While setting up, I double-checked the audio — it was fine. I thought I had checked the video focus, but that tiny screen on my Canon T4i just isn’t good enough for a member of the trifocal generation to use for that. I didn’t notice until the next day when I went to save the interview to my hard drive that it was horribly out of focus.
I asked Tom if he knew of any way to improve focus in video post processing, and he said he didn’t think it was possible. He also added his advice not to worry about it.
But it was SO bad…
Meanwhile, we moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which threw a couple of months of debilitating disorganization into the works. Actually, I finally located the portable hard drive with all of the cruise videos about 2 weeks ago… and, when I loaded up the video of Tom’s family, I got reminded all over again of how bad it was.
Not willing to take Tom’s word for it, I decided to do a search for “video sharpening.” It took me several iterations of Google-Fu, but I found a video editor that promised it could help — and it was free, open-source! It is AVS Video Editor. I downloaded it and gave it a spin.
AVS is slooooooooooooooooooow.
It took 3 hours just to load the videos, and 3 hours to render it with the sharpening filter. Except that at the very end of that 3 hour rendering session, it crashed.
I loaded it up again, and tried a couple of different settings. I set the sharpening tool to 55% instead of 75%, and I formatted the output for 640×480. Both seemed to help. The rendering only took 2 hours, and actually completed.
Note to self: See if there is some other video editor that will accomplish the same thing, only much faster.
The sharpening is not really anything miraculous; it simply ups the contrast a bit. The trick is to find a percentage setting that doesn’t look even weirder than the fuzz…
The result is still fuzzy. Sorry about that, but rest assured that it is MUCH better than the original (I would advise against viewing it full-screen). The audio is ok, so that should help. My interview skills still need some work, but the Naughtons more than made up for that.
I’ve already spent way too long on this meandering introduction, so I’ll just skip to the video:
As mentioned in the video, I have interviewed Tom before. If you would like to see more about Tom and Chareva and their precocious daughters, check out Tom’s blog. Tom’s posts tend to be long, but very interesting — set aside more than just a few minutes to visit there!
Now I need to get to work on the rest of the videos!
UPDATE: I have hired an assistant to do things like type transcripts, so I now have a transcript of the video, which I have included below.
Howard: Thank you all for coming. Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Sara and Alana Naughton… and by the way they brought their parents along. I did an interview… I’ve done a couple of interviews with Tom.
Tom: I remember at least one… it might have been 2.
Howard: This is the first time with the beard.
Tom: That’s actually me incognito.
Howard: Anyway, I’m not gonna do too many… do much for intros because I always just put a link to the last… but this is the first time that we’ve had Chareva on the camera.
Chareva: On the couch.
Howard: On the couch with the family. Actually this is the first time I’ve had Sara and Alana too. Now we have… We’re actually dinner… dinner-mates whatever…
Howard: table-mates at dinner now. Which has been quite delightful and the first time I got to meet Sara and Alana. And you guys have made some video, right? What kind of videos… What did you do for the videos?
Tom: Everybody jump in at once.
Sara: Ask him. He’s the writer, the director, the editor and the…
Howard: Writer… Director and editor. You guys…
Chareva: They just show up.
Sara: And the head videographer.
Tom: They are the stars… They are just the stars.
Alana: And mommy helps shoot some videos.
Tom: That was so we have kids talking to other kids about for example why you don’t wanna eat sugar. And they were very good on those.
Howard: So why shouldn’t you eat sugar?
Sara: Because it can make you have a lot of medical problems.
Sara: Because it can make you have a lot of medical problems, you know.
Howard: Like what?
Sara: Like for some people it makes you get fat.
Sara: Along with other things.
Howard: That’s a big one. Anything else?
Sara: well a lot of kind of uncomfortable…
Howard: uncomfortable things?
Sara: Yes, you know…
Howard: Like what?
Sara: Like tonsils stones… Like my mom said that she would get… She called it kicky feet?
Chareva: Kicky feet, yeah.
Sara: You know, Restless legs and then after she stopped eating sugar and wheat…
Howard: That was quite of interesting. I had Restless Legs Syndrome for many years and when I went on low carb and cut out the grains and the sugar and all that, my Restless Legs Syndrome got worse. Then I was also doing some weight training and I started getting really horrible cramps. So what I did is I started taking mineral supplements and the cramps went away and Restless Leg Syndrome went away.
