Thursday, November 27, 2014


We're having a quiet day. All the kids are doing the holiday thing other places, which suits me fine. I don't like fuss. I do like the food traditions (no surprise there) but the whole thing has always seemed like a big slap in the face of Indians. "Hey, come to our big party! Later, you won't be welcome at our parties or in our homes or businesses. And we'll take all the land and kill all you red people." Not an attitude I want to celebrate.

Anyway, the kids will be up tomorrow, and we'll have some pie and hang out for a bit. We'll probably try to get them to move heavy things. We'll try to be subtle.

We're totally broke, as usual, so I'm trying to get some glass Santa ornaments listed in the Squidglass Etsy shop. It's pretty warm out, about 50 degrees, so working in the unheated studio is possible. I cut some red glass circles the other evening, and put them in the kiln this morning. It's amazing and wonderful to have an art space! I scribbled the kiln schedule on my chalkboard. My chalkboard. My studio. The idea makes me grin.

C. dug another bucket of sun chokes. We plan some house cleaning. Woohoo!

C. has been photographing the bunnies. She wants to list angora fuzz in her Ovinia Etsy shop, and include portraits of each rabbit. Despite the window, it's still too dark for photos in the rabbit room, so we'll need to take them in the bunny yard.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Well, the pipe that I capped last night had weak spots, so we had another flood about an hour after we stopped the first. I rummaged through my plumbing bits and had no other caps, so I left the pump off all night, hit the One-Stop this morning for parts, and had the line cut and capped before noon. (Yes, I slept in today. It was lovely.) No leaks, so I must have cut out any other areas that freezing had weakened. I think we're OK.

The bunny room was a sodden mess, though. I got it dried out and replaced the cardboard and newspaper layers that the buns live on, then moved them out of our bathroom and back home. Just in time, too. Crystal was rearranging the furniture, and both Marty and the toilet seat were wet.

C. dug another bucket of sunchokes for winter storage in the basement. Miserable work.

And she caught a mouse on the stove! Grabbed it by the tail (it hollered) and plunked into a canning jar. The dogs and I took it for a walk and released it down at the other end of our eight acres.

The mouse was attracted by my latest culinary experiment – a healthier version of scotcheroos, the rice crispy/chocolate/peanut butter bars that I discovered at the Halloween potluck at work. There's something about two bags of chocolate chips and a cup of corn syrup that really hits the spot. I'm hoping to hit the same spot, without either of those ingredients. So far, it's like rice-crispy treats, only with peanut butter and honey instead of melted marshmallows. And the chocolate part of no-bake cookies poured on top. It's pretty good, but not quite right yet. Good enough to attract mice, though.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's always something...

First snow of the year today. It's all melted in town, but not out here.

I have a three-day weekend!

I'd been home about four minutes when C. found me and said the bunny room was flooding. Sure was. We hauled the rabbits to our bathroom, Smokey's room. I turned the pump off at the electrical box, and pulled some sheetrock and insulation from the wall outside the rabbit room. A pipe had frozen and split during the cold spell, and had just now thawed. Huh. I cut it and capped it off (just happened to have a three-quarter inch CPVC cap) and turned the pump circuit back on. I think we're OK now. So we have a pack of damp, hairy barbarians in the bathroom (not Smokey – he's very civilized). I could tell Crystal was thinking about redecorating. I suppose we can stand it for a night. The rabbit room flooring, cardboard and newspaper over concrete, is a sodden mess that we'll tackle in the daylight tomorrow.

We just heard a weird noise – something big falling down a flight of stairs? Thunder? The "new" dryer freaking out? It's hard to tell since the damn dogs instantly start barking. We think it might be the rabbits thumping and fussing in their new space. Or flamenco-dancing goats on plywood. We'll tackle that tomorrow, too.

There's apple pie. Could be worse.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mid November

Time does keep slippin' (slippin' slippin' slippin') into the future.

I remember when my second-grade teacher (Mrs. Amundsen?) erased "1965" off the board, and wrote in "1966." I sat at my desk, left arm in a cast, towhead bangs on my forehead, and thought about time. I was 7.

