Sunday, June 27, 2010


My little belly is starting to look like a lil' belly, mostly. Kind of. I will be glad to start looking a bit pregnant, because I'm sick of looking just "thick in the middle". Doh. I hate that.

It will be 13 weeks on Thursday.

I have been absolutely craving red meat this pregnancy. Funny, because I ate less meat throughout my twenties, in which both previous pregnancies took place, and I never felt cravings for meat with them. Ever.

But this time around, I can tell a difference in my energy levels well into a full day after eating red meat. It is extremely noticeable. I need to eat meat to feel anything even resembling "normal" for longer than a half-hour.

The unfortunate kink this story is that our quarter-cow ran out at the end of April. I don't do store-bought meat, so everything has aligned into inducing a bit of a meat famine during my time of need. It has been terrible.

We recently joined a brand-new online local foods co-op, but didn't order enough meat that first month (May), maybe 6 lbs? I got wise in June and ordered 25 lbs, but that didn't arrive until yesterday. Ugh! I've been starving! I have been eating meat roughly once a week for the past month, which is definitely not enough.

I have been exhausted, always hungry, and feeling like a husk of myself for more than a month now. It has been terrible. I've been staaaaaaaarving. Eggs, which I am also eating in good amounts, don't cut it. Beans-a-plenty aren't doing it. Cheese is a good snack, yes. Yogurt gets me through the night.

I need meat.

I've even made the trip into Big Town, SD three times in the 10 days to eat a locally-sourced grassfed burger at the only good restaurant in the vicinity. A double-cheeseburger, no less. With baked fries and coleslaw. Absolutely dreamy.

(The boys have been enthralled with the animal mummies in the National Geographic at the restaurant. That, and the frozen baby mammoth.)

I just can't wait to feel normal again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Truen's first hair-cut

The hair-cut was over a month ago, but my parents, let alone any of you, have yet to see it. This pregnancy has put me in a major communication funk. I'm so hungry and tired I hardly have the umph for stuff like that -- it just seems too hard.

Let alone not having much down-time now that Diego isn't napping. I've thought about implementing Quiet Time, but that is really the only time I have to be alone with him. We usually end up snuggling or reading or looking for butterflies together.

And staying up late...? Forget about it.

But anyway, back to the hair-cut. Sometime in mid-May, I had had enough. Truen was hot and sweaty and his bangs were in his eyes. It needed to be taken care of and RIGHT THEN. So I pulled myself together and did it.

I was hardly even sad while cutting it - it was so long over-due. And I've really been enjoying seeing all of his sweet face this past month. He looks like such a big boy!

The "before" shot
The pickle was to keep him chill --
It worked for the most part, kind of.

Just last week, actually --
On his favorite, the "Big Scawry Sthlide".

And really, it is just half a hair-cut. I was able to complete "most of it" the first time 'round before total meltdown. And I just haven't re-visited it. Too tired.

Thursday is 12 weeks.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More baby chickies

We had two hens that went broody this spring. Due to timing and "just life", instead of further investigation and intervention . . . we just let things happen. Oh dear.

For me, it was the exhaustion and trying to keep up with eating and sleeping in the thralls of early pregnancy. For Squeeze, it was working outside until dusk every day. Neither of us really had the time or foresight to READ about it. And being so green, we ultimately didn't have a clue.

Things have worked out fine in the end, but it has been a slightly bumpy road with a peppering of, "Now what?" along the way.

What I should have done was remove the broody hen to a different location, to let her sit on her eggs in peace. Instead we let her sit in a nesting box, of which the problems were two-fold.

First off, she moved nests three different times. Each time, we gathered up her warm eggs and inserted them underneath her, along with all the new eggs. Because of this, her eggs were in all different stages of development. Not to mention that she was sitting on 16 of them.

So why did she move to another box...? Sitting hens get off the nest only one time per day -- to poop, eat, and drink. If another hen comes and sits in her box, she gets confused and moves to another nest. Thus the isolation. Let the girl sit in peace. Playing Musical Nests doesn't make sense. But of course, we hadn't read about it at that point, so everyone was confused.

We are so green.

Secondly, when the second hen went broody, we were having major traffic jams in the nesting boxes. When that egg needs to come out, it NEEDS TO COME OUT, not unlike a major poop or childbirth. Hens were piling up on top of each other, lining up, glaring, scowling, scolding, and trying to kick each other out of nesting boxes.

