chicken update

December 8, 2010

we had concerns that the chooks were stressed or underfed because they stopped laying an egg a day each.  there was only one per day now, for all three chooks.  but they seemed fine otherwise.  we then suspected they didn’t like the coop and were laying elsewhere.  we searched unsuccessfully thru the back yard.  those of you who know our backyard know that means at least a million hiding places for a little chook and her eggs.  mind you, we didn’t search down the back portion very thoroughly- that would need a bulldozer.  i’ve asked for a whippersnipper for christmas so we may get on to making it liveable next year,

about three weeks into this one egg a day caper i glanced under our back steps.  we’ve piled some wood and sticks there to dry for next winters’ fire wood.  what do i see but a pile of eggs!  that evening when paul arrived home i told him breathlessly that i’d found the missing eggs!  i said there must be fifteen or more down there!  i was so proud of myself, tho i don’t know quite why.  we got a bag and paul clambered underneath and fished them all out.  fifteen?   i think not- there was 31!  what a waste.  we couldn’t keep them as some would have been three weeks old.  all in the bin.

leggy and b1 and b2 (named because there is one leghorn and two brown ones- so creative) have returned to laying in the coop.  we have more eggs than we can eat now.  i’m not super keen on eggs anyways and i don’t bake.  the kids have been getting scrambled eggs for lunch and breakfast a lot.  plus i’ve made an attempt at a fritatta.  it was a failure but i know what i did wrong so can avoid that next time.  we’ve given a few away but right now there are ten in the fridge and we’ll be getting three more tomorrow, and the day after that, etc.  anyone nearby that wants a half dozen please drop by.


that’s a bit grim!

December 8, 2010

percy was entertaining herself in the bath this evening singing to herself.  she sings a lot of the time, it’s very nice.  i often recognise the song but tonite i didn’t, so i listened a little harder.  this is what i heard…

“…and my brother missed me

he never saw me again

he never saw me again

he never, never, never saw me again

because i was dead.”

did i jump?  hell yes i did!  what grim lyrics!  and from a kid not yet four!  i admit we don’t sweeten over death to her.  for example our dead cat pi was explained to her that he got sick and even the animal doctor; the vet, couldn’t make him better, and he died.  you may recall percy patted his corpse good bye and helped to dig the hole to bury him in.  and i’ll tell her when we are crossing a road or in a busy carpark that she has to hold my hand or hold on to the stroller and stay close because a car could hit her if she strays away from me. and she might die.  i’m not sure she gets that death is totally permanent.  she knows she won’t see pi again but i don’t think she has, and i don’t particularly want her to yet, have a sense of her own mortality.  i remember when my own mortality came home to me.  i was about 10 or 12 years old and sobbed to my mother that i didn’t want to die.  of course my father overheard this and shouted at me to stop being stupid and stop crying.  gee, thanks dad, for thinking my concerns and feelings were so insignificant.

anyways, it was a bit alarming to hear this song.  i asked percy if she made it up or if she’d heard it somewhere else.  she told me emma taught it to her- little just-turned three years old emma at day care.  i think not.  i gave her a quizzical look but left it at that.


a week or two ago i also had to explain world war two to her.  shit, i don’t fully understand it myself!  it’s the fault of that damn musical “sound of music”, curse its eyes!  percy is fixated on it and watches it at least once a week.  (it’s only been supplanted as favourite in the past week because we have the recording of her end-of-year dance school concert now.  she’ll be great at next years concert because she’s doing all the dance moves in the living room every day.)  but getting back to it…. so, war…? hmmm…  to a nearly four year old?  sheee…eeet.  well i babbled on about people being greedy and wanting more than they need and taking it without asking and then the people they took it from got angry and tried to take it back and they didn’t talk about their problems and ended up fighting instead and people not understanding each other and not taking the time to talk and just fighting instead and i threw in a bit about nationalism and uniforms and sovereign states and bullies and geographical boundaries and i think i wore us both out.  i’m sure i made hash of it.  but she hasn’t asked about it again!  that’s a good thing, right?  in my defence i studied ancient not modern history at school, and while i know a reasonable amount from my reading and other sources i just couldn’t put in a way that a pre-schooler might understand.  (perhaps she did and she’s just ruminating on it to surprise me again later.)  i think that says something about our warring history tho.  if it can’t be explained simplistically to a child can it be explained to anyone?

a frail species

December 1, 2010

i’m beginning to think it’s lucky that humans have evolved such big brains because we are actually very frail as a species.  we need that big brain to think our way out of problems and to logic our way into calm.  our frailness is coming home to me the more people i speak too and learn about the ill health that abounds all around me.  as i’m typing i’m listening to tally cough.  i feel so sorry for him but there’s little i can


…poor mite, there he went again.  change of bedclothes, wash the vomit off him and settle back to bed.  we’ve been thru a few gp’s and specialists now. i’m coming ’round the the idea it’s environmental and not internal.  here’s why; gastro doctor couldn’t say anything conclusive, blood test negative for coeliac disease, blood test normal for indicators of mal-absorption and while thankfully tally has dropped from vomiting five or more nites a week to one, he does seem to vomit during wet weather.  tonight is cool and raining, as it was yesterday and the day before.  could the poor drainage under our house be a spawning ground for mould and spoors?  are these now nicely saturated, growing and infiltrating our rooms?  i knew taking on this house would be a big job come re-building time, i didn’t factor in my baby being made sick by it.  (however mould doesn’t account for the handful of spews we’ve had when away from the house.  hmmm…)

continuing on the internal side of things.  we’ve also consulted a dietician who has recommended all sorts of things i would normally avoid!  it’s almost funny.  the aim is to increase tally’s “caloric intake.”  the things we are to do include; put lots of butter and grated cheese on any pasta, put lots of butter on bread, only give him full cream milk when he has milk, substitute his normal formula for pediasure (which is expensive!) re-fry any meat he has in lots of oil, put butter on his cookies, and don’t worry about variety- just load him up with what he does eat.  once he’s gaining weight sufficiently we can go back to trying new foods.  during the consultation i was shown a bowl with measurements etched on the inside- 1/2 cup, 1 cup, 2 cups, etc.  how much does tally eat?  less than a half a cup each and every meal, often no more than three bites, sometimes nothing at all.  he’s really subsisting on formula.

there’s lots of talk of reflux.  no-one has said he does or does not have it.  the gastro dr said in her letter to our gp that since he has reduced to one vomit a week she does not yet want to give him medicine for reflux.  i learnt this week of a little girl who threw up every meal she had from the moment her parents started her on baby mushes.  she threw up so much there was blood in each lot as she’d torn out the lining of her oesphagus.  i think i am very thankfully that tally is not that sort of example of a frail human.  this little girl even now age seven (approx.) will throw up if her orange juice has pulp in it.  she ate purees to age two.

a swab was finally taken today for whooping cough too.  i was back at our erko gp today.  thank god there are good doctors about that will do what you ask, even if they think the likelihood is small.  we shall have the result of that test on friday.  in the meantime i’m going to try to find someone that can check our house for mould and spoors and the like without treating me like an idiot, nor charging like a wounded bull.  any suggestions anyone?

i’m so glad that percy was and is healthy.  we haven’t had any concerns beyond head colds and tummy bugs with her.  it’s a good thing she wasn’t sick, she may never have had a sibling otherwise.