Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Diamonds are a girl's best friend? I beg to differ!

It's PEARLS that are a girl's best friend.  Especially, if the girl has had two dogs down with Lyme's in less than four months.  Meet the Pearls (as in Guinea keets):

They are camera-shy.  I had to creep up on them.

The Pearls are the talk of the flock.
In one of my more spectacularly action-packed weekends, I managed to squeeze in an oil change (and a little diagnostic work on the old girl - the Ford, not me) in Vermont; then a looooong drive down an hour southeast of Albany to pick up the six Guinea keets; then an equally looooong drive back north to toss them into their new digs, then I raced into the house to put together some hors d'oeuvres to take to a neighbor's.  Then back to close everyone up and collapse - oops!  I forgot to grill the chicken breasts for Sunday's lunch in Vermont with my cousin from Florida !  I collapsed into bed around 10:30.

There are times when being the obedient daughter chafes.  I mean it chafes something awful!  However, I just talcum powder my attitude and put my big girl pants on and get it done.  My mother decided that having a Cobb salad would be just the ticket for lunch.  Which means....I get all the bits and bobs done at home and then drive the 30 minutes north to assemble it.  And pick up a pie while I'm at it.  Nothing against my cousin - who I like very much, as well as his latest "this is THE one" girlfriend - but I would have loved nothing more than to sit in my new-to-me-chair-and-a-half and read.  If the cats would make some room for me, that is.

I know this is going to come back to bite me, but the keets put on the most charming little concert all the way north - burbles and whirrs and peeps.  They kept it up the entire trip.  Of course, we all know that, when puberty hits, it will be screeching of the  fire-alarm-man-the-battlestations type!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Musings.

Typing with an ice pack balanced on my hand reminded me of charm school.  No kidding -- I really went to charm school.  Back in the day, I was a bonafide tomboy - rough and tumble, wouldn't wear a dress (see how much I've changed...?), had permanently dirty elbows and knees; I was heading hellbent to feral.  My mother, bless her soul, was afraid for my future prospects and decided to take matters in hand.

Every weekend, I would shuffle into class with the other assorted "problem" girls and spend hours learning how to walk, stand, sit, get into and out of a car, pour tea, make polite conversation, turn gracefully - you name it, we were put through it.  We learned how to deal with a vast assortment of spoons, forks, knives, plates, and glasses.  I was quite taken with the wine glasses and was greatly disappointed when we were served water.  Even at 12, I had gourmand sensibilities.  (Right.)  And, even though I griped and moaned and carried on something awful every weekend, I had to go.  After a while, my competitive nature took over and I ended up graduating at the top of my class.  Really, honest-to-gawd.  Even now, many (many) years later, faced with six forks to my left, I can handle them.  Fish fork?  No problem.  Cheese knife?  Let me at it.  I can pivot, with a book on my head, and sit gracefully in a chair.  Of course, there's not much call for that particular ability, and it's a little harder getting out of a chair these days. 

Seriously, those forced Saturdays of "yes, ma'ams" and "no ma'ams" did serve me well in adulthood.  I was able to carry on an intelligent conversation with the Chinese emissaries from a large trade group; I won over a formidable, anti-American French restaurant owner with good manners, a smattering of bad French and a sense of humor; I danced with a Governor at a Governor's ball.  Hooo, baby.  There was no stopping me.  But, at heart, I am still more feral than not.  It's sort of like covering a fox in fondant.  Or something like that.

I think we should send everyone in the world to charm school.  Maybe, if everyone learned good manners, we could get along better.  There seems to be a complete dearth of manners in anyone under the age of 20 now.  But there is hope!  More and more families (most especially my favorite families - youse guys) are teaching their children kindness and civility - they are being raised on love.  That's what the world needs.  A whole lotta love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It's been an interesting week, so far...

I dart about in the mornings, weeding here and there - mostly the little, easy-to-reach stuff.  Then I scramble and get ready for work.  So, Monday morning I arrive at work with a terrifically itchy hand.  Looks like something bit me.  I think nothing of it.  Until the top of my hand swells up, cartoon-like.  Hmmm.  I do what I always do under these circumstances.  I ignore it.  By the afternoon, I have tied a little bag of ice on it, which makes typing interesting.  It actually reminded me of having to walk with a book on my head - it makes your wrists all nice and straight.  This morning, it was still swollen and itchy, so, apparently, ignoring it didn't make it go away.  (That is SUCH a surprise!)  I briefly thought of going to the nearest Urgent Care facility after my mammogram and bone density scan (it was such a delightful morning...) but I really can't take too much medical attention.  So I stopped at the drug store and picked up some Benadryl.  I've spent most of the day trying to stay awake and the swelling is ever so slightly less.  i am taking that as a good sign.

