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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Let's talk gardens.

Although all I did was mitch and boan (as Mama Pea would say) about our wet, cold spring, I could use some of the wet coldness right about now.  We transitioned right into a HOT, dry summer.  Well, humid, but no rain.  It has been dry as toast.  This morning was the first tiny bit of rainfall we have had in over 15 days.  And it is going to be raining off and on all day - halleluiah!

Looking toward the barn (notice the dying pines). 
Elderberry in the forefront, zukes left, then tomatoes, then
the Alley of Tires.

Weedy herb bed with Elderberries.

Weedy pepper bed.  (Notice the theme?)

Thank goodness for the kale!  Chard behind. 
In more ways than one.

Red noodle beans and yard long beans
on trellis (barely)

Bee balm gone wild!
We are slowly getting used to another person and dog in the house.  Luckily, Rosie is an easy house guest and we are very simpatico.  But I am not used to talking this much.  The dogs are trying to adjust to a sweet, furry bundle of nerves called Fae, and Slimmie is wondering why I hate him.  He comes out in the wee hours and we try to sneak in a cuddle while I'm knitting.  It is nice to have someone other than dogs to talk to, and we do have a lot to catch up on.  She is a freelance writer, so the set up is perfect - she can work from the dining room table and the dogs get company all day.

I am finally off doxycycline and should be able to brave the sun again - good thing.  The weeds are starting to look like they might be there to stay.  NOT.  Thanks to very little rain, growth is slow (except for the aforementioned weeds).  The tomatoes are starting to take off and there are quite a few green ones.  I just can't wait for the first ripe tomato!

Monday, July 8, 2019

It's going to be a rip-roarin' summer!

Lawsymercy.  First, let me state here that I will NEVER HAVE ANOTHER YARD SALE AGAIN.  PERIOD.  I am slated to help my sister with hers, but, as for one of my own?  No way, Jose.

Our office closed early on Wednesday, so I beat a hasty retreat home - and turned on all the fans.  It was a bona fide heat wave with high heat indexes and it was HUMID.  My least favorite combination.  Once the sun started to sink, I fired up the oven and baked my two pies for the library fundraiser - rhubarb custard.  One of my favorite recipes and easy-peasy.  Once they cooled (took hours), into the fridge and the dogs and I were trying to sleep in front of the fans.
IN the sun?  "Slimmie"?

Even with 93% humidity, The Pat
must be covered.  It makes me want
to break out in hives.
The Fourth dawned with the same amount of heat/humidity, so I opted to drop the pies off with a library trustee and then crept into the dark house, with all windows closed, curtains drawn and fans on full.  Amazingly, my neighbor - he of the semi-automatic weaponry - was a mere shadow of his usual Fourth of July self.  Last year, I truly thought we had been invaded.  There were explosions into the wee hours.  This year?  I guess the heat wave must have gotten to him, or his fuses were damp.  There were a few bangs, but that was it.  Bless him.

Friday was up to VT for errand-running, change getting, a short parental visit, and back to start sorting out and putting out the yard sale stuff.  It did not help that the heat wave persisted.  Thanks to my own genetic makeup, compounded by Doxycycline, I could only spend about 10 minutes at a go outside, before having to retreat and cool down.  That made the set-up process excruciatingly long and frustrating.  Have I mentioned that I get cranky in humidity?  Ditto Saturday, where it was even more humid, if that was at all possible without rain.  Speaking of which, in the middle of the day, a cold front moved through and there was much racing around with tarps and bungee cords.  I managed to get everything battened down before the rain.
Nightly "Cheezies" - the big blue one
is mine.  The little, bitty cheezie is Slimmie's.
As I sank into my damp chair to enjoy the sound of rain on the metal roof, my phone rang - the caller was from Tucson, so I let it go into voicemail.  I get so many spam calls, that I don't answer anything that doesn't have a name attached to it.  When the caller left a voicemail, I listened and it was my cousin, Kitt, whom I have not seen in 25+ years!  She, her husband, their daughter and SIL, granddaughter and grandson, were motoring through, on their way to Boston and could they stop to see me in the morning.

Heck yeah.

The morning of the yard sale dawned gloriously un-humid and cool.  Birds sang.  Winds wafted.  I ran around like a maniac.  I was almost set up when 1) my sister arrived (yay!), 2) my neighbor arrived with even more 'junk' (erm), 3) a 24' flashy motor home pulled into the driveway.  Luckily, they arrived early, so I had time to talk, laugh, show them around, and hug my cousin mercilessly.  Then they were off and my sister stayed for a visit, while we waited for the crowds.  And waited.  The bad news was that very few people showed up.  The good news was that I got a lot of weeding done!  I positioned myself under the big fir tree in my front yard and weeded as long as I could take the sun, then flopped in a chair and listened to my audio book.  I gave the dogs marrow bones (frozen, so they could gnaw on them and cool down at the same time), infused some filtered water with mint, made some cold brew, tidied up here, tidied up there.  Twiddled my thumbs.  Sighed mightily.  I finally had to call it quits, as far as sitting outside, shade or not, and went in to do housework.  I figured the dogs would sound the alarm should anyone arrive.
Cukes weeded - except for the middle.
In the early part of the day, it was just peaceful - with birds flitting about.  A young catbird found me fascinating and we sat about five feet apart, sizing each other up.  I think they are such pretty birds.  The only sour note was the endless cacophony of young crows, pestering their parents in the chicken yard.  I'm not sure if it is a Murder of Crows, or Let's Murder Some Crows.

I also received news over the holiday that another close friend has ended a chapter in her life - she will be staying with us for a few weeks, while she works out her next adventure.  She comes with her bestie, Fae, an 11 year old fluffy, four-pawed girl dog.  It will be interesting to see how I do, going from semi-feral, semi-hermit to roomie.  And how the pups do with a new face in the pack.  Given that Rosie is the personification of positive energy and sunshine, I think I will do fine.  I can always hide in my room!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

All I needed was a cause and other ramblings.

This energy drain is really getting on my nerves. There’s nothing worse, to me, than sitting around looking at your list multiplying and not having the energy to tackle it. However I did get a little boost from an  unusual source on Sunday. When I dropped off the baked goods at the farm, I found out that one of my gravel pit neighbors ( codename: Pinocchio) was in the process of trying to get a permit to screen over 50,000 yards of soil. Apparently, that comes out to around 2800 truckloads. Or 2800 trucks going past my house, twice. Plus the noise of the screening. I was so incensed I think there was smoke coming out of my ears.

There is nothing like righteous indignation to give one an energy boost! I got on the Internet and found the email address for the mining division of the DEC.  I then fired off an email to them and sent emails to everyone I know who has any connection with state government. I’ll  do everything in my power to make sure that that permit is not issued. Our road is in terrible shape now, with just the heavy truck traffic that we have with the two mines.  Quadrupling – or whatever-ing - the traffic is not going to make it better. There is also a small bridge that is crumbling and it would be disastrous to subject it to that kind of wear.  Hmm.   Then, again, should the bridge collapse with a truck carrying a full load, I guess that would put a monkey wrench in the traffic pattern.   I digress.

