Friday, March 22, 2019

Slimmie 1 - Mere Human 0

I blame it on the full moon and the fact that I came home practically radiating with bad intent. That must have been the reason he was on his guard and not curled in his self warming bed, as he always is. After 20 minutes of futilely trying to get my hands on the furry eel, I gave up and called the vet to cancel. The good news is, both  Slimmie and I got a good cardiovascular workout.

My sister and I decided to postpone our trip, given the approach of the latest winter storm. Shouldn’t it be a spring storm? Aren’t we officially over this godforsaken winter?   In any event, I am looking at today as a bonus.

There are two male cardinals duking it out, vocally, in two opposing trees.  A definite sign of spring, as is the much-welcomed red wing blackbird. I’ve brought the birdfeeders in and will only scatter seeds randomly during the day. I am sure bear activity will be up with the warming weather.    The tally on birdseed for this winter was approximately 150 pounds.   I have about 20 pounds left and when that’s gone, it’s over.

 If the weather is not too awful tomorrow, I will commence the dreaded process of looking for a new car. There is not much I dislike more.  I’ve tried the online car gurus but they don’t seem to have anything registered closer than 60 miles for me. I think it’s a great service, as they break down whether the price that’s being asked is a good deal, great deal or a fair deal. I will just have to pull up my BGPs and plunge in.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hello Mud!

If there ever was a post title that will come back to bite me, this is it.

I should add, "Goodbye Ice!"  But I am sure I will now get bitten twice.  We went from layers of ice and snow, to boot-sucking mud, to frozen mud, now to dry mud.  But tomorrow it is supposed to rain, so we may just reverse the process.  One never knows with Fickle Farch.

Love the pattern
This is pretty much how the entire chicken yard looks - with the exception of the reseeded part.  I am hoping the area I reseeded last year will hold its own this spring.  The jury is still out.
Betty Rubble

Connie the Cornish
These two hens are my constant companions, along with Dottie, the Speckled Sussex.  They follow along, talking to me.  Betty is an olive egger.

I was happy to see that the ice has melted between the raised beds, so I will be out layering cardboard this weekend - should I have the time.  Another weekend scheduled to within an inch of its life.  Last weekend, I had more of a social life than I've had in months - I met my friend with the Randall cattle for a glass of wine on Saturday night, and my neighbor took me out for dinner on Sunday.  I managed to squeeze in the complete purging of my linen closet - a thorn in my side for years.  I got two huge bags of the gleanings, so to speak.  One for Goodwill and one for the local shelter.  Progress.

There are signs of spring, on this day of the equinox.  My rhubarb is starting to show signs of life.

You can just see the start of the red buddings, if  you biggify.  I am going to divide a few and transplant them in the front - just to see if they do better with more light.  These are fine - albeit slower to grow - but I'm in the mood to try new things.  I got all charged up about a potato planting scheme, until I realized that I don't have the garden space for it.  Seed starting is kicking off this weekend, too, so I may be burning the midnight oil, trying to get everything done.  I am actually afraid to face my seed packets.  I have a feeling it's gotten out of control.

With the absence of ice, I have let the dogs have their heads and it is so much fun to watch.  Lovey gets a bad case of the zoomies and the Pat is positively airborne.  Sometimes he goes so fast, that his rear end is trying to pass his front end.  Poor kids.  It's been a long winter.  I have to check the yard first, however, as I seem to have inherited a yard bunny.  There's a small rabbit that now lives under the deck and is within view almost every time I go out.  That would be too much excitement for all of us.

Tomorrow I try to get Slimmie into his carry-crate (hahahaha) so I can tote him up to the vet.  He went from tossing up the occasional hairball, to throwing up every morning.  He hasn't lost his appetite or looked or acted poorly, which is reassuring.  I had started him on a new kibble, so I went back to his grain free and he has not thrown up once in the last five days.  Still, it pays to be diligent when your cat/dog gets older.  I just have to maintain the element of surprise tomorrow.  He is not a violent cat, but he is strong and eely.  Wish us luck.  If luck is not on my side, I may have to beg for a house call.

Friday, my sister and I are taking a day trip to NH.  I'm going along as company and comic relief.  I am also dropping my car off at the mechanics.  Yes.  Again.  I am actively looking for another.  Saturday, I am hoping to do a shortened version of my chores, so I can get home and get things done.  Sunday, I am joining a spring hike because...well, because it's spring and I need fresh air.   That, and I need more socialization.  I realized that I had not had any interaction with another human being (in person) Monday and Tuesday.  And I work in an office building!  It's not natural.

Next on my List of Purge is the laundry/furnace/tool room.  Again.  I realized that I had not purged anything, the last time I tackled it.  I just rearranged what was there.  No more.  The gloves are off.  The freezer is pretty much emptied, so I will see if I can defrost it, too.  Then I can put it on the local market and move my smaller chest freezer from the back room.  THEN, I can finish the office/craft room.  THEN...well, you know, there is the rest.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor can't get there from here.

