Saturday, August 20, 2011


I did indeed discover a cute little pullet egg in the chick cottage yesterday afternoon. Too bad there were six hens in there, so it's impossible to know who the star hen is. But the egg laying has begun! Soon we will no longer have to buy our eggs. Awesome.

I also discovered last night that fresh peaches make for one yummy cocktail. We have a lot of fresh peaches around right now, as the MiL has been buying them by the bushel for canning (20 quarts so far), freezing, and pie-making. We were out of lemons and limes last night, both of which are crucial to my preferred cocktails (gin and tonics, Sidecars, gimlets, etc.). But we did have peaches. What happens when you squeeze some fresh peach juice into vodka and a little simple syrup? DELICIOUSNESS, that's what happens.

Incidentally, if you ever come across a variety of peach called Jon Boy, buy them. A lot of them. Not just because of the amusing Waltons name, but because they are, hands down, the best variety of peach we have ever had.

So those were my discoveries yesterday: eggs and peach cocktails. That pretty much sums up my weird but satisfying life.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun with Chickens

Okay. All of the extraneous roosters have now been disposed of. The last five were sent to their reward (that is, our reward in the form of fried chicken) last night. It's a relief to have put an end to the constant crowing and cockfighting that had taken over in the ram pasture.

Now we begin the task of restoring order to the chicken flock.

Task Number One: Getting the seven new hens back into the habit of going into the chick cottage at night. Due to the cockfighting and general nastiness of the roosters, when we would go to shut them up at night we would find one rooster (obviously the winner in that day's duels for dominance) with a couple of hens inside the coop, and the rest of the roosters and hens roosting on the stone wall outside the coop.

Prime pickings for an owl, right there.

I was hoping that all the hens would just hang together once the roosters were gone and go into the coop by themselves. That would be the intelligent thing to do. Too bad chickens are so far from intelligent.

When I went out last night to shut the chickens away, I found two hens inside the coop, two hens on the wall, and two hens on the roof of the chick cottage. Right. And there's your example of the idiocy of the chicken.

After some chasing with the aid of a stick, I got the two on the wall into the coop and one of the hens from the roof in. The other hen on the roof got off the roof, but then ran around and around and around the cottage, with me climbing the walls on either side to chase her around the coop in my attempts to get her inside. We literally went in a circle at least three times before she finally deigned to run into the coop.

Fool chicken. She's next for the freezer if she doesn't shape up.

I thought all the hens were inside the coop then, because at last count, we had six new hens. We thought one had been eaten by an owl or something at some point, because although we should have had seven hens and six roosters, we seemed to end up with six hens and five roosters. Attrition is sort of inevitable when they're free-ranging, so we figured that wasn't so bad.

But this morning when I went out to let the older hen and the old rooster out of their coop (yes, they are still in a separate coop--combining the chickens is Task Number Two), I found one hen hanging around outside the chick cottage. Huh. Well, more eggs for us! Assuming they start laying eggs at some point, which has not yet happened.

The hens will be staying shut up in their coop today, so they can meditate on their stupidity and perhaps learn that the coop is the place to be. Also so I can see if any of them are laying eggs already. It's kind of hard to figure out when they run over an area the size of most people's houses. Eggs could be anywhere, and I'm not about to go on an Easter egg hunt every day to find them. So they will stay in their coop today and we'll see what we'll see.

Happy Friday, poppets! Have a good, rooster-free weekend! I know I will.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Miracle Machine

Yesterday, Cubby and I--with emphasis on the "I"--dug up a small bed that formerly contained useless broccoli plants. After digging, hoeing, and raking, I planted some lettuce there. Then I scattered some kale seeds among the so-far-useless brussels sprouts plants. I could have just pulled out the sad little brussels sprouts plants, but I decided to give them a chance to redeem themselves now that we're actually getting some rain.

I'm big-hearted like that.


After that, I settled Cubby in the hay barn with an ear of corn to chew on (thank God that kid likes raw produce--it's the only way I get anything done in the garden) and started to dig up the area that used to have beets in preparation for spinach planting. And then I stopped. Because I realized there was no need to dig it up by hand, for WE HAVE A TILLER.

Oh, the joy.

I let the Tiller Man (A.) know I had a job for him, staked off the bed so he wouldn't run over the nearby potatoes or carrots, and stood back. He wrangled that beast in there, and five minutes later, I had a weed-free bed of perfect tilth. It would have taken me at least an hour to manage that by myself with my shovel, hoe, and rake.

These new-fangled machines, man. I could get into 'em.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Toys

This past weekend A. drove to Ohio. I mean, why not? Who doesn't love Ohio?

Okay, so he actually did have a reason for leaving at four o'clock in the afternoon on Friday after working all day, driving five hours before crashing in a motel, driving another few hours on Saturday morning, and then driving for ten hours to get home on Sunday.

And that reason was to move heavy furniture. Sort of.

See, my sister's fiance's mom (got that?) sold her house in Ohio. And this house was apparently stuffed to the rafters with, well, stuff. Old stuff. Farm stuff. Stuff that A. would drive to Ohio to pick up, because my sister's fiance's mom just wanted it all gone and didn't want to bother with selling any of it.

Also, my future brother-in-law was storing a boat there because he and my sister are currently in a suburb of D.C. and have nowhere to put it. Future BiL told A. we could bring it here and use it for the couple of years they're in D.C. So A. really drove to Ohio to pick up a boat. A big boat. A boat that is, in fact, longer than the Awesome Subaru that towed it home. And since A. was towing the boat anyway, he just put a few little things in it.

