Spring Brings New Chicks

Since Gertie’s friend Harriet met an untimely death earlier this spring, we decided to get her some company. We now have five chicks–three Aracaunas, a Rhode Island Red, and a Black Wynadote–to keep her company. I am waiting to name them until they are a little older and I am sure that they will make it into adulthood and that they are all indeed hens as promised. The kids adore them, and Zee has promised that he will not be giving them any baths. Gertie was a bit skeptical at first, but she now follows them around and clucks over them and protects them from the pigeons. I am thinking the Rhode Island Red will be Ruby, then the blonde Aracauna will be Rose, then the others will be Prudence, (Prue for short) Maude and Ethel. Here they are scratching in the dirt in a shady patch in the yard where grass doesn’t seem to want to grow. The chicks were very nervous at first, since this was their first time out of the coop. We have to watch them very closely so that our cat Peppermint doesn’t make one of them into dinner–she has been stalking the coop since they arrived. Once they got accustomed to the outdoors, they didn’t want to go back in. They are growing really fast, so they shyould be able to enjoy more time outdoors as long as there is someone there to keep the cat at bay.

Here We Go Again!

Just as I was beginning to think that I had gotten away without her getting the chickenpox . . . what was I thinking? I guess I was just being hopeful, but I wasn’t really surprised by it . . . she does seem to be scabbing over a little quicker than Zee did, but she is also way more miserable and she was also angry with Zee for giving her the chickenpox 😉 LOL . . . Her being so sad inspired me to look for something to relieve her suffering more quickly, and so I have been spritzing her with a mixture of a few drops each of tea tree and lavender oils diluted in about 2oz colloidal silver and water (about 2 parts water to 1part colloidal silver) with just a touch of DMSO to help it mix together evenly. (too much will irritate the skin–it only takes a couple of drops.) I tested it on my own skin first on the inside of my elbow to make sure it wouln’t irritate, and it seemed to be fine. I think that witch hazel would probably work better than the colloidal silver, water, and DMSO mixture, since it is also antiseptic and is also an astringant, and would also act as a solvent so that the oils would mix in, but I didn’t have any on hand to try. If you do try this, use a spray bottle, (I found a small one that had glasses cleaner in it before but was now empty, and I rinsed it out really well to make sure it was completely clean.) or use a cotton ball and dab, don’t rub. If they have scratched the tops off of the pox, it will sting, so you might not want to use it at all if that is the case. For the face, don’t spritz it on, because you will get it in their eyes. Instead, use a cotton ball and dab, don’t rub because it will break the blisters and then it will sting, and probably scar. Bee said that it made them stop itching, but anything wet will do that until it dries again. The best test is that the pox are already almost completly scabbed over after only two and 1/2 days. The picture above is from Saturday afternoon when she finished breaking out. It is now Monday and they are mostly scabs now. This picture is from today. The big cluster that you can see on her arm just below her sleeve was the first one that I tested this on, and it didn’t scab, it just started going away. I think I got a lot more of the solution on it because I dabbed it on with a q-tip since I didn’t have a spray bottle at first. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the pox are red around the edges and then each one has a scab on top. Her face is a little behind the rest of her since I didn’t start puting it on her face until yesterday because I was afraid of getting it in her eyes. I still haven’t used it right around her eyes or on her nose because I think she would rub it into her eyes. (I have had tea tree oil in my eyes before and it was really one of my most unpleasant life experiences! NOT reccommended 🙂 ). I anticipate at this rate they will be all scabbed over by Wednesday . . .

Another Fun Writing Excercise

For something fun that can help break you out of a rut when you’re stuck, try going through the dictionary for a bunch of interesting words, and then put them together into a poem or story. You never know exactly what you will end up with.

