Saturday, April 18, 2009

And the Prep Goes On

Yesterday's wedding prep fun included, among many, many (MANY) other things, food prep. The MiL spent a couple of hours cutting up pineapples into decorative boats and boiling, browning, and slicing kielbasa and andouille sausage. Because what wedding is complete without sausage? I, meanwhile, was cutting up broccoli and carrots and cauliflower and melon and salumi (more sausage! This time with a fancy Italian name). And THEN, my brother-in-law and his soon-to-be-wife cut cheese (snicker) for awhile.

Then we had to find room for it all in the refrigerator.

We failed to do so.

No matter! We have coolers. That have now been filled with ice and melon and cheese and carrots and . . . okay, never mind, you get it. That have been filled. And are now sitting on the floor in the kitchen.

At this very moment, I have mustard seed steeping in hot beer to make mustard for the sausage (FYI: boiling beer is NOT appetizing at 6:15 in the morning) and garlic roasting in the oven for a white bean and garlic dip. As soon as A. gets up and fixes the flat tire on his truck, we'll go into the Small City to pick up the keg.

And when we come back, it will be time for the rushrushrush of the pre-party panic: chill all the champagne and other beer, sweep the porch, move those bales of pine shavings that have been sitting in front for two weeks, put on tablecloths, make sure the bathroom is clean, set up glasses and plates and utensils, arrange the appetizers, find bowls and serving spoons and napkins and WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO THE TOOTHPICKS?

Are you tired yet? Yeah, me too. See you on the other side.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Goin' to Blackrock and We're Gonna Get Married

Not ME, you sillies. I'm already married. For almost six glorious years now. My, how time does fly past on the wings of love.


It's my brother-in-law who's getting married. And he and his bride requested that their wedding be here at Blackrock. Tomorrow.

Now OBVIOUSLY, they did not just inform us of this. We've known for some time, which is why our every thought and action for the past month has been of and for this wedding. I'm just telling YOU now because I like to keep some mystery alive and surprise you from time to time.

So SURPRISE! Tomorrow anywhere from 75-150 people will be appearing on our doorstep to witness vows and drink lots of beer. And eat. We're not sure how many people are actually coming, since there was no RSVP request on the invitations. Uncertainty just adds to the excitement, right?

Right. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to transforming Blackrock into a Chapel of Love. This mostly involves scrubbing the bat shit off the front porch and making sure there are no stray docked lamb tails hanging around.

Oh, the romance.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Snapshot

Do you ever stop in the middle of something and think to yourself, "This, THIS RIGHT HERE is the perfect example of my life." One moment in time, one clear snapshot that would make your existence perfectly clear to any stranger who saw it? No? This is just me? Whatever, just go with me here.

I had a moment like that yesterday. I suppose it should come as no surprise that the snapshot of my life was in my garbage. After all, rubbish heaps are prime sites for archeologists seeking to understand vanished cultures.

So there I was, opening up the big garbage can in the shop to throw in the full kitchen garbage bag. The big bag in the can had, annoyingly and yet predictably because it ALWAYS does this, fallen down into the can. So I reached in, pulled the bag up and open, and there it was. The story of my life in two items of garbage: a docked lamb tail and severed chicken feet.

The End

P.S. Thank you so much for all your birthday wishes for the MiL yesterday. I know she appreciated it. And I was reminded once again how clever (and poetic!) my readers are. Take THAT, Hallmark!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

As Promised

The whole happy flock . . . and the flockmaster.

The puppies think it's totally bogus that they're stuck in this pen while the big dogs get to run free.

A lamb AND a puppy picture? I know, I spoil you. You're welcome.

Now there's something you can do for me. Or actually, for the MiL. Today is her birthday. She claims not to like birthdays, but I bet she would like to get some fun birthday greetings from you. So here is your mission, should you choose to accept it. Compose a birthday poem for the MiL and post it in the comments. It doesn't have to rhyme, if you're feeling all free form and modern. And if a poem is too much for you, probably a simple "Happy Birthday!!!!!" (the multiple exclamation marks are key) would do. But I think poems are more fun.

I'll go first.


This day belongs to the MiL
And so we all join in to wish her well
It's much more fun than the taxes we must pay
To wish the MiL a happy birthday!

Hey, I didn't say it had to be a good poem. Have at it, duckies!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Matter of Life and Death

WARNING: This post is about killing a rooster. There are no photos (you're welcome!), but if the idea squicks you out too much, do not read further.

As for the rest of you bloodthirsty hooligans: Read on!

Remember the chickens? Yeah, I haven't been talking about them much. The hens are still laying eggs, and they're all just going about their chicken business, doing chicken things. In case you forgot, we had four chickens left from the six that the MiL brought home last August. After a couple of unfortunate incidents reduced the flock, we were left with two hens and two roosters. We knew this was not going to be a permanent situation. We knew we would have to get rid of one of the roosters.

