Thursday, March 24, 2011

Them Aminals, They's a Growin'

Want to see a quick farm update?

All right.

Here are the turkeys. Chalcy stepped on one of the turkeys before we left, and when we came home one of the turkeys seemed lame. It's always sitting, never standing. It kind of uses one leg and a wing to scoot over to the food and over to the water, and to scoot over to lay in a good spot. I feel bad for it because the other birds walk on it and peck at it, so it doesn't have as many feathers. But it doesn't look weak, or anything. It's still getting fat. It is alert and other than looking broken, it's really healthy. I guess it will probably eventually die, but I don't know what else to do about it. Turkeys don't get to go to the vet. So far it's doing good. I'm hoping it can just keep surviving as a basically one-legged bird. We'll see.

Here is Chuck. He is very cute, but he has a one track mind, seriously. "Milk??? Did you bring me milk??? Is there a bottle somewhere??? Milk??? I like milk, did you bring me milk???" (Dude, you just ate.) "If I follow you and keep nudging you, maybe there will be MILK. I like milk. ... Did you bring milk??? If I suck your finger I will probably get MILK."

Here are our goats. The girls (the black and white ones on the left) are hopefully, hopefully pregnant. We don't know yet. If so, they should kid in June, I think. (If not, they are just fat, which they don't deserve to be if they're not going to give us milk.)

Bucko is getting bigger (and he has horns), so he and Caroline keep re-challenging each other to see who is actually the dominant one in the group. Caroline is still winning, but that won't last really long. Here are a couple pictures that I took this afternoon, like two seconds apart. Neat. This is how they decide who wins... They jump up to look big...And then they push against each other to see who can push the hardest.

And here is a fun picture of Paley, when she snuck into our house yesterday and Chalcy immediately greeted her with many, many, many kisses that were full of love and slobber. Notice how Chalcy's mouth hangs when she bends over. It's pretty funny looking. Also, when I put poor Paley back outside, she was soaking wet. Silly dog.

(You can only sort of tell in that picture how fast Chalcy's tail is wagging.)

[Jess wrote about our animals recently and she has a fancy camera, so her post has fancy pictures.]

Happy Anniversary to Us! part II

SO, when we last left off, J and I were exhausted from camping for just one night, because we're wimps, I guess. We found a terrific hotel and slept all afternoon.

Potash Road!

When we woke up we decided we didn't have time for much, but we did have time for something, so we decided to drive along one of Moab's three scenic byways. We drove down Potash Road, because it was the shortest one, and we knew it was going to get dark pretty soon.

Potash Road is a special scenic byway for a lot of reasons:
1. It has "Wall Street" which is a stretch of the road where all the rock climbers go. As you drive by you get to see lots of people climbing.
2. It has pre-historic Native American rock paintings on some of the rock.*
3. It has two real, authentic, genuine dinosaur footprints. You can either trust that they're on the rock that the placard says, or you can hike up and see for yourself, which I did.
4. It has the...jug? arch? It's an arch on the side of a rock which makes it look like a handle.
5. It has an interesting potash collecting operation at the very end of the byway. Potash is used in gardens, or something like that.
6. Potash road goes along the Colorado river, which is sometimes pretty.
7. When you reach the end of the special scenic byway, you have to turn around and drive back, which gives you a chance to see all of the same things from a different angle!

We really liked Potash road. Way to go Utah, for maintaining that road!

So let's see, after Potash road it was dark, so we headed back to our hotel to not soak in the jacuzzi because everyone else was using it.

Negro Bill!

Then, on Sunday we hiked! We decided to hike along Negro Bill's trail, which is 2.2 miles long, and leads to the Morning Glory arch. We thought 4.4 miles would be long enough, for us. It was. It was supposed to have very little change in elevation compared to the other hikes we found, but I think the statistics were for the total change in elevation instead of like, the actual amount of feet that we went up and down and up and down and up and down. I messed up one of my knees when I hiked the Grand Canyon a couple years ago, and I've just started doing physical therapy for it, but inclines and declines make my knee hurt. Anyway, it made it so that 4.4 miles was plenty, thanks.

