Here Birdy-birdy-birdy

If you look verrrry closely, you’ll see our baby bird, signing her version of the word…


She can’t help herself because you see–each day, more and more of our birds come back.

We can see them jostling for the seeds in the feeder.

We can watch them sitting on the deck rail all puffy feathered in the rain.

We can hear them cooing and singing us awake each morning.

And friends, we are very, very happy about it, because we’ve been waiting for a long time…

all of us.

And so Jiff is now banned to the basement until she learns better manners.

After all, we have guests.

Happy National Bird Day everyone!

Happy Birthday Kristen!


Monkey House

That One Chick #8

Before the day of the digital camera–you had to point and shoot and cross your fingers hoping that when you got your film back your children wouldn’t look…like…this. It was always a crap shoot with no do overs.

Check out the little monkey on the left.

Speaking of monkeys…

When I was about this age–6 or 7ish we had a neighbor in Los Angeles that kept all kinds of monkeys. No lie. She had chimpanzees and spider monkeys and kept them in a huge playroom-pen at the front of the yard that she called the Monkey House. We could see them swinging on rings and jumping around from our kitchen window. Pretty sure there would be something illegal about that these days. Anyway, one day we came home to find the biggest and baddest grandaddy monkey of all time sitting on top of our fridge. His name was Beatnick and he apparently came in through our open kitchen window. When we came in the kitchen, he stood up and started screeching and throwing fruit down on us. My brother had a potato growing in a jar with toothpicks and water–the little dope threw that too.

My dad yelled, “Everybody stand still,” so we stood still.  Too bad the chimp didn’t listen.

That creepy guy jumped right down and landed…

on my head.

So, try to picture it–two big old monkey feet clutching the top of my head–his toes were poking me in the eyes.  Not to mention the fact that a monkey the size of a toddler weighs about as much as a 10 year old child. Before I could yell or bawl or help myself in any way, he sprung from my head to the kitchen table–knocking me to the floor. My dad picked me up and tossed me out of the kitchen. Pretty scary–I must say.

I have no idea how my dad got the monkey out of our house, but for years–any time he’d see a chimpanzee on T.V.  he’d say, “Those little devils are as strong as a grown man.”

All I know is that they are as heavy as a sack of bricks…

when they land on your head.

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*Remember to comment on all the “That One Chick” facts posts during the month of February to be entered in to win our March 1, 2010 giveaway–for some of my favorite things!

Puppy Love


A friend of ours, “Utah Grammie” over at Main Street Memories, witnessed a pretty incredible event unfold in her family this last week. With her permission, we would like to share the story with you on Gracious Rain.

Before we begin, here’s a little preface:

On Wednesday Nov. 18, 2009 while her family was visiting relatives in Arivaca, Arizona, her sister’s beloved dog, Owen, went missing.


It happened while they were all outside ready to feed the animals.  One of the horses came up behind Owen and spooked him. He bolted out of the yard and down the dirt road. Gone. The family spent the day searching for the scared puppy but no luck. Volunteer groups from the area came but the area was huge-consisting of a lot of desert full of scrub brush and mesquite tree that stretched out for miles and miles. The poor dog could be anywhere.


By the next day the family was becoming more somber. Rightly so.  The desert is no place for a  little city pup, what with coyotes and snakes and all kinds of hidden dangers for a creature so small on their own. On Thursday Utah Grammie said, “No news. We’re still holding out hope. In the meantime, I just can’t be flippant. Sorry. Hopefully the new day will bring good news.”

They put up fliers offering a $500 reward all over the area, but still nothing additional to report on Friday either. Everyone was heartbroken. Owen wasn’t just a dog, he was a beloved member of the family.

Saturday is where the miracle actually begins…

I’ll let Utah Grammie take it from here:


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Miracle in the desert

There’s a lot more to this, and if you’ve doubts about prayer, courage, strength….about the stars and the heaven’s alignment….about the kindness of strangers….and man’s love of God’s creatures….then you need to read no further.

Because this is the story of hope, answered prayers, and…’thanks-giving’

Everyone was supportive. Told Kathy he’d be found..he’d be safe.. Because that’s what one says..even if one doesn’t believe…..has doubts.

