Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cooling off

Not as hot today – got up to 82, I think. It's 7:30 and 78 out, but it feels cooler than that. I used my cane to push open the ridiculously high windows – I think the mad remodelers put them in upside down as the fixed panes are at the bottom and the openable ones up top – and a nice little breeze is wafting through.

The mystery tree on the northwest corner of the building has clusters of pea-sized yellow-to-red berries, and I caught Mo the goat eating some, crunch, crunch, crunch, as he stared off into space. I wonder if they are some kind of choke cherry. If so, he shouldn't eat too many as Farmer Google says they have cyanide in the pits. (Like he would care; he's scarfed wisteria and belladonna with no ill effects.) Took some photos and posted them on the garden club website. Those guys will probably know just what they are and what to do with them.

C. is out in the garden. She picked a big bowl of rabbit greens, and a sled full of borage for the sheep. And tied up tomatoes, I think.

I finished the brick part of the rabbit yard. Now I need to sweep and dig out the dirt in the center and see if the old concrete there is too rotten to work as a rabbit barrier. Might have to pour new cement there. Besides keeping buns from digging out, I need to keep their fuzz clean.

C. brought Fondu the Magician in and brushed and plucked him. He's a good boy. C. says he has the fuzziest butt ever.

I managed to let Mo the goat out. And some guineas into the gym. Earl and I got everyone back where they belonged, though.

Decent day. Didn't get much done. Didn't hurt anything. Had a couple of ice cream bars. Summer, when it isn't too hot, is good.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


It's 90 out there, according to my computer. Ugh. So I'm in here, with the fans running, eating some outrageously delicious Häagen Dazs thing with chocolate-and-nut-covered chocolate ice cream. I was so proud to get my ice cream home still frozen. It was in two paper sacks, under a bag of newspaper and two pillows in the hot car for over an hour yesterday.

Don't think I'm a Häagen Dazs regular – there was big sale at Fred Meyer. And we don't have air conditioning.

So my brother and his wife and son came to visit last week, and brought my big little sister and her son as a surprise. It was awesome. I haven't seen my sister since 1982? or so, and had never met my 18-year-old, 6-foot-tall nephew. That's because I'm a terrible sister and a lousy aunt. It's true. My friend Darrell once said that people who moved around a lot as kids have a hard time staying connected with friends and family. I think he's right. New town, new people. In with the new, out with the old. Out of sight, out of existence, I guess. Whatever the reason, I'm defective in the familial responsibilities/keeping in touch area. I vow to do better.

Anyway, they were fun. My sister is funny and easy to talk to. My bro is the same. His wife is  the nicest person. And their grown son has reinvented himself – he was a country kid, hunting and fishing all the time, then he up and moved to Seattle and is now all urban and hip. I so respect that. Not that big-city living is my idea of fun (especially driving in Seattle!) but that he decided what he wanted to be, and made it happen.

I suppose it's hard as a parent to see your kid reject the home and lifestyle you chose for your family, though. I guess I am a little disappointed in our own kids who have middle-class aspirations and eat white bread and fast food. Not a hippie among them. At least none of them is an investment banker.

I think I need another ice cream bar.

C. just came in from hanging laundry and announced that she had washed the dark clothes with Smokey the angora rabbit's pink rug. "Hopefully a good, stiff breeze will come up," she said. "Otherwise I'll have to get the leaf blower out." Huh.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Goat repellant

Which is a funny idea. I can't think of anything that would repeal a goat. Bad smells? Nope. Brussels sprouts? No way. Ugly faces? They'd be fascinated.

Sunday I was confronted with the hideous sight of a full-sized horned goat coming out of the chicken house. Out of the chicken door. Which is 9x16 inches. He was very mellow, gave me a nod as if to say, "What's up, buddy?" and strolled casually out of the chicken yard, chewing his cud of layer mash. I was stunned or I would have smacked him or hollered at him or made a fuss. It was like watching clowns come out of a circus car. Or a butterfly put of a cocoon. (OK, a big butterfly out of a  tiny cocoon, chewing expensive food that could kill it.)

So tonight I installed a goat-repelling hobbit door on the chicken house.


After. The guineas inspected it carefully.

The little guy decided it was OK.

I put bunch more screws in – bet you I catch a goat within the week.

The oldest keets are roosting outside now – after that cat killed one of them in the chicken house.

Smokey is spending afternoons in the lobster pot.

Attention, recipe-posting people!

So I'm looking for a great oatmeal cookie recipe. I could go to the cookbook shelf, but it's sooo much easier to google, isn't it? I try "whole wheat oatmeal cookies nuts raisins," which I think covers it nicely.

What do I get? Feh!

A recipe that makes 15 cookies. What the hell is that about? 

A recipe that calls for white whole wheat flour. Because it doesn't taste so much like whole wheat flour. We wouldn't want to shock our delicate systems with real whole wheat flour.

A recipe that uses only the white of an egg. Please. I'm not separating white and yolk for cookies. And leaving the yolk in a little bowl in the fridge where it gets creepy-looking, then dumped out all over. Let's go with the whole egg. I think we can handle it.