Now I'm 56, sitting here having tea (the black British kind that comes in round teabags) and double-chocolate pecan brownies, thinking about time. I haven't come to any meaningful conclusions about the nature of time in all that time. I just think, "Whoa." Tommy Chong is doing my mental dialog. "That Steve Miller is sure right about time, man. Heavy."

It's dark and cold out. The wood stove is pumping out the heat, and C. is vacuuming. The dogs and I hate it when she vacuums.

Em and Richard were out twice this weekend, Friday to get wood and Saturday to bring up Richard's late mom's dryer. The heat element went out on ours this spring. We'd bought it new at Monkey Wards in Coeur d'Alene in 1987. Replaced the drum belt a couple of times and maybe the elements once? and it ran and ran. C. is good with appliances. She takes them apart periodically and vacuums everywhere and oils stuff. The furnace in our Ancestral Home was old when we bought the place in 1975, and she cleaned it and the ducts every fall. It's still running fine. Anyway, we were hanging our wash out on the line in the cold and thinking that we really should look at those elements when Em offered Diane's dryer. Bless their hearts, she and Richard brought it in and installed it and tested it. It's harvest gold and smells funny, and we're pleased to have it.

I blew my weekend on foolish things like redoing the netting over the chicken yard. It was sagging and C. worried the guineas would get tangled in it. I hate working with that nasty bird-netting crap. It catches on my shirt buttons, on my fingers, on my boots. If there were three of me, it might be funny. It's not so amusing with just one stooge, though. And I moved the big animal fencing so we can more easily haul water to them. Last year we used an electric stock-tank heater on a long extension cord to keep the water thawed. I was reading that it costs $3 a day to run one of those – and that last year 17,000 animals were hurt or killed by those heaters. So the new plan is to haul a three-gallon bucket of water to them twice a day. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, November 10, 2014

R.I.P. Mrs. Davis

Well, she didn't make it. Our home stitching job proved inadequate, she developed massive infections and I had the local vet give her the big shot.

I know, pretty wussy for a farmer. But that's how we roll. Wussy style.

She was a good, brave bird.

Been raining in the bathroom. Now it's getting clear but cold. Supposed to be 17 tonight. I'm not crazy about the cold, but at least it won't be fucking raining.

Em and Richard came up Saturday and got wood, then cut it up and stacked it in the hallway. Pretty awesome. I made mediocre apple crumble from the box of granny smiths that Fred the whizzer brought, and we ate mass quantities warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream on top. Mmmm. Sunday I crawled around in the crawl space (the place to crawl, don't you know) and got the outside water off and the lines drained. C. and I dug sun chokes and packed them into buckets for storage in the boiler room. That's miserable work, grubbing the things out of the mud. But everyone from rabbits to dogs to people to Azul can eat them, and they store well, so it's a smart crop. Dead easy to grow, too.

The buckets are three-gallon plastic frosting containers from the Safeway bakery. Imagine that: three gallons of frosting. That's what I would have spent my allowance on, when I was a sugar-junkie kid. Three gallons of frosting. Of course, it's that commercial crap frosting that you have to scrape off before you can eat the cake. Imagine, though, if it were decent frosting. Chocolate, or cream cheese. Made with buttah, not gross shortening. Three gallons of buttah frosting. In a bucket.

Today I took C. to the doctor in town, and Mrs. Davis to the vet. Weekend over. Back to work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The rainy season

The rain continues, outside and in. Wear your umbrella hat when you go into the bathroom. I remember now that fall is very rainy. And you don't dare become miserable because winter is coming. And at least rain is not snow. We're waiting for the new roof guy to come up with a plan. I wish he'd hurry up.

I've been replacing panes in the old windows in the girls' locker room. It's not bad work, except that it goes on forever. Twenty panes in this one, and another 12 above the door.

 I moosh the stuff in the grooves, let it set up a bit, then come back with a putty knife and try to make it look good. That little thing above is the spring-wire clip that helps hold the glass in place.

It the good news department, SIL Richard replaced the butchered wiring in the truck! Wooohooo! I'm going to get to go to the dump. I just know it.