Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wilbur's End

Thought it was worth mentioning that Wilbur met his maker last night. We had tried a few attempts to bring him around - namely homeopathy and then trying to physically brace his jaw so his beak would line up - but it really wasn't happening. He was severely malnourished, dehydrated and generally miserable, and his condition wasn't going to be fixed with our feeble attempts. Short of surgery I don't see how he could have survived.

We tried to make things okay for him before he moved on, feeding him by hand and using a dropper to give him water. There was little question that he would have to die that evening, but it seemed callous to end what was a short and unfair existence without a degree of dignity. At the very least he didn't die thirsty and hungry and alone, three conditions that plagued his brief life.

So, that's our first brush with death and raising animals. As a person who's never dealt with animals as creatures of utility - rather more as companions and friends - this has been extremely distressing, far more than I would have thought. City folk tend to anthropomorphize animals and even inanimate devices, ascribing attributes to them that simply do not exist outside of our heads. I doubt Wilbur was having an existential crisis in his final days, lamenting his place in an uncaring universe. He just was, going about his business as best as he could, probably utterly oblivious to the fact that he was fatally disfigured. I know all of this, but there's still a small but vocal part of my brain that tells me I betrayed a life that depended on me for protection. I suspect that this will fade with time, and that my pragmatic side will win over the long run, but right now it just sucks.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Homeopathy and Chickens

We have a desperate situation with our chick, Wilbur. He's had a tough life even before he hatched. He spent 24 hours trying to get out of his egg to no avail. Paul finally opened the shell for the little guy who was stuck and extremely tired. He's been the runt of the group every since. Over the past few weeks he's been developing a structural problem called a twisted beak. Basically the upper and lower parts of his beak don't match up making it almost impossible for him to eat, drink or peck anything. Our chicken farmer, Brian, said that he may survive, but his condition has been getting worse.

At this point, I've decided to take matters into my own hands. Without some help, he will certainly die. He's emaciated and extremely under developed. I gave him one dose of Natrum muriaticum, 30c in liquid. I am also giving him water via dropper and am going to try an oat and raw milk mixture for nourishment. I think I'll give him 24 hours to respond to the remedy. If that doesn't act, I'm going to try Calcarea carbonica.

I'll post his progress!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Garbage and Gas

Gas. I've heard that it is supposed to get up to $4.07 per gallon this summer. Frankly, and don't balk at me here, I'm excited. I think that expensive gas is a small step toward a national realization that we're destroying the planet and, guess what - our endless supply of fossil fuels will soon be no more. So while I don't want to pay $60 or $70 to fill up this summer, I think that I just found some new motivation to get some new bikes shoes and perhaps a tune up. The girls and I will be putting in some mileage this summer.
I realize that my current luxuries are not available to everyone. We've now got a playground two blocks away, a grocery store 10 blocks away, two great pizza places within walking distance, a coffee shop, a number of rec centers, a library, a beach and a post office - just to name a few. We're set, really. The only thing that gets me into the car these days is our weekly trip to Whole Foods in St Paul and church. (This doesn't include weekends which are another story entirely.)
The goal that I've set for myself now is to fill up once every two weeks. I came close this week but don't think I'll make it all the way. If I can reach two weeks, my next goal is three.
So those are my gas goals.

As for garbage. I've noticed that we have a LOT of garbage here! It seems like our kitchen can is full twice a week. We recycle, which isn't included, but man, what's with that? First of all, what gets me are those plastic bags. You know the ones? You buy a couple of apples and in order to get it through the check out they have to be in a plastic bag. Well, I've cut down on that a bit with my BYO bags, which are great but they don't deal with my bulk purchases of rice, oatmeal, etc. So we have a load of those little bags. I think I'm going to start bringing them back and reusing them each week. I'll let you know how it goes. As for the rest of the garbage, it may come down to making a list of everything that goes in and then evaluating from there!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. - Gandhi

Monday, May 7, 2007

Official Chick Names

Last night, during some burst of creativity, Amelie decided to finally name all of the chicks. We have, in no particular order; Sponge Bob (yellow one), Stripes (all black), Pearl (all white), Wilbur (all gray and the runt). There you have it! Now we're just waiting to see who gets to stay (hens) and who has to go (roosters).

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Officially Moved In

Well, our moving trailer, where all of our belongings have resided for the past 10 months is now empty. What is not empty, however, is our garage which is now quite full. With the help of our good friends John and Kala, my parents and our neighbor, Bill, we were able to get the entire semi trailer emptied in just a few hours (and before the rain). We moved very little into the house but it was enough to make us feel overwhelmed. It turns out we have A LOT of stuff. Most of which we will be selling in our garage sale.

Thankfully everything survived the trip and the months in storage fairly well. Everything except our Maytag Neptune - only washer to get the cat/dog hair out - washer suffered some frozen parts and now needs to get fixed. We're just hoping it doesn't cost us an arm and a leg.

Nonetheless, we're moved in. More updates on the big sale to come....

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Heat, Update 1

I tend to write in fits, so you can expect times of plenty and times of drought when it comes to my blogging. Right now things are evolving on the heating front so I figure it's worth a quick update.

The ceilings are out and I'm ready to pull the trigger on buying the heating package (I'm currently leaning towards the ingeniously named Radiant Floor Company), which has brought on a near-panic attack. The notion of actually going through with this stupid idea and spending thousands of dollars has apparently knocked some sense into me. Not too much sense, mind you, but just enough to get me to evaluate my longterm plan.

At this point I'm going to leave the existing system in place, which means the old boiler, death trap that it is, has another year of life in it. The radiators will stay, of course, and the new system will have to be installed around it. The benefit of doing this is too much to ignore, as this allows me to focus on installing the new system (not figuring out how to remove the old) and it means we can face next winter with no fear. I'm convinced that a radiant package will work just fine, I'm just not convinced I'm going to get it exactly right the first time. There may be opportunities for refinement over the next year, and I don't want to be 'refining' with mittens on in my own house.

Gotta go, Des is distracting me with her chip eating technique: grab fistful of corn chips, dump into mouth, chew as loudly as possible while leering at my discomfort. Oh, where did the romance go? Maybe out with the ceilings.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Living Green Expo

This weekend is the Living Green Expo at the State Fair. We are completely excited. All of our favorite green companies will be there including Natural Built Home Store, Peapods, Borden Window and Peace Coffee, just to name a few. Paul will be working at the Permaculture Collaborative booth for a bit so stop by and say hello. The Expo was great fun and lots of learning last year for us as I'm sure it will be again this year. They have lots of things for kids including a petting zoo area and some art projects. I hope the weather holds out!

Living Green Expo


The babies have hatched! We currently have four baby chicks nestling in a box in our office. We've got a yellow one, two gray ones and a black one. The first one hatched last Thursday night. Sunday night Paul had to help the last little gray one (Wilbur) out of his shell. He ended up getting stuck in there. After 24 hours of pecking, we decided it was time to give him a break. Now we're rapidly looking into and planning our chicken coop. Those little guys are growing so fast! They're all losing their down and getting their feathers. So cute!