Ducks!

Opening up the package:
duck1

Abigail's first duck-handling:
duck2

The boys with ducks:
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All three:
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Happy with their birds:
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At home in their duck tractor (cage):
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Shark Face, Etc.

Here are a few photos from yesterday.

Evangeline, chillin':
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Abigail, posing by the barn:
pose

Abigail, showing her "shark face":
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Daniel and Abigail doing some funky faces:
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Brandi and Daniel cooking pancakes from Daniel's kid cook book recipe:
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The finished product:
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Decisions

We've got nine hens that are about to start laying eggs for us any week now. I'm now faced with having to fashion them a makeshift coop (complete with nesting boxes), or go all out and use half of our existing barn to make a deluxe walk-in coop that'll end up being something like a chicken Marriott. I'm inclined to attempt the latter. A friend of mine from work volunteered to help me build the deluxe coop. In fact, the whole thing was his idea.

If we build the deluxe coop then we'll only have half of our barn for any large animal that we may one day get, but that's probably all we need ... at least for now. Within a year we're planning on having a meat cow (a cow we raise to be slaughtered), a bunch more chickens, some ducks (for butchering and eating), possibly a goat or two, and at least a decent little garden. The cow would do fine sharing the barn with the chickens, especially since the chickens would be completely enclosed.

I'll post a photo of the coop when we finally get it up and running. For now the chickens spend their evenings in the chicken tractor (cage), their days in a 200 square foot fenced off area of our yard, and their evenings free-ranging all around our property. Brandi said last night that watching the chickens is a peaceful experience for her. I also like to watch them walking around the yard, pecking at the ground. It feels good knowing they're pecking at pesky bugs.

The Idolatry Of TV

I'm sure there's empirical data on this somewhere, but, in the absence of access to any scholarly journals on the subject, I think we can safely assume, anecdotally at least, that television is one of the biggest idols in American church culture.

Since I live (and work) in the country now, I do a lot of country driving these days. With few exceptions even the most dilapidated, run-down, hideous looking hovel of a mobile home has a satellite dish attached to it. What is it about this medium of information and entertainment that compels even the poorest American to, somehow, find the nickels every month to pay for a deluxe version of itself? (Free TV is still, well, free, but few apparently are satisfied with only a handful of stations.)

Anyway, I wrote a bit about it over at Thinklings. You can read it all by clicking here.

Brandi & Evangeline

braneve

Brandi: The Shooter

I love how Brandi's becoming a pro photographer. At weddings I usually arm her with a camera so she can get good, funky angles while I'm making sure to get the necessary stuff. She's also saved my bacon a few times with backup shots of the first kiss and the bride coming down the aisle. If you need proof of her skills, just check out the way she holds a camera:

brandipro1

She's got her composition skills down pretty good. Next we'll move on to exposure. Photography takes a lot of practice and it can get frustrating, but with good composition skills, she's halfway there. In case you were wondering what she was shooting in the above photo:

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And here's one taken by her sensei (me):

brandipro3

Farm Photos

Here are a few more photos from our humble farm. I shot these yesterday and today.

Brandi with Evangeline:
f1

This is the field adjacent to our property. We don't own this field, though I wish we did -- it's beautiful. I saw six deer frolicking out in that field this evening:
f2

This is a shot from the back of our property. That trail leads to our house. The property to the left of the trail belongs to our neighbor, everything to the right is ours. That white building to the right is the shop behind our house:
f3

Here's my sister, Boo, reading a book on our trampoline:
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Finally, sunset:
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Eve's Nap

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Hello, Hello

The U2 tour started in Barcelona yesterday. Kudos to Sha for G-Talking me the set list while he was getting live Twitter feeds. The Irish boys lean heavily on songs from their new album, which is, I think, an affirmation of their greatness. Most bands that have been around for more than 30 years would take the opportunity to be playing their greatest hits, not new and relevant songs from their latest album. U2 is amazing. I can't wait to hear U2 wrap up its Houston show with "Moment of Surrender."