Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Joe Brainard?

Today at work our library is loaning someone a book called Selected Writings, 1962-1971, by Joe Brainard. I'd never heard of him before. He has a website. It's in his memory, because I guess he died of AIDS induced Pneumonia. Sad. He was a famous artist, and he has a bunch of stuff at big famous art museums. He wrote a bunch of books, too.

Anyway, I like this book. I almost want to not send it out to the patron so that I can sit and read the rest of it. It's just little bits of writing that are random. Not random like the stuff from my modernism class last semester; this stuff still makes sense. It's just kind of wandering thoughts, which reminds me of my own.

Here are a few bits:

TREES (pg. 37)

Have you ever stopped to wonder what the world would be like without any trees? Just a big brown ball.

Do you know how many trees there are in the world? Nobody does.

There is nothing I love more than trees. Except people and flowers. (Some people, and some flowers.) Of course, not all trees are perfect either.

SICK ART (pg. 39)

Mona Lisa's smile often causes observers to overlook the fact that she has no eyebrows.

One skin specialist offered the suggestion that Leonardo da Vinci's model was suffering from a skin disease called alopicia. Alopicia is a skin disease in which one has no eyebrows.

On the other hand, many women in those days shaved their eyebrows and Leonardo da Vinci's model may have just been following the fad.

There is no doubt, however, that Rodin's "The Thinker" has bunions on both feet.

Today, with modern art, it is not so easy to spot diseases and physical disorders.

Many doctors, however, have noticed a strong relationship between various skin diseases and the paintings of Jackson Pollock.

Fungus infections are very common in the art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

from the section WHAT IS MONEY? (pg. 65, 66)

What is money? Money is what you buy things with. Today we use paper bills and metal coins to buy things with. But what did people of long ago use to buy things with?


From the stories of Homer we learn that the ancient Greeks used cows to buy things with. "How many cows is this house?" a Greek man would say.

Cows, however, were not the only things people used to buy things with. The Chinese used fish. "How many fish is this house?" a Chinese man would say.

The American Indians used colorful beads to buy things with. "How many colorful beads is this tee-pee?" an Indian man would say.

Then as time went on people got tired of carrying around cows and beads and stuff and so they invented the metal coin much as we know it today.

Metal coins were fine for buying little things, but if you wanted to buy a house, or something expensive, it was very impractical. "How silly it is to be loaded down with all these heavy metal coins" they said. And so they invented the paper bill much as we know it today.

Even today, however, the natives on the island of Yap use large stone wheels to buy things with. Each stone wheel weighs 1000 pounds and will buy 10,000 coconuts.

There is an old saying that money is the root of all evil. I would say that the root of all evil is money...and bad women.

And sometimes even good women.

I once read about a pastor's wife from upstate, a good woman, methodist, who won a cereal contest, bought a little printing press for Sunday school bulletins and song sheets, and ended up a counterfeiter. Rather than face ten years in jail she shot her husband in the head and jumped off the steeple.
Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury, founded the first bank of the United States. It was called "The First Bank of the United States".

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bird Update #2

Okay, this is a real update, with pictures from today.

The chickens are all doing really well. They are all still alive.
We've been getting 1-2 eggs every day. We ate that first egg, brought our second egg to J's mom, and I think I used one egg in a recipe that we made, but mostly they've just been accumulating in the fridge. On Sunday when we went to J's parents' house for dinner, his mom gave us a stack of egg cartons which she had been saving for a while, I think because she wanted chickens. (I think his dad is way happy that we got hens, because now his mom doesn't need her own.)

So I think we've had 18? eggs now. We're looking forward to when the other two hens start laying, because we have a long list of people we want to share fresh eggs with! We want to share with our families, J's neighbors (because we're not totally sure that it's exactly, technically legal to have chickens here, heh heh. BUT! Shining ray of hope: we were outside with the birds like, the day after we got the laying hens and the neighbor asked us through the fence if we had chickens. We of course said that we did. He said "cool." AND THEN! like a week ago, the same neighbor told J that someone down their street has a pig. So. We don't think he'll tattle.), our coworkers, our friends, etc.
This is Maude.
These are our four original chicks. They don't really look like chicks anymore; they just look like little hens. Gladys is the biggest. Gertie is the lighter of the dark ones. Maude is the darker of the dark ones.
They all get along really well. I often let the Delawares out to catch bugs and eat grass and do other fun things like that, and they really enjoy that. Occasionally I'll pull one of the chicks out and when the Delawares see that someone else is out and not them, they stand at the door to the chicken coop and peck at the wire. They can't stand to miss out. The dark Delaware does really well in the yard. If I come over to her, she sits down. So it's easy to catch her. The Araucanas do the same thing. The Buff Orpingtons (two blonde chicks) and the Barred Plymouth Rock (speckled black and white one) are slightly harder to catch. They don't sit down or totally cooperate with being caught, but they're not hard to collect, either.

