Friday, June 27, 2008

Strawberries and Chickens!

So, the strawberries didn't happen. As usual, I'm a day late and 3 weeks early, or something like that.
We went to get them picked and found that they had already been picked out. It would be easy if it were the same every year, but with the wacky weather lately, they were late as it was.
I can still go north, to get some, but I think I'll concentrate on the cherries over on the west side of the state. Have a friend who lives over there who will keep an eye on it for me, then we'll go to get bunches of those. The sweet cherries are about 1.5 weeks ahead of the sour cherries, but both are just yummy! Cherry syrup and jams and stuff are just as good as strawberries, but the strawberries are local. Oh well, maybe next year. Actually, I'm going to make a note of that in my really cool portable brain that I can't live without, to start inquiring about strawberries around the 1st of June.

Got our first "batch" of hay in last night, well, when I say "we" it wasn't me helping. at all. this is a first!
I was daddy-sitting, so didn't get to partake in the festivities, but not to worry, there's LOTS more hay to be got!

Stupid coffee pot! Just got up to get a cup of coffee and realized that it never turned itself on. grrr.
OK, I'm over it.

So anyway, in my scattered little brain, we've covered strawberries and cherries and touched on hay. Let's go to my awesome chicken self feeding system shall we?
The items needed for this include as many 5 gallon buckets as can be rounded up (on the farm, this isn't a problem), a shotgun or drill to drill lots and lots of holes in the sides and bottoms of the buckets, A way to suspend them above the chicken pen (sticks work great, as does left over binder twine - the plastic stuff) and as many dead critters as you can get your hands on. Again, around here, shooting possums, raccoons and stuff that attack my critters are plentiful, as are fish guts from hubby going fishing, so usually don't have to look real far.
Hang the buckets up above the chicken pen (pre shot or drilled for holes) and throw in the dead critter. Within a matter of days, the flies will swarm and lay their eggs. The maggots will fall out of the holes and chickens will eat them up. It gets a bit aromatic, but if there's a reason for it, well.... it's easier to put up with.
See? Self feeding chickens! Works great!

A bit too redneck for you? Well, it works, and around here, we're all about making these critters pay for themselves, even the dead ones! If you happen to like the idea of this system but lack dead critters, leftover garbage, especially meat scraps would work too, just not as quickly. But we don't have a lot of that, the leftover garden scraps and vegies go to the chix and the leftover meats go to the Bu-Dawgh, with the exception of leftover chicken and turkey, which the barn cats will happily relieve you of.

And the most exciting news of all? I got a heifer last night! This brings my cow total to 4! She hasn't come to live with us yet, but hopefully soon. You know what this means? a constant source of calves as I have a friend with an awesome bull, and an almost constant source of milk and cream for drinking, cheeses, yogurts, butter and ice creams. All organic and natural and everybody with no antibiotics or growth hormones, no pasteurization or homogenization, nothin' but milk, grass fed, right from the cow! Life is great!!

Tonight? more garden work and more chicken pen work, it's supposed to rain, so that will put a halt to the haying, temporarily. And if it rains too hard, there is the hayloft that needs to be organized before we bring in any more hay! The sound of rain on the tin roof of the barn is just one of the best sounds ever!

I love the farm, can you tell? Now, to make it pay a salary that I can live with....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Picking Strawberries and other Farm Stuff

So, the neighbor girl (queen of everything that needs to be done but I don't have time to do it, and she will do it for a very decent price) has offered to pick strawberries for me. This is waaaay cool! She's so willing (12 year olds still value the good old fashioned quarter a pound concept!) to do this for me. And, to boot, for another 10 cents a pound, she'll wash them, and get rid of the green stuff that seems to be attached to the ends of them, otherwise known as stems.
This is HUGE! I love strawberries. LOVE them! Fresh in cereal, frozen in pancakes in the winter, strawberry shortcake, hubby loves strawberry ice cream (homemade of course, still need to look into finding a small one family cow), and of course, the cream on top of the strawberry pile, strawberry jam!
So tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn (literally, she will start about 6 am!) she'll pick me all the berries she wants to pick. As many as she wants, and I'll gladly pay her to do that for me. Not only do I not like to pick berries (skeeters and all) I have Dad Duty this week, so just can't do it myself. And this will most likely be the last week to do this kind of thing.
I anticipate 50 lbs or better. That's approximately 60 bucks or so for picked, washed and de-green stuff-ed berries, all ready to be cut and frozen. YUMM! Well worth the money! And if she can con her cousin into helping her, I'll be that much further ahead!
Not only do I love all things berry (not just strawberries), I also love to make strawberry jam on a cold winter day. Oooh, the cabin smells soooooo good! They (I love this, "THEY" means anyone who is someone other than me!) say that strawberries are the ultimate summer treat. But definitely a year round deal if you do it right.
My strawberries are not doing well enough yet to pick a bunch of them, but there are so many U-Pick operations around here that it's all good.

So back to the current stuff. Weeding the garden, planting more seeds (due mostly to lack of time and weather weirdness rather than season) and last night we finally went to the neighbors house to re-borrow back our pto driven posthole digger. This item is way cool! Attach it to the back of the tractor and zingo-zango! Instant post hole!
This is a definite plus when we're burying posts for whatever needs posts. Hubby can dig a hole faster than I can bury a post! Currently these are for the new chicken area. We're fencing in a HUGE area for my chickens, it will be sooo nice to have them in an area all to themselves. Scavenged a lot of page wire from a scrap heap so I think I have enough of that, might need to get some chicken wire to wrap around the bottom, and some for the top of the pen, but other than that, we'll be good. This project will definitely see completion this weekend. And now that I've said that, but no, I'm motivated on this one. Gotta have this done before we leave for our vacation/family reunion in just a bit over 2 weeks!!

