Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Anopheles Quadrimaculatus

Also known as the common mosquito. This isn't typically something that you see in these parts at the end of January, but this afternoon while gathering eggs (it was a five-egg-day), I was buzzzzzzzed by one of these little blood suckers. I think he was nearly as surprised to be there as I was to see him.

We are having a bit of strange weather here. It got to nearly 50 degrees this afternoon, which is unheard of in midwinter. Everything is melting and dripping and turning into a sloppy mess. Poor Lucille Laverne doesn't even look like she got a bath this afternoon, which she did (a nice touchless one with the lemon-scented presoak). Chores took no time at all, as I didn't have to bang out a bit of ice from the water crocks. I hardly knew what to do with myself with my suddenly spare five minutes.

Winter, where are you? I think you forgot to come this year.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Winter Greens

Another blah January day. Well, actually, the sun appears to be trying to come out, but no luck. Anyway, after hanging with my friend and picking up my half of our shared pig (I have a freezer just a'bursting with pork!), and a hearty breakfast-lunch, I decided I had to accomplish something that I have been putting off and putting off for a bit.
It's time to start some winter greens!
About this time of year, I start pining for fresh salad greens and little crunchy pea shoots. Oh, I love me some pea shoots. Of course, there's snow and ice and frozen ground to be had outside, so I opt to grow some indoors. It's pretty easy, and I am sure you could do this on your countertop as long as you had some light for the little seedlings to respond to. Here's what you need:
Seed Starting Mix. I recommend using an organic blend, so check out what your local shop has available.
Growing Dishes. These tin cake pans come with a clear lid--it's like a little greenhouse, just for your winter salad to grow in! Those plastic square bins that lettuce mixes come in work great too.
Seeds. Take your leftover lettuce seeds, or wander past those seductive seed displays and grab some packets. I love mesclun, and maybe I'll have luck with baby spinach too. I recommend using sugar pod or sugar snap pea seeds if you are going to grow some pea shoots. You can eat the other kind (shell pea), but sometimes they have a bitter bite to them. Great if you love bitter, but to me peas should taste green and sweet.
Once you have all your stuff assembled, you can get your winter greens supply started in just a few easy steps.
Step #1: Dampen the Seed Starting Mix.
Dump out your mix into a handy tub, and add a little warm water. How much water? It depends on how dry your mix is. I recommend adding a little slosh at a time and then mixing well using your arm/hand. Add more water until it feels a little moist, not powdery or sloppy mud. Also, I keep my mix in the house near the heater for a week or so, to warm up the "soil temperature". Seeds like warmish soil.
Step#2: Make drainage holes.
Pretty self explanatory here. Channel your inner knife thrower and have at it.
Step #3: Put soil in container.
I put an inch or two in the bottom of the container, a little more for deeper containers like a plastic bin or something.
Step #4: Sprinkle around seeds.
Very lightly sprinkle seeds around the container. I go a little lavish, but keep in mind these are going be grown as baby greens (some people call them micro-greens) so planting a little thick is okay. You eventually just trim them with scissors when you want them for salad or cooking.
Step #5: Mist with water.
I don't recommend using a watering can, as that tends to flood seeds and move them out of place. So find a clean mister and spray until the surface is damp.
Step #6: Pop on the plastic cover.
Using the plastic cover helps to hold in the moisture, which is great because you don't want to overwater or have everything evaporate. The little greenhouse I use actually gets pretty warm with the lights turned on and the opening zippered closed.
Step #7: Place under your lights/in a warm spot.
Technically, until they germinate, seeds don't need light. But some lettuce seeds do like light, so I opt to park them under the low wattage florescent bulbs I picked up cheap at a large box store. I hang them using garden twine, that I tie shorter as the seedlings grow. I'm also experimenting with a seed starting heat mat (thank you, Christmas Gift Card Fairy!) this year, and I'm excited to see if it speeds up the development of my mesclun lettuce mix.
I can't wait for that first bowl of salad...

Friday, January 27, 2012

They Arrived!