The light Delaware and the little red hen (Red Sex Link), are the most difficult to catch. They run! I caught the little red hen to put her away today, and in the process I got my first chicken-related wound. She carved a 5" gash into my hand, and a 2" cut on my foot. Mean bird.

I wanted to take a nice, pretty, up-close shot of the little red hen, since she looked really dark in the other pictures on my phone (on the computer they look fine), and instead I ended up with an action shot of the carnage.

After I cleaned it with peroxide:

(Also, that's kind of a funny picture because it looks like I'm cupping the doormat in my hand.)

So anyway, in conclusion, the birds are doing well. We like our fresh eggs. The Delawares are laying pretty well, and the little red hen and the Plymouth should start laying sometime within the next couple weeks, we think. The chicks are feathering out very nicely and they're pretty calm, which is nice. They should start laying this fall.

They kept scratching at the food containers, so last weekend we got them a big automatic-filling dog food thing, and it works like a charm. We have it and the big automatic water dish on containers and now they're the perfect height to avoid being kicked/dumped/filled with wood pellets, etc.

Every time we go to IFA, I want ducks. They're adorable! Also, I want 40 more hens. This is becoming an addiction. I keep telling J that eventually we need to build a big chicken coop, and have a whole lot! of birds. He can't see any reason to. We will already have way more eggs than we need when our whole flock is laying.

Bird Update #1

Okay, so this really isn't an update because I've blogged since then and a lot has happened since then, but I've been meaning to share this because it made me laugh.

J and I went to California a couple weeks ago. (It was nice. Before he even met me, his family planned their big family vacation--to Disneyland! And my family lives 20 minutes from there. So J invited me, and I stayed at the resort with his family, but we mostly spent time with my family. Since his whole family lives up here and mine pretty much all lives in CA. But anyway...)

We had arranged with Jess to have Paley (Remember? I have a cat!) stay at her house for the trip, so that Pay wasn't alone at my house for a week. (We had also planned to have the chicks stay at her house, since they were living indoors when I asked, but we decided to get the chicken coop and moved them outside and got big feeders and used the big waterer and left them alone.)

The morning that we left, I came over to J's house early and I had all of my stuff for the trip plus Paley. We had breakfast together and J finished packing, but Paley did not like being confined to the cat carrier, so she started crying. Poor cat. I set her carrier on a chair so that she could watch out the window, and that worked for a little while, but she wanted out.

Buuuut, J is totally allergic to her, so letting her wander around his house was not really an option. Instead, I took her out to watch me get food and water ready for the chicks.

And then! I had such a brilliant idea! I decided she would probably enjoy watching the birds. So I set her carrier in front of the chicken coop. Like, right in front of it.

She loved it. But it was actually funny because the birds were way interested in her, too. I felt totally fine leaving them like that, so Pay was fascinated for the rest of the morning while we finished getting ready. Hah. Awesome.

Okay, and then I have one other chicken story, which we heard while we were in California. (Having chickens is like reading Twilight. Or knitting. It just instantly bonds you with random people, and people want to talk about their birds.) SO, we were having dinner at my sister Steph's boyfriend's cousin's? [brother's neighbor's grandpa's friend's uncle's] house. And they were just delighted to meet us, and Steph told them about our chicks since ! they have hens too!

So here's what happened:

When they moved into the house, there was already a big chicken coop there. So she decided to get chickens. And she went to this place where everyone spoke Spanish and like, they I guess sold chicks there. But they were selling them straight-run. So (usually you'd just buy some and know you were getting 1/2 roosters which you would later eat or sell. but...) she asked how to tell which baby birds are hens and which baby birds are roosters.

And the guy, in broken English, esplained that the way you tell is, you pick the little birds up by their beaks. And if they flap a whole lot, they're roosters. And if they go limp and just hang there, then they're hens. So she started picking up these little birds by their beaks, and they would flap and squirm, and try to get away, and make a huge commotion! It seemed like they all did, she said, and she's sure that at this point the guys working there were laughing at her because it was just so ridiculous.

