Draft posts are all the rage

I’ve been motivated. We have a lot of projects on this property. Some are started, some almost done, a few waiting parts, and many are just parts waiting for the right project. In short, a lot of stuff. So, I’ve been looking at the stuff and assessing, slowly, if it needs to stay, or needs to go. Most I just pass over, but we’ve had success.

A box of AD&D stuff has left, via ebay, to more welcoming hands. Don’t know why I held on to it for these 30 years, and don’t care to find out. Computer parts are hitting the ether too, slowly, but the big win is the stuff I’ve been making in the shop. First, let’s talk about the shop. In fact, it is the garage, which is attached to the house. It’s the only place in the house for loose storage. We have no attic. No basement. We have the garage.

So, working in the shop has always been a test of patience. The work spaces are the tops of the two chest freezers, which really should be kept clear for easy access to food. Even I agree with that. So it’s a constant ebb and flow of work, with projects gaining and losing importance, they flow from freezer top to floor pile and back again. Occasionally, something succeeds and manages to emerge, complete, from the garage.

Without being crass, those things, if I feel like I enjoyed the process, appear in our Etsy shop. So far it has been surprisingly successful. Not independently rich successful, but that isn’t really the goal. I’ve not yet figured out the goal, but at this point I’m happy having some outlet for my artistic talent.

All that said, I’m off to my shop, well past Urgent Care hours, to clean up in preparation for some project. Whether it is starting one, working on one, or finishing one, it will be satisfying.

The title? Well, any blogger worth their salt has a post history littered with draft posts which were started but never finished. I bet you can guess if I have a similar pattern.

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Romanesco-a-go-go

Romanesco broccoli (really a cauliflower). Such an enticing garden crop– pretty spring green whorls of florets– edible fractals. I was so excited about bringing a big basket of this Fibonacci beauty to market last year. We planted seeds in flats, transplanted healthy little seedlings to larger pots, and planted them out in the garden along with more pedestrian (but proven) brassicas. They grew (and grew and grew)! Big lush plants promised so much, and then did… nothing. At the end of the season, we ripped most of the plants out (several were teeming with aphids) and gave them to the birds. I left a few of the healthier plants in the garden along with the Brussels sprouts, chard, and kale. Nearing the end of an unusually mild winter, the unexpected happened. I went out one drizzly day to grab some greens and noticed there had been a change in the biggest of the Romanesco plants. It was taller! It was fuller! There was a glimpse of telltale spring green! It was… BOLTING! Crap. It wasn’t a total surprise, but there was a tiny twinge of disappointment. And then my kid pulled all the toilet paper off the roll and I had to haul him out of the dog’s water dish (literally. he dances in it) and then he came running towards me with a pair of scissors and tried to launch himself off the bed/changing table/dining room table/toilet/stairs and pulled a dish full of (insert any imaginable item here) off the counter, and opened the oven door while the oven was on and ate some potting soil and stuck his little fingers in the dog’s eyes/ears/nose and I forgot all about that stupid failed broccoli. Also he smiled at me and I saw those dimples and I forgot about it again.

Yep, his hair pretty much always looks like this.

Yep, his hair pretty much always looks like this.

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We have had some ridiculously nice weather here for the last few days. Just as 3/4 of the household was emerging from a germy haze (and the remaining 1/4 was just getting into it), the skies cleared and the sun poured down. We went out to do some weeding in anticipation of putting some seeds in the ground, and I went to rip out the last two Romanesco plants, and this was waiting for me:

Aww, I'm sorry baby. I know I let you down, made you sad. Give me another chance and I promise I won't disappoint you.

Aww, I’m sorry baby. I know I let you down. Give me another chance and I promise I won’t disappoint you.

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Awfully elaborate April Fool’s prank for a vegetable, no? I decapitated it promptly as punishment for the insubordination of it’s peers. I then set it on a table on the deck and went off to take pictures of our happy garlic.

Lookit! The garlic is as tall as the house!

Lookit! The garlic is as tall as the house!

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Then I went back to put the camera on the deck and found this:

Thanks for leaving this unattended, Ma!