This time of year, it's all about the farm/homestead. Growing things (both plants and critters), building things and harvesting things to make it through the winter. During any lull in the crazy busy farm life, we spend time getting the wood pile built up, also for the winter. It's tough to find the wood pile when it's buried under 4 foot of snow, so that's best done ahead of time. This past fall, we were fortunate enough to get access to a state land tract that had just been cut. After they took the trees that were big enough to be sawed into lumber there was scraps, just perfect for the woodstove, so we spent a lot of time cutting and hauling that mess home, it will be dry and seasoned for this winter, and I hope to have it all piled and a roof over it also this summer. That's pretty low on the priority list, a roof over the wood pile, but we'll definitely get it cut and dry piled and enough brought up to the house to last us most of the winter.

Not much new on the knitting front, I continue to knit when I walk to work, which isn't nearly enough. I only walk when the weather is good (takes about an hour to get to work), and then when I don't need to go anywhere during the day. If the weather is nice or semi nice, or heck even if it's raining sometimes, I'll ride my bike, but walking is my first option. I can combine 3 and sometimes 4 tasks that way. I get to work, get my exercise, get some knitting done, and at the end of the day, I'll start walking home with my dad, and The Mouth will leave her work in time to pick him up on the way, so he gets his exercise in also! Tell me that's not a good thing!

I need to get into the habit of bringing My Awesome Camera That I Bought Myself For My Birthday A Few Summers Ago along with me, there is some awesome photo ops during my walks and trapses around the yard.

Tonight, after our taco night out (because we do have to go out once in awhile) we'll dig more post holes and start fencing. During any lull in that, I need to sharpen the blades on my mower. Hubby found me the coolest mower at a yard sale last year. There's no motor, just push it. Works pretty well, it's hard to push so it needs to be oiled a bit, and definitely sharpened, but it's good exercise as well as not using any gas! That's the best part, and it's quiet! And if I rake some of the grass clippings, my chickens love them!
One of these days I'll write about my automatic self feeding chicken system! Kind of yucky, but they love it!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So about (pronounced a-boot for my non-Canadian speaking nephews!) 2 weeks ago I applied for my passport. Small problem. My given name is not the same as the name I've gone by for, well, forever. I used my given name for approximately 3 minutes, then became a nickname of such. (Catholic religion, have to have a saint's name.....) Since then, everything I've ever put my name on has been my nickname. Driver's licence, marriage licence, social security card, all employment stuff... everything! So when I go to get my passport there seems to be a problem. Everything that has my picture on it to prove who I really am says my nickname. My birth certificate says my given name. So I ask what to do.
I can either 1. Change my name legally (after 50 yrs, just putting my preferred version has worked so far, why go all legal now?) or 2. Write a letter of explanation as to why I have 2 different names.
It's not like my real name is Rodney and I want to be called Amelia or anything, the preferred is a common variation or nickname of the given. Are you confused yet?
So I wrote my letter of explanation to The Nice Folks At The Passport Application Place (who all know me btw as I've lived in this town pretty much my whole life)stating that the difference between the given name and the preferred name was pretty much because well, I preferred the preferred name. I gave documents such as social security info, marriage licence info and driver's licence info to "prove" that I was who I said I was. Obviously I'm who I say I am, I have my gorgeous driver's licence pic to prove it. However, who I was born as is pretty much a crap shoot, but apparently The Nice Folks At The Passport Application Place Who All Know Me Anyway believed that I was actually born and am who I claim to be because my passport application went through without a hitch and was issued in the name I prefer. Go figure! Guess you can say you are whoever you want to say you are and that's all there is to it.
So, if you've ever spent hundreds of dollars to change your name legally, you've wasted your money. All you have to do is tell the appropriate people who you want to be and why and it's all good!

And now, my driver's license has a new set of letters on it! Yes! I finally got my CY endorsement. (I'm legal to ride my motorcycle). No more looking over my shoulder when I ride! And I'm riding in my preferred name, not my given name!


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Distractions and Depression

Since I made the decision to try to handle my depression and anxiety naturally (via diet, exercise, supplements...) rather than Prozac there have been some things I've noticed.
The first and foremost being that I can't hold a train of thought much past about 2.3 seconds. That means officially I have the attention span of sawdust. Not good. I depend on my brain far to much for it to be off wandering around without supervision.
A few years ago, for my birthday, my brothers chipped in and bought me a portable brain. (Palm Treo - phone, calendar, alarm clock, checkbook, and also doubles as an ipod as well as shopping lists, lists of songs I like, lists of stuff that MUST be done yesterday, lists of all my lists - love lists!). LOVE IT!! If I could find it when I needed it that would be great. No problem, I just call myself! Unless I forget to turn the phone off before I set it down and wander off somewhere.
Another problem is thinking about checking my lists in the first place. So now it comes down to I need something to remind me to check my reminders. In other words, I think I need a keeper! Baby Brother, H, help me out here!

