Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Shenanigans.

I have had to force myself to slow down on the new obsession project - I'm holding firm at 6 potholder sections of my 15-section rug.  I have them laid out so that I can canoodle about colors and patterns.  I have the parents coming tomorrow late afternoon for dinner and an overnighter.  The first Sunday of each month, starting in fall and ending in late spring, our town all-volunteer-fire company puts on an all-you-can-eat breakfast at the firehouse.  One does not go for the food, per se, but for the people-watching opportunities and to see neighbors that you don't see often.  My parents just love it and insist that their favorite breakfasting people join us - the Swede and his lovely wife.  Our table can get quite loud.  This Sunday they have the added benefit of Sylvie's company, who will be hard-pressed to find something healthy to eat.  It just goes to show how much she likes us.

I did manage to whip up a batch of Erin's laundry soap this week - but have yet to pour it into containers.  I also re-potted my rosemary starts - I was starting to squirm under their collective "evil eye" on the kitchen window sill.  I also re-potted my poor, forlorn Norfolk pine, which has been knocked to the ground once too often by the Bad Boyz.  And last night, just in case you think that I left a 5 minute period of blank space in my at-home time, I frogged (as in "ribbit-ed" it out) a sleeveless shell I had been knitting about two years ago, rewound the yarn and will embark on a new sleeveless shell project that I like much more.  I may even finish it!  Tonight I will be canting the laundry soap, cleaning out and straightening up the guest room, cleaning the bathrooms and cleaning out the cat's room.  Gee, that will be fun.

Tomorrow I'll be up before the Crap of Dawn (coined by Kayten) and will head out to the Farmers Market, gas up the Ford, pick apples and make a feed run.  This, I am certain, will all be done in the pouring rain.  Because, while TODAY is dry and sunny (and I am forced to be inside), tomorrow will be it's polar opposite.  I believe it is a rule.  Most of everything else I have to do is done inside, so I will have plenty of time to dry off.  I will need to do some nail trimming and fur brushing on the dogs, as they love my parents and will turn them into mohair objects in seconds.  Sunday dinner will be shared with my parents' friends and my neighbors, so it will be a nice, old-fashioned sit-down dinner, served on good china.  I've decided on a pork roast - all crusty and garlicky; scalloped potatoes, roasted squash, roasted Brussels sprouts, and a French apple tart for dessert.  MmmMMmmMM.  The dessert, unfortunately, will have to be divied up and sent home with everyone.  It's not on my good list.  But, for me, most of the enjoyment is in the cooking of it.

I am sure I will be able to sneak in a couple of potholders, don't you?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Same Old Same Old.

View from the barn this morning.
Another day in paradise.  The only thing different from THIS rainy morning was the added excitement of a thunderstorm.   Cookie is glued to his little storm nook and Bernie is in her crate, panting up a storm of her own.

This morning also found Acacia stuck again, in the same place.  I was going to dub her the stupid lamb, but then I figured I was just as stupid for leaving the access there, thinking that she'd learned her lesson.  It is now blocked.  I did find out that the hot wire I ran is hot.  Zzzzzt!  When Flora came out of the hoop house, she came out with a limp - in her right front leg.  Sigh.  I am wondering if these injuries are being caused because the ground is so very wet and soggy and uneven now.  I put their hay in the hoop houses, with the hope that Flora will be able to just stay in there and not move around.  These various injuries seem to heal fast with rest. 

I was going to take pictures of the new and improved goat area this morning.  The picture above is about as good as it's going to get today.  I finally got the timer going in the barn, so there will be light in the evening for the little stinkers.  And the big stinker who has to find her way out there to close them up in the evening.

My thoughts this morning are for the people south of us who have been getting inundated with inches of rain - on top of all the damage done by two tropical storms and a very wet summer, too.  I pray that they are safe and that this latest deluge doesn't add too much to their troubles.  I sure wish I could send it to Texas and Oklahoma where it's needed.

Fall camouflage.
With the gloomy morning and fallen leaves, I was taken with how well some of the hens (and little Puff, the duck) blended in with their environment.  The Welsummers, Goldie Hawn and Veronica Lake, the Spotted Sussex, Dorothy Gale, and little Puff should be safe from hawks.  Big Daddy Kees was tucked dryly in the coop.  My oldest hen, Lucy, is having a tough time of it.  She seems to be headed downhill.  If I remember correctly, she would be about 7 years old, maybe 8.  That's a long life for a hen, but it's hard to see her on her way out.  She has moments of perkiness, but they are becoming few and far between.  Getting old is hell.  On that dreary note, I am off for my fourth cup of coffee. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lower that Limbo Bar!