At this point we laughed, and told her how funny it was, and she said oh, we hadn't even heard the best part. She continued.

So she finally managed to pick out 16 little birds that didn't flap and try to get away when she picked them up by their beaks. She took them home and started raising them, and their hens were doing really nicely until one morning, they heard a kind of scratchy little noise one morning. She was sure it must be coming from the neighbor's house. It had to be. She didn't really think anything of it. But it continued the next day. And soon there was another little rooster noise.

And she finally realized it was coming from her hens. Her 4 month old hens.

It turned out that 14 of the 16 "hens" were actually roosters.

We laughed and laughed. But the story got even better.

She called the place that she had bought them and told them that they had told her how to pick hens and she had ended up with all roosters! They were nice about it. They told her to just put them in bags and bring them back and they would take them back and give her hens.

So she caught them and put them in grocery bags. He said bags, so she just thought grocery bags. He probably meant like, burlap bags.

They were decent sized bags, so all 14 of the birds poked their legs through the bottoms of the bags. And then she had 14 running bags that she gathered up and put in her car and took back. She said it was the funniest thing to see. She said they couldn't stop laughing when they saw her bags running all over the place.

Amazing story, huh?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting Hens --- (SURPRISE ENDING!)

Yesterday, J and I got HENS!

We were planning to get hens all along, actually. We thought we would maybe get one chick because I think they're cute, but really the whole point was to have birds that actually lay eggs. Now.

So I've been watching KSL, and I told J there are a bunch of laying hens available online, and he told me to pick some and set an appointment. Buuuuut, when it came to picking hens, I discovered all of the ads online are for like, four places. We could get hens from Mona, Utah (too far south), someplace up by Ogden (too far north), some place...east?, and Sandy, Utah (juuuust right). So really, our choice was basically this one place, Sunny Brooke Farm. I called to see if they had any laying hens, and they did. And they also had ones that were about to start laying, which is really the smart time to buy hens.

I told her we would be there at 3pm. And We Were. Bring
boxes, she said. It was raining buckets, and we rang her doorbell and waited with our boxes on the porch. She opened the door and said, "You came?!!" Because it really was raining a ton.

We went out to her garage, which was open and we kind of saw as we were coming up to the house. She showed us a catalog and we discussed breeds. We learned that hens start laying eggs when they reach a certain weight. Some breeds lay sooner than others because they all seem to grow about the same.

We told her we still wanted a couple of the ones that were already laying, and then we would like a couple of the ones that were about to start (in like a week or two, she said).

So she got them for us. When she grabbed the Delawares, she brought out their eggs from that day, to show us that they really do lay.

And then we got one Red Sex Link (Sex Link means, ok, usually when chicks hatch, they all look alike. So sometimes they're sold "straight run" which means you'll probably get half hens and half roosters. OR, scientists with good magnifying glasses look at their teeny-tiny girl parts or itty-bitty boy parts and separate them so that you can get only hens. They're surprisingly good at this, and they're right 90-95% of the time. So you pay more for that, like we did for our chicks. OR, sex link ones means that the boys and girls are different colors, so their sex is just totally obvious from the instant they hatch). And we got one Barred Plymouth Rock.
She also showed us her brooder. I asked how many chickens she had at her farm and she said over eight hundred! Holy smokes! That's a lot of chickens. She told us next time we need chicks, she has a pullet guarantee, so we should come to her. (Basically, when the scientists do mistake tiny bird parts, you're stuck with the bird. So it's possible (though unlikely) that our four little chicks will all end up actually being roosters. But with her, even if our chicks were 4 months old and one was a rooster, we could bring it back to trade.) She says she gets calls all the time from the Hispanic people, "Do you have any roosters yet?" Everyone just eats roosters.

Anyway, we took the birds home.

I wanted to get a picture of our little chicks all together before we added the BIG hens, but it didn't happen. One of the Delawares started escaping from their cardboard box. So I caught her and put her in the coop, and then the other one started getting out of the box too. And then we just added the Red Sex-Link and the Plymouth to the coop as well.
We got our pine shavings out so that we could make the nesting boxes comfortable for them. I told them they could lay anytime. We weren't sure if they would lay today, and just lay like normal, or if it would take some time to adjust to the new home and new friends, or what. J reminded me that even though we were filling the nesting boxes, they may lay in the wrong place at the beginning. Hens do that. ("It would be like Easter every day!" I told him.)