A recipe that uses Splenda instead of sugar. WTF is Splenda?? Wikipedia knows. Oh, yeah, an artificial sweetener made by swapping three hydrogen-oxygen groups on sucrose with three chlorine atoms. So it starts out as sugar, gets modified at the atomic level, and becomes Splenda. Which is not even a word. I think I'll pass.

A recipe that substitutes applesauce for butter. Ordinarily I'm OK with this, but I'm probably going to put chocolate chips in there, and applesauce and chocolate are gross together. I know this.

I can't get behind a recipe that substitutes anything fake – especially a product of science – for a real ingredient. I don't want to eat products of science. I want to eat products of farms. Butter, sugar, eggs, honey, milk, chocolate – all things that people have been consuming for hundreds or thousands of years. Organic, preferably, rather than coated with the toxic products of science. Just plain food. 

Fattening, maybe, but not unhealthy. Please don't confuse the twoButter can be fattening. Margarine is unhealthy.

You should see the creepy Frankenrecipies you get when you search for "healthy cookies."


Monday, July 11, 2016

July weekend

Mmmm. Frittata for dinner, with our eggs, spuds, asparagus, peas, and our dried mushrooms from summer-before-last. Plus stuff from the store, but never mind that.

Savvy is still pissed as us for making her svelte and cool. I'm still pissed at her for being such a pain.

Bored teenagers have been battering our giant mailbox again, so I went out and released the bloody top-heavy thing from its moorings and waltzed it around and over and reattached it to itself and waltzed it upright again and screwed it to the T-post. Ugh.

Shelled peas. Feh. And did another session of bricking the rabbit yard. 

C. worries that the buns could dig the bricks out and tunnel away, but I think the bricks will hold – each one is wedged in by its neighbors. If they do dig out, we'll go to Plan B, which I will formulate at some vague point in the future. There's plenty more brickwork to be done. If we run out of bricks, I'll pour cement. Looking forward to fluffy rabbits leaping and frolicking in their 12x14-foot playground. I'll make them an elevated wooden moon-viewing platform, with hidey-holes and skywalks.

I'd planned to clean house, but didn't get to it. Darn.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Who is a butthead?

No, not me. Somebody else.

Savvy the sheep is a butthead. We caught her (three times), dragged her to the little triangular shearing pen, and proceeded to remove the remaining half a fleece.  She fought. She bucked. She stepped on feet. She tried to climb out. It took both of us, but we won. 

That's newly cut fleece on the left, and the bit we did last month on the
 right. She'll look a bit funny for a few days. Good.

That's her fleece on the fence there.

It was a beautiful day for butthead shearing. 

Next I'm working on paving the rabbit yard so their fleeces will stay clean when they go out and frolic. C. is busy in the garden, as usual.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Book sale!

Wahoo! We love a good book sale. So we're tired (but good tired) and the hall has four boxes of exciting new (to us) books. I read the new Alexander McCall Smith as soon as we got home.

And my milk lady called. Her cows have calved so she's got lots of fresh milk – Earl and I booked up there and brought home two gallons and some eggs. Pudding tonight! And kefir brewing on the kitchen counter. It's been two months since she had milk for sale. I've been buying raw milk from the store for twice as much, and it's not the same.

I caught the guinea moms teaching their kids to spar. Pretty weird. And when one keet tried to get away, his mom pecked at him and made him get in there and fight.

So I'm shelling peas. And more peas. If I had four hands, I could shell peas and read. That would be cool.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A year older

So I'm sitting here getting ready for my 30-second commute to work, 58 years old and eating German chocolate cake for breakfast. Mmmm.

Em and Richard came up yesterday, bringing the party with them. That would be Liam. Liam and the cake and a silly felt hat with horns.

Then they gave me my real present, a repaired studio wall. Richard climbed up and revised the framework in the window wall, where the big wind had done some damage a few months ago. Em found a long, skinny window way back in the corner of the gym, and I cut it down to fit. Several hours later, the window wall is sealed up and looking good. I can work in there now.

I spent a lot of time with the little fellow, who babbled and stuck his tongue out at me (his new thing). I stuck mine out at him. We enjoyed that. He gave me a big grin at "Beware the Jabberwock, my son. Something something vorpal blade went snicker-snack" so we did that a bunch. Got to brush up on my literature.

It was a good day.

Sunday, July 3, 2016


It's really summer around here, and the garden is bursting with food. Yesterday I shelled peas. Thousands and thousands of peas. C. dug a few new spuds, so creamed peas and potatoes is on the menu. And she'll start socking peas away in the freezer.

I picked the small alpine strawberries. It's a pain humping up out there picking the little bastards, but there are so many we'll be able to make ice cream or jam or something. Mmmm.

We started to move the Lobster Pot out of the garden to so we could keep the young chickens in there, away from bullying guineas. But the guineas decided to stay out all night and the chicks seem happy boobling around with Graham and the hens. So we'll just leave the guineas loose for now. Besides, the Lobster Pot is designed to be dragged over to new grass a few feet at a time, not lifted bodily and hauled over garden beds full of plants. It's awkward and heavy and we left it in the garden. Maybe Smokey the rabbit would like to spend afternoons out there.

C. is picking great bowls of greens every day, still. the rabbits get some, the big animals get some, and quite a bit goes into the driers for winter. This is typhon, the most productive sort.

It's in the 70s today, with a breeze. I'm keeping the sprinklers going. Summer is good.