No!  No!  Raise that limbo bar!  Nothing like a evening round of chase-the-sheep to pinpoint all the trouble spots on your anatomy.  I have had to face the fact that I am not as flexible as I used to be.  (Honestly, that is so darn funny, I cannot even tell you!)

I think it is safe to assume that Banyan is no longer lame.  If he is, I missed it in the blur that were his little legs as he flew around the paddock avoiding my grasp.   On Sunday, he could not put any pressure at all on his right rear leg.  On Monday, I called the vet and we negotiated an early morning appointment for yesterday.  If at all possible, I will transport my livestock TO the vet.  As we all know, as soon as their front tires are on your driveway, it's -- cha-ching! -- at least $60.

Sorry (I do say that alot, don't I?) but I feel compelled to zag off on a small rant.  This has to do with priorities.  Those of you with livestock know that having a good vet and a good relationship (as in paying your bill) with said vet is VERY important.  I would pay my vet before I paid my doctor.  I would pay my vet before I paid my mechanic.  I would pay my vet before I put fuel oil in my tank for winter.  Yet, there are some people - okay, one person I am ranting about - who screams holy hell, cries, wrings her hands, phones her vet at all hours, whines, winges, and overall carries on, gets the vet to race over with meds and help (this person has had to leave for work, thank you, and has made no arrangements for help to be there), then, when the emergency is over, says, Oh, I don't have any money.  I'll pay you in trade.  Which is also funny, as this person never pays her debts in any way - cash or trade.  This has happened twice to my vet with the same person.  I don't fault my vet ('tho I did warn her), as she is a caring person and feels she has a duty to care for a sick or injured animal.  And, unfortunately, lives down the road from the slacker.  This same slacker then posts about her new horse she had to buy, a trip to the MEN fair (complete with hotel, etc.), her new this, her new that.  Where are her priorities?  How dare she stiff her vet?

Okay.  I feel a little better.  If I haven't lost y'all by now, I'll zig back.

As soon as vet arrangements were made, Banyan made a fast recovery.  I do love it when that happens.  Then, this morning, as I let them out into their larger paddock, I was missing a lamb.  Acacia was nowhere to be seen.  I did hear her muffled maaaas, and eventually found her wedged behind the llama's hay feeder.  I don't know how long she had been there (not all night, for sure), but she couldn't get backed out.  I managed to contort myself into interesting positions and pull her out.  I then put her on my lap and rubbed some feeling back into her front legs, which were a little wobbly.   Then I closed all the gates and went inside and had another cup of coffee.  I considered "Irishing" it, but thought better of it.  A couple of ibuprofen and hidey-ho, off I go.  I keep telling myself this life I've chosen will keep me young.  Let's hope.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Oh, great. Just what I needed.

Something NEW to obsess over.  While I was at the wool fest, I was very proud of myself - I put both hands in my pockets and only picked up yarn for my mom's birthday (thank you, Melanie -- she loved it!) and then just looked.  After all, I have the mother of all stashes at home - not to mention two friends who produce amazing yarn that are within a 20 minute drive.  I was further laden with a quickly thawing gallon of home-pressed apple cider with which Melanie gifted me!  That kept at least one hand busy.

I was almost home-free, working my way toward the exit when I uttered (to myself) those fateful words -- "Oh, there's a little building I haven't seen.  I'll just give it a quick walk through before I leave."  Ha.  I made a quick circle and then, in the final space on the way out I saw it.  As fate (oh, fickle fate) would have it, I had chanced upon her website on Friday and spent a good half hour talking myself into and out of buying one of the "Hip to be Square" looms.  I was so nostalgic for those wonderful potholder looms.  But, to be able to a) make potholders to one's delight; b) to reuse sock bits doing it; c) and make a rag rug from said recycled-sock-potholders?  Could I resist?  I did at the time - the shipping charges always get to me.

Pile 'o potholders

Sigh.  There was no shipping cost barrier at the wool fest.  I walked out with a loom and a big bag of sock loopies.  Then, when I finally got home, I spent a half hour of time much better spent on my "list", making a potholder.  Well, two.  Then I made another in the morning.  And I started another during a break from putting up my goat fence.  Then I finished that one and started another before bed.  Aiiiiirgh.  I did manage to keep myself from sneaking it into the office.  Sure, I could have made my own loom (I used to have one that I made many, many years ago) with nails on a frame.  But this loom has very nice, smooth eye screws that don't snag every last piece of material until you want to say lots of bad words loudly.  It is, quite frankly, mindless fun.  I find that I like mindless fun.  Especially when it means that I will end up with a cool rag potholder rug.  And it has made me think of other things I can create - with my Flora's lopi that I will be getting back from the mill; with the big pile of t-shirt strip balls that I have in the closet; with the spools of silk threads I've been hauling around for a coon's age.  The possibilities are endless!