Photo courtesy of the future BiL, who is obviously going to be a VERY POPULAR BiL.

Things like a walk-behind tractor, which I had never heard of but which were apparently really popular around 1950. They can have all kinds of attachments put on them, like snowplows and things. So now we have a really old walk-behind tractor that I'm not sure actually runs, but whatever! We have it! Also, an eight-foot-long, extremely rusty ice saw--suitable for cutting ice out of the lake in the winter when we decide to lose our damn minds completely--two equally long and rusty saws for cutting trees, plus multiple hatchets and ax heads, some random shovels, and the World's Oldest Air Compressor (confirmation from Guinness Book of World Records pending).

But lest you think that A. only brought home fun things for himself, be assured that he was thinking of me as well. My real present, which A. actually told me about when I talked to him on Saturday, was a lard press. I don't seem to have taken a picture of it, but believe me, I will if I ever use it. That is actually somewhat possible, as I do sort of press on the rendered suet to extract the cracklin's, which I think is the purpose of a lard press.

I'll let you know.

He also brought me a stoneware crock. I was WAY EXCITED when he told me he was bringing me a crock, because I kind of need a crock. When I make sauerkraut, I currently use gallon-sized glass jars that used to hold pickles or something. So I was very happy A. was bringing me a stoneware crock, the whole purpose of which is to brine and pickle things.

Then he got home and unloaded the crock. And it was . . .

The Crock That Ate Cubby

Okay, so Cubby is actually crouched down in it. But it is, as you can see, a GIGANTIC crock. A twenty-gallon crock, to be specific. I'm pretty sure I will not be making twenty gallons of sauerkraut, because this is not 1890 and I do not have 12 children to feed through the winter.

It has other uses, though.

Uses like entertaining my single, solitary child.

We haven't decided yet what we will do with the crock, but you have to admit, it's pretty awesome. So allow me to solicit your opinion, poppets. What would you do with a twenty-gallon crock?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sheep Ruin Everything

After an early-morning escapade involving our neighbor in her nightgown informing me that some sheep were camped out behind her house and then the rounding up of said sheep while apologizing to the neighbor and trying to fix the fence and fetching some chicken food to lure them in because we were out of corn and then fetching tie wire so A. could secure the fence and attempt yet again to just keep them in their OWN PERFECTLY FINE PASTURE JESUS CHRIST . . .

Well. I find I do not have the energy nor the enthusiasm to take pictures of the enormous old 25-gallon crock and the various 8-foot rusty ice saws and something called a "walk-behind tractor" and the other spoils of the trip A. took this past weekend. Nor do I have the time or patience to explain this trip and how he got to be in possession of these items.

So it will have to wait. You can blame the sheep. I do.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sometimes I'm a Little Slow

Please excuse my whinge-fest yesterday. After writing that irritating little pity-party post, I decided the best way to buck up would be to take care of some of those issues. So. I fixed the clogged vacuum cleaner* and vacuumed the nasty floors; cleaned one bathroom; took Cubby out for lunch to get pizza, because we're really all about the nutrition these days; and managed to be sufficiently grateful when the glowering sky produced some much-needed rain.

It wasn't a bad day in the end. Plus, A. got home from his trip (more on that tomorrow) at a reasonably early hour and had dinner with us, so that was nice.

And now, for something that actually relates to the title of this post! So, I have curly hair, right? Really, really curly hair. And it looks like a complete horror unless it has been treated with some hair products to tame the curls. But this must be done while it is wet. If I sleep on it? Looks like crap in the morning.

BUT. Curly hair doesn't need to be washed a lot. In fact, it shouldn't be washed a lot, because it's so dry. And a lot of days, I just don't have time to take a full shower if I need to go somewhere later and don't want to look like a frizzy freakshow. So how do I tame my hair without getting in the shower?

You may be saying to yourself, "Uh. Just . . . wet your hair. OBVIOUSLY." If you were saying that, you are smarter than me.

Why did it take me so long to figure out that if I have an event to attend in the evening and my hair looks like total shit, I don't have to take a full-on shower? I can just wet my hair in the sink and then proceed.

Seriously. Years I've been planning carefully to shower at just the right time so I can make my hair presentable for some event, planning that has gotten significantly more challenging since the arrival of my own personal small dictator. And I have just now caught onto the fact that all I need to do is stick my head under the faucet in the sink, comb my hair, and apply my mousse and hairspray. Five minutes, and done.

Sometimes I wonder how me and my feeble brain make it through the day.

*As I was doing this I was thinking, how gross would it be to do that for a living and have to handle other people's household detritus in their vacuum cleaners? REALLY GROSS.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


That pretty much sums it up. Cloudy skies, bathrooms that need cleaning, copious dog hair on the floor and a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner, a full day alone with Cubby without the brief but welcome distractions of "Da" and "Gwa," about whom he inquires approximately ten times a minute.

"Gwa? Gwa? Da? Da? Da? Gwa? Gwa?" GIVE IT UP, KID--and try saying "Ma" occasionally in recognition of the one person who waits on you like a servant 24/7, okay?

Yeah. Blah. But at least I have fresh tomatoes to eat with my toast and eggs this morning. That's something, anyway.