Wednesday, May 30, 2012

5 weeks of illegal chicken tending

Our chicks made it through their first weekend with chick sitters (thanks Maribeth and Erin!), and when we got back, they looked HUGE to us.  The coop is coming along, and we're (well, Jim is) hastening construction.  As our trio gets bigger, so does their er... leavings.  And it's getting a little stinky in the basement. 
Yesterday, they were treated to a few strawberries from our backyard patch.  One chick would pick it up, and run away from the others to scarf it up.  Except one of the other two would be right behind, ready to grab and run.  I couldn't catch that on video, but here's a short look at Abraham Lincoln playing keep away.  You might also notice a hopping rabbit at the end, as the camera pans up.  She's a wild one (no pet rabbits here).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

4 weeks with chickens

Today marks four weeks since our ride home from the Family Farm and Home store in Allendale with a small box with 3 tiny fluff balls.  They're so huge already!
Abraham Lincoln, Hazel, and Penny sit poolside.  This is a birdbath, they neither bathed nor drank; they just sat.

Super Henry likes to pretend he's a pirate when he holds the chickens.  Willa just likes to cuddle.

Another bird hanging out in my garden.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Full, beautiful weekend

 Before eating dinner, we usually pray.  Growing up, both Jim and I would start dinner prays with "in the name of the Father..."  The Sinkis start prayers off with "Thank you, God, for this beautiful day."  Then we each take a turn saying a few things that we're grateful for, and sometimes ask for a little help on other things. 

Today, we didn't pray because dinner wasn't exactly on time, or organized.  We ate on the front porch at 8pm.  The kids had mac and cheese.  Jim had leftover pizza.  I had chickpeas w/ basil and tomatoes. 

We were late because we were off enjoying the beautiful day together.

Our house is about 35 minutes from one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.  We spent a few hours at Lake Michigan today.

Thank you, God, for this healthy, playful daughter.
Thank you, God, for this independent, creative son.
Thank you, God, for this kind, loving partner.
I am grateful for my family, and for the beach, and for friends who I got to spend time with on Saturday evening, and my classmates who I reconnected with during our first Lifespan Development class this weekend.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Willa's first sleep over

Willa is, I hope asleep right now.  It is 10:44 pm, and she is 2 houses away.  She's at her first non-family sleepover party.  She was worried yesterday evening about... every little thing.  This evening, it seems, was a different story.  I was in class tonight, so Jim helped her get ready.  I've asked him to record this little glimpse.  Ready?  Okay, I'm handing the laptop to him now.

Willa was pretty excited about being asked to sleep over at her friend Michaela's house. She wolfed down the grilled cheese sandwich I made her, and when I turned around she had her overnight bag slung over her shoulder and was heading for the door. I told her, "Willa it is only 6:20pm and your friend asked you to come over at 6:45." She said, "I know,but can I wait on the porch?" I couldn't say no to her, so there she sat, on the porch with her bag around her body and one arm thrust through her sleeping bag. Several times she asked if it was time to go.  At about 6:30 she saw the neigbor dad and told me- "I see Mr. Mark, can I pleeeze goooo???" When her friend appeared at the door to their house, she jumped up and literally ran over to her. I gave up trying for a hug goodbye and just hoped she had a great night... 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

chickens, week 3

We've been taking the chicks outside for little adventures on warm days.  Here they are three weeks old.  Most of the time, they like to scratch around in the bare spots of the grass.  They also like to hunt around in the flower beds.  Okay for now, but when they discover how good green leaves taste, I'll have to kick them out.  My reading is telling me that chickens can destroy plants.  A few times, while the other 2 are scratching and eating tiny pebbles (it's okay, they should do that), Hazel will burrow down in the grass and roll a little.  We think she's taking a dust bath.  In the grass.  I will probably never say that chickens are smart.

Though, they are good companions.
The chicken formerly known as Golda, Ida, and Penny.  We're experimenting with calling "it" Abraham Lincoln (get it?  Penny/Abe?).  The more I read, the more I think this animal could crow... or lay an egg at about 20 weeks.  Well, one of those options are right.   We'll see...

 And pretty funny to watch and play with.
They like to be up high.  That's Abe on Willa's head, Alice on the left, and Hazel on the right. We don't let the chicks perch on our heads usually.  This was just for the 5 second photo opportunity.