Pretty much everyone brought their dog on that hike. I don't know how they let us in because we didn't bring Chalcy. Somehow we got in.

I learned some Hiking Pro Tips:
1. Just because everyone in the parking lot is wearing heavy jackets does NOT mean you will actually need or want a heavy jacket on a hike. Use common sense. Everyone can be wrong. Although I hadn't planned on bringing my jacket, so many people we saw in the parking lot were wearing coats that J and I both grabbed ours. They must know something we don't, we thought. Actually, they didn't. We wore our coats for about 10 minutes, and then just carried them the whole way out and the whole way back. Dumb! I knew better.
2. If you think you kind of need to use the restroom at the beginning of your hike, you still will after several miles and more water.
3. If you wear shoes that "breathe" and you hike somewhere dusty, your shoes will "breathe" in dust. Lots of it.

There were tons of places where you have to cross the river. That kind of kept things exciting.

We ate a bunch of the eFoods Direct Tropical Fruit Medley, which is SO delicious. It's good too because the ingredients are basically just dried fruit (and coconut oil), so J can actually eat it! We both really like it. It was perfect for hiking and in the car.

The arch was pretty enough. It looked like an arch. Except, it sort of didn't. I was talking to J about it ("OH! There it is! That's the arch." *photo of J* *photo of J*) and he thought it wasn't the arch ("Noo, I don't think so. That can't be it, can it?"), and we kept hiking until we realized the bottom of the arch was actually a dead end. So it was the arch, for sure. We both had kind of expected the hike to open up out of the canyon to something flat. We saw no delicate arch; that was what we had kind of been expecting. The Morning Glory arch is more like, you're at the bottom of your shredder and you see a gap of light above you. Eh, oh well. You take what you get with these sorts of things. We liked it.


Something we had hoped was that it would open up so that we could get away from the riverbed and go shooting. That didn't happen. So instead we went back to downtown Moab for lunch (J had ice cream and I had pizza**) and then we decided to go out to Canyonlands to go shooting. Annnd we did.

By then it was really windy, so we didn't end up shooting much at all. Still, I got to shoot my new revolver (a Taurus 94..1?)...which has a tighter trigger than the one I had used before. And something about the ammo isn't quite right because the shell ejector thing doesn't work. So now I need to take it in and have someone look at it. Too bad.

We also shot our pistol (an LCP), which I like slightly better than I did the last time I used it. J liked it. The thing is, it's just really hard to shoot. It has a very long trigger pull (a safety feature!) so it's just tricky for my small hands. It's perfect for concealed carry, though.

Then it started getting dark and we went back to our Riverside Inn. The man at the front desk re-opened the jacuzzi for us, which felt GREAT because I was sore from our hikes. It was also very hot, so I think we only actually were out there for 15 minutes.

We went back inside and set Relationship Goals Made on Your Actual Anniversary for Working On Until Your Next Anniversary. Should be fun.


We thought we would go back to Canyonlands again on Monday but it was so windy that it was no fun. So I had pizza for lunch** again (!!!) and we went home a little early, which was fine.

Hooray! Happy anniversary to us. We're excited that we survived our first year of marriage and we're looking forward to another year of marriage [one that isn't our first year of marriage].***

In conclusion, here are my reviews for our Anniversary Trip to Moab, 2011:
1. Camping at Slickrock something: 3/5 stars
2. Riverside Inn: 5/5 stars
3. City Market grocery store: 4/5 stars****
4. Moab, as a city: 4.5/5 stars - Hotels are generally overpriced, and there is no Chipotle.
5. Gas mileage in a Yaris: 5/5 stars - Basically, about a tank and a half to get there and back.
6. Cellphone reception in Moab: 4.5/5 stars - Very impressive. High reception almost everywhere except when you're really really in the middle of nowhere. I didn't expect that.
7. Paradox Pizza: 5+/5 stars - They deliver, and it didn't say to where. How about Salt Lake?
8. Wind, in general: 2/5 stars - Windmills are really cool. I told J I'd like one. But other than that, wind blows. It ruins camping, hiking, and shooting, and makes driving less comfortable.
9. It's Sew Moab: 3/5 stars - Cute little fabric store*****, but the lady basically told us (right after we left our campsite) that we were no way going to find a hotel because of the race, and that made me feel like living life was hopeless.
10. Being married for an entire year: 5/5 stars

* It also has modern rock graffiti made to look like ancient paintings. Because something about really old graffiti gets people excited about creating new graffiti that looks old.
** SUCH good pizza. It tasted like pizza you would get in Italy. Man, oh man. The place is called Paradox Pizza, and it's amazing.