I am finally winding down the canning process.  Last night I made six half-pints of tomatillo salsa.  There are only apples to go - and maybe a pumpkin or two.  And that's it.  Really.  Honest injun.  I swear.

Tomatillo salsa

Sunday, September 25, 2011


That's what I am.  And, if it's not a word, it oughta be.  I realized yesterday that I started in New York (the Vampire State), drove to Massachusetts to the farmers market and to get chicken feed, then back to New York to drop it off, then to Up-Upstate New York to the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival, then to Vermont to make a drop-off to Goodwill and to see my parents, then back to New York.  A little over 150 miles!  And, while I don't usually put that many miles on my car on the weekend, I am usually in three states.  Cool!

It was (oh, surprise) another rainy, drizzly day, but it did clear up slightly towards the end.  But, other than the fall colors coming and leaves dropping (and chickens moulting), you'd think it was August.  Warm and sticky.  I picked up some beautiful eggplant at the farmers market, along with cilantro, shallots, kale and a lovely big chrysanthemum for Marianne's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIANNE), then picked up poultry feed, which has gone up in price again!  After dropping the vegetables off at home, I picked up my next round of drop-offs and headed up to the SoAd Fiber Fest.

I like this festival, because it's only three years old, it's growing nicely and Kay and Melanie both have booths there.  I also got to meet M's mom, which was very nice.  She designs and makes beautiful jewelry. 

Melanie and her mom.  If you think my camera shots are shaky,
just check the focus on phone shots!

These guys were playing at the festival - The Widgets.  They were great!

Then it was off to Marianne's to drop off her mum and then to Vermont for Goodwill stop and to see the folks.  Although it was a gloomy vista, it is also amazingly beautiful in this area.  I stopped to take a picture of the view - there were better vistas, but the roads snake around and there is no shoulder at the side of the road to speak of.  I didn't want to get clipped so I waited for a better spot to pull over.

On the way to Marianne's.
Then it was back home to get chores done and head out to Sylvie's for dinner.  I have some things to check of "the list" today, so I had better get at it!

I'll leave you with two odd-ball pictures:

It felt like this day in August (without the sun) - taken at Tanglewood
this summer.
My favorite view of Scrappy.

Resource: For out-of-area folks, find travel promotional codes and enjoy New England farmers markets.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sixty-two years. And counting.

Lord Almighty, is there a cuter couple on the Earth?  I think not.  Happy Anniversary to my mom and dad.  They are working their way to 65 years together, then who knows?   A lot of humor helps!  Love you both to pieces.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Moving right along...

We have had a string of rainy days, which makes getting things done in the few hours of daylight now left for me a real challenge.  I find myself taking an item on my list and breaking it into smaller steps that I can squeeze in after work or before I leave in the morning.  Yesterday was a glorious day - very foggy in the morning but the sun broke through, the air was ionized and the sky was azure.  I had to leave very early for work, as I left at noon to drive to meet my parents at the eye doctor for my dad's MD treatment.

I apologize, but I am going to go off on a slight rant now.

Since it would be cutting it too close for me to pick them up at the house and get them to the doctor on time, I suggested my parents call a taxi for the ride there, and that I would meet them and then take them home.  It is H.E.L.L. getting old.  The taxi driver (woman) pulls up in a van.  A van that is HIGH off the ground.  She does not get out to assist them into the back, leaving them to struggle with the door.  Then, my mother who has a very difficult time stepping up and, thanks to botched rotator cuff surgery, cannot pull herself up into the van, struggles for some time to get in.  The seat is pulled forward, so there is little space.  Meanwhile, through this grueling and embarrassing procedure, the driver SITS IN HER SEAT TALKING ON HER CELL PHONE.  By the time they were in and delivered to the doctor's office, my mother was completely flustered and near tears.  I tell you, had I been there, I would have hauled that driver out by her collar.  I am still steamed.  And it's pretty darn evident that they are not spring chickens and would have needed some assistance.  What has happened to common courtesy?  To just having good manners and being helpful?  Shineola.


