Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cave-Cubby and His Skins

Last year, when we received our very first tanned lamb pelt from the tanning place in Pennsylvania, I mentioned that A. had asked if we could wrap the as-yet-unborn baby in it. And J.T. added that those pelts would be perfect for baby pictures. I, meanwhile, was thinking, "I'm not going to put my baby in animal skins. What, do we live in a cave?"

Well . . . yes. We kind of do, as a matter of fact. Blackrock is cold and damp, much like a cave. And lamb pelts, while extraordinarily primitive and a wee bit disturbing considering Cubby's Halloween costume, are warm. That is why I have eaten my unspoken words (and the, uh, lambs) and we now have a photographic chronicle of Cubby the Cave-baby on lamb pelts.

We have thus far managed to restrain ourselves from actually making him a little suit from the pelts, but there's a long, cold Blackrock winter ahead . . .

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hygiene Trumps Apples

I could tell you were all greatly concerned about my shower scheduling yesterday, so I thought I should let you know that I did indeed decide that personal hygiene was more important than peeling and coring two thousand more apples. Hence, my hair got washed, but the melted apple butter did not get made.

It's not looking good for the melted apple butter today, either, as my mental plan must accommodate a trip to the Small City to get ready for our trip to Arizona next week.


Yes, the whole happy family (well, except for the MiL, who has to stay behind to woman the fort and make sure the sheep stay out of the damn road) will be journeying to sunny Tucson so that Cubby can spend some time with my family. Especially his cousin, who is now two and a half and who has been diligently practicing pushing the swing in anticipation of having a smaller child to play with.

I foresee many, many adorable photos just waiting to be taken.

What this means for me right now, of course, is a fury of preparations along the lines of trying to find warm weather clothes that actually fit Cubby (a stop at the Salvation Army to procure some of these will be necessary, I think) and purchasing disposable diapers. And let me tell you how weird THAT will feel, as disposable diapers are an item I have bought all of ONE time.

A. will be trying to fortify the fences so the sheep will stay in the pasture instead of wandering over to the neighbor's in search of nonexistent greener pastures; I will be doing laundry; the boxes of lamb need to be retrieved from the butcher; the hides are still curing in the barn but I'm afraid have suffered a setback due to the rain we've been having and the leaky nature of the barn roof.

Somehow I think our list of Things To Do Before Vacation is just a wee bit different than yours.

But cured hides or no, come Tuesday night we will be on a plane bound for family, sun, and unlimited hot water. Arizona, here we come!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Have I ever mentioned before how I'm in a constant state of mentally planning my next move? Oh wait, I have. It goes beyond just planning out my (ever-more infrequent) trips to the Small City, however. This somewhat abnormal mental exercise is always in progress, so that, for instance, when I'm sitting at the table drinking my coffee, I'm thinking that when I get up, I'll bring my plate to the sink along with my cup, then grab the dirty baby bib on the table on my way out of the kitchen to put at the top of the cellar stairs to be washed, then check the woodstove while I'm in the dining room, then go upstairs to get my clothes for after my shower and while I'm upstairs I'll check my e-mail . . . you see how this goes.

Which is why I get so irritated when something doesn't go according to the admittedly a little crazy and controlling plans I make in my head. As seen this morning, when I had my first Cubby-break (the first morning nap) all planned so I could get his laundry started and while the washer was filling I could have my breakfast, and then by the time I was done eating the washer would be filled and there would be enough water pressure to take my shower and then if I was lucky, I'd have time for another cup of coffee before Cubby woke up and MAYBE even do my post.

A shower can be a hard thing to fit in with my other daily chores. That's why I was pissed when I went in to take my shower and realized the washer was still filling. Which meant not enough water for my shower. Which meant not enough time to shower after the washer was done filling. Which meant I'll have to shower during Cubby's next nap. Which meant I won't be able to get another batch of melted apple butter started during his next nap as I was mentally planning. Which meant EVERYTHING IS RUINED. I'M GOING BACK TO BED.

Okay, not really. I don't need to be committed or anything (at least I don't think so . . .), I just need to rearrange my mental plan and accept the fact that my shower will now have to wait until the afternoon nap. Unless something else unforeseen comes up. And then I'll just be dirty and grumpy and my mental plan will be all shot to hell.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Hard Numbers

Cubby's Height: 30 inches

Cubby's Weight: 20 pounds 12 ounces

Cubby's Head Circumference: 18.5 inches

Time We Spent In the Doctor's Office to Get Those Measurements and a Couple of Shots: An hour and a half

So, to summarize, Cubby spent most of his energy growing his head in the last couple of months; he's a very tall, somewhat slender baby with a pretty big head; and our doctor's office is so goddamn inefficient I would like to give everyone who works there a boot to the head.

But Cubby is finally asleep and I just ate some chocolate cookies, so everything is okay now.

Out and About

It occurred to me last night as A. and I were driving to our polling place to do our civic duty that I couldn't actually remember the last time I had left the property. I had to think hard before deciding it was when I went to pick up the apples. Which meant that I had not gone anywhere for a week and a day. And what's more, I hadn't even noticed.


However! I shall be sallying forth yet again this morning on another exciting outing. Specifically, I'll be taking Cubby to the doctor for the eight-month-that's-really-almost-a-nine-month appointment.

Nope, still haven't found another pediatrician with a better office staff.


The doctor's receptionists may leave much to be desired, but there's nothing wrong with the scales there. And so today we will once again find out exactly how giant the Giant Infant is. Considering he's mostly wearing 18-month clothes and so is more in the realm of Giant Toddler-Sized Infant, I am expecting some big numbers here. And then after the fun weigh-in will come the not-so-fun shots.

