Thursday, April 27, 2017

Beauty+Function, When Your Food is Cute, Progress

When I toddled home last night, I didn't even notice the flat package that my postal carrier had so nicely placed (out of direct view) in my carport, so it wouldn't get wet.  I dragged my bags into the house, fought through the swirling sea of wiggle-butts and whip-tails, let The Pepperoni free* and let them loose out the back door.  There is no end of "Happy to See You" when I get home.  It's wonderful.  After they did their business and came bolting back in, I realized I had forgotten a bag on the back seat of my car.  As I was approaching the car, I just happened to see a white corner peeking up from the wheelbarrow and - there was a package from my BFF, Sylvie, and her partner, Jim!  I raced in, opened it carefully (as it was marked "Fragile") and found this beauty inside:
The color is not true to the original -
it's cherry, I believe
My camera work leaves much to desire and it was pretty dreary outside this morning, but it is one of Jim's beautiful hardwood cutting boards!  OMG.  The inlaid design goes all the way through the wood and it is the most beautiful cutting board ever!  I can't stop with the exclamation points, as it is SO BEAUTIFUL!!!  You can find Jim's woodworking page here.  I spent an inordinate amount of time just gazing at it.  Thank you, Jim - I adore it!


I've run into a little snag.  My Nuggets are Cute.  My Nuggets have Personality.  Up to this point, my annual Nugget-fest was populated by the Creepymeat chicks.  They were cute for a nanosecond, then they were not.  By the time it was time for freezer camp, I was more than happy to see them go.  These Grey Rangers are feisty, active, curious, and ready to break out of the brooder condo at any given opportunity.  They are relatively quiet about it, though, and, while they fling their crumbles hither and yon, they do not poop on every surface available to them.  Sigh.  I am hoping they will morph into something not so cute and meaty, to boot.  (Hey!  I'm a poet and don't know it!)


Progress is being made in small steps, inside, outside and on the knitting needles.

The Pergola
After struggling with windblown deck umbrellas for years, I got the bright idea that I needed a pergola off the back of the house.  I do not do well in direct sunlight, so have had limited use of my deck for 11 years.  I am a slow mover.  At first, I was going to have the pergola built off the back of the house.  Then, I thought, what if I fall madly in love with my pergola, move and can't take it with me?  These, typically, are the types of thoughts I have at o'dark thirty, when I am trying to make up my mind whether to try to fall back asleep or throw in the towel and get up.  I decided on a free-standing pergola that can be moved around the deck, if need be.  Then there was the dilemma of who should build it.  Not I.  I turned to a young fellow who had fixed my under-house freezing plumbing problem.  He is a) reliable; b) honest to a fault; c) reasonable; and d) pretty darn handy in many areas.  He and his also-young wife are expecting their first child and I know that extra money will come in handy.  It is a win-win-win situation.  I whipped up the sketch above and from that shaky rendition, he was able to figure out a materials list.  He and his wife came over last night and we hashed out the details, although I am still trying to pry an estimate for labor out of him.  He is worried he may estimate at too high a price.  Sigh.  I had to reiterate what an estimate was.  Just as an aside, he used to provide firewood for a neighbor down the hollow.  This guy was either high or drunk 20 out of 24 hours in the day.  He brews beer.  Big surprise.  Billy (young guy) would deliver the firewood, get paid, then two days later, the neighbor would show up at his door to pay him again because he forgot he had already paid.  They used to argue about it!  Billy finally quit working with him because of it.  Top that.

Once his labor estimate is in and we decide where to buy the lumber, it's all systems go!  Another project checked off The List.

Progress is slow in the seed-starting arena.  My celery seeds did not germinate.  It's been long enough to incubate a duck egg, so I am thinking they are toast.  It could be due to the fact that I am triply distracted with outside work, inside work, the Nuggets, and Mr. Picky.

Progress has been made, however, with Mr. Picky's eating issues.  I have now arrived at the fact that Bertie has a sensitive system (as witnessed by the beating my hall rug has been taking) and is prone to food boredom.  Gone is the poached chicken - enter the lightly sautéed ground beef.  With sticky rice.  And just ever-so-much expensive kibble.  Luckily, the other two would eat wallpaper paste if it was in their dish, so nothing is wasted but my time.  Meal prep is complicated and time-consuming.  I am waiting to finish up the poached chicken and then everyone gets ground beef.  Honestly.