Long story short, we fast danced through the procedure, I got them home and made sure everyone was recovered, then drove home to take advantage of the rest of the daylight.  I used the push mower to trim down the new fence path, then mowed everything I could until it ran out of gas.  Other than some clean-up of the blades, etc., it is now ready for winter.  Then I set up the new fence line with the electronet and watched the sheep and llama bounce out into their new grass.  I ignored the goaties (which is difficult - they can be LOUD) and did a little clean up around the place.  By then, the light started to fade, so I did my regular chores, had an amazing mushroom pasta dish (quinoa pasta), had a glass of wine and fell into bed.  No coyotes last night, so I was able to catch up a bit on lost sleep.  In the early morning hours, the rain woke me up, so it looks as if we are back to another string of rainy days.  I sat down this morning and made up my list for Saturday, which caused me to burst into hysterical laughter.  Let's just label it as "fiction".

For those who are interested in Maremmas, this blog is a great place to watch them in action.  She is a great writer and I love the photographs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bagpipes and Coyotes.

What do they have in common, you ask?  Both stir strong emotions - especially in shepherds.  Last night a large pack of coyotes got extremely close to the sheep pen.  Alarmingly close.  I was furiously finishing a knitting project and enjoying the peace and quiet, when they started.  The dogs jumped up, the cats ran, and I beat a quick path to the back deck.  I turned on the flood lights and Scrappy and I ran outside.  Bernie had decided she was better off in her crate.  One second of all that noise and he took a sharp left (in the direction opposite to the sheep) and tore into the chicken yard, barking furiously.  I don't blame him.  He was greatly outnumbered.  I saw Hoosier cushed on the ground between the sheep and the fence.  Cushed (lying down in llama-speak).  Either he has nerves of steel or he's as smart as a turnip.  I clanged some metal objects together and the pack finally took off.

And so started my night.  Kay and I called each other to keep abreast of their location.  I could hear her Maremmas barking their heads off.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should turn Hoosier in for a Maremma.  In any event, the coyotes kept this up for quite a while.  I made sure the new hot wire was turned on and then loaded the .22.

I finally hit the sack around 10 and was thinking about the similarities between bagpipers in 1500 Scotland, coming down a hill, pipes wailing, piercing through the sounds of war and causing blood to run cold in the veins of their enemies, while whipping their own forces into a bloodthirsty fury.  As for me, at the first sound of a piper, the tears well up in my eyes and I am crying within seconds.  It stirs something very deep and sad in me.  Not so, the coyote songs.  The cacophony of the coyote pack, with its shrill yips, howls, barks, and other ungodly sounds, sure can make your blood run cold.

It was a long night.  This morning, it was raining.  I was so relieved, because I knew that all the sheep and their erstwhile guardian would be in the hoop house.  The dogs and I took a short walk down my road and it soon became clear just how close the coyote pack had gotten.  The dogs were whipping around, noses to the ground, all around the barn and down along the road.  Thank goodness those tasty morsels (aka the goaties) were safely locked up for the night.  I hope the pack moves on.  I know the importance of predators and keeping the balance.  But it seems that we are heavy on coyotes and light on natural prey - rabbits, etc.  I will keep my rifle loaded.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The faster I go, the behinder I get.

I'm trying to play a little catch-up before pre-DSL-loss becomes totally irrelevant.  Too late!  My goal is to be right up to the present by the end of the week.  It was another jam-packed weekend with alot checked off the lists!

Images from Labor Day Weekend:

Paula Reds from a local orchard.
 One of my favorite things about fall is apple picking.  Although this local orchard doesn't have a self-picking option, their apples are divine!  Paula Reds are my favorite early apple.

2011 garlic harvest
Overall, I was pretty happy with my garlic crop this year.  I have a bunch to my sister and her husband, who are paying me to grow some for them!  There is NOTHING like fresh garlic.

 That Saturday I paid a visit to Marianne's and Melanie's tables at the Waloomsac Farmers Market.  This is taken from Marianne's booth - the little girl in the picture had just spent 20 minutes hugging the little carved bear!

Dog agility demonstration.
The County Fair.  Ah, what a disappointment!  That is why you will only see two lousy pictures.  It was small, poorly represented agriculturally and tacky beyond words.  The dog agility was fun - they had all kinds of dogs go through the course, with hilarious results sometimes.  This particular dog aced the course.

Handsome ram.
Quite a handsome fellow!  The poultry barn was about a third full of empty cages, there were only three breeds of cattle shown, and just a handful of sheep breeds, none of them the primitive, smaller breeds.

It's blanket season!
Something a little more timely - with the nighttime temps in the 30s, it was time for Scrappy's blanket.  He's a hothouse flower, that one.

