Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chick Update - one week old

Thanks for the hilarious entries in our "name that chicken" contest. We have enough birds for all the names given, so consider yourselves all winners. My congratulations to you all.

Okay, so I'd read that chicks that are bred for meat production grow fast, but HOLY COW, do they grow fast!!

Remember this little guy? He easily fits in the palm of Megan's hand.

This is the same chick, one week later.

And here he is trying to fly away.

Their growth rate is insane, I'm telling you.

Here's a pic of the four hens in the hands of our good friend Aubryn. Their names are, left to right: ? (Susan), Junie B. Jones, (Megan), Tab (Karianne), and Yulia (translation: feathered beard - according to Nathan). Unfortunately, my children did not wait for our little blog contest before naming their hens. Maybe Susan can still be influenced. She likes chocolate and money.

The hens are growing, but not so fast as the mutant monster meat birds. I'll be separating them soon, I think, since the box is getting a mite crowded.

I am going to try to get a watermelon crate from the grocery store... barring that, I have another computer box, which will cut down on the population density. Plus, we're moving these little buggers to the garage, because I'm tired of having my laundry room smell of chicken crap.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Karianne's Good News!!

After a tense week of choir auditions, Karianne found out this morning that she made Ambassadors, Spanish Fork High School's show choir! I received a call late last night from the choir president, informing me of her success, and asking me to help them "kidnap" her for breakfast. At 5:30am, three of the current girls from Ambassadors knocked on our door, and since I've been sleeping on the living room couch, I was right there to let them in. They went into her room, turned on the light, and yelled, "You Made Ambassadors!!!"

Karianne squinted through blinded eyelids. "Wha...?"

"Get up! We're taking you to breakfast!"

"Um. Okay..."

By the time she returned home at 7:30am, she was fully awake and ecstatic. However, her joy was marred by the sad news that her BFF, Christina, didn't make the choir. "I want her to be in it with me so bad!!"

Bittersweet - sometimes it seems like most of life is like that.

It Ain't a Real Farm Without CHICKENS!!!

They came! They finally came!

My long awaited little peeping puffballs of down are here at last! Last month, after getting approval from my immediate neighbors, I ordered a batch of chicks, and this morning the Post Office called to tell me they had arrived! After dropping Megan off at school, my dad and I drove down and picked them up.

Here they are in their shipping box, cold and hungry and thirsty, and chirping their displeasure LOUDLY. Included in the shipment: four Golden Comet pullets (golden orange colored in the upper left corner of the box); eight Cornish Cross meat birds (the light yellow ones); and five extra male chicks of unidentified breed added to help keep the others warm during shipment - they're the dark yellow ones with black stripes down their backs. I guess they'll get raised with the meat birds, cuz they'll be on the table before they start to crow!

Getting acquainted with their new home - huddling under the light to get warmed up. They also found the metal staples in the corner of the box very attractive and jostled one another for the opportunity to peck at them. Did I mention that chickens are dumb?

Isn't he the cutest thing you've ever seen!?! He won't stay this way for long - in a week he'll start growing out wing feathers and will become progressively uglier until he's fully feathered out, at which point he'll be a fat white nondescript bird like the one below. Kinda ugly, huh? Easy to butcher an ugly bird, right?

These Golden Comet chicks

will grow up to look something like this:
And at about 20 weeks of age, they'll begin laying nearly an egg per day each. If you've never eaten a homegrown egg, come visit me in October and you'll get a real treat. I'll fry you up a beautiful golden yolked egg on homemade whole wheat toast, served with fresh raw jersey cow milk. Mmmmm- Mmm! Yummy!

So - I need your help. We need names for these birds. They'll be in two categories: the hens will be pets, and the names we pick with your help will be permanent for the two years or so that they live with us. The meat birds, however, are only temporary residents (7-9 weeks), so the individuals won't be assigned names. But still, I thought it would be fun to think of food-themed names for them as well, even though I'll probably end up calling all of them "Dinner".

So tell your friends and family to sign on here and help us name our new babies! The winning entries will be awarded praise and honor, and the opportunity to come and help slaughter the bird you named, if you're sick enough to actually want to do that.

Hit me with your best shot.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Knee update

So the knee was getting better, and I hiked at Zion's over spring break; everything looked rosy. Then the next week I twisted it again, and it was worse than before. I went back to the orthopedist, and he recommended arthroscopic surgery to fix what he was certain was a tear in the meniscus cartilage that cushions the joint. He figured I'd be on crutches for 1-2 days, with average recovery at 4-6 weeks.

Tuesday May 6 was the big day. Monday evening at FHE we were discussing what would happen, and I expressed that I was a little nervous about being put to sleep for the surgery. Megan (who had surgery for a broken arm at age 5) smiled wisely and patted my arm and said "Don't worry mommy, it's not scary at all! You just get really sleepy and warm and then you wake up!" Wait a minute. Who is the child here?

The paperwork instructed me that I would need a babysitter for 24 hours after surgery. My wonderful father drove down Tuesday morning to provide domestic support (interpretation: do everything for me) for a couple of days until I was back on my feet. We arrived at the surgical center at 12:35pm and the fun began.

I traded my snap-up warmup pants and tee shirt for a stylish, faded hospital gown, a surgical cap, and disposable brown footies. Then a urine sample to ensure I wasn't pregnant, and it was time for bloodwork. After two painful strikes, the pre-op nurse finally got my IV in. Once I was on the operating table and belted on (click it, or ticket!), the anesthesiologist warned me that I would get dizzy really quick once he put the meds in my IV. He was right. Wheeeeee! The last thing I remember was saying, "Gee, I've never been high before...."

Then some annoying woman was shouting at me to wake up. And someone had stolen my knee and replaced it with a thousand blazing suns. I whined until she gave me both a pill and put medication in my veins. And then I asked my father what time it was at least four times in 2 minutes. I babbled on about who knows what for who knows how long -- I don't remember anything I said. I hope I didn't divulge any information critical to national security.

So we sat there and I dozed in between inane bursts of gutteral noises, and then the doctor was standing at the foot of my bed. He said something ridiculous about removing a quarter sized piece of cartilage and then joked that I had to be on crutches for four weeks. I laughed and shook his hand and then he left. Wait.

Then a nurse who moonlights as an auctioneer came and rattled off the post-op instructions. Whatever, lady. She also said something about no weight bearing on the left leg for a month. I told her I'd already heard that joke. Then another nurse came in and took out my IV and helped me get back into my cool warmup pants and put my socks and shoes on my feet, which is harder than it sounds, and then wheeled me out to the van.

My daddy bought me an oreo raspberry shake at Arctic Circle and I ate it while he picked up my Lortab pills. And then we went home and I took up residence in the same place I am writing this post from: the recliner on the living room couch. And I think it's time for another pill. Hello, lover.