Thursday, May 31, 2012

Part Two: What else I did on my vacation.

I tell you, I have never had that many days off in succession.  I can see why - I didn't want to go back!  Besides the gardening, cooping, watering, cleaning that I related in my last post, I also replaced my front storm door, re-homed numerous possessions via Freecycle, cleaned most of my deck, and built (or, adapted) a trellis for my exuberant hops vine. 
Repurposed Victorian screen door.

I cleaned up piles of stuff, moved more piles of stuff, weeded, had a nice late-birthday-brunch with Sylvie, and ventured into Mall-ville.   A trip to hell from which I am still recovering.  I think I go once a year.  I may change that to once a century.

Calendula coming up.

Nothing like llama beans for growing garlic

Strawberry bed - de-Bernie-ized

The flower bed.  Also known as the Wild Thang.
Remember my nice rain barrel?  This is how it looked (after I righted it) in the aftermath of Tuesday's severe thunderstorms - with much rain (now lost), wind and lightning.
Obviously, there are some flaws with the design.
Remind me to quite griping about the weather.  It always comes back to bite me in the hiney.  Tuesday morning, my first day back to work, it got up to 97 degrees!  We were then hit with a series of severe thunderstorms that ripped tarps down, knocked my less-than-perfectly-designed rain barrel over, flattened fields, and flooded roads.  I managed to leave a little early and got home just as the second round hit - in time to let poor Bernie under my bed and rachet down a few things.  I mean, really.  Is so much extreme weather really necessary?  Is it too much to ask to just get a nice rainfall?  Apparently so.  Another storm came through yesterday, but today is lovely.  I managed to put in my little sunflower and morning glory seedlings and erect a temporary fence around them.  I doubt if that will ward off the entire population of East Coast chipmunks, which I appear to be supporting.  Along with the (ick, ick, icks). 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Part One: What I did on my vacation (with pictures to prove it.)

Back from the abyss of no computer...

Following a shaky start to my eagerly-awaited vacation, I gained momentum and added a steady stream of checks to my to-do lists.  Last Friday, on what should have been the highlight of my week, I straggled home early to clean the house for Girls' Night.  It had been a stressful week.  I got out of my car to the sounds of....Sage.  Yes, she had found the ONE part of the fence that had not been Sage-proofed and had her bony noggin firmly caught.  Chickie was so happy to see me - he had been keeping her company which was very boring.  I went into the house for wire cutters to find...Bernie had dragged a box out of recycling and had virtually shredded it.  All over the living room, dining room and kitchen.  I did what any sane person pushed to the brink of madness would have done.  I put my head back and screamed at the top of my lungs.  It cleared the room and luckily didn't bring any neighbors running.  That done, I got the wire cutters, freed Sage and came in and cleaned the house.  
Innocence personified.
I am not stoopid enough to put my head
through a fence.  Multiple times.
Dinner came off without a hitch, if you don't count turning my back for a nanosecond and the balsamic vinegar/honey glaze dissolving into a molten charred mass in my cast iron pan.

Saturday was equally as peaceful.  The couple with whom I had been communicating for months about buying two of my remaining lambs, changed their plans (for the 200th time) and, instead of coming that Monday morning, told me on Friday they were coming the next morning.  He ("hubby") called me when he left at 7a and we figured it would be 3 hours.  I dragged Kay out of bed to come help me do a mass herd vaccination/worming and hoof trimming.  We got all shots done and hooves trimmed on the two lambs by 10:15.  They showed up at 11:30.  When I remarked that it was a lot longer trip than we thought, they casually said that they had had a nice leisurely drive and stopped for an equally leisurely breakfast.  After they left, I found that they had also leisurely short-changed me.  Had they not been friends of my sister, I would have gotten in my car and tracked them down.

