Saturday, October 18, 2008


(The "fabulous prize package" being, of course, LOTS OF CAPS and exclamation points!!!!! And a link. Fabulous indeed.)


A.K.A. THE SPORADIC COOK (Many of my readers seem to have very pretty and delicious-looking food sites, like Julie's. I can't imagine what you people must think when you see my pathetic photographs.)

Okay, if everyone is appropriately excited, I'm going to dispense with the caps and exclamation points now--they give me a headache.

So yes, congratulations, Julie! Not only was Julie the closest, she guessed the exact amount (six dollars). EXTRA CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS FOR THAT!!!!!!

Interestingly, those peppers were labeled 50 cents each, but when I told the guy I wanted a peck, the price was magically less than half what it would have been for the individual peppers. And then, I had to go into a nearby grocery store for something, and right when I walked in I was confronted with a bin of peppers priced at $2.99 a pound. I've been reveling in my superior intelligence and economy ever since. Because that's just how sad and pathetic I am.

Let's all congratulate JULIE one more time, and thanks for playing!

Friday, October 17, 2008


Today, I am Bob Barker* (NOT Drew Cary, because that ain't right) and you are all contestants on the Going Country edition of The Price Is Right. I KNOW--how exciting is this? It's always a party at G.C.!

So here's the deal. Yesterday I went to the farmers market in The Small City, where I purchased bell peppers. A lot of bell peppers.

This is a peck of unpickled peppers. Peter Piper had nothing to do with the picking.

That right there is an actual, honest-to-God peck, which is a quarter of a bushel. There are 25 peppers there, but I didn't weigh them all. They are all "seconds," meaning they have some kind of small blemish or deformity that does not affect their taste, but makes shallow and prissy people afraid to use them. Because I am neither shallow nor prissy, and because seconds are always cheaper, I actively seek them out. I always buy a peck in the fall to freeze and use over the winter.

And now, let's play THE PRICE IS RIGHT!! (WHOOOO!) In the comments, everyone take a guess as to how much that entire peck of peppers cost me, to the cent. Whoever gets closest to the actual price, without going over, wins. And you'll win . . . um . . . I'll announce the winner right here. USING MANY CAPS! And lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!! And I'll link to your blog.

Okay, so the "prize" is lame. Just play for the love of the game, okay?


* Remember that scene in "Happy Gilmore" where Happy and Bob have a fight and Bob kicks the shit out of Happy? And then Bob says, "The price is WRONG, bitch!" That pretty much cemented my love for Bob Barker.

Update: Oh, wait! No! It's HAPPY who says, "The price is WRONG, bitch," and then later, when Bob finishes him off, then BOB says, "Now you've had enough. Bitch." Oops. The important point here though is that Bob Barker said "bitch." That's comedy gold, right there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In Which I Triumph

The wood is all stacked. I can't raise my arms above my head now, but that is but a small sacrifice to make for easily accessible fuel. Check out this massive pile of BTUs.

I'll allow you to insert your own inappropriate "wood" joke here.

But wait! What's this? Is this . . . unstacked wood?

No, "unstacked wood" is not a euphemism for anything else, you dirty birdie.

Yes, it is indeed unstacked wood. Those are all the pieces that are too big and need to be split more. I admit that I am something of a tyrant about having small pieces so I don't have to try to angle and jam them in the woodstove, thereby branding my forearms on the stove, but these are just ridiculous. We seem to have gotten a lot of big chunks this year. A. is convinced that we end up with more wood in total when the pieces are bigger. I'm glad he's happy, since he's the one who's going to be splitting it. I would split it, but the splitting maul weighs 20 pounds and I can only split a few pieces before my wrists give out. The splitting maul is not a tool for the ladies, as A. is so fond of repeating (in an accent that is supposed to mimic Arnold Schwarzenegger, but really sounds nothing like him because A. has the worst ear for accents ever).

And what's this over here? It's . . . a mini-wood pile?

It's like Mini Me! Except not creepy.

I made a pile of smaller pieces, as well as a container of kindling. Every morning last winter, we (often I) would stand over the woodstove, trying to get it going from whatever embers remained from the night before. We didn't have any kindling, so we'd be digging through the woodpile first thing in the morning, trying to find the smallest, driest pieces to try to get the fire going without the billows of smoke that normally accompanied this process. I figured I could save myself a lot of sleepy cussing by having the kindling handy and dry, as well as smaller pieces so I don't have to chunk on some large piece, thereby suffocating the fire and putting it out, resulting in more cussing.

There was a lot of cussing.

In other news yesterday, I raked up acres of leaves, started the biggest, fastest-burning burn-pile burn ever (yeah, it was pretty rad), and discovered Mia eating a dead chicken. I don't know if she killed it, but since she's the one I found with it on the front lawn, she's the prime suspect. The chicken must have flown out of the fenced-in area. A fatal mistake. And of course, it was a hen. So we're down to four chickens, only one of which we're sure is a hen. I don't think we'll be having a lot of eggs in the near future.

