Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Something Useful

I figure I may as well post something useful. To start, maybe I'll talk about chickens. When I was little (before my mom left my dad, but after we moved out to Spear Ranch), our neightbors had chickens. One day we had no food because my dad did not do things like give my mom money to buy food. So my mother begged a chicken off of them. They were kind enough to oblige and even to butcher it (the killing part).

Then my mom dipped it in boiling water to get rid of the feathers. I remember all this clearly, regardless of the part where I was between the ages of two and six. It's after that where I can't remember what we did next. I know the feathers were removed and put in a plastic grocery bag because either my older sister or my mom (I can't remember which) was going to do something with them. Of course they just went in the bag and put under the counter. There they stayed until they smelled so awful that they had to be thrown out.

The feet went to my best friend's cousins (her Grandpa was the one who gave us the chicken). The bird was gutted and who knows what we did with them because I can't remember. I remember removing the gullet and my mom sliced it open and showed us the beans, rice, dog food, etc that was inside (the birds were free range and so ate all sorts of things). And then we had some food.

When I was little (after my mom left my dad, but before we moved anywhere else), my dad had chickens of his own which someone hatched out for him. I don't remember the man's name, but he had a ginormous incubator (one of those commercial ones that looks like a refrigerator) in the back of his store (not a feed store, it was called "Treasures and Trinkets" and it sold all sorts of little 'treasures' and trinkets--like the name says). The chickens were Araucanas which are my dad's favorite birds, I think. He kept them in a little coop with his pigeons.

When I was about twelve, my dad took me and my little brother and sister to Mesa, AZ for a pageant. And there we stopped at a feed store and bought some chicks (Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks). We kept them in Motel 6's tub. My mother was pissed because we had nowhere for them to live. When they got old enough to be outside, my dad built a little coop which we kept in the only fenced part of the yard, and let them run around. My mom had someone butcher two of them and we processed them. I got mad at her because they were our chickens and she decided to eat two of them without asking our permission. We kept my dog out in their yard on a chain and stake. One night we let my dog run loose to work off extra energy and someone shot him and he died. Soon after, something ate all the chickens.

Then, last year, someone was getting rid of their chickens and even though we'd told them we didn't want them, they brought them over anyway. Long story short, I spent several hundred dollars on their fenced yard as well as feeders and waterers and they were all very sick and slowly dying off one by one (I told my mom I didn't want hand-me-down chickens for that very reason), so I gave them to my dad. All the birds died over there instead. And I didn't get the feeders or waterers back because my dad and his evil fiancee broke up (and her birds were kept at her house). Sad thing was, those were the only chickens we had that I even liked.

In the future, I plan to have chickens, but not until I'm on my own and can make the decisions and buy the birds from a hatchery, etc...

Talk About Snow!

We really have been getting a lot of snow. Way more than we normally do at this time of year. Yesterday we got four inches of snow and then we got three more inches last night. The thing about this area, though, is that after it finishes snowing, most of it melts away within a couple days. Usually by the end of the week, the only signs it even snowed are the mudholes we call our roads and a little bit in the shade and on the north sides of people's houses. Anyways, so it's already melting away. I took more pictures and made another slideshow (I just know you've been looking forward to it, JK. Don't be alarmed, this one is only seventeen pictures, instead of thirty something).

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Snow!

It had snowed a ton more today! I guess the Deity who rules over nature read my last post in which I said we didn't get serious snows because there's fully four inches out there and it's still snowing! One of the loser local schools let school out. Honestly! Four inches and the school closes down? WT*? Whatever. So I took a bunch more pics and made a slideshow at Slide to put on here so you don't have to scroll through a ginormous post (I have thirty-seven thirty six pictures in the slideshow). The song is one I really like called "Song for a Winter's Night" by Sarah McLachlan.

Note: I originally had a song as part of the slideshow. Sadly, I find it annoying when a song starts playing without permission when I visit a page, so I have edited the post so that it's the exact same slideshow, but with no music to annoy (even if the song is still really good...).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Green Meme #2

No one tagged me, but I like to do these Memes so, yeah


1) Link to Green Meme Bloggers. (use image if you like)
2) Link back to whoever tagged you. (no need to wait to be tagged!)
3) Include meme number
4) Include these guidelines in your post
5) Tag 3 other green bloggers.

Green Meme #2

1. Do you use baking soda toothpaste or baking soda shampoo? If not, would you consider it?

My mother uses those. I have tried toothpaste from Arm & Hammer that had baking soda in it, and I really like it, but I am not super-interested in baking soda toothpaste because of flavor (I know, I'm spoiled, LOL). Someday I will try baking soda shampoo. But not until I can get over the part where I like my hair to smell like chemicals shampoo.

2. Do you make any home cleaning products?

My mom mixes ammonia with water for disinfectant purposes. Does that count?