I've been canning blueberries morning and evenings.  I am finally done, with 16 pints all nice and lined up and labeled, for a change.  I had the last batch in the canner at 9P last night and when I took the lid off, one of the jars had broken and there was blueberry juice and blueberry blobs floating all over the place.  I hate it when that happens!  I fished out the good jars, slapped the lid on the pot and left it for morning.  In all my years of canning, I think that has happened twice.  When I dumped it out, the bottom of the jar had come off in one neat piece.  Amazing.

I would say that I just can't wait to see what the rest of the week has in store, but I would probably jinx myself.  Damn!  Just did!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I think I need adult supervision.

It seems as if the only thing I can count on, is the fact that I can't count on things to go as planned.  Flexibility is becoming my middle name.  As you have all heard (ad nauseum), a lot gets packed into my two "free" days a week.  This past weekend was no different - Saturday (as originally planned):  All laundry washed, hung out to dry; fast trip to feed mill to stock up 'cause prices are going through the roof; trip down to pick up the Guinea keets I finally located; oh-right, finish cleaning out the small coop for same; the regular chores; neighbor for dinner.
My partial list  (look familiar, Sylvie?)
Saturday (as actually occurred):  came home Friday evening to find Scrappy listless and limping slightly.  Saturday - called vet at 6A to plead for appointment.  Took Scrappy to vet to discover he had Lyme's Disease - now I am adding medication twice a day for 30 days to our schedule.  I did get the feed and I did do my regular chores.  And I did have my neighbor over for dinner.  And the only reason I did get all the laundry done, was that I woke up at 2:30A Saturday morning and couldn't go back to sleep.

Scrappy - giving us his 'pathetic' look.
Here is where the adult supervision comes in.

So, that left Sunday.  The plan?  Go north to the blueberry farm for my annual picking day, leaving the house early - to miss both the heat, the traffic and the crowds; visit parents; get gas (in Vermont, where it's over 15 cents a gallon cheaper); clean the house; process the blueberries; iron for the week.  Have all this done by 4:30P, so I could sit down with a glass of wine and watch my Netflix movie.

The reality:  I do not want to get out of bed at 4:30A, when dogs woke me; I poke around doing everything but getting ready for the day; go out to find that everything living needed water; water same; chores; load eggs for farmers market and cooler for blueberries (and my homegrown veggies for Mom) in car; realize I have to move 150# of feed out of car and into various bins; dose Scrappy and give them both guilt chewies; leave house almost an hour later than planned.  By the time I had dropped off the eggs and driven up to the blueberry farm (usually an hour's drive, when one is NOT behind every octogenarian for six states - all going where you're going, or so it seems), it was hot and there was a crowd.  Blech.  I usually - make that always - go picking with someone else.  Normally, that is Melanie, her daughter, and Marianne.  I couldn't go with Melanie and her daughter last weekend, and Marianne is up to her lovely elbows in family stuff, so that left moi.  I planned to pick my usual 10# of berries in an hour.

Two+ hours later, in the hot sun, I had picked 22# of blueberries.  There is something about meandering around in the rows of blueberries, listening to the birds and the annoying-but-necessary birds of prey recordings, that can just make you lose track of time.  Plus, it was a fascinating chance to look into human behavior.  This is also known as practicing nosey-ness.  Lots of families out picking blueberries - with a few, it was a bonafide fun outing for the whole family.  For most, the 'fun' lasted about 5 minutes and then the full-blown whining started.  And that was just the adults (kidding!)  At one point, I kept hearing a fellow yakking away, but I didn't hear his companion's response.  So I sidled down a few rows and -- yep -- there he was on his cell phone.  I looked at him in disbelief and said, loudly, "Oh, fercryinoutloud!  Is there no place on this planet that is sacred?!"  He gave me a frightened look and moved a half-acre down.  Fine with me.  Harumph.