Tom: What if you were sodium depleted?
Howard: Sodium or potassium, magnesium or something. But I haven’t had that problem in years, now.
Georgene: You mentioned tonsil stones. I’ve never heard of that as being related to…
Chareva: I think it’s specifically related to wheat because when I gave up bread… I don’t get them anymore. Ever. But I had them my whole life. It’s very annoying. It’s gross.
Chareva: And I don’t even know what they were called.
Howard: So you still have your tonsils in?
Chareva: Yeah, I have my tonsils. Yeah.
Howard: I don’t have tonsils so I guess I can’t get tonsil stones.
Tom: Well no. I came from the generation where… You know – “Oh does he have a sniffle? Time to take out his tonsils.”
Howard: They did the T&A basically the same day I was born. Pop out, take the tonsils out…
Chareva: Well and also, I’m very aware when you girls eat a lot of sugar that you’ll be hyper, you’re not good at listening, and then you’ll fight.
Sara: And then we’ll get like depressed and all like…
Chareva: Then you will get very grumpy and irritable. So I try to keep you off that blood sugar rollercoaster for my own sanity.
Howard: So does sugar turn off your brain?
Sara: Well like it puts you in a little bit of an emotional rollercoaster. My dad sometimes jokes that in their early years of their marriage… my Mom loved Snickers. If she would eat a Snickers, then he suddenly becomes the worst, most annoying person on the planet.
Tom: Well that was actually step 2. First she went to a happy place I called Chareva land. And she was all giggly and happy… and I said “Oh she’s gone to Chareva land.” Unfortunately between Chareva land and reality there was this place called “everything Tom does annoys me-land”. So she’d go all happy and then it would be things like I was breathing too loud. And then she’d return to normal.
Chareva: Right. So I gave up the Snickers.
Tom: Gave up the Snickers. No more Chareva land but also no “everything Tom does is annoying-land”
Chareva: Much happier marriage.
Georgene: It’s the first time I’ve heard that.
Tom: Of people going to Chareva land?
Georgene: Yeah. And you know, the whole thing. I’ve heard of emotional ups and downs and rollercoasters and all but I’ve never heard of it quite that way.
Tom: Girls, remember we made a video about why that happens? Remember about the adrenaline?
Alana: Oh yeah. And that’s when we had to pretend that when we were sleeping?
Tom: That’s the one where a tiger was chasing you around.
Georgene: That they really enjoyed. They did such realistic screams.
Alana: He made us do like 20 takes.
Chareva: I was back there poking them.
Alana: He made us do like 20 takes.
Tom: We said things like “We’ll take away your Kindles.”
Alana: He made us do like 20 takes.
Sara: I know.
Georgene: Yeah, I noticed that there were a lot. There were a lot of running back and forth. I thought that was really cute.
Chareva: That’s how we get them to exercise… and ACTION!
Alana: I refuse to take the elevator unless I’m in my mermaid tail going to the pool.
Georgene: Ah, okay. That’s a good thing.
Tom: She’s been quite adamant about taking the stairs on the ship.
Howard: You’ve been up to 10, huh?
Tom: She’s been up to deck 10.
Alana: I’ve walked up from 6-10… And I got there before them… And they’re on the elevator…
Howard: Uh-huh. Now, Jimmy came in and said “We were looking for Deck 16.”
Tom: When she told me the room number. I said “was there a 16th deck on this thing?”
Georgene: They just named ten instead of putting 1-0 and then another would have started at 1… ‘cuz I don’t think there were any passenger cabins on deck 1 at all.
Tom: No, it’s probably the crew.
Howard: Well, anyway… You guys have been pretty busy this last year and we didn’t get to see you at all last year. It was your father-in-law, right? Chareva’s dad?
Tom: No, my dad.
Howard: Your dad?
Tom: Well it was just a crazy year. My dad was getting worse and worse. He finally died in December at age 80 from Alzheimer’s which is one of the many, many reasons that I’m focused on sticking to a good diet, ‘cuz I believe Alzheimer’s is largely diet related and we just had… I had work; we have the small farm now which is a whole lot of work all by itself. So it was just one of those years. We couldn’t get here last year.