The anxiety is worse, but I've figured out a couple of triggers that are responsible for 90% of it, and just take a few deep breaths, work it all out in my sawdust pile and basically tell myself it just doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if I'm a few minutes late for whatever. It doesn't matter that I have to do this, that and the other thing, I'll just do them when I can. I'll list them in my Palm and then basically forget about it.
It is still a constant struggle, but at this point, I'm successfully fighting it.

This was one of the reasons I decided to try walking to work. I've always felt better when I'm outside, and it's much easier to relax and unwind (or not wind in the first place) while I'm hiking in the sunshine. The factors that lately have prevented me from walking (this morning we chased horses, thereby making me late for work to start off - but it doesn't really matter if I'm a few minutes late, I just drive rather than walk.)

The horses were out, through no fault of my own. My current resident and her 2 y/o adorable monkey were out playing with the horses yesterday. By all means, unplug the fence, I don't want the Monkey to get zapped, but please, please, please plug it back in when you're done. But you know what? It just doesn't matter. In the grand scheme of things, yeah, I didn't get to walk to work because I would have been late because I chased horses because the fence didn't get plugged back in, but I got exercise and fresh air chasing the horses. It just doesn't matter that much. Next week, I'll look back and notice that it took me all of about 1 hour to get the horses back in and fix the fences, stuff I enjoy doing anyway, just not when I want to walk to work. But it just doesn't matter.

Plus... last night was taco night at the bar, and since a Michigan team was playing (Tigers) the drinks were on sale. And since I needed to relax we did the 6 pack and Bob Seger thing, and it was all good. And it was all good until someone who shall remain nameless happened to notice that the bar was closing shortly. A shotgun would have taken out that clock very neatly, but I didn't happen to have mine with me, so we just went home.

Not much got done around the house, but you know what? It just doesn't matter, it's all good! And I'll work on it tonight, if I remember.

And if I don't get it done, it will be "whatever". Playing with the Monkey, or whatever happens was probably more important in the first place. It's all good.

Breathe, enjoy life, know that you'll never be handed more than you can handle, and just deal. Most of the stuff that triggers my anxiety just doesn't matter that much. And if it does, then I'll deal with it as soon as I can find it in my sawdust pile!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hair Stuff, Revisited

Oh yeah! I got the curling iron thing TOTALLY figured out! I still can't make my hair do what I want it to, but it's not the curling iron, nope, it's me, or my hair, or something.
I have this Short Cute Cut that requires maintenance. When I wash and dry and curl, and then a light spray, it's cute. I really like it. However... when I take my motorcycle helmet off.... YIKES!! Never seen anything like it!

So.. I'm talking to a fellow rider friend of mine and she says "use moose". Moose? as in large, long legged animal? How in the world would you do that?
No, no, no, she laughs. Mousse, as in fluffy stuff resembling shaving cream that you put in your hair. Hmmmm. Not sure why I'd want to wash, dry, and curl and then put shaving cream in my hair. Kind of defeats the purpose eh?
Apparantly not. Apparantly "mousse" is the equivalent of super glue for hair. You can put your helmet on, take your helmet off, fluff stuff up and it looks as good as it did in the first place. Another technique to master, that of "fluffing". Not as easy as it sounds, either that or my fine thin hair is not the same as her thick coarse hair. Whatever. I'll try it again, cause anything is better than "helmet hair" when it's 90!

Didn't get the clothesline fixed. Didn't get the chicken fencing measured and didn't get the nesting boxes and perches built. Why not? Because when I got home The Mouth was watching a movie that I had wanted to see. So I hurried up and put on dinner and then sat down to watch it with her. Here's what happened. She rewinds tape (or dvd, or vcr or whatever she did to make the movie go back to the beginning - and she did it all from the comfort of MY chair, but no matter, she didn't have to get up and hook up wires, or flip switches, or kick the tv, all she did was take one of the many many remotes that sit on the end table, push some buttons and magically, the movie goes back to the beginning).
I'm over it, I promise.

The movie was Fool's Gold with Matthew McConnahuey, or however it's spelled and Kate Hudson. 2 of my favorites.
At one point hubby walked in and sat down to watch it. At one point they were underwater using a metal detector. This had hubby's attention as he does similar stuff with his metal detector. So he went to dig out his metal detector that goes underwater so I could send it in, get it all tuned up and working properly, so we can take it with us on a reunion/diving trip down to Mexico in 3 weeks. 3 weeks! But I can do it, I can work magic, just watch me. I'll have that thing sent out, sent back and in his posession just in time to pack it, probably only to have the airlines decide that it could be a weapon of mass destruction and not let us take it.
Don't go there!

Anyway, that's what happened last night and why NOTHING got done. Plus it was kind of cold and drizzley, and not conducive to hanging clothes out anyway, which kind of took the urgency out of that project. I'm all about doing what needs to be done, after it needs to be done, it's a talent, a skill, and I'm good at it!

Tonight? maybe the clothesline.... right now the sun is out but it's also cloudy. Maybe the fencing, but with all the rain my joints are achy, so... who knows. The Mouth works until late tonight, so she won't be there to derail me (it doesn't take much).

Wow! How's that for running on and on and on about nothing? Another talent, thanks very much.
So, to recap... curling iron, check! mousse, in progress. clothesline, asap. chicken fencing, asap.

Soon, an update on my blueberry plants... but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ladders and High Stuff

On my fridge is a list of Stuff To Do. Most of it is outside stuff, because, well, in the spring and summer, that's where the Stuff To Do lives.
Last night I finished the hay bin for the horses, a really nice big bin that has a cover. So during all this rain my horses don't stomp half of their hay into the mud making a really yucky mess. That's done. Erase that off the list. It's a dry erase kind of list, so it's easy to erase, and much more satisfying than just crossing it off, then there's more room to add more stuff. And there's always more stuff to add.
So, what's next on my Stuff To Do list? My clothesline.