*** This is the first time I've ever been married, so I've been kind of new to this, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now.
**** CityMarket, you could have had 5/5 stars except that your selection of flashlights was pretty pitiful.
***** Every time we travel somewhere I get a piece of fabric to remind us of the trip. So, instead of buying stupid souvenirs to hang onto (or awkwardly display in our home), we will eventually have a quilt with something for each of the trips we take. We can be wrapped up in our memories together (awwww!). Also, this means it only costs us $1.50-$3 to remember each place we go. Perfect.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Anniversary to Us! part I

This Sunday was our first anniversary(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). To celebrate, J took Friday and today off of work so we could have a nice four-day weekend. We decided to spend our weekend in Moab because I'd never really been, except one time when we drove through and I said I thought it would be fun to come back sometime.

So we went back--with 4,000 other people. Our anniversary just happened to fall on the same weekend as the Moab Half Marathon. I wished my knee were fixed and I could run too.

The drive down to Moab was pleasant.

We had decided to spend our first evening camping. J and I both think we like camping*. Friday night we went to Slickrock something camping, which is a camping place where you sign up for a campsite and everyone has their own little spot with a place to put your tent, and a picnic table and a fire ring and a barbecue thingie. J was surprised. He'd never been to a commercial campsite. He thought I had booked one that would be in nature, because that's the only kind of camping he's done. I have fond memories of Campland on the Bay, though, and I thought it would be nice to have clean bathrooms and showers and a jacuzzi.

We got the most private site, which we knew wouldn't be that private, because, come on, it's camping. And it turned out to be in the corner closest to the roads, so we got to listen to traffic all night long. Hm. BUT, I barbecued our steak dinner and things were great!

(I forgot paper plates and the little store was closed, but it was totally no problem because I made makeshift dinner plates by folding heavy-duty foil in half and putting a few layers of paper towels in the middle and then closing them. Why did we even think we needed paper plates to eat steak??)

Then, when we were trying to sleep our air mattress kept deflating and we were basically sleeping on the ground. And it was so cold that one time we both happened to wake up in the middle of the night. Since it was during the quiet time and we couldn't re-inflate our mattress with the noisy compressor, my poor sweet husband re-inflated our mattress with his lungs. And we went back to sleep.

When we woke up for real-morning, our mattress was deflated again. And it was SO windy. We couldn't get our fires to stay lit because the wind kept blowing them out. Eventually we were able to cook our really cute, very well planned breakfast...but as we waited for it to cook**, we kept chasing our stuff that kept blowing. The paper towels were the worst, because they started blowing down our little road thing and the unrolled as they went. AUGh! And then as we kept trying to pack up our tent it was so windy that everything kept blowing away***. It was a disaster. That was when I remembered I don't love camping all that much.

We were happy that we had only paid for one night of camping. We packed up without even packing our tent back into its little bag. It would have been impossible, really. And then we started looking for a hotel, because we were both super tired.

Everywhere was expensive. (Partly I think it was because it was one of their busy weekends, and partly I think it was because it's Moab.) We called a whole bunch of places, and it seemed like we were going to have to pay $130/night even for a run-down place. Unless we went to Green River (like 45 minutes away), and then we could pay $90 for something.

As we started driving we decided to check the Riverside Inn. Angels from Heaven must have intervened, because they had a vacancy (!) and the room was only going to cost like $80 with tax (!) and they were willing to clean it quickly (!), which was absolutely essential because we were totally exhausted and we were not going to wait until 3pm to sleep (even if it meant paying $130 for a run-down place).

