Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guantanamo Bay Closing!

Will write more later, I am at work, but I have to say that this is some of the best news I have heard:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

In love with Pandora Radio

My brother Jon mentioned this site to me a while back but my boss showed it too me a few weeks ago and I have become obsessed with Pandora radio.

It allows you to pick songs or artists and make a "channel" based around them. Then it searches its database for similar songs.

Bands I am listening to:

Mana - a great Mexican rock band. NOT Rancheros that you hear on Mexican Radio Stations.

Ricardo Arjona - A Guatemalan ballad singer. He has two songs that I heard all the time on my mission that are classics like "Jesus Verbo no Sustantivo" (Jesus verb not noun) and "Si el norte fuera el Sur" (If the North was South).

Rasputina - A punk rock cello band. They are a little odd, especially with the goth look and strange songs, but really layered sound.

Gabriel Montero
- a jazzy classical pianist.

Kate Nash - I especially like the song "Merry Happy." Kind of pop music with piano and no guitars.

Nelly Mckay - She was on A prairie home companion and I sat in the cold and listened to her sing at the gas station till I had to rescrape the windows.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tragedy with pigs and dogs

Yesterday I got home from church and let Sam and Boss - a dog that we have been watching for a friend while they were out of town, out of the garage. We were having Suzie from work and her husband over for dinner and I was in a hurry to make Lemon Sponge Custard and clean up before they came. A few minutes after I came in Emily came inside and yelled, "Dad, I hear barking and a pig squealing!"

I ran outside, no coat, Colleen still in the backpack carrier, jumped the fence, and saw Sam and Boss gnawing on the back leg of the big pig. The pigs had gotten out of their pen. Sam and Boss were barking at it and circling it. Sometimes they nipped at its injured leg. Sometimes the pig nipped at them. I kicked Sam hard and yelled at both of them to go to the garage.

The pig's leg was mangled horribly. I could see the bones and tendons and it hung limply. The pig's ears and neck had small nicks. It was breathing heavy and could barely walk.

The other pig was hiding in the barn during all of this. I went to lock up the dogs and when I came back the injured pig had drug itself into the barn also. The little pig kept licking it and nudging it. It would not leave the injured pig's side. It pushed hay around it and lay next to it moaning as if it would die too.

I asked the vet that lives next door to come check on it and see if we could save it. She thought it was too far gone. My other neighbor thought we should wait and see. He said pigs were tough and he might make it. I just couldn't bear to see it hurt so much so I called Byron and he brought a gun.

I shot it, cleaned it, and will butcher it tonight. What a horrible situation. Now what do I do with the dog? I can't trust it. But I hate to get rid of him. I am afraid my pig farming is as hard on my heart as chicken ranching. I can live with butchering them, but it just makes me ill to have to kill them when they are hurt and suffering.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas, pearls, swine, and news

This is really a conglomeration of posts pressed by time into one. Sorry about that.


From December 2008

I thought the camera was fixed, but when I tried to use it for real it is still broken. Thus, all of my pictures of Christmas were taken with my cell phone camera, which works OK as long as everyone, including the photographer, holds very still. I was able to take passable pictures of inanimate objects if I held my breath and braced my camera hand. Anything that breathes looks like it is in fast forward.

From December 2008

The girls spend most of their free time dressing up and pretending so for christmas they both got dress up cloths. If you squint at the following picture you can see Emily is a pirate and Aleah is a witch - now we are set for Halloween too. We had a lovely day. The Cooks came over for dinner and we all played on the frozen ice in the corn field. Even falling down and getting a concussion couldn't take away from glory of the day.

From December 2008


I got Leila pearls from Carol Simmons, our friend that lives in China. I will post pictures as soon as I fix our camera because they really look good and the blurry pictures I have don't do them justice. She loves them and tells me I need to get her invited to the Inaugural Ball.

Leila gave me books! The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, which are fun zombie adventure stories. Yeah, I know, it sounds dark and horrorish, but they aren't and are well written with good characters and mythology that stands on their own.

She also formatted and bound the first couple years of this blog into a book by me. Which isn't a novel, but its got pictures and I know all about the characters and I like being able to hold what I have written here in my hands.


I also took Emily to the Hoover's to slaughter a pig. They sold me my pigs and were going to start slaughtering their own since they decided not to register their farm with the state. The law as I understand it is the first part in a national plan to keep a database of livestock, meat, and food so that if there were a disease issue the government could track it and take care of it. They worry that the government will take care of problems like England did with Hoof and mouth disease. That and its the sign of the beast.

Anyway, they invited us to help. I wish I had taken pictures, but my camera was broken and I felt a little uncomfortable taking pictures. They are kind of like Amish. When we got there they had this huge pig penned in a horse trailer. One of his many sons got his gun and he shot it in the head with a .22. Then another son cut the back hocks and slipped a chain around the back leg while another son lifted it all up with the front end loader on a tractor. Another son appeared with knives and we skinned the pig, saving the back fat for lard. The oldest son gutted it and then after we pulled all of the skin off cut with a handsaw down the backbone.

While the sides were cooling outside we ate dinner and I tried to learn all of the boy's names. They live very simply, but with technological compromises: telephone, but no TV; electricity, but apparantly only for lights and tools; running water, but no hot water except that heated over the large pioneer stove, hardly any books, except the bible, animal and plant identification guides, school books, and a stack of seed catalogues and Ranger Rick animal magazines for the kids, no decoration on the walls, but a chalkboard for homeschooling the kids; homemade clothes except gloves and mittens; a car and a tractor, but most work done by hand. Emily then left with the younger boys to climb around the hayloft and try to catch all 14 cats and innumerable chickens. We cut the meet into roasts, hams, bacon, meat for sausage, pork loin, and more fat for lard. Esther, the three year old girl, put diapers on her stuffed cow and chatted with us while we worked.

I am not sure that I will slaughter my own animals. I think I will register my farm and go to the butcher, but it wasn't as bad as I feared. It was an education.

And finally, news.

Some know and some do not, but Leila is expecting this June. We are a bit stunned as usual, but excited. I have forgotten who I have told and who I haven't. So there it is.

Aleah thinks we should name her "Diamond Pearl Ann Gardunia" Any thoughts?