To make a long story short, our first Mama Hen, with two chicks, got up off the nest several days after her chicks hatched. Priority is given to her live chicks, which makes sense.

So I took the second broody hen, moved her to her own space, and put Mama Hen's eggs under her. She had been playing Musical Nests so prolifically that she wasn't even sitting on any eggs. The poor girl.

So...that Mama Hen hatched three chicks, two of which died without even having time to dry out. My theory is that she was off the nest with the first chick when they hatched and they got too cold and died, though I'm not sure.

Finally Mama Hen #2 got of her nest with her little chickie, too. She had been sitting there long enough. Priority goes to the fluffy one that walks.

There were 12 eggs left in her nest. Neither warm, nor cold.

So Mama Hen #3 (me) gathered up the eggs and make a slap-dash, homemade "incubator" out of a one-and-a-half gallon aquarium with a glass pan for a lid, straw and wet rags for humidity, and a heat lamp for warmth.

Here it is...

My homemade "incubator"

I didn't know if it would work, of course, and everything I read online was dismal in predictions for the success of hatching eggs without an incubator with precisely controlled temps and humidity. But I had to try -- I had already candled all of the eggs and most of them had fully-developed (totally black) chicks.

It has been three days now, and I've been a diligent Mama Hen, checking on the temperature regularly and waking up at night to make sure the rag hasn't dried out (correlating nicely with the pee-every-night during pregnancy thing).

Yesterday morning when I went to check on them, I heard peeping and a faint pecking. Sure enough, one of the eggs had pipped! The little one worked on it all day, sleeping a lot; and when I woke up at 2:00 AM to pee/check on the chick, the crack had turned into a hole and the peeping and pecking had gotten a lot stronger. Eek! It was so exciting.

By the time I woke up this morning, the chick had hatched and was already dried off. I moved it to a brooder box, because it was acting like it was too hot. Now that I am a Mother Hen, I made sure it had a little piece of flannel to snuggle under, and it promptly went to sleep.

The first hatched chick!

Now we are patiently waiting for more chicks to hatch, which is likely to be soon -- Diego and I heard peeping in the "incubator" this morning!

6/20 UPDATE:
So sad -- the baby chickie who was peeping in the "incubator" must have died, because I could hear it peeping all day on the 15th, but after that . . . silence. None of the other eggs have made a peep or crack since and they are presumed dead. A few of the eggs have started weeping and stinking, so we know they are dead. The one little chickie is doing well, though. We'll put it in with the 8 guinea hen keets that we are getting on Tuesday so it won't be so lonely, poor thing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Life is easier with a garden

You're looking at:
chard, kale, mustard, lettuce,
potatoes, beans, spinach gone to seed, leeks, onions

In my opinion, one of the best things about having a garden (or a CSA share) is being forced to "use what you have". These past few years, I have been introduced, by default, to a wild variety of vegetables and herbs that I would have never thought to pick out at the grocery store.

Pak choi? I had to figure out what to do with that this spring. I cut it up and put it in a Udon noodle stir-fry, yo . . . delicious.

I've been making my own salad dressing with chopped dill and scallions with yogurt (and cream, if I have it), lemon juice, and salt and pepper. This girl has been craaaaaaaaving creamy dressings.

I just made kimchi, of all things, with the chinese cabbage that I had no idea what to do with. With a bit of chopped radishes, scallions, garlic, and ginger. It is fermenting out on the counter, of course.

In all honesty, I think it makes food prep easier and more interesting. You actually have something to work with, and better yet, it is right out back. The produce is fresher, more varied, and its uses are more plentiful and spontaneous.

I love it, I really love it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

I might as well tell the world

It has been so quiet around here, without the rooster. It's amazing - it sounds like a deserted island outside vs. chickenville. Soft breezes are blowing into the silence.

So, with a jarring change of subject, remember last summer? When I un-announced a pregnancy? Oh dear, yes. That was humiliating.

Well, as it turns out, my hormones were completely out of whack. All kinds of weird things were going on with my body: horrible vaginal infections that occurred in conjunction with my cycle (between days 6-8 and again on day 20), urinary tract infections, night sweats, funny smells, erratic cycles (anywhere from 18 days to 79 days), etc. It was horrible.