My clothesline is attached to my cabin on one end, off The Back Deck That Isn't There. This is fun. I have a 4x4 which will eventually be part of The Back Deck That Isn't There. So, to use the clothesline, I have to balance on this 4x4 and hang out of the back door, simultaneously reaching and stretching an additional foot or so to reach the clothesline. Olympic gymnasts have nothing on me! It will be great when The Back Deck That Isn't There is finally there.
On the other end hubby has run a pole approximately 3.5 miles up into the air. This is where the current problem is. The clothesline is on a pully on both ends, so I can hang and pull, hang and pull, or opposite, take down and pull. It works well. Really well. So well in fact that I am willing to brave the 3.5 mile hike up the pole to fix it. It's not really broken, but the line has slipped off the pulley and is now caught. So the "pull" part of the "hang and pull" operation is a bit tougher to do.

Here's the plan.... hubby bought me a 8' step ladder at a garage sale. This is fun. I love ladders. My intense fear of heights loves ladders. I love them so much that to this day, almost 50 years into my life, I have never owned one. Never needed one. I might even go so far as to say that that's one of the reasons I got married, so I wouldn't ever have to do ladders. That and the fix cars thing.
Back to the plan. Lean my new 8' step ladder up against a pole that is approx. 3.5 miles in the sky to stretch even further up to fix this.
And this is what will happen. I will approach this task with the vim and vigor it will require. And I will time it perfectly, so that I'll no sooner get the ladder leaned up against the pole and myself precariously perched on the top rung when hubby will come home and bail me out! I'm good at that timing thing. Most of the time.

Since this task will take me approx 20 minutes 4 hours, when that is completed I will start measuring for the chicken fencing. And if it rains, I'll work on the nesting boxes and perches.. inside the new chicken coop that hubby built me for my anniversary. And if it rains really hard, maybe I'll go inside and sweep floors and stuff. Cause I have a major Inside Stuff To Do List too, but that one is in my head. That would just be too depressing to have to look at all the time. And after that, Mr Rooster will become a tasty addition to the crock pot, and the rest of the chickens and turkeys will go to live happily in their new home.

Monday, June 16, 2008

When It Rains.....

And rains, and rains and rains and rains.....

The Farmer's Almanac says that the last week in June will be dry and hot and sunny. Perfect weather for haying, except that the first cutting should have already been done. Actually, we should be just finishing up now. That will put us 2 weeks behind and the hay will start getting "stemmy". But, nothing to be done, except hope that Mother Nature and the Farmer's Almanac are on speaking terms soon!

The rains and thunderstorms are good for the gardens, and the water table, seeing as how we are still classified on the edge of a drought. Really! My pond has never been deeper, the fish peer at us as we're eating dinner, who's really in the aquarium now?? The streams are at all time highs, but it's yet to soak down far enough to affect most of the underground stuff, except our basement. That's why they make sump pumps, and probably why, when I build my cabin 17 years ago, my Dad insisted that I put one in. "But Dad, I'd rather have lots and lots of windows and a cool deck". Said I. And now, I, is saying "Yeah, about that sump pump? Yeah, probably a good idea!"

Reason #5 for not walking to work this morning: Going out this morning to do chores and discovering that the horse fence is down. Not good. Don't have time for a rodeo today. By the time the fence was back up and working (I do hope I remembered to plug in the electric charger - have to remember to call and have N. check it) it was too late to walk, so Bu-Dawgh and I endured the 4 mile drive. I was already to walk too, had my little bag packed with all the necessities: water bottle, knitting, extra knitting, extra knitting needles (one never knows where the knitting needles will end up when the Bu-Dawgh spots one of our resident psycho-manic deer and decides that he must protect us at all costs. (All costs, usually involves dragging me through the brambles, woods, fields, once in awhile swamps, at 90+ mpg). We make good time though, and if where we end up is where we were aiming for in the first place, then it's all that much better.

Maybe tomorrow!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fig Newtons... aka... Cookies 'O Satan!

My newest "moved back home kid", N, has found the oven. And, she has also discovered where I keep such things as baking powder and soda, chocolate chips, nuts... and, she found the cookbooks. Can you see where I'm going? I'll tell you where I'm going. OUT!! that's where, out, in every direction imaginable. First she started with innocent enough banana bread. Then it was blueberry muffins. Then she discovered Peach Cobbler Bread... (YUMM!) and last night I get home from work to find chocolate chip cookies on the counter. And.. the fixin's to make an Oreo cookie pie!
Good grief. I stand no chance what-so-ever!

My diet resembles that of a rabbit, love to eat raw vegies, fruits, grains, I've even been known to snack on a few sprigs of clover and alfalfa. I walk to work regularly (6-8 miles round trip). I farm, fight mustangs, chase Bu-Dawgh, garden, mow lawns (that's a laugh as I really don't have a lawn)and do other such things such as hoist 100 lb grain sacks high over my 5'3" frame, and wrestle with roto-tillers. I should be skinny. I should be a rail. There should be no body fat to speak of. And then along comes N. Who's getting to be pretty darn good in the sugar, flour and egg dept.