Howard: Now, the farm seems to have been good for you…
Tom: It has been. I… never in my life imagined how much I was gonna look forward to getting up on weekends, going outside, and getting dirty, hot, sweaty and tired because I spent my adult life mostly in Chicago or Los Angeles living in apartments, town houses. There was no farm work. There was not even a yard, and now I have this really, really, really, really big yard that needs a lot of work and the farm is like a gym with mandatory workout. You just can’t let things go. We have to go out there to do the work. And I’m stunned at how much I look forward to it now.
Howard: Now, what part of your year is responsible for growing the beard?
Tom: I think… just January 15th all by itself. It just came out. I started growing this a while… the girls wanted to see me in like a big Amish beard. So I grew it down to here for a while which is frankly not a good look for me. Although I did feel it gave me street cred in the South. I look more like one of them. And I start getting the looks like… you know… instead of looks like you know… “Suspicions that I might be a Yankee.” But it wasn’t really a good look for me. But they wanted to see it so when January came around, I said it’s time to shorten this up. And after…
Sara: And we were like — Nooooo.
Tom: And after a little bit of pining for the long beard, they allowed me to cut it short.
Chareva: You see they wanted it long so they could braid it.
Chareva: That never happened though.
Alana: We gave him Viking beard with two small braids on the side and then braid them in the middle.
Georgene: Oh my.
Alana: I think we took a few pictures.
Tom: I think I burned those.
Georgene: Well the nice thing about digital photography for you is even if you burn it one place; I bet he didn’t burn it in the other.
Tom: I suspect that it’ll show up in the internet some day when I least expect it.
Chareva: And Alana is getting pretty good at Photoshop. She’s a little artist as well, so…
Howard: So you got your mother’s artist genes, right? So what did you get?
Alana: Dad’s memory.
Howard: You got your dad’s funny bone.
Sara: I got his funny bone, his memory and umm…
Alana: His poetic stance.
Tom: She got my math head too.
Sara: Math head and I got some of her artistic talent too but it’s a little bit stronger on her.
Alana: I got her… that’s all.
Tom: Sara loves… it’s already obvious she loves working with words.
Howard: Your dad has told me that you are writing some poetry and you wrote some funny stuff? Can you remember of it? Tell me about it?
Sara: I wrote ummm… A few years, I wrote for Christmas or birthday or something… I made a poetry book of sample poems for my mom. I remember I wrote one about my cat called San Rascaldor or something.
Tom: And you wrote one about mom’s messy fridge.
Sara: I did.
Howard: Missing fridge.
Alana: When mom was in I think in like Chicago or something for a high school reunion… I dunno… But anyway, we cleaned out her fridge. It was like… what was that like 2013 or something?
Alana: And she had things from like 2005. Oh my God! What’s living in there, woman?
Howard: It’s about to come get you.
Tom: Well, when you open the fridge and you hear things growling and snarling in there… at some point you’d think that we probably should clean that.
Georgene: So that’s what that noise was.
Tom: That’s what that noise was… Then we threw away 2/3 of the fridge.
Sara: Beca, there were like bacon grease from 2009.
Chareva: Right. We save bacon grease now. Of course.
Alana: She got 6 tubs of bacon grease.
Chareva: Yes. Problem is, we can’t go through it as fast as we can save it.
Howard: Yeah, we have the same problem. We’d get up to a certain amount and we’ll throw a bunch of it out.
Georgene: But it does seem a shame.
Chareva: It does. It seems wrong.
Tom: The shame is that we used to, before we knew better… we used to like pack a junk and throw away all the bacon grease and go to the store and buy vegetable oil. We look back now…
Georgene: You can’t change what you don’t know is wrong. And we didn’t know.
Tom: Right, we didn’t know.
Howard: You are watching right?
Georgene: I am watching, yes. I look every couple of seconds.
Howard: This camera has an annoying habit of every once in a while quitting. And I’m not sure whether it’s the camera or whether it’s the memory card. But I do have a fairly good memory card in there. It hasn’t done it very often lately. So I just got Georgene sitting behind the camera.
Georgene: Yeah that’s why I’m back here to make sure that it keeps going.