Long story short, I went to a chiropractor this winter who specializes in muscle testing. From his testing, he deduced that I had a staph infection, one that I had had for an extremely long time, and it was finally wreaking havoc on my lady gear (and my face). I took the supplements he gave me for 3 months, and, again, long story short, it worked.

Everything I've been dealing with (except my face) cleared. After a year of turmoil, my hormones settled and went back to normal. It is so nice to feel normal again.

And now I'm pregnant. Due in early January.

Ha-HA. Surprise!

Friday, June 04, 2010

And that was the end of the rooster

It took us about a half-hour to butcher our beautiful rooster tonight, from start to finish.

He has been a wonderful rooster, simply wonderful; until about a week ago, when he started ruffling his neck feathers at Diego. His aggression increased; until Wednesday, when he full-out jumped at Diego, unprovoked, with his feet stretched forward in attack. Diego had just been standing there, maybe 10 feet from him. It scared the poor little guy, and bruised his hip, but otherwise he was alright.

And unfortunately, that was the end of the rooster.

Aside from a little sadness, we are fairly proud of ourselves. Instead of killing and tossing (as has happened before in our greener days), we were actually able to butcher him to eat -- with the aide of our memory from the family butchering day last fall and Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow. It was a quick and smooth process.

I am reminded, again, of what it means to be a meat-eater. We are so disconnected from how we get our food! I am re-amazed. And honestly, a little horrified. To watch the life-blood flow out of another creature, destined to be your meal, is sobering to say the least. It is hard to grapple with.

He couldn't help it, the poor rooster. He was just doing his job. But, unfortunately, the parameters of his job stretched to include attacking innocent 4 year olds.

We just couldn't abide by that.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


No way. No way! This is too hilarious. And I can still remember every single one of their names. Ohhhhhhhhh, Jordan.

From my new favorite laugh-a-roo, Awkward Family It is just too much.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


No time for anything other than a streaming list of my thoughts...

  • The garden is phenomenal this year. We are eating all kinds of things: chard, kale, spinach, lettuce, radishes, onions. I need to post a picture, because it looks like a real garden now instead of a flat patch of dirt.
  • Salsify flowers are gorgeous. They are purple and open in the morning hours. As a biennial, it is a plant from last season that we are letting go to seed this year. Pictures! I need to do that.
  • Our baby chicks being hatched by Mama Hen are doing fabulously. There are two now. We are SUCH greenhorns, it is outrageous. I've been so tired and busy the last month that I just read about taking care of broody hens and it turns out we should have moved her to her own space instead of setting up shop in the coop. Doh!
  • They chicks are so cute, and it is fun to watch her mother them. It actually gets me a little teary. She is showing them how and what to eat and drink. They snuggle up under her breast feathers. She purrs and makes very low clucking noises to them. It is the sweetest thing ever.
  • Truen has no limp at all -- one month later and he is 100% back to normal.
  • Truen had a bit of nostalgia for his broken leg last weekend. He was saying, "Remember when I broke my leg?" and "Remember my cast?" and "Remember how I crawled around in my cast?" Then he insisted that we put his cast back on (tied in place with a scarf) and he wore it for more than an hour on two different days. It was pretty cute.
  • Our Baby CSA is in process. We have 6 customers this summer! We originally planned on practicing on only two families, but the word spread and we had interested parties knocking down our door. The best thing about it - we have enough garden for them. Un-un-un-un.
  • Diego is obsessed with bird nests and worms this spring.
  • Truen had a quick, unexplainable 24-hour fever with no accompanying symptoms this week. He was lethargic and slept a lot, but had an appetite the morning of the second day. I am actually glad for it (not that I wished it to be) -- but I look at it as the flexing of his immune system. It gave the old boy some practice, and who knows -- maybe it cleaned his system out a bit.
  • It is so lovely to have the leaves on the trees and birds in their nests.
  • Truen heard a Mourning Dove cooing in the trees the other morning and said, "Hmmmm...that must be an owl." This kid is amazing! He is so keenly observant of his surroundings. He notices clouds moving in the sky, honey bees on clover flowers, ant hills, and wonders about the sounds birds make.
  • I don't ever remember being that honed in on my surroundings. I asked Squeeze if he was, as he has always been obsessed with systems as a Rational. And he said, yes, he believes he was. Aware. In tune. Interested. It's amazing how "they are what they are" basically as soon as they come out.