And I didn't see it coming. One day I got home from work, was tired, exhausted, very very un-ambitious and there it was, all over the counter and stove... DINNER! She had made dinner! And it was ready when I walked in the door. I decided right there and then that I would stand in her way and prevent her from moving out... ever! I also decided it would be really nice to have a wife. But that's illegal in Michigan so...

Back to the fig newtons. When I was in college, 3 lifetimes ago, my standard comfort food was a package of fig newtons and hot tea. Unless I was really stressed, and then only Jack Daniels would do. (Bob Seger and a six pack does a real good job of putting some perspective on reality too!) Yup, fig newtons and hot tea. Great stuff. I never quite got over my addiction to either or both. So when I come home to find that N. has gone shopping and among the items that have magically appeared on my shelf (oh yeah, she shops and does errands too!)that's when I went over the edge. I wrote her a long long note explaining that such things could not be permitted to exist unless she could guarantee their storage in a place where I would never feel, sense, smell, taste, or otherwise know that they were there. In effect they could exist if they didn't exist. Kind of a parallel universe type of thing I guess. Don't really know about that, I'm not big into physics too much more than that if I'm sitting under an apple tree and I get hit with an apple or a bird dropping, I can guess pretty accurately, from whence it came!

So the fig newton incident sparked this whole Creativity In The Kitchen Thing Who's Only Purpose Is To Make Me Fat(ter). As I'm leaving for work this morning she's mixing up the mixings for her Oreo Pie With Chocolate Pudding And Whipped Cream thing. I can't go home. Ever. It will be there waiting for me, in all it's chocolat-y goodness, teasing and taunting me into submission.

And they wonder why Chocolate has become not only the favorite food of menopausal women everywhere, but why it has easily become it's own food group!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Take A Walk With Me!

I remembered my Awesome Camera That I Bought Myself For My Birthday Last Year, finally, on my walk this morning. So join me on my twice daily (when it's not raining) commute! K?
Actually the first part of my trek was undocumented as I was drinking my breakfast. Yes, my breakfast consists of a drink, yummily consisting of oatmeal, yogurt, nuts, frozen or fresh fruit, frozen juice and water. Mmmmmmmmm! Keeps Ya Regular!!
So the part where I hike through the woods and then through the blackberry/raspberry bramble filled meadow isn't here. Picture it in your head, I'm sure you've seen it.
The absolute coolest part of this whole trek is about 1/2 mile through a pine stand. Pic. 1

Another part of the pine stand part:

And yet another:

And another:

Coming to the end of the pines, this is where we veer off into the field. See the fence post? That's my marker.

Part of the field:

Over the hill and more field:

To the old stone foundation:

And finally to the road, where I complete the rest of my 3+ mile trek to work. I have aprox. 2 miles of country road. It's rough!

This morning, since Bu-Dawgh was a bad boy (he chased the chickens), he had to stay home, so I actually got to knit. Found out that the last 2 miles or so are Totally Knitable! And also Totally Barefootable! It doesn't get any better than that. Well, I get some weird looks but pretty much I'm used to that! And... I got a swatch knitted from the recent fibery goodness that comes to me via post every month! What could be better? Well, the trek home, where we have another 2 or so miles of barefootable, knittable walking and then another mile or so of hiking through the woods, fields, meadows, pine stands and blackberry brambles!
Tough commute, really hard to put up with, but what are ya gonna do?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I didn't walk this morning again. I'm starting to wonder if the Universe is against me. Having the Universe against you is generally not a good thing. I mean, yeah, I did ask for rain. My asparagus that didn't grow and that I got a refund for needs the rain. My rhubarb needs the rain. My tomatoes and peppers and cukes need the rain. My hay needs the rain. I, however, need the exercise of a daily commute (walk) to work.

After we played rodeo again yesterday afternoon (horses got out) I did the Circle The Fenceline thing. I think there was more fence down than there was up, so we spent a good portion of the night (rain, Pteradactyl sized mosquitos for company)refencing the pasture. This also gave me a chance to rearrange some of the fencing that I've been meaning to get to for the garden.

Had another egg hatch yesterday. Sooooo cute. But, of course only one. I have 3 others scheduled to hatch yesterday but so far nothing. So, I'll have to try to find a few more baby chix to keep this little buk buk company.

So, back to having the Universe at odds with what I want.... Guess we need to be more specific in what we want, such as specifying that it is perfectly fine to rain from 10 pm to maybe 4 am. That will get us the rain we need as well as give me the outside time that I need to get my walking, gardening, farming, haying... done.

Took The Monkey up into the hayloft last night. Well, it was the thing to do, she saw me climb up the ladder into the loft, and I knew she'd be right behind me if I didn't watch her, so..... She had sooooooo much fun climbing around in the hay, jumping from bale to bale and squealing with delight when she'd fall into a small crack. They are so much fun to watch!
And then, after the horses were fed and we were back down on solid ground. She went back to her mother. And this is what I hear: "Don't eat the worms, they are for the baby buk, buks"!!
I laughed so hard. Things you don't ever expect to hear said to a 2 year old little girl!

Hubby brought her home a great big 4 foot tall stuffed cat/bear/something, and she loved it. For about 3 minutes. Then we went back to playing with the frogs (hop hops), tent worms, nightcrawlers and ants. Oh, yeah, she found a nest of baby garter snakes too. This child knows no fear!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Another Busy Weekend!

Much was accomplished this weekend. Lots! An almost insane amount of activity was registered on the "get-er-done o'meter". Scary amounts actually!

