Friday, October 22, 2010

New Additions

We are now officially raising 4 baby chick's who will turn into to happy egg laying hens in about 5 months. Yes, we have taken one more step to self sustainability in our urban dwelling. Knowing where are eggs have come from, what our hens are eating, and that they have a happy stress free existence, really matters to us. Plus, they will provide us with a nice amount of manure for the vegetable and herb gardens.

Our chicks are about 5 weeks old now. We first purchased them when they were about 10 days old. We took a trip out to East County to a feed store and picked out 2 Plymouth Barred Rocks (twins, named Daisy & Loretta) a Rhode Island Red (named Blossom) and an Araucana(named Cookie).

We have watched them grow literally over night. They are very cute, and the colors in their feathers are beautiful. Observing their behavior has been a favorite activity around here. We have seen first hand what all those funny chicken sayings mean, and crack up as we use them in our daily language, realizing we have not only heard these sayings, but have used them for years, but now have a new and improved perspective on them ! Here's some....

"ruling the roost", we think Cookie will fill this role.
"flew the coop", Daisy already did this once, luckily she didn't make it very far!
"nest egg", I think that's our 401K.
"chicken neck", I tell Blake to stick out his "chicken neck" while using the neti-pot.
"chicken scratch", turns out they love this scratching thing.
"pecking order", jury is out on the exact order at this point.
"mother hen", that would be me....

I know there are more sayings, so before I google them, leave me a comment with some of yours...

Oh, and I forgot to mention, these chicks are living in a very fabulous and secure two story chicken coop, complete with several roosting area's, 2 luxurious egg laying compartments, a spacious run, and fresh chicken feed & water supplied daily. There is even a storage area to keep all the supplies you need to care for these birds. All this was built by Alan & Blake over several weeks, in August and September. They had a great time working together, and I loved watching them.

Here is a chicken quote I found for Alan, "Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral.” - Frank Lloyd Wright

We love our chicks & their cathedral !

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Best Cat in the World!

That's Eddie, who in our eyes, was really the "best cat in the world". After 18 healthy, happy and sleepy years, we had to put her to sleep last week. Her kidney's were failing, something that happens to old cats very often, and up until a month ago she was doing pretty well. In the last few weeks, she became fond of baby food, chicken dinner versions, but we knew she was close to the end when she stopped eating, and became dehydrated, it was obvious her body was shutting down. We had the choice of giving her injections of fluids to keep her alive, but as the vet said, that would have been only for our benefit, not hers, she was ready to go, so I made the decision to euthanize her. I knew this was coming and spent time preparing Chloe & Blake for it, logically knowing it would happen soon, but when it came down to her last day I was not prepared for it. We lost Eddie's sister Wally 5 years ago, to a dog who chased her down and attacked her, and I remember how devastating that was, and assumed since I had been through it once, that this would somehow be easier, well, I was wrong.

I still don't know at this point which part of the loss we were feeling was harder, my grief, or being witness to Chloe's grief. This was her first experience with death & loss. Watching her heartbreak was gut-wrenching. She is a natural with animals, they gravitate towards her, and are always calmed in her arms. She had a relationship with Eddie that I knew was special, but didn't quite realize the depth of it.

We have spent the last week and a half crying, talking, and looking back at pictures of Eddie, & Wally. We have learned that everyone grieves differently, and that we are not the only one's who have gone through the loss of a beloved pet. We talk about how we keep expecting Eddie to walk around the corner and meow at us, but quickly realize she is gone. We also found out how supportive everyone in our network of friends and family are at a time like this. Chloe's teacher sent home a sweet book for us to read, fittingly titled "The Best Cat in the World!"

The most beautiful part of our grieving is the way in which Chloe has processed her heartbreak through an outpouring of drawings, some in the sand at the beach the day Eddie died, and the others on t-shirts that Chloe wore to school during the week, even her Art card's for school and a Birthday Card for her friend reflects our loss. Her drawings have helped us, the love that is reflected is so pure, and I have watched them help heal Chloe's heart.

So here's to Eddie, the sweetest, calmest and most comforting cat I have even know. She was witness to the last 18 years of my life, watching me grow up in a sense, move to California, and start a family, and of course she was part of our family. One of our close friends who has watched over Eddie when we were out of town called her "The Angel Kitty". Such a fitting name, she was an angel, and I am sure she will be someone else's in her next life.

We love you Eddie, and are grateful to have had you in our lives for so many sweet & wonderful years. You will surely be missed !