Saturday, April 11, 2009

So long Mr. Moo Cow

We drove up to our house last night to see that my husband had butchered the cow and had it hanging up. It's always something new and surprising to come home to around here... One day in February, my husband called me on my cell phone to confess that he had bought a cow. Note to husbands- I would not recommend bringing home something as large as a cow without at least talking about it first. Especially when your wife had just sold 2 goats that she liked in order to reduce the number of animals grazing on her pasture that has not had enough rain in two years. Especially when a cow eats more than all of her goats put together, and leaves very, very large piles of manure. Especially when it's the day before Valentines Day and your wedding anniversary, and you have no other gift for her. No fellows, I really would not recommend that at all. “It was a really good deal” does not make it a suitable surprise. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Did I mention that the cow advertised as a “steer” and delivered in a major downpour of a rainstorm turned out to not even be neutered, and was therefore actually a young bull- with horns even?

In any case, with the last of the cool weather upon us, and my husband having a number of summer commitments, he decided that yesterday was butchering day. Apparently we got home from town quicker than he thought we would (he neglected to mention that it was butchering day), and young Mr. Moo Cow's carcass was hanging there. My husband had hoped to have it out of sight before we drove up since we have the gross out factor when it is at the stage in between what looks like cow, and what looks like meat. But, he didn't quite have time, so we got the full visual.

Later, when my husband was taking the guts and other parts too gross for even dogs out to be an offering to the wild things at an old homestead a few miles away, our larger dog pulled the hide off it's hanging spot and began to chew on it. I got the dog away, and tried to pick the hide out of the dirt, but it was really heavy, not to mention gross, and I gave up. My Indian ancestors would be ashamed of what a wussy I am. Eventually hubby got back and dealt with it.

This morning, I'm looking up hide tanning info (it's a lot of really gross work, but Mr. Moo Cow, may he rest in peace, did have a nice coat) Apparently, many tribes traditionally boiled the hide with the brains to soften it. Others chewed on it to soften it. We won't be doing that though as the brains went with the rest of the offering to nature, and the chewing thing is just not even an option for me.

One kid is now dissecting the heart and the other is helping make jerky. I think I'll be going for a long walk and hopefully it will all be put away when I get home. And I think I'm eating tofu for lunch.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I heard an interesting story the other night from a fellow homeschooling family. My friend, a homeschool mom who also happens to have been homeschooled herself (when the idea of homeschooling was MUCH less common or accepted than it is today) told us about her younger sisters recent experience at university. This sister, who was also homeschooled, is now off at Cal Poly studying engineering or architecture or some such thing. Through dorm life and social activities, she started hanging out with a group of pretty smart and hip University kids. Naturally, most of them went to traditional schools, whether public or private. The former homeschooler is a cute and stylish young woman, which surely helped her get into this group. Apparently, this group had no idea she had been homeschooled, and during  library "study times" they would make fun of other students they suspected of having been homeschooled based on their ugly clothing and lack of style!
I imagine the poor young thing was slightly uncomfortable, and it was a few weeks before she finally confessed to them that she was in fact a homeschooled child.
"Oh, you mean like while you were on vactaions during the school year?" No, she admitted that she had been homeschooled her entire life. The other "cool" kids couldn't believe it.
“But, you dress so normal!” was the universal response... as though poor fashion choices are a requirement of the homeschool lifestyle. Do they think we all wear prairie dresses and bonnets, or pants pulled up to our armpits? Apparently so. Where is my denim jumper anyway?
Now, I have seen and know enough homeschooled kids to know they come in all styles. Some are very fashion conscious, others have their own thing going. The same is true of school kids, and people in general. The thing is, these homeschooled kids are allowed to be different, to be whoever they are, and still be accepted.
Yes, there are some whose look is not magazine style cool, but not every kid in public school is a budding pop star either. But, the homeschool kids aren't subject to ridicule or isolation based on the way they look on a daily basis. The other kids don't seem to care so much. I know homeschooled hip hop teens who hang out with rockers and jocks and intellectuals. They are all nice enough to help out little kids at park day, and aren't too cool to talk to the moms. It seems highly unlikely any of these kids will be called names, beat up, stuffed in lockers or trash cans, given atomic wedgies, or any of the other fates that can happen to kids who are unfortunate enough to be “less than cool” in a school setting. They just get to grow up and be who they are. What a concept!
As for the university kids and their stereotype of what a homeschooler looks like, it's hard to know what to say. I certainly find it ironic that homeschoolers are often accused of not teaching our kids about diversity or acceptance of people different from ourselves. Those kids' traditional education helped them to make it into a university, but the prejudice they had towards homeschoolers (when they didn't in fact know any before then) doesn't seem very accepting or broad minded to me.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Rocket Fuel in Baby Formula?

This news makes me so incredibly sad....
“Rocket Fuel Component Found in Baby Formula”
How is it that we have come to a place in this world where chemicals from rocket fuel make their way into baby formula? It's not as if this is the first time contaminants have made their way into artificial baby milk. There have been numerous recalls for things like salmonella, and bits of broken glass- things that would never make it through a womans breasts. Melamine in infant formula led not just to sickness, but to tragic deaths of babies in China last summer. Reading the ingredients on the label of a can of formula is enough to give me pause- corn syrup solids- for babies? Hello diabetes. Then the long list of unpronounceable synthetic things- somehow, it's just obvious to me that nature made a better way- the perfect way to feed babies. I breastfed my kids, and believe every baby was born to breastfeed- it's obviously the superior product, but the reality is that not every baby will be breastfed. There are a very few and rare medical reasons not to breastfeed, a whole lot of misconceptions about it, and just the choices that some folks make. But in the end, every baby deserves a clean, safe, nutritious food source, no matter what. What scares me even more than this chemical being found in formula, is that it has also been found in a lot of drinking water supplies (which everyone is drinking, and is often being used to mix the formula-giving those babies a double dose) and even in a few mother's milk. What have people done to this world?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wow, apparently I have managed to NOT write on my blog AT ALL in the last 3 weeks. Right after I set it up , a friend told me that blogging was addictive. I seem to be suffering more from distraction. When I've thought about my blog, I start towards it, but get sidetracked reading other people's blogs. My poor little blog is just sitting there being neglected wondering why I never spend any time on it. I am wondering when I will have the time to work on writing, and the answer is probably when I set aside the time and just do it.

But, my blog is not the only thing I'm neglecting. There's also that Etsy site. OK, I know I said I'd have it up and running in a week or so. I did do the set up, I got that far. I also collected a couple of cute things, and took some pictures. Then, I got sidetracked again, and onto other projects that distracted me from figuring out shipping, and listing and all those little details that you have to do before you can actually sell anything. When I do go onto Etsy, I start looking at other people's shops, and eat up all my free time wondering how I'm going to get my pictures to look that good, and how those models manage to keep those “I am so much more beautiful and cool than you could ever be” looks on their face. I mean, I don't think I can pull that off. But, at least I've been getting inspired. Not by the models- although they are amusing. I'm being inspired by all the fabulous things people create. There is a lot of talent, and a lot of wonderful ideas out there.

Now if I'd just get quit being such a sidetracker, I could manage to create some lovely things myself.