Needless to say, by the time I dragged my soggy, overheated self back to my car and dragged my two large buckets up for weighing, visited with my parents (briefly) - my mother almost literally ran to get me a glass of iced tea - and went home, you better believe not much else happened.  No house cleaning was done.  No ironing was done.  No dinner was cooked.  No movie was viewed.  I did manage to foist off about a half-pound of berries on my mother and another 5# to Kay.  This morning, when I opened the fridge, there it sat.  A large, broken, blue plastic bucket, filled to the brim with blueberries.  Staring balefully at me.  Is there a support group for over-pickers?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Musings.

My name is Susan.  And I am a NonGlutetarian. 

I was flummoxed while reading a magazine article wherein the featured reality show panelist declared herself a Pescatarian.  This, I learned upon further reading, is a person who eats plants, dairy, eggs, and fish.  Goodgollymissmolly.  What would we do without labels?  Can we just have a limited diet? Ooooh, nooooooooooo.  We must label it.  Vegetarian.  Vegan.  Omnivore. Herbivore. Localvore.  Dinosaur.  Now Pescatarian??  Of course, this ludicrous thought got me going on how 'they' label fish.  What would you rather eat (especially if you are a sensitive, caring Pescatarian)?  Mozambique Mouth-brooder or Tilapia (which, by the way, is considered an exotic pest in Queensland)?  Antarctic Cod or Patagonian Toothfish?  Whilst rummaging through the frozen seafood section of a local food emporium, I was amazed at all of the 'new' fish available.  It is taking me three times as long, by the way, to do any shopping for seafood (not that I do much - as I am a Borderline Pescatarian) between farm raised, wild caught, endangered species, illegal fishing methods, country of origin with horrendous human rights violations, or some hideous Asian eating (sex aid) craze.  Maybe I should become a Insectatarian.  Heaven only knows, they are gluten-free and I could free range on my garden right now and not have to touch the plant life other than foraging for my creepy-crawly dinner.  Eating is becoming so trendy, it's making me all prickly.  Or maybe that's the humidity.  It's like being in line for a cup of coffee and the guy in front of me, pressed khaki pants pulled up to his armpits, roguish hair cut - tousled just so - raps off his coffee order and it takes over five minutes to get it out.  I swear, I would have liked to have given him a wedgie.  It MUST be the humidity.

Crankypants aside, I am getting better at accepting 'veggies'.  Even if I do still have to say it through slightly-clenched teeth.  I will always have trouble with 'baby' vegetables.  Baby carrots are, most of the time, large carrots that have been cut, ground, trimmed and rounded to appear baby-like.  We used to call them carrot sticks.  That's what we got in our lunches.  In grade school, my lunch was legendary. It consisted of at least four components, all neatly wrapped in waxed paper, always including carrot sticks, placed in a brown paper bag with my name on it.  While most mothers were over the moon with HoHos, Twinkies, and a host of other prepackaged, imitation foods pumped full of processed ingredients, my mother baked her own cookies, baked her own bread, and packed a very balanced lunch.  If I ended up with a meatloaf sandwich, I could trade that baby for a Cadillac, had I been old enough to drive in third grade.  And, I'm sorry to report, I was only too happy to hand over half of my homemade brownie for half of a Twinkie.  Just tell a kid she can't have something, and that's all she wants.  Sigh.  I wish that kid would go away.  She's been hanging around for ages and I can't seem to lose her.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Phrenetic Phriday Phrasings.

I have no idea what that means - it was just fun say three times phast!  We will wrap up our week with Phrenetic Phriday Phrasings (you can tell I've been hanging out with medical types = "we"):

After trapping over 22 rats and being the cause of many more rat deaths (Lord, I hope), I was appalled to hear that my neighbor, Lithuanian Lawn Guy, is now trapping them!  I doubt if they are "mine", as we are about a mile apart, with a major road between us.  He believes it is the Year of the Rat.  I know it is the Year of the Dragon - so we can count our blessings, because I would bet Dragons are a lot tougher to trap.

This weather stinks.  I know I am singing to the chorus here, but it can't be said enough.  Stinks!  Stinks!  Stinks!  Speaking of stinks, and referencing the afore-mentioned rodent problem, there is something decomposing under my deck.  And I don't care.  It's not like I have a social life and people come over and sit on my deck in the evening drinking cocktails.  (sniffle)

My daily commute is getting worse by the week.  Every bridge/road/over/underpass is under construction.  What type of sadist decides to take four lanes of highway down to one in less than a half-mile?