And did I mention that I developed laryngitis by Saturday afternoon?  Oh, never mind.  Since rain was predicted every day except Monday, I arose Monday at 4:30 and hit the gardens as soon as chores were done.  I got everything planted with the exception of the summer squash.  The two raised beds remain unfilled.  I contemplated it Wednesday- the only other day without rain forecast - but I also had to replace my storm door and finish cleaning the chicken coop.  I am now realizing why most of the retired friends I have are so busy.  It never ends.
Garden beds

Pak choy coming up on right

Tire "garden" potatoes and herbs

Tomatoes, cukes, peppers, basil

What should have been a one-day coop cleaning, turned into a three day debacle.  I hadn't realized that a) it became summer overnight and b) I have rats.  Day One was most of the shoveling and sweeping.  Day Two was the heavy shoveling and cleaning out of nesting boxes, along with more sweeping.  I let the area under the roosts dry completely so I could survey the rat-damage.  They had managed to chew a couple of holes in the soft wood.  Sooooooo, Day Three was spent on hands and knees with clippers, pliers, hardware cloth, hammer, nails and staple gun - and haz-mat suit.  All holes were tightly covered with hardware cloth.  Then a nice fresh dusting of shavings and we're done (please, God) until fall.  I also took a half a box of moth balls and tossed them all around the attached shed, or the Rat Haven, as it's now known.  Ick.  Ick.  Ick.  That extra time put the kibosh on goat barn cleaning and building up the fricasees' new digs.  But there are more weekends to come, right?

After getting one day straight of rain, we have had nary a drop.  But, wait!  I am now armed with my handy-dandy retractable 100' garden hose!  And I (puffing up with pride) installed it myself.  I dug out my masonry drill bits and my 'real deal' drill and managed to mount the holder securely (and fairly level) to the foundation.  I L.O.V.E. my retractable hose.  I also had one of those 'duh' moments and realized that, since we had now, somehow, rocketed forward to August, the cold frame was a hotbox to my lettuces.  So I stuck in four step-in posts and rubber banded a piece of row cloth to make a shade cover.  That seems to be working nicely.  We will see how it holds up under the severe storms predicted to come our way this afternoon.  After slogging around Monday afternoon in heat and humidity, trying to convince myself that I should start schlepping wheelbarrow-fuls of dirt to the new raised beds, I said 'to hell with it', and came inside and read a book.  It was marvelous.

The hose, in all its glory.

Makeshift cold frame canopy.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday Musings.

It occurred to me while I was shoveling heavy layers of chicken poop for the second day, that this little chore would make a great community service requirement for some miscreant.  Other than me.  I could almost guarantee there would be no repeat offenders if the sentence included cleaning out chicken coops after a long, wet winter.  And how about untangling a mass of poultry netting?  Would some purse-snatcher, staring at a Coach bag dangling temptingly from a shoulder consider going another round with the mass-of-poultry-netting-from-hell worth the chance?  I think not.  Considering pinching that doodad from the store?  How does a sentence of 500 hours of cat-washing grab you?  I am sure we could come up with a list of penalties that would turn around the criminal mind.

I have a very vivid memory of what deterred me from my life of crime.  Yes, I was headed down that murky path at a very young age.  I sashayed over to our nearest local store - another one of those walkabouts that drove my poor mother mad with worry - I must have been around nine.  I didn't have the concept of money down yet, although I did have a small allowance, so I meandered up and down the two aisles of the little store and helped myself to a piece of bubble gum.  The store owner saw me, grabbed me by the arm and called my parents (after he threatened to call the coppers!)  My mother came with a neighbor who had a car and there was some very stern talking-to, thinly veiled threats, and tearful promises from me to walk the straight and narrow, after forking over my one cent for the purloined gum.  I remember the store owners as a kind and friendly couple, so I can only imagine that this "show" was for my benefit.  And it worked.  To this day, I  a) cannot stomach bubble gum, and b) break into a cold sweat at the sight of a police car.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


As in I am only one and a half days from 10 days off.  And I am itchin' to go.  Now.  I am also trying to keep my expectations reasonable - very difficult for me, given 10 whole glorious days stretching ahead.  Oh, the possibilities!!

Some things lined up are:  getting more memory put in my laptop (a creaky old Dell that I won't part with), celebrating Sylvie's birthday (late), putting up the final panel in the guest bathroom (only four years late), clean chicken coop, clean goat barn, finish planting garden, send Acacia and Banyan off to their new home in NH.

