Saturday, June 18, 2011

An attempt to be responsible...

I have a rant ahead, and before I get going, let me preface what I am about to rant about.  For about a year now, we've been making an effort to more environmentally friendly.  No, we're not as good at this as we'd like, but it's a slow process and we keep plugging away.  We have plans to do more, but require the time to put such practices into place.  We're getting there, however.

One of the things I've been trying really hard to do is stop using plastic grocery sacks in favor of the fabric ones. I have nothing against anyone who uses them, of course.  They are handy to have around and last a long time.  However, when you get to where you have 2 cabinets full of them, then it's time to rethink the plastic grocery sack.  Yes, we can take them to recycled (another stage in our process), but why not use something reusable?  I have multiple fabric bags from many, many different places: CVS, Kroger, Walmart, the bookstore, one from my dear friend Kristin that came from Half Price books with the lines from the constitution regarding free speech...stuff like that.  I take them grocery shopping with me.  People hate that.  You'd be surprised just how many people in line behind you cannot hide their annoyance as the cashier puts your stuff in fabric bags.  What's worse, most of the time the cashiers are usually clueless when I hand them over.  Twice at Walmart I've had issues.  The first time, I needed to buy a few more and use them right then.  The cashier (again...clueless) had nothing to cut them open with after she'd rang them up, so another cashier took them over to the service desk to cut them open.  Almost 10 minutes later, after having several chatty conversations with others, she comes back with them.  I had already paid and was on my way out the door.  Then today, the cashier looked at me as if I had grown two heads when I handed her my bags.  She was completely baffled, and had no idea how to sack anything.  Really?  I handed her an insulated bag for the cold stuff, and she put the meat in, then proceeded to pile all my boxed foods on top.  *sigh*

This does not deter me, however.  Yes, people behind me sigh audibly when they see I'm not going with the norm and using the plastic bags, but what do I care?  At least I am safe in the knowledge that I am attempting to do my part.  What are they doing?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Like any good mistress....

....I am keeping chickens.  The history of keeping chickens for eggs, meat, and feathers goes way, way back, and I won't bore you with a lecture.  Needless to say, we're doing something many have done before us.  I resisted at first, thinking about the smell, the poo, and the general overall ick that would come along with them.  Then I visited a friend and her flock.  I was hooked.  Hers free range and actually greeted me as I stepped out of the truck.  As I watched them crowd around the feed, I thought "I can do this!"  Next, I set out learning about breed, because yes, there are many, many breeds of chickens!  Not all chickens lay white eggs, the majority lay brown, and then there are those that lay blue ones.  I agonized for weeks over what breed I wanted, then I realized I could order multiple breeds at once!  Happy thought indeed!  I decided to narrow it down to 4 breeds, and 12 chickens to start with.  I didn't want to get in over my head!  I studied breed charts, the number of eggs each breed is said lay each week, and with all that swimming around in my head, I chose.  4 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Silver-Laced Wyandottes, 3 Barred Rocks, and 2 Easter Eggers, for Maddie and Caris.  The Buff's and the Barred Rocks are old breeds that are common in many backyards, and the Wyandottes, while old as well, are simply just gorgeous.  Yes, chickens can be gorgeous as well as cute when they are fuzzy.

And so, the day came!  14 little fuzzy butts were carefully placed in the brooder, heat lamp on so they don't catch a chill.  I didn't realize that having baby chicks is almost like having infants, they need almost constant attention to make sure they are not too hot, or too cold.  The first week is the worst, and knowing this I walked with baited breath out to the coop to check on the little ladies, hoping that all were alive and peeping.  After the disaster with the meat birds, I didn't hold much hope.  But, I can safely sat that as of today, they are 4 weeks old, and still going strong.  We have a few weeks before we'll know who is a he, and who is a she, despite having ordered all females.  Chick sexing is 90% accurate, but if we have a rooster, I won't mind.  It will be a few months before we have any eggs, so while we wait, we'll get to know our girls and discover their personalities.  Some are already very friendly and curious of us, coming up to us and even jumping up on my shoulder. (amazing that chick didn't have a heart attack when I shrieked!)

So, this is one way I will be spending my summer...keeping chickens.  Let the adventure begin!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On this day, two years ago.... baby girl Caris was born.  Many of you know the struggles we went through to have a baby.  I was practically into my seventh month of pregnancy before I dared to buy anything for her for fear of jinxing everything.  Her birth is a blur for me, as I was very sick and sadly don’t remember much from that time.  The prominent memories are those of worry because she was so tiny, and that she wasn’t warm enough, or eating enough.  I was worried about the heart murmur that kept her from being immediately released, and most of all, I was scared to death that I wouldn't know what to do when we got her home.  That notion was tested a few times in the middle of the next several nights, but lo and behold, she has made it to two years without too many issues. 

Experienced moms will tell you all those thoughts are normal and will never cease, and indeed today I am still worried about those same things.  However, now I’ve added her falling down the basement stairs, getting stung by bees on the way to the chicken coop, or simply getting hurt in any fashion whatsoever.  But, with the worry, comes the happiness.  Caris is very talkative and insists that water is called bubbles, and that our dog’s name is dog-dog, and not Blitzen.  Bears are dog-dogs, chickens are chickieeeessss, and that the rocking chair on the porch of our cabin in Gatlinburg is most definitely “her chair”. 

So, in light of Caris making the transition from babyhood to toddler hood, I’m taking the rocking chair out of her room before she attempts to climb on it, and the baby toys that she has outgrown will be put away for another baby, or given away at some point.  Oh, and like any good mom, I’m making cupcakes for daycare tomorrow, and throwing a Hello Kitty birthday party on Saturday with party favors in abundance. 

I can’t even begin to describe where the time went, or how I am feeling today.  The last I knew, she was crawling around the living room and had very little hair.  Now she’s running around, chattering, laughing, and chasing cats with little curls bouncing at the back of her head.  I certainly hope the next years are just as fun-filled and exciting as these last two have been!