We sat in the car, in the parking lot and we read together for another half hour after J paid for our room. Then we went in, claimed our room, and immediately collapsed in a heap on the bed for a nap which lasted all afternoon. Complete bliss.

*We thought.
** (Burn.)

*** Oh my gosh. Our tent windows pop out a little, and to keep them popped out you're supposed to stake them down. I actually attached mine to the little sign that said which site we were at. Okay, get this, our ENTIRE TENT (and all of the contents) were kept from totally blowing away just because of the way I fastened our window cord. But of course the tent still flew in all directions...just it was tethered to the wooden sign so it didn't actually fly away. I was so sure the tent was going to break itself.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

ANOTHER new addition!

Yesterday afternoon, right as I was getting ready to go do an activity with my friend, J called with some exciting news: a bull calf was born! So, my friend and I changed our plans and we went up to go get the calf instead.

We found the place again, and this time I took Chalcy's kennel so the little guy wouldn't have to be hog-tied like our guys last year. We also brought a tarp to cover the kennel so he wouldn't get too much wind or rain or...SNOWSTORM?! Driving back took forever because the freeway was a parking lot. We made it, though.

We decided it would probably be best to put the little guy in the other half of the barn instead of putting him with the goats, because the goats might butt him to establish their pecking order. And actually, that would probably kill him. So I put out some fresh straw, and I carried him out to the barn, and dried him off a little better and left a dry towel on him, to keep him a little warmer.

The guy at the dairy told us this guy is a twin! The cow's ultrasound had shown that she was having a heifer calf. So they had her in their nice, cozy "way to go for having a girl" place where they deliver heifer calves with special treatment (since they keep them and want them to grow up to be strong milk cows). And then she gave birth to our little bull calf instead. The people at the dairy were surprised and disappointed. "I guess the doctor was wrong...but he's never wrong..." the guy said. So this little calf's mama got to relax a bit and they cleaned her up and sent her back out to the muddy fields...where she promptly delivered a heifer calf in the mud. Surprise! Twins!

I think that's why he's so little. He seems really healthy though, so that's good.

He's been trying to learn to stand up. Last night he could get his back legs up but not his front legs. Today he can sometimes get his front legs up and stand for a minute, but I guess it takes some work to get those front legs up after the back legs are up. He kinda leans on his...front elbow things?... for a little bit and then pulls himself up. Standing is tough when you're a brand new baby.

He's also trying to learn to drink milk replacer from a bottle. Not sure why calves are so reluctant to do this. He's not actually trying, even. I'm trying to make him try to learn to drink from a bottle. He puts up a fight while I pry his little calf mouth open and shove the bottle in his mouth, hold his mouth closed, and then reach in the sides of his mouth to try to squeeze the nipple so that he'll taste some milk and figure out the whole sucking thing. He hasn't got it yet. We'll try again later. He'll get the hang of it eventually.

The guy at the dairy says he thinks they may have another bull calf for us in about a week. (We had wanted two.) It's such a drive to go get them, so we'll see if we're up to it. We may just have one guy this year. He can be friends with the goats, anyway, so he won't be alone like a single calf would have been last year.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

New additions to our little farm!

Today I asked J if I could go buy turkeys. He said yes, a turkey would be just fine. I invited him to go with me, and he was going to come, but then he decided to stay home instead.

So I went.

I wasn't sure if our IFA would have turkeys at all, because for some reason I think only certain locations carry turkeys (but I don't know why I think that).

They had turkeys!

I asked someone to help me (because birds are not a "help yourself!" sort of thing). I said I wanted two turkeys*. He said ok, and I started selecting chicks. I chose lively ones.

"Do you have other turkeys at home?"

"Nope! We do have chickens though."

"Oh. Well then you probably want to get a third turkey, actually."


"Because turkeys are flock animals, and if anything happens to one of them, if you only have two, you're pretty much outta business. But if you have three, then you still would have two, and then you're okay."

"Oh. Hm."

