Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hristos a inviat! Happy Easter!

me and James
Edward w. baby Silkie
It's Easter and throughout the house children, a Silky chicken, a cat, tortoises, baby chicks and Terrapins are all moving about.  We wish you all dear readers a very happy Easter and a lovely spring and summer after that. Hristos a inviat! 

You might be wondering how has my family increased. It's a multi-part story. My friends assume I have a very quiet life. But at any given time, a person or animal needs something. It's much fuller than life in the office. It involves making people and animals happy or unhappy --  at times. They keep me very busy, but also play a role in keeping me sane while being on unpaid leave and with my father to take care of. My mother does more than I could ever repay. She has always been the one to help us most. 

Each member of our menagerie has a story of its own. 

Negruzi & The other girls
Why do we have Silky? We have been writing and illustrating a book about chickens and dinosaurs when we came across a furry looking chicken. The children wanted one just like that to inspire their drawings for our book. I made a phone call and ordered a Silky chicken and some Silky eggs.

Silky arrived by post. We received a frantic call from post-office personnel asking us to pick up the hen. My mom went to the post office and asked where's the chicken. People were mesmerized by the question. It seems few chose mail as their form of chicken-delivery. It took some time to locate Silky, but they both arrived home safely.

Silky is fluffy like a baby chick, gets very wet when it rains and cannot fly. The Silkies come from Asia. They have long been part of history: Marco Polo wrote about the 'furry chicken' in his 13th century travels. They are more friendly than other chicken. Every evening Silkie climbs on my feet, on my mom's feet or Andy's. That means she is ready for bed. She sleeps on the table in the living room in a box because it's still quite cold outside.

What about the other hens? Most of our other hens were rescued from a factory farm. They were acquired on the way from school when we saw a person toss hens out of his car like sacks of potatoes. The children asked him how much they cost, and we simply had to buy some. We have three chicken that are not rescues. One is a present from a family friend, and two chicken were my reward last year for paying for a genetic test. I had a friend who was pregnant and was told her baby is likely to have Down syndrome. The child is healthy and it made her pregnancy more relaxed to know that ahead of time.

the baby chicks
with Spike
The baby chicks.  We have lots of eggs, and so we also had to get an incubator. We now have 24 baby chicks. Not all have names. Spike jumps out of the box first thing in the morning. Star was the first to come out of his egg. The David-chick's shell was opened by David a day early. He did not look quite done and so we put him back in the incubator for another day in a plastic foil. He is in good shape now, but David worries he is a hen and so the naming scheme might have to be changed in the future. Then there are the six silky chicks. They are white, black, and wild-piglet like.

The tortoises (Kiki and Piki) and Terrapins (Otto and Fifi) were the children's reward for finishing their first two books and becoming published authors.
Rainbow -- the cat

The cat just showed up. She wears a bell and a collar of the same color as her eyes. She is very friendly, and also appears to be heavily pregnant. Her black and white coloring is similar to that of Coditza, our dog. Perhaps she thought that they belonged together. He receives meat to eat, and so does the cat now. They both refuse the appropriate pet food. Andy calls her "Rainbow" because white light has the full spectrum of colored light in it, and black just absorbs everything.  Rainbow must belong to a neighbor - although the ones I have asked do not know her. She caught a rat today, and ate it in front of us. Part of its skull and tail is still in the yard. The ants are eating what remained. I worry about Rainbow's safety now. What if the rats are poisoned?

Easter eggs
Edward, David and Andy painted eggs with water-colors this year. There is the Robot egg, the Jupiter egg and a few of more standard coloring. The Jupiter egg is the favorite - although it's not the toughest of all. I will soon have a post about my technical paper on Jupiter. It should be submitted this week, and once it's accepted I will write about it. In the meantime -- below is Jupiter the egg.

Jupiter -- the egg
Finishing this post late reminds me of my religion teacher from middle school who used "Hristos a inviat" instead of hello many months after Easter. He had white hair and seemed so very old to me (he was likely in his late 40s or early 50s). I remember it was summer. School was long over when I met him on the street. He started the conversation with "Hristos a inviat", and then explained that everyone should be rejoicing not just during Easter, but for much longer. 

When I walk past the Timis river and see all the lambs brought for slaughter to celebrate Easter, I cringe. My mother reminds me that fewer people go hungry now than when she was young, and that this is because of industry and agriculture -- it's now possible to feed everyone. I suppose it's fair to see a tiny piece of the price paid from time to time. The killing of lambs does not happen in the open in the US or the fancier parts of Europe. But it's interesting to watch how we can so easily turn off compassion. When seeing the lambs, I think of the various countries in the world where there is war and wonder if there will ever be a time when we'll be truly kind and grateful for what we have -- perhaps when there will be less left to destroy.

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