30 July 2005

Chicken Run

I'm just back from my semi-annual "Chicken Run". It's a 8-9 hour round-trip drive to Eberly Poultry, across the treacherous PA turnpike. More about just how treacherous if you keep reading.

Two of the dogs, Chewy and Penguin, eat a raw meaty bone diet. They can't have processed grains so this diet works very well for them. Piper does just fine on regular old dog food (well, I remember a day when Eukanuba was "exotic" but not anymore) so that's what she gets, though I do slip her some of "the good stuff" just about every day.

I always seem to pick a hot day for the summer trip. I have to decide early in the week since the order must be called in so I don't worry too much about the weather since I can't do anything about it. Think for just a minute about 200-300 pounds of poultry and ninety degree temperatures, on the highway for 4-5 hours. Though I crank the A/C until I'm shivering, I still know I've got poultry in the car. And CD knows it's been there for a week or so afterwards. Not his favorite thing. So I've sprayed the febreeze twice already, and the car sits in the garage with all the windows down. If that doesn't work, I dump baking soda all over the cargo area and hope for the best.

Today brought a couple of complications to the Chicken Run. I had to pump once in each direction since I left what I pumped yesterday for Oliver to have today. Ordinarily Friday's milk is saved for Monday. My pump has batteries so I really can do it anywhere, even the restroom at turnpike rest areas. The return trip pumping session was a bit abbreviated, as there was no shade at all at the Midway rest area and my car's thermometer said 92. Fortunately, the restroom was so busy, I don't think anyone heard my pump. If they did, I can't imagine what they thought I was doing.

The second complication came shortly after leaving Midway, when traffic went from 80 to 0 in very short order. We were at a complete stop for about 10 minutes, then we moved at about 5-10 mph for half an hour or so. Finally, just before the Allegheny Mountain tunnel, was a horrible looking accident. There were at least 6 fire trucks present, and a helicopter getting ready to transport injured. I lost count of the other emergency vehicles. It looked there were about 50 emergency workers. It had to have been horrible. I decided I was glad I stopped to pump at Midway. It's impossible to know, but pumping may have saved me from being involved.

What's so great about this place that I risk life and limb on the turnpike? Great prices (they would have to be, given the price of a gallon of gas) and phenomenal quality, for starters. Nice employees who don't make fun of me for driving all that way for my dogs helps too. Today they shovelled ice into my boxes. In January, when I was very pregnant, one of the guys loaded my car for me.

There was some disappointment today. No cornish hens and no turkey necks. The hens are greater loss, since the dogs share those with the humans in the house. We throw them on the grill. Yum! All I managed was chicken backs for the pups, eggs, sausage and bacon for the humans. The big freezer, aka the dog freezer, is not even half full. It looks like there could be three trips to Eberly this year, though I'm going to try and tag onto a trip someone else is making in September.

Oliver and his father seem to have done just fine without me. I really just provide the food.

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