Saturday, October 4, 2008

And the Trivial, Random Beat Goes On


It appears that I've been blathering on long enough now to reach the momentous marker of Post Number 200. I don't know how I'm supposed to commemorate this occasion. I'm sure there's some kind of blogging tradition, where I do one of those awful lists that tells you 200 things about me you didn't really want to know. But I hate that shit, and do you really care if I prefer beer or wine? Unless I'm coming to your house, and then I would expect you to care and to know enough to serve me a nice sweet white or rose wine. Thank you.


It is not outside the realm of possibility, however, that there are some things you want to know about. About me, about A., about the animals, about the property, about any of the myriad random topics that I post about on a daily basis.

We have established that my favorite topic is ME and all things relating to ME, and now I'm giving you the opportunity to ask about ME, so I can talk about ME some more. Any questions that may have arisen in the course of you reading this mess can now be asked at will in the comments, and will be answered in the order in which they were received.

So what do inquiring minds want to know? How A. and I met? My favorite kind of socks? The average temperature of Blackrock in the winter? Ask, and you shall receive.

Just don't ask anything hard, like how many three dozen is. I don't know that sort of thing. Let's stick to ME, okay?

Friday, October 3, 2008

You Say "Potato". . .

I say, "Holy shit."

Or sometimes I say," That's a shitload of potatoes." Or sometimes I say, "The potatoes will destroy us all." Or sometimes I just stand there with my mouth open. Because believe me when I tell you, there are SO MANY potatoes in our garden.

In the last few days, I've been cutting off the wilting foliage of the potato plants. The idea is to get rid of the foliage and any diseases that might be on them, leave the potatoes in the ground for a couple of weeks to harden their skins, then dig them up. Check. Commenced step one: The elimination of the foliage.

This is a disgusting task. It's been wet for about a week now, which means the dead foliage is all slimy. Also slimy? The numerous SLUGS ALL OVER THE GARDEN. EW. It's been a wet year, and we no longer have the ducks and goose that used to eat the slugs in the garden (though frankly, I'll take slugs over ducks and geese--nasty creatures). This means the slugs are taking over. I kept a bucket next to me, in which I would drop all the slugs I uncovered (while wearing gloves, thankyouverymuch). Then I delivered the Bucket o' Slugs to the chickens for a feast. Yum.


The potatoes grew so well this year that it's just been an impenetrable jungle in the Potato Forest for the past month or two. I couldn't even tell where the rows were. When I started cutting the foliage off, I realized that was because the potato plants weren't just plants--they were vines. And they were five feet long when extended. And I had to cut down seven rows of potatoes. With 15 plants in each row. And then haul all the foliage to the gully and hurl it over the fence. Are my italics conveying how exciting this all is?

Yeah, it's not exciting. It's slimy and nasty and I am frankly scared of the numbers of potatoes lurking in the soil. I couldn't move any tiny bit of dirt lest I uncover another potato. There are quite a few that just got pushed right up to the surface by the sheer mass of other potatoes in the ground.

So, in two weeks, the potatoes will be exhumed. And then we can all bask in our high-glycemic euphoria. Yay.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Punk Rock Changed My Life

Oh wait, no. That was Sublime. Remember that line? On the 40 Oz to Freedom album? Remember 40 Oz to Freedom? Do you even remember albums? Oh, forget it.

Okay, now that I've gotten laughably off-track before I even started, let's back up to what has changed MY life. Our clothes dryer. Yes.

Remember when we got the dryer hooked up? That was over two months ago. I used it for the first time on Tuesday. It was like a personal challenge: How long before I cave to the convenience of the dryer? Plus, it's not really necessary in the summer, because I can line-dry clothes. But now that fall has arrived, bringing with it a straight week of wet, cold weather, I found myself with a scarcity of clean socks. So I caved. And oh my God, was it exciting.

First of all, I put a load in the washer, and two hours later, I put it away in the drawers, clean and dry. It felt so very efficient. As opposed to having it all sit out on the line all day, only to get to the end of the daylight hours with a few heavy items still slightly damp and needing to be draped over chairs in the bedroom to finish drying.

Second of all, I didn't have to drive anywhere to dry them. Like I used to in the winter, when I drove to the laundromat 10 miles away. I could do other things while the clothes whirled around. I didn't have to sit there and monitor the time, wishing I was anywhere other than a drafty, dirty laundromat, watching the weirdos and crazies wander around and talk to their underwear. Man, I hate laundromats.

Third of all, I took the clothes out of the dryer piping hot, and they went a long way towards warming up my frosty hands. I haven't started running the furnace or the woodstove yet, and the house is a little nippy. Hugging warm clothes to me is the closest I get to a heat source.

Those of you who have never been without a dryer can only imagine what a big deal it is to have one. Is it strictly necessary? Well, no. But is it OH SO NICE to have?

Hell yes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's a Winner!