Honestly.  Last Monday, I gave a package to my neighbor to drop at the local post office.  It was a book - media mail - and pretty straightforward.  Or so I thought.  Just on a whim, I thought I would track the package (which was going to Ohio).  Here is its path.  So far.

Cherry Plain, NY

Albany, NY

Detroit, MI

Westland, MI

Pittsburgh, PA

Detroit, MI

"In transit to its destination"

At least Michigan is in the general area of Ohio.  As was Pennsylvania.  We've got the target surrounded.  It boggles the mind.  At this point, I'll be thrilled if it actually reaches its destination.

After years of being the outpost in our megafirm, we (as in yours truly) are being inundated with visiting attorneys this week.  This meant re-commissioning rooms, setting up computers and phones, cleaning, catering, etc.  I wouldn't even mind the earlier than usual mornings, except for the fact that they are occurring on the back of this archaic time change.  Anyone who raises chickens knows that you need daylight in order to open the doors - especially if you are in a predator-laden area.  I've known owls who have swooped down and sauntered through open coop doors to do their worst while it's still dawn and the chickens are in their overnight stupor. 

Speaking of chickens, I have noticed that I tend to lose the old girls in the early spring, as opposed to mid-winter.  It seems like they use up all their energy trying to make it through, only to run out in March.  I've lost one of my Goldies (Buff Orpington), my last Maran, and there is another that is looking wilted.   The one that I secretly despise will probably outlive all the rest and continue to make my life a living hell.

There seems to be sun out this morning - if I remember what sun looks like - but the rest of the week will be overcast.  I may need to buy my Vitamin D3 by the case lot.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Wrap or serape? And my very own Bloody Mary.

I have a fairly strict policy of packing my lunch every day.  It makes sense, both from a financial point of view and from the tried-and-true "I can make that better!" point of view.  No one can top my "Clean Out The Fridge" Salad.

However, during Farch, I cut myself some slack.  There are days when it is all I can do to get out of bed and shuffle off into my routine, let alone plan and pack my lunch.  Yesterday was one of those days.  When I saw -2 degrees on the thermometer, I threw up my hands and yelled "Uncle!"  This always has an interesting affect on my 'kids', who have been snoring softly (and not) from under their toasty piles of fleece blankets.  Jerked out of a sound sleep, Slimmie bolts for his room, Peanut barks madly and nothing in particular, and Lovey just looks worried.

Gluten free cuisine has not permeated much of this city, apparently.  If pushed, one can get a sandwich in a gluten free wrap for an extra buck-fifty.  PASS.  I usually ask for whatever I order without any bread product, but that usually causes panic or blank stares, and they forget anyway.  So I just count it as bonus chicken food.  Yesterday, I ordered a falafel wrap, from my favorite mid-Eastern type carryout place.  With the whole wheat wrap, she says virtuously, as I am trying to make sure my chickens have only the best.

I don't know if it's because I live in a cave, from a gourmand's point of view, or if we just make 'em big up here, but that wrap was the size of a poncho!
I was thinking of putting an umbrella
next to if, for scale
The chickens were thrilled.  They also got the rest of my Indian Butter Chickpeas, which were very good but I faltered after four days in a row.  I've got to remember to halve all the recipes.

I've pretty much finished my anklets - although I forgot that I needed to cast off the top loosely.  Because, you know, I finished the first one two days ago.  Much too long ago to remember.  Then I cast on a sweater. 

About this sweater.  While going through my office/craft room, I decided to winnow out my crafting library.  If there is one thing I know about myself, it is that I am sometimes more crazy about the 'stuff' involved in a craft, than the actual crafting of it.  Geez.  I went through my knitting books and found a) I had one that I hadn't even realized was for crocheting; b) of the remaining books, one contained only one pattern that I would even knit, one didn't even have ONE pattern I would knit, and one was full of patterns I would knit.  I rehomed the crocheting book and the knitting books that are getting the heave-ho, were heaved into my garage sale bin.  Once I settled on a pattern, I had to see if I even owned a sweater quality of yarn.  I may have lots (MEGALOTS) of yarn, but most of it is in single skeins or balls and all 'special'.  I should not have worried.  From the magical land of Oregon (and it IS magical - or, at least, there are magical people there), a box landed on my doorstep that very night, and contained the exact amount of yarn I needed for my sweater.  And then some.  Cue the spooky music.  The yarn was mailed before I even knew I was knitting a sweater.  I swear, it almost gave me goosebumps.  Because - are you sitting down? - it was also in the exact color that I was thinking about.  Lawsymercy.  (You know who you are, you Yarn Fairy, you.)
The Sweater
The yarn
As with all things I jump into, this pattern was unknown territory - knit from the bottom up (first for me), with a shaped form (read: decreasing in pattern - argh).  I sallied forth.  And promptly had to rip it completely back.  Too much sallying, too little focus.  This morning I shunned all social media, made a large cup of strong coffee, and concentrated.  Hi-ho!