The Reverie

in my reverie i rode along the zodiac
past scorpio and sagittarius
i heard the zither play
i was sitting with xerxes
eating grapes, discussing the zeitgeist of zoroastrianism
drinking some sort of zymurgy
when the wind rushed through my soul
then, i was riding on a camel
with a yemen sheikh
past men in yarmulke
praying at the wall
in a caravan to zaire or zambia or zanzibar
with a bunch of xenophobiacs
a zulu warrior and his pet zebu
a zouave munching zwiebacks
making zounds to crush the yahoos of spain
and suddenly the world expanded
and i was blown like a leaf
into the xylem of a yucca
bringing me to stand
in the peyote hut of a zuni warrior chief
in a sand painting of the clouds
racing through the sky in a zeppelin on a zephyr
when i came up out of the ocean
off the coast of guam
with water in my snorkel and zoophytes on my arms
and a bad case of the bends.

You can also try words that only start with a particular letter for a fun excercise in alliteration:

Anopheles

Avast! The axial anopheles lurking in the azalea
avaricious in its ardor of
the aliphatic crimson heat;
his greedy brain’s abaci
prematurely counting out his prize.

Rising to the apex
of his azimuth—
a fleshy airdrome
agog—an amateurish astrogator
on the aphelion of grace
actuating his annular descent
an agnostic tourist visiting Alsace-Lorraine;
an aquanaut exploring depths
never before explored

He paid no heed to the accelerometer
Paid no heed to the slapping hands . . .
He gleefully dodged them, refusing to abdicate,
But to no avail—buzzing through the arnica
At last arriving at the abattoir
Of his apoplectic end

(Now, wasn’t that way more fun than just saying the circling mosquito got smacked? Take it and run!)

Another Funny Quote

Zee helping Bee with the prayer at dinner time

Zee (age 6): Say “dear Heavenly Father . . .”

Bee (Age 3) “Dear Harry Potter . . .”

Chicken Pox Fun

On the CDC website it says: “Chickenpox vaccine is the best way to prevent chickenpox. Vaccination not only protects vaccinated persons, it also reduces the risk for exposure in the community for persons unable to be vaccinated because of illness or other conditions, including those who may be at greater risk for severe disease. While no vaccine is 100% effective in preventing disease, the chickenpox vaccine is very effective: about 8 to 9 of every 10 people who are vaccinated are completely protected from chickenpox. In addition, the vaccine almost always prevents against severe disease. If a vaccinated person does get chickenpox, it is usually a very mild case lasting only a few days and involving fewer skin lesions (usually less than 50), mild or no fever, and few other symptoms.”

I have discovered that this is complete BS! If I ever had any doubts about the chicken pox vaccine before, they were all well founded. I have met so many people over the last few years who’s kids got chicken pox (some even multiple times) after getting vaccinated. I was really starting to worry about my 11-year-old, because the older you are when you get chicken pox, the worse it can be, so I was actually relieved when he broke out with the itchy rash over the weekend. Two of my sisters who’s kids, most of whom had been vaccinated, also broke out right about the same time . . . and I can guarantee that there were way more than 50 lesions on each kid — even the bottoms of feet had chicken pox! I just talked to a lady the other day who’s fourteen-year-old son recently got the chicken pox, (after having the vaccination) and it put him in the hospital.

I have decided that the chicken pox vaccine is really just a tool for procrastination that really only provides a false sense of security and (maybe) buys you a little time, but that little bit of convenience bought is just going to come back and bite you in the butt a lot harder later. Those 8 or 9 people talked about on the CDC website are just delayed and will most likely get it sooner or later. I think that we were very lucky that my son’s case was not more severe, considering his age . . . Interestingly enough, of my two children who didn’t have the vaccine one broke out very lightly, and the other not at all . . . at least not yet. But for now, I am keeping them all away from other kids as a precautionary measure.

Kid Quotes

Zee (age 5):I’m allergic to pink.

Zee (age 6): All right, I’ll use the pink cup . . . (sighing heavily) I’ll just have to itch a little bit.