I am cheering on my zucchini plants - someone remind me I did this in a week or two.  I was thinking about running garden totals on my side bar like some of you 'real' gardeners, but what a ludicrous thought!  How about I run a Trapped Rat Tally and Dunked Japanese Beetle Totals?  I bet I could outstrip even Erin!  Do you know that - many, many years ago - upon seeing my first Japanese beetle, I thought it was a thing of beauty?  Ignorance is bliss.

I made it through my annual physical unscathed - except for a blistering headache on my way home last night.  I think it was a combination of:  14 hour fast + no coffee + too little sleep + too little food + stress.  Do you think so?  I forced the goaties into early lock-up and went to bed before 9P.  It was easier than usual because I had the nurse-practitioner, Alan.  I can boss him around and say I don't want an EKG and get away with it.  I can also make him laugh.  Not so, with Dr.B; she's one tough cookie.

As if donating precious chicken feed to rats, crows, sparrows, starlings, and chipmunks isn't bad enough, I now have a red squirrel that apparently spends the day hanging from his toes, head in the feed, gorging himself.  I've caught the little bugger at it twice.  Next time, I'm bringing Scrappy.  He has a 'thing' for squirrels.

I'm going to stock up as much as possible on feed - the drought and loss of corn crops is going to hit us hard and soon.  I'm also going to go pick my annual 10# of blueberries early Sunday morning.  This year, I'm going to can the leftovers instead of freezing them.  I have GOT to focus more on stores that won't be lost due to power outages.

I was going to give you my list of "to-dos" but it is laughable.  I prefer to steep myself in denial and think I will get them all done.  So there.

Have a great weekend - and rain to all who need it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Two heads are better than one.

Especially when one is a frizzy-frazzled head.  Last Saturday, on a day around 90+ degrees with about 99 percent humidity, I was doing some blitzkrieg weeding - five minutes of frantic weeding, followed by 20 minutes of cooling off inside - when I had the feeling I was being watched.  Closely watched.  I turned my head and there was...Chickie.  Apparently, since I was weeding the bean plants, he thought he should help.  Sage was a safe distance behind him.  She's still leery of me.  At least I've learned not to go into a total panic when they're loose.  I just slowly stood up and pulled the ever-present bag of goat treats out of my pocket.  Just that faint rustle of zip-locked plastic is enough to get their full attention.  We slowly walked back to their area and I put them back inside and re-bungeed the gate.  I went back to finish weeding the beans and....there's Chickie and his shy sidekick, right back by my side.  We went through the routine again and I checked the fence more closely.  Dagnabbit (not what I said, exactly...)!  Chickie had pushed, rubbed, pushed and rubbed some more until he had forced the fencing to release from its welds and had pushed a big hole through it!  May I state the obvious?  Goats are not easy.

Back they went, and this time I locked them in their barn.  And turned a deaf ear to the protests.  The barn is cooler than the outside, has plenty of ventilation, food and water.  They just take issue with not being in the center of the action (or BEING the center of the action).  I left them there for the night, as I was not up to fence repair in that oppressive atmosphere.

The next morning, bright and early and before the worst of the humidity, I dragged out every bit of my fencing supplies and created a major fence sandwich.  I wired chicken wire on the inside, then put heavy sheep/goat fencing on the outside and fastened the lot together.  But would it hold?  As I whined on the phone to my friend/neighbor, Kay, she said, "Why don't you just zip-tie some PVC pipe on the outside of the fence so they can't stretch it?"  Oh.  What a brilliant idea!  So that is what I did.  So far, it works beautifully and it has completely flummoxed the goats.  I may not be featured in Martha Stewart Living for my picture-perfect homestead, but the goats are enclosed!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A little night harvest.

It's been so bloody hot and humid, that I can't get much done until it cools down.  Which leaves me grasping in the gloam for my dinner.  But, my dinner is getting more exciting!  Last night I picked some Swiss chard, some green beans and a couple of wax beans, pulled half of my carrot crop (6) and robbed the taters.  I also sucked it up and pulled up a garlic bulb.  With all of the drought and disappointment, I was hoping that they'd somehow grow into big, fat bulbs if I ignored them.  I was pleasantly surprised (you will note that the 'gloam' applies to the interior of the house as well - too hot for lights!) at the size of this particular head.  Of course, there are plenty more out there, so who knows what I'll find.  But they are dying back very early this year, so I am going to harvest them this weekend and hang them in the goat barn to season.  It adds a delightful garlicky atmosphere to the barn - and I don't care if the goats don't like it.  I'm mad at them at the moment.

