Saturday, May 4, 2013

Just When You Thought You Were Safe . . .

Maybe you thought you had seen the last of the Baby on the Ground photos (to say nothing of the Baby in the Flowers series). Maybe you would have, but then we done went and had another baby. And so of course . . .

But really, who could resist?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weeding and Mucking, Ad Infinitum

Last year's horrendous mess in the garden (it really was horrendous--I still cringe to think about it) is coming back to haunt me in the form of an intimidating number of weeds already trying to establish dominance in my soil.


I refuse to be beaten down by them, however, and have been fighting back now, before they can totally take over and before I have actual harvests to contend with. Now is the time to smack those weeds down.

Or, more often, dig them up. As I did with some truly terrifying grass that was growing in the blackberry patch. All grass has an impressive root system, but this shit was ROOTED. All over the damn place. I had to dig a crater, no lie, about a foot deep to get it out. I don't even know what it is, except that it is surely in league with the devil. Satan Grass? Sounds about right.

I've also been digging up quite a few dock plants and dandelions (and, in the case of the dandelions, eating them, because why not), as well as yanking by hand the evil horse mint. It must be pulled out by hand and carried out of the garden, or else it will re-root. And it's already flowering.

Man, do I hate horse mint.

My other weapon in the epic battle of the weeds is sheep-shit straw. Good thing there's an inexhaustible supply of it right at hand in the barn adjacent to the garden. The wheelbarrow and pitchfork are permanently parked by the barn and whenever I have a few minutes, I fill the wheelbarrow with the noxious, ammonia-heavy straw from the bottom layers and dump it on any weedy areas. If it can (almost) kill my tomatoes, I figure it should be quite effective against the pigweed.

I have learned, however, that there's no point in spreading it after it's dumped. To be of any use, it pretty much has to be the thickness of the pile as dumped out of the wheelbarrow. Any spreading means it gets too thin and the weeds can come up through it.

So I'm weeding and mucking and weeding and mucking, until my shoulders give up or the baby wakes up, whichever comes first.

The war is just beginning, but dammit, I intend to triumph this year. Or at least win some of the skirmishes, which is about all I can hope for.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I often send a grocery list with A. when he goes into the Small City for court. Why not, right? He's there anyway, unencumbered by small, disruptive children. Whereas I am here, definitely encumbered, and unwilling to drive fifteen miles for milk.

So. List.

Today's list, however, went unfulfilled, because he ended up being in court so much longer than he thought he would be that he just stopped at the gas station on the way home for the milk I had requested. We're pretty much always almost out of milk, so he figured that was the biggest imperative.  I was glad to have the milk, and I said everything else could wait.

I was wrong.

When I rolled my sleeves up (literally) this evening in preparation for doing the day's enormous accumulation of dishes, I remembered that we're out of dish soap. All the way out. Not even a tiny bit in the bottle to be rinsed out with water.

Aw shit.

There was no one home to go to the store to get dish soap, and with two sleeping children upstairs, I could hardly leave the house myself. But surely, I thought, we have something that will work. I mean, it's just soap, right? We have lots of soap! How about . . . this stuff?

"This stuff" was the homemade liquid hand soap I made awhile ago. I have not been too impressed with it since I made it, and I'm not planning on making it again. But I did still have a quarter gallon of it, and it is liquid. So I dumped some into the dishpan, whisked it around with water to dissolve it, and commenced washing.

Since we're always mostly out of hot water by the end of the day, I took the precaution of boiling water in the tea kettle for an extra rinse, just to make sure there was no soap residue on the dishes. It seemed to work for awhile. But the wash water ended up with little floating globules of fat on top. No doubt because we had lamb for dinner, and sheep fat is the most solid, difficult-to-clean fat EVER, but still. Gross.

I guess that meant the fat wasn't on the dishes anyway, but every time I pulled a plate or whatever out of the water to wash it, I was dragging it through this scum of fat. It got rinsed away with the scalding water rinse, but I was still not too happy with that.

I changed the wash water a couple of times, but the fat kept appearing shortly after I started washing, so I gave up after I had cleaned most of the mess up, leaving the plastic things like the salad spinner* for tomorrow when I have proper soap and hotter water. Because plastic is a lot harder than glass to rinse clean of soap residue and grease.

So I wouldn't recommend that soap for hand washing OR dish washing. My public service announcement for the day: Stick to Dawn. I certainly will.

* We had the first salad of the year from the garden today, from the thinnings of the hotbed planting. WHEE!

Monday, April 29, 2013


If you're going to do something, you might as well make sure it fulfills many purposes, I figure. Take digging up the weedy corner of garden near the rhubarb, which I did yesterday.

Obviously, I dug up and disposed of the weeds. But I was also doing the following things:

1) Preparing the area for planting lettuce and spinach. Which I did after the digging.

2) Exercising. Better than running on a damn treadmill.

3) Communing with nature. I found myself talking back to the black-capped chickadees: "Hey sweetie sweetie sweetie." That's what they say, you know. So I replied in kind. Not that I would admit to doing such a thing. (Except, uh, I just did.)

4) Serving others. I collected the bigger worms I dug up for A.'s fishing stash. Always thinking of others, that's me.

5) Relaxing. Because both kids were asleep, so there was no monitoring of a destructive child with a shovel or a baby who keeps dropping his chew carrot. That counts as relaxing for me.

6) Taking time for myself. I detest (DETEST) the phrase "me time," but that's what it was. No kids. No talking. No listening and answering questions and reprimanding and explaining and chasing. Just digging.

Of course, there were many things I was NOT getting done in favor of digging in the dirt--boring things like washing dishes or cleaning the bathtub--but we'll just focus on the positives. Look at all I got done in that half hour! I'm a machine.