So, since J wasn't there with me to decide we didn't want turkeys after all, instead, he bought me three turkeys! (Thanks J!!!! <3 <3 <3)

The turkeys seem to have longer necks than chicks. They seem smarter than chickens, maybe because they're not jolty; they don't make the same sharp movements that chickens make. They were "straight run" so they could be boys or girls. (But with turkeys, it doesn't really matter like it does with chickens.)

I had to buy special turkey feed for them, because they can't eat chick feed. Chick feed is medicated, and it kills turkeys and ducks. Huh. I didn't know that.

We may or may not be able to integrate the turkeys with the chickens. It depends on how aggressive our chickens are (the big black one is mean...) and then later it will depend on how aggressive the turkeys are. We just have to watch them and see how they are together.

Fun, eh? The plan is, we'll have one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas, and one to sell or eat for no particular occasion.**

*One for Christmas and one for Thanksgiving, and so that the poor one turkey doesn't have to be all alone.
**I was saying we could call the birds "Christmas" and "Thanksgiving" and wondering what to call the third one. J suggested we call it "MLK." We don't usually eat turkey in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but...maybe! (Why not?)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Emergency Preparedness!

A little while ago I mentioned I've been blogging for eFoods Direct lately. I write a post on emergency preparedness every Monday. It looks like the new site has launched now! Neat!

Want to see what I've blogged about there?
1. Why I Choose to Prepare
2. 2011 is Your Year to Prepare!
3. Collecting Important Documents
4. Emergency Preparedness on a Budget, part I
5. Emergency Preparedness on a Budget, part II
6. Which Emergencies are You Preparing For?
7. Involving Kids in Emergency Preparedness
8. Fire Extinguisher Basics
9. QUIZ: How prepared are you TODAY?

I have a bunch of other posts (on a variety of preparedness topics) scheduled for upcoming weeks, so there's a lot to look forward to.

I also really recommend going in and reading all of the posts by Rock Waterman. He writes about storing water (and sometimes he writes about other things), but he's fun to read.

I'm so excited about getting prepared! When I found out I was going to be writing about emergency preparedness I made this whole long list of different topics I could write about. Some of them are things I already know about, and some are things I'm learning about before I blog. I love writing about this stuff. I love being prepared.

A couple days ago I (finally!) filled my water storage barrels. We bought water storage barrels a few months ago and then left them empty. It felt really good to cross that off of my to do list.* The thing is, we're headed toward some really significant inflation really soon.** Things are probably going to get pretty bad, so it makes a lot of sense to do what we can now to prepare.

* No, really, it did. I use an app called "Astrid" which reminds me of my to do things all the time. "Won't you please just take care of this?" it asks. "You'll feel better when this is done." "This won't take long, I promise." GO AWAY!
** It's already happening, actually. J likes pre-sliced packages of cheese, and last week we realized the packages are now 6-7 oz. of cheese instead of 8 oz. Ice cream comes in different containers now too, because they're like radio-sized instead of lunchbox-sized boxes now. Hmmmm. Think about this: how much work does it take to change the size of an ice cream box? They have to change the machinery to work with different packages...they have to change their stuff that they use to print the boxes (to print a different size box, and to say a different amount on the box), why would they go to all that trouble?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Presidents' Day

If you want to enjoy your Presidents' Day cookie cutters, you've got to remember them at precisely the right time. Remembering that you can make cookies shaped like presidents does no good at all if you remember for Halloween or Valentine's Day, or on some random summer day. No, you've got to remember you have Presidents' Day cookie cutters on Presidents' Day, or a couple days before, and if you don't, well, you're out of luck.


So I suggested to J that we make some Presidents' Day sugar cookies, in celebration of presidents. I made the cookie dough and cut cookies, and then for our Presidents' Day FHE, we decorated presidents* and delivered plates of cookies to some of our neighbors.

It was a lot of fun.

*I asked J if all of the Washingtons had faces, because I was going to use the skin-colored frosting to make beard-colored frosting. He assured me that all of the faces were done. So I made beard-colored frosting. And then he realized one wasn't done after all. Ohhh, no. So he suggested I make one Obama-Washington (with beard-colored frosting). No way! So I scraped the edges of the white (wig-colored) frosting, and made just enough face-colored frosting for the poor guy. We** only celebrate presidents that act like presidents.
** I

Surgery! aka. Our Fancy European Vacation!