Got the chicken coop moved to it's proper location, which means that an old dead tree had to be taken down, the area had to be leveled, and the actual coop moved into it's new home. This translates into big boys getting to play with big toys (ie.. bulldozers, skidders, front end loaders...) That's ok, it had to be done, and if they had fun doing it, at least it's done! Still to do: fence in the area around the coop.

Got most of the garden in. Got the back part of the garden fenced off for the horses, so they've mowed down a lot of the weeds. And part of it rototilled. Still to do: Tonight if it's not raining, I'll do more rototilling and planting.

All of my laundry that I washed and hung out on the line got wetter, because of the torrential downpour that we had 3 times between friday night and this morning. It's still out there. It's still wet. Or wetter, or dripping saturated. It's not dry. Or anywhere near it. Still to do: Wait until it dries out before I hang anything else out there. I'm no physicist, but I do get the concept of water weighted down laundry, vs water spun out laundry.

Got part of the hayloft cleaned out in anticipation of a near record haying season which should start in another 2 weeks or so. (groan). Still to do: reorganize so that the hay that is left from this season is in a spot easy to get to, so that when the loft is filled to capacity, this will be the first hay I feed.

Got a small blow-up pool for the Monkey. Best 4 bucks I ever spent. And of course, I had to show her how to chase her mother around the yard with the hose. 2 yr olds are so trainable! Still to do: hide from her mother as she was not impressed!

Got a bunch more rhubarb picked and frozen. Called Gurneys and got a refund for all the asparagus I ordered from them and never grew. They were GREAT!!! No questions, even after I offered possible fault on my end, no questions at all. Issued me a refund on the spot. Definitely a company to do business with again!! Gurney's rocks!!

I even got to swim in my pool! I love my pool. My pool rocks. It's 15' round above ground. And chemicals or not, it's my lifeline in the summer. I'm a heat wimp, or so I've been told, but when I work out in the garden or am putting up hay, I got to get me cooled down quick and a total immersion in my pool is just the ticket. The water is cold, but after that first initial shock, it's sooooooo refreshing.

Hubby got the hot tub cleaned out and filled up. Still to do: hook up the electrical so it's more than just a big bathtub filled with cold water.

Hubby got the dog run finished. Still to do: Nothing! One project is actually totally completely done! I know, I'm scared too.

Had a tornado yesterday, that was fun. Actually out at our farm it was just an old fashioned thunderstorm with high winds. No biggie, get them regularly this time of year. But in town... yikes! trees down, buildings gone or relocated, cars flipped over or had trees dropped on them. Trees on roofs (rooves?) signs wrapped around trees, or relocated to other stores.. It was quite the event. I'm sure noone was hurt, probably would have heard by now, so that's a good thing. But there are a lot of people who will be getting new porches, roofs (rooves?) and cars.

I didn't walk to work today. It was raining just a bit when I left, but being as how the first mile of my trek is through the woods and meadows, I would have been drenched. Now it's beautiful, but I know it's still soaking wet out there. Tomorrow when I walk, I'll take pictures so you can appreciate the awful hour long commute that this is to become.

Hope you had a good weekend! Tonight, housework if it's raining, more garden stuff if it's not!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Walking and Knitting

Ok, yes I did walk to work this morning. It was great. Wonderful, you know, all the stuff I thought it would be. What I didn't see coming was this:
I can knit and do almost anything else at the same time. I cannot knit and dive (water+gauge does not work and play well together). I also cannot knit and be drug through woods, meadows, horse pastures, corn fields, pine stands, and front yards by the Bu-Dawgh. Oh, but what a fun walk it was! At one point we were almost attacked by a psycho-manic deer. The Bu-Dawgh was ready to defend, actually more on the offensive, he insisted that we follow the intruder to make sure that there were no more attacks on our persons/fur. At speeds no less than 45 mpg. Through the woods. Throught the meadow. And it was wet.
I need to get him a harness to "keep him from pulling" as the package clearly states. I guess this is breed specific as I was under the impression that to get a sled dog to pull a sled you have to put on a "harness". So, we'll get him a harness, clearly labeled for a Bu-Dawgh, not a husky and that will be all better.
That will keep him from dragging me along. Everyone says so. Even the harness packaging!

I was unable to center and relax, except during that short span when I was on my belly, panting for air, as the temps were rising to approx. 195 degrees.
I was unable to knit.
What I was able to do is get a pretty darn good an-aerobic workout. You know, the kind when you push or pull against a stationery object (or a furry object intent on ridding the world of psycho manic deer). And the upper body strength that I will develop from just this sort of activity will be awesome. I will be lean, and toned and underneath the scratches, road rash, and patches of missing skin, I will look Darn Good!

Got a real nice rain last night, and today it's hot and humid. Tomorrow it's supposed to be hot and humid and rainless again, perfect for finishing the garden. It will be an awesome spectacle, it will be! The garden of gardens. The raccoons and psycho manic deer will stand in awe (right before they scurry over, under, or through the fences. The birds will fly over and drop their beaked noses, or jaws at the splendor of berries, cherry tomatoes, and other birdie goodies, right before they swoop down and help themselves to the grapes etc...

Yup, Saturday is the day. The garden will be done, and then we'll work on fixing the hay feeder for the horses. "Will do's" are marvelous things! I will do this, I will do that, and I will definitely do the other! Once the "will do" becomes a "it's time to do it now", yeah, different story, but hey, it's all about the good intentions, eh?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Upside Down Tomatoes!

