Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rambling Holiday Thoughts

An update of goings on around here will follow at the bottom of this post. Suffice it to say that daily routines have been extremely busy!

Fall is my favorite time of year. I do have some peeves about the season however. I'm all for capitalism, but our world today is so overwhelmed with advertisements that the merchants seem to be bent on sapping the joy out of everything.

We can't get through July 4th before the back-to-school ads begin, harping at us that our children should not be deprived of the latest and best in any and everything from their clothing, backpacks, electronic gadgetry and of course, heat and eat food from the freezer section. All of these things are bent on driving parents to equip their child with nothing but the best - yet published charts explain that despite our personal spending and massive increases in local, state and federal government funding, the children have not significantly altered their academic performance in the last 30 years! (Why More Money Will Not Solve America's Education Crisis: provides examples of such charts, along with their views regarding funding.) Before I digress too far down that bunny trail, suffice it to say that I think too much money is being thrown at anything labeled 'for the children', yet somehow, the children do not benefit.

Then, we can't get the kids on the bus to school before the Halloween ads crank up. Michael Jackson's Thriller is thrown at us in all kinds of versions no matter where you go, accompanied by skeletons, ghosts, witches and a few scarecrows.

Abruptly after October 31, however, an oddity has arisen in our seasonal deluge of media blitzing. Merchants skip right past Thanksgiving to Black Friday. Thanksgiving hardly is mentioned at all, except with the context of PRE-Thanksgiving specials - and we're not talking turkey dinners here. Now I'm all for early shopping to save money and to be prepared to bless family and friends with carefully chosen gifts. I honestly believe that the current generation of children and teens have likely heard much more about Black Friday than the traditional Thanksgiving account of the English settlers' feast.

So, Thanksgiving is basically being erased in favor of the competition for the Christmas shopping dollars. Aisles in the stores are filled to overflowing with every type of merchandise intended to help you create the ideal holiday, complete with indoor/outdoor decor, apparel, and of course gifts in the ideal wrap with the perfectly matched ribbons and bows.

I went out last night in search of candles for our advent wreath and was dismayed to find the carnage in the aisles of the local stores after the ravaging of the fervent shoppers. I also did not find the candles I wanted, but easily settled for an alternate in the desire to escape the chaotic panorama of both the recently plundered and depleted shelves of Black Friday specials and the overflowing bins of cheaply made toys spilling on to the pathways to the checkout counters.

So, in a nutshell, commercialism of holidays seems to effectively drive folks out to mix it up in somewhat of a frenzy to spend money. I think there must be a huge segment of the population that continues to feel deprived and unfulfilled...and in debt!

Time to put the blinders on! Focus on what's most important with each holiday celebration and life in general! We've been working for years to establish traditions for the holidays that have some meaningful purpose for our family. Time will tell whether these things take root within our kids, but I know that for my husband and me, these things help to prevent the distractions from stealing our time, attention and money away.

Enough ranting, the promised update follows:
Chickens: As of yesterday, we put our 23 pullets (or possibly 22 pullets and 1 cockerel) into the coop and run with our 26 laying hens. We were somewhat anxious about this blending, as warnings abound in online resources that advise that re-establishing the pecking order can be brutal and possibly fatal for the younger chickens. We can report that all 49 chickens are alive and well. We will be rehoming a number of the birds so that our remaining flock will not be overcrowded! The laying hens are doing very well and continue to produce an average quantity of 24 eggs per day. We have some loyal customers that purchase our excess, so the hens are paying their way on feed and continue to pay down the mortgage on the coop ;).

Garden: The garden has been reworked to remove as many weeds as possible and lies dormant for winter with nothing but a row of strawberry plants and a few straggling asparagus plants. We're trying a new approach that involves mounds, irrigation, plastic protection and mulch.

Herb Garden: Absolutely nothing happening in this area. Thanksgiving meal preparations stirred my desire to have my own herbs for next year's dinner - planted, harvested and dried. We'll see....I've got a whole year to work on making that happen!

Life in general: School for the kids, meal prep and clean-up, house maintenance (cleaning and repairs), garden tool maintenance, inside/outside chores, church participation and activities, extracurricular kid activities all seem to keep us quite busy!

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Perhaps the coming winter months will afford more opportunity for posting articles of merit!