Should I be up on the sofa?
Bernie reacts to the camera as if I was pointing a dangerous object at her.  She rarely gets up on the furniture, but will hop up and cuddle next to me, if Scrappy leaves any room.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I am such a

dweeb.  Nerd?  Character?  All of the above?  Probably.  First - home DSL is now functioning!  My nice real person contact at FairPoint also put in my credit request so I didn't have to call back.  Let's call him Saint Stosh!  Second - instead of spending the time I couldn't get online organizing and PSing my pictures, I didn't.  (I played Mahjong and grumbled instead.  I am so weak.)  So, now I have to wait until I can sit down for a good half hour to organize and glamorize those photographs that I took last week.  That will not be until the weekend because I forgot I had a zoning board meeting tonight and tomorrow is my Girlz Dinner Group at my place.  Ack.

The dweeby/nerdy thing is because I am so very, very excited that I am getting a new sofa!  It's actually NOT new; it is an older model, expertly refitted by one of my neighbors up the road - who I hooked up with my parents four years ago (they are all four in their 80s) and now they are BFFs all around.  They were having their monthly lunch and Oh! Hell! card game hootenanny, when she told my mom they were out furniture shopping for a new sofa.  They were going to have someone come and pick up the old one.  My mom (who has an intense dislike of my present Freecycle couch) said, "OH!  Susan would LOVE it!"  Does she know her daughter?  A FREE sofa?  Faded but clean, large enough for me, Scrappy and all the cats?  And a sofa bed to boot?  Halleluiah!  I hot-footed it down to the dairy farm this morning to sweet-talk the farmer into picking it up and delivering it for me.  The "good" news, I told him, was that is was going from in a garage, up three small steps, right into my waiting living room - less than a city block.  The "bad" news was that it weighed a ton.  This is a man who rassles Holsteins.  A sleeper sofa is peanuts.  Now I have to find someone to schlep the oldie but moldie to the transfer station.  While it rankles to dispose of large pieces of furniture which will head toward a landfill, I feel a tad better because it was well- (well, ill-) used before it came to me, then I gave it another five years of abuse use.  But, honestly, I have hated it from day one.  Once you sink into that puppy, it's like a bad bean bag - you have to struggle to get out of it.  So I am doing the happy dance about my new-to-me sofa!  I am not letting Scrappy and the Boyz in on the fact that it's a sleeper sofa.  They will expect the Egyptian cotton sheets, fold-down service and mints on the pillow every night.  Boyz!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Well, GeezLoueeze.

What a nice surprise!  I've been Liebstered! 

"Liebster" is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.  (Who?  Where?  What?  Me?)
The Liebster is awarded to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.  I think that less than 200 is a nice number - there is still a slim possibility that I could invite you all over and cram you into my small house and give you all a cup of tea.  And make you help me with chores.  Kidding.  One of those sweet followers has put me up for this wonderful award - Broken Farm Road!
Of course, this award comes with its "do-not-celebrate-until-you've":
1.  Thanked the awarder (Ms. BrokenFarmRoad) - Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the nice things you said.  Same back atcha, except for the farming alone thing, but, then, it's nicer to have a partner in all this nonsense, isn't it?
2.  Revealed my top five picks of bloggers to be Liebsterized:

     * Apple Pie Gal.  How could I NOT Liebsterize her?  She is the epitome of Liebsterism.  I want her at my side if the going gets rough, I tell you.  And not JUST because of her pink rifle.
     * Nancy at Babbelot.  She has the most positive attitude I have ever come across - I read her blog for the lift it brings.
     * Chicken Mama - her life leaves me breathless!  And she is the bee's knees.  And, well, heck, we ALL love Chicken Mama.
     * Erin at garden now - think later - and her life leaves me beyond breathless!  I am always all fired up to get things in order and get things done after I've read her posts.  Even her "nuthing much going on" posts (hahahaha).
     * Larkspur Funny Farm - She shares the joys and sorrows of running a fiber flock farm in such an honest and yet humorous way, that I find myself feeling that I'm right there.  And that fiber!
3.  Copied and pasted the award on my blog (see top right corner, pleeze)
4.  Had faith that my followers will spread the love to other bloggers - not only do I have faith in my followers - they are waaaay ahead of me in that sense and most others!
5.  And most of all, have fun!  And that I do, 99.9% of the time.  The most fun I have is following y'all's blogs!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We are making progress.