Even though I have one of my mom's socks still on the needles (and needing to be frogged down to the basic foot because it is too short), a mock-turtle neck, sleeveless black cotton top about 3/4 done - for the last four years - a pair of socks for me started, and a pile of cup cozies started as well, I was drawn like a moth to a flame to this project:

I had never heard of Caron Cake yarn.
Where have I been?!

Curse you, Cheryl (of Acorn to Oak)!  And, thank you, too!  I saw her Caron Cake shawl on her blog (she is so amazingly creative - it boggles) and I was hooked.  I have just started on the decrease part and am determined to finish at least ONE project - especially a large, worsted-weight wool project - before the onset of summer. 

*In the ongoing saga of "What Next!?!", someone - I think it's a joint effort by The Pepperoni and Lovey - was opening TP's crate during the day.  This involved pulling up a lever and moving it to the left.  My fix was to use a carbinger clip on the flip-up handle and, so far, it's working!


Mama Pea said...

Lovely cutting board. I think I would just look at it and run my hands over it for a while before actually using it!

Looks like spring-type projects are full speed ahead on your little homestead haven.

I see Bertie (aka Mr. Picky) is continuing to work on his training of you. (Hee-hee.) All of your dogs have no idea what a wonderful home and Doggie Mama they have!!

Rain said...

Hi Susan! :)) That is a really beautiful cutting board, isn't it a nice treat to have a good one?? I went to check out his work, his portfolio is really gorgeous. I saw another cutting board on his site, very nice!

I love your pergola! We're in a situation where we don't want anything permanent here either since we're just renting. You're lucky you have someone you can trust for the work. We mostly feel like we need to do everything ourselves to get it done right!

Oh what smart dogs lol...opening cage latches lol! :)

farm buddy said...

Even though my Freedom Ranger or Kosher King chicks are still beautiful and personable right to the end, I find that around ten weeks or so, they look as if they really are no longer comfortable in this world, due to their large size. Makes it easier to part with them. Don't worry, yours will definitely be meaty.

DFW said...

Love that cutting board! And, can't wait to see that pergola all finished. Don't you just love working w/honest people?

jaz@octoberfarm said...

wow..nice cutting board. and the pergola will be wonderful! that yarn! it's wonderful!

Michelle said...

Welcome to my vegetarian world. ;-) If it's too cute to eat, then it's too ugly to stomach!

Michelle said...

(I meant it's either too cute to eat, OR too ugly to stomach....)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

"Freezer Camp," LOL! Quite the euphemism!

AnnieK said...

More chicken pics PLEASE !!!!!!

Susan said...

Mama Pea - Yes, I'm almost afraid to use it! I may hang it on the wall! I agree. Bertie, along with the rest of them, have me trained perfectly. Pfft.

Susan said...

Rain - I think I will be spending a lot of time staring at it, as opposed to getting it messy. I ordered some special mineral oil/beeswax treatment to keep it conditioned. My pergola should be going up in a couple of weeks! I will keep a photo diary of it, if I remember.

Susan said...

FB - Well, that's a relief. I do realize that I am raising them for a purpose, it's just that these seem sort of supernaturally smart. I may try the Kosher Kings next year for a comparison.

Susan said...

DFW - I DO love working with honest people - it's just so hard to find any...I'll have to try and do a step by step photo post with this thing. I can't wait!

Susan said...

It's all wonderful! Cannot wait for the pergola. Now I have to figure out how to eradicate my hops vines so that I can grow something lovely to adorn it. Wish me luck.

Susan said...

Michelle, there are times that I think it would just be easier. I have been working my way towards less and less meat and, as long as I don't smell anyone grilling a steak or cooking bacon, I might make it all the way.

Susan said...

It's amazing how many euphemisms we use to avoid using the term "butcher" or "kill". Which is what we do.

Susan said...

Okay! I'll see what I can do over the weekend - they are not good subjects, given as they are to darting around.

Michelle said...

Oh, those STILL smell good to me, but I can tell you that after years of eating no meat, it no longer TASTES good when I've decided to take a bite. Pffft!

Old School said...

Haha – I love the wiggle-butts and whip-tails.

Sandy Livesay said...


Now that's an amazing gift handmade from your friend. I would want to make it a piece of art :-) instead of a cutting board.

Freezer camp......hehehehehe!!!

Pergola can't wait to see the finish project