Saturday, October 3, 2009

I'm Confused

What is that suspicious brightness outside my window? Did someone turn on a flashlight out there? And is the ground actually . . . dry? Could it be . . . THE SUN IS OUT? Yay!

Okay, so the ground isn't actually dry yet, but it's drying. And I don't think the forecast is calling for sun all day (let's not get greedy now), so I can't hang any laundry out, but it is not overcast and actively raining right at this moment. And I think I'm going to let the woodstove actually go out for the first time this week.

It ain't much, but I'll take it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Garden Update: Ain't Dead Yet

Despite the necessity of the woodstove and the fact that it never got above 50 degrees yesterday (Hello, rainy and unpleasant fall weather! Perhaps you could go away and come back later? Thanks so much), the garden is still providing all our vegetal sustenance. I was surprised yesterday how much was still out there, in fact, when I took stock.

I feel a list coming on.

Last night for dinner we had some roasted beets, stewed leeks, and collard greens, all freshly picked. In addition to those, there are:

1) The Green Beans That Won't Die (planted in May and grimly soldiering on)

2) The immortal Ronde de Nice zucchini

3) Bell peppers that were supposed to turn red but are protesting all the cool weather we've had by stubbornly staying green

4) Basil bushes that I've been studiously ignoring because I really have all the frozen pesto I need

5) Jalapenos

6) Some very cute little cabbage babies that formed on a cabbage plant I had cut the main head off of some time ago but left in to see if it would do anything interesting

7) Chard

8) Yet more beets that have been sitting in the ground all summer and yet are still sweet and not at all woody (beets appreciate cool weather)

9) Parsnips, which will be covered with leaves or straw and wintered over

10) Radishes, which are the only fall planting that seem likely to amount to anything--you'd think we would know by now not to bother trying fall lettuce and carrots

11) Parsley, which I loathe and detest but which I planted for the MiL anyway because I am JUST THAT NICE

12) Three very large pumpkins that are supposed to be pie pumpkins but look awfully big for pie pumpkins, which makes me doubt their edibility

13) A volunteer pumpkin near the compost that looks a lot more like a pie pumpkin, but could be ANYTHING, i.e., the question of its edibility is also in doubt

14) A volunteer squash plant in the compost (squash like to volunteer) that has one squash on it that greatly resembles an acorn squash, but, once again, could be anything

As you can see, we are not lacking produce. I'm hoping to have parsnips and collards through most of the winter, though I might need to cover the collard plants to keep them alive. Last year, we ate the last collards in December, but those were totally unprotected and unloved. Maybe with just a wee bit of coddling, I can coax them through to have fresh collards from the garden for the traditional New Year's Day dinner.

And, uh, that's it, I guess. A recital of vegetables, yes. I am the consummate entertainer.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Good Times

Hey, you know what's SO FUN? When you turn your computer on and get the Blue Death Screen and a message featuring the phrase "physical memory dump." SO MUCH FUN.

So much for that computer.

(In conclusion, insert your expletive of choice here--I used them all.)

Update: Never mind. I don't know how or why, but somehow during my random messing around with boot screens and strange blinky-cursor screens in which I could not use the mouse (what is this, 1988?), the computer got itself back together again. And despite the ominous "physical memory dump" message, everything seems to be intact. Three cheers for dumb luck! Emphasis on the dumb.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Worse than a Mouse Head

Dead animals (or animal pieces, as the case may be) don't exactly fill me with the warm fuzzies, but you know what really makes me ill? Medical shows. I had a friend in high school who would watch those surgery shows for hours. She found it fascinating. I found it nauseating.

So imagine my excitement yesterday when I went to the dentist and the TV in my room was tuned to Dr. Oz (and is it just me, or does he look like a Vulcan?). I appreciate my dentist's attempts to be all modern and accommodating to those who are prisoners in his chairs, but I really felt like a prisoner as I averted my eyes and tried very hard not to listen to a segment on parasites. Tried not to listen to the lady who described foaming at the mouth and seizing due to the parasite in her brain. DEFINITELY didn't look when they were showing computer imaging of where in your body the parasites go. Tried to ignore the biologist explaining with unnecessary glee how you could contract a parasite from tiny eggs on the lettuce leaves in your salad at a sidewalk cafe.

Seriously. WHY WOULD YOU WATCH THIS? Wouldn't watching a show all about medical problems just make you a paranoid wreck of a hypochondriac?

Obviously, I failed to block it out completely. I think it will haunt me forever.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Day in the Life . . .

There I was in the kitchen this morning, looking around blearily for Mia's food dish on the floor of the breakfast nook, when I spied a foreign object on the floor. Foreign objects on the floor are always cause for concern at Blackrock. So I warily moved a little closer, studied it for a minute, and finally recognized it: It was a chewed-off mouse's head.

Good morning to you, too, cats!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A New Tradition

Yesterday was a rainy, gloomy, dank, chilly day. The sort of day in which a stone house gets just that little bit too damp and uncomfortable. The sort of day in which some heat would be nice.


Nothing can ever be easy at Blackrock, you know? I wanted to just put the furnace on for a few minutes, just to take the chill and damp out of the air. Then A. discovered when he was in the cellar that the metal exhaust pipe that leads from the furnace into the chimney was pretty much rusted through. Which means the furnace would basically spew its nasty fumes into the cellar. Healthy.

So, without the option of the furnace, that left the woodstove. I always resist the first woodstove fire of the season. Not because I don't like the woodstove, or appreciate its heat, but because starting the woodstove means moving the extra woodstove chairs into the dining room, where the woodstove is located. Which means that room will be crowded and cluttered until May. I don't like clutter. I do, however, enjoy having warm hands, so A. fired up the stove and we toasted ourselves for a few hours before bed. Then, just for fun, I checked my archives to see when we had started the woodstove last year. (Because the first burning of the woodstove is always a noteworthy event. OBVIOUSLY.)

It was one year to the day since the inaugural burning of 2008. How's that for coincidence?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Look! Rain!

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that. Or about anything, apparently. There seems to be an empty space in my brain where I normally come up with my brilliant and entertaining posts (what? they ARE SO brilliant and entertaining!). So, um . . . it rained last night? But, um, luckily I had covered the woodpile with a tarp? And, uh, the dead vole that the cat left on the patio is now waterlogged and will probably start melting into a disgusting mess anytime?

Yeah, I got nothin'. Try me again tomorrow. Maybe by then I'll have had a flash of inspiration. Or maybe I'll just give you a status update on the melting vole. Tune in to find out!