Quarter for comparison. 

Carrots, chard, green/wax beans, Yukon Gold taters.

Of course, I just read Erin's blog and I'm feeling puny and insignificant in the face of her spectacular harvest...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Musings.

I wonder if the people who had the over-laden apple trees and left the crop to fall and rot on the ground are worrying about their food budget this year.  I don't know how many wild and cultivated (and neglected) apple trees were left untouched in my area last year.  I stopped at one place where the lawn (aka wasted green space) was literally blanketed with fallen apples.  I asked if I could take them and was rudely run off!  It galls.  This year, there is a real scarcity of fruit - tree fruit.  I have two old, decrepit apple trees that had lots of fruit last year.  Yesterday, I searched the branches and came up with two tiny apples.  How long will people continue to stand, helplessly, and cry about the cost of food when they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps and grow some?  Harumph.  And the people who gave up after one attempt at gardening?  If you think that was hard, try stretching your dollar to cover even more food price increases.  There's freedom in providing your own food - it ain't easy, especially this year, but it beats the pants off the alternative.

This weekend as I bid Sylvie 'Bon Voyage' - off to the start of her new life in Maine (with very mixed emotions), I was given to some nostalgic ruminations on the people who have touched my life over the (many) years.  There were the Youngbloods, the elderly farming couple who introduced me to chickens, Clydesdales and hummingbirds, Duncan, the sculptor who inspired me to be an artist and taught me how to accept criticism without tears, Mort, with his photogenic mind and amazing sense of fun, Rip, for the magnitude of his generosity and spirit, and it goes on and on and on.  And let's not forget the waiter in the Madrid restaurant who, when he thought the chair on which I was sitting was too high, slid a little cushion under my feet.  And I wasn't even the one leaving the tip!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Frugality and Learning Something New.

Because I am so darn anxious to harvest things out of my garden - or, more likely, I am so anxious to beat the chipmunks/slugs/snails/rabbits/Japanese beetles/etc. to the harvest - I was out last night cutting onion greens.  Then I trotted inside and sliced them thinly and put them in the dehydrator.  This morning I had one quart of nice dried 'green' onions.  Woot!  I also poured my leftover gazpacho into ice cube trays and froze that - it's my own Bloody Mary invention:  tall glass, gazpacho ice cubes, shot (or so) of vodka.  Bingo!

Earlier this week, I discovered that my drivers' side headlight was out.  I hate it when car-type things go wrong, because I know bumkus when it comes to cars.  And I swear that headlights don't last as long as they used to.  I hardly do any nighttime driving now, but I usually drive with my headlights on, day or night, because of the safety factor.  It would be just my luck to zip past a trooper who had a quota to fill.  Or an ax to grind.  Yesterday, I had my lights on when I pulled into the parking garage at my office building.  The building superintendent came out of the interior door and yelled, "Hey, your left headlight is out!"  Sighing loudly in my best helpless-girl manner, I told him I knew that it was and I was going to have it fixed when I got my oil changed.  In three weeks.  Then I flounced off to my office.  An hour later, he came up and told me to stop at an auto parts store and get two replacement bulbs and bring them with me to work.  This morning, both of us bending over the open chasm of what is my car engine, he showed me how to change the bulbs.  I feel emancipated!  I feel in charge!  I love it!!!!  And it cost one half of what it would have cost me to have ONE headlight changed at the shop.  Frugality - it's a wunnerful thing.  And, hey!  Knowledge IS power!  Right on!  (Where's my tie-dyed stuff - I'm getting my groove back.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anything this cute should be illegal.

Kay's doe, Acorn, had twins a couple of days ago.  Two of the most adorable tri-colored Nigerian Dwarf goat kids I have ever seen in my entire life - I kid you not!  (Pun intended.)  One of each - a doeling and a buckling.  It took all my strength to not put them in my pocket and head for the gates.  I'll wait until they're weaned.  KIDDING.  I think.  Yes, kidding.  Um, yes.  Hmmm.

This was the sunset off of Sylvie's deck on our last Sunday Night Supper.  The view from her deck is just spectacular - nothing but rolling green hills and mountains and sunsets like this.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Musings.

