Sunday, October 30, 2005

Relatively Random Bits

It's another hard frost morning. I like crunching through the grass on my way to the hen house. The chickens seem to be adapting to their first experience of cold nights. The hens are still laying well. I had a total of 43 eggs last week. Being young, they should continue to lay fairly well through the winter. They are paying for their feed now. They'll have to lay a lot more to pay off their mortgage on the chicken palace Big Daddy built.

Big Daddy went to church without us this morning. The Monkey has developed a little head cold and is in a foul and sleepy mood. It's a big day for him as he's being voted onto the vestry. I'm sorry I couldn't be there, but I'll get my religion tonight at Anglican Bowling. That's right, I said Anglican Bowling. The high scorer of the evening gets to take home a bust of Elvis for the week.

Now for 20 Random Things About Me. I lifted this meme from Liz. Feel free to lift it from me!

1. One of my first jobs was being the Easter Bunny at the mall.
2. I have been to Niger - twice - and saw no signs of uranium being sold to Iraq. I did however get to track the only remaining herd of giraffes in West Africa and play softball against a bunch of Japanese Embassy employees in the National Soccer Stadium.
3. I worked in a fish factory in Iceland one summer.
4. I am extremely messy - not dirty, just untidy.
5. I wish I could play a musical instrument.
6. I don't like eggs. Although, I am learning to like quiche.
7. I prefer a good beer over wine any day. Of course, I like wine too.
8. I named my daughter after my cat of 14 years (who was named after my great great grandmother, so it's not that odd...)
9. I like making elaborate cookies.
10. I was president of the Latin Club in high school.
11. My favorite oil color in my paint box is cobalt violet.
12. Mine is the first generation of my family, since it's arrival in America who has not served in some branch of the armed services. I joined the Peace Corps instead.
13. I wish I could sew and knit.
14. I miss the horse I had as a teenager.
15. I don't have a sweet tooth, but can't resist chocolate.
16. I store incredibly random facts in my head. I kick ass at Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit.
17. I am terribly afraid of spiders, but have learned to live with them as long as they are outside.
18. I hate to fly. It must be a control thing, because if I could be in the cockpit, I'd be o.k.
19. I didn't own a car until I was 31.
20. When I go hiking I always have the urge to keep walking.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Gifts From the North

First, yesterday morning as I drove Monkey to the wood-hippie montessori mayhem* we call "school", I looked out my window and saw snow on top of the higher mountains. Snow! It was in the papers and on t.v. Here in the peak of our leaf-viewing tourist season they had to close the parkway because of snow! I saw a flurry or two at our house on Tuesday night, but nothing that would coat a mountain top.

Second, I received a package from Alda containing hardfiskur (sorry, I cannot make icelandic letters without spending more time than necessary scanning my keyboard options...). This is something I haven't had in over 20 years. So now I just need to find a recipe to use it in. Perhaps the fabulous Alda could suggest something??

There is frost on the grass this morning. The dogs are extra frisky and the chickens show no sign of wanting to come outside. The season has changed.

*Our Halloween Festival involves a Samhain activity as well as an altar to our dearly departed (we have been asked to bring pictures!). There was also a huge discussion on whether we should allow candy (with or without nuts) for the trick or treating section of the festivities. So, "in an effort to honor our diverse goodie preferences, we are invited to bring whatever we would allow our own child to have & are advised to use our own discretion when participating in this activity". I love the politically correct wood-hippie montessori mayhem school. If I have anything to do with it, Monkey will be on a sugar high starting Saturday and going through sometime the middle of next week. It is her right as a red-blooded American child to get sick on candy at Halloween. Her grandmother, my mother-in-law, already sent her a whole bag of Junior Mints wrapped in little treat boxes. I would have prefered Snickers.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It's Here

I was of the mind that our tidy little Indian Summer had been going on a tad too long. This morning I woke up to roaring winds and plummeting temperatures. The fall weather has arrived. There is even the first forecast of "possible snow showers in the mountains" tonight. So this morning I dropped Monkey off at school, had breakfast with a friend in town, stopped at the feed store to pick up some chicken feed and rushed home to pick the rest of my basil and peppers. Right now my house smells like summer with the scent of basil everywhere. I need to get cracking on the basil and will make up a bunch of pesto to freeze. Tomorrow I may have time to pickle the peppers.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Now That's What I Call Customer Service

