cry from the single life she had before she and Eric were married, and one that makes her very happy. Today is Ashley’s birthday. Happy birthday Ashley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

12508982_186541701702553_8425193984744567713_nWith the decline of the oil business, comes the inevitable change of the face of oil companies. In Wyoming, that decline means layoffs and transfers to many of the people who worked for the oil companies. I really don’t know of a family that hasn’t been affected by the decline. Our family has experienced layoffs, and as in the case of my nephew, Eric Parmely, a job that is saved, by way of Texas. Eric and his wife, Ashley aren’t moving to Texas, but his job will take him to Texas for two weeks and then home for a week. I think the week at home will be really nice, but it comes at the expense of the two weeks in Texas. I know that this has been a hard change to swallow for Eric, his wife, Ashley, and their girls, Reagan and Hattie.
Parmely girls beds
Eric and Ashley live in the country, where they have chickens, goats, rabbits, and next door, at her parents house, horses. They are all totally in their element there. Of course, Ashley was raised there, so being around the animals is second nature to her. The girls also take to it like little pros, and the animals love them all. Eric and Ashley’s parents, Albert and Kari Eighmy did all the remodeling of their fixer upper home. They wouldn’t let Ashley be there, because she was pregnant, but Eric’s mom, Jennifer Parmely, who loves to clean, came and cleaned up all the construction dust, and they have a beautiful home now…all the more reason not to move to Texas. Eric has become quite handy with the things he makes. If Ashley shows him something she wants, he can probably pull it off. A good example of that is the bedroom set he made for his girls. It is the perfect setup for two little girls, and I know that they will love it for a long time. Eric is 12088111_123136044709786_1264361492093928145_ngetting…or maybe he always was…very handy at building things. His work is beautiful and solid. The workmanship of the things he makes is amazing. I think that if he wanted to, he could sell his work and make money at it…but that is another story.

Eric is a family man. His wife and daughters mean the world to him. Eric wants nothing more than to be at home with them, or spend time with them doing just about anything they want to do. They love being outdoors, and it doesn’t matter what season it is. Eric will make things fun for his girls. That is the sign of a good husband and dad. Today is Eric’s birthday. Happy birthday Eric!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Uncle Jim RichardsMy Uncle Jim Richards is a family man with deep values and loyalties. He is not one to turn away anyone in need. His home has been a shelter for a number of different people over the years. That said, I can tell you that his home has also been very blessed because of his generosity too. I don’t think that we can be givers in this world without God returning good things to us too. Uncle Jim and his wife, my Aunt Dixie have been blessed with three children, Jeannie Liegman, Jim Richards, and Raylynn Williams, as well as five grandsons and one granddaughter. They are a close family, who gets together every day. I suppose that there are people who think that is odd, but I think it is wonderful. Children and grandchildren are among God’s greatest IMG_6712blessings, and to have them close is priceless…and any grandparent who doesn’t get to watch their grandchildren grow up would tell you the same thing. Those years go by so fast. You have to enjoy while you can.

Uncle Jim is a gentle man with soft spoken way. I’m sure he could get angry if the situation warranted it, but I’ve never seen him angry. That says a lot about his level of patience…to be around all the kids in our whole family, all being rowdy at the same time, and to still have patience with them…amazing. It is especially amazing when the children are not his. That is just the kind of uncle he is though.