Roosters are not nice. All they want to do is jump hens and strut around. And when there are two roosters fighting over only two hens, things get ugly. Ugly in the sense that the hens were spending all their time trying to run away from the battling roosters, getting the feathers on their backs ripped out, and becoming wild-eyed and crazed from constant, um, lustful attentions.

Things were out of hand. And I wasn't going to stand for it any longer.

On Friday night I shut the chickens in their coop without any food. On Saturday morning, A. went into the coop, and after a lot of frankly hilarious squawking (from the chickens), cussing (from A.), and a scratch from a rooster spur (on A.), he caught the rooster we had determined needed to go. We had a block of wood set up right outside the coop, so he laid the rooster out with its head on the block, told me to grab its body around the wings, then cut its head off with a cleaver. Then he told me to let go of it. So I did.

You've heard the phrase, "Running around like a chicken with its head cut off," right? Right. They don't so much run as flop. And the beak on the severed head still opens and closes. It's a freak show, all right. It only flopped for a minute, though. Then A. dunked it in hot water to scald it, and then we plucked it. I found the plucking to be more distasteful than the actual beheading.

Then A. whacked off the tail, legs, and wings, and cleaned out the inside. And then, we lit a paper bag on fire and used it to singe off the little tiny feathers that can't be plucked.

Then I went to a wedding shower. I lead a dual life.

While the MiL and I were at the wedding shower, A. roasted the chicken. We ate it for dinner. It was really, really interesting to me how dark the meat was on the legs. Like, really dark. Darker even than the turkeys we used to raise and kill for Thanksgiving. The meat was very flavorful and juicy, though a wee bit tough. The MiL was of the opinion that any chicken over 6 months old should be stewed. But it was still good. It was the first time I had ever eaten a chicken that had never been frozen. Also the first time I had ever assisted in the killing of my own dinner (pulling up vegetables doesn't count).

So did it bother me? Not so much. That rooster was just asking for it, the nasty bugger. I didn't feel the least bit bad. In fact, I dedicated that chicken dinner to Penny and Poppy, the hens. Things are much calmer and happier in the chicken yard now. And I got a chicken dinner out of it, so I say, good deal.

Thus ends the bloodshed. Tomorrow I promise I'll post a puppy or lamb picture. So you have that to look forward to. Have a fabulous day, duckies!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Things You Can Count On

It will always be too cold to comfortably wear a skirt on Easter Sunday. And yet, I will wear one anyway. It really is disappointing. Every year, I have this crazy idea that "Easter" translates to "Spring" and "warm weather." Oh, you silly upstate New York transplant. When will you learn?

When we woke up yesterday to get ready for church (yes, we're those people that go only for Christmas and Easter--I'm okay with that), it was about 25 degrees with a stiff wind. A. had implored me to dress "Easter-y." Meaning, in pastels and a skirt. Easy for him to say, sitting there warm and comfy in his wool suit. The best I could muster was a dark pink sweater and a gray wool skirt. With pantyhose. Let me tell you, pantyhose are a joke when the wind is blowing off the lake and it's hovering right around freezing. I would have been better off with my flannel-lined jeans. It was actually snowing on the way to church. Cozy! But I sucked it up and bared my legs, and then changed as soon as we got home.

After church, we prepared our contributions to the family dinner. We were going to supply a leg of lamb, but then we realized that we only got three last year (only three--what a warped perspective we have, yes?) and they had all been consumed already. Whoopsy. So we brought prime rib instead. I don't think anyone was too disappointed. There was also ham. And potatoes and salad and stuffing and soup and and and and and . . .

There was a lot of food.

Also Easter baskets with chocolate and bubbles in them. I think the puppies will really enjoy chasing bubbles, don't you? And then we'll all just die from the cuteness of it all.

How was your Easter/Passover celebration this year? Did you gather with lots of people? Did you get to see family members you don't normally see? And most importantly, what did you eat?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oh Joyous Day of Chocolate

Yes! It is that fantastic Christian holiday on which those who believe celebrate Christ's resurrection! And those who don't, eat chocolate in the shape of chicken eggs. Or jelly in the shape of beans. Strange.

I had a Big Plan for my Easter post. We were going to get one of the lambs and one of the puppies together in front of some of the daffodils and take the Cutest Spring Photo In The World. Except it didn't happen yesterday, what with the killing of the rooster and the building of the gate and a wedding shower to be attended. So, The Cutest Spring Photo In The World will just have to wait until I get around to it, and you'll have to make do with this.

Happy Easter from Mia Bunny and the whole crazy crew at Blackrock.