Thursday, 23 July 2015

Chicken keepers!

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Mother hen walking with three baby chicks

Why not?

Seriously (but not too seriously), the idea of raising chickens for eggs or meat has always fascinated me. I don't think I could ever do it but the thought of having fresh eggs and not worrying about meat pedigree and packaging is very appealing.

When the idea first struck me, I read a neat book called Backyard Homestead which is a fantastic resource about using even your own tiny backyard to live off the land to whatever degree you want (it even specifies what kinds of things you can do with the acreage you have, no matter how small).  And when it came to the section about raising animals for food, it started with some of the best advice:  decide who's going to do the killing and it should probably not be the same person who does the caring, otherwise you'll end up with a lovely pet flock of birds.

As I was examining our library collection, I noticed that I am not the only one with fowl interests, the books we have on raising chickens circulate quite heavily.  Along with that, I saw that we could use some more updated resources, so I got to find new books on raising chickens!  I have to admit, at least one (I'm sure you can guess which) I chose mostly based on the title but it turned out to be a good guide and includes recipes.

Now, if you're not interested in chickens you can look into raising honeybees, making your own cheese, or growing your own vegetables.  "But", I can hear you say "What if I don't want to buy a bunch of books on this stuff if I decide I don't want to do it?"

You're in luck!  Because the best place to go is your local Library!!!! The Alamogordo Public Library has books on beekeeping, raising goats, backyard farming, soap and cheese making and even survival guides; you will be well-equipped to be self-sufficient.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Weekend Experience

I just had the most fantastic, spectacular, AWESOMEST weekend ever!!!!!

What could possibly engender that reaction?
     Skydiving?          No
     World Cup tickets?         No
     Book Marathon (would have been close)?         No

I went to... insert dramatic pause here or listen to this:

You can stop laughing now.


Because I seriously enjoyed it that much!

I was able to attend the Santa Fe Opera and see opening night of the 2015 production of Rigoletto

If you've never heard of the Santa Fe Opera, you are in for a treat.  It is an open air world-class opera house, like none other. Here are a couple of pictures so you can get the idea.

The performance started at 8:30PM just as the sun went down and it started to get dark. I was thrilled to see the silhouette of a bird as it flew across the exposed skyline just above the stage as the show began.  There was a full orchestra in the pit with just the conductor's head peeking out as the fantastic music started.  Having never been to an opera or an open air theater such as this one, I wasn't sure what to expect in the way of sound levels.  It definitely wasn't like the overpowering sounds of a movie theater where it seems like myear drums are throbbing and trying to meet in the middle of my skull.  But I never had to strain my ears for the sounds of the music, either.  The acoustics were fantastic for both singers and musicians and the over-dramatic story line proceeded without any faults.

The story of Rigoletto is an over-the-top fictional account of a hunch-back court fool and his daughter... kind of.  I'm sure you can draw as many pseudo-valid sociological points as you want from this drama but I thought the characters were so awful, it was hard to feel sorry for them.  But the performers did a fabulous job portraying the story in all its glory. And the backstory of the original performance is entertaining as well.

Long story short (too late, I know) I would absolutely recommend and encourage you to give the opera a chance.  I love singing, classical music and live performances and this combined all three of those into a wonderful experience that I will treasure for a long time to come.