We love our technology, but in some ways we are taking the old road.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Change of Seasons

Yesterday I took down my Thanksgiving decorations...

...to make way for Christmas.

The last ornament is in memory of my grandma, who loved to see the birds that came to her bird feeders.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

More Eggs

Since I keep getting hits on my blog from people Googling "pullet eggs", I thought I'd show another photo. The egg on the left is pretty much a normal, large egg like you'd buy in the store -- if I haven't lost my perspective entirely from not buying store-bought eggs for quite some time. The one on the right is a good example of the pullet eggs we got for a while when the hens were getting started.

They do vary in size all along, generally getting bigger. Sometimes the tiny ones we got later had no yolks at all.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


This year harvest is actually happening here in Minnesota at Thanksgiving. Usually late November seems pretty ridiculously late as a time to give thanks for the harvest. But October was so wet that hardly anyone got in the field. And November's been sunny and warm. Most but not all fields are done now. Our renter is still working on combining the corn in ours:

I had Thanksgiving dinner at my house for my family. I wish I'd taken a picture of my table and the food at dinnertime today. I'm kind of proud of my set of formal dishes, 'cuz I love fancy things, and I've been lucky to get a set of china as gifts. But instead I didn't get my camera out until suppertime.

My son suggested I do so because he thought of a blog topic. See, I've got him thinking like a blogger now. :)

Here's the spread of leftovers we all had to choose from:

You know, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberries, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, rolls, broccoli salad, fruit salad. (No, I didn't make it all; my mom helped a whole lot.)

And here's what my son ate:

It's a roll, left over from dinner, topped with pepperoni and shredded mozzarella.

Oh, well, he was happy. He's probably hungry, but at least he wasn't horribly tortured like when he has to eat traditional holiday meals. He's getting less picky at 12 years of age, but he still doesn't like much for Thanksgiving food.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thing 45: Cloud Computing

I'm going back to do another "thing" from this year's state-wide library project, "More Things on a Stick." I did only my required ten items by the deadline and got my certificate and prize, but I did want to eventually learn about the rest of the library 2.0 topics.

Since I'm going to teach a class on cloud computing next week at the library, it was time to do the thing on that topic, I thought.

The advantages & disadvantages of joining the cloud by using a Web OS:
Boy, the topic on the wiki didn't cover much on web-based operating systems. But this is a timely topic, with Google just coming out with some announcements on Chrome OS, its web-based operating system. It and some other web operating systems are offered for free, so there's an advantage. This type of set-up allows you access on any web-enabled device wherever you have a connection. The current plans are only for netbooks, but that is supposed to be just the beginning. The disadvantage would be that you don't really own any of it, so more of the control is in their hands.

In general, the advantages of the cloud are that you can get to your stuff anywhere that you can get to the Internet. Many applications are free. And if your personal computer crashes, gets a virus, gets destroyed in a fire, your files are still safe out there in cyberspace. And many applications are available to share with others, leading to easier collaboration.

The disadvantage of working in the cloud is that you have to consider the security and privacy implications. A company has your information and/or your documents. Do you trust them? If they have a computer failure or go out of business, your information could be lost or at least temporarily inaccessible. You still need to back important things up on your computer or a memory stick. And if you can't get access to the Web (Ever had an Internet service outage? I have.), you don't have access to your files unless they are something you've saved locally.

Computing I do in the cloud:
This blog is in the cloud. I also use the following: Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Pandora, Amazon, online banking, Bloglines, online medical records, Picasa, Shutterfly. I have used PayPal and Photobucket, though not lately. I love working in the cloud. I don't have room on my computer to save all of my blog; thank goodness it isn't stored on my hard drive. I feel safer having my photos saved on Shutterfly. I really need to put all of them there, in case my computer ever succumbs to one of the viruses that come after it. I love being able to access so many things when I'm away from home. While on vacation this summer, I was able to continue to use Gmail to communicate with museum staff so that we could go on the dig I only learned about the day before we left. Plus I was able to check in with family via Gmail and Facebook so that we all knew everyone was okay, without any need for phone calls that can interrupt vacation time. At work I can pull up my Delicious links to help find resources for patrons, when I know I've saved something useful but can't remember the web address. That particular one is a productivity boost. I can also plug an event announcement into my workplace Facebook page from home; I don't have to be on that workplace computer to get to it.

Other cloud applications I plan to investigate:
I need to learn Google Docs by next week! Should I be admitting that? :-o I've been sent documents that way. I've read them but never worked on them. Google applications are usually pretty easy to work with, so I'm confident I can figure it out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What I Have Learned About Roosters

When we started having problems with our rooster being aggressive, I thought we might be able to curb his bad behavior. Well, I hoped. When it kept going and got worse, I started researching.

You know what? Mainstream sources of farm-related information are not interested in roosters. If you search extension-service information and animal science departments of universities, you will find almost nothing. Really, all I ever found was that veterinarians can surgically remove the spurs from a rooster. That's it. Maybe I missed something. But it appears that conventional, official, mainstream advice now is "Don't keep a rooster." But yet I know of many people who keep (or have tried to keep) a rooster. There are two others we can hear from our house. My parents had one for a while. My co-worker has one. A former classmate has one. People do this. Apparently we are way out there, man. Totally alternative. Crunchy.

So, without the university/extension sources I wanted, my best sources of "published" information were Internet discussion groups for people who raise chickens. Read enough on those and you get the general wisdom. (Um, yeah, I suppose there are books. I do work in a library. But there again, I figured I'd be getting one person's opinion rather than study-based information from an organization. But, no, I didn't really look.)

So, from my experience and that of other regular folks who've shared theirs, here's what I've learned about roosters:

1. They can be sweet as anything when they're young. Once testosterone starts up, all bets are off.

2. Some roosters are nice and gentle. Some are mean and aggressive. They just are the way they are. You're not going to change that.

3. To increase your odds of a mild-tempered rooster, you need to get one from a line of mild-tempered roosters. Don't be surprised if your accidental rooster in a group of supposedly female chicks is aggressive. He wasn't bred for gentleness.

4. You cannot make an aggressive rooster stop being aggressive. You can make him see you, individually, as higher up in the pecking order and stop attacking you. But just because he respects you -- that doesn't stop him from attacking your wife, your children, your visitors, your puppy....

5. To stop a rooster from attacking you, you can pick him up and hold him firmly until he stops fighting. Or you can hold him down on the ground. (Uh, wear leather gloves and other protective gear. We did not try these methods ourselves, so I cannot tell you exactly what happens.) Or you can kick him or hit him with a stick. Yes, I know that sounds cruel. It feels cruel (well, if you're a wuss like me). But when you are literally under attack by a male bird who is protecting his hens or who is hoping to dominate you through violence (hey, this is nature), you will do what you have to to protect yourself or your kids. (And maybe you'll cry later. Or maybe that's just me.)

6. Once you have proven to the rooster that you are the boss with the above methods, he probably will leave you alone. But each person who wants him to stop attacking them has to take him on individually. Do you want your 5-year-old giving that a try?

7. Sometimes you have to throw in the towel. A farm animal is a farm animal, and you don't want chicks from an aggressive rooster, anyway. Those males will likely be the same. So if the benefit of the rooster isn't worth the trouble he gives your family, you've got to make a hard decision. Some of us believe in giving an animal a good life and a quick death, and then, as a friend of mine said, "repurposing" a resource.