3. What is your top green issue at the moment?

Garbage reduction. We use a lot of single-use items and I really don't like how much we contribute to the local landfill.

4. Given unlimited cash, what is on your fantasy green wishlist?

Solar/wind power!!!

5. Have you implemented any new green act/behaviour/product this month?

I've been keeping the heater off a lot.

Okay, I tag A Homesteading Neophyte, Dancing in a Field of Tansy and Homesteading the Back Forty.

It Snowed, Yay!

It snowed! The first snow of the year was October 11th. Way early. The second snow was December 9th. And it snowed again last night! These are all pictures that I took this morning after everyone else left for church. Our house:

Across the street:

The part of the yard above the septic tank:
The view to the east from the porch:
The view to the west from the porch:
Usually we don't get any serious snows (as in: several inches) before January so it's not much of a surprise that none of this season's snows have been more than maybe an inch. *pouts* I love snow. No one else around here (except my seminary teacher who used to live in Montana and Minnesota) even really likes the snow at all, it seems. I know my mom and a friend's grandfather absolutely hate it. Grrrr....

Tommy (the--neutered--Tomcat):
Lickerish (my sister named her after the candy, but spelled it phonetically because she's weird):
Lady (rescued from some people who were just going to dump her out in the middle of nowhere...grrrr...I hate it when people do that!):

Anggi (as in short for Angela/Angel....another victim of my sister's strange spellings):

All in all today was okay, except my mom has been preaching religion at me again. *covers ears* La la la!!! I can't hear you!

Parade of Lights

Friday night my seminary class was in the parade of lights in a nearby town. We had a red, horse drawn wagon-thing pulled by Shetland mules:

The wagon and mules belong to my seminary teacher and her husband. He was Santa Claus. She was Mrs. Claus. My sister and a friend were Christmas trees, and the rest of us were Santa's elves. For my costume, I wore a long sleeved red shirt with a dark green sweater over it. The sweater's sleeves were shorter than the red shirt's sleeves, so the red shirt showed and it looked awesome. Then I wore a green hat with red fringe, a green collar, black leggings, and brown boots with white fake fur trim.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Story of Stuff

So I'm reading through all of Cauldron Ridge's blog entries from day one in order to get caught up and all that, and in this post, she links to a video about our doomed consumer society called The Story of Stuff. (Cauldron Ridge got it from Mommy Mommy Land's blog, who got it from someone else's blog, blah blah blah!!!)

The video is insightful and entertaining with plenty of factoids, and isn't boring at all...not once during the twenty minutes, did I consider doing something else with my time. Watch it! It's totally worth it!

I have a little logo you can put on your blog to link to The Story of Stuff. Here it is:

The Story of Stuff


Friday, December 12, 2008

National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

I have read a lot about this from my fellow bloggers and I have decided to post an entry about it. What is NAIS? Well, it was supposed to help big beef producers sell to more exclusive markets. Too bad some idiots (dare I say 'USDA'?), decided that it should apply to ALL livestock owners. so want us to sign our small farm/homesteading animals up and give them numbers and tags, therefore making them part of a national herd. "All livestock animal movements will be tracked, logged and reported to the government."(NoNAIS) This would be fine for the big mass producing factories who treat their animals in a less-than-humane way. But what about us who own horses and rabbits as pets...or those of us who homestead? We can't afford this type off mass-identification and, furthermore, we don't want big government peering over our shoulders and expecting us to explain our every move. We don't want to have to file a ton of paperwork should--God forbid--a neighbor's dog kill one chicken or even a few. And, did you know, the USDA can come in and exterminate all your animals should they have cause to believe that one of your animals is (or was) sick?

From NoNAIS:
"There are no exceptions - even small farms that sell direct to local consumers will be required to pay the fees and file all the paper work on all their animals. Even horse, llama and other pet owners will be required to participate in NAIS. Homesteaders who raise their own meat and grandma with her one egg hen will also have to register their homes as ‘farm premises’ and obtain a Premise ID, tag all their animals and submit all the paperwork and fees. Absurd? Yes - There are no exceptions under the current NAIS plan. The USDA has slipped this plan in the back door without any legislation. This is going to be very expensive and guess who is going to pay for it in higher food prices… You!"

I have two links to NoNAIS you can put on your blog or website to help spread the word about this.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Green Meme #1


1) Link to Green Meme Bloggers. (use image if you like)
2) Link back to whoever tagged you. (no need to wait to be tagged!)
3) Include meme number
4) Include these guidelines in your post
5) Answer questions
6) Tag 3 other green bloggers.

Green Meme #1

1) Name two motivations for being green?
a) Because I care about the earth and hate to see her treated so poorly.
b) I can't think of another.