I went to open a can a couple of days ago and it took me forever to locate my can opener.  I realized that I haven't opened a 'can' can for months and months.  All this cooking from scratch and putting up my own has just crept into my life and taken over!!!  What a nice thought.  I just had the last of my chicken and rice soup this past weekend and will have to can some more.  There is nothing like it - just the right amount of seasonings, you can make it ricey-thick or brothy-thin.  I have the comfort of knowing that, if the zombies take over everywhere else, I will be just fine for quite some time.  And I have to agree with OFG on who the real zombies will be/are.

Another topic high on the Musing List is that there seem to be either Givers or Receivers in the world, but very few who can both give and receive.  I have friends (you know who you are) who are very happy to give me almost literally the shirt of their back, but, when it comes to receiving anything in return, you have to chase them down, tackle them and force them to take it.  I mean, really.  That comes to receiving compliments gracefully - something with which I am completely uncomfortable.  You know the type:  "That shirt looks wonderful on you!"  "What, this shirt?  OMG it makes my arms look fat!"

Back in the OL (Other Life) in Ohio, I ran with a wild crowd.  It was not unusual for us to gather for unfettered nights of ....bowling.  Now, these people were very serious about their bowling.  I found that being serious about bowling was sort of an oxymoron, but they tolerated my flippant attitude and complete lack of talent and athletic ability.  I imagine it was because I was always the one who had everyone over afterwards for food and drink.  However, one night shines out in its own fabulous light.  The night I won a prize for my bowling.  Not only was it a prize, but it was the only such prize every bestowed by this particular bowling alley that we frequented.  I won the "Worst Adult Bowler" prize!  It was a bottle of Cold Bird.  This, for you wine aficionados not familiar with the more obscure vintages, is about seventeen levels below Cold Duck.  Which is about twenty levels below Asti Spumanti.  Which is about another fifteen levels below cheap bubbly wine.  You get the picture.  I wore this badge proudly.  But it became a game to see who could get rid of the bottle by foisting it off (unbeknownstly - word?  should be) on someone else in the group.  We referred to it as "Pass the Bottle".  That bottle of rotgut made the rounds for over a year.  It was slipped under dog beds, left in the back seats of automobiles, disguised as other objects that were not as disagreeable - at one Halloween party, the passers had wrapped it up in swaddling cloths and left it, to all intents and purposes a small, stiff baby, on the hosts bed.  Sadly, it was accidentally dropped on a patio during a rather rambunctious summer cookout, and that was the end of that.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Walk Through the Garden. Virtually.

Chard bed - Pac Choy has gone to flower on left. 
Germination stunk on far end.

Eggplant (center of peas/beans).

Garlic bed - looking dry!

Golden Peas - pretty, but not prolific.

Green beans

My exotic fruit - Meyer Lemon tree!

Onion bed

Carrots to left.  Or so they should be.  Out
of two, six foot rows, I have about 13 carrots.

The Taters!

From l-r, Lemon Verbena, Chives, Calendula, Mint, Catnip.

Squash bed is struggling along.  I water it every night and it's
evaporated in minutes.

The Tomato/Cuke/Pepper Bed - it's a little cramped.
I call it "Square Inch Gardening". 

Cukes, the Square Inch Method.
Okay, it's not necessarily a 'walk through the garden'.  That would connotate order, not chaos.  It's more of a frenetic race around the garden, but you can get the picture, right?  One of these days, I may even a) have my camera; b) the batteries will be working; c) it won't be 95 degrees with an equal level of humidity; and d) I'll remember to take pictures in order!

Now, back to the goat barn before I wimp out....

Friday, July 6, 2012

A little bit of this and that.

But no garden pics!  (Baaaad me.)  I promise to post them this weekend.  Honest to Pete, I do.  (Can someone please call me and remind me?  Who am I?  And who is Pete?)

Had a great Fourth at our annual town parade.  It's the only Fourth of July Parade in the county, I believe - or the only continuous parade.  I bake a couple of pies for the Pie a' la Mode fundraiser for the library, get there early and park two folding chairs for my parents (under the shade trees, and not too far from the pie...) and then just stand back and enjoy it.  It's a wonderful community event, with people milling around and catching up on the news. 

My sister from L.A. was in for one of her blitzkrieg visits, so I didn't get much done - lots of sitting around and talking.  I picked her up in the city Sunday afternoon, she went to our parents' Monday and Tuesday, we re-met on Wednesday at the parade, then I dropped her at the train station on the way to work on Thursday.