Where we last left off, J had discovered his finger was going to need surgery after all.

So anyway, I took J on Friday* for his surgery. We met his doctor and a few nurses, and a hospital guy with forms**, and the anesthesiologist. Everyone was very aware that they had a special goal to not eliminate J's hookworms.

The day before the surgery I talked to Jessica on the phone for a little while about how she and Mitch are thinking of maybe going to Europe. As we discussed Italy, I wanted to go too. Jess suggested I come with them, and I said uh, I don't think we're really going anywhere because now we're going to be paying medical bills instead.

SO, at the hospital we kept joking about it being our fancy European vacation. When J was put in his first hospital bed, we evaluated our resort's amenities:
Me: "What a great view out the window!"***
J: "Yeah, and look, it even has a flat-screen TV!"

The head-nurse came to introduce herself and she said they'd try to take good care of him. She brought him his "party hat"**** and promised J she would have some warm towels for him back in surgery.*****

And then eventually J was taken back to surgery, and they told me to go wait in the waiting room, and I went to eat french toast instead. And then I went to the waiting room. I felt really nervous for no reason in particular. Actually, here's the reason: I've never had surgery (or waited for anyone to have surgery) and having someone cut J up makes me nervous.

After a little while the surgeon came and found me in the waiting room. He showed me pictures of the x-rays from surgery and explained what he did. ("The pins look bigger in the x-ray than they actually are.") He gave me a list of the medications/anesthetics that they gave J. Neat. Also, if you look at the top-right x-ray, see how messed up the bone is? That's from the day of the surgery. Hm. No wonder setting it wasn't an acceptable solution.

After a bit longer, I got to go back to the recovery area, where J was happy but pretty medicated. He was eating soda crackers ("They don't have MSG! I even had them check!") and drinking juice. He was super happy because he had expected the surgery to hurt and it didn't hurt at all. (Good job, guys.)

The nurse gave me J's prescription for pain meds and I went and filled it and came back.
J: "Oh, you're back! Did you go somewhere?"
Me: "Yeah, remember? The nurse told us all about your pain medication and I went to go pick it up for you."
J: "Huh. She did? I guess that may sound a little familiar. So do I already have my prescription?"

And then when it was time to go home, J complained about how short our vacation was. He thought maybe he would be able to go back to work that afternoon, and then later we realized how funny that idea was. He slept all afternoon and pretty much all weekend, too. Poor guy.

J's mom brought over her ice machine so he could ice his hand effectively.

That sums up the surgery.

After a couple days, J thought he may have lost his hookworms, because all of his pre-worm symptoms were back. He talked to Garin about it and, with the list of stuff they gave him in the hospital, Garin was pretty confident that the worms were still there. After 7-10 days or so, J's hookworm effects came back. So he didn't lose them after all.

The week after surgery, J went back to the doctor for a check-up, and for his first physical therapy appointment. At that appointment, his physical therapist made a fancy special plastic splint which I keep teasing J about, mostly because it looks like something an action figure would wear, and I think it looks like it should be able to shoot lasers.

Physical therapy seems pretty ridiculous because--come on, it's a pinkie finger! How do you even exercise a pinkie finger?? But it's actually pretty amazing--when J first took his finger out of the special plastic splint thing, he could barely move at all. So it turns out to be important to do his special exercises. So he's doing them.

Next week J's doctor will remove the pins.

* Way back on February 11th.
** Which is kind of a joke, because actually everybody has forms they want you to fill out, so why have a form guy at all?
*** (A landscape photo hanging on the wall.)
**** A surgical hat thing. But the nurse actually called it a party hat. So then J and I talked about what a great resort it was because it has parties, and I became a little jealous that I didn't get to go. Until I realized, what kind of party doesn't let you bring a guest, anyway? So then we complained about our resort's lousy parties that are no fun at all.
***** "Ohhh, J, you're going for your spa treatment on our fancy European vacation!"