Saturday, September 27, 2008


This just in: Chickens are really, really stupid.

I know this is obvious to anyone who has had any contact with chickens, and A. had informed me of this more than once, but I didn't realize the extent of the stupidity until last night.

I went out around 7:30 last night to close up the chicken hatch and shut the chickies away safe in their coop for the night. Chickens, being creatures of habit, always go into the coop of their own volition when it starts to get dark, so all I have to do is shut the hatch behind them. But last night, after I had shut the hatch, I realized I wasn't hearing the cheeping I normally hear from inside the coop. I shone my flashlight around in there and saw . . . no chickens. Not even ONE chicken.

I figured the odds of the whole flock being wiped out all at once by a predator were slim, but I was still nervous. So I went into the ram pasture, looked around the sheep barn, the old compost heap, under the rose bush where the chickens like to hang. No chickens. Then, just as I was getting ready to go back to the house to summon reinforcements, I saw them.

The retarded things were roosting on the bottom rung of an old ladder that was leaning against the barn. All five, right there on that rung in the wide open, easy chicken dinners for any stray fox, raccoon, possum, or weasel.

When I shone my flashlight on them, they didn't move. I kicked the ladder. They didn't move. I reached down and grabbed one, and the other four DIDN'T MOVE. So one by one, I picked them up and threw them in the coop. Had I been a raccoon, I could have grabbed one, eaten it leisurely, then strolled back to the ladder for courses two, three, four, and five. And they would all be sitting there, awaiting their fate.

It really makes you wonder how chickens as a species have managed to survive this long.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Letter's for You

As instructed by Ms. P., I wrote a letter . . .

Dear 50 or so people who read this site and never comment:

Internetty people call you "lurkers." That's the word for the people who come to a site every day (or every other day, or whenever it's convenient) to read and enjoy . . . but not comment. Because bloggers are at heart attention-hounds and basically live for their comments, they can find this irritating. I believe that's why the ominous-sounding name "lurker" was chosen. But I think of myself as less of a blogger and more of a completely random online journaling weirdo. So I think of you as less of a lurker and more of a friend. Like Silent Bob. (Remember him? If you don't, you're either too old or too young. Anyone older or younger than me is too old or too young, because I'm just right.)


The fact that you come here AT ALL, much less every day (or every other day, or whenever it's convenient) to read about my dogs, my chickens, my tomatoes, and ME is pretty damn cool. I am well aware of my shortcomings as a writer. I know I use too many parentheses, write too long of sentences, and start sentences with "and," "but," and "because" far too often. I will not win any writing prizes. But in spite of this (SEE? SEE HOW I DO THAT?), there you are, day in and day out, reading this drivel that I spew every. single. day.

I suspect many of you come for my admittedly pathetic photographs of the various animals and plants that populate this property. And perhaps for my awesome alliteration. But whatever your reasons for coming and reading this site--thank you. I love you, man.

Love, hugs, and doggie kisses,


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweet Freedom

Every morning at quarter to seven, I trudge up to the pasture in my pajamas and robe to emancipate the animals.

First, I open the chicken hatch and the chickens come running out . . .

Wait a minute . . .

HAHAHAHAHA! Yes, this is totally staged. This shot was taken before we put the chickens in their coop. Mia was sniffing around inside, so we called her name at the chicken hatch, and of course she tried to come through the opening to get to us. Because she loves us. And we had called her to come, so she was trying to come.

We're evil.


So I open the chicken hatch. The chickens are usually hanging out by the hatch, waiting to be released. They rush out as soon as I step away from the hatch, ready to scratch in the dirt and eat insects. This is what passes for excitement in a chicken's world.

Don't eat all the good insects before I get there, guys.

The chicken hatch opens into the ram's pasture. This is separate from the ewes' pasture. The dogs sleep in the ewes' pasture at night. So after I close and latch the gate to the ram's pasture, I open the gate to the ewe pasture to release the hounds.

They race out, whirling and biting each other's faces . . .

Okay, so they're actually biting at a toy.

Then they take off chasing each other down the lane like racehorses in the home stretch. You'd think they were in cramped crates all night, instead of lounging about on a full fenced-in acre, where they could run about all night. Instead they camp out down by the gate (when they're not barking their heads off in the far corner by the woods), waiting for release in the morning. And as soon as they're released, they start racing around like idiots. Sometimes, when the grass is wet, they go skidding sideways into the forsythia bushes. It's very amusing.

