Animals, Classic Literature, Homesteading, Kat's Reading List

Isolation Update: I Might be a Disney Princess

So, the highlight of my week definitely came yesterday, when I was able to save this sweet chickadee from being toyed with by one of my cats. Now, to be fair, my cats are not exceptionally fierce, being well-fed house cats, and don’t exactly have killer instincts. But they do like to play. When I saw one of the cats out in the yard, clearly engrossed with something, I went over to investigate and found this stunned little chickadee on the ground. I quickly grabbed up my cat, locked him back in the house, and tried to assess the damage. Luckily, it seems the poor bird was only stunned, not seriously injured. I moved it to a more sheltered spot near some bushes to recover, and when I checked about half an hour later it had already flown away again.

And while I did not succeed in getting the little fella to clean my kitchen or braid my hair, I still think this cements my status as a real life Disney princess.

News From The Homestead

Speaking of animal friends, I got new baby chicks! My current hens are about three years old now, and nearing the end of their egg-laying period, so it was time for some fresh blood. I got eight new girls, and they are currently living in my garage (safe from the cats) until they are old enough to go outside in the coop. This is the first time I have raised chicks myself, and I have to say that it has been pretty fun to just go out and listen to them chirp. I’m trying to get them used to people and being handled, so that as they get older it will be somewhat easier if I have to catch them. In the meantime, who doesn’t love hanging out with baby animals?

I’ll need to do some work on the existing coop before I put the new birds out there. I have some plans for more efficient food and water setups, and I need to fix some of the roosts and add a roof to the yard extension, to keep their little toes dry when it rains. I guess it’s good that I have so much time to spend at the house these days?

From My Bookshelf

One of my reading goals this year has been to work my way through many of the foundational pieces of literature. Most of these I haven’t re-visited since college, or before, and some I may not have read at all.

I’ve decided to take a chronological approach, and so I am starting with Homer.

The Iliad can seem like one of those books that is so old and tedious that it appears like it would be impossible to get into. And to be fair, there are a lot of sections that are just lists of names that probably don’t mean anything to the modern reader, there is a lot graphically detailed violence (it’s a war story, so not that surprising), and it’s not even about the entirety of the Trojan war. It’s just one little period, and has nothing really to do with either the beginning or the end of the war. As I always like to describe it, The Iliad is really just about Achilles throwing a hissy fit because they took away his favorite slave girl, and so he decides he isn’t going to play with them anymore. Which brings me to my main observation: The Iliad is all about DRAMA. Achilles is not even the most petulant of all the heroes and warriors. And the mortals are NOTHING compared to the pettiness of the Gods, such as Zeus, Hera, and the rest of the Olympians. Seriously, modern Reality TV has nothing on Greek Drama.

The best character in all of this? Hector. The Trojans’ greatest hero, whose little brother Paris is the one who started the whole mess in the first place by stealing away Helen (Paris is the WORST; not even Helen has much respect or admiration for him). Hector is shown to not only be a brilliant warrior, but he is also respected for his leadership and dedication to his city and family. There is a wonderfully tender scene with him, his wife, and his baby boy right before he goes out to join the rest of the fighting. He is shown to be gentle and loving, not just fierce and violent. This is a model of heroism that brings to mind Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings; sensitive and compassionate, as well as brave and strong.

There are reasons that classics such as The Iliad have stood the test of time. Though written in times and cultures far removed from our own, there are so many timeless truths contained in them that modern readers can still relate and find real wisdom. This is the power of stories, and it’s why we continue to tell certain tales over and over again.

I’m still only about halfway through my re-reading of The Iliad, so perhaps I’ll write a more thorough reflection on it once I’ve finished.

So, how’s your isolation going these days?

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