Zee (age 6) to his sister who was singing loudly: Stop it! Your blocking my earsight!

Bee-isms (age 3): Cow Puppy = Toy Stuffed Cow, Puppy Cat = Toy Stuffed Dog

Alex (Age 14) After handing Zee an overflowing cup of water: Hurry, sip the top off! But do it slowly!

Crossing Napoleon’s Yard

Here is a story that I posted on the writing bolg that I have been participating in. You can find this and other fun stories at the Utah Children’s Writers blog here: http://utahchildrenswriters.blogspot.com/

Crossing Napoleon’s Yard

Their eyes met, his brown-flecked eyeballs unblinking. He was much smaller than she was, but she also knew that without a weapon she was no match for him. Dena had been in this position before—only this time was different . . . this time, as she desperately scanned the area for a stick; anything to fight him off; she couldn’t see even a decent sized twig within her reach. Her palms began to sweat. Without turning her back, she ever so carefully, slowly, took a step backwards, and then another. He did not move, but looked steadily on, his small head cocked to the side.

A wave of anger briefly swept over her. How could her sisters have forgotten the plan? She backed up more quickly now, ready to turn and bolt the first chance she got. His small body seemed to expand as he prepared to attack. Quickly she turned; taking one gigantic leap, when suddenly, she tripped, hitting the ground with full force.

Egg collecting was never easy. It was the responsibility of the girls to collect the eggs once in the morning, and again in the evening. Now, this doesn’t seem to be such a big deal, but then again, you have never met Napoleon.

Napoleon was a small rooster with beautiful iridescent blue and green tail plumage streaming out behind his jet-black body. His eyes were yellow with brown flecks, and he had a blood red comb at the crest of his head that seemed to drip down under his chin to his waddle—he had looked majestic when father had first brought him home. Now he just looked frightening. Even though he was small, he was also swift, powerful, and fearsome—a true enemy to any egg collector who crossed his territory, which in his mind, was any part of the farm.

Things had not gone as she and her sisters had planned, of course. Not only had the stick been missing, but today Dena had to get the eggs alone.

She raised herself up with her hands, screaming with rage and spitting dirt and blood. She could hear Napoleon’s quick little footsteps getting closer and closer.

“Why couldn’t they just leave the stupid stick by the door?” she screamed, pulling herself to her feet. She Staggered a little, and then saw for the first time what she had tripped over—a three-foot piece of pvc pipe. Grabbing it and turning in one movement, Dena could feel short bursts as Napoleon’s wings beat the air. He was attacking! Without thinking, she swung the piece of pipe with all her might at the blur of feathers and talons.

Crack! In horror, she watched wide-eyed as Napoleon flew, spinning through the air, landing with a thud next to Mother’s zucchini patch. He hopped right back up and began to run towards her again, his little feet stirring up dust. A flood of relief passed through her as once again she turned to run. At least he wasn’t hurt.

She had only taken two steps when she realized that she could no longer hear Napoleon running. The sound of his footfalls had been replaced by strange flopping noise. Stopping, she slowly turned to see Napoleon thrashing wildly on the ground.

That very evening, mother served ‘mean roster soup’ and everyone, even Daddy, said it was the best they had ever had.

More Funny Kid Quotes

Mom to Jake, who has been babbling into a handheld mirror: Jake, who are you talking to? Are you talking to yourself?
Jake (2 years old): No! I’m talking to him! (holds the mirror up so I can see)

Jake (2 years old): Ow!
Mom: What’s wrong?
Jake: A bump got me!

Jake (2 years old): (as I am tickling his leg) No! I’m not made for tickling! I’m made for wuving! (after thinking for a minute) I’m made for kissing too.

Mom: Jake, eat your dinner.
Jake (2 years old): I can’t stuff my food in my mouth! Mom, (blink, blink) can I eat my (chocolate) bunny?

