Saturday, May 9, 2009


The MiL bought a new camera. I took a very cute picture yesterday with the new camera of one of the puppies being bathed in the rain barrel before she went to her new home. I was planning on posting that picture today. But I can't find the cord to connect the new camera to the computer to download the picture, and so today, you get nothing.

My bad. Until tomorrow, duckies.

Friday, May 8, 2009


There is a group of men common in rural areas that I refer to as Guys in Trucks, or GiTs*. Around here, men drive pick-up trucks. Not ALL men, of course, but a LOT of men. And the trucks tend to be of the big, four-wheel drive variety. Part of it is that a lot of these guys work in construction or landscaping or whatever, and so a truck is necessary for their work. Part of it (let's be honest now--probably most of it) is that they just like driving big trucks. It's a boy thing.

The Guys in Trucks are particularly noticeable at this one general store we go to sometimes for sandwiches. I like to sit on the benches outside the store and watch truck after truck pull up, with guy after guy in big work boots and dirty jeans hopping out to get cigarettes, beer, and Slim Jims. It's greatly entertaining.

Of course, A. is a GiT. All of his friends are GiTs. And GiTs are very useful guys to have driving around in great number. That's because if you should ever blow a tire/slide into a ditch/hit a deer, a GiT will invariably stop within minutes and change your tire/haul you out of the ditch/butcher the deer in the road.

Just kidding on that last one.

But seriously, Guys in Trucks are the most helpful people. It's almost like they form an informal rescue squad on the back roads. And they always, ALWAYS, stop to help. I remember our friend J. telling us about a lady who slid off the road in her mini-van right into a very deep ditch. Luckily for her, she went off the road in front of J.'s house. J. is a GiT. He had a friend visiting him at the time, also a GiT. Between the two of them (and their trucks), they hauled the lady out of the ditch and got her back on the road within half an hour, despite mud, ice, and snow all over the place. J. also sliced his palm open on her bumper or something while he was working, but he didn't even notice until about an hour later. And he didn't even care. Those are the kind of guys I like to have around.

Okay, I've written like eight different closings for this post, and they're all lame. I'm giving up. Over and out.

* "Git" is a British slang word for "a foolish or worthless person." Pretty much the opposite of what I'm talking about here. So to avoid confusion, just pronounce this acronym as separate letters--"gee eye tee." Thank you for your cooperation.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Getting Away

For the past week or so, I've been getting sporadic e-mails from my dad. He and my mom are in Greece at the moment. Every year, they pick a place to visit and go away for a couple of weeks. He's always wanted to go to Greece, and they appear to be having a wonderful time.

I'm not sure it's possible to have any other kind of time in Greece, though. What with the sun and food and ouzo.

A. has also been contemplating vacation destinations recently. His ideal destinations revolve more around places with no people, anti-social man that he is. Mine do not. Our vacation preferences are somewhat incompatible.

He asked where I might like to go. I said Boston. I've still never been there, despite living only a few hours from it for three years in Albany. He was not so keen on that idea. He was thinking more along the lines of vast stretches of emptiness in Nevada. See what I mean about incompatible?


I've also always wanted to go to the Vatican, despite being a very lapsed Catholic. And England. I've never been to England. And Patagonia, in Argentina, would be kind of cool. And I want to go back to Alaska, and see Nova Scotia and Maine, and I've never been to Oregon or Australia or New Zealand or . . . well, I have some ideas. None of which are feasible at the moment, but a girl can always dream.

So tell me, duckies: Where do you dream of visiting?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Love Affair

Yesterday, as you are all no doubt aware, was the fifth of May. And as you may be also aware if you live in a place with a big Mexican population, or just happen to have a bar nearby hoping to cash in on the one day when everyone drinks Coronas and margaritas, yesterday was the celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

I did the Cinco de Mayo history lesson last year. Also last year, I had a dinner party to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I thought about doing it again this year, but then it occurred to me that 75% of the guests who came last year now have infants or toddlers. This is something of a logistical problem for me, as I do not believe the under-two set are really down with swilling margaritas. So I punked out on hosting the party, but OF COURSE I made a Cinco de Mayo dinner last night. And my sister helped, by sitting in the kitchen while I made salsa* and drinking wine with me while we ate chips and guacamole. She also made the guacamole.

Now. Let's talk about that guacamole, because this is the love affair to which my post title refers. I LOVE avocados. LOVE love them. I will eat them on sandwiches, mashed up in dips, in salads, and plain. Yes, I will eat a whole plain avocado, just standing over the sink and slurping it out of the skin, smearing green goo all over my hands and face and generally making a big, nasty mess of myself.

