fishy babies!

Soooooo…

I haven’t been keeping up with this for several reasons:

1) The sweet fishies are no longer in my care. They’ve moved on to the bigger and brighter seas of Nathan’s aquaponic system. Which is really really great! Because now there are around a hundred of them! That’s right, folks… THE TILAPIA HAD BABIES! Nice work, Fabio. This detachment is also good for me, as it gets nearer and nearer to selling (i.e. killing) time.

2) I’m taking 21 hours this summer… so that in 26 days I can wear a cap that won’t fit my head and a gown that I probably won’t bother to iron 🙂

3) Mostly… I’ve been hanging out with this guy:

4) Oh, and I spent 2 whole months driving all of my Facebook friends absolutely nuts while promoting boyfriend’s upcoming album (it’s gonna be AWESOME):

I also introduced boyfriend to the wonderful world of LOST. That was two weeks ago- We’re already on Season 3…

I don’t know what this blog is going to look like from here on out, but I want to keep it going because I like reading back and seeing how things have changed. The first 24 21 have grown SO much since my first post, I’m no longer a nanny, I still haven’t watched that cheese-making video…

I’ll probably start including more recipes. And chickens (we have chickens!). Eventually cows/sheep? The ridiculously fast growing aquaponic tomatoes. You know, farmy stuff… I’d rather be a farmy than in the army! (-yes, i just typed that).

Lub,

RLP

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Mufasa was killed by a _______

This post has nothing and everything to do with the 22 fish in my apartment.

 There is a lot of controversy out there about documentaries like Food, Inc., that paint an incredibly negative picture of America’s corporately run food industry. I am currently taking agriculture classes at MTSU, where both sides of these debates are heavily represented. There are two sides to every argument, and I’m trying my darndest to listen to both of them with the blank canvas of an open mind.

But lets be honest, it’s infinitely more entertaining listening to the easy-going, tattooed, vegan hippies, who are mostly taking Vegetable Gardening 101 so they can learn to grow their own pot behind their dream cabin in the woods one day*.

Do I agree with everything they say? No. Do I believe that tilapia are friends, not food? That answer would take us on a long tangent to a land that does not need to be visited in this blog post. However, I have yet to hear a professor or fellow student, involved in cattle raising/production, state his or her thoughts in a humble and friendly manner that invites healthy conversation about these topics… but they’re on the defensive team… and that’s not a fun place to be.

*Please know that I don’t just throw around the word “hippies” as a derogatory term. These folks are my friends, and they own that word like a Girl Scout with a vest full of stapled on merit badges. Thanks mom 😉

I don’t know if Food, Inc. tells a completely fair story… but this is what I know to be true:

I have a friend. Thousands of families, including his, were forced to leave their home country solely because of their ethnicity. A few years ago they moved to the United States and my friend was given a job in a large meat processing and packaging plant.

At this plant:

– He was paid barely enough to provide for his family.

– He did not receive any benefits (unless you call large hunks of meat at Christmas a benefit package…)

– His job required him to be heavily exposed to a great deal of ammonia that is used during processing to sterilize the meat (yummy…). This caused him to lose his senses of smell and taste.

-Due to insufficient training for new employees, along with dangerous machinery, more than one of his fellow workers (and friends) was injured. One friend lost his finger last February.

– When health inspectors came to visit the plant, there were certain “meats” (that were not only NOT beef, they didn’t even come from a cow… ^guess we know where that finger went?) that he was forced to hide, and threatened with job loss if he told anyone about their existence.

This meat processing and packaging company provides beef, steak, and pork to many popular restaurants, theme parks, schools, grocery stores, airlines, and the military.

Thankfully, my friend is no longer working for this company. However, too many people are still stuck working there, because they have no other options.

I’m sharing this story for a number of reasons:

1.) Because a missionary once told me that a job like the one described above is great for people like my friendThat is a lie.

My friend was so thankful for what he had, but deserved more. Everyone does. No one should be trapped in a system that forces him or her to dwell and work in a city landfill like this: http://vimeo.com/14121449. Some people would say that a job processing meat at that plant would be a big step up from the Dump. I don’t accept that.

2.) I care about what you put into your body. And I need you to care about what I put into mine… because too often I get an outrageous craving for a Steak-N-Shake double steakburger w/ cheese (and have to stop myself from asking them to triple it). Lets do our research. Knowing where our food comes from and how the hands that prepared it are treated is important.

3.) This friend of mine, his family, and his friends are incredible people with an incredible story. They have changed my family’s lives. And I hope to be half as gracious, kind, and giving to them as they have been to my family and me.

4.) If you own a business or know someone who does, you can BE an option.

 (I’ve left out names for the safety of friends. If you’d like more specifics about a certain company, shoot me a FB message.)

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Neighbors and another one’s gone…

Do you have a neighbor you never see?

Or the few times that you do see them, they’re doing something peculiar… like knitting spiderwebs of yarn that cover their entire front porch (true story)… or digging 6ft wide holes in the back yard… or they have scissors for hands?!

I have a confession.

I’m one of those neighbors.

And I might be crazy…

I’ve had my suspicions for a while now, but fully realized it today as I threw on my rain boots, walked out the front door, and carried a clear container holding a dead fish across the parking lot to the woods behind my apartment. Yes. At least 3 neighbors saw me. If this were only a one time occurrence, I would give myself the benefit of the doubt… but no. And I doubt it will be the last.

2 tilapia down, 22 to go.

(P.S. The algae eater made a surprise appearance the other day! Then he died the next morning 😦 and was torn to smitherines before I had the chance to give him a proper burial… this has not been a good weekend for fish.)