Since "Delly" will be at the computer clinic, there may be a missed Monday Musings.  Never fear - I continue to muse and will pick up the beat the following Monday.  And just to bring this week to a perfect end - it has been completely hellish - they are predicting frost tonight and tomorrow morning.  Of course they are.  I mean, why not?  It only got up to near 80 degrees yesterday.  Why wouldn't we expect frost tonight?  I drip sarcasm.

For Nancy, here is the recipe for the brown rice flour pancakes:

Rice Flour Pancakes
Adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

1 Cup brown rice flour
1/4 Cup tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Nathan gum
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/2 Cup milk (any kind will do - soy, hemp, rice, etc.)
1 egg
2 Tablespoons melted virgin coconut oil
1 Tablespoon agave nectar

Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  You can make a big batch and put it in a jar to use as a mix.  In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently.

Heat a medium skillet (I always use cast iron) and add a little coconut oil or butter.  Once heated, pour about a 1/2 cup of batter and cook until bubbles rise and break on surface of pancake.  Flip over and cook a minute or two.  Continue to use all the batter.  This made about 7-8 medium sized pancakes.  I froze the leftovers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's cookin'.

We were lucky enough to have a great weekend - weather-wise.  The garden is getting planted, headway is being made on my list(s).  Sunday was a marathon of weeding, wheelbarrowing, shoveling, planting, feeding.  I made some mozzarella, three quarts of yogurt, chopped and froze some rhubarb, made some rhubarb/strawberry sauce, discovered GF breakfast (heaven!), washed windows, and lugged Lemmy (my lemon tree) outside to her summer digs.  I could almost hear her sigh with relief. 

Brown Rice Pancakes from my favorite cookbook!

Plated, buttered and syruped.
I also got the electric fencing out and set up a grazing area for the sheep and llama.  Heads went down, and they mowed their way back and forth.  Apria was so thrilled she just ran back and forth for a while.  It was a perfect day for grazing.

Even the Fricassees got in on the action.  I realized (in one of those head-banging moments) that I had not made arrangements for their move from brooder to grass.  I have my tacky chicken tractor - which needs a lot of work - but I had somehow forgotten that the 'old' meaty house, aka the Lattice Building, had been disassembled and reassembled as part of the run-in shed.  Oy.  So, for the time being, they will be frolicking in the little coop's yard.  I always get a kick out of their first foray into the great Out-There.  The first one out is usually by accident, as they all cram into the doorway and someone gets pushed.  Then it's just a matter of time.  They are enjoying running, flapping their little wings, and defending their turf from the red wing blackbirds.  Of course, I now have to add chick round-up to my nightly chores, as they do take time getting the hang of the in/out process.  Thank goodness for my trusty butterfly net.  Last night, however, I missed one.  I was inside relishing the fact that I could put my feet up for five minutes, when I heard a frantic peeping.  I looked out and, sure enough, there was a lone chick standing on the ramp in front of the closed door.  Five minutes later, she was tucked inside and I was back inside, feet up, ignoring my ironing board.

Since Sunday, we have had rain.  And more rain.  And it's still raining.  Although I thoroughly appreciate the process of me planting and Mother Nature watering what I plant (she is so much better at it than I am), there is that fine line of too much rain.  The forecast sounds better for tomorrow - warmer, too.  That will be good news for people and plants alike.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday Musings.

My musings of late have been more like buckshot - a little here, a little there - lots of action, with very little impact.  I realized, as I power-walked through Home Debt-po on Saturday, that I was getting a lot more offers of help than usual.  Then I realized it was probably because:  a) I was not in my usual weekend garb - straight off the farm; and b) I had showered, fussed with my hair and put make-up on.  I was squeezing my errands into a tiny slot of time between oil change and driving my parents north for an early Mothers Day dinner.

Negotiating with aging parents is like tip-toeing through a mine field.  I am watching, with much alarm, as certain personality traits rise to the top like breaching marlins.  Things like impatience, cranky-ness, ornery-ness, petty-ness have been popping up on a regular basis.  All of a sudden, I am faced with decisions like:  Do I circle back after dinner in the restaurant to make sure that my dad has left the correct tip? 

