Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting Healthy: Week 8 Update

This is one of those posts that I wish I could just not write and in two more weeks come back to you and say, "Oh, I've been so busy, I completely forgot!" Sadly, while I have been busy, I certainly didn't forget. What happened is that I gained two pounds during the last two weeks. Except worse than that is that I didn't gain it in two weeks - I gained it in one! I have a million and a half excuses as to why this happened, some valid, most not. I won't bore you with the details, however. Let's just say I'm back on track. So instead of perhaps the 12 pound total loss I should have been reporting to you, it's now 8. In two weeks I promise I'll be back with 10 pounds lost (total since September 1 - not in two weeks!). -Carrie

Monday, October 25, 2010

Would you like some egg with your blood?

Our Barred Rock's bloody egg - sorry for the blurry picture

Sorry for the macabre title (and picture), but this is what awaited us this evening in the nest box. Charlotte's 19th egg, covered in an amount of blood that I just don't think is normal (the egg itself was usual size - not extraordinarily huge, or even big for that matter). Her egg yesterday had a slight smear of blood on it, but it didn't really phase me. Today, however, I turn to you, my peeps. Perhaps your experience will put my mind at ease? She was still walking around and eating like normal, but we weren't able to really investigate her backside as it was just too dark. We plan on checking it out first thing in the morning. So - is this something to be concerned about or should we just let it go? Thanks! -Carrie

Friday, October 22, 2010

5 Reasons to Use Local Farms

Hey all,

Sorry I haven't posted recently. I've been busier than a one legged man in a.... well you get the point. I want to share with you something that is near and dear to my heart. Eating local.

The average plate of food in this country travels over 1500 miles before it gets to you. That's right... 1500 miles. That's ridiculous! Of course, this food doesn't get up and move on it's own. We use copious amounts of fossil fuels in this world to provide logistics which are right at our own backdoor. I once heard that one of our major cities uses one third of its energy consumption just to move water around the city! HERE is an article from CNN of all places on 5 reasons to use local farms. Enjoy! -Jason

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Eggly

I haven't done a chicken update in a while and since we've had some very important developments, I figured it was high time I got on the ball.

Earlier this afternoon, the girls eating a mix of honey dew,
uncooked oatmeal, and leftover pasta/sauce

The Good News
Finally, after many months of watching and waiting with bated breath, Charlotte, our Barred-Rock, started laying large light brown eggs exactly one month ago. I don't think it was a coincidence that it happened literally the day after Jason went out and had a heart-to-heart with her - he said, and I quote, "Do you want to be part of breakfast or part of dinner?" Fortunately for her, she chose the former! For a total of three blissful days we had all three chickens giving us their delectable treats.

The Bad News
On day four of egg-heaven Swoope, our Brown Leghorn (and most prolific layer), didn't produce an egg. OK, not a problem, she usually takes a break every fourth or fifth day. Here's the problem - her "break" hasn't ended. It has been three weeks since she laid her last egg. Seemingly nothing is wrong with her - she's eating and drinking fine, hopping/flying over the fence every chance she gets (because the grass is always greener on the other side - in this case it literally is), poop is normal, no mites or bugs that I can see, and she's still going up into the nesting box at least every other day - I think she's just teasing us. Oh, and nothing appears to be popping out of orifices it shouldn't be. We have no clue what is going on with her. The other two are still laying strong. It's just such a bummer. If it isn't one hen it's another! Being newbies at chicken keeping we don't profess to know a thing. So those of you out there with more experience - any ideas on what could possibly be going on with her? Any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! -Carrie

Picture of Swoope taken just today as I caught her sitting on "her" golfballs. She seems to be spending alot of time in that box. Should I take out the balls? They certainly know where they are supposed to lay by now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Green Conundrum

The Birthday
Towards the end of summer, my youngest son attended a birthday party for a boy from our church. Seeing as the birthday boy was 7 and the other attendees were that or older, I figured I'd stay to help keep an eye on my 3 year old. Fun was had by all. I knew that going to the party would mean trying to find a way to politely decline the use of any disposable tableware - but I felt up to the challenge. Even though paper plates and plastic cups/forks/spoons were in abundance, I was amazingly able to commandeer a ceramic bowl and metal spoon for my son. I think my excuse was something about not trusting him with ice cream on a plate. Which is true, by the way, but I was stretching it a bit. I declined all food and drinks because I didn't want to have to throw anything away.

But something occurred before my eyes that I just couldn't believe. One of my sweet, dear friends (who was also there watching her kids) actually refused a reusable cup - she said she felt bad about it! I guess because it meant that the homeowner would have to wash it instead of just throwing it out. The homeowner pushed for her to take the reusable, but she insisted on the throw-away. How warped we've become that we'd rather use something for literally five seconds and trash it rather than wash it and put it back in the cupboard for use on another day?

The Reunion
As for accumulating "unnecessary" trash during a party, this exact same thing happened to us at a family reunion this summer - but we weren't prepared. We were drowning in a sea of styrofoam and plastic, and the hosts hadn't even set out a bag for recycling cans, either. I wanted to stand up on the tables and scream about it to try and wake people up. But I took the wimpy way out and didn't say a thing - and used the styrofoam and plastic to boot! This was the first reunion for my husband's side of the family in almost 20 years. There were probably about 75 people there and I only knew a handful of them. Everyone was having a pleasant time, and I just didn't want to rock the boat.

The Consequences
But these two stories do show how the vast majority of society still could care less if they're putting needless waste into the landfills. One idea I recently read about is to keep a small stash of plates & utensils in the car for times such as these. I can't think of any other way to deal with it - other than using the "bad stuff" or possibly eating only finger foods. I don't want to ruin everyone else's time by getting up on my soapbox, but I also don't want our family adding anything unnecessary to the dump. Or the ocean for that matter. Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? It's basically two large (and I mean the size of Texas or bigger) floating trash piles (made up of about 90% plastic) that pollute the North Pacific Ocean and take no prisoners. But that's a post for another day.

A wonderful post over at Towards Sustainability discusses this exact topic - how do you broach the topic of creating less waste with friends/neighbors/coworkers/family without seeming crazy? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! - Carrie

[Editor's note: For those loyal subscribers thinking to themselves - "Why does this post seem slightly familiar?" - well, that's because it is. I committed the ultimate blogging faux paux, not once, but three times! This post has already run three times, but in incomplete form. I think I caught it within the first 30 minutes of being posted each time, but it is embarrassing to say the least. So, my sincerest apologies - thanks for sticking with us!]

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Getting Healthy: Week 6 Update

Just a quick update this time. Continuing to lose at a respectable rate. I lost 3.0 pounds over the last two weeks, bringing my total to 10.0 pounds since September 1! I am very excited about this, and have even been able to "retire" my 2 pairs of size 14 church jeans! Cute skirts, here I come! My goal is to lose 5 more pounds during the remaining weeks of October, but that may be a slightly steep number. However, I wasn't able to exercise as much as I did the previous two weeks because I had a large amount of schoolwork. But two of my classes are ending in the next few days, so I think I'll be back up to my 5xweek exercising goal (not to mention writing more blog posts, too!), which will hopefully lead me to lose those 5 pounds. We will see! Any luck for you all the past two weeks? - Carrie