2) Name 2 eco-UNfriendly items you refuse to give up?
a) At the moment I am unable to give up tampons and related. Eventually, I will use one of those little Diva Cups, but until then. And I have yet to find a good replacement for toilet paper.
b) Until I can find something that will remove hair permanently, I will continue to use razors.

3) Are you at peace with or do you feel guilty about number 2?
I'm okay with a, but b gets me. Still, I would love to find viable replacements.

4) What are you willing to change but feel unable to/stuck with/unsure how to go about it?
I really don't know how to go about getting my family on the boat. I am still a teen, so I don't have any authority in my house, and my mom thinks going "green" is some new age/secret combination/bureaucratic brainwashing.

5) Do you know your carbon footprint for your home? If so, is it larger/smaller than your national average? (http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx)
It's smaller: "0.12 tonnes" according to the site

6) What's eco-frustrating and/or eco-fantastic about where you live?
Frustrating: the dead car lots that are so popular around here as landscaping features. People like to dump their garbage out in the middle of nature. And there's a landfill less than three miles from here.
Fantastic: People grow gardens and orchards.

7) Do you eat local/organic/vegetarian/forage/grow your own?
We buy eggs that are brown, vegetarian fed, with no hormones or antibiotics. And when we buy chicken, we buy the free-range kind. Also, my mom grows herbs and some veggies.

8) What do you personally find the most challenging in being green?
The price and my family! I am very limited financially and my family doesn't get it.

9) Do you have a green confession?
You mean like how although I consider myself "green," I have different ideas about what "green" means?

10) Do you have the support of family and/or friends?
Not really they think that it's all government brainwashing.

Okay, I tag: Tiny Farm Blog, Diamond Cut Life, and Earthwoman


If/when I have children, I am never going to vaccinate them. Why not? Well, because I wouldn't dare. When I was a baby, my mother took me in to get "immunized" and I had a very violent reaction. It is unknown as to what caused the reaction. Was it hereditary? my mother and grandmother were vaccinated only a few times because they were very sick as children. Was it just an allergy to one of the set? Was it an allergy to one of the sickening ingredients? As I said, no one is really sure. Luckily, except for the episode I escaped unscathed. I don't have autism. I have had to deal with depression and OCD, but those are probably more related to other things in my life.

I will not vaccinate my children because I do not know if whatever it was that caused the severe reaction will be passed on to them, and I'm not willing to take the risk.

Another reason, which is less personally related is a few things I found out. a) the outbreak of swine flu in the seventies was directly linked to the vaccination for swine flu. b) the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1812 may have also been linked to the c) AIDS may have been brought to our country from the vaccines (monkey parts are/have been used in some vaccines and are carriers of the disease).

See "How One Wicked Nation Can Kill Billions Around the World--With One Lie!" by Dr. Lorraine Day, M.D. The part about swine flu is pretty far down there since the main article is about Bird Flu. The quickest way to skip to the swine flu part is to press Ctrl+F which will open up a little box to help you search. Type in "swine flu" in the box.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Horse Grooming

So Friday, I went over to my frienemy's house. She has two horses (mustangs) and a mule named Orville (as in Orville Redenbacher--did I spell that right?--Popcorn). The mule wouldn't let Jessica catch him so we just groomed the horses. First we groomed the buckskin. I can't remember his name but it's a type of beer (her parents are like that). He's a little skittish and so I walked him around in a circle while Blondie (that's her nickname and it annoys her lol) moved a pile of wire left over from when they were putting up the fences. They had these two horse-brushes (can't remember what they're called), but one got lost and somebody left the other one out so Blondie got out this...thing...that she hoped was a horse-brush. And then there was a thing for the mane (how come I can't remember any names today?!). We took turns brushing the body and the mane. We didn't the best we could with the horse being a little nervous about being touched. Then we returned whatzisname (starts with a 'P') to his corral.

Blondie tried to catch Orville (the mule) so we could groom him. No success. So then we went on to the other horse. He had just been given to them a few days earlier. A family friend didn't have any money to feed him, so he gave him to them. Blondie named him Sasparilla. It doesn't fit at all. But then neither does "Cocoa" which is what her little sisters named him. He's a handsome guy although he's not very tall (maybe 11 hands) and his ribs are showing. He's got a shaggy black mane (or he did before Blondie took it upon herself to cut his hair). He's very well-behaved and enjoyed the attention he was getting.

Now I have to rant: Why does Blondie pretend she knows more about horses than she actually does? Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the only correct terms I've heard for how a horse moves are: walk, trot, canter/lope, and gallop (and a couple of times I have heard "jog"). Well Blondie is trying to sound smart to some people, and she starts talking about "running her horse." Of course, I jump in and tell her you can't run a horse (and I mean it in two different ways). So she says yes you can and eventually reveals that this is the term for how a horse moves when you go faster then a gallop. WTF??? Yeah. And my other complaint: when we groomed her horses, she didn't bother to comb out the horses' tails or to clean their hooves.