Friday, February 23, 2007

What's For Dinner?

Roast guinea, guinea cacciatore, stewed guinea, guinea pot pie, barbecued guinea, guinea sausage, guinea teriyaki, moo goo guinea gai pan, guinea casserole, guinea fricassee, guinea gumbo, deep-fried guinea, guinea a la king, guinea on a stick........drool....slobber.......

Oh, excuse me, I was just daydreaming.

Did I mention that guinea is on the menu?
We haven't set an execution date yet, but their days are numbered. The complaints have been pouring in from the neighbors (well, okay, it was just one complaint from one neighbor, but still...), the roosters have been pecked beyond their dignity and (my) endurance, the dog across the street is being driven to distraction (and he's already one taco short of a combination plate), and to top it off, I even saw a squirrel covering its ears one especially clamorous afternoon.

Top Ten Reasons for Destroying and Devouring Guineas:

10.....They are complete idiots. They actually run toward the things they fear, including large dogs and pickup trucks traveling 40 mph down the road.

9.....They have a psychotic grudge against my roosters. I love my roosters. I first found it amusing when I looked out one morning to see a tribe of brainless heathens chasing them as they raced around and around the yard. And then Braveheart showed up at the back door absolutely dripping with blood from lacerations on his comb. I don't have a problem with the barnyard pecking order per se, but this is gratuitous violence.....terrorism in my opinion. Like I said, I love my roosters.

8.....Their lunacy is contagious. When they are outdoors, I literally have to sneak out of the yard to take a walk. Picture, if you will, an unwitting pied-piper followed by this cantering entourage of screeching squawking two-legged rocket scientists. I've actually had to trot around the barn a few times to get them off my trail. They're worse than a pack of bloodhounds. I'm sure I've been, at the very least, snickered at by strangers and passers by. Not to mention my neighbors. I am tempted to adopt a paper bag as a replacement for my usual headwear.

7.......They have got to be the lowest life forms in the bird world, or any other world, for that matter. Honestly, if they could perform a mind meld, they could not formulate a single brain cell. I have seen them more times than I can count on two hands running alongside a fence back and forth, back and forth, screaming their lungs out to get to the other side. "So what?" you ask. Um, the fence in question is about the height of my daughter's kneecap, that's all. My very short daughter.

6......When we first got chicks to raise it was with the intention of butchering some and keeping some for layers. Well, we ended up deciding against that when we became attached to them and their individual personalities and truly enjoyed having our little flock roaming around the yard. I knew I had not formed that same affectionate connection to the guineas when a stranger showed up at our door one evening with an apologetic look on his face confessing that he had run over one of our chickens. He explained that he had slowed down to allow the flock to cross the road, but as he started up again, they suddenly turned on one of their own and chased it right under his wheels. After my initial dismay, I realized that it couldn't have been a chicken. MY CHICKENS AREN'T HOMICIDAL MANIACS! I thanked him for letting us know, then let out a whoop! Yeah! One down, fourteen to go!

5.....They taste good.

4.....Though I've never actually eaten one, that's what I've heard.

3.....They. Never. Shut. Up. Our barn is about a hundred feet from the house. If you're ever in the kitchen at say 1:00 or 2:00 or 4:00 in the morning or whenever, you can still hear them, the alarm clock that never ever stops beeping. I've heard what good *watch dogs* they make. Oh my, yes. If you are ever in danger of being attacked by a falling acorn or a leaf or a worm crawling by, they will certainly warn you. And warn you. And warn you. They scream when they're hungry, they scream when they're being fed, they scream when they see you, they scream when you walk away, they scream and they scream and they scream and they scream and.......well, you get the picture.

2.....They haven't even started laying eggs yet. And when they do, they're half the size of chicken eggs. That's when you can find them. They like to hide their eggs. And they don't even make good mothers. Must be those homicidal tendencies.

1.....What was I thinking? (Please, no creative answers!)