I love our hens. The Delawares are actually fun because they're a breed that is super friendly. Supposedly they'll sit in your lap. Like a pet. On the farm website, it says that the Reds will follow you around and "talk" to you. So. We have all friendly birds.

They seem to be getting along just fine.

At night, I went out to check on them. They were fantastic! The big hens were all lined up on the perch, and the little chicks were nestled into one of the corners of a nesting box. Adorable!
So I called J out to see them, and he came. "Is that an egg?!" he said, incredulously.

"What. No, just look how nice they are, all in a row."

"That looks like an egg!"

So we went over to investigate, and totally we already had our first egg. Good job, girls!

It was brown, with specks. We were pretty excited. It was still a little warm, actually. Eggs don't get much fresher than that!

So we took it inside, and we fried it, and we shared our first egg from our little flock. Already!
I LOVE CHICKENS! When our birds are all big enough to lay, I think we'll be getting: 2 blue-green eggs, 1 beige egg, and 5 brown eggs from them. Obviously, they won't all lay every day, but if they did, those are the colors we would have.

Neat, eh?! In a couple weeks we should have about 4 -fresh!- eggs every day. ("So you're going to [J's] house every day for breakfast?" mom asked. Mhmm. Well. Not really.)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

AMERICAN HOME part 6 - It's Not Sleight of Hand

Here's the second Windex advert:

1. Son Johnny, on leave
with his new corporal's rank,
Which he won doing stunts
with a 20-ton tank,

2. Finds cleaning the windows
in their six-room flat
Has knocked Mom, in Army slang,
hors de combat.

3. But in barracks John learned
a trick Ma must have missed,
Called, "How To Clean Panes
With A Flick of the Wrist."

4. He just uses Windex--
it's not sleight of hand,
But a work-saving wonder
that sure beats the band!

5. Spray it on--wipe it off--
for much less than a cent
Each pane has a shine
you'll acclaim heaven-sent!

6. And at house-cleaning time
it's a perfect delight
Just a few minutes' work--
and your windows are bright!


* DON'T START fall house cleaning
without this non-inflammable, oil-free
cleaner that costs but a fraction of a
for each pane cleaned!
And--Windex is grand for cleaning
windshields, mirrors, anything in the
house made of glass!

You can get Windex in two sizes--6-
ounce and the 20-ounce economy size

Copr. 1942, The Drackett Co.

AMERICAN HOME part 5 - Poor Cousin Jan.

I just have a few more of these clips from American Home magazine.

This one is a Windex advert. It's written in verse. LOVE IT. Also, I love that Windex was never over 15c. And that Cousin Jan was healthy and husky and mowed lawns for fun.

1. It's too bad you never met
poor Cousin Jan.
She was healthy and husky
and strong as a man--

2. She mowed lawns for fun
and beat rugs by the dozen
But washing her windows
just ruined poor Cousin.

3. Her daughter Louisa
is fragile and small
But windows to wash
never scared her at all.

4. She just uses Windex.
It's whisk! and it's done--
And where's our Louisa?
She's out having fun!

5. Just spray Windex on--wipe
it off--and you're through!
"And I've never seen glass
any cleaner!" say you.

6. For clean windows longer,
get Windex today
Buy the 20-ounce size--
it's the thriftiest way.

7. Don't be tempted by imitators
who promise "more for your
money." Windex is a quality,
non-inflammable, oil-free cleaner
which leaves no dust-catching film,
doesn't streak, sheds no dust on
sills or floor.

for handy-size bottle
anywhere in U. S. A.
Ask your dealer about
the new reduced price
--also about big 20-
oz. economy refill
Copr. 1942, The Drackett Co.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

*:*-...cRaFt NiGhT!!!!...-*:*

When we saw Jess for the Grand Canyon trip, she showed J and I her latest craft. Jess has been having craft nights every month for a little while now, but she always chooses times that I can't come and then flaunts it by sending me cute invitations by e-mail.

I told Jessica that J and I would have our own craft night.

So. We. Did.

This Friday I invited J and my girls [--BUT NOT JESS--] for my FIRST cRaFt NiGhT!!!!

Even though it was super short notice (like, 5 minutes), everyone came. We bought our supplies in advance and for craft night we painted. All six of us had So Much Fun! We loved being outside!