I was pleased that DEC responded quickly,  and I now have names, email addresses and phone numbers, plus some leads to influential people.    I’ve only just begun the fight.


*****


The Little Prince (aka The Butter Pat, The Pat, Mr. Stinky) had to go to the vet this morning for his first seasonal allergy shot.  And nail clipping.  This now involves:  administering half a sedative an hour before his appointment; strapping him into his brace; clipping him into his booster seat, all while Lovey looks on, worried.  He is the only dog I have had (beside Scrappy, who was 99.999% perfect) who just can't wait to get to the vet's.  He almost levitates up the ramp.  This morning, we came through the door and smack into a vastly overweight and amped up lab mix.  Who roared.  This set off the high yodeling of the Pat.  It was chaos.  His vet, Dr. Hannah, came running across the waiting room and scooped him up and trotted back to an examining room, me in tow.  There was much cooing and massaging of little ham legs and carrying-on.  No wonder he looks forward to it.  I would, too.  No one offered to massage my big ham legs, however.  And thank goodness.


While they were waiting until the reception area was clear - the 'fluffy' lab is the polar opposite of the Pat, shedding in fear like a ninja and peeing all over the place - Little Prince managed to draw a crowd - there were two vets, two vet techs and a receptionist, all squeezed into the lab, taking turns rubbing his little cranium and hand-feeding him treats, all talking in high-pitched voices.  It was embarrassing.  By the time we made it back to the car, his little head was drooping and he dozed all the way home.  There was a joyful reunion of siblings - parted for those long minutes - and then he went into his crate on his own, pulled up his blanket and was asleep before I left for work.  I want to come back as the Pat.


*****


I know it's going to be worse before it's better, but this organizing for a yard sale is horrendous!  I have piles everywhere.  There is no surface showing.  I am starting to develop a tic.  It hasn't helped that it's been put off for a week - the weather last weekend was uncooperative.  This Sunday is so-so, but I am not putting it off again.  I had planned on putting an ad in the local rag and went through the grinding process of actually contacting someone.  If you call, you get voicemail.  There is no information in the paper as to the cost of ads ($ per line), so one is forced to send an email.  A full week later, I received a reply.  Eight emails later - with me sending them my copy and requesting a price and never getting one - I got this reply:  "One problem.  Every summer we take the first week of July off and there is no paper."  Seven emails prior to this, I gave him the copy - which included the date of the sale (7/7) and told him I needed it to run in this week's edition.  I do believe he expected me to change the date of my sale to coincide with his vacation.  I will turn to Facebook.  It's no wonder that social media is taking over the world.  And that is not a good thing, IMHO.  Friday I will get my change and start setting up.  Saturday I will finish setting up and take pictures of the 'highlighted' items to post on FB.  Sunday morning, mimosa in hand (kidding.  maybe.) I will brace myself and hope that lots of people come and find just what they've always been looking for.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Mama - get lost!


When I was a child, this would have been all the impetus I would need to ditch the folks.  Happy Weekend, everyone!

*Edited to note that I now know why it's called a "murder" of crows.  It's how we  (I and all the parental crows) feel about the adolescent crows, those huge babies that NEVER SHUT UP.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Yes, this is all I have to show.

My lunch.
Saturday morning was spent at Express Care (Lyme's), herding cattle, battling migraines, picking up Roger, and hunting for my energy.  I have the sneaking suspicion that the Universe is getting tired of trying to get her point across, while I refuse to listen.  Pfft.

Another weekend lost to lack of energy.  I will have to say that that is my least favorite feeling.  It leaves (this) one with (mental) wheels spinning and stewing in frustration.  Which helps nothing and no one.  I have resigned myself to taking my doxycycline and being patient.  I seriously think that insects will take over the world within an alarmingly short period of time.  Adding insult to injury, doxycycline renders you super-sensitive to sun.  And guess what we had all weekend?  Yep. 
I did do some vacuuming, and managed a short visit with my parents after the EC visit.  I picked up quail eggs from Marianne and discovered their Highland cattle on the loose.  Luckily, her husband was home and we rounded them up between us.  It's rather intimidating, being faced with those hairy beasts, horns and all, armed with a stick - the only thing at hand at the time. 

I also picked up Roger.  Remember my reference to 'never say never'?  Well, our roosterless state lasted less than a month.  Friends of a friend needed to rehome a young RIR rooster and I, of the wet lettuce spine, said yes.  I picked him up Saturday, late afternoon, and integrated him into the coop when it was darkish.  One would think that he would be thrilled to be let out of the cat carrier, but that one would be wrong.  I could not get him out, even with shaking the carrier like a salt shaker.  I had to grope around in the dark and take the carrier apart.  However, all was quiet (except for crowing) in the morning and the mix was seamless.  He is quite handsome and seems very nice.  However, after my recent experiences (of the last four years), I am withholding judgement.  I was impressed that he refused to go in to roost until every last resident was inside.  The ducks gave him an extra dose of anxiety, as they are always the very last to go in - stretching it out until it is fairly dark.  Roger kept coming out and staring at them.  To no avail.  There is no hurrying ducks. 

Sunday was a repeat of Saturday, weather-wise.  Sun, of course.  It was all I could do to dart in and out, hanging up the laundry.  I was draped in netting, hats, veils, shirts, vestments, trailing about like a wraith.  Geez.  I did get my recycling to the transfer station; I did fertilize the tomato plants.  I did not much else.  Peanut spent some time in his brace - which he cannot get off, try as he might.  I gave them each a marrow bone and put them out on the deck on their beach blankets.  That bought me a lovely, restful period of about half an hour.  While I was pacing the floors, waiting for the miracle cure, I whipped up a batch of Chili Burgers from one of my Moosewood cookbooks - the one with fifteen sticky note bookmarks.  I believe it's their Low-Fat cookbook.  I will have to say they were and are delicious!  (See photo above). 

So, onward and upward.  I am most anxious to get my get-up-and-go back.  Hopefully, by the middle of the week, I should be feeling much better.  I have my yard sale coming up this coming Sunday and I'll be damned if I will continue this slogging around for much longer.  I've set up a makeshift table in the car port and I have been toting out objects every now and then.  This week I will spend time in every room until I have a nice, big pile.



Thursday, June 20, 2019

Rising to the surface.

One would think that, having spent so much time away, I could at least make up for it with a riot of photos, memorializing all that was done.  Well, one would be wrong.  It's been a whole lot of hurry up and wait around here.  And there's a lot of the same on the job.  Which, I am happy to report, I have for another year.  I was hoping for two, but we take what we get and be glad about it.


