Archive for February, 2010

Poor Mom

She had to go to bed last night without an update from me. I hope she did not wait too long! My arms hurt too much to type so I went to bed at 9:00 after spending the day trimming back the butterfly bushes, or should I say, trees. They have reached 20 feet because I did not trim them back last year.

Last week E and I hacked and cut on the ones along the front, so yesterday I trimmed back four others around the property. The goats are happily munching on the downed limbs this morning, so I will only have the bare wood to deal with in no time at all. But all the trimming and dead heading I have done the last few weeks has created at least two trailer loads of debris to haul to recycle. Unfortunately the trailer hitches were on the two trucks I gave away, plus I haven’t pulled a trailer in a very long time. The good news is that my driveway is circular so I would not have to back in!

So I will chop everything into little bits and compost the smallest pieces and burn the largest. E is coming back today so I will ask him to help me chop it up.

A day spent pondering. . .

whether or not chickens “ganter”, as I attempted to describe their awkward mode of transport. Gantered is not a word I see anymore, although there is some reference to the usage in gangsta speak. But I was thinking of how a horse or steer gantered up the hill.

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Perhaps the word does not fit the willy nilly manner in which the raptor runs, legs splayed, wings flapping. I chuckle each time I see one of the ladies decide someone has found an edible, at least one that is better than what she is currently brutalizing. I would insert a photo, but the chicken run is best experienced via moving pictures, or in person. So perhaps a field trip to the “farm” would be in order for the curious, or bored, or technologically isolated. Is there something down there, Buffy?

I don’t know Muffy, but everyone is looking, so there must be.

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On a day when I was feeling particularly brave, radical, and education oriented, I put a couple of chickens into an animal carrier and walked onto the ferry with them. People were politely amused, surprised to see kentucky without the fried peering back at them. Others hurriedly pulled out their N95 face masks and jumped overboard.

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When arriving at school, I by-passed the faculty workroom and slipped straight into the classroom. Get out your sketchbooks, we’ve got live models today! A what?! Will it bite? I have never seen a real chicken before! Class, raise your hand if you have never seen a live chicken before. Over half. Really. Sad.

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How many of you have ever touched a live chicken? Three. 4H. Really. Sad.

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Chicken Twister in Last Year’s Snow

Where did the day go?

Ok, granted I did get a late start, but it seems I have very little to show for the day. I stood in the sun for thirty minutes and watched a Golden Wyandotte pick and clean every worm, slug, bug and seedling out of a five square foot area. I doubt there were any life forms left when she wandered off to depopulate another macro system.

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After I fed the goats, I opened the door and let them wander out along the path. They are getting pretty good at following me, so I called them to come around to the garden beds and they literally kicked up their heels and ran. It was very cute to watch those half-legged pudgkins trying to move fast. And once again, we slowed down traffic and caused neck wrenching double takes as people drove home from work. Nice dogs. . .wait! Those are goats! She is walking goats!

I then turned my attention to the deck. I carried buckets of worm laden compost to top dress the containers, then pulled the containers out of the way so I could wash the deck of soggy leaves and spilled dirt. While I was at it, I hosed down the cedar bench to be ready for Thursday, as rumor has it the painful-to-look-at-golden-thing-in-the-sky will be back. Must find sunglasses.

Tomorrow is trash and recycle day so I did not stop looking for candidates until both large bins were smashed down full. By then it was dark and starting to rain, so I retired to the computer and “chatted” with a new friend on the East Coast. Someday I will have to talk with her via phone to hear that wonderful accent from down under!

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Every nerve ending under my skin is screaming, the by product of work and wearing clothes. Yes, just wearing clothes is uncomfortable, so I now retired to my velvets and microfiber sheets! No photos. ;-}

Valentine Parties

As I sat quietly today I remembered how absolutely overboard my sweet husband would go on Valentine’s Day, the cakes, the cookies, the teddy bears. . . an endless parade of love and affection. Thinking of the way he set the table and was just giddy over serving me, which he did every night, however on this night he was presenting days of preparation and love.

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This triggered memories of the Valentine’s Parties I hosted for all the single ladies old enough to hold a vintage tea cup without breaking it. Fancy dresses were encouraged and everyone was treated like a princess that night. I look at those photos and marvel, hoping that someday I will be in a place of extending myself again.

A Perfect Day Outside

And at 7:00pm it is still clear over my house. I keep the radar up all day so I can see when the rains (or a break in them) are coming, then I run outside and take care of animals before the next wave hits. Today I had to take care of office type work, so had to force myself to stay inside until I finished, then ran out to play in the sun with the chickens and goats! I trimmed back and dead headed two more beds today and filled a large bag with clippings. I am getting better at cleaning up after a binge clipping session, instead of leaving the pile until the slugs take up residence. But wait, there are no more slugs! The chickens are extremely efficient at decimating any type of small life forms, and supposedly will even attack moles, voles, and shrews. Who needs a cat.

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I worked awhile in the greenhouse, trimming back the dead leaves from herbs I am experimenting with. So far they have wintered over quite well. The bunnies that heat the greenhouse were given a treat of carrots from the garden that I have stored in the ground. A few of the smaller ones started to rot, but I was impressed at how well they held up. I replaced them with Shanghai Pak Choy starts that had free seeded in the gravel around the raised beds. It is fun to look out the kitchen window and see the garden growing, in early February! But I hate to think what will happen to all the green shoots if we get a last ditch effort from Old Man Winter. The blueberries and plums are loaded with little buds and I won’t have any way to protect them if the temperature drops. This was March 2007. . .

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The cranberry banana fruit leather is almost finished and the sliced bell peppers will be on the dehydrator next. It is fun to put a pan full of water on the stove and throw dehydrated veggies at it until soup happens! I even dehydrated a batch of cooked rice which was handy but not very efficient energy wise.

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I stripped the beds and am washing all of the bathmats and other small rugs around the house. I guess the sunny day spurred me to start my Spring house cleaning, but mainly the sun peeking through the windows exposed the pale surfaces of all my furniture, I believe it is called dust! I read somewhere that 90% of household dust is flaked off skin, but since I certainly am not flaky, it must be the cats. My sweet diabetic cat tracks wet kitty litter onto the bathroom floor, and likes to sling her feet to throw off the small bits, which of course end up in the darndest places. I have to sweep the bathroom every morning. I hope I will be able to care of her insulin needs, or find a natural remedy to help her extreme thirst.