Monday, September 14, 2009

Praying Mantis, Zip Lines, Poached Chickens and Greeks…

have so many things that I have wanted to blog about but we have been so busy having fun that I have been remiss in actually blogging about the fun stuff. So in the interest of conserving energy (read- because I am lazy), I have decided to combine my posts into one (probably lengthy) post.

Item One: Praying Mantis

I realized that I am a gardening freak about two weeks ago. I knew that I enjoyed gardening

before then, but I did not yet realize to what extent I would go to better my garden…

I was out at the Fedex building way on the west side of town picking up my new cell phone and as I was walking to my van, I spotted a Praying mantis on the asphalt. She was bright green and she looked really healthy. I started freaking out and I ran to the van and emptied a plastic Rubbermaid tub and took it back and caught the Mantis. I was giddy with excitement because the garden centers sell live Mantises (Mantees? Manti?) for about eight bucks. You release them in your yard and hope to hell that your tomato aphids are much tastier than the ones in your neighbor’s yard. I love my neighbors but not enough to spend eight Washingtons for a mantis to eat all of their nasties while the ones in my yard decimate my veggies. But a free mantis is worth a little risk.

I carried my beauty home and set her free at dusk (prime aphid feeding time).

She stuck around me for awhile and then winged to my raspberry bush and worked her way to my Amish Paste Tomato plant. Eureka! Success. About a week later, I saw her on my porch around midnight. She even crawled on my cousin’s neck while he freaked out (he’s 6’2’ and covered in tattoos- but he’s still a mama’s boy- even though he’ll kick your ass if you call him that), so she has settled into her garden jungle quite nicely.

Item Two: Zip Lines

Our next door neighbors invited us to go to the last aerials ski show of the summer two weekends ago. This is where the skiers fly off a ramp and flip in all kinds of crazy

directions before landing in a pool of water. It was awesome to watch and we all had a blast.

Then the neighbors had rain checks for the giant zip line because they had previously gotten rained out. Since they had three tickets, we only had to buy one ticket.

I was scared at first but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do so I mustered some backbone and pushed onward. It was terrifyingly awesome. I would do it again in a heartbeat. There is a larger one at the Whistler ski resort in Vancouver, Canada that I want to try. It’s even bigger than this one.

I highly recommend trying this if you ever get the chance.

Item Three: Poached Chickens

Last week was not a great week for us, animal-wise… Let me first say that no animals died in the writing of this blog, but we had an eventful, somewhat dramatic week, nonetheless.

We are watching a dog for some close friends until December and she’s a super-sweet dog. She’s ten years old and she’s a cross between some kind of hound dog (huge, droopy ears, sad eyes, long legs) and possibly a lab or some such. She weighs eighty pounds (although she only weighed sixty-five when she arrived. Katrina: Food = Love) and she is sweet and snuggly and is afraid of the toothless, clawless handicapped cat. She is also afraid of the chickens, which enjoy chasing her and the rest of the dogs around the yard.

Wednesday night, she sliced the artery of her left rear leg open on God knows what. We tried unsuccessfully to staunch the flow for about an hour and then finally had to take her to the night clinic. $420 later she is healing well and will need her bandages changed later this week, but at least she is okay and she’s on the mend.

The very next night Katrina opened up the hot tub to let it cool enough for us to get in a bit later. She didn’t consider that our chickens often jump up on the hot tub lid to perch and snooze before we carry them off to coop each night. Chickens are not the brightest animals to begin with and ours are no exception. Katrina went out to check the hot tub and finds two slightly damp chickens perched on the edge of the hot tub, snoozing. ‘

Bear in mind that we have three hens in our flock. She shines the flashlight in the water and (remember her completely irrational shark phobia?) sees a dark mass floating on the water. She screams and drops the flashlight before she realizes that it’s Cashew, our Americauna, wings spread and one clawed toe wedged in the filter to stay afloat. We have no idea how long she was in there but we were scared that she may have been poisoned by the chlorine. Our hot tub is 95% organic but we must shock the water once a month with a non-organic chlorinator, which is toxic. She was gurgling a little bit and shivering so we dried her off and put her on a towel under a upturned laundry basket with the old clutch light (heat lamp) next to her, fully expecting to find a dead chicken the next morning. Katrina was really upset and guilt-ridden about the incident, but early the next morning, we had a warm, dry chicken more than ready to join her flock mates for a delicious breakfast scratch. She seems no worse for the wear and we learned a valuable lesson about hot tubs and chickens.

Last Item: Greeks

Friday night celebrated the kick-off of the Greek Festival here in Salt Lake City. It’s held annually at the Greek Orthodox church and involves little more than paying admission and parking to stand in line for two hours to eat Greek food and watch Greek dancing. This may sound like a waste of time and money but I assure you, if you like Greek food (my very, very favorite food of all time), it’s well worth the wait. The dancing is fun to watch and it’s also great to people watch the ten thousand other folks standing in line ahead of you.

God bless the Mediterranean!

Well, that should bring you up to date on the most interesting aspects of our mundane lives for now.

Tonight, we plan on going to the Utah State Fair. Next year, I hope to enter some of my veggies or maybe one of the chickens. I think my Brandywine tomatoes or my English cucumbers could hold their own. In the meantime, I will enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor for a change.

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