I spent a futile night cleaning the guest room for my youngest sister - only to find out on the day she was to arrive that she had let her drivers license lapse and wouldn't be coming.  Ah, well.  As it turned out, the cleaning and fluffing was not for naught, as I had ordered a mattress topper (in my never-ending quest for a good night's sleep) and was instructed to place it on my mattress and let it 'come to life' for 48 HOURS.  What?  So, off to the guest room I shuffled for the allotted time.  This, in turn, stirred things up on the furry kids front - what was I doing down there?  Why was I up in the night?  Why did I not want company in the bathroom?  Tonight, thank goodness, my mattress topper should have come to full sense of itself and I am back where I belong.


The Pat is still under crate arrest and I have to carry him in and out, morning and night, to do his business.  I can tell he likes the additional attention, so I am sure I will have to wean him off after he's feeling better.  I will wait until its been a full two weeks before I strap him into his L'il Back Brace - I want to make sure that he can't twist himself into paralysis when my back is turned.


I continue to experiment with pickled quail eggs.  So far, every recipe I've tried, I've liked.  There was the bourbon, the shallots and white wine, and the soy.  I think the soy is my favorite, thus far.  Next on the agenda is mustard.  The four little girls seem to be settling in, being without fear of dismemberment. 


I do have a couple of pics...


Blossoms!

Squashette!
Granola

And knitting
Of course, over the period of the last week or so, I noticed that the zucchini plants were starting to sport yellow leaves - just to be thorough, I sprinkled some Epsom salt around each and gave them a good going-over with my homemade spider mite/aphid spray.   The beans are up, the chard is up, everything is holding its own, even with lots of rain, very little sun and much cooler than normal temps.  I only had one melon seed out of four germinate, so I am trying to decide whether to just go with the one (sensible choice) or replant six more (insane choice).


I still  have some things to do in the garden, but it is pretty well done - except for all the watering and weeding.  I am getting ready for a yard sale on the 30th, so that has meant lots of piles.  I have found that the most useful way for me to get ready, is to place a box/boxes in each room and then, as I am in the room, sort through things and put everything that's going into the boxes.  Then these will be sorted by price, etc.  I am only having it the one day because I thought it would be safer than having cars parked on the side of the road with all the idiot truck drivers zooming around the corners without slowing or looking.  Plus, I can only take interacting with the public for one day.  I figure I can work in the garden and on the compost piles when I am between customers.  If the weather is nice enough, I may set up doggy day care on the back deck.  It would be too much turmoil with all the comings-and-goings.


So, back down I go - into endless sheets of inventory and unending farm chores.  I will resurface next week with my own rendition of Never Say Never.  Hehe.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Really, you know me so well...

...it's almost scary.  After a totally unscientific procedure, wherein I went through many machinations and figurings and calculations, all adding up to nonsense, I decided to opt for pure numbers.  Since Michelle and Leigh were within a half-chore of each other, they win!  And, as I winged this whole process, the prizes are still a mystery.  To me, too! LOL!  But I do have some ideas...

Michelle, I have your info, so Leigh, would you please email your mailing address?

I am desperately trying to cut back on my lists.  The problem is, once I have it written down, I take it as a challenge to get it all done.  No matter how insane it is.  It's a condition.  I have always been very competitive with myself (and, honestly, just in general).  I remember, back in a past life, when I worked in the advertising industry, the agency had a 'teamwork building night' that included a volley ball game.  Apparently, by the end of the game, management had the idea that I was actually 8 feet tall and a spitfire.  Thereafter, my coworkers tended to hug the walls while passing me.  I got both a raise and a promotion.   Decades later (I'm not saying how many), I have a more laissez faire attitude about these things - except when it comes to competing with myself.  I could blame it on being raised to think that what I did was never enough.  However, that would be a complete waste of time and energy.  Once you've been dipped in that dye bath at an early age, it can become part of your DNA.  Best to just come to friendly terms with it!

Thank you again, you dears.  I appreciate those that think I am super-Sweezie and those who think I should sit down, have a martini and seize that diem!

(Now excuse me while I start my list for the weekend.... wash the dog (singular), bake bagels, laundry, Home Depot, weed wack my parents' place, plant trees, wash kitchen floor, vacuum, dust, sweep, clean deck, quit avoiding the sweater.........)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

What, ho!

Ass over tea cups is an apt description of my week - I have not forgotten my promise to gift the presager of my to-do list!  Fathoming who was wily enough to know the workings of my mind (scary thought) will take more concentration than I can dig up at the moment.  I hope to have the winner sorted over the weekend.


The Pat is in a world of hurt, poor laddie, and is on meds and crate-rest.  My office needs to be dealt with and packed up and whatever (meaning 12 rooms of furniture, etc. need to be sorted by sell/donate/store) and out of the door by the end of the month, and my next port of call is still an unknown.


Add to that complicated family matters and the farm, and it's amazing I am still upright.  However, know that the BGPs are firmly pulled up and belted, the upper lip is reasonably stiff and one foot is still placed in front of the other.   Back to you soon, poppets.

Monday, June 10, 2019

The results are in.

Make lunar rhubarb cake
 Make granola

 Wash dogs
 Clean out cooler
 Clean off deck
 Visit parents
 Knit
 Two grocery stores

 Home Depot
 Goodwill
 Tractor supply
 Laundry
 Clean bathrooms

 Block sweater
 Summerize closet/wardrobe
 Clean winter shoes and put away
 Clean guest room


I believe I need a little more balance in my weekends.  (Mama Pea, would you come down and shake some sense into me?  Gently?)  I would have washed the dogs BUT, Mr. Fragile managed to hurt his back - again.  Has anyone been keeping track?  Is this the fifth time?  Tenth?  My neighbor had called and invited me to dinner and, being lured by the prospect of not having to cook, I said yes.  I had forgotten that he considers dinner to be the minute after the restaurant opens - which means I leave my door at 4P.  (4P, my dears, is when I start contemplating stopping my labors in the next hour or so, to be followed by a shower and a glass of wine, not necessarily in that order, with dinner following, vaguely at 8ish.)  This self-made pressure had me skipping Home Depot and vaulting home.  Even so, I only had 45 minutes to get the laundry off the line and get reasonably presentable.  I managed both, but decided to leave The Pat uncrated because I had crated and re-crated him twice and I felt a twinge.  Bad decision.  When I got home (by 5:37P - nothing like dinner out with an old guy.  You never have to worry about spending time on witty conversation - it's ordering as you're nearing the table, bing/bam/boom.  Out the door.) my Butter Pat was obviously very uncomfortable.  We are back to pain meds and crating.  At least I know the drill.  We've got a Thursday morning vet appointment - for something unrelated - so we will be refilling the doggie medicine cabinet.  Whoopee.


I will have to tally the bets - does swapping out my summer tees with my winter tees count as half a point? - and a big hug to you who actually thought I might come to my senses and have cocktails with my knitting or, at the very least, ignore most of my list.   I do have to tidy up the guest room, as my youngest sis is doing an over-nighter on Friday.  Her favorite pastime is cleaning surfaces, so I need to up my game.  At least for 12 hours.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Anyone taking bets?