Just look how pretty those eggs look, in their new hot pink carton. Oooh la la, I tell you!

This is a temporary logo. Really. I do rather like it (it was a free hot pink chicken clip art!! Can you believe it? Pink!) but I think I need something a little more...flamboyant. I mean, if you are going to become a poultry mogul selling/giving eggs to three consistent customers, you are all about the fancy logo.

I keep wanting to open the fridge door and stare in at my new egg cartons. Is this healthy? Probably not. Is it making me happy on a snowy Friday afternoon? You betcha!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Blaaaaahs

So today was one of those days where it is gray. And it is cold. And everything seems to be covered by a thin layer of grimy slimy frozen schmutz. And I got maybe three hours of sleep, interspersed with stress dreams (let's leave it at "work life" is not part of my "happy life" right now).
There wasn't enough coffee in the world to give me a Pollyanna viewpoint on my day today. I had to spend all day, shmushing through icy parking lots, feeling like life was hitting me in the head with a brick, and act happy to be there. Because you can't be a grumpuss with a six year old with an earache. He doesn't care about your existential crisis of the moment; his ear freakin' hurts and you want to put a flashlight where?? Sigh. Some days, being a grownup is way sucky.
Eventually, I was allowed to wander home and escape. I am not going to answer the phone for anyone, I said to myself. I am not going to speak at all. I am not going to look at anything or listen to anything. I am going to Be. Left. Alone. That was my declaration upon entering the safe zone behind my door. Don't come a-knockin', because you may just get a rubber boot in the ass as I chase you away. I mean it.
So I did the chores, and I plonked myself on the computer in a vain attempt to find something cheerful. Nothing doing. Everything either annoyed me by its silliness, or reminded me of something I didn't have...oh yes, a serious case of the Poor Meeeees before 6 PM. Wah wah wah.
And then I looked over beside me, and saw this:
Who could possibly stay in a bad mood, looking at that furry face beaming with adoration?
Sigh. I guess I will survive a bad January day after all. But I'm still going to have a beer, dang it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Call Me the Rabbit Pimp of Prairie Farm

Some mornings, you wake up and all is right with the world. Some mornings, you wake up and you just want to crawl back under the covers and hide.

This morning, I woke up, went outside, and had one of those moments when you think to yourself: Huh. I never thought I'd be doing this before 7 AM.

That's right folks, crank up your 48 of Barry White and switch on that sexy disco ball hanging from the ceiling of that vintage '70s porno set we all have tucked into our little vestigial brains. I was out there, in the cold, before dawn, encouraging two rabbits to have carnal relations, before my first cuppa of the day.


Such is the life of a rabbit pimp. Little Mama apparently had a phantom pregnancy (okay, she just wasn't pregnant at all, no phantom involved). No kits arrived as per the rabbit delivery schedule (29 to 31 days post-climax). Let's just say that Bucky and Little Mama had a very....enthusiastic....reunion. I can't say that Little Mama really enjoyed herself, but Bucky had a fantastic time heaving and snorting and eventually rolling over backwards...after about 30 seconds of go-go time. This is why you can do rabbit breeding before heading off to work. In the time it took me to bang out the frozen ice cubes of water dishes and hand out dried apple slices to the spectators (yes, the other rabbits seem to like to watch, little sickos that they are), I was pretty sure that success happened and that Little Mama would likely be preggo by the end of the day. (You see, she ovulates AFTER copulation. Betcha didn't know that about rabbits, did ya?) After congratulating Bucky on his wonderful performance, I bundled Little Mama into her cage, bid everyone a peaceful day, and wandered inside for my hot cup of coffee.

Boom chicka bwow wow, bayyyyybeeee.

P.S. An afternoon liason was also successful. I believe in under a month, Bucky and Little Mama will be proud parents once again. Eat your heart out, Viagra.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Heigh Ho, Condiments!

I recently came into a quantity of fresh liver (thanks, Trevor the pig!) and started searching for appropriately yummy liver recipes to try out.

I am going to bet that for many of you, combining the words "yummy" and "liver" was something you have never before contemplated. You have to trust me on this, it is possible.

