Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Farewell

Duchess died on Thursday. Duchess was my grandmother.

. I have to say was, now.

Born in Mississippi and a resident of New Orleans for almost all of her life, Duchess was a true Southern woman. She could (and would) talk to anyone, even total strangers. She loved parties, shopping, and jewelry. She wore nothing but high heels until she couldn't walk very well. She never owned a t-shirt or a sweatshirt. She would nevereverever let anyone except for close female family members see her without her face on. Her face was makeup. She was never without it. She had her face on when she died. She wouldn't have had it any other way, I'm sure.

She was 94 years old. It was her time. But I'm very sad that my son will never get to meet his great-grandmother. Cubby will travel with A. and me to New Orleans in a couple of weeks for the funeral. He won't get to meet Duchess, but he will get to meet many other far-flung family members who might otherwise never see him. We'll make a sad occasion as joyous as we can. It will be one last party in honor of a truly unique woman.

And that's exactly the way Duchess would have wanted it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

One Fish, Two Fish . . . SO MANY FISH

Hey, remember A.'s friend J.? The one who fishes ALL THE DAMN TIME? Well, yesterday he and A. went out in J.'s boat for some fishing. And of course, when fishing with J., "some fishing" means an all-day marathon of fishing. They pushed off from our beach at 8 a.m. and didn't return until 4 p.m.

But when they DID get back . . .

HOLY POSEIDON. Did they leave any fish in the lake?

That's walleye, pike, pickerel, trout, and perch. That's a shitload of fish. Big fish, too. In order to give you a size comparison, I will make the supreme sacrifice of posting what may be the worst picture ever taken of me.

Babies are bad for your posture, and recoiling from a BIG-ASS UGLY PIKE makes for serious double chins on both mother and baby.

J. didn't want to take any of the fish home, so A. gutted them all and I wrapped them in plastic wrap and butcher paper to join the half-cow in the freezer. The MiL ran off with the fish heads. So she could make a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking that she's been staring at for forty years. The recipe is Soupe du Poisson. Strained Fish Soup, in English. It calls for fish carcasses, but the heads can't have the gills. So the MiL actually removed the gills from the pike and pickerel heads. Pike and pickerel are the two ugliest fish on the planet, and their heads are scary-looking. They are also, according to the MiL, lethal. All spiky and slippery and she's lucky she didn't cut a finger off while she was snipping out the gills (GROSS). The resulting soup, however, was quite lovely. Especially considering the nastiness of the main ingredient.

The kitchen sink, however, was distinctly UN-lovely after the MiL had strained the soup and deposited the resulting solids into the sink. I did not take a picture of the sink. Trust me, you should thank me for that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Babies

Some of you have asked how Mia is doing. Mia, you should know, LOVES the baby. Maybe a little too much, in fact. I'm always swatting her away so she won't lick his face or hands. Because we all know where her mouth has been.

What I assume you really want to know, though, is if I'm neglecting her now that I have a REAL baby. This should answer that question:

If you sit on the dog couch, you have to be prepared to share it with a dog.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Still a little shaky on the legs . . .

But undeniably adorable in the face.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sneaky Sheep

Cubby and I were wandering around the garden yesterday, inspecting plants and cursing the weeds, when I heard a sheep maaing in the barn. I thought to myself, "Huh. That's weird. I thought A. put the sheep up in the main pasture this morning."

So I peeked over the back of the barn and saw one of the young Cotswolds looking up at me. And a little lamb wandering around the barn. Then I did a double take, because . . . Wait. Neither of the young Cotswolds have HAD a lamb yet. At least, not that I was aware of. And not that A. was aware of, either.

Except she did.

Apparently, she was in labor when A. moved the rest of the sheep in the morning and he didn't notice he was short one ewe. He always counts the lambs, but doesn't pay too much attention to the rest of the flock. So this Cotswold, a first-time mother, stayed in the barn and had her baby boy all by herself. It was already dry and steady on its feet when I saw it.

Cubby and I went inside to inform A. of the addition to his flock. Then we resumed our garden wandering. And weed cursing.

Current lamb count is seven, with two ewes left to deliver. And God knows when THAT might be. Lambs are just appearing out of nowhere! It's all part of the magic of Blackrock. You just never know what's around the corner.

P.S. I'll try to get a lamb photo today to post tomorrow. I didn't get one yesterday because I was hauling around Cubby and the camera was upstairs and . . . well. I just wasn't that motivated.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bring on the Drugs

I think we need to put Mama N. on medication for schizophrenia. Eighty degrees on Easter and 37 degrees on Mother's Day? That ain't right.

Forecast is calling for freezing temperatures tonight. If someone doesn't get that crazy Mama under control, we're going to have snow on the Fourth of July and tropical weather for Christmas.

Strange. Very strange.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

An Epistle

Dear Mom,

Hi! Happy Mother's Day! I just talked to you a few days ago, but you know a lot can happen at Blackrock in a few days. And I know you like to keep current on all the craziness that is my life. So let me fill you in on the latest, so you can sit around today with your normal children, wondering where you went so wrong raising a child who gets excited by five hundred pounds of dead cow.

Yes! We have another half-cow in the freezer! WHEE! And I am excited, because we were literally down to only liver and kidneys. And you know I Don't Do Innards. So it's fun to once again have every imaginable cut of beef right at my fingertips. Well, at my fingertips if I'm willing to go freezer-diving and risk falling headfirst into the chest freezer to get to the stuff at the very bottom.

In celebration of our sacrificial cow, we decided to have some London broil for dinner last night. Good thing we chose a cut of meat that can be easily grilled, because, due to SERIOUSLY HIGH winds, the power went out around 4 p.m. A. and I took the opportunity to move furniture, an activity that requires no electricity. Specifically, we moved our bed into the big room and your grandson's crib into the little room. He outgrew the bassinet that has been six inches from my ear since we brought him home. It was a little poignant putting my all-of-the-sudden big boy (relatively speaking, of course) to bed in his very own room last night. But don't worry! He still managed to let me know when he wanted to eat. At 11:30 p.m. And again at 2 a.m. And again at 5 a.m.

Little piglet.

The power was still out at 5: 30 p.m. But we weren't going to let a little thing like no electricity get in the way of feeding time. A. put the meat on the grill, the MiL cooked some potatoes on the woodstove, I harvested the first salad from the garden (baby lettuce, radishes, and asparagus) and we sat down to eat at 6:30 by candlelight. Fun.

The high winds, by the way, have still not abated. And when we got up at 7:30 this morning, it was 37 degrees. THEN, when we were eating breakfast, we saw honest-to-God SNOW blowing around. Spring? What spring? Upstate New York says, HAHAHAHA, suckas! Take some more winter!


But your grandson is bundled in his Cubby suit, the woodstove is roaring away, and all is safe and snug at Blackrock.

I hope you have a fantastic day today. The happiest of days and all my love to you and Duchess.

Love, me

Oh, and a P.S.: The power came back on around seven last night, allowing the MiL to bake me cupcakes for Mother's Day. YUM.