Okay, so maybe that's not amusing to anyone but me. But it's better than tofu, right?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yes, I Photograph Vegetables

Because really, is this not some seriously photogenic food?

I grew everything but the onion . . . and the tofu.

Is this really what my life has become? Is this the most excitement I can offer you today? Dirty vegetables and tofu?

Yes. Don't be so demanding.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm Feeling Girly Today

I want to talk about shoes. Since this is MY blog, we're going to talk about MY shoes. Because I just bought some new ones. Yay! This is an event that coincides roughly with the blue moon, so I feel much excitement that must be shared. With you. Your lucky day.

Returning from a nice day out to Lake Ontario on Sunday, A. announced that the time had finally come to replace his ridiculously worn-out black work shoes. Fortuitously, we were near the big outlet center, so we stopped on the way home. We went to the Clarks store, where A. always buys the same style of shoes, in the same size. Men are so easy. I noted on the way in that they had signs up advertising a sale--buy one pair and the second was 25% off. A. didn't need any more shoes, but I thought it couldn't hurt for ME to look. And of course, as soon as I did, I decided that I absolutely NEEDED a pair of brown boots. I couldn't go on living if I didn't have a pair of brown boots.

I was feeling a little dramatic.

Now normally, I am very reluctant to spend money on clothes and shoes. Especially shoes, because they cost a lot and they're about the only thing I don't buy at thrift stores. But I must have had a holiday mentality from our little day trip, because I didn't hesitate a second.

And now, with no further ado . . .

Ladies and gentlemen (if any men are still reading this ridiculousness), my new boots! WHOOOO!

Please ignore my disgusting old running shoes in the background.

They're, like, REAL SHOES. With a heel and everything! They're not practical, ugly Blackrock shoes. So of course, I wanted to wear them right away and have someone exclaim over my cute new shoes. Unfortunately, I don't really get out much. But yesterday, I had to go to the mechanic to get the oil changed in my car. So . . .

Oh yes, I did. I wore my pretty new shoes to the grungy old mechanic's. Brian the Mechanic did not exclaim over them, but I can't really be too disappointed, since he's missing teeth and wears an oily jumpsuit on a daily basis.

I have to go to the dentist tomorrow, so I think the shoes will get another outing. Oh my God, the glamor.

And oh my God, I'm so lame.

Monday, September 22, 2008

To Paraphrase ZZ Top* . . .

Every girl's crazy 'bout a chainsaw man.

Testosterone hovers around him like an aura.

It's always fun and entertaining to watch A. cheat dismemberment and run his chainsaw. The kickass Stihl chainsaw (the Cadillac of chainsaws, for those of you who didn't know) that I bought him for our anniversary last year. I may, in fact, be the coolest wife ever. Yes.

But the real benefit of the chainsaw, of course, is this . . .

Lots of wood=toasty toes

Now if we could just get the chimney cleaned so we don't have a chimney fire and burn the house down, we'd be all set.

* ZZ Top played at The Great New York State Fair this year. We did not go to the show, something that I suspect we may regret for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Deed Is Done

Warning: This post is not for the easily grossed out. If the abstract idea of slaughtering animals is repellent to you, do not read any further, because it's about to get a lot less abstract and a lot more visual.

The lambs have definitely been dispatched. And I know this because their hides are spread out in the barn at this very moment. It's a little bit gruesome, though not nearly as bloody as I had feared.

The MiL zoomed off early this morning before church to go pick up the hides at the slaughterhouse. We spread them out on a wooden pallet, slatted so the moisture can drain off. Then we salted them down on the flesh side, covering every tiny bit of exposed flesh with salt, so the hides will dry out and can then be shipped to a place that will tan them professionally. The idea is to eventually have rugs.

Lamb pelts, with a cameo by A.'s butt.*

I'm not sure how much the pelts will shrink in the drying process, but they're surprisingly big at the moment. The lambs in general turned out to be bigger than we had thought. The butcher said they dressed out at 60 pounds each. Even I, with my wretched math skills, can figure out that that means we will shortly have 180 pounds of lamb. That's a LOT of lamb.

Send recipes.

* Seriously, how did a nice suburban girl end up with a barn? And not just ANY barn, but a barn with raw lamb pelts in residence.