Thanks for leaving this unattended, Ma!

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Scamp. For the record, florets 1,1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and 21 taste the best. Also, it tastes exactly like every other kind of cauliflower you’ve ever eaten.

Dead Chickens Aren’t Much Fun

Maybe we should rename this “Dead Bird Blog.” Bet we’d get all kinds of traffic. I promise all kinds of stuff happens around here, and we don’t just sit around killing birds all day (we spared you the turkey/rooster harvest episode, too!). But a chicken got sick, and then she died. Her name was Daisy, because H named her after the title hen from a Jan Brett book. We are down to one bird who has a name (Spot) and 19 who don’t [although I have names for some of them, they’re not shared by anyone else. The Austrolorp I call Lorpinda, for example, because I think it’s kind of funny, and I call both of the Welsummers “Welsie” (notice a pattern? there’s a reason my boys were nameless for days following birth.) and Mama Hen (obvious reason) I guess has a name, and if you said “The Other Buff– not Mama” then we’d all know which bird you were talking about.].

Daisy was fine early in the day, and then Bill saw her standing next to the waterer not really moving, just kind of glazed over– so he told me about it, and I went over and picked her up (she didn’t give a flap, which is unheard of) and looked at her a little bit (yep, that’s a chicken. yep, it sounds sort of like she’s gargling. nope, probably not good), Bill pried open her beak and looked in as far as he could, but he is just as gifted in the veterinary arts as I am. I then stuck her in the (otherwise empty) little coop. We gave her her own waterer, some feed, a little dish of yogurt, and I tried to tempt her with a fresh worm but she was having none of it. I came inside and read all kinds of terrifying things about avian respiratory sicknesses, told Bill “we” needed to shovel out the big coop (which he promptly did), and that was that. She didn’t last the night, which was a disappointment but not a surprise, really. All the other birds seem fine, but if your chickens start to sound like they’re sucking up the dregs of a milkshake through a straw and you don’t want them to die, administering an antibiotic might not be a bad call.

The next day, we drove to the farm supply store and bought some powdered antibiotic just in case we wound up with more zombie birds, and I picked up some Blue Kote (can we not just spell things properly, people? besides, it’s purple.) because I had $9 just burning a hole in my pocket. Also because we had a couple of chickens that went into molt ages ago and then never got their feathers back. I thought it was our a**hole rooster’s fault, but he’s been in the freezer for a couple of months and these poor birds are still bald, so I started to think maybe the other hens were pecking them. Enter Blue Kote (grr). Now Lorpinda is purple (Purple Lorpinda! Purplinda!), as is one of the nameless Barred Rocks. After “Kote-ing” (aargh!) them, Bill and I were talking about it and he told me he didn’t think they were being pecked, but that we have an Ameraucana who has been mounting the other hens on a regular basis. I’m not sure the new dye job will deter our aggressive lesbian chicken, but the flock does look a bit more festive now (I don’t know how common homosexuality is in birds, but we had a gay tom turkey too. We ate him, but not because he was gay).

In other news, Bill is working on bee boxes (with power tools, mind you. he knows full well it is a violation to do so after urgent care hours and we are well into ER territory now). I have yet to unearth the sewing machine so I can finish the potato planting bags I want to try. A rodent dug up three flats of seeds we had planted in the greenhouse, and then when some seeds sprouted anyway it came back and ate most of the leaves off. I still haven’t ordered seeds (which I should be doing right now).

I’ve been baking instead. Killing birds and baking. See? Here’s some cake. Image

…tap tap. Is this thing on?

There’s still a blog here? Huh.