Should I expect better behavior from my 'kids' on Mothers Day?  If so, should I send Scrappy to his room because he ignored me when I wanted to let him out because he was more interested in his marrow bone?  And then he peed on the floor right in front of the door?  Should I have him shod so that he won't cut his paw on gawdknowswhat and leave bloody paw prints throughout the house (including the furniture) before I noticed?  Should I wrap myself tightly in a giant Ace bandage and ship myself to Bali Hai?  Maybe.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oh, dear Blogosphere, how do I love thee?

Let me count the ways --- nah, they're too many and I'll run out of fingers.  I have gotten so much from all of the bloggers I follow - inspiration, support, a much-needed laugh, you name it.  And all of the new little gems that I find whilst wending my way through that amazing maze of one post to a commenter, to a post, to a commenter, etc.  I should leave a trail of crumbs (as in cookies, get it?) so that I can find my way back to some of these amazing blogs.  But I usually get distracted and then lose the link.

One of those great discoveries was Kim at Jabez Farm.  And, thankfully, not only did I NOT lose the link, but I stuck it at the side of my blog so I could follow her on a regular basis.  She has saved me from a Gluten Free wasteland.  She is amazing.  And she introduced me to my new, most used and loved cookbook:  The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook.  I want to make everything in it.  I even worked myself up into a frenzy about posting my results. Then I was reminded that it's been done before and Meryl Streep owns it.  And, 'though I know this is probably not a popular sentiment, I hated the movie.  Besides, the only one who could ever "play" me is Kathryn Hepburn.  And that's not likely.  So.  I ramble.

On Sunday, I tried out my first two recipes:  Thai Fried Rice and Thai Chicken Curry.  It was scrumptious!  I have been eating it for three days and I am not tired of it.  Did i mention it makes quite a bit?  The list of ingredients was daunting at first, but it is so easy to make!  What I need to know is, can I grow my own lemongrass?  If so, I would make this on a regular basis.

But, without further ado, the recipes:

Thai Fried Rice (adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook)

Cooked brown jasmine rice (about 4-5 Cups)

1+ T. virgin coconut oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced diagonally ½ in. thick
½ cup raw cashews
5 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ tsp. white pepper (didn't have, so used black)
¼ cup raisins
1 med. firm tomato, diced
1 tablespoon whole cane sugar or agave nectar
1-2 tablespoons tamari (use wheat-free for a GF diet)
½ cup chopped cilantro

1.  In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat, then add green onions and cashews; cook a minute or two until cashews are lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Add crushed garlic and pepper and continue stirring. Add raisins and stir to coat with oil.

2.  Add cooked rice and continue stirring. Add more oil if needed. Add chopped tomato, sugar and tamari. Cook a few minutes longer, stirring. Take off heat and add chopped cilantro.

Thai Chicken Curry (adapted from same)
Serves 4 (must be BIG eaters!)

4 boneless chicken breasts
5 kaffir lime leaves, optional (finding kaffir leaves in my area isn't an option)


1 can coconut milk
4 small shallots, peeled, roughly chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, ends trimmed and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon tamari (wheat-free) or ½ tsp. sea salt
3 tablespoons unsalted peanut butter or cashew butter (cashew butter is pricey!)
2 tablespoons whole cane sugar or agave nectar
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes (more/less to taste)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon white pepper (ditto: black)


½ cup chopped cilantro

1.  Cut chicken into large pieces and place into a 9x13 inch baking dish along with the kaffir leaves, if using.

2.  Place all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Cover chicken with curry marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 3-24 hours.

3.  Preheat oven to 400. Place pan of chicken and marinade uncovered in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until done. Garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This Pilgrim's Progress.

Every time I hear "pilgrim", I think of John Wayne.  Although I am not a fan, particularly, that word/Wayne is now hardwired into my psyche.  Scary stuff.