Here’s my list for Sunday:
(Not in any particular order)

 Make lunar rhubarb cake
 Make granola
 Wash dogs
 Clean out cooler
 Clean off deck
 Visit parents
 Knit
 Two grocery stores
 Home Depot
 Goodwill
 Tractor supply
 Laundry
 Clean bathrooms
 Block sweater
 Summerize closet/wardrobe
 Clean winter shoes and put away
 Clean guest room

Here’s the deal: the person who is closest to guessing what I actually get done, will win a surprise something!  Of course, you’ll have to trust me and you do trust me, don’t you?  All will be revealed on Tuesday, so put on your thinking caps!

( my apologies if this turns out wonky. I’m posting from my phone.)




Friday, June 7, 2019

Getting creative.

While I have every intention of being frugal and stretching things to within a hare's breath (whatever that means), I am easily distracted (SQUIRREL!) and mending tends to be down towards the bottom of the list - right above cleaning the oven.


I have had my favorite jeans on the mending pile for, oh, several months.  I have randomly moved them around, trying to put them in my line of vision so that I will focus and mend.  Ha.  I have had them on my coffee table - right, smack-dab, in front of me for over three months.  I have even moved them to get at my reading material.  I finally pulled up the worn (and also in need of mending) BGPs and got to work.


I like the result.  These were my very best, favorite Sylvie-given jeans, and I have missed them.  They were pristine until I tripped on the vet's pot-holed driveway, while holding an injured Butter Pat.  Needless to say, I sacrificed the jeans (and my kneecap) and kept a firm grip on the stinker.  For a while, I tried to convince myself that torn jeans were au currant - and they were, if you were 18. 


I am now declaring them All The Rage.


And I wore them to work.  I am now hoping for more tears - without harm to my person - so that I can continue my creation.



Monday, June 3, 2019

An Historical Weekend.

This will go down in my personal history as the first time I was ever run over by a sheep.  And not just any sheep.  A sheep the size of a Shetland pony.  Norman, you know who you are.
Evidence.
Friday dawned as a lovely spring day.  I was fairly organized for a change, and had my shearing paraphernalia all in order and by the back door.  All I had to do was wait for the call.  Since my shearer was going in reverse order this year, I figured I would be early afternoon in the line-up.  That left time for some serious puttering in the garden, and for the sheep to graze before being lured into the shearing area and closed in.  All went smoothly.  It should have been a sign but, alas, I was blissfully ignorant.


I had decided to sit out my usual assistant role at my neighbor's but, after some thought, I decided that it would be more prudent to help - otherwise, I wouldn't have my boys done until dusk.  My neighbor is totally unfocused, unorganized and a general hot mess.  So I chuffed up and volunteered, then headed down the road.  It was as I expected.  After a chaotic forty-five minutes of wrestling, shooing, dodging, cleaning, and more wrestling, we had his five sheep, one angora goat and two less-than-helpful alpacas shorn. 


Back to the Little Lucky, all seemed quiet.  (Cue eerie music)  Joe and I headed for the barn.  Joe had gone through the gate and set up, then wrestled the fat eel (Linden) into submission, when Norman appeared at the barn door - hysterical - and shot toward the gate.  And me.  It was one of those moments you remember in slow motion - NOOOOOOOOOOOoooooo - as he broadsided me, gate and all and literally ran over me.   I was flattened, vaguely protected from his pointy hooves by the gate, with thoughts of mutton dancing through my head.  Joe was horrified, but, as we do, I pulled up my muddy BGPs, fixed the gate and prepared a bowl of grain.  If anything can be said for Norman (anything that can be said in polite company, that is), his stomach overrides his pea-sized brain every time.  By the time he trotted his fat carcass through the gate and over to the grain bowl, Joe was done with the eel.  So I had the satisfaction of having Norman wrenched from his treat and plopped on his sizeable derriere.


I managed to limp through the rest of the day and was totally knackered by 8P - so off to bed.  Interestingly, last weekend I was also totally knackered and was completely (well, 90%) reenergized by morning.  This Saturday, I awoke feeling as if I had not slept at all, and dragged through the entire day.  As it turned out, it was good timing, as I was on the road from 8A until arriving home at 3P, then out the door again at 4P, arriving home for good at 6:30P.  By Sunday morning, I was back to my old self.  Which, unfortunately, included a very sore hip and knee.  This lifestyle is not for sissies.


I managed to try some new recipes this weekend which were ... interesting.  I made some almond flour blueberry muffins - gluten free and low sugar - which turned out to be rather soggy.  I don't know that I have ever had soggy muffins before this.  I think it was because the recipe called for a quarter cup of melted coconut oil - which seemed to be too much.  The flavor is very good but they are odd.  I had my neighbor over for dinner - my way of reciprocating for all of his help around the farm - and tried a slightly altered version of a foil packet dinner from The Kitchn.  I don't know why I thought it would be roasted - sealed in a tight packet, it was more like poached - but it was okay; not great.  I also tried another pickled quail egg recipe (the bourbon recipe was great!) and will make some tiny Scotch eggs this week in my efforts to use up things in my freezer.


I can hardly wait to see what next weekend has in store for me.  I hope I live through it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

e-i-e-i-o my aching back!

First, let me say that Advil is now my new best friend.


Oy.  I had started the holiday weekend with a grand proclamation - the garden would be planted by close of business Monday.  I am very big on grand proclamations, but very small on actually pulling them off.


However, at precisely 2:45 PM on Monday, I had planted everything. 
A tidy, enclosed garden.

Right - beans, melons and sweet peas.
Left - weedy bed.

Foreground - garlic, onions, scallions

Three kinds of kale, two kinds of chard,
golden beets

Pickling and slicing cucumbers, celery

PEPPERS! and eggplant

Herb bed (with weeds)

Elderberry

Tomato bed, dead ahead, squash to the
left.
There is still the weedy bed and the herb bed needs attention.  I still have flowers to plant.  But!  I planted:  red and green yard long beans, melons, sweet peas, three kinds of kale, two kinds of scallions, two kinds of chard, golden beets, way too many tomatoes, way too many peppers, eggplant, celery, pickling and slicing cucumbers, parsley, cilantro, cosmos, three kinds of dahlias, nasturtiums, and a bulb flower I forget the name of.  Before I planted, however, I had to prepare the raised beds.  It took, literally, all my energy.  I topped it off by installing my new fence around the garden (which, for some reason, made me inordinately happy) and found that I did not have enough to completely enclose it.  I am using a section of the sheep fencing, while waiting for the additional fence to arrive.  I did rally three times during the weekend (it's all about balance, right Mama Pea?) and got my hair cut, had a lovely visit with a friend, and socialized with a lively bunch of friends at a camp on Spring Lake!  Wowza! 