So did I walk to work this morning? No, I didn't. Mostly because of the Mizzle. Yup, it's all the Mizzle's fault. Mizzle is an interesting thing. (technical term meaning mist+drizzle). It makes everything wet, yet, not so wet that you have to have an umbrella or raincoat or anything, but wet enough so that you get wet if you're out in it at all. Between the 1 mile of woods and fields that I'd hike through to get to the 2 miles of roads, I'd be rather soaked. Plus we're expecting thunderstorms this afternoon, the severity of which always depends on what the Big Lakes do to the air masses as they pass through. And, in the spring, with thunderstorms, there are tornado possibilities. All depends on the Big Lakes.
Up here, most of our weather depends on the Big Lakes. Our meteorologists also depend on the Big Lakes to bail them out of inaccurate weather reports. Hey, I'm all about whatever works!

Hubby got most of the garden tilled up last night. This is huge! Plus.... what is even huger... or bigger, or more gi-normous is the fact that he fixed it so that it doesn't require an act of God and/or a Raindance to start it. (If you're married to a mechanic, you totally get the huge-ness of this concept!)So, barring any colorful lightening displays this weekend, the garden will totally get done! Tonight I'll let the horses into the area not tilled yet, so they can do some preliminary mowing for me. This is exciting for me, again, I have no life to speak of.

I'm doing a few gardening experiments this year, 2 of which have really been tried and tested. One, planting tomatoes upside down in a bucket. Plus, I'll plant peppers on top of the bucket, or in, or, well, you know. Hard to explain, I'll have to take a picture. But it totally takes care of bugs and weeds, plus it's supposed to yield greater crops. The results will be carefully documented!

Another is the 3 sisters method of crop production. Plant corn in hills, and after a week or so when the corn has started to peek above the ground, plant beans on the side of the hills. The cornstalks give the beans something to climb on, plus the beans will fix nitrogen into the soil for the corn. When the beans are up a bit, then in between the corn/bean mounds plant squash, or pumpkins... This keeps the weeds down in between the corn and beans, shades the roots (because up here in N. Mich it gets sooooooo hot) and also serves to keep little furry four footed creatures from climbing the cornstalks and helping themselves to my pantry-in-progress.
This also will be documented. And I need to move my asparagus, my bad, I planted it too close to the rhubarb. Imagine my surprise when the huge rhubarb leaves totally shaded the sun loving asparagus. Yeah, I didn't see that one coming!

And....... MY WINGS WON LAST NIGHT!! Let me say that again, in cause you just tuned in. MY WINGS SKATED AWAY WITH THE STANLEY CUP LAST NIGHT!!!
Major, Major, Major kudos to the Penguins fans, who even though their team did not win, still stood in respect and stayed for the ceremonies as celebrated by the Red Wings. A majorly classy group you all are! And I mean that sincerely. It was very very evident in the faces and postures of the Penguins after they lost that they were just heartbroken. Sick. Defeated. It hurt to see the looks on the faces of the brave warriors of the Pittsburg team who skated for all they were worth, took this major loss in stride, and still had the sportsmanship to respect the Wings for the job they did. Again... Major Kudos!!

Guess that's all today. There was no walking, there was tilling, and there was winning. 2 outta 3 ain't bad! (is that the correct way to spell "ain't"?)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Here's the newest idea rambling around in my brain.

I'm going to start walking to work. Why? Well, back at ya.... why not?

I live 4 miles from work (3 if I hoof it through the woods). I can make it in 45 mins, a lot less time than some people spend commuting. Especially if I have Bu-Dawgh to help me "Go".

Imagine the benefits.
1. Walking is wonderful exercize. If I walk 6-8 miles a day, imagine the benefits in my on-going delusional weight loss goals.
2. Stress and anxiety will all but disappear with 2 daily walks through the woods, fields, meadows, listening to the birds and squirrels, the wind in the trees, the scents of the seasons. Just imagine. Other than the Pteradactyl sized mosquitos, the bears, coyotes and snakes that reside in the woods, it will be a wonderful way to relax and center with the universe around me.
3. Toning and breathing! Need I say more? And, since in July I have a standing arm wrestling competition with my neice, L, I will be in darn good shape to whip the tar out of her. By the way, L, have your people get in touch with my people to set this up.
4. I don't know, there seemed like soooo many good reasons when I made this epic decision.
5. Oh, I remember. Think of the knitting I'll get done with an extra 1.5 hrs a day. Yes, I can knit while I walk, knit while I sleep, knit while I drive (this has been discouraged for some reason by hubby and a multitude of others), knit while I watch tv, actually, the only thing I can think of that I can't do while I'm knitting is diving. I'm sure the water would seriously mess with my gauge.

This is why I didn't walk to work today.
1. Rain is threatening, which, by the way, it either needs to do (rain) or get off the pot. Enough already. We need the rain, a lot, my hay fields depend on it, as does all the plants that I haven't planted yet. (this weekend, one way or another, my garden WILL get finished). So being as how I am of delicate nature and will most probably felt if I get wet, we (me and the Bu-Dawgh) didn't walk today.
2. I have to go to the courthouse to finish up all the passport crap that I, as a Natural Born American Citizen have to have to return to my country of birth and entire life life-ness. Don't get me started. But, to get my passport, I have to show a birth certificate and a driver's lisence to prove that I really was born here and really do reside here. Why can't I just show the driver's lisence and birth certificate at the border to prove that I was born here and live here? Because then the State of Michigan, or US government, or someone will miss out on an extra 90 bucks. I'm just sayin' is all..
So... will I walk tomorrow? You betcha, I have yet to give myself a free pass for tomorrow. I WILL WALK TOMORROW!