Gigi recently decided that she loved the laces on my favorite pair of shoes. The good folks at Keen were quite happy to replace the laces and toggles at no charge. The package came addressed to Border Collie Hopper and included this note of advice to Gigi. I will be buying another pair of Keens soon. Maybe these! A girl's got to have comfy shoes.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Good Morning

O.K. It's actually afternoon, but I took the picture this morning as I went down to the henhouse and had the intention of posting it soon after. The day, like this week, has gotten away from me.
Tuesday, I started yoga with some friends, Wednesday was picture day at school (Monkey's first!), I moved a lot of mulch from the mulch mountain to various beds, I planted way too many bulbs, I was knocked unconscious by the dog...

You read it right. The dog knocked me out. I have the lingering headache, bruise, and what's now a slight bump (was a giant monstrosity of a goose egg) on my forehead to prove it. One minute I was sitting on the front steps watching Monkey and the dogs play. I tossed a ball to Gigi. I started reading a book, and then WHAM!!!! she nailed me. In her eagerness to play ball, the dog ran me over, careening her skull into mine. I woke up flat on the porch with a tennis ball on my chest and a border collie panting over me. Biscuit the Wonder Dog and Monkey soon joined her hovering. We called Big Daddy. He promised to come home early, but didn't. He says I told him to forget it, I was fine. I told him, "I was knocked unconscious by a border collie! Do you think I was actually rational when you talked to me???"

That was Wednesday. I think I may have had a slight concussion. I've had one once or twice before. I'm accident prone and rode horses, biked and skate boarded before helmets were cool. I feel better today, thank you very much. This is the sort of freak accident that seems to only happen to me. If you have had a good one happen to you, feel free to share.

So, here's this week's egg count. The hen's held out on me on Wednesday. Perhaps it was because they were outside all day. Someone may have stashed her eggs where I will never find them. Or it could have been the horrific crunch of Gigi's forehead colliding with mine that caused them to stop laying. Anyway, today they are pretty much back to normal.

Monday: 6
Tuesday: 7
Wednesday: 4
Thursday: 5
Today: 6

Monday, October 17, 2005

Is Farmling a Word?

Monday is always hard after a near perfect weekend. It's back to school and back to work and back to running all over town and back again on errands. It's only Monday and I miss the weekend already.

I sold my first eggs today. It's very exciting. I drop them off at Monkey's school and they are placed in a little fridge for other parents and faculty to pick up. We decided that our little farmette (I think I prefer to call it a farmling) needed a name. It was a marketing ploy and also I need a good farm name to put on Gigi's registration papers. A border collie should have a farm in her name. From now on our little farmling on the hill shall be known as Little Creek Farm. The word "farm" may be stretching it just a little at the moment, but I'm thinking of farm as a state of mind, not just a physical location. Besides we have big dreams for all the acres surrounding us (just as soon as we win the lottery...). So the happy hens of Little Creek Farm are finally earning their keep. And I'm tickled pink.

Sunday's Egg Count: 6
Today's Egg Count: 6

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Where's My Bed?

I'm exhausted. I guess I should be. After a very late night last night I got up this morning before the sun and made sticky buns. Yum. I have to say that I am slowly and still unwillingly becoming a morning person. When I go outside and the sky is still full of stars and a crisp fall breeze is blowing, I'm quite willing to convert. Just don't make me think too much. I can handle the early morning taking care of animals chores quite well, but human to human communication and complex thought are not possible until after a few cups of coffee. I meant to post a picture of the buns (they were lovely and it was my first time making them), but they didn't really last long enough to take one. After a morning at the church yard sale (where the buns were devoured in a not so holy way), I ran errands and rented a carpet steam cleaner. The excitement never ends.