There was also some baking - I made rhubarb kuchen for the barn crew, my neighbor and my friend.  I have a bumper crop of rhubarb (which is why I felt impelled to plant yet another kind - what?!?) so I have been making rhubarb everything.  I mixed up a batch of rhubarb 'iced tea' to have in between my glasses of regular herbal iced tea.  I mixed my first batch of cold brew coffee.  I pickled more quail eggs (the bourbon pickled eggs were, meh.) and managed to totally ignore the messiness of my house and the largeness of my pile of ironing.  I knit to a preordained point on my wool shawl and stowed it away until fall.  Then I promptly cast on two summer sweaters.  I was a MACHINE, people! 


I was also happy to read the forecast of rain today (let's hope) and to get in the car and drive to the office.  Where there is no planting to be had.  Holey guacamole.  The sheep will finally be sheared this Friday - poor babes are uncomfortable in the heat (as I predicted, we virtually skipped spring and catapulted into summer) with their woolies and blubber.  I still have to consult with my vet about how best to get Apria sheared.  She needs it, but is impossible to handle because of her blindness. 


There is also (good) news on the job front.  I think.  I will report on that in further detail, once I am sure.





Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Real Buddha would NOT have approved and rooster-less.

Over-packaged
I drink tea every night and maybe four times a day on weekends.  My current favorite is ginger-turmeric, given its anti-inflammatory qualities.  My usual brand is The Republic of Tea, since they sell their teas in a tin and do not also wrap every teabag.  They also offer refills (not packaged in plastic) for most of their teas.   However, I ran out (bad me) and was forced to find an interim replacement.  Enter Buddha Tea.  With all the package-hype and holier-than-thou-ness, I figured it was a safe bet.  Wrongo.  Not only was it boxed (thank goodness, cardboard, so recyclable) but every.single.bag was wrapped in NON-recyclable materials.  I opened every one and stuffed the bare nekkid bags into my TROT tin.  Not that it makes up for the waste, but it may help ease my blood pressure every time I make a cup.  Let me tell you, the real Buddha would not have given this a pass.






******


Hark!  Do you hear that cockadoodledo?  No?  Heh, heh.  Neither do I.  Seriously, poor Fritzie had problems.  Before the Zombie Rooster had so brutally attacked him, he was just a fun-loving, sort of goofy guy.  I believe that Big Red (ZR) brutalized him so viciously, that he inflicted neurological damage.  Fritzie would not use the roost, preferring to huddle in a corner - long after the brute was gone.  He was hysterical at any noise or movement.  He was self-maiming - pulling out his feathers.  He was a sex maniac, leaving many hens with bald spots.  The final straw was the occurrence of small seizures.   Those of you with chickens know how they are when they sense weakness.  Last Friday, during one of the non-raining spells, I went out to the chicken yard and witnessed a more severe seizure, with the hens forming a circle around him.  I don't think it was to cheer him on.  I marched back into the house, got my pellet rifle, and ended his suffering.  Luckily for me, he'd apparently used up all of his zombie powers during the seizure, so I was not chased through the yard by his living dead self.  Such a shame.  I think we will take a rooster break.  I have not had good luck with them for some years and we are all heaving a collective sigh of relief.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Tip-toe between the raindrops. As if.


Don't look now, Ma, but it's
raining again.
Other than Saturday, the weekend weather was shite.  I found myself puttering around in the house, listening intently for the intermittent let-up of the rain - so I could vault outside and DO SOMETHING.  Friday was pretty much a wash (pardon the pun), but it did clear up at the very end of the day so that I could move the bale of wood shavings into the shed next to the coop and a 50# bag of chicken food into the bin.  That was pretty much it.  I made a quick trip up to Marianne's to pick up my tomato plants and drop off some how-tos on hard-boiling and peeling quail eggs, should anyone wonder.



The Belden Farm farmstand, built with
leftover old windows.  Quail eggs (Baby Blues)
on the front left.
I have not heard whether or not we sold any.  I think we'll have better luck when they are included at the farmers market.  In the name of research, I whipped up a batch of Bourbon Pickled Quail Eggs.  Because, why not?  I will let you know how they turn out when they are ready to be tasted - in a couple of days.


Saturday dawned blissfully dry.  Good thing, too, as my dear sis was coming to help me clean out the chicken coop.  We had tried a new method, thanks to her clever brain, where I lined the floor last fall with a heavy-duty tarp.  In my mind (so often not grounded in reality), all we would have to do is grasp the ends of the tarp and drag the whole hot mess out.  That could have 'possibly' worked, had we not had a winter full of Arctic blasts, where all 30 chickens and two ducks were coop-bound for days.  The accumulated mess had the heft and make-up of a cement/epoxy mix.  We did end up shoveling out about three large wheelbarrow loads, but it was much easier when we were finally able to haul out the tarp.  The cement floor was clean, there was no scraping and swearing, and we actually had fun doing it.  The fall clean up is always much easier, as they are all outdoor spreading the love.  After that, I did some potting up of plants and fired up the electric netting so that the sheep would get some greens.  By the time I turned around, it was early evening and I hadn't gotten even half my list accomplished.  Oh, well, said I.  There's always tomorrow.


Which dawned ... wet.  The rain was not supposed to start until early evening, bringing with it strong storms.  Instead, it rained from before dawn through most of the morning, with a brief clearing spell around noon.  When it became summer.  I really do miss spring.  It was so nice when we had it - back in the Stone Age.  I managed to get the rest of the raised bed frames completed, although they are not ready to plant yet.  I lassoed a neighbor (who had the bad timing of driving up to have me meet his new dog - from the rescue I work with - woot!) into helping me put up my trellis for my beans.  The new plan (what is this, Double ZZ by now?) is to finish cleaning up the three main beds this week, planting most of my seeds and seedlings over the holiday weekend.  Including my 14 tomato plants.


During the endless bouts of rain, I painted my front door a color sure to perk me up whenever I looked at it.  It gloweth!
Either a little bit o' sunshine
OR
a smear of yellow mustard...
We managed to avoid the severe thunderstorms, thank goodness, but today is another one of those rain-all-morning, wait until I am safely in my office for the sun to appear, then more severe storms day.  I'm hoping for at least a few opportunities to work frantically in my raised beds this week.  Wednesday we play the hospice shuffle - my sister and niece have to head to Massachusetts at the crack of dawn, Mom has a doctor's appointment in the city (chauffeured by moi), lunch has to be arranged, caregivers scheduled to stay with Dad.  Nothing is easy when you are dealing with dementia and the elderly.  I think we have everything under control (and I only say this because my sister is in charge - not I).  I am looking forward to folding my aging mother into my low-rider. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Plan Z

I do believe the Universe has its Ms confused.  You know, like March instead of May.  Another spiffy little statistic is that tomorrow marks the EIGHTEENTH straight Friday with rain.  I may put pontoons on my raised beds.