Feels like it’s just about time to start vomiting our thoughts out into the ether again. (Deep breath)
We have a greenhouse now (Thanks, Nadine and Jon!), and it has actual seeds actually residing in actual seedling mix within it. You’ll have to take my word for it, though, since the camera is buried under a heap of dead tree on Bill’s desk and I’m scared to touch anything for fear of deskalanche. Henry planted a flat, of course. Some chard and some peas, because, as he reports: “I’m planting chard because it’s my favorite thing to eat anywhere in the whole wide world.” (It’s not. He’s a big ol’ tale teller, and he would live on nothing but fruit if we let him. We don’t let him.) Calvin is awesome, in just about every sense of the word– he’s tall, and he’s expressive, and he’s mercurial, and he’s insanely mobile, and his laugh and smile are ridiculously infectious, but he’s absolutely no help in the garden whatsoever. He’s beyond no help. Every time I decide he’s mature enough to free range a little bit while I go do this thing five feet away, I have to come back and pick him up and fish a clod of dirt out of his mouth. So it’s a good thing Henry is such an awesome helper. My little beet farmer.058

big beet

Calvin

As I’m sure you’ve heard, we took the metaphor of gardening to the ultimate conclusion and had another child. Henry was our first, and he turned out so well that we decided that we should double down. It was a great choice. Calvin arrived at around 8pm on December 15th after a brief (but assuredly agonizing) period of labor.

He was about 5 days “late” and was a bit on the small side. Of course, I was only able to compare to Henry, who came in at 10#5oz and 22″. His little brother was only 9#6oz and 21″. Since then Calvin has put on weight, and is now at 9#14oz. Crazy, I know.

But, you aren’t here for words. You want pictures. Luckily I’m a proud parent, so there are literally gigabytes of pictures. The problem is picking out the good ones. Here are some from the past 4 days, Dec 21 thru Dec 24.

Passed out

One sheep

Snuggling

First bath is a big hit

Henry, Calvin, and Maya

Sleeping

Calvin is a great kid, concentrating on eating, sleeping, and pooping. A lot of all three.

T-Day is Coming

The birds are getting fat. Well, sort of, anyway. They’re definitely bigger than they were early in the summer, back before they downed all the greenery in their run in addition to regular treats from the garden and about 7 billion pounds of high protein feed and anything else they could get down their gullets.

It was a jungle in there this June!

They are very much free range, though, and have a lot more veggies in their diets than the commercially raised birds do, so fat is a relative term.

Watch out, H! They're voracious.

We talked about processing them ourselves, but given that Bill has been not only very busy with the house (new chimney is in, sheetrock, hearths, and flooring still to do), but that it’s time to put the garden to bed and try to get the property cleaned up a bit, we decided to leave the job to the experts.  To add to the time crunch, Bill seems to have found himself with a few part time paying jobs (hardware store, masonry company, and handyman stuff) in addition to all the unpaid commitments (school board, Spencer Park Advisory Committee, etc.), and I’m about 5 weeks away from bringing another human into the world. Then there’s the fact that gingerbread season is coming, so we are trying to find a way to legally make and sell decorated cookies and figure out how on earth we would have time to do such a thing if it did turn out to be an option. We are of course woefully ill prepared for the birth of child #2 (did I mention we are planning a home birth? Where in this house can I deliver a child without tripping over power tools, boxes, or piles of sheetrock and tile?) and I am at the zero energy but oh so many things to DO and CLEAN stage.  Also? Mouse. Pantry. Gaaaaah.  In addition, Henry is very much an active 2.5 year old, is currently potty training, and seems to have decided that he no longer requires an afternoon nap. Off to Harrington Poultry Processing we will go on November 18th!

The quiet(ish) season is approaching, though. I am happy to report that I canned the last of the tomatoes today, which means that aside from apples, cabbage, beets, chard, kale, brussels sprouts, and a few questionable onions, the harvest  is pretty much done.
Despite the waning daylight, I love this season. It’s time to catch up on the things that get neglected during gardening season, time to tie up loose ends and make order from chaos. There’s sewing, baking, organizing, and of course a bit of time to sit back, light a fire, and enjoy the fruits of our labor– quite literally, this year.

Licorice will kill you. Scared yet?

I’m stealing this blog from the boston.com website. Click on the title to visit the blog. Click here to visit the article. I guess the morale of the story is “Give me all your candy, you overindulging nimbob.”

Consuming excess sugar and calories from candy is not the only health issues that you may need to be concerned about this Halloween season. The FDA just issued advice regarding the consumption of black licorice candy. According to the FDA, “if you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks, could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.” Who knew that candy could cause you to visit the ER?