It was an incredibly beautiful day and I spent an irritatingly large chunk of it cleaning carpets and rugs. I did manage to spend some time outside. In a moment of bartering genius, I traded a pickup truck load of the mulch mountain for a load of firewood. So my friend Susan came over with the wood and we sort of helped, but mainly watched Big Daddy unload the wood then load the mulch. Afterwards, since it was after noon (at least by 12 minutes), we popped open a bottle of wine and had a glass before Susan ran back to her farm to spread mulch. We decided that fall work weekends should, from now on, involve a wine break around mid-day.

Between rug cleanings I managed to weed some of the flower beds and plant the 100+ daffodil bulbs and the recently divided daylilies. The Persian rug is somewhat fresher smelling and back in the living room. We traded out the kitchen table with the old round oak table and the house has a whole new feel. It feels quite nice. I'm just waiting for the temperatures to drop down low enough to warrant a fire in the fireplace.

Have I mentioned how much I love the month of October? It's halfway over, and I don't think that is quite fair. Each day in October should be 30 hours long so I can savour every moment. The light is different. The smell is different. The hills are starting to change color, although the trees seem to be taking their own sweet time this year. Even the chickens are going to roost earlier. Let's hear it for the change of seasons.

Today's egg count: 7

Friday, October 14, 2005

Note to Bad Drivers

If you are driving 20 miles over the speed limit, tailgating, switching lanes like a maniac, then you cut in front of me almost causing me to rear end you AND you have one of those How's My Driving/Safety Is Important To Us stickers with a number on the back of your truck - I will call the number. Just thought you should know...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Girls' Night Out

Monkey and I had a great girls' night out tonight. For anyone catching up, Big Daddy is traveling for work every week. On Thursday Monkey and I hit the town, or as she says, "Let's go down-to-town."

It's our church's annual yard sale this weekend, so I dumped off a carload of stuff tonight and helped set up. I came away with a great kid's easel for Monkey. The rule is, "you help set up, you get the bargains!" I also found out that a family from New Orleans is being housed at the diocese conference center starting tomorrow. Now I hate to think how a family from Louisiana are going to be thinking come January in the mountains, but they have two little girls and a brand new baby boy and need lots of help. They need everything in the way of winter clothing. As one of the little girls is 18 months old, I'm donating all of Monkey's old winter things and dresses. It's much better than taking them to the consignment shop. Monkey is very excited to help a little girl "just like her".

I'm so excited for tomorrow night. A good friend is having a low country boil and bonfire out at her house and it's for adults only. No kids. That's why there are babysitters. Hooray.

Today's egg count: 6

Taking Care of Business

Ruby is a good hen. She uses one of five nest boxes that I made for her and the other hens. Somebody else is a bad hen. I found a little stash of eggs behind the feed bin this morning. I will have to amend yesterday's egg count from 6 to 7. I think all but one of the hens is now laying. Blanche, the Wyandotte, is taking her time maturing. They are all being good and I now again have over 3 dozen eggs in the fridge. What to do? What to do? I think I'll make some creme brulee this weekend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Today Was Productive

I need sleep. Today I managed to complete several tasks that have been hanging around for way to long. Monkey's bed is finished. The bed is old. It came from a friend of the family's maiden aunts. It was dark with old stain and shellac and the dirt of years in a Missouri farm house. It's in her room all smooth and white and she's so high up I'm going to have to get her a step ladder. I started refinishing the bed in May. I procrastinated a little. Now I think she needs some more pillows - lots. I'm renting a steam cleaner this weekend to clean the carpet. I'm hoping that by January I can replace it with something more appropriate for a preschooler's lair. Light cream is not a good choice, but then I didn't choose it.

I managed to make several phone calls and catch up on emails. I cleaned the new old table that will soon be gracing our dining area. My parents had it for years and then I inherited it. It's big, round and solid oak. Tomorrow I hope to be able to take the top off so it can fit through the door. I'm bringing back in the persian rug that I took out of the living room for its own good when the ancient cat was getting a little lax in her litter box habits. I clean it this weekend when I do the carpets.

