Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On the culture of fear in our society...

I just shared this on Facebook but wanted to share it here too.

Last week, I stopped home from the grocery to put some frozen food away before heading back out to visit my mother-in-law. I came out of the house 3 minutes later to find a strange woman parked in my driveway, yelling to me "ARE THESE KIDS OKAY? THEY'RE IN THIS CAR WITH THE WINDOWS UP!" First of all, yes they are fine, I ran in the house and came right back out. Second of all, they are both big enough to exit the car on their own if they get hot. Third of all, get the hell off my property! Okay, I didn't say the last one except in my head, but really? I spent the rest of that day wondering if I was going to receive a call from the authorities. I understand that people want to look out for the safety of children, but sometimes it gets a little out of control and crosses into nosy busybody territory.

Someone posted this article on FB this morning, and even though it's kind of long, it's a worthy read.  It shows how, not only do we have to live in constant fear of terrible things happening everywhere (according the media, anyway), now we have to be afraid of the people who are so afraid of bad things happening that they feel entitled to involve themselves and law enforcement into the lives of strangers over the most minute concerns.  And while I don't agree with what this mother did - I would never leave my 4 year old alone in a mall parking lot even if it was only for 5 minutes - but I don't think it's necessarily criminal.  It just pisses me off, what this mom had to go through.  The worst part is how her son now fears the police and is afraid to have her leave his side because he's afraid someone will kidnap him, since you know, there are kidnappers lurking EVERYWHERE.  Right?

For further reading, look up Lenore Skenazy (mentioned in the above article) and her blog Free Range Kids.  If you're not familiar with her, she's the mom who let her very capable 9-year-old son use the subway on his own and received outrage for it.  Her blog is a breath of (rational!) fresh air.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Reading Level Assessment

I just have to share this here.  A relative just posted a picture of a reading level certificate that her son received at school.  I realized I have never tested Monkey to see what level he is at, and I got curious.  I did a quick search and found a simple online test, which consisted of multiple lists of words of increasing difficulty.  You just have the kid read the lists until they get too difficult.  I called him over and said, hey, read these words for me... and now read these... okay read these... and so on.  The result was level 48, which equals fourth grade, in the eighth month.  So he's at the end of second grade and is testing at the end of fourth grade, or roughly two grade levels ahead.  So I guess I must be doing something right!  I mean, I knew he was doing fine, and I'm sure this simple test is not as comprehensive as a thorough evaluation done by a teacher, but it gives me a sense of encouragement to get a general idea of where he's at.  Yay!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Chicken Update

Chicks grow up really, really fast.  Here are some pics to illustrate their growth rate:

The day we brought them home

At two weeks of age

At three weeks old

At four weeks old
Today, at five weeks old

That's right, five weeks!

They are no longer cute fluffy chicks, but lovely feathered little birds.  They still have a way to go to maturity, of course, but I am amazed at how quickly they grow up.

You may be able to tell from the last two images that they are no longer in the cardboard brooder in the basement, but have moved into the chicken coop.  We took them out there a week ago today, on Memorial Day, and they have settled in and seem quite happy and comfortable out there.  I think my husband (with the help of our friend, Pat) has done quite a nice job on the place - would you like a tour?

I want to turn that stump into a pretend fairy/gnome house, like the ones here.

Shane and Pat built a dutch door on the outside and a screen door on the inside.

Thanks to my Mom for the sign!
Here you can see the rustic/natural roosts Shane built out of some sturdy tree branches.

And here are the cozy nesting boxes he built.  He made them with a wire mesh bottom and a flip-up top for easy cleaning.  Not in use yet, but they will be in just a few short months.

This picture shows all three of our breeds nicely.  From L-R:  Buff Orpington, Australorp, and Dominique.  All chosen for their reputation for being good egg layers and supposed mellow/tame personalities.  The Dominiques are our favorites.  They're the prettiest and friendliest of the bunch for sure.

They really are charmingly entertaining and inquisitive creatures.  Bug and I go out and sit with them once or twice a day and just hang out and watch them.

Here they are clustered at my feet, tugging on the strings of my capris.  Silly birds, those aren't worms!

Photo credit:  Bug

 The boys are absolutely loving their new birdie friends - especially Bug.  He is quite the chicken whisperer.  They LOVE him and will happily sit in his lap and be petted, to his great delight.


And I must admit, I adore them too.  Enough to take a chicken selfie.  :)