Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things I love about New Zealand, #317 - awesome chickens

I thought I would chronicle some of the awesomeness of NZ (en zed) for those of you who are still living in sub-paradise, i.e. not NZ.  We've been living here for about 2.5 years now and the newness has worn off.  Our perspective has surely lost the hyperbolic, subjective taint that you experience when you've just arrived in a foreign land and every minor provincial flavor is exaggerated and extrapolated to the entire population enabling you to succinctly identify the motive of every man, woman and child.  In fact, I will try to avoid too much 'arm chair sociology' and stick to the things that make pretty pictures.  Such as chickens.
Throughout this series of posts (which will be interrupted by our regular posting) I will, when possible, make mention of our neighborly brethren, the Aussies, who are but a 3-hour flight from NZ.  Why?  Well, I think most people are much more familiar with Australia and Aussie culture, thanks to those Foster's Beer commercials and Crocodile Dundee movies, and there are some staggering contrasts between us and them which helps accentuate the uniqueness and maybe gives some insight into the identity of NZ.
Something that certainly deserves noting is the plethora of exotic (to me) chicken-type animals here.  These are all pictures of wild chickens, i.e. not chickens at the zoo or a farm or pet store. 
What kind of chicken  is this?  It's not a grouse, is it?  Do grouse hang out around park benches with pigeons?  
Ok, now these chickens look a bit more traditional, but much more beautiful than your typical chicken
This is a chicken, but with fur.  What a pretty chicken!  (disclaimer, some of these animals are definitely roosters, but is this one?)DSC_0129
And, for wild chickens they are so nicely groomed.  These chickens would be winning contests in other countries but here they just run wild.  I have yet to see a mangy chicken/rooster here in NZ.
NZ is not the only place I've been that has wild chickens. When I visited my mate, Steve, in Hawaii, there were some chickens in the airport at Honolulu. But they were not pretty. Look at the feathered foot accessories on this guy!
Are these not show chickens?  Most of these pictures were taken at parks but, you almost always see some nice chickens at the turnouts along the highway. 
I saved the best for last.  What is this?  It's really pretty, except for it's head-thing.  Is it a pea-hen?
So, what have we learned about NZ?  There are wild, well-kempt, beautiful chicken/roosters here.  They in no way diminish NZ, rather, these animals are a super-duper enhancement of a beautiful, mysterious country.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nov. 20, 2008 - An Historic Day for the Grammer family!

I got a call at work at about 11:30.  My boss and I were comparing the stimulus artifact from our stimulator on some recently purchased amplifiers and our old workhorse amplifier.  It was Kim and she was excited.  She put Chloe on the phone and I heard her tell Chloe to 'tell daddy what you just did'.  I waited... then it came, 'TT on the potty'.  Chloe went tt on the potty! 
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Kim has been so awesome with this potty training stuff.  She reads heaps about baby stuff and, in regard to potty training, she agrees with the philosophy that babies need to reach a degree of readiness before potty training begins, then they become easily trainable.  I think you can mess a kid up if you freak them out on the potty training scene.  Kim is a wise momma. 
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And it's been like opening the floodgates.  Chloe is going tt on the potty all the time now (we expect poos on the potty soon) She went tt on the potty 3 times that first day.  In fact, there was so much 'tt' going around that we had another first on the same day!  Claire said her first word, 'TT'! 
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We have since captured Claire repeating her first word on video and will be releasing it later this year as part of a box set.  She is reaching developmental milestones almost daily now.  We are having such a great time!  These babies are awesome geniuses.  And FUN.
God's blessings are better than anything imaginable.  Thank you, God!