If you don't believe that this endless frigid weather can cause one to lose the farm, become that last straw, make grown men weep and babies cry, well then, I am here to tell you that it can make quail go completely postal.   For most of this week, the overnight temperatures have hovered near, or under, zero.  The daytime temperatures haven't been anything to write home about either.  My quail have braved this weather for months - but, apparently, last night was the last straw.  When I uncloaked the hutch this morning, I noticed some bright red dots on the upstairs level.  OMG!  I got the door opened and the largest quail (most likely female) was chasing down her roommates and pecking them bloody!  I removed her and marched her down to the wood line and bid her bon voyage.  The remaining quail were huddled, bloody-headed and unnerved in a far corner.  I hope they can recover, poor things.  I have a feeling the Quail Venture is doomed.  (Really?  And, pray tell, why would you think that????)  Had it not been for my required hour commute this morning, there would have been bourbon in my hot chocolate.

I am going to put my seed-starting set up together this weekend in my hour of unscheduled time.  To hell with the housework.  I need something that evokes sunshine and green things.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Bits and Blobs.

If my life was a load of laundry, it would have been beaten against the rocks on the river this week.  After shuffling into work in my slippers, furry teeth and all (snort) when we last spoke, there was Wednesday.  It took me over two and a half hours to get home - with two very close calls.  I am convinced there is a regional condition called "seasonal amnesia", where a person's mind is wiped clean over the summer of all thoughts and experiences of winter, and all the joys it brings - like driving in it.  I cut my driving teeth on the southern shore of Lake Erie, so I know winter.  There was one winter where I went to work on my cross country skis because I couldn't dig my car out of the parking lot.  Only to find I was the only one there - they had called everyone BUT me to inform them the office was closed.

The very first and foremost rule of thumb to maintaining life and property when the roads are hazardous, is to drive slowly, steadily, and go lightly on the brakes.  Last night, at least three nimrods were driving too fast, realized it, then slammed on their brakes.  One hit the car behind me, but I was watching and maneuvered out of the way.  The second bounced off the exit guardrail to the left of me, but cleared me by a car's length.  The third hit the same guardrail, and then skittered across the road in front of me (about three feet from my car), hit the guardrail to my right and ended up facing the wrong way in the lane to my left.  JM&J.  With rapidly rising blood pressure and the coiffure of a hedgehog, I inched ahead and was finally able to exit off the freeway.  The roads were not that snow-covered, but they were sure icy.  Even with all my 'expertise', I came very close to going off the road and down an embankment.  By the time I got home, I was a wreck. 

Thank goodness it snowed enough to justify working from home, because I couldn't face getting in the car and retracing that route yesterday. 

Then Peanut hurt his back again.  Mysteriously, as always.  We are back to the crate for 4-6 weeks and I am picking up his meds tomorrow.  Tomorrow, I need to get everything done because we are in for another snow 'event' (Winter Storm Xavier, anyone?) from Sunday into Monday.

The domino effect in my side woods:
You'll have to biggify to see the toppled trees
The 'dusting' of snow predicted for Wednesday into Thursday:
Note the roof of the quail hutch.
A couple of gems unearthed in my stress-bashing purge mission:

Dad's first resume from graduation.
Ancient photo from my trip to South Dakota between
my junior and senior years in high school.  I'm holding
Lester Leadercharge - he of the double dimples.
(Hey!  What ever happened to my eyebrows???)
Yesterday, during my lunch break, I went through an entire box of photographs and recycled about 95 percent of them.  As are the contents of my freezer and canning shelves, about 1 percent were labeled, leaving the rest in a vague veil of mystery.  I had the unmitigated pleasure of shredding old boyfriends and keeping all the cat and dog photos.  Hindsight is always so clear, isn't it?

I finished my fancy socks, but haven't taken a photograph of them.  I have started to work on my large stash of forgotten knitting kit projects.  Although the thought of sock-knitting makes my eyes cross, I ran across a kit for Fancy Feet Anklets - Socks for the Week.  Anklets, I thought.  Snap.  I wonder why I haven't worked on these...

Cute, no?
This is why I have not touched them in over
six years. 
Since I was determined to get a least one pair done, I gritted my teeth and slogged through the 61 rows required to make the heel.  61 rows, including 122 wrap-and-turns, then having to pick up all those bloody wraps.  Well, needless to say, I missed a few and I DON'T CARE.  They are worn on my feet, in my shoes, so pffft.  Need I say that I will not be knitting Tuesday's through Sunday's anklets?   I can't even indulge in an adult beverage while knitting this heel, for fear that my socks will look like they've been hit with a scourge of pox if I miss picking up those dadgum wraps.

However, right after the vet, hairdresser, folks, and grocery, I will be hitting the local package store.  Along with everyone and their Uncle Mick, with Winter Storm Xavier looming on the near horizon.