Tonight: Game 6. Will we walk (skate) away with it? Only time will tell. So as of 8 pm tonight, I will be cush-ily (a technical term) parked in my chair (with my knitting) and the current resident 2 year old and will watch my Red Wings skate their way to the Stanley Cup. Go Wings.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I got nothin' for ya today, so I'm gonna ramble. Ready? Are ya sittin'? Ok, here goes.

My Red Wings lost last night. Not a biggie, we still have 2 more games in which we have to win one of them. But desperation is a big factor and the Penguins are desperate. They played hard last night, and my Wings fell short. Triple overtime. Game ended at somewhere between 1 AM and later than that. I'm not sure, I tend to shut down about 10. (one of the reasons my brain is lacking today).
Too much fun - two of my brothers (one from Calif. and the other from Colo) were watching the game also, so we texted back and forth. That's the high-tech way to watch a game. So, here's a shout out to the other two - 8 pm EST on Wednesday night - on NBC! I expect you to join us.

I LOVE texting. On the average I see my brothers between 1 and 3 times a year. That is really hard, my brothers are among my best friends and I miss them badly. But. With text we can all watch the same game and virtually be in the same room. It does make going to the fridge for a beer kind of challenging though. Doesn't make sense to have 3 people make 3 trips to the fridge for 3 beers when one is going, but again, it's better than not being able to share! And M, next time we are up 3-2, with about 45 seconds left in the game and you text me to tell me to go get hubby a sandwich, there will not be enough space between Michigan and California to protect you from me! Just remember that Mr.!

Next..... it's raining today, or it should be. It's cloudy. If it's cloudy, it should be rainy eh? Makes being outside rather hard (and wet). Since Michigan's state bird, the mosquito, is out in force, you risk life, limb and serious blood loss if you stay out for too long. No, Deet has nothing on these critters, they have been evolved to a point where they laugh in the face of a shot of bug spray. "Bring It On", they say. "Give me all you got", they taunt. And when you're all sticky and slimy from the chemicals that are supposed to protect you from these awful creatures, they come and bite you anyway. "No Fair. Take that oh Mosquito God. No Fair", says I! And everyone knows that when I say something, well, we'll just leave it at that!

Tonight..... I have to pound some more nails in the new chicken coop, fix the hay feeder for the horses and remove some fencing from the garden area. Tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny, so with all that done, I can start roto-tilling my 1/2 acre garden. And if it rains or the mosquitoes threaten to carry me away, I'll stay inside and maybe sweep some floors or something. My life is so exciting!

My baby calves are finally getting off of milk replacer and starting to inhale grain by the major amounts. They are so cute and so cuddly. I could spend all day out there talking to them and cuddling with them. My social life is probably not what it should be, but hey, if it's not the calves I'm talking to, it's the baby buk, buks. (baby chickens to everyone who's not into the unique language of a 2 year old).

Knitting is going slow. My arthritis is acting up and knitting is hard, but I will push through. You lose it if you don't use it and all that garbage!

So, onward, upward, forward, ahead, sideways and once in awhile backwards, but it's all good!


Monday, June 2, 2008


Recently, a co-worker of mine decided she didn't want to have birthdays anymore.

Excuse me??? What's that about? I feel this is kind of selfish on her part. I mean, not only does she not get to indulge in our good natured birthday parties at work, but she's depriving us of a good natured birthday party. We're all about parties/food fests here at work. We have parties to celebrate the Summer Solstice, birthdays, all the holidays that we can think of (did you know that not only is there a St. Valentines Day in Feb, but toward the end there is also a red and pink food holiday). And there's also Leap Year, which we're never sure what year it is, so we celebrate that every year too. Hate to miss a party. We celebrate the sunshine and the thunderstorms. We celebrate the fact that Wednesday only comes once a week, as does Thursday. We celebrate the first snowfall of the season, as well as the 21st. We celebrate the 1st zucchini and tomatoes of the season. Basically, we don't need a reason. And our parties usually go the way of a Dish To Pass in some sort of theme. (They don't let me bring green marshmallow rice krispie treats for St. Pats day anymore though).

Once in awhile on a regular birthday, we'll order from one of the many restaurants in town, birthday girl's choice of course, and either have it delivered or have someone run in to get it.

Yes, we're all about the parties, here at work. So, when some selfish person decides not to have a birthday party, well you can just imagine the chaos that ensues. The wailing and gnashing of teeth, or gnashing and wailing of teeth is horrible. Torturous. Horrendous. And it gets ugly.

I'm sorry, YOU don't want a party on your birthday. Well, what about US????? We live for the parties and food fests, it's what gets us through the week. And, if there's no party or food fest scheduled, there is the problem of thinking ahead enough to realize that at lunch time, there will be hunger. So as if there's not enough to do in the morning with getting ready to go to work, there also has to be some pre-thought involved in deciding what to eat for lunch.

As women, we can handle it, we're capable, I Am Woman Hear Me Roar and all that stuff and as women there is dinner (or supper) to also think about. So, again, in the absence of a party/food fest there's just one more thing to deal with.

Nope, sorry, you'll have to get a whole lot older before we let you off the hook on a birthday party!!

Game 5 Tonight! Will we win???? Only the NHL knows.