Speaking of which, I was able to chip away at one of the more problematic raised beds - not the most problematic, but let's not split hairs, shall we? - and I now have two almost-prepared beds out of eight. 
The worst one is to the right.
We take what small victories we can.  The chickens were thrilled to get the thinnings - four and a half five-gallon bucketfuls!  This particular bed used to be the strawberry bed, but a couple of years ago, during yet another lousy gardening season (I'm beginning to see a terrifying trend), the chipmunks and weeds beat me to any fruit and I threw in the gardening gloves.  I took out the remaining strawberry plants and tucked them in a bucket and sent a message to my new gardening buddy - she's a young mother who is trying to introduce healthy foods into the school system.  She has a big garden at home and has taken over an unused patch at the Middle/High school, where she is a cook, so I have been giving her all of my extra plants.  As a plus, she always shows up when she says she will.  I am all for promoting healthy eating, growing your own and shopping locally.  Especially when that shopping is free!


Tomorrow, I have taken the day off.  When I scheduled this day off, the forecast was for a mostly clear day.  It is now a mostly rainy day.  Give me strength....if it is not a total washout, I will be out there in the drizzle.  Things must get done, no matter what the weather.  The poor sheep have been looking longingly (and loudly) at the grass outside the fence and I found, drat and damn, that my energizer is kaput.  This puts a crimp in my moveable electric netting plans.  I did manage to dig out my battery-powered charger that still had some juice in it.  That gave them an hour of bliss on the grassy slope, poor babes.  I believe a solar energizer is in my very near future.  I can't complain, as I have gotten almost 10 years out of this energizer, including having to rewire it myself after the sheep pulled the cord out.  How fortuitous that I have in my possession a birthday gift certificate for the fencing company.... (xoxox)


After suffering a brain freeze looking at my list, I decided to break it down into areas, then prioritize each area, then set aside blocks of time, etc.  This is becoming more like a military maneuver every year.  Where are my troops?  Where are my minions?  They are inside being naughty, thanks for asking.


Saturday is supposed to be a dry day.  Oh, right.  If it is, I am bringing in my sister and niece and we are tackling the chicken coop.  Bless their hearts, although my niece has never experienced anything farm, so this should be interesting.  I will have a Plan B for her, just in case.  And it will not include The Pat.  I have other plans for them - on the deck with marrow bones.


I have a confusing housing situation with purple martins and blue birds and I am darned if I can figure it out.  Apparently, my lopped off birch stump (about 7 feet tall) has become a hot property.  I thought the martins had set up housekeeping in a hollowed-out area near the top.  I had mounted a blue bird house on the other side - before the hollowing-out process.  Now there is a lot of noise and comings and goings, ins and outs, between house and hole.  The wren even got involved!  I hope they can sort it out and babies, both blue and purple, are fledged.


Saturday is the debut of the Baby Blues, and I am hopeful that we can generate just enough demand to meet production.  I am not adding quail.  Nope.  No way, no how.  (Will some responsible adult step up to keep me in line?) 


I will hope to dazzle you with pictures of my tidy raised beds, newly framed and ready for planting on Monday.  Hope springs eternal, much like the rain, so we're in a dead heat.  If that fails, it's on to Plan Z.



Monday, May 13, 2019

Where have you been all my life, Everything Parmesan Crisps?

I'd have inserted a photograph here, but I ate them.  All of them.  Without pause.  Well, with some pauses, but short ones.  And there is no use to photograph he weather.  Think rain forest.


I am not going to go on about the weather, because I hate it and it makes me hyperventilate.  We had about 5 hours without rain and about 3 hours of sun over the weekend.  (STOP IT, depressing weather-speak!)


Anyhoo, I had made an appointment for a spa pedicure - strictly on the basis of testing out the facility, you understand.  We (my younger sister and I) are plotting my middle sister's birthday surprise and, being in the veritable middle of nowhere, it's not easy to come up with luxurious day spas that don't cost an arm and a leg and include half a day's travel.  I was quite pleasantly surprised (I apologize, nice spa lady, if I snored....or drooled...) and so we are set.  All that is left is to further plot how we are going to get her there.  I have volunteered to lie like a rug and then kidnap her and deliver her - blindfolded, if needed - to her mini-spa treatment.  I am nothing if not sneaky.


By the time I got home, I had about one hour to do outside work before the rain returned.  I had invited a 'friend' for a glass of wine and finger foods, so was tear-assing around, cleaning and straightening, when I got a text saying she really didn't have time.  (Ergo, the quotation marks around friend.)  So, there I sat with a relatively tidied house, a chilled bottle of rose and a plate full of Everything Parmesan Crisps, a new recipe.  So I tried one.  Made animal sounds and ate the rest.  The recipe is from Skinny Taste (thank you, Sylvie, for introducing me to them!) and is incredibly easy:


Grate 1/2 cup parmesan cheese on the large holes of a box grater.  Line a baking tray with a silicone mat (preferable) or parchment paper.  Divide the cheese into four separate little piles on the lined pan, spread each pile out to about a 4" circle, leaving room between.  Put in a preheated 400 degree oven for 3 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle each with  3/4 tsp of a combination of sesame seeds, dried onion flakes, dried garlic flakes and poppy seeds (I use Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel mix), then put them back in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until they are golden.  Take out and let them cool.  You're welcome.


I slogged out to the yard and clipped a shopping bag of nettle tops, slogged back in and blanched them, freezing some and making my favorite spring soup out of the rest.  I have to say that I like nettles more than spinach in some recipes, this being one - it's basic:


Half a shopping bag of nettle tops, blanched for 3 minutes, put in an ice bath, then thick stems removed and nettles roughly chopped


Heat a nugget of butter and a slur-up of olive oil in a soup pan (I use the same pan as I did to blanch the nettles - dishes, you know) and saute until translucent a small onion, chopped, and a stalk or two of celery, chopped.  Add to this some diced potatoes and about 2-3 cups of chicken broth (or vege broth), a bay leaf and a teaspoon of dried thyme.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the nettles and more broth or water if needed.  Simmer 10 minutes more, until potatoes are tender.  Remove the bay leaf and use an immersion blender or pour (carefully) into a blender and blend until smooth.  You can add a dollop of heavy cream or half and half if you wish, but I like mine straight up.  It helps you through the cold, wet weather.


Other than that - Mother's Day was a dark, cold, rainy blur - I did more cleaning and then canoed up to Vermont and back.  I have potted up the last of my seedlings and planted the Bibb lettuce and arugula in the cold frame.  It was too wet to put up the electronet for the sheep yet, but I did get the energizer set up. 


I sit in the early mornings, knitting away, and listen to the birds wake up amidst the pitter-pat of the incessant rain.  I know that this weather will pass - eventually.  As is now commonplace, the rain will stop, it will become summer overnight and I will be moaning and groaning about the lack of rain.  There is no pleasing me.  I should take my cue from the resident Carolina Wren - he is filled with music, no matter what the weather.  Just happy to be alive.



