My Coolest Cousin came in from out of town over the past few days, helping our granny to get some more of her things for the stay in Idaho over the summer. My Cousin, Ashley, lives in her mom’s house in Salt Lake City in what I to this day think is just about one of the coolest houses I have ever seen. The house itself is beautiful, but the place is on about an acre with room to grow things and a well all to themselves. What’s more, the house was built with a cellar and space for plenty of canned foods and such, so that self reliance could be had fairly easily in the heart of suburban hell. They really do get the opportunity for the best of both worlds there!
Ashley got a look at the chicken operation we have going here, and was able to collect eggs with me one day. The idea of such an easy to care for pet really appealed to her, especially with the egg benefit. So we all went down to the True Value Hardware in Overton and granny got two more baby hens and one for me as a fee for raising her two, and Ashley picked out two for herself! All of the hens are Silver Laced Wyandot, except for one of Ashley’s two, which is an Ameraucana. She loved the green eggs! Ashley also got a feeder and watering container which will be perfect for her two till they are quite a bit older. The containers have tall bits for storage over the dispensary units, which will prevent the chickens pooping in their food the way they tend to in the flat trays.
I was really excited, and so was Ashley for her getting a start on chickens. Hopefully everything will go well for her and she will have a great time with them, and will stick with them for a long time to come. But as my pragmatic cousin likes to say, “if not, I am only out $3.50 per bird!” Nice one Ash!
So they have just left the house, and we are going to get back to normal again. You know how it is with company, good to have them come, good to have them go. I suppose in the anxiety of them leaving this morning, or because of the heat, I woke up around 3AM. Finally at 5:30 I decided to go sit someplace inconspicuous outside and do what parents sometimes do. I watched the children. I wanted to see first hand what goes on out there in the mornings when they care for the animals. One boy fed the horses, and the other one finally came out and put some water in the yard for the birds. The thing is, after looking into the old swimming pool, he left it uncared for, and when I looked in after, the two ducks in there were left with almost no water at all. That is not a good thing here in the desert, especially as it is getting into the 90’s every day now! I have been trying to get the boys into the habit of watering the animals if nothing else, but they just give it no care at all. I don’t know what to do! I want them to learn responsibility, and I want them to care for the animals, but when the one who is caring specifically for the ducks as though it is his own business won’t even water them, then I think maybe he needs either a kick up the backside (again), or to have his profitable business taken off him. When asked later inside which chores they did, he said his brother fed the horses (correct), “and I made sure all of the other animals had food and water.” Uh, actually the cat was also left to starve.
Luckily I do check on them almost every day at about 9AM. But this does serve to reinforce the point that children must be given responsibility, but parents must also check on them because that responsibility is not only a part of your livelihood, but also these animals lives. I cannot stress enough that if children are in charge of the care of the animals as a learning and growing experience, and well they should be, then there needs to be a safety net in place such as an adult checking things over after to be sure that the animals are not being left to starve or die of thirst. It has always been policy here that the cat must be fed, or he may turn to eating the ducklings. If the eldest boy is in care of the ‘other animals’ (everything but the horses), and he runs the business of keeping the ducks as his own business, then what care has he given by leaving the cat hungry, and the ducks with no water?
Well, I got some more carrot seeds to help our failing crop along! With any luck we will have a bumper crop in the autumn. I expect that next year will bring more gardening tips as this is a total learning year for us about not just gardening, but also this new hostile environment we live in, with hostile water bills!
The Prospering Peasant