Contrary to my first inclination - which was to call FairPoint and go ballistic - I called and tried reason.  And it worked!!  Of course, it probably helped that the person who answered my call was sympathetic.  Yesterday I got a return call from a live person!  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Not only that - are you sitting down? - "Stosh" went over the file, asked me intelligent questions, made an appointment to send someone, then asked me to keep my computer and modem on this morning so they could try from the outside in to see if they could find the trouble.  He even followed through and called me this morning to make sure I had the computer/modem on!  I have told six people now that I think the modem is bad.  Six.  Every person who would listen to me.  Guess what?  The modem is dead.  Sigh.  So they are going to overnight a new one - I should be back in business by tomorrow evening.

Last night I did not work on my tomatoes, which I am sure I will regret tonight.  Instead, I went into panic mode because I had not gotten a return call or email from my friend, Sylvie, so I was SURE she was in dire need of rescue.  I wonder if this happens to all single women living alone in the boonies.  I jumped into my car and raced off to save her.  When I was 2/3's of the way there, I realized she had probably gone to Maine.  But, just to ease my fevered brain, I continued to the end to discover that, indeed, was the case.  But I felt better.  She knows that I will show up in an emergency.  Even if there isn't one (nut).  And it's a lovely drive.  By the time I got home, I only had time to iron work clothes for the week. 

I sometimes wonder what my dogs are thinking, as they watch me race around, talking to myself and generally carrying on.  I imagine it's something like..."blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH, BLAH, SLAM! blah, dogs, blah, BLAH, Scrappy, BLAH, BLAH...CRUNCHY TREATS, blah, blah.  They are very patient with me.

So, brace yourselves.  I will be making up for lost picture opportunity once I am back on line.  I am not a good enough photographer to be able to just toss them up there without heavy involvement with PhotoShop.

Resource: For better Photoshop results, it might be time to look for sales or promos and upgrade the computer.

Monday, September 12, 2011

So, How'd I do?

There is nothing like a weekend with no rain and a big list to get me going! 
Coop - Yep, it only took two days and four hours.  It's gawjus.
Clean up chicken yard - Nope.  Figured I can do this over the course of the week.
Clean out car - Got started
Drive-in fence posts for goat area - Got one in and hit rock.
Start to clean up garden - Two beds down, one started and two and a half to go.
Set up fence for sheep - Check!

Clean house - Shirley, you jest!
Brush dogs/pedicures - Nope - but I thought about it.  Does that count?
Can tomatoes - One batch down, six to go.
Dispatch the rest of the zucchini - One batch of zucchini relish, had some for dinner last night, some for breakfast this morning, one went to the chickens and I STILL have a lot.  I picked off any small edible-sized squash and got about 15 from the zucchini and summer squash plants.  There were more than ten tiny ones still on the single vines.  Good grief - superscaryplants!
Can duck broth - Three quarts of duck broth frozen
Chicken broth - Three quarts of chicken broth frozen

Work on Etsy project - I am making progress!
Laundry - Four loads washed and hung on the line
Ironing - Hahahahaha
Visit parents - Nice visit and lunch
Deliver milk to M's pigs - Managed to remember it this time!
Farmers Market for nice visit with M and M - Completely threw Melanie, as it wasn't on the list!

Choose giveaway winners! - Yowsa! (See previous post)

No DSL still.  I am now extremely unhappy and will start to nag.  When I got home on Saturday from my errand run, I geared up for the coop cleaning (face mask, heavy gloves, flare in case I couldn't find my way out...) and opened the front door to find....Sage and Chicory on my front deck!  Egads!  I managed to race around in the morning and hadn't closed the gate to their pen.  Heaven only knows what they were up to, the rascals.  They must have heard my voice through the open screen door and came up to let me know they needed sustenance.  Thank goodness they followed me back to the barn!

While I was measuring out the fence post placement, I figured I'd let them out to browse while I worked. BAD IDEA.  Sage managed to jettison herself through the electronet fence in with the sheep (who were not happy for the competition) and Chicky got himself tangled up in the darn stuff, so I was out with my gloves getting zapped, Chicky untangled, trying to get Sage out and the sheep away from the downed fence.  Gak!  In the hubbub, Banyan, the moorit mouflon wether, must have been startled and hurt his leg - he couldn't put weight on it.  I got the goats back into the barn through the lure of grain in their bowls and re-hooked the fence.  Then Kay and I checked Banyan for breaks or other dire injury.  Today, after a night of resting it, he is still a little sore, but seemed much better.