I left the girls in their box so they wouldn't get lost or painty, but they enjoyed the sunshine. J painted the sides of the chicken coop (which we've started calling "the barn") and I painted the doors and the nesting box thing. We painted with a waterproofing opaque wood stain thing, in the color "California Redwood" since I thought that sounded like the best option for a chicken coop.

We can't wait for our next craft night!!!

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Community Food Co-Op of Utah!

A long time ago one of my co-workers at Ancestry told all of us about the Co-op. He gave us the website address. I didn't really look into it. Because I could totally afford food, so like, why not just go to the grocery store?

I just kind of assumed the co-op was a poor people thing, and like yeah, maybe everyone was allowed to participate, but since it's cheap food it would be like going to a soup kitchen. Sure, everyone would be welcome, but you'd be in line with people wearing rags, and when you got up to the front they would hand you a bruised pear and a can of tuna and tell you thanks for coming.
Plus it was in south Provo, and since I had no car it wasn't too easy to get there.

AND THEN! I volunteered last month, with one of the service groups on campus. I counted lemons at the warehouse, where the groups come to pick up food for people in their areas.

AND THEN! At Earth-Fest on campus, there was a booth for the Co-op and I decided I would try it for May.

I ordered a Standard Share ($23?), a Nutty Guys Sampler Pack ($12?), and a 32 oz. thing of olive oil ($7?). And then I waited, because the Co-op is a once-a-month kind of thing.

They sent me an e-mail confirming my order, and someone called me to remind me to pick it up. Bring bags, they told me. They reminded me of where my pick up location is, which is a block and a half from my house at First Unitarian Church.

I got an e-mail to remind me and to let me know what the fruits and veggies would be (they order a few days before you get them, so you don't know ahead of time).

This month, my Standard Share included:
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 lbs. chicken thighs
  • 2 lbs. beef chuck roast
  • 2 lbs. 'country style' pork spare ribs

  • 1 pkg. mushrooms
  • 6 bananas
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • 5 apples
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 bag of white potatos

  • Stone Ground's Artisan Wheat Loaf
  • 16 oz. Rice
HOLY SMOKES! What a deal! J and I went to pick it all up on Saturday morning. We went to the check-in table [SRSLY, it was like going to the temple. This sweet lady was like "Welcome! Is this your first time at the co-op? Great! We're happy to have you here, this is how it works...] and they gave me my extras (the nuts and oil) and a little colored sheet saying STANDARD SHARE and the things I needed to get. And then they had long tables for STANDARD SHARE, HALF SHARE, and HARVEST SHARE. So we went to our long table and went down the line adding each item to my bag.

And then they had a trade table, so if you didn't want something you could trade it for something that you did want. I had mentioned that I didn't want radishes and the lady behind us said her husband loves radishes! she would trade me! And so I traded my radishes for her wheat loaf, which turned out to be SO. SO. GOOD! And free of artificial ingredients, so J can actually eat it.

At the trade table we traded my mushrooms for another wheat loaf. And then we went to a table where we checked-out, except it's all pre-paid, so I just initialed that I got my stuff. And they thanked me for coming and told me to tell my friends. Tell my friends? Psh! I want to serve a full-time co-op mission. I want to tell strangers!

So the co-op turned out to be the Best Idea Ever. J was amazed by the quality of the produce. He thinks he may participate next month. Like, I don't know why anyone would know about this and choose not to participate. When people move to Utah, there should be someone at the border to say "Welcome to Utah! Here's your co-op order form for next month."

ANYWAY, it's a super good deal. They're way into working with local farmers, so it's like local (often organic) stuff, and it's so cheap. The catch is that the price includes 2hrs of volunteer work. BUT, the volunteer work doesn't even have to be at the co-op! It can be anything you do for someone outside your home for free. (I donate platelets at ARUP 2x/month, so I put that and I have 4 hrs already.) They do want you to volunteer at the co-op at least one time every year, but you can do things like measure rice, or write an article for the co-op newspaper, too.

Interested? For Provo the pick-up location is:
Centro Hispano, 10:30-11:30AM 818 South Freedom Blvd.

The page about how to join, etc is here. Orders are due 12 June. The newsletters are on this page. The June one isn't up yet, but the last one is here.

Other normal people do this too! I searched on Google and found two other blog posts about it...so you can read about their experiences here and here.