Friday, April 15, 2011

Meet the Peeps.

It's official. My sanity flew the coop.

Six teeny, tiny, fluff-balls of joy joined the craziness of our lives.

Yes, our Animal Whisperer prevailed. After months of pleading, pouting, and persuading, Kiki is now Mama Hen to six pullets. For those of you non-chicken-obsessed people, a pullet is a female chicken.

Somehow, I thought a rooster would not earn us a “good neighbor” award.


...after months of reading...


...and even a course in backyard chicken-keeping...

...we are ready. 

I think.

I was unprepared, however, for the sight of sleeping chicks. Do you know that when chicks sleep, they look like dead chicks? I went downstairs to check on the babes, saw them sprawled out in the pine shavings, thought the heat lamp had cooked them, and frantically shook the box. They popped up and began peeping at me.

It's like new mother syndrome. You pray your baby will sleep—but then need to wake her to make certain she's breathing.

I just thought you should know.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce the girls:

Roxanne ~ Ameraucana

  Risa ~ Buff Orpington

Salt ~ Barred Plymouth Rock

Pepper ~ Barred Plymouth Rock

Meggy ~ White Leghorn

Clue ~ Ameraucana

Tomorrow, or sometime soon, I'll write about the preparation needed for backyard chicken keeping.

Right now, though, I need to wake the babies.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Birthday Tree.

My girl is double digits. 

Ten years ago, on April Fool's Day, I went into labor while Peter, Tyler, and I were browsing in a now defunct pet store. Actually, my water broke in the pet store. I know that was more information than you care to know about me, but it explains a lot.

Like how our girlie, who is so incredibly animal-obsessed, tried to enter this world surrounded by furry friends. I swear, her animal love began in utero.

And it continues to grow each year.

(Did I mention we're soon adding chickens to our suburban micro-farm? But that's a story for another day.)

Not only is Kristen animal-obsessed, she's an avid tree climber. I'm the tree-hugger, she's the climber.

Once, when she was three, she climbed the Japanese Maple in front of our office. 

"Mommy! Come look! Isn't it beautiful?"

My pigtailed princess was nose-to-nose with a black rat snake.

Did you know that black rat snakes are excellent climbers? 

Did you know that, while black rat snakes are completely harmless and are wonderful at controlling pesky voles, they can cause a near-fatal panic attack when viewed by an on-the-ground mother who watches in horror as her three-year-old tries to play with said snake?

These are things you should know.

But this isn't a story about snakes, or snake-induced hyperventilation.

This is a story about a tree.

A birthday tree.

Kristen's tree.

Once upon a time, we planted a tree to celebrate Kristen.

It's an ornamental cherry tree. Today, I'd probably choose something more politically correct--perhaps a cherry tree that actually bears fruit or an ancient heirloom apple tree. But back then, I simply wanted a tree that would bloom on Kristen's birthday.

A pretty tree. 

A picture-perfect tree.

A tree that would co-star in annual birthday photos, charting the growth of both girl and her tree.

So, in an act of sheer indulgence and sentimentality, I thought I'd share with you Kristen and her tree, in the hopes that you, too, will plant a tree for your favorite babe. (Fall is the best time to plant trees, but if you are careful to water well and don't wait too late--you can also plant in the spring. The Arbor Day Foundation provides excellent videos on planting and caring for trees.)

1st Birthday

2 years

3 years

5 years

6 years

7 years
(Wow...Kristen's tree on non-organic, chemical-laden fertilizer?)

8 years
(OK, I know it's not a tree...but I thought you should know that I'm serious about the snake-thing.)

10 years

I'm shocked when I look at my long-legged girl--it seems like two weeks ago that she was an itty bitty thing, shaking the stick-trunk of her tree. 

I hope that she'll always find joy in her birthday tree.

Happy Birthday, my double digit sweet-pea!

XO, Mommy