So anyway, one of the best looking recipes I came across called for chili sauce. This is otherwise known as the tomato-based half of shrimp cocktail sauce, which reaches its' full potential when combined with creamy horseradish sauce....mmmmmm. Unfortunately, chili sauce is not something I routinely stock in my cupboards. I thought to myself, oh well. Better put that on the list for next time I head to the grocery store.

Hold the phone. Buy chili sauce? Huh. Try make that chili sauce, girlfriend.

For Christmas, I got myself a great book on small-batch preserving. In it, you can find everything from jams and jellies to relishes to sauces. And of course, condiments. Instead of heading to the store, I raided my freezer and root cellar closets for the ingredients to make a fabulous batch of homemade chili sauce. Wahoo! I cheated a little, and cooked it in my slow cooker on high all afternoon instead of on the stovetop. This is a great trick for making fruit butters, and works for things like tomato paste as well. A few hours on high, a whirl of my stick blender, and we were in condiment heaven.

In case you wanted to try your hand at making chili sauce, or just were curious as to what the heck is in chili sauce, anyway?, here's the recipe. I modified it a little, based on what I had in the pantry.

Mid-Winter Chili Sauce

4 cups diced, peeled tomatoes (mine were diced and frozen in July)
5 stalks celery, finely diced
2 apples, peeled cored and diced
2 small sweet bell peppers (I had about half a yellow and a whole red one)
1 Tablespoon dried jalepeno slices (okay, these I made myself...)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pickling or canning salt (same thing, different name)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
1 1-inch piece of crystalized ginger
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries

Toss the tomatoes, celery, apples, peppers, dried jalepenos, onion, vinegar, sugar and salt into a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then transfer to a crockpot that has been preheating on high. Place cinnamon sticks, ginger and allspice berries into a tea ball or tie in a piece of cheesecloth. Toss your spice "package" into the mix in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours until everything is cooked into a very mushy state. Crank up your stick blender and whirl everything smooth (or, transfer into a blender or food processor and whirl until smooth). Keep sauce hot in the crockpot, while you sterilize your jars and crank up the water bath canner. Ladle sauce into hot jars, top with a hot lid, and tighten the band. Process for 15 minutes for half-pints or 20 minutes for whole pints, then remove jars from canner and allow to cool. Check the lids for sealing success in 24 hours and then store in a cool dark place. Should be good for at least a year, but toss if it changes color or grows something funky. I got four half-pints and one full pint out of this recipe, although I did have to add about 1/4 cup of hot water to the pint to fill it out a bit.

I think it's going to be awesome. Next, I'm going to try making ketchup! Pass the fries, please.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hot. Pink. Egg Cartons. Love!

Oh. My. Word.

Can you believe it? Hot pink egg cartons. Who knew? Randall Burkey, that's who. You gotta give it to those Texans. They know their female chicken farmer audience sooooo well.

I am contemplating a serious impulse buy. Only a small order, a handful of cartons at most. (Well, more like 50 of them. That's all. Honest.) I think I need them. They could be my new signature egg cartons, distributed to my very few, lovely & local customers, who would return them to me like the precious jewels that they are, to be refilled with the eggs produced by the hard working girls in the coop. I could make sticky labels to put on them. Oh! I could design a logo. I've always wanted a logo. I'd feel like I have finally arrived, if I had my own logo. You know, like Martha Stewart has a logo. Except I wouldn't commit insider trading and go to prison for a felonious federal crime. Heavens, no. I don't produce nearly enough eggs to do insider trading on the commodies market. (Yet.)

Anyway, back to the logo design. Classic is always good, involving eggs or a nest. Or a picture of one of the girls, doing her "chicken thang". That might be a bit too bland for my logo, though. Something a tad saucy, something with a hint of zip and a dash of naughty in it. Maybe a chicken wearing a diamond tiara, drinking a Cosmo? Now there's a possibility....wait, nobody steal that idea! Alert the trademark police, somebody.