What I did not do yesterday is can pears. But it's first on my agenda today. What an exciting life I lead.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Second Verse, Same as the First

I only got through about a third of the enormous pile of wood to be stacked yesterday. This had a lot to do with the fact that it was 79 DEGREES yesterday. What the hell is THAT about? In case you've never had the pleasure of carrying and stacking wood, I should mention that if one is not wearing gloves and long sleeves, one's arms and hands will get ripped all to shit. The "one" in this case being "me," of course, because I don't want to wear long sleeves to work when it's warm and humid. And now my forearms are red and angry.

However, it is much cooler this morning--I would almost say nippy--and is looking like a much nicer wood-stacking day. I'm going to try to finish stacking today so I can put the tarps on before it rains tomorrow.

It is also much nicer weather for canning pears and SURPRISE! I have a lot of that to do, too. I only managed to do seven quarts yesterday before my hand cramped up too much and I gave up. I fear I will have arthritis in my hands at an early age. But what's a little arthritis compared to home-canned pears in the dead of winter? Am I right? Right.

'Kay, I'm out. Peace.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Back on the Chain Gang

My sister has returned to her desert hacienda, thereby ending my little vacation. It's time to stop lounging about and get back to work. And God knows, there's never any shortage of that.

First we have this monstrous pile of wood that is currently squatting right in the middle of the path. It all must be stacked neatly. By me.

Go big or go home, I always say.*

The photo doesn't really show how much that is. It's five face cords, in case you care. If you don't know what a face cord is (and why would you?), you can just go with my standard measurement--that's a shitload of wood.

And hey, remember the pears? Yeah, I haven't done a damn thing with them yet. And I don't think I expressed to you how many, many pears there were. A shitload, that's how many. Look.

Harry and David ain't got nothin' on me.

There are two more huge paper bags full in the kitchen that are close to overripe and need to be dealt with immediately. Oh, how I detest peeling pears. My hand may never recover.

Anyway, why am I hanging around here bitching? I got shit to do. See you on the other side.

* I have never in my life uttered this phrase, for I am not a complete tool.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Q&A at G.C.--The Finale

Let's wrap this up, shall we?

Does A. ever get jealous that you get to stay home all day while he must work for THE MAN?

Yes. Wouldn't you? Though the fact that I provide him with breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, as well as a steady supply of clean underwear, goes a long way towards placating him.

Are you planning on ever getting goats?

No. And frankly, I don't see the appeal in goats. Goats were a big fad for awhile, but I just don't get it. They can be cute, I guess, but they're much more mischievous than sheep, and also harder to keep contained. I feel no need to get any kind of dairy animal, because A) I don't want to have to worry about milking every day, because we all know who THAT chore would fall on around here and B) I don't like goat cheese. Tastes like a barnyard. Yuck.

Do you have bat problems in the winter--do bats hibernate or go south with the birdies? So when you go down to the Pit of Despair do you have to fight the bats for the food?

No, thank God. The species of bats in our attic go south in the winter because all the bugs they eat die up here. So there will be no more episodes of "BAAAATS--A Blackrock Miniseries" until spring. I knew I liked winter for a reason.

So what do you plan to make with all those potatoes?

A sampling of our meals for the last few days: Beef stew with potatoes; ham, collards, and mashed potatoes; steak, salad, and french fries. Are you getting the idea?

Potatoes can be canned, but they also store fairly well in our cellar, so we'll see how fast we use them. I'd rather avoid canning them if possible.

"Bright Lights, Big Ass"??? What is this book about, please?

It's another memoir thingie from Jen Lancaster, the author of "Bitter Is the New Black." It's about her life in Chicago. It's fairly funny, though she can get annoying. Funnily enough, it's written in a style not unlike a blog. Though a little more coherent. Well, more coherent than THIS blog anyway--I can't speak for others.

If you don't get to see movies very often, and this was your one chance to see anything you wanted...Why'd you go see that pile of crap? (Note: This is in reference to the movie "My Best Friend's Girl.")

First off, I do like chick flicks. I'm heavily into escapism. However, this wasn't a typical chick flick. It actually combined the worst cliches of a chick flick with the bathroom humor of a dude movie. Now, I like dude movies, but this movie was just . . . kind of offensive. AND YET SAPPY. It did not work well. But I mostly went to see it because my other choices looked either depressing or violent, neither of which I enjoy. And this one was playing at the right time.

Would you be averse to a free cell phone?

Yes, Mom, I would be averse to a free cell phone. What do I need a cell phone for? I'm almost always home, and I just don't like cell phones. I think people rely on them too much, so they don't plan ahead enough. I like making people accommodate me and my cell-phone-less life. Plus, I HATE how people talk on them all the time, everywhere. If you're one of those people, KNOCK THAT SHIT OFF. I don't want to hear about your bastard of a boyfriend or, worse, your incredibly boring job and your oh-so-important meeting. This is one reason I really hate sitting in airports. But thanks for the thought, Mere!

Okay, I think I got them all. Are you all heartily sick of me and the details of my life? Yeah, me too. And thanks for playing!

Signing off to spend one last morning with my sister before she goes home,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Lied Again

I said I would continue the Q&A today and finish up all the questions. But I'm not going to. Will you ever trust me again?

Instead, I'm going to get in the car and take a field trip to Lake Ontario with my sister. You'll all just have to wait until tomorrow to learn what I plan to do with all those potatoes.

Try to contain your excitement until then. Peace out!