Jake (2 years old): Please give me my car . . . don’t break it—it’s beauful.

Mom: What kind of dog would you like to have?
Jake (3 years old): W’ fee’ fee’.
Mom: Fifi?
Jake (getting frustrated): No! W’fee’ fee’!
Mom (confused): Fifi?
Jake (exasperated): No! I want a dog with legs! I want a brown dog with legs and four feet!!

Jake (3 years old): Crawly cat. Crawly cat means Mr. O’Malley in Spanish.

Jake (3 years old): Monte’s name is spelled S, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 8, 9.

Zee (3 months) I want to get down! (after wiggling and squirming on mom’s lap for a few minutes)

Zee (6 months): (as I was busy cleaning in the kitchen, Zee had been crawling by my feet crying, then he finally got tired of waiting, grabbed me around the leg, looked up at me, and said: “I want mommy to feed the baby!”

Zee (2 years old): Mom, how come my ‘hi’ doesn’t work? (After yelling hi to people as we were driving down the road in the van with the windows up.)

Alex: what color is it
Zee (3 years old): Navy Peach
Alex: what does that look like?
Zee: like yellow with no eyes!

A Great Exercise for Writing Dialogue

Writing down funny things that people say and writing them just how they were said is a good writing exercise. When I taught school, I would have the kids eavesdrop and write down conversations in a notebook and then we would change the context a little, or change the words slightly to create dialogue for a story that they were working on. I like writing down quotes by my kids, and collecting them from other people I know. They make great fodder for stories 🙂 Here are a few funny quotes by kids I know:

Alex (age 4): Mom, do you like it when people do things for you? I do, but there’s some stuff people have to do themselves – like sitting on the toilet or blowing your nose. But I wish someone could go to the bathroom for me, cause I hate going poop!

Alexisms: easy as cake, lickety slip

Alex (age 4): easy as a piece of cake.
Mom: don’t you mean easy as pie?
Alex: no, I do it in the cake kind of way.

Alex (age 4): Mooooom! Jake pinched me as hard as I dropped a rock on my toe!

Zee (age 3): Dang it!
Mom: What?
Zeeh: My Pixar! Bee just freezed it with her freezing power!

Mom: I really wish you wouldn’t have done that!
Niece (age 3): Mom, I’m not yours fairy!

Poor Harriet! Poor Zee!

My son has learned a sad thing that no 6-year-old should ever have to know. Chickens do not need baths, and they cannot swim. And that the life of a pet is a delicate thing.

When my 11-yr-old went to take care of our hens Harriet and Gertie this morning, Only Gertie was anywhere to be found. As I was hunting for Harriet in the yard, Zee came and said that he had given her a bath, and then he burst into tears and ran around the house and hid in the bush. Apparently, he had put the chickens into a five gallon bucket filled with water for a bath, and Gertie was standing on top of Harriet to avoid drowning. Good for Gertie, very unfortunate for Harriet.

When she stopped kicking and then closed her eyes, my poor little boy realized that something was wrong and he pulled her out of the bucket, but by then it was too late. He buried her in the back yard with grass, and didn’t tell me because he was afraid of getting into trouble, so by the time I found out, he had been carrying the weight of her death on his shoulders for a whole day.

I pulled my son out of the bushes and took him in the house where I held him and he sobbed in my lap for half an hour, and I realized that this was the reason that I had needed to have the experience of accidentally killing a pet as a child.

When I was about 6, our cat had kittens, and when the kittens were about 6 weeks old, I had taken my favorite outside to play with me. My sister wanted to play with the kitten too, but I was selfish and would not share. When my mother called me into the house, I hid the kitten from my sister in a camping cooler, and then went into the house to do my chores. And I completely forgot that the kitten was out in the cooler.  When I remembered the next morning, I ran to let her out, but she had already suffocated.

To this day I still feel guilt over the death of my poor kitty, and I imagine that it will be the same for my son, poor thing!