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Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Old age substitutes
brains for brawn

Backing into the pool down a broad, stable ladder is for old ladies. And last week that became my preferred method of entering the high school pool for water therapy class, after injuring an arthritic thumb easing over the side.

When the session was over, I noticed Blanca Abila sitting at pool’s edge, using a pole in an effort to stand up. Failing that, she rolled over on her hands and knees to maneuver into a standing position. She recently had both knee joints replaced.

Driving home, I noticed Clara Frasier weeding her flower bed with a hoe and shovel, keeping her three-toed walking cane nearby. Clara gave up water therapy when she got so unsteady on her feet that she feared a fall while walking from the pool to the bleachers.

What concessions we have to make when aging bodies lose their agility and strength. Last week, Laura Briggs warned me not to lift a 70-pound sack of cement while setting posts for a chicken pen.

She needn’t worry. I couldn’t have lifted that sack if I’d wanted to. But using brains where brawn used to be, I rolled the sack out of the trunk of my car into the wheelbarrow I planned to mix it in.

After wheeling it to the back yard, I cut open the sack and discarded it, made a little hollow in the concrete/sand/gravel mix, then added water. Using a shovel, I stirred it like a cake mix, then shoveled it into the post holes. Nothing to it.

Moving a roll of 3’ chicken wire the same way, I dumped it on end near the coop where I would attach it, then unrolled it, attaching it to each post as I went.

Earlier in the summer, I had used the same technique to line the back yard fence with 6’ chicken wire to keep my little chicks from escaping between the boards. Now I am cutting lengths of that chicken wire to cover the top of my pen and wrapping it around and over a pomegranate tree.

I considered leaving the tree out of the pen, but the chicks enjoy hiding among its thick trunks and roosting in its branches. So I lopped off the top branches, wrapped a 6’ length of chicken wire around it and attached another piece over the cropped top.

Now my babies are legal, have a place to hide from sun, wind and predators, plus a coop where they can roost in safety and lay eggs. There is just one little hitch. I thought the two survivors of my 12-chick brood were a rooster and a hen. But this morning, I heard the “hen” crow. Back to the drawing board.

“Do not think of yourselves more highly than you should.” Romans 12:3, TEV

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager. Contact her at

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