Abe Lincoln is in the dinosaur stage.  Most of the baby down is gone, and the grown up feathers are coming in.  They are not pretty right now.  These weeks are akin to human early teen years (minus the acne).

I've been somewhat obsessed over this one.  Rehomed roosters are often found on dinner plates, and not as a backyard pet.  My conscious is demanding that we hang on to this one until we know for sure that we can't.  Besides, it's a really nice pal.

It's fun to watch their dynamics take shape.  Alice does not do well alone.  If she can't see the other two, she stops in her tracks, stretches her neck, and emits loud CHEEPs until she's reunited.

When we were all outside, something spooked our little flock, and they all came running - as gracefully as toddlers - towards me.  Until they remembered that they still find me a little intimidating.  Then they were all "oh... we're cool.  We'll just be here, under the daisies."

Week three of chicken farming is in the books.  So far, so good.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The case against Nature... and Nurture

"So, high level competence for the test is 150.  Willa got a 192 in the math section.  She said she's never seen a score that high."

Jim took Willa to school this morning, and came back with that report on her MAP testing.

We were both very proud to hear that.  192!  I did a little bit of internet digging, and it seems like that is the low end of competent for 3rd graders.  I shared that with Jim via Facebook chat, and we patted ourselves on the back.

"... and let's stay humble here. I mean, this is also the kid who picked her nose while on stage at her music program last night," I typed. 

Neither of her parents are particularly gifted in math.  My own brain didn't have the right nutrients to let math really take root, let alone flourish.  I partially blame one particularly horrible junior high teacher.  And that fact that I just felt more at home with words than numbers.  As a result, when I started college, I was placed in Math 097.  Which means I had such a bad grasp of the subject that I didn't even get credit for the class I had to take and pass.

I am very careful to not let Willa in on that secret.  I don't want to dirty the fresh clean waters of math for her by saying I was never any good at math, or that I find it very challenging.  We'll let her figure that out later when I'm struggling to isolate x on one side of an equation.  In the meantime, it's very important to me that we reinforce all of her learning potential, and not the old stereotype that math is hard for girls.

We are a house a house of humanities.  We like reading and music.  At night the kids both get a story - every night.  We don't do math flashcards.  Jim and I are both going to have to work hard to engage her in more math practice.

I'm proud of my little girl.  But curious about where 192 came from.  Not genetics.  Not environment.  I'm glad her brain seems to be a better spot for math smarts to grow.  I'm also worried about being able to keep up: academically, as well as an math encourager.  Surely, I'll be able to get a book somewhere, right?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Day 14 of chick-tending

We've had our chicks for 2 weeks now.  They're losing their downy feathers, and are getting the real deal in now.  They're little personalities are starting to show.

Alice @ 16 days old

Alice is sweet, but shy.  She prefers the company of chickens over humans, and cheeps very loudly when she can't see the other two.  Once she's been held for a while, she snuggles right in and quietly observes.
Hazelnut (as Henry calls her) at 16 days old

Henry and Hazel

Hazel is friendly.  She was the first to get a little air under her wings, and fly to my knee to some cuddling.  I think she likes Henry more than any other human, and he loves her back often cooing back to her peeps.

Penny at 16 days old

Penny has me worried.  She is showing physical and behavioral signs of becoming a rooster.  Hens have combs and wattles, but they usually don't come in as early.  Fingers crossed, pals.  If Penny is really Paulie, he'll have to move out.  Which might break my heart.  This chick is the boldest: s/he is the first to check out something new.  S/he is very sweet, and likes to have her/his back rubbed.  We should know for sure in about 6 weeks.

Jim and I have finalized the coop plans and will start buying and construction this weekend.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Second cut on his new album

This was the concert I was treated to this morning. I think the world needs to see the nihilistic message he's artfully put together.

10 days old

You were probably just wondering what baby chicks look like when they're 10 days old, right?  Let me help you out:
Golda became Ida, but now we call her Penny.  She looks like a monster here.  She's not really twice as big as the others.
It is very difficult to photograph 3 - 10 day old chicks.  Look at Hazel's wing feathers!
Alice is in the middle all the time.  She is cuddly with her feathered friends, but shy with people.