And then there's the mulch pile. Pile is not the right word. I should say mulch hill. Big Daddy sent home 30 cubic yards of mulch. There's a dump truck load of mulch in my driveway. Today I managed to weed and cover a couple of beds. I also divided some daylillies. I'll plant those tomorrow and then move on to the hundreds of daffodil bulbs my mother sent me.

It's time for bed.

Tuesday's Egg Count: 5
Today's Egg Count: 6

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's Good To Be Home.

I'm short on time, but here's the view that greeted me this morning when I went to let the chickens out.

Today's Egg Count: 5 perfect brown eggs

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Blog Spam is a Giant Nuisance

Really, as I've said before; do these people think that this is a powerful marketing tool? I say we track them down and t.p. their front lawns...

I'm turning on the word verification feature, so when you leave comments it will be like a little game. Enjoy. I'll be home soon and have an egg count for you.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Greetings From Beautiful, Rainy Charlotte

Well, the conference room does have windows. Last night's meeting wasn't too touchy-feely, so I may survive after all. My roommate brought her laptop, so I'm able to make a post before I head off to this morning's session. I'm not sure I can survive a whole day in a conference room; even if it does have two windows with a parking lot view. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Here Comes the Rain

Finally we've got rain. It seems quite a bit is headed our way. It's been rather dry here for the last month or so. I wish I was going to be home so I could reseed areas of the lawn and put down seed in a few new places. However, I'm off to Charlotte for the weekend on business. I will be stuck in a windowless conference room in a hotel near the airport for the next three and a half days. I'm praying that they will not make us do a bunch of that touchy-feely community building waste-of-time activities. I've lived through enough of those activities on several continents in a couple of languages and I think that I've done just about my lifetime's allotment of breaking in to small groups to share.

I'm secretly happy that it will be raining here (and there) and I won't really be missing good hiking weather. I do feel sad for our friend, Chef Boots, who is arriving today. He wanted a nice weekend in the country. Oh well, he can still do his favorite activity - porch sitting. He will be switching hats for awhile today as he becomes Nanny Boots. He will be watching the Monkey as I head off to Charlotte and Big Daddy heads back from his project in Virginia. I hope he brings bread. Perhaps he can make something tasty with the three dozen eggs in the fridge...

Yesterday's Egg Count: 5
Today's Egg Count: ?
The egg count will resume on Monday. Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Don't Get Between A Dog and Her Toy

Must carry the ball on a rope everywhere. Must run and carry the ball on a rope everywhere. Run. The ball. It's all about the ball. Take the ball everywhere... Throw the ball Maggie. Throw it. Throw it! THROW IT!!!

Today's Egg Count: 6
A whole half-dozen!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Chickens in the Garden

The chickens have been enjoying some free range time in the garden and yard. They are getting braver and I find them everywhere. They've made a nice little dust bath where the tomatoes once were and where I am now drying gourds. They've discovered the joy that is black eyed peas and I have been fighting them off of the last of my harvest. I can stand to lose a few to my girls. However, I think that I will have to seriously think about fencing in the garden next year.

Yesterday was Big Daddy's and my anniversary. We packed a nice little picnic with sandwiches and pastries from the Paris Bakery and took along a bottle of champagne. We loaded up the Monkey and Gigi and went for a hike at Craggy Gardens on the Parkway. Monkey got juice, not champagne and Gigi prefers water. It was a lovely day.

Today we are waiting on the arrival of my brother, who will be staying with us for a few days. We are filling our waiting time with throwing the ball for Gigi, who cannot get enough of the thrown ball. Ever. She would chase the ball all day. Every day. Forever. Seriously. The ball on a rope is Border Collie crack at our house.

Sunday's Egg Count: 5
Today's Egg Count: 4 (so far)

Sunday, October 02, 2005


What do you do when you have three dozen fresh eggs in the fridge? Make a quiche! This is actually my first quiche. The recipe called for six large eggs, but it took a dozen of the little pullet eggs. I added ementhaler cheese, mushrooms, bacon, onion and arugula. It was quite delicious. Big Daddy had two helpings. We had it for dinner then took a lovely walk in the woods before dark.

Friday's Egg Count: 4
Saturday's Egg Count: 5

Let's hear it for the girls!