Saturday, July 12, 2008
ANYWAY, yesterday he had to cut a hole in the floor of the MiL's bathroom to get to the pipes. It's always scary to open up any kind of closed off space in this house. You never know what will be in there. There are some things you can count on, though: wood shavings, lots of dirt, and nut shells. It's the last item that freaks me out. Nut shells indicate that an animal of some kind, most likely a squirrel, has been there.
So now there's this hole in the floor of the bathroom, and it just happens to be about 2 feet directly in front of the toilet. I don't use that bathroom much, but every time I do, I expect a squirrel to come flying out of that hole and attach itself to my face. I don't know WHY a squirrel would do this, but these are the things I imagine, okay? As A. says, I have a rich inner life.
Maybe I should start bringing Leda in there with me. It might get a little crowded, but that squirrel wouldn't have a chance.
Friday, July 11, 2008
And the Roma tomatoes are all joining forces to overthrow me.
Send help. My garden is taking over.
P.S. There were many, many fun names suggested for the lawn tractor. There were even some non-English names. We're all about multi-culturalism here at "Going Country." But I think my favorite is the simple, yet venomous and punny, "Grasshole," submitted by my girl Jive Turkey. I shall christen Grasshole tonight with a bottle of beer over his hood, thereby drenching his engine and causing a massive fire that will tragically end his life. If only . . .
Thanks for all the suggestions, y'all. I always knew my readers were cleverer than the average bear.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
You, sir, are a PAIN IN THE ASS
Simplicity is the brand name, not a description of what a joy it is to operate. In truth, it is a pain in the ass. In case you hadn't heard.
We bought this tractor used from a guy who overhauls old tractors. The Simplicity is at least 20 years old, so I don't know why I'm surprised that it breaks all the time. I have not once been able to just get on the thing and mow the lawn without something going wrong. First, the belt on the mower deck kept coming off. Turns out they had put the wrong-sized belt on. If you could see the rejects that work at the mower place, you would not be surprised by this.
Then, some kind of bolt on the wheel broke, rendering the steering inoperable. Good thing I wasn't going very fast (or heading towards a tree) when that happened.
Then there was the totally obvious and yet completely-unnoticed-by-me flat tire that was making me get stuck on inclines all the time. And then the belt kept coming off again, until A. tightened something and made it all better.
Just this week, the mower blades stopped with a clunk, thus shutting off the engine (safety measure, I guess). I thought I had hit something, but when I examined the underside of the mower deck carefully, I saw that a metal piece of the deck had just broken the hell off, and one of the blades had jammed on it. A. to the rescue again, this time with his cutting torch. He just cut off the piece of metal that had broken. We didn't think it was that important.
Yesterday, in the two hours or so that I mowed, I managed to get stuck once (in the woods right next to the road, so all the truckers going by had a nice spectacle to share on their CB radios), flood the engine twice, and throw the belt. Again. I got unstuck by myself, by means of a piece of plywood and some serious rocking action. Also, a very bad four-letter word that is actually twelve letters (you just started counting the letters for cuss words on your fingers, didn't you?) and that I would be ashamed to use in front of my mother (hint: it rhymes with "mother-trucker"). The engine flooding was remedied by leaving the pain in the ass alone for a half hour to un-flood and stop sulking. The belt will have to be fixed by A. I have my limits.
I think the Simplicity needs a new name. Pain in the ass is too long. So, I am appealing to my readers. Give that tractor a name. All suggestions, profane or otherwise, will be considered. You might try screaming your suggested name in a simulated fit of rage, so you can get a feel for how it will sound if I actually use it.
Let the naming begin!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
From: The Management of Blackrock, Inc.
To: Kristin the Dumbass
Please note that the following articles of clothing are not considered appropriate work attire at Blackrock, Inc.