Whoever invented chicken bling like this really knows me. It's freaky, how much I desire them. I never knew how much I needed pink egg cartons, until I saw these bright fuschia cardboard lovelies. Cue angelic choir swelling in the background, while I go dig out my checkbook.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Best Chicken Waterer Ever!

No this is not an advertisement for Tidy Cats. But this plastic jug, one of many sitting in my recyclables pile on the sun porch, makes hands-down the best chicken waterer I have yet to experience. Instead of investing in heat lamps, heated waterers, or heated stands to stick your waterer upon, just find an old kitty litter jug.

To make it into a waterer, I slice it in half lengthwise (top to bottom), so you wind up with a skinny dish. If you cut it properly, you'll have the capped bit as one end of the dish. (Leave the cap on, or all the water will flow out.) Anyway, when the water freezes into a solid chunk (and it will, trust me), all you do is flex your formerly-litter-jug-now-a-water-dish a bit, and out pops a large rectangular ice cube. Tah dah. No banging the dishes, no heating bills going through the roof. While it does freeze over time, the girls & Rudy have figured out how to chip off bits of the ice. They'll eat that with great enjoyment. It almost seems like they like ice chips better than liquid water, some days.

I get asked a lot: Do you heat your chicken house? Well, no. Chickens actually put out a lot of heat, and they scrunch together on their roosting bars to stay warm. I also do the "deep litter" method of bedding over the winter. This is simple: Don't clean the house. Just add layers of fresh bedding on top of the dirty, mucky stuff about once a week. The chickens will root through it and mix it around, but the cleaner stuff stays to the top. Because it is a deep layer of bedding, it actually begins to compost. Composting, if you didn't already know, produces a heck of a lot of heat as the microorganisms start breaking down the organic material. This heat generation in turn heats the chicken house. It isn't like Kew Gardens in there, by any means, but it's a good 20-25 degrees warmer in the house than it is outside. Between the chickens snuggling together at night and the deep bedding, they fare pretty well without an electricity-sucking heat lamp hung from the ceiling. Come spring, I clean out all the mucky bedding and toss it onto the compost heap for a little while. It's nearly ready to spread on the gardens, directly out of the chicken house!

All those fancy-dancy water heaters always crap out on me anyway. If you read the fine print, all of them say "Do not get wet". Umm, hello. It's a waterer. It is going to get wet, because you put water in/on/next to it. Chickens are also sloppy drinkers (not quite as bad as ducks, but close), who slobber water everywhere when they go for a drink or wrestle for position amongst their feathered fellows. So save your money, find an old kitty litter jug, and make your very own Best Chicken Waterer Ever. Your happy hens will thank you. The electrical company will mourn the loss of all your hard-earned dollars that they previously tucked into their back pockets every winter. You will have the pride of being the epitome of thrify farmer-ness. Ahh, the glory.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Amish Paradise

Hee hee. I have had this song rattling around in my head all night. You see, yesterday I met a really nice Amish man who came to the Seed Share I organized. Turns out, his brother has a son who raises New Zealand rabbits, and who also had some of these rabbits for sale. Aha! I was in need of a new doe, to replace Big Mama (who had the unfortunate habit of consuming her offspring). After the Seed Share, I headed off into the hills around Prairie Farm in Lucille Laverne in search of a new rabbit. I'm not sure that Reuben, the patriarch, knew what to make of me as I rolled into his farmyard in my big honkin' truck with the pink dice dangling from the rearview mirror. He definitely raised an eyebrow when he saw the fuzzy pink seat covers...
Anyway, it turned out that his son Samuel wasn't at home. He and some other of the guys were off building the new bakery (a bakery!!!!! oh. my. goodness.) in Reeve. We arranged that I would come back after dark, when he was pretty sure that Samuel would be home.