It's very attractive, yes.


This is an illicit love affair, because I can't grow avocados here. And yet, I feel very guilty buying produce, because we grow so much of our own, ya know. But I love avocados so much, I occasionally ignore my guilt and buy them anyway. Luckily, I was raised Catholic, and so I am no stranger to living with guilt.

I feel I may need to say 20 Hail Marys and an Our Father in penance, but that guacamole? SO WORTH IT.


* Believe it or not, ALL of the jars of salsa (21 pints, to be specific) I made last summer are gone. Boo. Not to worry, though. I still have about 20 quarts of canned tomatoes, which just happen to be the main ingredient in salsa. We'll be okay.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Menace to Technology

Apparently, cameras and I don't play well together. I'm hazardous to their health. First, I left the MiL's camera outside, where it got rained on and thereafter never turned on. The autopsy revealed death by drowning. So then I bought another camera, which I managed to keep alive and well for awhile. Until yesterday, when I maimed it.

Specifically, it dropped out of my shirt pocket when I was leaning over on the driveway. The little screen hit the rocks and busted. So the camera technically works, I just can't see anything on the screen. Damn. I guess this means I need to get yet another camera. I should just buy the things in bulk--maybe I'd get a discount that way.

You can see why I don't have a cellphone. It would just give me more opportunity for destruction. All this stupid technology is too delicate to live at Blackrock.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Vast Expanse of Dung

Just in case you ever had the thought that perhaps you would like to drop in to Blackrock for a visit, eat some good food, relax on the front porch with the dogs . . . let my sister's experience be a warning to you.

This ain't no Club Med.

Yes, that is indeed my house guest, and she is indeed pushing a pungent wheelbarrow full of decomposing hay and sheep shit through the garden. Welcome to Blackrock!

Part of our garden prep yesterday included mucking out the sheep barn and spreading the muck on the garden before we tilled. This is actually the first time we've done this. It would have been better to have done this in the fall, so the muck could have broken down a bit more. Failing that, it also would have been better to have tilled before we put the muck down, and then again once it was down. But we didn't do that. Lessons learned. Instead, we spread the muck over the whole garden* . . .

BREAK: Let me take this opportunity to announce that our garden is nearly 2,000 square feet. Bigger than some people's houses. Keep that in mind as you try to visualize our labors.

. . . and then tilled. Well, A. tilled. And he had to go over the garden like four times before everything was incorporated enough for planting. It was a Herculean labor. It also smelled less than fresh, and there were lots of flies.

Then the MiL and I planted. We put in two varieties of corn, interplanted with some lettuce and spinach; two varieties of beets; a whole row of chard (that one's for you, Finny); a row of parsnips; a row of carrots; and six each of broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower plants.

From the time we started the mucking to the time we finished the planting was about five hours. We were all knackered. But about half the garden is planted, so yay! The next big planting will be the potatoes. Which will also kick our asses, but I prefer to ignore that for now and bask in the accomplishment of planting half the garden in one day.

* This is when A. observed that it was "a vast expanse of dung"--he's got a way with words, that man.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Can You Feel the Excitement?

I can! Because today is the day the garden really takes off. Oh sure, we've planted some random things--lettuce, peas, radishes--but today we'll actually till the whole thing (except what we've already planted, OBVIOUSLY) and start the real planting.

I love tilling. Well, I don't actually DO the tilling--I leave that to A.--but I love when the garden is tilled. It's like a blank slate. By the time we get to this point, there are already a shocking number of weeds in the garden. Then the tiller (and A.) comes along and just plows them all under, leaving us with lovely, loose, weed-free soil to plant in. Today I believe we will be planting some potatoes; corn; beets; some cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower plants the MiL bought; and maybe some tomatoes and eggplants if I feel like putting up the Walls o' Water.

That's a lot of planting. Luckily, reinforcements arrived yesterday in the form of my sister, who came for a short visit from Tucson. She naively told me I could put her to work. She really shouldn't have said that. Because I will. And I don't even feel that bad about it, because she told me yesterday that she had to lift a 90-pound dog at work (she's a veterinarian) that was seizuring. And then she ran down the hall with it in her arms. Damn. The women in my family are no delicate flowers.

Good thing, because there's a garden to be tilled and food to be planted. Let the garden madness begin. Wheee!