Uncle Jim and Aunt DixieUncle Jim has always been a soft spoken man, with a great smile. His joy in life shows all over his face. Uncle Jim and his family have always lived in the country, raising chickens and such. it seemed a life he was suited to. Over the years, they have taken care of many of the children in the family while their parents worked. I have spoken to several of them, and they all have fond memories of their time at Aunt Dixie and Uncle Jim’s place. Every one of them had a wonderful time out there. That speaks volumes about the loving atmosphere they built into their home. When the children in your care have fond memories of the time they spent there…even when they are adults, you are doing something right. Today is Uncle Jim’s birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Jim!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Uncle Jim and Aunt RuthOur family always loved having our Aunt Ruth Spencer Wolfe, her husband, Uncle Jim Wolfe and their kids, Shirley, Larry, and Terry come to visit. We always had so much fun when they came. It didn’t matter if we were playing with the kids or sitting around listening to the many stories Uncle Jim or Aunt Ruth told. There was always so many fun things going on when they were there. My dad, Allen Spencer and Uncle Jim kept us all laughing with their antics. Dad and Uncle Jim were always coming up with some new thing…from wild recipes to crazy challenges. There was never a dull moment when our two families were together.

When we were kids, the two families took trips together. A favorite was the South Dakota trip. Our parents were great campers, and they always made it a lot of fun. I also remember several trips to Casper mountain. The mountain was a long standing favorite, because it was close and yet we got to Uncle Jimget out and camp, or at the very least, go for picnics. For a number of years, however, their family lived here in Casper, and that made it much easier to get together.

I gave us kids lots of time to play together. They had chickens, ducks, and geese, and for my sisters and me, all city girls, that in itself was a novelty. Of course, we didn’t have to clean up after them either. I think we were pretty prissy, and we would have probably freaked out at the site of the coop. They also had a garden, and in it was just about everything you could imagine, so I’m sure Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim found a few things missing from the garden after we all spent time outside at their house. They also had a tractor that Shirley would hook the wagons up to and take us all for rides. It was a great time. Of course all too often, it was more fun to be inside with them. Our dad’s kept things lively, whether they were together or all by themselves.

For Uncle Jim’s kids, he was a role model. He taught them how to shoot a gun, and go hunting, so they could provide meat for their families. Their training started as young as two years old, and that is something I agree with. If children know what a gun can do, and they are taught the value of life, they will gain a healthy respect for both life and gun. Shirley recalls fishing, hunting and camping with her dad, and with that came a great scan0017sense of camaraderie between the two of them. He was her hero, and she knew that he could do anything. I suppose that is part of what made it hard for her when his mind started to go. Suddenly the dad, who had always taken such good care of her and the family, needed her to take care of him. I know how she feels about that. It is a hard thing to know that your parents are aging, and all you can think is, “How can I stop this? I want to go back in time!!” Unfortunately, that can never be. We live the life we have been given, in the time we were meant to live in, and when it is time to go home to heaven, we must go, whether our family is ready or not. Today would have been Uncle Jim Wolfe’s 94th birthday. He left us almost 3 years ago, and we’ll always miss him. Happy birthday in Heaven, Uncle Jim. We love you.

My Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim lived in the Casper area for a time before moving to Reno, NV and later California and finally Washington state. We used to spend time at their place in Dempsey Acres when they lived here. All of us kids had a great time out there. They had a great garden that took up 3/4 of an acre, and 100 chickens. They raised most of their own food, and added wild game to the mixed as supplement to their own animals. I remember how good that stuff tasted. You can’t get that in a store, so I will just have to supplement my store bought with the farmer’s market, I guess.

After their move, we didn’t get to see them as much, and I always wished that hadn’t been the case. When they did visit, we always had such a great time. Aunt Ruth and Uncle Jim were really fun people to be around. Whenever they came to visit, I remember thinking how different…sophisticated they were now, but then I would be reminded that my Aunt Ruth always wore moccasins, the kind with beads and such on them. That reminded me that you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. That very much proved to be correct because after a number of years in the cities in Nevada and California, Aunt Ruth, Uncle Jim, and their entire family moved to Washington state and bought land in the mountains. Finally she would feel at home again.

Aunt Ruth passed away in 1992 and Uncle Jim is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s Disease. It makes me sad that I can’t talk with them again on this Earth, because they always had such interesting stories to tell about all their travels and life in the places they lived. I know I’ll see them again in Heaven, but right now that time seems so far away, even though it could come at any moment.

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