I had set up a dinner last night so I would be forced to quit and come in at a reasonable hour.  But my dinner date couldn't make it, so I went outside at 10:30a and did not stop until 5:30p.  I was sure I would collapse into bed and sleep the sleep of the dead.  Ohhhh, nooooo.  A mouse is chewing something in a wall in the bedroom and the coyotes started up - which made me think of Banyan being vulnerable, which made me think of the llama, which made me think of how he is destroying my fence and I have to put an electric line on the perimeter THIS WEEKEND, etc. 

But, it was a very satisfying weekend, with a lot checked off the lists.  I have a sub-list for this week so that I'm not faced with the same daunting tasks this next weekend.  It's my mother's birthday on Sunday and we are all celebrating on Saturday, so my window of opportunity is cut in half.  I figure, if I peel and cook tomatoes every night this week, and can what I cook every morning, I should be done by Friday.  I may require a monitor next summer to keep me out of the tomato fields.  Volunteers?

The Winnahs!

Very quick on to announce the giveaway(s) winners:

Drumroll please....

Tasha Tudor book:


Bread book:


Email your snail mail address to me at swomersley at gmail dot com and your books will be sent out this week.  Thank you to everyone who entered with their wonderful poetry!  Talent abounds!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Off to another quiet weekend.

That means, of course, that I still don't have DSL service, so I won't get to post or comment or, sob, read your blogs! 

I woke up with a start this morning and realized it wasn't raining!  The silence was notable.  Everyone, including yours truly, was much perkier this morning.  I have been making progress with getting Sage to warm up to me.  I am now allowed to scratch her ears for a second or two, and give her a nice back scritch.  Her brother, Chickie, however, has no reservations and drapes himself across my lap for his massage therapy.

On the agenda for this weekend:

Coop - cleaning.  'Nuff said.
Clean up chicken yard
Clean out car
Drive in fence posts for goat area
Start to clean up garden (out with the zukes!)
Set up fence for sheep

Clean house
Brush dogs/pedicures
Can tomatoes
Dispatch the rest of the zucchini
Can duck broth

Work on Etsy project
Visit parents

Choose giveaway winners!

With any luck, my DSL will magically appear over the weekend.  Harumph.  Most likely, it will be Monday before I can announce the winners and fess up to how much I actually got done on my to-do lists.

Everyone have a safe, dry (or wet if you need it) weekend.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Aging Parents and Endless Rain.

As I am STILL without DSL service at home, picture posts will have to wait.  I am seriously considering investing in a wireless hook-up and ditching the DSL/land phone obligation.  Let me apologize in advance - this is going to be a LOOOONG post.  Feel free to hit the pause button and get an adult beverage.  Or just go back to the previous post and leave me another sonnet!

Yesterday was spent on the first of many - I am sure - trips to accompany one/both parents to a specialist.  My dad just turned 89 a couple of weeks ago and my mom will be turning 88 in a week.  They are, for the most part, in pretty good health and mental standing.  But things are beginning to go wrong.  Heck, at 89, it's a surprise he's held out as long as he has.  My mother suffers from macular degeneration, the "wet" kind, and it's in her only sighted eye.  She is determined to retain her eyesight as long as humanly and medically possible.  I will not fill you in on the gory details, but the medical procedure that she endures every 10 weeks gives me the willies.  Yet, she never complains.  My dad has just been diagnosed with a tiny bit of MD in one eye.  That was the upshot of yesterday's trip to the retina specialist.

I think, up until yesterday, that I have housed the hope that they will continue on their merry way without my intervention, for years.  This is not the case.  I am very happy to be able to help them.  I figure they have been there for me every day of my life and it's nice to be able to be there for them.  But it's a journey fraught with emotional baggage and not one for the faint of heart or short of patience.  For instance:  I need to leave my house and do two errands on my way to their house.  I give myself an hour for the usual 40 minute journey.  Thanks to more flooding and heavy rain, it takes the entire hour, plus three minutes.  I pull in their driveway and -- their car is outside, they are standing in the garage, rain gear on, umbrellas in hand, envelope with directions clenched in Dad's fist.  I am given enough time to race inside to use the facilities, while they get into the car and wait for me.  Then there are the negotiations over the best route to take to the medical office - an hour and a half away.  Dad still relies on maps and distrusts anything computer generated.  I work in the area, so am familiar with it.  We go from his carefully mapped-out route - which, on a good day, would take three hours - to my way, which takes a half hour.  BUT first we have to stop and have lunch.  Let me fast forward here -- I'm beginning to hyperventilate.