Friday, May 10, 2019

The Power of the Snoot.

I came home two days ago, walking up the front walk to the accompaniment of the dog alarm.  They can see that it's me, but that does not stop them from alerting everyone in a mile radius that someone approacheth.  DANGER!  DANGER! (Will Robinson!  for those of you ancient enough to recognize the line.)


When I got to the front door and unlocked it, I could not get it open.  There was much frenzied yapping in the living room and, having not forgotten the horrors of old, I dropped my bag, vaulted down the front steps, tore around the house to the back, took the backs steps five at a time (there are four) and ripped open the sliding glass door.


At which point, the barking ceased and everyone was so happy to see me.


Peanut, his first day out of stir, had toppled a 40# box containing my quail food, had wrestled with it (pushing it against the front door) gnawed on it, clawed it, and had managed to chew off an end corner (HEAVY cardboard box), chewed through the packing paper and chewed off a corner of the feed bag.  He was moving pretty slowly by the time I got to him.


Seriously?


Judging by the 'end' result, both he and Lovey had managed to inhale some of the high protein organic feed.  There were small portions for dinner that night and The Pat is back in stir while I am not there.


It boggles the mind.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

When is a salad not a salad, but a hot/cold mess?

I am sure that is a question that rises to the top of your mind on a daily basis.  It does mine.  That should give you an idea of how exciting my life is.


We have segued into the time of year where every lunch is a salad by default.  As I was rummaging around my fridge this morning, mining various unmarked containers for potential lunch ingredients, it occurred to me that what I was creating might not be deemed a 'salad'.  Case in point:  Today's Salad





Leftover rice, sliced green onions, peanuts, avocado, chopped tomato, chopped egg, ginger sesame dressing.  There are times, I must admit, where the end result is - while not repulsive - odd.  This does not stop me.  I did draw the line at adding raisins to my 'salad', as the combo of tomato + raisin does give me pause.


Let's see.  What's new.  It's not raining yet!  This is the first day in over 10 days that I have not had to slog through the rain to do morning chores and try to reach my car without my 'style' dissolving.  Of course, it had to occur NOT on a weekend day, but a day where I can only enjoy it virtually - out my office window with a view of other office windows.  Not to worry, it will rain later today.  There is a slim chance that it may not rain at all tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath.  At least this constant dismality has made it easier to harden off my seedlings.


What it has not done, however, is given me a chance to replace my raised beds.  I managed to get the cross pieces cut under the cover of my carport and I did transplant a peony, but that has been the extent of my outdoor activity.  That and scraping the square meter of muck that sticks to the bottom of my shoes every time I go out to do chores.


Enough about the weather.  Safe to say, it stinks.






I am soldiering along on another pair of short socks and I managed to push my way (virtually) into a charity crochet-along with the home office.  Truth be told, it was listed as Knit a Square and, as always, I read no further.  Apparently, the home office is full of crocheters, not knitters.  Not to be dissuaded, learning to crochet has been on my bucket list (you will note that I have low expectations of the lead-up to my demise) so I volunteered.  I am relieved that I am going to be at the end of a phone line, as my crochet speed is still in first gear.  I watched a quick YouTube tutorial for Slow Instructions for the Very Beginner, taught by a 14 year old, and found, much to my delight, that it is fun!  Tomorrow I labor along, trying to achieve two squares to their fifteen.  No matter, it's given me the impetus that I needed to take it further.


I had every intention of celebrating Cinco de Mayo with bells on, but I was having a friend to dinner who has an extremely limited palate.  I did manage to squeeze in a modified huevos rancheros for breakfast.
Close enough.
Dinner, although well-planned on paper, skirted disaster.  I had decided to make dinner with the slow cooker function of my Instant Pot.  Easypeasy.  (Insert pregnant pause)  As we all know by now - everyone but me, apparently - nothing goes as planned.  All I had to do on Sunday was to take my recycling to the transfer station, feed the farm cat(s), drop off eggs at my neighbors and come back to put three ingredients and a simple sauce in the slow cooker.  What could go wrong?  How about everything?  It poured and delayed the loading of my car.  Dropping off the eggs involved a longer than expected visit with my elderly neighbors.  By the time I finally reached the transfer station, there was a double line of cars and trucks and I was in Transfer Station Pergatory for almost a half hour.  When I finally got back home, my neighbor had already arrived to help me prepare the lumber for the raised beds.  The dogs needed to go out, but didn't want to because - rain.  When I finally got inside to throw dinner in the Instant Pot, I had just enough time - according to the recipe - to get the thing cooked in time for the arrival of my dinner guest.  I still had to vacuum and sweep and do the usual housecleaning things, get chores done and spiffy up.  About 40 minutes before she arrived, I realized that I did not smell anything - there should have been some sort of mouth-watering aroma emanating from my Instant Pot by then.  I took the lid off and discovered that the roast was about 1/2 of the way cooked.   Not phased, for once, I pressure-cooked it for 35 minutes and it was perfect.  Bless you, Instant Pot.




I also found a new home for my potato grow bags - I've decided to plant my potatoes in tires, when I do plant potatoes.  Between Marianne and my neighbor, I get plenty of potatoes in the late summer/early fall, so I don't have to plant them and that frees up precious space in my garden.  I am hoping that the rain gods move their focus somewhere else and soon, so that I can get cracking on the one million items on my List and that's only in the garden!



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Call me the Maiden of Mold.

It has rained, drizzled, sleeted, and/or dripped for days.  I believe we have had an hour and a half of sun in the past three weeks.  It can get a girl down.
Sun or rain, I love my linen
sheep transparency
All was not dreary!
Ain't it loverly?
For Administrative Assistant Week (that used to be Secretary Week - but we have become way more inclusive since those PI days), I got these absolutely gorgeous flowers.  That are on a living plant.  Halleluiah!  I can take it home and plant it.  I also got a lovely wrappy type of bracelet that seems to be all the rage.  My supervisor does her level best to make me stylish.  She got me a beautiful cashmere wrap for Christmas - I'm afraid to wear it!  Oddly, the bracelet was very musty-smelling and I am wondering if it had been dormant in someone's drawer before being passed on.  This is not a big deal with me at all (although I could live without the musty-smelling bit), as I am a firm believer in secondhand, regifting and generally not perpetuating the gluttony that is this country.  If anyone has some tips on how to rid it of its 'aroma', I would be very grateful.  It is made up of thin leather straps (which, I believe, is the problem) and other loops of ersatz jewelry-type materials.