THIS Pilgrim's progress was made over a nice, long weekend filled with an equal amount of hard labor and social froufrou.  Not my usual combination, but nice!  One of the Boyz made it to the vet on Friday (it was definitely a pipe dream thinking I could maneuver them both into their carrying cases.)  So Kramer was "it", and checked out fine except for the possibility of worms.  If only they'd just gum their prey....  I am still happy with my new vet and will gladly fill his calendar with my small animals.  Wish he was a sheep vet, though, instead of an equine specialist.

Then it was home and shoveling manure into piles and moving it around.  Since it's now Tuesday, and my recall of the weekend is anything but total, I will highlight the progress - in no special order:

Set up incubator and started guinea eggs
Got up at the crap of dawn, did a fast version of chores, and drove up to meet Marianne and then go to the poultry tailgate - in my continuing quest for 'ready-made' guinea hens.  No dice.
Dug holes and planted two of three willow bushes; blueberry bush
Cut, dug up and attacked brambles in part of front section
Weeded, staked and covered currant bushes.  I am determined to thwart the birds this year.
Schlepped manure to three raised beds and dug in one.
Planted same with onions.
Planted potatoes - hillbilly style - in tires:  Yukon Gold, fingerling, Calypso (blue-skinned/white center), red, and another miscellaneous that I got from Marianne.
Cleaned out the rest of the herb bed and planted parsley, rosemary, basil.
Hard boiled two dozen eggs so that I would have one dozen 'purty' enough for deviling.  I was thinking of Carolyn Renee mightily for two days.
Had the Lithuanian Lawn Guy over for dinner Friday night.
Attended the dreaded Kentucky Derby Party Saturday night - 'tho the Mint Julep was awesome.
Made an awesome Thai Chicken Curry with Thai Fried Rice for Sylvie Sunday night, as she is my official 'guinea pig'.  Does anyone know if it's possible to grow lemongrass?
Did five loads of laundry and hung them out.
Fell into bed exhausted WITHOUT doing my ironing.  Something had to give - unfortunately, it's almost always the ironing!

Now I am relishing the fact that it is a rainy, miserable day and I don't care - because I am in my office.  Thinking about my pile o' ironing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday Musings.

Why  is it that the people with the "means" get things that they want but don't take care of?  This came so clearly to mind this weekend when I went to a Kentucky Derby Party.  The hosts of the party have a lovely home with a magnificent view and the perfect set up for a party of this 'magnitude'.  The mint juleps were superb.  There was a big screen television (oh horrors), an nicely diverse group of people.  But I ended up getting caught up with the livestock.  Surprise?  No, not at all.  We all know that I would rather hang out with the four-footed folks.  But these are two lovely horses who are in a smaaaaall area.  No one rides them.  No one pays more attention to them other than to toss some hay in their direction.  The hostess' son, PJP (he goes by initials, whatever they are), made a loud and grand show of intending to go up and feed the horses.  I offered to help.  Grandiose thanks.  I waited for a half hour and he didn't show.  So three of us went up to feed them.  Here were two lovely geldings (Arabians, I think) in a very small area, surrounded by acres of trails and wooded land.  They have never left their small area.  I doubt if they get any attention at all, save for twice a day feedings.  We pitched in and fed and watered them.  But, really.  Is this enough for horses?  I think not.  I would classify it as neglect.  I was in tears all the way home and it has been eating at me ever since.

Let's switch gears before I get apoplectic.  On the way there, I passed our middle/high/school and realized it was Prom Night.  That led me to spend the next few hours trying to remember my senior prom date's name.  I remembered this about him:  he was my first and only blind date (not for the prom, but that's how I met him), he was so drop-dead gorgeous that, when I first set nervous eyes on him parking his car in front of our house, I was sure he was headed across the street.  He had curly black hair, dimples in both cheeks and chin, blue eyes, perfect white teeth.  My mother was so smitten, she would blush every time he arrived.  Even my father - sentinel, guardian of daughters and house, was hooked.  His name was Jim.  He was older than I (which was a Big Deal in high school), he didn't attend my school (ditto), he had his own car and it was sporty (SUCH a Big Deal), and ... he could dance!  Holy Mackerel.  He was a fixture at our Saturday night dinner/BBQs - my dad grilled hamburgers and my mom made homemade French fries (which never quite kept up with our endless forays into the kitchen).  He was old enough to have a beer with my dad - which elevated him to new heights in our family.  Unfortunately, it was a tough time for young men (ANY men) and he was drafted and sent to Vietnam.  After his tour, he came back a fundamentally changed young man, and not for the better.

