Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard Thoughts

I had planned to write a wonderful post today about using tea to clean wood floors. But just in case you don’t live in the mid-Atlantic or northeastern United States, I’ll tell you why it’s futile. It’s futile because I am trapped inside a house with three overly active children, a husband who doesn’t sit still, two dogs that have no use for the snow mat just inside the door, and two cats that feel the need to go outside several times an hour to see whether or not there is still four feet of snow on the ground. There is absolutely no point in cleaning a wood floor with tea or anything else when all the above named creatures are tracking snow in and out and in and out all the live-long day. My original plan involved cleaning the floor on Wednesday and writing about it today, but then blizzard number 2 struck. So instead, I spent the day cooped up much like the chickens are right now. Hopefully the chickens are getting along better than the children.

I’m tempted to feel sorry for myself and my chickens, but luckily I had my perspective adjusted on both counts. I was talking with a friend who lives in the Teton Valley of Idaho this morning (where I might note there is barely a foot of snow covering the ground) and she was giving me her thoughts on being snowbound. She pointed out that at least we had space and lots of stuff to entertain ourselves. Just imagine if you lived in Laura Ingall’s time and you lived in a 12X12 foot sod house on the prairie, she said. I don’t really want to imagine that, but point taken. At least our house has lots of room and in my opinion, too much stuff to entertain us. I would add that we also have lots of food. My daughter and I baked a very labor-intensive carrot cake this morning that is dense and yummy. The recipe calls for 5 cups of grated carrot – that kept her busy (and quiet) for 20 minutes!

The noise is what gets to me in these situations. Yesterday morning I actually paid my children to read books. It’s not that my children don’t like to read, they love to read. It’s just sometimes they’d rather wrestle, fight, debate, or play imaginary games involving costumes, weapons, flying objects and the puppy, especially if their father is on a conference call with China and needs them to be quiet. I offered a buck a book and they promptly settled in on the couch with books in hand. I was triumphant! But only for about an hour, then the temptation to tease and scream was too much and we were back to business as usual with me $5 poorer. I’m sure Laura Ingalls couldn’t jump rope in the house or play volleyball with the couch as the net. So I’m grateful for the space, even if it is a noisy space.

I can’t feel sorry for my chickens anymore either. While trapped inside yesterday with all that snow coming down, we watched Food, Inc. It was an excellent documentary that alternately broke my heart and gave me hope. There was much food for thought that undoubtedly will show up in future posts, but the image that sent my daughter crying from the room was the chicken houses. Those poor chickens. Trapped in the dark, one on top of another for months until they meet an awful end involving being caught by a disrespectful and most likely underpaid hourly worker called a “catcher” who grabs them by a foot and shoves them in to cages to be carted off for slaughter. The chicken “farmers” have to clean out the dead chickens on a daily basis. We all pay for this when we demand chicken for $1.99 a pound. I’ve jokingly said that my chickens are experiencing factory farm life during this snow storm since they are stuck in their house together, but after seeing Food, Inc., I realize they truly have luxury accommodations (note picture).

The storm is tough on all of us, particularly the animals. This morning my 10 hand pony ventured outside of the Run-in Shed for the first time since the storm started Tuesday afternoon. She looked back at me as if to say, “What the #*?#!*!?” I apologized for God and threw her some hay which landed in front of her on the snow at eye level. It’s something when the snow comes up to your chin, but imagine when it’s over your head.

Gracie, our puppy, had a great time swimming in the snow. I’m sure this storm will be one we tell our grandchildren about, so I’m doing my best to appreciate the moment. And the snowblower.

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