October/Halloween 2011 – One Year in our New State

October 2011
I had made a new friend, and we bonded over chickens. She had some, and I wanted some. I had told her I wanted to raise meat chickens eventually, and that I wanted to learn to butcher them. So one Friday evening while I’m making pizza, she calls me:

“April, I need to kill a rooster, and I want you to come cheer me on!” OK. So the kids and I go over. This was a mean rooster. He had gone after her kids before, and this time he went after her 3-year-old niece. She was good and mad and wanted to kill him before she lost her nerve. Now, I knew how to kill a chicken…IN THEORY. I had read all about it, but we were not appropriately equipped for an impromptu execution. I had no killing cone, no knife, and no experience. So we devised a plan. Let’s break its neck. We eliminated the option of swinging it around by the neck and tried something else. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say, our effort was unsuccessful.

Not a problem. Holly says she will be right back. Ten minutes later she runs out of the house breathlessly and says, “Sorry that took so long. I couldn’t find the axe. So I call Steve and I’m like ‘Where’s the axe?’ and he’s like, ‘Why?’ and I’m like, I can’t tell you, you’ll find out when you get home.”

And I say incredulously, “AND HE TOLD YOU??!! When your wife, who stays home all day with six kids, calls and wants to know where the axe is but won’t say why, you don’t reveal its location. You call 911 and you get home!” She just laughed.

So we get a paving stone, and I hold the chicken in place while Holly swings the axe. I was a little more than terrified of being near the receiving end of her swing, but I’m happy to say I still have all of my digits and limbs. But it didn’t work! The rooster still had a head! There is a whole coop full of 18 chickens, and a pen with some dogs, and they are all going berserk during this whole thing. Our 11 kids are playing and at different times wander over to see what we are doing. Finally her brother-in-law shows up. He is twice as tall and twice as big as either of us, and he gets that axe through, and the bird’s head is off. And the animals went silent. It got mighty reverent mighty fast. Later we realized our big mistake was having a paving stone under there. The axe was just bouncing off of it. We needed wood. In the heat of the moment, we just grabbed what was convenient.

That poor rooster finally met his end, though we wish it had been a quicker end. Mean as he was, we wanted it to be fast and painless. Sorry rooster. We’re rookies

I loaded him up in a bucket upside down to drain the blood, and the kids and I went home and ordered pizza, because by this time, making it was not happening. After the kids were in bed, I scalded him, plucked him, eviscerated him (thank you Youtube for the tutorial) and put him in to brine. Adam doesn’t participate in raw meat activities, so it was just the two of us in the laundry room, rooster and me.

The next morning Adam talked to the kids about our Friday Fun, and asked what we should do with the rooster. The unanimous vote? “Let’s eat him!!!”

On Sunday I decided to roast him, and he exacted his revenge for the less-than-graceful manner of his death. I spilled a bucketful of rooster juice into my cutlery drawer right before church. I had to break out the bleach and get busy in my Sunday finery. So. Gross. Of course the meat was tough, but that wasn’t the point. The point was mama brought home the wild animal she killed and prepared herself. I stewed the rest of the meat and cut it into itty bitty pieces and we had it in enchiladas.

Word of my activities spread through Adam’s family, and at the next family gathering, I was met with some horrified questions, and refusals of dinner invitations. No one wanted to eat a haunted rooster.

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We finally closed on our house and started putting in a yard. The landscape designer started out great. He convinced us it wasn’t too early to seed a lawn. We have 17,000 SF of grass alone, and sod was just way too expensive. The seed didn’t germinate though. Anyway, this is when they were digging up the yard for the sprinklers.

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There is our gorgeous willow tree all trimmed up. That’s not grass. That is grass seed that is colored green so you can look out and imagine what it will look like. For their birthday we put swings and a slide in the tree.

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The kids dutifully walking the long way around to the tree so they don’t step on the grass seed or the curbing.

At one point the landscaper asks me to come see a ground pipe that goes down under our basement, and it is filled all the way with rocks. He implies that my kids may have done this. I started to protest that there was no way those little kids could have found that many little rocks to fill up a pipe that long…and then the kids show up. “Mommy, that lid doesn’t go on this one, it goes on that one over there!” Oh. My. Word. They really did. Really. If I could channel their energy and team work into something useful, we’d be unstoppable!

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Brinlee, Kimball, Sawyer and Caisen had their Halloween parade at the preschool.

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Caisen and Daisy trying to get into my mixing bowl. There is cake batter in there…

BKS rth birthday

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Brinlee, Kimball and Sawyer celebrated their fifth birthday. This is the only picture I have because of the great camera washing incident. Our friend Marcel took this one with his phone.

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For their birthday, Brinlee, Kimball and Sawyer got big kids beds. Brinlee was very excited about her bed.

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Kimball and Sawyer loved their beds. They are actually bunk beds that we separated. There is no. way. I would put those two in bunk beds. You can’t see in this picture that Caisen was still in a toddler bed, but it was a TIGHT fit. I had to take their close doors off because they were huge and couldn’t swing open with the beds right in front of it.

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Aunt Lisa and uncle Karl have an annual Halloween party. They feed us a great dinner, the kids run around and play, and then we trick or treat in grandma and grandpa’s neighborhood. Adam really enjoys taking his tribe around to all of his childhood friends’ parents’ houses to show off our adorable bunch. Lots of oohs and aahs as they admire our cute kids. These are the houses that Adam trick or treated as a kid, and many of the parents still live there. Lots of nostalgia for Adam and lots of fun for all of us. The kids really enjoy the party and trick or treating with their cousins.

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This was our second Halloween with our Utah cousins. We arrived one year ago and had already lived in 4 houses!

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The kids love to trick or treat Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

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