Sigh.  So apparently our local prom-goers celebrate by screeching tires and tossing McDonald trash out of their car windows.  I filled almost a full large trash bag with fast food crap.

And I was wondering about the lack of attention to detail that seems to crop up on a regular basis, no matter what the business or industry.  On my commute in to work today, I was sitting a a traffic light, looking around and my eye was caught by the panel truck next to me.  Actually, it was the word "Hummer" that caught my eye - it is one of those words that can incense me almost immediately.  It is the worst example of the auto industry, one of the foremost examples of what is and continues to lead this country in the wrong direction.  Ahem.  Anyhoo, all around the truck were painted the cars that this business serviced:  Hummer, Ford, Chevrolet, Pontaics.  Yes, that's right.  P.O.N.T.A.I.C.S.  And it was misspelled six times on the truck.  I rest my case.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A living wall? I can dig it!!

How fitting it's from Raintree Nursery...
And so I shall, tomorrow.  Rain or shine (and, unfortunately, it looks like rain).  One of my favorite nurseries had a great sale and I bought three more willow bushes with which to buffer the onslaught of the road traffic, dust, noise, ad nauseum.  I did not make this decision lightly, as it means digging a sizable hole for each bush.  There is a good reason that our area is filled with gravel mines.

They look like nice,healthy plants and I am looking forward to my Wall o' Willows.

I also ordered a new variety of Alpine strawberries to complete my little patch.  Thanks to much hovering and covering/uncovering/covering of my new plants during the endless freeze, it looks like they've all survived. 
Alpines in their raincoat.

I have taken a Mental Health Day tomorrow which is almost as fully planned as Chicken Mama's Day Off (hahahahaha - choke, sob - if my day off was that packed with to-do's, I'd never get out of bed!)  Mine is comparatively mundane - cat rassling (the Boyz have their annual check up), digging, digging, schlepping manure, digging and more digging, planting, and dinner prep. 

Three healthy plants!
 I am planting my basil, parsley, lemon balm (in a pot), and a blueberry bush (another damn hole!), after I finish clearing out the herb bed.  I am planning on taking full advantage of this long weekend even though, oddly enough, it is also filled with social-type things.  Another reason I have to plant all these seedlings is that I need to clear out the laundry room space incubator!  Having had no luck finding keets, I successfully bid for a clutch of eggs on eBay.  It was reasonable enough that I won't throw myself in the river if they don't hatch.  Of course, I am also going to the one final poultry tailgate of the spring on Sunday.  This should guarantee that they are up to their elbows in keets.  I look at it like wearing both suspenders and a belt.  A trait I do NOT find attractive in a man, by the way.  Fickle me.

My coldframe is perking away, which always gives me hope when I pass by.  I've already harvested some arugula, the radishes are growing, and the lettuces are just popping up through the soil.  It's hard to think of it as May - even though the days are getting gloriously longer.  With this grey, cold, weather, it just seems weird.

Arugula and row of radishes.
 So, what kind of mischief are you all digging up this weekend?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I do not own my life.

This thought flashed through my mind early Sunday morning.  I was getting ready to head out to the local twice-a-year poultry and small animal sale to look for guinea keets.  Since it was in the low 20s and since the sale is held in a soccer field, down a bumpy dirt road, I thought I would wear my hiking boots instead of my clogs.  That's what I thought, anyway.  I was standing in the doorway of my closet holding a boot in one hand and the bootlace in the other.  I had forgotten that Scrappy had - in a fit of something - peed in my boot-holder and saturated my bootlaces.  I had pulled it out and washed it.  Then the cats had chewed off the ends, which left a mass of white filaments.  I could not relace my boot.  I could not wear my boot.  The animals have taken over.  Luckily, I managed to find my Doc Martens and was able to go out at the crap of dawn, drive a half hour with Kay in order to shuffle around in the cold and not find any guinea keets.  My life is like that.