Friday, March 13, 2009

Here chickie, chickie, chickie...

We have been offered about 50 free 6 week old broilers (chickens that you slaughter for meat). Since you generally only raise these birds until about 8 weeks, this is a great money saving opportunity. It's not necessarily the breed of bird we would have picked and they haven't necessarily been raised the way we would have done it, but we can finish them out on non-medicated feed and let them run loose in a section of the yard (I'm hoping they'll still forage a bit, Josh thinks they won't know what to do with grass and bugs), process them ourselves and have a freezer packed full of meat for less than $1/pound. I am in no way the chicken expert here, Josh has done all the research and I just do what he says. It appears we will get about 300 pounds of meat for less than $200 though (the cost depends on what we need to buy to build a coop tomorrow before getting the chickens on Sunday--we have wood already, but will need some supplies). This will be our first foray into processing chickens, so I'm sure there will be some missteps, but our neighbor has done it before and has agreed to help/teach in return for some of the meat. We weren't quite ready to do this this year, but it's an offer we decided can't pass up. We will be busy tomorrow fencing off the section of yard they'll be in, building a coop for them out of scrap wood, buying feeders and waters for them and buying the first few bags of feed.

There are also some less gory things going on around here. Read a blog today that reaffirmed my eagerness to home school. Those who know me know I don't deal well with being told what to do. I was always the nerdy good kid--never got in trouble, always did what I was supposed to do. So, since I was getting the job done anyway, I really resented being bossed around. This was one of my biggest problems when I was in school. I'll never forget the time I got in serious trouble because I had finished writing a computer program before anyone else and started playing chess. The teacher insisted I needed to help the other students. For many other reasons, I had zero respect for the man by this point in the year and in an uncharacteristic moment (I very rarely talked back to adults, I had a fear of authority), I told him it was HIS job to teach the students, not mine. Maybe I should have been more gracious and helpful, but I had about 10 years of being given extra work because I finished mine quickly under my belt and was tired of being "punished" for doing well. This basic sentiment has stuck with me. If I'm getting the job done and it's done correctly and efficiently, I have very little patience for arbitrary guidelines. I'm not a Libertarian, but I imagine my thoughts about schooling line up with that philosophy the best----how dare someone make me feel like an incompetent subordinate when it comes to my children? This particular blog was all about groveling before the elementary school secretary to get a tardy pass for her daughter, who she had brought to school 5 minutes late. I understand in a practical sense that you can't have kids straggling in at all hours every day and disrupting the rest of the class, but it's just the mindset, that as an adult I have to justify to another adult why my child is late one day (maybe the dog puked on the rug, maybe someone had an episode of raging intestinal upset and just couldn't get out the door on time? Maybe I don't want to explain myself and shouldn't have to). Then of course, there is the dictate about what vaccines you have to put in your child and at what time so they can go to school (and for the record, I'm pro-vaccine, but that's MY choice to make, not the government's). Then there's just the whole idea that another set of adults who have known your child for a year or less trump you as the parent when it comes to making decisions. I've heard of way too many instances where the school hands out a dictate rather than working with the parent. Just a few of the things that irk me. And no, I don't think the teachers are bad, I think we've got a really messed up system. The good ol' one room schoolhouse was less standardized, but there were huge benefits to that set up too. I don't have any answers on how to mesh the two ideas, but I do know that for my family, for right now, homeschooling's the answer (unless, of course, I can somehow convince Sierra's teacher to extend her school past kindergarten!)

And lastly, I finally read The Red Tent. A review is in my 50 Books in a Year list. To me, it feels like there is largely a split between people who feel like un-medicated birth is absolutely the way to go and those who think it's absolutely nuts. The parts of this book that are about midwifery do a good job of explaining how I felt during/after an un-medicated birth. Specifically, the part where Dinah delivers her baby (after serving as an apprentice midwife) and explains the difference between knowing about birth and experiencing birth perfectly put into words my thoughts on the experience and the benefits of going through it without medication. Also, the birthing culture described in the book (midwife on hand, surrounded by women, respecting and fending off the proximity of death as you bring forth life) closely parallels what I've experienced (and rejoiced) in home birth. I'm big on accepting that my choices are not right for everyone and that obviously goes for this too, but the parts of this book that are concerned with birthing came closer than any pregnancy or birth book I've read to describing the points I keep trying to get across to people.

2 comments:

One Acre Homestead said...

Exciting! You'll have to blog about the process of butchering chicken. We've wondered if it was worth the work or not. My dad swears that those were the BEST chickens when he was growing up. He remembers his mom putting up 100 chickens each year for their homesteading family of 5.

The Hills said...

I'm planning to blog and document with extensive pictures, but I'll hide at least the pictures behind a link or something so no one has to see the graphic stuff if they don't want to. We got the big feeder, waterer and 150# feed this morning so we're set to pick up the chickens tomorrow.

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