Howard: And that’s the disembodied voice on the video there.
Howard: So you’ve been on the farm now for about 3 years now.
Tom: Yeah 3 and a half although for probably the first year we didn’t really do much with the land. We’ve had to have the house renovated. And all we really did with the land at first was get like the rusty old barb wire taken away. You can’t even see some of it because there were chest-high weeds everywhere. And I had, as a father, nightmare visions of one of my rambunctious girls running through the weeds and…
Chareva: Getting eaten by something.
Tom: Running into rusty barb wires
Alana: And impaling ourselves.
Tom: We had a lot of the dangerous stuff taken away. And it’s really only been in the last couple of years that Chareva and I really decided it was time to spruce it up and do something with it. Especially this year.
Georgene: How did you know when you first saw it that this was what you would wanted?
Tom: There’s a story there…
Georgene: Well I remember reading on your blog…
Howard: Let’s hear the story.
Tom: The story is the whole idea – “let’s move to a small farm” was hers. And I was kind of “well okay if that’s what you want” and this place became available and she said “Oh let’s go see this… it’s almost 6 acres and it’s in the right part… it’s in the part of Franklyn that we like, blahblahblah…
Chareva: With good school.
Tom: It has chest high weeds, barb wire, it was an old widow who lived there alone many many years and had let things go… who was the owner… the house was a mess, it was dirty… it smelled bad. I mean it really smelled bad.
And I did a quick walk through… okay, and went and sat in the van. She was in there for a while. I didn’t know what she was doing hoping she hadn’t fainted from the smell. She came out and plopped down and said we have to put a bid on this right now. At which point I said you are expletive kidding me. And she’s “no we have to buy this right now”.
And I start thinking of… we’re fans of Dave Ramsey, the financial guy… and I remembered in one of his lectures he said – “Guys, every once in a while, your wife’s gonna get a feeling. And you better listen to that feeling ‘cuz when your wife gets a *feeling*, she’s probably right.” And I was thinking, I can barely stand to look at this place, but my wife has that feeling.
So against all logic, we went home and put a bid on it and of course she turned out to be right. She’s the artist so she sees what things could be. As a programmer, I’m a little more looking at the current problem, and she was right. It just needed to be renovated, the land needed to be cleaned up and I give her kudos all the time now because we sit out on… we have this nice little tent gazebo thing up high on the hill out back of the property. I sit there and I look at this sweep of the property, and the barn out there, and the front pastures there, and the trees… and I just think, oh my God, I can’t believe we live here. So she was right. It just needed the work.
Howard: You’re raising a number of different kinds of animals, right?
Tom: Well we have. Why don’t you guys tell them what you raised, what you raised last year?
Alana: Last year we had goat which was Sara’s forage project. And now, we have about 70 chickens.
Howard: 70 chickens? How many eggs do you get out of that?
Alana: We sell them at little egg stands at our house.
Sara: But I did the chicken project and the goat project (Chareva: For forage.) last year.
Alana: And now we’re doing the pig project and we sent our pig to the butcher before getting to the cruise.
Howard: So you haven’t eaten any of them yet?
Alana: No, looking forward to it.
Tom: We’ll pick it up when we get home.
Sara: And Alana is… we both have one of the pigs that is technically assigned to us. And Alana is also doing the chicken project this year.
Howard: 70 chickens. So how many of those have you fed to the foxes and the bobcats?
Sara: Maybe 5… 10.
Tom: We went through that phase.
Alana: In the past, about twenty.
Tom: That’s how you learn the proper way to secure your chickens is… animals will show you the fail points. Like going in and eating your chickens. We did lose a few while we were learning.
Alana: We used to have 2 flocks of guinea fowl and they’re supposed to be good free-range birds that don’t get themselves killed. But they all died in 3 days.
Howard: I know about guineas. Guineas are fearless and they will attack anything.
Sara: But they’re a little stupid.
Howard: And they are really stupid.
Georgene: You said they all died within 3 days. Was that, were they killed?
Alana: We let them go free-range. Both flocks. I can’t believe we did it the 2nd time.
Sara: We found piles of feathers.
Alana: And dead, rotting parts.
Tom: They were either killed or they just decided to rip all their own feathers off.