Here's a life lesson for you: When visiting the Amish in January after the sun sets, remember to bring a flashlight. I am pretty sure that their barn was lovely, full of happy cows and happy rabbits and some other livestock that I could hear but not see. I am sure that the walkways and paths were not completely filled with treacherous holes and sudden drop-offs. I am sure that the yard was not one iced over, rutted mess. However, since I couldn't see a damn thing, I can't be certain. It will be a whole new experience to visit in the daylight. I can't even tell you what Samuel looked like, although I know he couldn't have been more than 20, was tall, and was wearing a headlamp. He also knows how to sex a rabbit in the dark, which is no mean feat.

Okay, perverts. That doesn't mean what you are all thinking it means. No beastiality was involved. Basically, you feel up the rabbit to find out if it is a girl or a boy. Since their parts are all hidden, this is a bit of an involved process. If something sticks out at you, it's a boy. My rabbit was an innie.

I am now the proud owner of an Amish rabbit. I'll have to think of a suitably Amish name...Rebekah? Anne? Hmmm. Well, I'll contemplate that for a bit.
Isn't she pretty? Bucky will be so excited to have a new sister-wife, come March.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's a Great Day to Garden

Well, to dream about gardening in any case. Today was the big Seed Share event, coordinated by yours truly and attended by twenty-ish brave souls who came out in the chilly January weather. Two tables and part of a third were covered with boxes and jars and packets of seeds that were all up for grabs. Group ordering of seeds from FedCo (www.fedcoseeds.com) and trees from St. Lawrence Nurseries (www.sln.potsdam.ny.us) was wildly popular--I think we are all going to save big on shipping! Hooray!

I met some really nice folks, who are also waaaaaay into gardening. It is so nice to talk shop and trade tips with people who know (and actually care) what you are talking about. Later this week, I'll be sending the orders in and waiting impatiently for the packages to start arriving.

This is the time of year when the anticipation of gardening gets almost as good as the actually gardening experience. Right now, I can dream that all the seeds I order are going to grow exactly as described by the seed catalog. The reality of the garden, when everything is a riot of poorly growing, heavily smothered by weeds chaos, comes later. For now, I can enjoy the fantasy of my beautiful, orderly garden growing like mad...ahhh, Spring. Come along soon now, won't you?

P.S. The mouse has been caught. Finally. Here's hoping that he/she didn't invite relatives in to stay as well.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Demo Via Cat

No mouse carcass or remains, but definite evidence of mouse hunting: wreckage strewn across the kitchen. Apparently, the mouse decided to take refuge behind some of my old china on the shelf under the open cabinet that houses my dishes. Apparently, a cat (or two) went after the mouse hiding behind the china. Apparently, some wrestling took place. Apparently, my old china couldn't handle the stress, leapt off the shelf, and crashed to the floor in an attempt to escape the melee.

Two plates, smithereens. Cat, unscathed and still hunting. Mouse, escalating from mildly annoying to must-be-destroyed-by-any-means-possible level of annoyance.

P.S. Mouse apparently is a sugar addict. Many mouse poos were left behind in my now empty sugar bowl.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Breaking News!

Today was a five egg day. That makes two such days in the past week.

I know. What makes for exciting news around here, really isn't that exciting. You should know, however, that I was originally going to post about the fantastic sandwich I had for lunch. It was really really weird (roasted beets and goat cheese with arugula and balasmic vinagrette on ciabatta), and really really good. I decided, however, to go with the exciting news of finding five eggs in the nest box. So you see what could have been in this blog post.

In other news, no mice have been seen or heard of in two days. I think they are just in hiding. Beezle the Hunter is on nightly patrol until further notice. Or summer. Whichever comes first, really. I am also looking into the possibility of buying a vintage "ham can" camper, which likely will need a lot of rehab (it was formerly someone's ice fishing house) but will have the character appropriate to me, traveling around and popping into unsuspecting campgrounds across America. I am hoping to cute-ify the interior, and possibly do some painting of the exterior as well. I think pink would be perfect, don't you? Maybe with a sexy airbrushed reclining chicken, too...Anyway, if this one doesn't pan out, I am sure that someone out there has a vintage camper trailer from the 1950s or '60s that will come along. I've been dreaming of black and white checkerboard linoleum flooring, a teensy tiny sleeping bunk, and funky curtains trimmed with bobble fringe. Wouldn't that just be a scream? I think I may have realized my life's calling: buy a truck, then acquire a beat-up camper to rehabilitate into greatness. You gotta dream big, people. Dream. Big.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Piggy Cakes