I will admit right here that I had some doubts about the lamb. About the taste, I mean. I'm not a fan of strong-tasting meat. I can't help it--I grew up on boneless chicken breasts. I'll eat the lamb from the store, although it is sometimes stronger than I like. I was afraid that our own lamb would have a strong taste that I wouldn't care for. And then I'd have 180 pounds of meat in the freezer that I didn't want to eat.

I am happy to say that is not the case. The lamb chops we had last night were really pretty mild. Like any meat, the fat has a stronger taste, but the meat itself was great.

Finny requested a photo of what she termed "the chop feast." Now you know that I don't usually pause to take a photo in between dishing up and shoveling food in my face. But just for Finny, I exercised enough restraint to take a picture of my food before I raced to the table to commence the eating. I will warn you right now that it is not nicely plated. I didn't even bother moving the plate away from the dirty stove. Because that's just the way I do things. Half-assed.

It's getting cold RIGHT NOW. I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I make for you.

I trust you can identify the lamb chop in that photo. The rest of it (in clockwise order) is purple cabbage (I won't call it red cabbage--that's just stupid. It is clearly PURPLE), butternut squash, and a really good recipe for lima beans that I just made for the first time last night. It involved fresh lima beans (from the garden, but of course), roasted and ground pumpkin seeds (but I used the seeds from the squash), green onions (but I used shallots), sesame oil (which I totally forgot about), and lemon. Despite the fact that I didn't actually follow the recipe very closely--at all-- it was yummy. Even A., who detests lima beans, said they were "okay." I call that a success.

I can't think of a snappy closing to this post. It's one of those days.

Over and out.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Payoff

Wanna see what 180 pounds of lamb looks like?

Kristin had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb . . .

Except they weren't little--they were big. Big enough to fill four boxes. The butcher was so impressed with A.'s lambs that he couldn't stop talking about how exceptional they were, and how inferior all the other lambs he's seen this year were in comparison. A. was so proud he nearly busted the buttons on his rugged flannel shirt.

The darker packages in the box on the left are all liver. Ew. I did not ask for the liver. I do not like liver. But apparently, the butcher will give you the liver whether you like it or not. Also the kidneys. Luckily, A. and the MiL do like liver. Unluckily, only the MiL will actually cook the liver, and since I do most of the cooking, that means we still have a ton of beef liver in the freezer. Add to that the lamb liver we just got and what do we have? FAR TOO MUCH LIVER. Gross.

I took out a couple of packages of lamb chops for dinner tonight. Do you know how much lamb chops sell for at the grocery store? Like eight or nine dollars a pound. So I was standing there, looking at these boxes and trying to calculate what the retail value of this meat might be. Of course, I was unable to calculate such a thing because A) I didn't weigh it all, and B) I suck at math. I'll just say that we could never afford to buy this much lamb at the store, and yet, for the price of some feed and mineral, it's all ours. Amazing.

So let's hear it for A., who brought all of his lambs from conception to the table. He raised the best lambs in the county this year. The Good Shepherd indeed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

THIS Letter's for the REST of You

In the interest of fairness, I couldn't just write one letter . . .

Dear people who read this site and comment all the time:

Have I told you lately that I love you? Have I told you there's no one else above you? You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness, ease my troubles--that's what you do.

Okay, I'm done quoting Rod Stewart now, for chrissake.

I may have made a sweeping, general statement that "bloggers" are at heart attention-hounds and live for their comments. You can, of course, insert "I" for "bloggers," and then you will have the truth of that statement. What can I say? I'm a youngest child--I need attention. The dogs don't provide enough and I don't see anyone else on a daily basis, so how nice of you to step into the breach.

I LOVE comments, and I LOVE those of you who come here on a regular basis and express interest in this random mess I call a blog. Or at least you feign interest, and that's good enough for me. Many of you have your own interesting, well-written, and generally much better-executed blogs. Some of you have no blog, so I don't know who you are at all (RLS, I'm looking at you). Some of you I know in real life (hi Sara!), some of you I've never met (Jive Turkey, Meadowlark, Sweet Bird, Drew, Finny, etc., etc., etc.), but all of you have amusing and clever things to say, often on a daily basis. And THAT is why I keep on posting this crap day in and day out. Because you read, and you take the time to comment. And that . . . well, that's just AWESOME.

Love you lots,

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This Might Be a Record

Yesterday, September 27th, A. fired up the woodstove for the first time. I'm pretty sure this is the earliest date in Blackrock history that the woodstove has been put to use. But here's the thing--it was not cold yesterday. I should mention that at this time of year, the house is always colder than outside, so it wasn't quite as warm inside as it could have been. But it was not, by any standards, cold.

However, A. was convinced that he had caught a chill (it was my fault, of course, for putting on the window fan at night) and was going to get sick if he didn't take immediate action. So he put on his heaviest flannel shirt and sat by the roaring woodstove all afternoon, followed by several hot toddies.

Welcome to the tropics

So was it the hot fire or the hot brandy that warded off certain illness? Hard to say, but A. announced that he had sweated out his chill and would survive after all.

Thank God. He had us all worried.