Chareva: You know you spend that time doing a brooder, you care for them. They finally feather out. Okay, they’re old enough to go outside and then you let them go outside… They didn’t know to roost; they didn’t know to not just sit there and…
Sara: At first we have them in this big cage. We had this humongous like…
Chareva: Dog kennel.
Sara: Dog kennel cage out there. They were in and they eventually found out how to flop up to the pole and flop up out of the cage. And we thought like well they’re going… let’s see if they live. We should’ve lassoed them
Alana: I can’t believe we did it the second time.
Howard: You put some kind of a roof over your chicken coop, right?
Tom: A net. We first put a net up to keep the hawks out. ‘Cuz in our part of Tennessee, if you don’t have a net or something over them you’re just feeding the hawks. But we have a loose net over it and then we found out that the raccoons would climb up the fence, go under the net, go into to the coops. So we had to tie the net down tight to the top of the fence. So the 2 big chicken yards that we have now are Fort Knox for chicken so they have a lot of room to run around but nothing’s getting in there… we don’t think.
Howard: And the chickens, what do you feed your chickens?
Sara: We feed… Well they have a lot to peck around and forage for just bugs and weeds and stuff. But we also feed them chicken layer palettes.
Howard: What kind of eggs do you get?
Sara: Mostly we get tannish eggs and we get a handful of like greenish-bluish eggs.
Howard: Greenish-bluish eggs? Oh, just the shell?
Sara: Yeah, just the shell. The actual eggs are just yellow and white.
Alana: What we’ve noticed… the yolks are darker and the egg is more flavorful.
Sara: And we’re also raising some… what are they called, Mom?
Chareva: Cuckoo Maran and Araucana.
Sara: The Cuckoo Marans… they’re like dark brown eggs.
Alana: We haven’t gotten any eggs yet ‘cuz we still…
Sara: So far, just tan or blue-green are the kinds of eggs that we’ve seen…
Howard: So you got goats, the pigs, chickens… anything else?
Sara: Well the goats, the pigs and some of the chickens have all been…
Chareva: Sent off to the processor or to heaven.
Tom: Well we processed few of the chickens and the raccoons processed a few for us. They’re messy processors by the way.
Alana: We used to move this big coop house and mom was once moving it and she squished one of the chickens… both of his legs and we had to eat him. Coz she squished both legs.
Sara: And she was just like…
Chareva: Or mangled chicken… I dunno.
Sara: Actually, there was one where… she… either she or him I don’t remember who… its entire leg have been ripped off of his body.
Tom: That was mom.
Sara: That was mom.
Tom: She was just in a bad mood that day; she went out and rip off the legs.
Chareva: Snicker fall-out.
Tom: She was trying to make the coop and he got a little caught.
Sara: And his entire leg just popped off.
Alana: And we ate him.
Howard: So you gonna do any other animals?
Sara: We’re kinda taking a break from anything other than the chickens in the summer although next year we think we’re gonna try the sheep.
Georgene: It’s another forage project?
Howard: Are you gonna do it for the wool or for the meat?
Sara: Well, probably for both. Just ‘cause we’re Probably just gonna get just two. Then we’re gonna shave off their wool and use that and then when the time comes to say goodbye then we’ll have it for meat.
Howard: They also have really, really good leather. You tan it right… it’s really soft.
Sara: We’ve never really thought about that or done that. Maybe we can send their skin to a leather place or something. We have no idea how to do it.
Chareva: There’s a lot to learn.
Alana: My classmates are so mad at me…
Howard: Are you gonna try any bigger animals, like a cow?
Sara: We plan to… once we fully fence the property… we’re thinking like… we’re probably thinking 3 years from now, maybe we’ll eventually get a small milk cow. But that’s just kind of…
Howard: And get fresh, pastured milk.
Tom: That’s right.
Georgene: That would be great.
Tom: These are all things… it’s kinda all up in the air. We try to try on thing at a time so we don’t get overwhelm ourselves. We are after all city kids just playing at being farmers.
Chareva: That’s right. It’s just a… just a hobby… and a lifestyle. But you have a day job, I have –
Chareva: My art and them.
Tom: And them… and the blog, and the upcoming books on production.
Chareva: Is that all that we are to you? Just…
Tom: You guys are actually… We don’t want to tell you this – you’re actually just a forage project.