Everything's a trade-off.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Preserving History

Back when I first told you about Cubby's collection of sea shanties, and in particular "The Fireship," that gem of a cautionary tale for randy young sailors, I did a cursory online search to see if I could link you somewhere for the lyrics. Or, better yet, an actual performance of this wonderful song. My search failed.

I have decided, however, that I really need to rectify this shocking omission on the World Wide Web. The world needs to see the complete lyrics for this particular version of "The Fireship." So when Cubby and I sat down for our nautical songfest yesterday, I transcribed the lyrics. For you. Because I guarantee you will laugh. Yes, out loud.

I was going to insert some commentary in the midst of the lyrics--mostly along the lines of "It's what's on the inside that counts" snickersnickersnicker--but I have decided to allow you the full impact of the unadorned lyrics. Because I think they really speak for themselves.

Oh, and I'm not including the chorus because I don't think it adds much to the story in the song. Also, I, um, can't understand the accented nautical terms the guy (whose name, incidentally, is Cyril Tawney--I think that's swell) is singing. So, no chorus. I don't think you'll miss it.

And now! On with the show!

The Fireship
from Blow the Man Down: A Collection of Sea Songs and Shanties*

As Jack walked one morning Point Beach up and down
He spied pretty Polly of merry Portsmouth town
As soon as Jack seen her most beautiful face
He hies his main topsails and to her gave chase

Jack hailed her in Dutch and the signal she knew
She backed her main topsails and for him heave to
And Jack lowered his jolly boat and pulled alongside
He found madam's gangway was open and wide

Jack entered her neat little cabin and he swore, "Damn her eyes!"
What was she but a fireship rigged out in disguise
Set fire to Jack's rigging, likewise to his hull
And away to the hospital Jack had to scull

Set fire to Jack's rigging, likewise to his hull
And away to the hospital Jack had to scull
With his helm hard at starboard as he sailed along
His shipmates cried after him, "Your main yard is sprung!"

Now Jack he's reached home to Portsmouth at last
He lies on the lower deck among the low class
He lies on his back and he cries out "Oh Lord!
Wasn't that the stiff breeze when I sprung me main yard."

* Ooo! If you click on that link, you can listen to a sample of this song AND THEN BUY IT. What are you waiting for? GO.

Monday, November 1, 2010

About Those Apples

I seem to recall telling you to check back this weekend for an updated final canning tally.


Why I thought I might actually get through a million pounds of apples (no, that is not an exaggeration--just ask my aching hands) in less than a week, I don't know. Because I am a foolishly optimistic person, apparently.

Despite diligent labor and many, many trips to the compost with apple peels and cores, I still have a lot of apples. I don't know how many pounds (a million?), but about 3/4 of a bushel anyway. I think I might get another canner-load of applesauce done today. Then I need to start on the next canner-load. A canner-load is seven quarts, which requires me to actually make three batches of applesauce.

On the upside, I have discovered that my melted apple butter is DELICIOUS in yogurt. So I'll probably make some more of that and just freeze it. I think I should have room for a couple of quarts of that in the freezer, even though our freezer will soon be crammed to capacity with lamb.

After all of that, maybe I'll only have half a million pounds left. Progress!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

As Promised

You saw this coming, didn't you?

It's so obvious, right?

I mean, a lamb and his shepherd. HELLO.

A.'s aunt actually gave us this jacket when Cubby was born. Not as a Halloween costume, but just because . . . well, it's a lamb jacket. OF COURSE she got it for him.

It was WAAAY too big when she gave it to us, of course. But in a wonderful twist of fate, fits perfectly now. So when I remembered we had this fleecy jacket, I figured all I needed to do was pin some ears on the hood. Then I pulled it out and realized there were already ears on it. Handy!

So then I thought maybe I'd just make a little tail to pin on the seat of his pants. But this morning when I put the jacket on Cubby, I saw it has a tail on it.

Well then! So all I had to do was pull some black socks over his hands, rub a little black eyeliner on his nose (might as well get some use out of it, since I never actually wear it myself) and TA DA! World's Cutest Lamb. That we will not be bringing to the butcher.

No, the irony was not lost on us. But Cubby's costume was Meant To Be this year. Next year I might have to actually expend some effort on a costume for him. But I won't worry about that now. I'll worry about it next year.

Happy Halloween! Go Make Some Fries

I realize that it's pretty much obligatory for me to post a photo of Cubby in a costume. I think my title of Mother might be taken away if I didn't.


I haven't put his costume on yet, so I haven't had a chance to take a photo. Some family members will be coming over for lunch later, so when his doting aunt and uncle and great-grandmother are here to fawn over him, THEN I'll put the costume on. Until then, however, he's just in his little sweater and pants, which are cute, but nothing to the adorableness to come.

I won't tell you what that adorableness will be, because I like to keep you in suspense. I will give you a hint, though: He'll be dressed as something terribly appropriate for life at Blackrock. Check back later and I'll have a photo up of Cubby in the Mystery Costume of Cuteness.

But in the meantime, let's talk about french fries! Because I made some last night with this year's crop. And hot DAMN are those buggers good eatin'. You should make them. Just follow my oh-so-explicit and professional directions. And, if possible, you should serve them with T-bone steaks from your uncle-in-law's free-range Black Angus cows. I guarantee that will make for a very happy Halloween indeed. Or a happy Tuesday. Or a happy Friday night. Or whatever. French fries and steak make happiness whenever they appear.

I think I might have that printed on a bumper sticker.