This summer, my friends of LTD Farm raised pigs. From all accounts, it was quite the adventure. Apparently, pigs really enjoy escaping and cavorting around the farm, and have a great reluctance to be caught. I can't say that I blame them--really, what could be more fun than racing around, harassing ducks and goats, and seeing how many humans you can get to play a game of high speed tag?
The time has come for the good-though-slightly-naughty pigs to fulfill their purposes of becoming delicious ham, pork chops, and sausages. (Yes, I am rather excited. I heart pork.) While I didn't raise these guys myself, I am very grateful to them in their mission to become many meals that will be served at my little farm-lette. So today, I delivered a box of homemade piggy cakes to the gang. The cakes are my own creation, involving fresh eggs from the girls and homemade apple sauce. Of course, they had to be sufficiently "pig-ified" to meet the high standards for Gratitude Cakes According to Pigs.
They were a huge hit, as you can see from the photos. Trevor, who is my particular pig, had a fabulous time noshing on the cinnamon almonds that outlined the decorative pig shape on top of the cakes (the curly tail was made from a cashew). The pigs were arguing over who got to eat more cake. You wouldn't believe the squeals, chomps, slurps and rapidly waving tails. Really, they had a wonderful time nibbling and hoovering up the crumbs. It made my heart glad that I made these future dinners on the hoof cheerful. Pigs apparently adore cakes, perhaps more so when they are specifically decorated for the pig market. I don't think cake was a regular part of their diet as a general rule over the summer and fall...they might be considerably fatter if it had been! They also ate the box I carried the cakes in, which I don't think was a comment on the relative merits of cake versus cardboard. I think the box just smelled like cake. And it was, after all, fiber. Mmmm, roughage.
If you've never fed a pig by hand, I highly recommend it. Their little snouts are so strong and wiggly, and they take such dainty bites!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Early Rising

Why am I up so early, you ask? It is Saturday, after all, a day of the week when I get to sleep in until the decadent hour of 7:30 AM. Trust me, I had all the plans in the world to stay in my snuggly bed until I had to get up, either due to animal-calls or just couldn't stay there without coffee for a moment longer.
Those were really nice plans. About 45 minutes ago, I woke up from a really strange dream involving lying on a sofa napping and being continually interrupted in said naps by phone calls, a TV turning on, etc. When I woke up in the dark early morning, in my comfortable bed, I realized that around me in the dark were strange shuffling noises. They moved from point to point around the room...and then I heard a distinctive chink-chink noise that is the lid of my milk glass container on the bedside table shifting. As I lay there, thinking "huh that's wierd, why would the lid shift", something leapt onto my pillow. Next to my head. TOUCHING my hair.
Holy shit. It was a mouse.
On. My. Bed.
On. My. Head.
Yowza!!!!!!! Can you say, so not sleeping any longer, three times fast?
I had suspicions of a mouse in the house for a couple of days, but nothing definite. No mouse trails of mouse poo, no nibbled bread or crackers or packaging. Apparently, this mouse has been making a bee-line into my upstairs root closet, and noshing on dried apple slices. (Well, the rabbits do love them, and they are distantly related to mice.) So here I sit, sheets in the washer, coffee brewing, and a nice snappy mouse trap baited, set, and placed in the closet upstairs. Here's hoping that Mr. Leaping Mouse is as entranced by peanut butter-cat food bait as he is by my dried apple slices.
I may go to bed tonight with a tennis racket, wearing a hat.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Permanent Birthday Present

You may not know this about me, but I love tattoos. I don't really know why, but the idea of putting ink all over you has always appealed to me. Maybe it is my love of handwriting letters and lists and notes galore gone wild...ahem. In any case, this is what I chose to get myself for my birthday this year. I like commemorating the sevenses. I got my first tat on my 27th birthday, and it seemed fitting to get my second on my 37th birthday (okay, one day off but Lisa my tattoo artist didn't work yesterday). It's a little hard to tell from this photo, which is shiny due to some nice lotion which will help the new tattoo heal, but it is an overflowing cornucopia. Not only are apples, plums, beets, eggs, squash, strawberries, lettuce and wheat pouring out in abundance, but there's a little rabbit and a lovely hen as well. All things that make this little farm-lette the happy place it is, now appearing on my right thigh.