Chareva: We’re gonna shave you…
Tom: We need to turn you in as soon you reach your adult height.
Georgene: It happens at the end of the project…
Chareva: You’re auctioned off.
Tom: If we start to put you on a scale, it’s time to get suspicious.
Howard: You mentioned… you did the chapter 3 presentation in your lecture yesterday. Tell us a little more about that project. It looks really interesting.
Tom: Book? What inspired us to decide to do a book was after Fat Head came out, it was especially after hitting Netflix when it really found its first big audience… and I start getting emails from parents saying, “Thank you so much for saying this. You convinced my kids to stop eating sugar and bread. My kids loved it. My son watched it 6 times.” I *never* expected that. I didn’t make it with kids in mind. I just wanted it to be informative and funny. And surprisingly, kids, a lot of kids seem to enjoy it.
We got talking about that. There are all these great books in there, on diet and health. I read pretty much all of them, but there’s almost nothing out there written for kids and the couple I’ve seen were nice but they weren’t… they didn’t have that kinda funny and entertaining thing going on so we just decided, maybe that’s the missing market or the missing product for kids out there. Something that’s fun for them to read but that also teaches them about diet and health.
Howard: And you wanted to go for a traditional book and not another movie…
Tom: I think we’re gonna do both. I think the book is absolutely, positively gonna happen – If we can pull it off. You know, just like making Fat Head, if I’d known how much work… let me put it this way… I’m glad I didn’t know how much work it was gonna be…
Georgene: Or it wouldn’t have happened
Tom: or I might not have done it. But like once you’re in it, you just like have to push it forward. Now that we have that under our belt… the reason I don’t know how difficult it would be is… our vision of this that it would play like an animated cartoon with cutaways… like with very little actual film or video. Except for places where I would cutaway two people like Dr. Westman and Dr. Wortman and Andreas, and the many other doctors I’ve interviewed… quickly explaining something and then we kinda go back to the story. That’s the way we picture it for now. That’s a little up in the air.
Chareva: And we see it as a companion video…
Tom: A companion DVD.
Chareva: That they would go straight to video. It won’t be a feature film.
Tom: I wouldn’t ever want to make it a theatrical thing. But I would like to product it in such a way that even if you didn’t read the book maybe you can watch it on Netflix and get the story without having had to read the book to get it. That’s where it’s now. A lot of it is just…
Howard: Can you… is chapter 3 actually a finished project now?
Tom: Yes, yes.
Howard: So you’ve done chapters 1 and chapter 2…
Tom: And sketched out the rest. I knew as soon as I kinda stretched out this book… I knew chapter 3 was going to be the most difficult to write which is why when Jimmy said “Would you like to give a speech on the cruise?” I said yeah, & it’s gonna be the chapter 3 in the book ‘cuz that gave us a hard deadline… forced me to write the most difficult chapter in the book.
Chareva: And forced me to draw.
Tom: And forced her to get all the drawings done.
Howard: Good drawings, by the way.
Chareva: Thank you.
Tom: I don’t want to say it’s smooth sailing from here on. But I know that was gonna the most difficult chapter to write ‘cuz it’s a tough concept to try to explain even to adults much less kids.
Howard: I noticed that there might have been some of the explanations that might be a little bit past the typical kid. Now, I think your kids are a little precocious than the typical… They probably… They might not even give you the right kind of feedback.
Tom: Well, they’re smarter than kids in their age group so I wouldn’t consider her a typical 10-year-old or her a typical 11-year-old. But then that was the other decision we had to make when we say this is for kids… well…
Chareva: What age?
Tom: It kinda composes why the range of ages. So, I think smarter, younger kids would get it but the market or the age range that I have in mind as I’m writing it are like middle school kids. Because frankly a lot of 5 and 6 year-olds… they don’t care.
Georgene: Well they don’t have any control over their intake…
Tom: They don’t have any control… they’re probably… even with the junk diets, that most, unfortunately most kids live on these days, 5 and 6 year olds aren’t really showing their effects yet. It’s when you get to about that adolescent age that you started putting on the weight, and start getting the acne and you start feeling… you become more body-aware. You start thinking, “Geez, I’m fat and my classmates aren’t.”
