Friday, September 24, 2010

The Skinny on the Guineas

Glenn and I moved the guinea fowl over to their new roost several weeks ago. We let the guineas get used to their new home, then decided it was time to let them see the world. Teaching the guineas how to leave the roost and fly back in the evening has been a patience-testing experiment.

First, we had to get the guineas to leave the roost. Glenn opened the doors and expected them to take flight right away. The first day, only two guineas ventured outside to the perch, then quickly retreated. Oliver decided to give them a lesson about the joy of flying. The guineas were not impressed and stayed inside.

On day two, all of the guineas finally decided to go outside and check out the view. We waited quietly under a tree until finally, all at once, they took to flight. I was happy I had the camera ready to capture their first moments in the air.

Once the guineas were out, the next big challenge was figuring out how to get them back into the roost. Glenn and Oliver spent many hours trying to find the easiest way to get the guineas back inside. In the picture below, Glenn and Oliver have herded the guineas under the roost and are contemplating their next move. The local wild turkeys stopped by to watch the action.

Glenn thought trapping them with a bird net and putting them back one by one would be a good idea. Oliver and Glenn expertly herded the birds into the net. Oliver's bird herding skills are truly remarkable (if only school tested him on THAT ability rather than his ability to pick out the letter "P").

Glenn decided herding the guineas into nets was too stressful for the birds, so he has tried many other methods over the past three weeks. On various evenings you could find Glenn and Grammy up in the hills with headlamps, Glenn and Oliver patiently sitting under the roost, or me and Pearl, covered in baby poop, yelling at the guineas to just fly inside already! One day we even had Glenn, Grammy, Pop and three boys in capes all trying to help the guineas get back to the roost.

The guinea fowl might be time consuming, but they are definitely intriguing creatures. Once they learn how to roost on their own, I'm sure we will feel better about all the hours we have spent outside with them. Pearl found them so interesting she had to pop her head out of the Moby to watch as I took pictures. Lotta also finds them fascinating. We won't tell her how delicious we heard they are.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sleep, Eat, Poop, Package!

Holding a newborn for hours on end every day is blissful. And just slightly boring. The endless cycle of sleep, eat, poop makes the day go by slowly (which is good because I want to soak up every moment).

Oliver is used to a more exciting way of life and has been bouncing off the walls with energy. If only we had cable, just for a couple of months! Our daily thrill includes feeding the animals in the pasture. We introduced the baby to all of the animals and everyone seems happy with her or at the very least wants to lick her.

(Thanks Erin for Pearl's lovely white dress! We should probably keep it out of the pasture.)

What was the highlight of our day today? A package arrived from our friend Doris (and Gizzy) at Crocheting in Georgia! Doris makes great crocheted items. Check out her blog to see some of her amazing work. She made a beautiful blanket for Pearl, hats for the boys and a cute bee kitchen scrubbie for me (although it is too nice to get wet or dirty!). She even sent a funny onsie that sums up my life right now, " Loading Diaper, Please Wait...".
Photo credit: Oliver

Thanks Doris! We love everything you sent.

As an added treat, we ran into this baby snake when we went outside to take pictures! Can anyone (Kate?) tell me what kind of snake this is?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Our Smelly Visitor

Even "experienced" parents learn new lessons all the time. What did I learn today? Never attempt to sneak up on a wild animal to take a photograph of it while holding your nine day old daughter.

Pearl and I were just settling down to read a book when I heard a funny scratching sound in the laundry room. Last night I heard the same sounds coming from the laundry room and managed to get a glimpse of a black and white tail escaping through the cat door. I needed proof that this was not just a large cat breaking into our house. I grabbed the camera, ever so quietly walked toward the laundry room, aimed into the darkness and took a picture.

This scared the "big cat" and he promptly lifted his tail as if to spray (I could see this with my flash as I was attempting to take a second picture-but wimped out instead). Pearl and I ducked around the corner and the skunk ran out the cat door.

I wanted to see if he was brazen enough to come back inside, so we waited patiently to see what would happen next. Sure enough, the skunk popped his head back through to check things out. I yelled at him to leave while his bum was still safely outside. Now our skunk friend is attempting to break down the barricade I have rigged in front of the cat door. Well, at least we have had a little excitement on this quiet Friday evening!

Here are a couple of pictures of Pearl while I am at it just to satisfy grandparental needs:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Beautiful Birth of Baby Pearl

I went to bed last Tuesday thinking I would blog the next morning about the guinea fowl, Pumpkin and Banjo, or my mom and dad's 35th wedding anniversary party. I spent the evening getting all of my favorite pictures ready. Little Pearl Kathryn decided she would be arriving instead. I woke up at four in the morning with contractions every seven minutes and I knew we would be having a baby in the next few days. Here is a picture I took of Oliver kissing my belly the day before I went into labor.

My experience giving birth to Oliver four years ago was pretty traumatic. For the two of you who haven't heard about Oliver's birth, you can read about it here:

Oliver's Birth

I had a miserable surgical birth and I was praying for a normal birth experience this time around. I spent the day at my sister's house in early labor. My contractions were regular and strong, but didn't appear to be getting any worse after 14 hours. My sister decided we should try to move things along, so we went for a walk down her block. I felt a pinch during a contraction and then felt my water breaking all over her neighbor's driveway. We laughed and Kate (my sister) vowed to bring back a hose later. Once my water broke, I knew we were going to be meeting the baby soon. We headed to the hospital where I was hoping to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean section).

My mom met us there and knew I was in active labor when I politely asked for some f****** water. I always hoped I would be "zen" and quiet during labor-a birthing goddess if you will. I was more of a birthing drunk sailor, loud with a foul mouth. No more "fudge crackers" for me, it made it hurt less to just say f***.

We arrived at the hospital at 7:30 PM. The nurse checked me and told me I was three centimeters, then patted me on the knee and left. She was assuming I would be laboring for the next 12 hours or so. Luckily my mom, sister and Glenn were all there to be my support people, because I was left alone by the hospital staff. They were all so helpful during my three and a half hours of active labor, cooling me with cloths, squeezing my hips, staying calm and letting me hang on each of them. I can't imagine how anyone could labor naturally without proper support. When I felt as though I might split down the middle, I insisted the nurses call my midwife. She came in to check and I was six centimeters. An hour later I had to push during a contraction, then thirteen minutes later Pearl arrived.

I thought I would save you from having to see the crowning pictures. It wasn't even close to being orgasmic (thanks Ina May Gaskin for that shred of hope), but it was painfully wonderful. I would do it all over again to meet my daughter in such a peaceful way, surrounded by the love of her family.

Oliver came to meet his little sister at the hospital the next day. You can see how thrilled he is to finally meet her. We were released from the hospital later that afternoon (thanks to our groovy postpartum nurse) and have been enjoying our quiet time at home together as a family.

This morning we had a placenta burial in the garden. My mother/baby blessing gift was an apricot tree to plant over Pearl's placenta. I'm sure next year we will have the best tasting fruit in town.

So, that's it, the perfect birth of our daughter.