It has come to our attention that certain workers (i.e., Kristin the Dumbass) have been violating this mini-farm's policy of only dirty work clothes in the hours between sunrise and sunset. The management would like to remind all workers that failure to follow this policy could result in the ABSOLUTE RUIN of your favorite clothes, as well as the necessity of chasing sheep through the blackberry brambles in flip flops.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Monday, July 7, 2008
Lowlights of the long weekend:
1) Discovering Friday that my car wouldn't start, despite the $200 starter I had put in two weeks ago. Piece of shit car.
2) Carrying cinder blocks for the chicken coop. Those sumbitches are HEAVY, and they crippled my hand for most of the weekend.
3) Two of the lambs escaping the paddock and getting into my vegetable garden. Little bastards.
4) Attempting to chase Devil Lambs out of my garden, by myself, without causing any damage to my precious, precious plants. Casualty: one bell pepper plant. Rest in peace, my friend.
5) Spraying boiling chicken stock across the kitchen because I am dumb. Then doing it again, because I am REALLY dumb.
Highlights of the long weekend:
1) Realizing that my car wouldn't start because of a loose battery connection, which was easily tightened. I am a mechanical genius.
2) Attending a family cookout Friday night. Someone else cooks and cleans up? SIGN ME UP!
3) Sitting at a bonfire Saturday night, looking up at an incredible number of stars in a perfectly clear sky.
4) Finishing the chicken coop. (Except for the painting--always with the painting.)
5) Managing to finally can the crazy amount of mulberry juice and chicken stock that has been staring at me from the refrigerator for weeks now, and not blowing myself up in the process (except for that minor snafu with the spraying). GO ME!
6) My new friend the garden tote. I anticipate many happy years together.
How was your weekend?
Sunday, July 6, 2008
But the fun does not end there! Oh no! As if I hadn't had enough excitement for the day when we got home at 4 p.m., I just had to try pressure canning for the very first time. The MiL had ordered a pretty new pressure canner from the hardware store that was supposed to arrive two weeks ago. And it still hasn't. Meanwhile, we had six quarts each of chicken broth and mulberry juice languishing in our refrigerator, taking up space and in imminent danger of spoiling. And the MiL is out of town for a week, so it was all on me. So I borrowed a pressure canner from A.'s aunt, who has two.
I was very happy to have a pressure canner, but this is not the one I would have chosen for my first time (dirty). It's old, like at least 20 years old, and the seal is not great on it, and there were no instructions. I mean, Auntie gave me a crash course on the thing--it's not like she just sent me off with it with a merry, "Good luck! Don't blow yourself up!"--but I like to have directions I can read multiple times while I'm working. But chicken broth waits for no woman, so I forged ahead.
All went well with the getting it up to pressure, though it was kind of scary how it shook a little bit and puffed steam. When the broth was finished and it was time to lift the very heavy rack out of the pot, A. did it for me. He was wearing the oven mitts, so he also lifted the jars out of the rack. And here is where I made my mistake.
With hot water bath canning, you flip the jars upside-down to help them seal. That is what I told A. to do. This is not a good idea with pressure-canned jars, since they're under so much pressure (pause for chorus of "duh"s and eye rolling here). As we discovered when A. flipped over the third jar and molten-hot chicken broth sprayed across the kitchen and all over A. Luckily, A. is tough and he didn't get scalded. Much. Then, because I am not very quick on the uptake sometimes, I told him it must have just been the one jar, and he believed me. It's touching, really, the faith he has in me. Totally unwarranted, but touching. He flipped the next one and we repeated the fountain of chicken fat across the room. Oh well, the dogs thought all their Christmases had come at once when I let them in for the clean-up operation.
Anyway, I righted the jars and thanked God that I hadn't done the mulberry juice first. And then I DID do the mulberry juice, and all was well. Everything did seal, so it was mostly successful, despite my breathtaking stupidity.
So learn from me, kids: DO NOT turn pressure-canned jars upside-down.
And now, so that you may properly appreciate my awesomeness (and how intimidating this monster pressure canner was), behold my mad pressure-canning skillz:
Not pictured: Fountains of chicken fat.