Howard: Nowadays, I’m fat, most of my classmates are.
Tom: Yeah, that could be a problem too.
Howard: To put some context into it, I thought the title; I don’t know if it’s the title of that chapter. The idea of things that I wish I knew when I was your age was just absolutely brilliant.
Tom: Thank you.
Howard: There were a lot of things that I wish I knew when I was your age.
Georgene: Well this is my thought about the whole thing. This has such potential to change the lives of people at the time when they can keep it from being such a horrible experience.
Tom: I think that’s hugely important. You know, even if you adopt a perfect diet when you’re thirty, I don’t think you can undo all the damage that you did up to that age if you lived on a really horrible diet.
Howard: Sad, but true. I think I consumed my life time supply of sugar before I was a teenager. I don’t think you get past 350 lbs. without permanently damaging something.
Tom: I don’t think you do either. I mean, it’s clear from the –
Howard: We had a camera malfunction here.
Georgene: I would like for her to repeat that statement.
Howard: Yeah, repeat what you just said. Your classmates are mad at you.
Alana: My classmates are so mad at me, they’ve met my pigs and they think they’re so adorable… mine is adorable, Sara’s a little bit gross.
Sara: Yeah. Actually that’s true. Hers was like…. Mine was like…
Tom: Did your classmates just want us to keep them as pets forever?
Chareva: I have to say, I was surprised having not grown up around livestock, to realize that these hogs have personalities. They’re very different from each other. And the female… the female would come up and drink out of the hose and she’d wag her tail and she would bicker with the male and often she would win.
Alana: And the male would like bite her.
Tom: Like always. And plus the male was not fully male anymore, if you know what I mean.
Chareva: No, he was missing some boy bits.
Sara: He was like…
Georgene: No wonder he was so grumpy.
Tom: I would be too. He was like, “Oink, oink – do you hear that?”
Chareva: And he was much fatter than the female.
Sara: I know.
Chareva: I’m guessing it’s hormonal. Probably, yeah.
Georgene: I was really struck though by the comments during the whole interview that the very realistic attitudes about what happen to these animals… and for two little girls. I think that they’ve been obviously taught well.
Chareva: Well, I’m grateful we have this opportunity to give them this life-lesson now because this is what life is about.
Howard: An old farmer says, don’t give your feed animals names.
Chareva: We haven’t. It’s boy pig and girl pig.
Howard: Boy, girl.
Sara: The only forage animals I have named are my two goats in which I named them Tender and Juicy.
Alana: My classmates also thought that was mean.
Howard: Were they?
Sara: And I should’ve named them Stubborn and Gristle.
Howard: Stubborn and Gristle. We had chickens when I was a kid. And we had an old rooster that we called Charlie, he got mean in his old age. And he would attack my mother… he attacked me too but I decided that I was going to set the pecking order… and I did. We eventually butchered him and ate him. He was just as tough as mean. There wasn’t anything on that bird except bone and gristle.
Tom: We had an exceptionally mean rooster and you know… people on the block… when you have thousands of readers, you’ve got people from all walks of life… and people who would raise chickens would say you gotta whack them in the head with your hat… he’ll understand the pecking order… he never understood the pecking order. He was mean and aggressive. We didn’t even like to get eggs, you know… ‘cuz you had to deal with him. So he finally flew at Chareva with his first… one too many times, and she basically killed him.
Chareva: I didn’t intentionally kill him. But I had to whack him with a rag to get him… so he wouldn’t tear of my face off basically.
Alana: It wasn’t a metal pan?
Chareva: Well, I’ve done that too… not that I’m proud of it… but yeah, one day he just wasn’t alive anymore.
Sara: You mean that you hit him in the head, and then he fell over, then he passed out, and then he went like…
Chareva: He got up and he was walking around.
Sara: And then he got up… he must have like an aneurysm or something.
Chareva: I don’t know.
Sara: ‘cuz the next day, dead…
Howard: No, you’ve heard the phrase “running around like a chicken with his head chopped off”?
Howard: You know that the chicken can live without its head for several minutes.
Sara: I know. It’s creepy.
Howard: And he would run around.
Chareva: And messy too.
Howard: And messy, and bleed over everything.