Despite my rantings and ravings, I must admit that owning guineas has taught me a few things. (Just a second, I'm sure I can come up with something redeemable from this experience.) Well, I did learn that I am capable. And I did learn that they can be trained to come when I call, and to go into the coop at night. I even built a pen for them of my own design. Hopefully I can share my knowledge with someone who is interested in tormenting, I mean raising guineas.
Please don't think me a hard-hearted, ruthless, cold-blooded murderer. Most of this post was in jest, though we really are planning on a butchering day sometime soon when the weather becomes a bit more temperate. We would like to keep a couple of the guineas around for entertainment value. No, truly, it will be for the reason we originally bought them, and that is their voracious appetite for ticks, a problem that is epidemic in New England. The only decision is whether to keep males, females, or one of each!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Things About Us

We've started attending a church with which we are quite pleased. They are Reformed Baptist, the pastor and his wife are homeschoolers, worship is family integrated (yay!) and is an all day affair including shared luncheon for those who desire to partake, the teaching is right on (yay! again), and my mom is even coming with us. Feels so good to be back in fellowship with a body of believers after having been out of it for over a year. Oh, and I'm sure our pastor, D. Scott Meadows, would be happy for me to share a link to SermonAudio where his teachings are available for your listening pleasure and edification. He just taught an excellent, eye-opening (for some) series on Luke 19:11-27.

My back is doing better! I won't say my chiropractor is working wonders because it's been a loooong, slooooow recovery. He says I must have had this problem for a very long time. But progress is being made and I am optimistic about being outdoors come spring planting and taking care of the chickens and guineas without fear of breaking in two the minute I pick up a bucket or wield a hoe.
Anna-Rose is signed up to begin taking lessons from a local artist in a few weeks. This will be a first for her and she is quite excited. We know she has a God-given talent, and I have been stymied as to how to nurture her progress; although I'm a creative person by nature, by no stretch of the imagination am I able to draw. She, on the other hand, has been churning out reams (literally) of fanciful and humorous pictures for years. I have countless boxes in the attic filled to the brim with her work. Her homeschool portfolio has pages of her visual interpretations of whatever we are reading or studying. This works out very well for us as she has the type of personality in which both brain and body are compelled to be busy simultaneously.
We are very relaxed (not to say lax) in our homeschool methods, so establishing and adhering to a strict routine of homeschooling in the mornings while reserving the afternoons for other activities is a new approach for us. One of the reasons I haven't been blogging, commenting, or even reading blogs in the past few weeks is that I have had to prioritize, and days will often go by when I have not even used the computer except to check the weather forecast or catch up on the news. Hopefully, in the future, I will be able to devote a certain portion of the day to blogging.

Calvin is getting *snipped* the day after tomorrow, poor guy. For any newcomers to my blog, Calvin is NOT my husband. He is the kitten we adopted the week before Christmas. I hope he retains his snugglesome, goofball personality after being surgically emasculated.

A Valentine's Day snowstorm graced us with several inches on top of the few that we already had. Add to that relentless, icy winds and you have a miserably cold winter. I don't remember ever having so many windy days as we have experienced this year. The birds have hardly ever been able to come out of the coop because of the severe low temperatures and wind chills. I prefer my frozen birds to be butchered first, thank you. My mom tells a story about the time she was a little girl and went to visit her uncle's farm up in northern Maine during one winter. Her aunt brought their chickens in to the kitchen to thaw out and get warm. Wouldn't my crew dearly love that? My brother who lives at the northernmost edge of the White Mountains has about four feet of snow. Their average temperature has been around -10 F. I told him he can keep it. This old house is quite drafty so my best friend these days is an electric blanket.

Poor Anna-Rose is suffering from her first virus of the year. She always gets zonked with a post-nasal drip that upsets her tummy. Not fun when you have a sore throat, too. Since she doesn't always like to take the herbal remedies I offer, my usual protocol is to give her lots to drink with extra probiotics mixed in. That usually does the trick in short order. She's comfortably ensconced on the sofa with her favorite blanket nibbling a rice cake while enjoying a Wallace and Gromit DVD. Watching movies and reading books have been the order of the day. When I get my voice back, we'll continue with The Horse and His Boy, third book in the Narnia series.

Both of the boys had birthdays this month. Dylan turned 29 (gasp!) on the 1st, and Isaac turned 19 on the 12th. Since both boys were born in February, I always wonder if I had another girl whether she would be an October baby like Anna-Rose.

What's happening in your neck of the woods?