I had half of Friday off because of some tests that were scheduled pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the day.  It started raining early that morning and did. not. stop.  Saturday?  Wash, rinse, repeat, plus snow.  Sunday?  A hopefully bright start to the day that rapidly went downhill into...rain.  I did manage to get out to a Cornell extension to pick up some bare root trees and a flat of sedums that I got at rock-bottom prices.  The only downside was that it was not a local extension and I had to drive over an hour each way.  I am trying to plant more flowering things to make my little plot a haven for bees, birds and all things pollinators. 


While whizzing by Marianne's to say a quick hello on Friday, she gave me a bag of greens.  And shiitakes! 
Bag o' greens

Sorrel

Shiitakes

Mixed greens
Given my glut of eggs, I made a Sorrel/Spinach/Mushroom Quiche for dinner - and a week's worth of lunches.
In its GF pie crust (pre-made)
Aside - I often buy frozen, pre-made gluten free pie shells, as I have had mixed luck with GF pie crust mixes and they entail the use of a LOT of butter.  The crust for the quiche was fine, but I learned the hard way that you cannot blind bake this crust - no matter what the maker says.  I had to blind bake the crust for my coconut custard pie and it was totally, completely, without-a-doubt inedible.  Luckily, I don't mind having coconut cream pudding.  Not one bit. 


I did manage to rebuild one raised bed - in spite of the constant interruption by a neighbor who, having seen me working on it, decided he must step in and "help" poor, pitiful woman me.  I do appreciate help, believe me.  But when I need it.  I was doing perfectly fine on my own.  Pfft.  Ah, well.  I will take a picture of it when it stops raining.  Sometime in June.  One down, three more to go~!  I also have to fix my coldframe and the chickens have ravaged my downspout.  Because, obviously, I don't have enough to do.  WAY too much downtime on my hands.


I have yet to stencil my quail egg boxes, but thought I would share just how darn cute they are with you:
Thought using $ to give you
and idea of size was appropriate.

Squee!
Marianne and I have decided on a price and I will be finishing the stencil and decorating the boxes this weekend.  They hit the market the second Saturday of May.  Fingers crossed.  Meanwhile, things have settled down in the quail colony, thank goodness.


In an effort to try and keep my couch cover ON the couch, I purchased a special bed for the Burrower, aka The Pat.  The jury is still out.  He seems to like it more if there is an additional fleece blankie inside the pouch. 
The bed within a bed.
And, it's official.  Slimmie is a dog in mink fur.  I have found that the easiest way to administer the dogs' daily allergy meds is with the liberal application of cheese spread.  Slimmie decided that he, too, was in need of a twice-daily administration of cheese.
Waiting for cheezies.
After a lot of trial and error, we seemed to have fixed the morning cat-vomit trend.  I had fixed the 'stinking to high heaven in the litter box' problem with a new cat kibble, but we were still faced with breakfast in/breakfast out.  I got a variety of tinned wet food and, not surprisingly, the most expensive of the lot went in and stayed there.  (Why is it that, in essence, a tiny tin of canned cat tuna costs five times the amount charged for the human variety?)


I'm hoping for at least one afternoon of non-rain this coming weekend.  I need to get at least two more raised beds finished and installed, along with prep for coop cleaning.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I have the power.

Sunday sunrise - it lied.
I have the power to make it rain.  Or not.  Please feel free to bow to my greatness.  Want rain?  Let me plan a day of errands for you on a day when it is "not" supposed to rain - these errands must be carried out at a distance from your homestead and in places of no cover and crowded parking lots.  Tired of rain?  I will happily come and bring my lemon tree to put on your deck.  It's guaranteed to make the sky as dry as toast.  No payment necessary.  I will just bask in the glow of your adoration.


Pfft.


I had a coconut cream pie to bake on Saturday for the upcoming Easter dinner on Sunday.  I almost had everything I needed.  Figuring I would make a dash north early in the morning to do a ninja shopping (dash in/dash out) because any rain that was forecast was for late afternoon, I raced around, did chores, made a list and off I went.  About halfway to Bennington, the skies opened and stayed that way until I pulled into my driveway.  Then it stopped.  It was magic.  Black magic.  While I was on my way home, I got a text from my sister that both she and Mom were battling colds and could we postpone Easter (or, more precisely, our celebration of same - there are limits to my powers...) until the next Sunday.  Hmm.  Would I mind not spending six hours making a coconut cream pie?  Not in the least!  I put everything away and realized I had grabbed a carton of non-fat half and half.  Sigh.  Really, though.  Why is there such a thing?  I called the store and they said to just bring it back and exchange it.  Heavier sigh.  It's a half-hour drive.  Instead, I donned garden gloves, grabbed a bucket and attacked the garden.  Three hours later, I had weeded out two raised beds, weeded my line of garden tires, clipped all the dead stuff, raked, shuffled the residue out to the woods (trying to levitate through Tickville) and then dragged myself in and made a quart jar of nettle tea.  Yes, I am still on the virtuous road.  Plus, my fresh nettles are popping up all over!  I have to say that I love nettle tea.  I know that drinking spinach-flavored water is not for everyone, but it's the bee's knees for me.  I worked on transplanting the rest of my pepper starts and started some zucchini and more kale (can you ever have too much kale?  I say, no.)


Since Sunday was supposed to be a mostly rainy day, I once again got in my car at the crack of dawn, drove north with my ersatz carton of cream, drove home, pulled up my BGPs and tackled moving my lovely lemon tree outside.  By applying physics and a lot of bad language, I did manage to wrestle it out of the sliding glass door and onto the back deck.  I placed it where it would get the most rain and sun, then cleaned the quail condo before the downpour.  Which never happened.  The skies cleared, sun came out and it hasn't rained since.  See?  Mystical powers!  My neighbor came over and we managed to get two of the willow hybrids pruned - not an easy job and he's finally letting me help (at 84, he has twice the energy that I have, but, still).  I selected a few more willow stems and stuck them in water to root - I have found homes for all the others.  I put up my bluebird house (although I think my timing is slightly off - but I'm hoping they will notice it and make a note for next year).  After ticking a few more things off the list, I went inside to see if there was something I could bake (purely out of self-defense).  Going through my fridge freezer, I came across a gallon bag, crammed full of frozen bananas.  Luckily, I have a great recipe for GF one-bowl banana bread.  Done! 


I tried a new-to-me recipe for dinner, Sweet and Sour Lentils, from one of the volumes in my vast Moosewood collection.  It turned out great - great enough that I am still enjoying it three meals later.


Of course, there is still a list a mile long of spring to-dos.  And there is every chance that I will run out of spring before I run out of things to do before it ends.  And so it goes.  Next weekend is stacking up to be a hair-raiser:  Friday night is a family birthday dinner for my youngest sis, followed by dinner at my place on Saturday with my friend, Cynthia, then Sunday is the new Easter.  I have broken down my pie-making steps to spread them over all three days - both to make sure it's finished and to save my sanity.  Blind bake pie shell Friday.  Custard Saturday.  Whipped cream topping Sunday. Then I am taking a baking hiatus.  Don't tell the barn crew.
The Spring Line-Up