Sara: Yup. She said that she didn’t intentionally kill him and that she wasn’t happy about it. But personally, this is how she said it… it was – “aww”. Although, I think this is what happened…
Alana: I had searched in the internet for like 3 hours and I searched up MEAN ROOSTER pictures and one of them… there’s a picture that looks exactly like him and I went to the website that the picture led to… and it said – chicken type… Roosters… description: mean, territorial.
Tom: It was the breed.
Chareva: It was a blue Andalusian. Beautiful bird.
Alana: It would take your face out. And the picture looks exactly like him.
Chareva: Blue Andalusian.
Howard: I would get Charlie’s attention. I used to chase him to the corner and I just slap him back and forth.
Sara: Oh my God.
Howard: And then he would get away from me and chase him down into another corner. And I’d slap him back and forth. I did that for about 15 minutes one day and after that…
Chareva: I did the same thing.
Chareva: Absolutely, no. He would keep his distance for a few days… maybe a week and then he’d get in my face again.
Tom: Yeah, we couldn’t… it didn’t seem to stick.
Chareva: It didn’t stick.
Tom: It’s the one I call the rapper rooster. He was always strutting around and chasing women and like…
Howard: It’s interesting. Because every time Charlie saw me come out to the backyard, he went… *zip* back into the little hole that he…
Georgene: So maybe some versions are smarter than others. You know, some just learn…
Howard: But chickens in general are just really stupid.
Chareva: And just so everybody knows, we didn’t purposely purchase roosters to then abuse them.
Georgene: Of course not.
Chareva: You know, when you order your mail-ordered-chicks, you order your twenty… 24… 25… and they’ll put extra chicks in there to keep them warm in transit. And often, it’s the roosters they’d put in there because who really wants to buy them. And then you end up with all of your hens in layers and a bunch of roosters… eventually they’d die.
Alana: We got one that was dead.
Sara: There was this crazy, epic battle between the gold rooster and the black and white rooster when we went… when we had to move the front chickens to the back.
Chareva: It was mostly show… they were just…
Sara: I know but it was awesome. Because it was… So this is the size of the chicken’s head, right? And you know how they have like these feathers that are usually combed down back to their shoulders, they went – POOF. And like their necks look so skinny, because all their feathers were all out here, it looked like they had this huge like… if this is their head, their feathers were like this… and they were like…
Chareva: Something out of Jurassic Park.
Sara: I know, like the raptors… go like… and occasionally they’d leap at each other.
Chareva: That’s interesting.
Sara: I think you actually got some of it in camera.
Chareva: We haven’t seen that before.
Sara: That was awesome.
Chareva: ‘Cuz usually there’s a dominant rooster and the other rooster is very passive. And there’s a very clear pecking order. So it’s the first time I’ve seen them actually both…
Howard: Well, this has been really fascinating. I just now realized that it had gone about 15 minutes passed… what I promised is I’d keep you guys up to 30 minutes. We’ve been at it for 45 now. It has been really delightful. I’m really glad you got the chance to bring your daughters with you.
Tom: Me too. Because we can’t next year.
Howard: Oh well…
Sara: Why not?
Tom: They moved it back early May.
Howard: That’s gonna be May first.
Tom: You guys would be (Alana: In school.) gearing up for finals and… testing… Sorry…
Georgene: That’s too bad because we would’ve enjoyed seeing you again next year.
Sara: Yeah, but daddy…
Howard: We will see. You’d probably graduate from high school a year or two early.
Chareva: We’ll get you back on the cruise. Thank you for having us. I appreciate it.
Georgene: We have enjoyed this quite a lot.
Howard: And especially having you guys at dinner to chat with. Probably ought to get the girls over here… closer so I can hear them a little better ‘cuz my hearing is not real good and then in the dining room, the noise level gets a little high…
Sara and Tom: Yeah.
Sara: And daddy you gotta put that video of the chickens with like that huge thing…
Tom: I have not even seen it… I’m glad you got that on video? Oh nice.
Sara: You gotta put it on your blog so everybody could see it.
Howard: Well, I’ll be looking for that on your blog then.
Tom: I guess I’ll be seeing that for the first time. This was… when they told the story it’s the first time I was aware of it.
Howard: Okay. Well… super guys. I guess that’s a wrap.