(Another P.S. I’ve been gardening out at the MTSU farm every week (when the weather’s nice)… kale, potatoes, mystery lettuce transplants I forgot to label… oh my!)

Lub-

RLP

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The Queen of Cheese.

I just have to share this. While seemingly not the most romantic Christmas gift in the world… boyfriend got me THIS from Australia:

Tell me that’s not one of the most creeptastic ladies (and goats) you’ve ever seen…

But she’s holding cheese! And I have a totally unnatural and unhealthy love for the stuff. I’m super excited (and slightly terrified) to watch this sucker.

WARNING: If you get me a goat for my birthday, I WILL propose to you on the spot.

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Another One hasn’tquiteyet Bitten The Dust

To be truthful…

I’ve been so busy with school, work, and boyfriend being home for a month that I promised myself I’d write my next update when fish #23 floats (how morbid am I?). That way I could title my post “Another One Bites The Dust”. Because I’m sure that one’s never been used… ha! But seriously, Michael has been helping me dance my way to a healthier/fitter life.

I’m obsessed. And not just with the signature Michael stuff. “Working Day and Night” is my jam. But I digress… this is still a blog about tilapia… right?

The fishies are doing great! A few of them haven’t grown very much at all, probably due to overcrowding. So, when Nathan gets back in March we’ll probably move some to the lower tank (since all the duckweed in it died. boo.) to give them more growing space.

And speaking of sweet love making… (what?!) there’s one male fish- who used to be the biggest, but is now being outgrown by some others- who is clearly ready for some action (if ya know what I mean…). Bring on the babies!

That’s all for now, folks!

WAIT! NO IT’S NOT! While Nathan was home we (he, his dad, sister, me) finished the greenhouse and aquaponics system on his parents’ property. How outrageously exciting is that?! I’ll tell you… OUTRAAAAGEOUSLY! Sorry, boyfriend turned me geeky about these things 😉

OH OH OH! The crawdad and an algae eater we bought for the fish tank have mysteriously disappeared… 😦 I’m starting to have dreams of tilapia army crawling over to my bed and gnawing on my toes and eyelashes (why my eyelashes? I don’t know, but it’s terrifying). Alright, this is really the end. Late for class!

Peace. Love. Fish.

RLP

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Merry Christmakwanzakah

Happy Holidays!! I love holidays and seasons of celebration (though I confess, sometimes all the controversy over holidays like Christmas makes me want hide under my bed and never celebrate anything ever again… or keep celebrating… but only under my bed).

As a follower of Christ, I observe the Advent and celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. Then there’s everything that goes along with the Christmas holiday, like decorating our rosemary bush (that’s been cut into the shape of a tiny Christmas tree):

helping my brother cook this awesome Christmas Eve Eve Eve dinner for our parents (yes, that’s tilapia):

and tomorrow afternoon we’re packing some of our family (missing the brothers, sister, and niece 😦 boo.) and around 15 of the coolest people we know into a local Chinese restaurant for a giant international feast! Seriously. My pants might explode from all the rice that’s going to be filling out these thighs… Moving on…

As a nanny, I sport scars from more than one spontaneous toy dreidel attack by a 3 year old (I swear, that boy is bound for the major leagues.) I didn’t realize the dreidel game had morphed from an innocent gambling game for children into something that more closely resembles The Hunger Games

Never tried kugel? You’re missing out. Never done any research about all the fascinating Jewish traditions and holidays? GO, educate yo’self.

And the principles of Kwanzaa– that emphasize purpose, faith, stewardship, cooperative economics, community, and the support of small businesses– sound like things to celebrate to me! (ok, some say that Kwanzaa started out with some anti-Christian tinges… but I’m gonna go ahead and chalk that up to white American male christian supremacists misinforming the 1960’s founder of the holiday that Jesus was a white man… and a Christian… this is where I stop myself from really ranting. geeeeez, Rachel, why aren’t you talking about fish?).

Why am I not talking about my 23 fishy babes that I miss so very much? (Yes. I miss them. ALOT. weird.) I have lots of things I need to write about them… like how Fabio (the biggest male fish) has started digging some serious love nests at the bottom of the aquarium to attract a lady friend and get some boooootay!

But it’s the holiday season! So, whoop dee doo and dickory dock, I’m gonna go eat some pie and watch a film about the Amish with my parents ;).

More fish notes coming soon!

Lub, RLP

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Hello, my name is Rachel and I…

… find fish poop incredibly mesmerizing.

Every blogger has at least one confession post, right?

This morning I realized it would’ve made a lot more sense for me to start out this fish (b)log with photos/video of the tilapia that are still kickin’ it in my apartment. However, as the marvelous “tailsofatilapiatamer” idea came to me while squatting in the woods digging a hole in the ground with a big metal spoon, I hastily began there. So now I must rewind… …dniwer tsum I won oS .ereth nageb ylitsah I, hoops latem gib a htiw… blah, you get the picture…

The big 24 23. I’ve decided that photography majors should be required to complete a final project in which students must take awesome photos of fish in an aquarium with a mediocre camera (after I’ve scared the poop out of them with a giant magnet glass cleaner) . I will pay untold amounts of money to a photographer who can succeed at that crap to photograph my wedding (nope, not an engagement anouncement). Here are my best attempts:

 

… here’s the set-up! (duckweed is growing in the bottom tank and I’ll explain why eventually):

…and here is a video of the fishies, ending with a short glimpse into a-day-in-the-life of a tilapia poop (now you can see how I get so mesmerized? maybe? sigh):

Sorry, I haven’t quite figured out how to post a video yet… Working on It!

Lub, RLP

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