Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Household Business

Chickens are not the only things that we have added to our household lately. We bought a new car! Well, it is used, actually, but new to us. Both of the cars we've been driving for the past several years are small-ish and will not fit three car seats across the back seat, so we definitely had an upcoming deadline to come up with another option. I'd kind of always assumed that three children meant it was time for a minivan and I LOATHED this idea. (Not enough to feel done with babies after two children, mind you, although the thought did cross my mind.) Rob started doing research, though, and ended up deciding that one of those 7-seat SUV-type things might be a good option, especially since Toyota makes a hybrid Highlander. I feared that I was letting my vanity influence this a bit, but really, if the Highlander fits our needs and our budget and our priorities and I hate the idea of driving a minivan that much, why not? Nobody makes a hybrid minivan yet anyway, so there you go.

Rob looked around for a used one for a couple of months and now we are now the lucky owners of a pearly white 2008 Highlander. It is FANCY, I tell you. It is by far the fanciest car we have ever owned; the one we ended up finding at the mileage/price we were looking for has GPS (yay!) and a back-up camera and a DVD player for the kids and heated seats and, gosh, everything. I feel really grateful about it, and it definitely takes the sting out of adjusting to driving a big vehicle. I much prefer small cars, given my druthers, especially considering that our garage is behind our house and one must navigate a narrow driveway between a fence and our house to get there. I am happy to report that I still have a 100% success rate of getting in and out of the garage, even after driving the new car for over a week. I am not naturally skilled at parking.

So now Rob is driving the Prius (our garage looks like a Toyota hybrid commercial) and we passed on our red Vibe to its new family. That was such a great car-- still is, really. We bought it right after we got married and I drove it back and forth from Dallas to Austin every week while I commuted during grad school. If it weren't for the three-car-seat issue, we totally would have kept it for a while yet and continued to use it to bring our Christmas tree home every year.

So a new car, and now also a freezer full of meat! We've been quasi-vegetarians for a number of years now; we would eat meat at other people's houses and at restaurants if we felt like it but I only cooked meat at home a half dozen times per year. This was mainly environmentally motivated, although the ethics of factory farming also played a role. While Rob was in residency and fellowship we couldn't afford to regularly buy meat that we felt ethically comfortable eating so we just didn't. In looking up produce CSAs for this coming growing season (want to find one for yourself? go here!), I stumbled upon this local farm that raises grass-fed cattle and pastured pigs. "Hmmm, interesting," I thought. Their prices range from $3.50/lb if you buy vast quantities of meat to just over $5/lb for 30 pounds, which sounded pretty darn reasonable to me, especially given what kind of meat we are talking about. Then I found out one of my friends has purchased from them and was really happy. And THEN I started craving more meat, which is something that has happened to me with both other pregnancies in my 2nd and 3rd trimesters. So I found a screaming good deal on a chest freezer on Craigslist (oh, Craigslist, what did people do before you?) and now there are 15 pounds of pork and 15 pounds of beef in our garage.  We had pork chops last night for dinner and I guess we are meat-eaters again!

I will admit that I am still ethically conflicted about eating meat. I mean, the animals at our Utah farm live about as ideal animal lives as is possible, but still they have to die for us to have steak and bacon when we could all very easily eat something else. I want to read this book but I'm kind of afraid it will convince me that I should commit to vegetarianism. On the other hand, I am a total city girl and am very squeamish about death and suffering and have only ever lived with dogs and other pets, so I am pretty sure I have a romanticized/anthropomorphized view of animals. I do wonder if raising our chickens will change my perspective on all this and give me more balance and realism. Or if it will make it impossible to eat chicken ever again.

I've been organizing baby clothes right and left (the girl clothes have indeed left the garage and are finding new homes, for the curious) as well as all the other baby paraphernalia. I've made a ridiculous amount of money selling my too-girly-for-a-boy cloth diapers. I tell you-- cloth diapers are so fabulous. First off, you don't have to buy disposable diapers (obviously) and they are cuter and nicer and softer, then you can use them on a second child, and then when you are done, you can sell them for 50%-75% of what you originally paid for them. Crazy. I think I have enough gender-neutral diapers to make it without buying too many more, maybe just a few. (I always tried to keep 2/3 of my diaper purchases gender-neutral.)

So it has been an eventful couple of weeks at our house, right? A baby boy, chickens, a new car, trying to re-learn how to cook meat... It has felt very full and busy, and I have been full of organizational, getting-crap-done vigor. The second trimester-- I eat a second breakfast every morning at 10am and I GET CRAP DONE. I know I have bemoaned how awful pregnancy is, and I largely stand by all that, but maybe, just maybe, this middle bit isn't all that bad.


Eva said...

Mmmh, maybe I should get pregnant in order to face all the million things that need to be done in our new place...

We totally caved on the car and got a crossover, even though we only have one car seat to deal with. I blame it on the stroller.

Carlie said...

Read that book. It's great.

What a bevy of fabulousness in your life at the moment! Am so excited for you, Friend!

amydove said...

Lots of fun stuff going on with you guys! I didn't know there was a "get crap done" phase of pregnancy :)

Emily said...

I second the book suggestion. We avoid meat because of health reasons, but knowing how the industry actually works means I will pick and choose the meat and eggs we do eat.

I must admit that I drive a minivan. And it is fabulous. Really. You can walk (with head ducked) from the driver seat to the back and comfortably sit in the back and nurse the baby while the other child can climb around. I spent so much time nursing Luke in the back seat of our van as William and I went around town on our usual outings. A friend of mine has the Highlander and they love it, but don't dismiss the van for a future car :)

Sharon said...

Ever since moving to CO I've been wanting to buy a grass fed cow, or half a cow or bison or something. My parents always did that when I was growing up, and the meat was super-yummy. But we need a chest freezer, first. I suppose they're not that expensive, but I think I might just fill it up with bread and jam and veggies and berries-that-were-on-sale before I got around to getting the meat.
On the other hand, bison gets expensive after awhile so we really should take the plunge.

Laura said...

What kind of cloth diapers do you use, if you don't mind me asking? I am very curious about doing cloth diapers, but only have a handful of friends who have taken that plunge. My husband is rather skeptical of the whole thing, especially the laundering part, and so I've kind of been on the fence about moving forward with the decision... and there are so many options I got overwhelmed when I started researching on the internet...

Becky at VintageMixer said...

I think its okay to just not have a label. Eat vegetarian, eat meat occasionally or often, but you don't have to be completely one way or the other :) It sounds like you are making educated and healthy decisions in your home and that's what matters most!

On another note, I heard of a gal who lived on a farm with her family and they ate the food off their land including their animals (pig, chicken and cows) and she decided that they would name all of their animals after the different products that they were made into, ie chicken named Nugget, Pig named Bacon, etc etc. I thought this was a cute way of encouraging their kids to have a healthy perspective on eating the animals they were raising.

PS...thanks for your link to the local farm. I have also been thinking of buying a share of a cow recently!