I drop them at the door and park the car a quarter mile away.  By the time I get upstairs, reception has handed my father a twelve page form he has to fill out.  Patients are stacked like cordwood and moved around from one waiting area to another -- this is done to give the illusion that you're making progress.  Another go-around over the forms.  I realize that my dad is struggling.  He's hard of hearing.  He's unable to grasp a lot of information.  He thinks doctors are gods.  And, he's having to rely more and more on his daughter(s).  It's tough.  Plus, I am dealing with my mother's increasing impatience with him -- due, most likely, to the fact that it's terrifying to realize that the man you've counted on for everything over the past 60+ years is not up to snuff.  That, and she's never been an icon of patience.  We go back and forth and settle for me filling in the information while he sorts through all his cards for the necessary numbers.  Then we are shuffled from waiting area to waiting area. 

It took two hours.  I did manage to insert myself in with the doctor so I could find out what was going on, what the diagnosis was, what the treatment would be and what the timing of everything was expected to be.  They think they have caught it early enough that one shot might stop further damage.  I also was able to head off more visits to this office, since their specialists work in my parents' town once a week.  Of course, had they bothered to look at the address in the file...

As I was sitting in the various areas, I realized that most of the patients were elderly.  And most seemed to be accompanied by a son/daughter/relative.  What did not seem to happen often was that the relative was actively involved in the diagnosis.  Now, far be it from me to impose my standards - I am a Type A when in comes to this stuff - but what is needed, I feel, is an advocate for elderly patients and their families in every doctor's office everywhere.  It is a win/win situation.  Patients have someone to help them with forms, disseminate information, help set up treatment appointments, etc.  A hard copy summarizing the diagnosis and treatment would be invaluable.  Jobs are created.  And lord knows these "specialists" can afford to hire a couple more people.

I ferried them home (almost literally, as it was still raining), dropped them off, then headed back to my place.  I am very thankful that they are high and dry, safe and sound.  All the streams are over their banks.  Roads are being re-washed out.  We lost the use of another small bridge in town.  The endless grey and drumming rain is enough to cause me to think of red wine as a three-meal-a-day accompaniment.  The only happy feet around my place are webbed.

I hope for a) cessation of all wet things falling from the sky and b) DSL service so I can show you all my nifty photographs.  Until then, "Cheers" (clink).

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Since my DSL service has been down all weekend (boo!) and I actually took a lot of photographs from my weekend (yay!) - and I can't upload them - I decided to have a two-in-one giveaway instead!  Clear as mud?

Here's what's up for grabs (both gently used):

A Tasha Tudor classic and...

A great bread-baking cookbook.

Here's all you have to do to win one of these fine books - in the comment section, leave a short rhyme that relates to the book you'd like.  For example:  "Tasha Tudor couldn't be cuter".  You get the drift...

I will choose the winners Friday evening.  Providing, of course, my DSL service is back.  Now I am going to go read all the blogs I desperately missed over the weekend!  Have fun!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Just me, out there in the Universe.

There are times when I feel myself all pinched up.  There's stress, of course.  Then there's just me.  Slightly obsessive/compulsive, slightly paranoid, slightly giddy, completely guilt-ridden (hold-over from childhood - one of those hold-overs that stick to you like Velcro), total worry-wort.  I usually notice the squeeze while I'm driving along the plateau road, on my way home.  I will glance down at my dashboard and notice the "Breathe" note that I have taped to it.  Then I realize I am hardly breathing.  I mean, really, truly breathing.  Nice, big inhales/exhales.  Not that one should necessarily go around like a full-blown accordion.

When this feeling hits me, I have taken to mentally opening up to the Universe.  Just opening everything - mind, heart, breath.  It is an amazing feeling.  A wonderful feeling.  It doesn't last as long as I would like, but I love every second of it.  This is quite a reach for me, as I am a natural sceptic and have been since I was in single digits.  Just ask my Sunday School teacher.  My friend, R, is my polar opposite.  She is open completely to the Universe and all its possibilities.  I have spent the last five years watching in amazement as she has gone through a painful separation and divorce, breast cancer and living below the poverty level through all of it.  She is totally confident that the Universe will provide.  She is fearless and loving.  I really am in awe of her and I owe these little forays into the great unknown to her example.

Not sure what prompted this post -- bread withdrawal?  It's probably due to the fact that I'm the only one in Albany, NY working on this day before the holiday weekend.  I used to get into trouble when I was bored.  Now I expand my mind. 

Marketing Genius - The Oxymoron.

Yes, folks, this is what I would buy for my dog - a replica of a protected wildlife species so that they could chew the heck out of it.  What were they thinking?  Doesn't this fly in the face of reasonable thinking?  How about a "Government Representative" chew toy?  You could pick a senator or a house representative.  GOP or DEM.  Now THAT I could buy into!