What, did you think this was on my ass? We don't post those kind of pictures on this blog, people.

At least, not yet. Hah!

P.S. Yes, it did hurt.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Sign of the Times

I totally stole this, I admit it. Someday the trademark police will come a'callin', I just know it. Until then, however, I am keeping this beauty up! Once upon a time, not so very long ago (try, 50-60 years), people all over the United States kept little flocks of animals in their garden-filled yards. Oh yes, it was patriotic to do so--not wierd and unusual and threatening to small minded old lady neighbors...but I digress. (No, my dears, nothing recent from that corner, but the memory rankles still.) So, keeping chickens and growing your own veg and canning the bejeezus outta everything was commonplace. Making your own bread was commonplace, for crying out loud, where now we have an entire monstrous aisle dedicated to tubes of white air-bread that don't mold for months. For some reason, we went from thinking it was part of our citizenry responsiblilities to grow and pack our own foodstuffs, to expecting everything to be delivered and wrapped in plastic and CHEAP. My favorite line in this ad from the USDA is "Do Your Share!" If we all did just a little bit, like maybe planted a couple tomato plants in a big pot or grew some lettuce or made friends with a local farmer and bought some stuff direct from the source in recycled packaging (mason jars are ah-mazing), just think. We could do our share, be happier and healthier and have entertaining lives. Oh yes. I say entertaining lives, such as the one you read about in this silly little blog of mine. I mean, really. Can you believe all this crap happens to one individual? I posted over 130 times in 2011. And more stuff happened that I never got around to writing about, or telling anybody about, because it is normal for all kinds of craziness to go on around here. See? Exciting lives through backyard farming. It's where it's at.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's a New Year!

It is 2012, and how fitting that a pristine, deep and lovely snow should fall. I always think that a new snow makes the world look fresh and smooth, like a blank canvas. Perfect analogy for a new year, isn't it? Anyhow, this is the view outside my office window this morning: my pine trees, boughs laden and gently waving in the gathering wind, and my neighbor's picturesque beater truck parked just so, giving me lovely view of its' rusted and debris-filled cargo hold. Ahh, the ambience of living in a rural village never ceases to amaze me...
After filling up on hot coffee, eggs and bacon, I headed out to excavate the animals. The chickens don't particularly like the snow, so I got an earful of poultry complaints. They were mildly molified when I produced left-overs from dinner last night (it was great, halibut with bananas, rice, and brocolli, but believe me, the company was even better) and a scoopful of scratch grains, as well as fresh water and a quart of kibble. The rabbits were in danger of roof collapse....well, not really, but the canvas roof was stretched pretty low. It is a breeze to clear off though, and kind of fun to wiggle and slide the clumps of snow off. It is impressive how dark a few inches of snow can make the interior of the bunny barn. No wonder why the Eskimos and survivalists realized that snow is actually a good insulator! Max the wonderdoodle and Phoebe the circus hound were having a great time frolicking in the new snow. I think fresh snow makes every dog channel their inner wolf, and dream of mushing across the icy tundra. Well, I like to think that anyway. Probably they are just excited to have new material to pee on.
Now I am back indoors, sipping yet more hot coffee and contemplating a Psych marathon. I love that show, so witty and so slapstick at the same time. It appeals to my strangely wired little brain in a very subtle way. Tomorrow is Day #2 of a New Year, and who knows what grand adventures await me. Today, I plan to relax and enjoy a snowy day.
P.S. Lucille Laverne won't fit in my car hut! It's not the end of the world, though. Her back end will squeeze in, so not too much snow will pile into the back.