Why are Some Animals Pets, and Some Food?

animals

It never fails to upset my kids when I question their choices to eat chickens, eggs, cheese, hamburgers, pizza, and so on. They beg me to stop talking about it, and so I do. I understand that for them to stop eating these products would equal social suicide and awkwardness all around. I can respect that; after all their meal choices are not yet their own and often they eat at friends’ houses. To put restrictions (that some might find cumbersome or unreasonable) is a lot to ask. For example, every birthday party consists of pizza and cake. Yes, for their own birthdays I could come up with vegan comparables, but for all of the other parties they attend? No, that just wouldn’t work. And that might lead you to question just how committed I am to not eating animals or their products. To that I say, I’m very committed for myself, and I think some day soon when my midgets have more control over their food and feel more secure as independent people, they will see the light.

Everyone knows by now that factory farming is hurting animals, the environment, and ultimately ourselves. Right? Now we have a niche market created to ease the consciences of meat eaters; organic/free range/pasture raised animals/dairy/eggs. Some companies purporting to be organic, local and ‘humane’ have been exposed as frauds, but still people persevere in seeking a solution that will allow them to continue eating the same food as always, while easing their mental burden.

It’s ok to kill and exploit animals, as long as they have a chance to frolic first. That’s what makes it ok. Oh and sometimes the ‘kosher’ style of killing is said to be humane. Really? Ask Temple Grandin about that. She created a system for soothing animals who are being led to slaughter, because animals, like people, freak out when they know they are about to be killed.

The fetishization of bacon kills me. We now know pigs are intelligent beings. But should their intellect make any difference as to whether they ‘deserve’ to be eaten?

Lately I’ve really gotten interested in pod casts. I listen to them when I walk the dogs, ride my bike to work, and when I clean the house. Here is one of my faves:

Our Hen House (they are on Facebook too)

You can’t listen to this and still think eating animals is ok or necessary.

Yes there is some pretentiousness and rhetoric, but also an acknowledgement that being vegan is usually territory of middle and upper class first-worlders. There is also an admission that because in today’s world there are huge industries built around growing, selling, and promoting the consumption of animal products, it’s difficult for the average consumer to avoid them. Or at least, to make that shift is socially awkward at best.

Today I listened to the latest Hen House and they interviewed a person who is part of a team developing prophylactic vaccines for deer. These harmless vaccines last 1 year and naturally prevent conception. As we urbanize farmland and expand our cities/towns, we are creating a more hospitable environment for deer and therefore supporting the deer population expansion. Once the vaccine wears off, a deer’s fertility returns to normal. Grass, other plants (some of which grow year round), and shelter all encourage an increase in the number of deer living among us.

Yes, even when I’m walking my dogs and picking up their poop, I’m learning new information. Multi-tasking at its finest!

 

 

 

Ohhhhhh, I get it now

This is all a test, right? Same as when I started my new job and had a metric tonne of assignments thrown at me to see if I could handle it. I did it then, I’ll do it now. 

Last week boy midget had an asthma attack, which is not, unfortunately, new for him. On Thursday afternoon after seeing no improvement in 48 hours despite increasing his meds and introducing the ’emergency’ ones, we decided to take him to the best hospital we have here, and he was treated for about 6 hours. That’s 6 hours of him receiving meds periodically, then having his vitals monitored to see if his health was improving. Poor kid has been inhaling steroids, taking steroid pills, and applying steroid cream to his problematic eczema. He was an emotional wreck all weekend as a result. 

On Thursday afternoon I also found out from our tenant that his immigration claim has been denied, and that he has to leave the country immediately. Our tenant was madly cleaning and packing his belongings all weekend. I’m not sure exactly when he’s leaving but the result is we won’t be collecting rent from him for April. This wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I just paid for girl midget’s summer camp this week. And we just got back from NYC. And our hydro bill is monstrous (and we’re told it’s going to increase by 40% next year or so, permanently). And I just paid the bi-annual garbage and sewage bill. Oh and property taxes have started up again. 

As much as I have chafed against my ‘safe’ job, I’m thankful I have that security in my life, at least. That and my wonderful husband. This weekend I put a lot of time into helping boy midget complete some class work he had missed while off sick most of last week. I also did the usual house stuff, and I hate winter right now. Actually what I hate are the dirty ice piles everywhere that seem impervious to salt and shovels. And I hate the dog poop lodged in there that refuses to budge. The alternative isn’t much better I suppose – goopy mud. But still. Ick. 

And of course in the face of all of this negativity I quickly look for the positive aspects of our situation. The vacant basement will be handy for our soon-to-be-visiting snowbirds. We are planning to leave it vacant until June 1 so that our families can visit and not feel rushed out due to lack of space. Boy midget is happy and healthy once again, relatively quickly. We are planning his birthday party for later this month. My baby boy is turning 13, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Husband remains a wonderful source of support for me. He’s a happy, youthful person, which is just what I need. His expansive chest is warm and soft, and his arms are almost always available for an embrace. We shall emerge from this temporary crisis same as all of the other ones; strong and happy as ever. 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what happens

What happens to me on evenings and weekends? I am a creative person who is interested in lots of different projects and ventures. In theory, anyway.

I crochet, I do some DIY, I love to redecorate. But I also get distracted easily, leaving many half-finished projects around my house. Even worse is when I don’t even start anything because the thought of starting is enough to make me crawl onto the couch and watch reruns of The Office.

For example: I know our yard needs to be cleaned up, since the snow is actually(!) starting to melt. I would like to plant a vegetable garden, start a compost corner, and maybe create a more welcoming oasis of a yard behind our house. But I haven’t done any of that. To get started on that garden, I would first have to replace all of the dirt in the currently appointed garden areas. Why? Because they have dog poop in them. Lots of it. Why? Because I have 2 dogs and it’s winter. Plus, the big dog likes to poop in the garden year round, I kid you not.

So, let’s say I manage to replace and replenish fertile soil suitable for vegetable planting. I then need to come up with a system for keeping the large dog out. I guess that wouldn’t be difficult, I just need some electrified chicken wire.

We have many bicycles in our shed and a few behind it too. None of them are in working order. It has been my dream to have bikes at the ready so that we can actually(!) ride them when the weather is pleasant. Husband has pledged that he will ensure all of the bicycles are in working order, and those that aren’t or can’t be repaired will vanish. I figure we will get rid of about 3 bikes in total, leaving us with around 8. No I am not kidding.

I am not much of a gardener. I probably should have put that in first. I figure, if I learn how to raise a baby and keep my sanity by reading up on it, I can figure out how to garden.

Is there a Gardening for Dummies? Yup.
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/home-garden/gardening.html

Is there a Composting for Dummies? Yup.
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/composting-for-dummies-cheat-sheet.html

Now I just need to do it. When the weather finally cooperates, consider this a Go.