After all, one small city a place far away from his home..unknown terrain….what with coyotes, bobcats and all other dangers of the desert at night. And it was now 3 nights..and 4 days..


No word..even the believers, the hopeful, were losing hope. “It’s really not very likely he’ll be found alive..after one night out there..” some said {but all were thinking by now..} But that’s not the way it was supposed to be..not the way the story ends..

The reward posters were placed in the small town of Arivaca, in the bar/restaurant in Amado..the mercantile, the library….given out at the elementary school where Larry substituted as a kindergarten teacher…the shelter in Green Valley..the border patrol one had seen him.

One small white large and dangerous desert..thousand of acres vs one flat-faced [pup], with bottom-less brown eyes.. all spit and vinegar…

On the day we had all but given up hope, Kathy’s cell phone rang. Bad reception..”wait, what?”

“I thi.. I ma..have fou.. your dog..” The line went dead..the caller ID said simply “unknown”..

The phone rang again..”What? Where are you? What’s you’re number..give me YOUR number!?”

He gave the first 3 digits..then the line went dead…again.


It rang a third time..he quickly gave the LAST 4..Kathy ran into the house to use the land-line. The voice on the other end said “I think we have him..” 4 1/2 miles. houses..then a small house..a man holding Owen..

Kathy screaming, crying, Gerri jumping. Owen was found. He’s alive!

The man, now himself close to tears, is hugged by Kathy. He hugs back..then tells his story.

Seems he has a small, modest home. 4 dogs himself. Lots of barking – teenage daughter, pretty wife. But for some reason, the barking at 2:30 Saturday morning was..well..different. The man thought he’s just step outside and check..


A coyote was trying to get something under his car..what was it? His Great Dane was furious..barking..the coyote was growling..menacing.. He let the Great Dane out..he ran off the coyote.. the man looked under the car.. Now what is this? A small, white city dog? Out here? Wha??

The man took him inside. The little dog was wearing a collar with tags..and a phone number..a long distance phone number. He couldn’t call at that hour. He started to work on all the burrs, stickers and desert this little city dog had gotten himself into.

He continued to try to make Owen {he found his name was on his tag} comfortable..feed him and give him water..he gently groomed him, talked to him, for over 4 hours..He called at 8am.


When Kathy & Gerri arrived, when the hugs and the tears and the laughter subsided..the man told the story.. no, he and his wife and daughter had not seen the fliers on a lost little white dog..they didn’t know…

Kathy hugged him.. told him there was a reward..

“No, no..not necessary..I couldn’t..”

Kathy gave him the reward. $500, just like the flier had said. The flier he had not seen.

The man appeared to be in shock..he couldn’t believe it..he said “thank you – thank you…I don’t…” Like us all, he had been having a rough time ..Thanksgiving and Christmas were a worry..he has a daughter..and a wife..and little extra beyond the basics. But not having extra money didn’t stop him from opening his home, his heart….{.and 3 long distance phone calls!} They hugged, cried and said good-bye.


Later, when Kathy’s husband, Bruce was leaving to drive back to Lake Havasu..he stopped to thank the man and his family himself. Bruce told the man he was Kathy’s hero..thanked him again. The man looked at Bruce and said..

“ are our hero..we didn’t know if we were going to have a real Thanksgiving or Christmas this, thanks to Owen, we will..”


One small dog, one huge desert, one group of friends and strangers, one gracious God.

One happy ending…

Thank you for praying, thank “Ron ” for calling..thank the people of Arivaca, thank God. And thanks to the Great Dane..that coyote may still be runnin’….. 🙂

Utah Grammie

One Misty, Moisty, Morning

Look what we found in the backyard early in the morning!

Mr. Mallard and his wife –she’s hiding behind him. the perfect Easter week visitors.

They padded around in the squishy grass chomping on whatever they could find for about 2 hours. The picture is really tiny but I didn’t dare get closer.  The pair were really beautiful to watch, especially to think that they’re wild creatures that just flew in from somewhere else…maybe some faraway land, like…Lithuania. sigh…

Ok, maybe they came from down the street at Utah Lake, but it’s fun to think about.

I love that they choose our yard for a rest stop.

Come back soon guys. You’re welcome to eat our bugs anytime!

And I don’t say that to just anyone!