Freddy is a fast healer - after chafing at being kept "safe" in a crate, she rejoined the flock the night after the operation.  We do our 'a little dab'll do ya' routine with the Neosporin twice a day, but she seems to be limping much less and getting around just fine.  This morning we did our foot ablutions on the kitchen counter.  It was very exciting for everyone.  I swear all of Scrappy's hair stood on end.  Apparently, however, she is Kees' favorite girlfriend and he is all in a snit when I catch her up twice a day. 

The Japanese beetles are back.  So, twice a day - morning and evening - I go out with my can of soapy water and knock the little buggers into a watery grave.  If you garden or grow ANYTHING, you sure have to be made of stern stuff.  I also noticed that something is digging up my lawn - most likely digging for grubs.  I haven't caught a scent of "Eau d' Pepe La Pew", the usual grub-digging character, but it's another first.  Now I have to look into grub treatments and try to nip that in the bud. 

This weekend will be mostly manure-moving.  I need to get the piles of llama beans moved out of the paddock, and the goaties' barn is only half-done.  Once those two things are done, I will have time (hahahahahaha) to mow down the weeds in the back and water the garden.  And paint the Adirondack chairs.  And clean out the little coop.  The forecast is for storms on Saturday.  More than likely, they will pass south of us.  Other than today - which is due to climb into the 90s - we should be back to milder temps.  But there is no rain forecast for the next week.  Not good.

My vision of raising my own small flock of meatie chickens has fizzled.  The rooster is too large and will be going off to Kamp K tomorrow.  I will keep the two hens and will be introducing them into the main flock this weekend.  That's always good for some drama!

Hope you get rain if you need it, dry out if you don't.

Monday, July 2, 2012

We interrupt our regular musing....

for the Freddy Report.  Freddy the Bearded Lady came through her minor foot surgery with flying colors.  This vet is such a keeper.  We wrapped her in a towel and I cradled her like a baby on her back, while he cleaned out her infected foot area.  What a mess!  Poor puss.  She was a trooper, but didn't much like not being able to see what was going on.  She now has a nice, clean, LARGE, gaping wound on her foot and I have to wash it out with a weak iodine solution and then dab Neosporin in it twice a day.  Yes, twice. a. day.  Well, thank goodness - my days were getting pretty run-of-the-mill anyway, so this should liven things up.  I borrowed a dog crate and have set up a little recovery area for her, where she's in the shade, has clean bedding, her own food and water and can keep her eye on her compatriots, and vice versa.  When the surgery was over and I had put her back in her carrier (and spent a good long time carrying on and loving all over his dog, Sprocket - the most beautiful Bernese I have ever seen), he handwrote the bill and said, "Well, do you think this is fair?  I'm not sure what to charge."  Wha?  It was very fair - and he gave me iodine and some ointment to keep flies away from her foot, too.

Got half the goat barn cleaned out - I had forgotten that I had laid plastic on the ground under all the pallets.  It was originally for hay storage only.  After forking through about 7 inches of hay and muck, I found the cause for the dampness underlying their bedding.  Ripped it up and only about 7 more wheelbarrow loads will finish the job.  I realized, however, that - in my infinite (or is that finite) wisdom, I had build the stalls around their Igloo and there is no way to get it out.  Now I have to find a way to clean it out on site.  I can never be accused on making things easy.  Nope. 

I tried a new recipe on the grill - and a huge thanks to Jaime for posting it on her lovely blog.  I used salmon and then did sliced sweet potatoes, shallots and onions in another packet on the grill - no muss, no fuss, no hot stove or oven.  Perfecto!  My sister from LA was in town (briefly, part A) and Sylvie joined us.  It was a nice evening.

I plan on taking pictures of the garden this week and posting them.  So far, things are growing and are pretty much on schedule, except for the squash - I planted the seeds late and they took forever to germinate.  But, I will be enjoying zucchini while everyone else's is just a memory.  Wait --.  They will remember that all they've been eating for months is zucchini and will run, screaming, from my attempts to foist mine off on them.  Rats.

Speaking of, we seem to have come to a stalemate.  I have trapped 21.  That's right.  And I saw another, but have not trapped it.  I am hoping that it partook of my One Bite Rat Delight and will bother me no more.  As if.