Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Windy Country

I was lying in bed last night, reading before I went to sleep, and vaguely noticing a sound. If I haven't mentioned it before, I should say that I seem to be overly sensitive to sounds. Especially repetitive, droning sounds, like our refrigerator running or the high-pitched electronic sound of a computer or television. I can't ignore them like most people seem to be able to do. I always register them as an irritating noise, much like a mosquito.


So there was this noise last night that I was kind of half paying attention to as I was reading, because it seemed so constant. Unconsciously, I had labeled it the whoosh of cars on the road. But it was far too constant for that. Finally, with a start of realization that brought this subconscious musing to the forefront, I realized it was the sound of the wind outside. The sound of the wind whooshing up from the lake in a continuous gale. A winter sound.

And, um . . . that's all. Carry on.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Menu--Straight Up

Guest count: 21


Sausage rolls
Stuffed grape leaves
Smoked trout mousse
Cheese, crackers, and pepper jelly
Deviled eggs
Cheese biscuits

Main Meal
Turkey with stuffing
Pork loin with stuffing
Pureed squash
Mashed potatoes
Brussels sprouts
Green salad
Phyllo squares with leeks and some kind of cheese like feta or ricotta
Yeast rolls

Cherry pie
Blackberry pie
Black raspberry pie
Two apple pies
Pumpkin pie
Individual creme caramels
Cranberry cheesecake with orange and cranberry compote

What'd you have for Thankgsiving?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Not Your Typical Thanksgiving Post

But then, when did I ever aspire to "typical"?

So! Happy Thanksgiving, my darling duckies! Are you all gearing up for some good food and serious gluttony? Are your appetites whetted for your annual pants blow-out? Good! Then let's talk about rotting food!

(What? Is this in bad taste? HAAAA!!! Geddit? Bad taste? Food? Just a little Thanksgiving humor for you.)

I have mentioned some rot in the potatoes. I have mentioned that the green cabbages rotted spectacularly and turned into sluggy, stinky piles of goo in the Pit of Despair. And now? We can add the shallots and purple cabbages to the list of rot.

The shallots are hanging in a net bag in the outside pantry. I've been noting signs of distress from them when I pull one or two out to cook with, but I've been avoiding dumping them all out and sorting them. I did that yesterday, though. A few were totally rotted, almost all of the rest had some signs of rot, but were still usable. So, one rotten chore down.

I could smell the purple cabbages when I was in the Pit. You'll recall that the smell is how I knew the green cabbages were goners. So when I smelled that particularly unappealing odor again (I can't really describe it, but I'm sure you can guess it ain't exactly roses), I knew I was in for a treat. I put it off for a couple of days, but yesterday I screwed up my face and my courage, held my breath, and pulled the bag of cabbages out of the Pit.

There were only two left, and they had some very attractive slime and rot on the outsides, but they were mostly still okay. Now, had these been purchased cabbages, I probably would've chucked 'em straight in the compost, because removing layers of slimy rot is pretty high on the list of things I prefer to avoid. But I grew these suckers. I weeded them, I watered them, I spent a lot of time on them. I was going to salvage what I could. So I plunged into the slime (GROSS) and cleaned them up until only good, non-rotted cabbage remained. That was about three-quarters of the original cabbages, so it was worth the time, I guess. Then I made it into German red cabbage. I now have five quarts of it to freeze.

Oh, and the onions I used in the German cabbage? Also starting to rot. Of course. All I can say is it's a damn good thing I haven't been sick with this man-cub. There is no room for additional nausea in my already gag-inducing life.

And on that happy and appetizing note, I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings! May your gravy be plentiful and your vegetables un-rotted.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Chicken Programming

I've been holding out on you. I haven't told you that my chickens are failures. They have not been providing me with my eggs, and since that's the only function of a chicken as far as I can see (it's not like they're stimulating conversationalists or anything), they are failures if they do not lay the eggs.

It started over a month ago. At first I just assumed they were taking a break, maybe getting ready to molt (they don't lay when they're molting, apparently). And then I saw unmistakable evidence of an animal burrowing into the coop. The obvious conclusion was that there was a rat. Where there is animal feed, there are rats. The dogs usually exterminate rats for us, so we've never had a real problem with them (THANK GOD, because EW). But apparently, one rat was hiding out under the barn next to the coop and sneaking into the coop through the ram pasture, which is fenced off so the dogs can't get in. I can only assume the nasty rat was attracted by the chicken food, and then decided to make the eggs his second course. Thankfully, I never saw the creature, although every night I expected it to launch itself out of the coop and attach itself to my face when I went to close up the little chicken hatch.

An unlikely scenario, but horrifying in my imagination nonetheless.

Unluckily for the rat, he was greedy enough to make the poison we put out for him his third course, or perhaps his appetizer. Whatever, I am now assuming the rat is dead, because yesterday I found an egg in the coop.

About damn time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

Just a typical night, bringing the dogs up to the pasture around seven so they could clock in for their sheep-protecting night shift. Except . . . no Leda. She didn't come when I called, hadn't appeared by the time the other dogs were in the pasture. Then I remembered that the MiL had mentioned Leda didn't seem to be around when the MiL got home. That's unusual, because Leda is left loose all the time and always greets anyone who drives up to the house.

Now Otty jumps the fence with regularity. Rita has been known to go missing if given the opportunity. But Leda? The staid old maid? Maybe, I thought, she lost her head because it's hunting season and she jumped the fence in search of a deer carcass. And then couldn't get back over the fence. So I trudged around the perimeter of the property with my flashlight, calling her and checking the fenceline. No Leda.

Then I got to the very last corner, over by the compost piles. And there was Leda. INSIDE the compost heap. It appears she jumped in there to snack on some particularly appealing rotting food, and then didn't want to jump back out again. So she just sat there for an hour or so, amid the compost. And of course, our dogs don't bark when they're stuck somewhere. They just stand there quietly waiting for someone to rescue them. Which I did, by sticking my flashlight in my mouth and undoing the wire on one corner of the snow fence around the compost pile. Then I brought her up to the pasture to join the others.

Just another day in the life of a dog steward.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Morning Pie for All!

When we went to bed last night, the MiL was making apple pies (one for us, one for a party at work). When we got up this morning, there was apple pie for breakfast.

I believe the world would be a much happier place if everyone started their work week with apple pie for breakfast.

(Thanks, MiL! It was delish!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Well Then

When I was in the Small City on Friday, I stopped by the Salvation Army thrift store to see if I could find another pair of maternity jeans (I didn't). There were maybe six or seven other cars in the parking lot when I got there. And I noticed as I was walking into the store that my car was by far the most decrepit in the Salvation Army parking lot.

I'm sure that says something. But I don't think I want to know what it says.