Category Archives: General

Back.

At least, that is my intention.

There have been a few times in the history of this blog that I’ve gone a bit of time between posts. I think this was the longest.

There really has been no good reason. Instead, the reason is a mishmash of Facebook and the fact that we managed to lose the charger to our good camera.

But I’ve decided to be like Avis and Try Harder, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I leave you with this gem. Here’s Ethan, from 2007:

applejuicespokesman

applejuicespokesman2

Quilt #3!

For Anita and James and their son (my nephew), who is scheduled to enter the world in early July:

quilt3front

quilt3back

I have got to find a better way to photograph these quilts.

Spring Scenes

This Spring has been unnaturally warm, and followed an unnaturally warm Winter.

A few days ago I went out on one of the most beautiful days of the year and started snapping photos.

Here is what I found:

 

Ethan takes forever to get the eggs, but that’s his chore every evening. I think he’s a pretty lucky kid, getting to collect eggs like that. The fact he has chickens makes him pretty popular at school. He even found a love letter in his backpack.

back yardbouncing up the steps with eggs

Our hoop house is doing so well that my bolting spinach (on the right in this photograph) spurred some neighbors or other overly zealous goody two-shoes to call the local narcotics hotline on me. Needless to say, I spent an entertaining Wednesday afternoon convincing several of the local officers that I in fact was not in possession of any bubbling meth labs. On the upside, I got to give the lovely lady and gentlemen a tour of my greenhouse and seedling room.

April garden, complete with bolted spinach

As of today, I have retrieved approximately 1.5 quarts of strawberries from our garden. Indeed, they are of the Earliglow variety, but this is early even for them:

April strawberries

Even the blackberries look more June than May, with red berries coming along nicely.

I'm gonna be a berry somneday

The sage is in full bloom:

sage

And the chickens are basking in the warmth:

the flock

But other than being able to feed myself, I am very proud of our perennial bed. Last year I sort of gave up on annuals, figuring I’d rather spend lots of money once than spend lots of money every year. We planted this perennial bed and the hydrangeas, both of which have enjoyed a glorious spring. While much of the perennial bed is beginning to drop its blooms, the hydrangeas are just beginning.

bleeding heartshostas and stuffhydrangeasperennial bedpretty pretty

We’re just so fortunate. Happy Spring, everybody!

One Egg, Two Egg, Big Egg, Little Egg.

I don’t know what these chickens are trying to pull.

A couple of weeks ago we gathered a giant blue egg from the coop.

Now, back when the girls first started to lay we would often get double-yolked eggs as their reproductive systems got going full throttle, but that hadn’t happened in some time. We put the egg away and forgot about it for several days, until I determined an egg sandwich would make the perfect lunch.

Oh, how I wish – looking back – that I’d taken a photo of the egg before cracking it, but this will just have to do:

big yolk

That yolk is nearly 1.75” across.

big yolk measurement

That’s a big friggin’ yolk. I have to wonder what kind of hulking chicken we’d have ended up with if Clyde were still around and this pup were fertilized.

Shortly thereafter, we collected a tiny egg from the coop. This egg, in fact, is the smallest egg we have ever collected from the girls. Here is a photo of it next to a regular-sized egg, for comparison:

little egg

We haven’t popped that one open yet – I’m interested to know just what’s going on inside.

So as I said, I don’t know what these chickens are trying to pull, but I think this one is probably the ringleader, seeing as how she doesn’t like to follow fencing rules:

culprit

A NEWWW CARRR!

We’ve wanted a new car for some time now. Our Malibu was ever faithful and never really needed major repairs, but it was getting to the point where its idiosyncrasies were outnumbering its good points.

For example:

The air conditioning would shut off for no discernible reason, requiring the driver to turn the fan off and then back on to get it to start up again;

The turn signals would work sometimes, but other times they wouldn’t work unless the driver wiggled the hazard light button.

The Passkey system was jacked up, so now and then when the driver tried to start it but didn’t hold the key in the start position long enough it would lock out, requiring a 10 minute wait before attempting to start it again.

Yeah, that last one was the most fun.

It was all very exciting, because every problem was intermittent so you never knew when you were going to have to deal with it. Greg, however, is not a very spontaneous type of person, and I think it was getting old.

So last night we went car shopping.

Heh.

I hate dealing with salespeople. In fact, one time when we were shopping for a truck, Greg told me I was ‘borderline abrasive’ with the dealer. Like I cared. If I was gonna plunk down the kind of change they wanted, I could afford to be abrasive.

At one point the salesman pleaded with Greg to help him out because I was being so hard-nosed in  negotiations. Greg said no, sorry, that I did his negotiating for him.

A little later I pointed at the sales contract and flatly refused to pay the administrative fees. I said, “Yeah, we don’t pay administrative fees. That needs to come off there.”

And, of course, they did.

Anyway, after much wheeling and dealing and negotiating, we came home with this:

jetta front

jetta back

The Malibu got around 22-23 MPG on average; the truck gets about 13-14.

This puppy got 46 MPG on the way home.

We’re feeling pretty damn good about that.

Poor Clyde is Dead.

Warning: This post is not for the faint of heart. If you are the squeamish type, go elsewhere.

Back last February when we bought chicks I refused to name any of them for fear we would grow too attached to them and they’d die.

We paid for pullet chicks, and got them – for the most part.

But then there was Clyde.

Clyde was a beautiful red rooster with iridescent green and black tail feathers. He announced his presence at around 4:30 a.m. each morning. Sometimes as early as 3:30 a.m. He was a confused bird.

Clyde grew meaner over the last few months. He had attacked Ethan a time or two and he had attacked me.

Yesterday, Greg and I went out to move the coop and Clyde tore into Greg.

Really, it was one of the few times I lost myself in gales of laughter. Clyde was rushing Greg, and Greg was yelling, “Oh, no! He’s attacking me, sweetie!”

I was laughing so hard I couldn’t move.

After collecting myself we worked to get Clyde back in his pen, but he was having none of it and absconded to the woods behind our house, where he sat two houses down in the thick brambles and crowed loudly. Greg couldn’t stand it. He worried about the noise, he worried that Clyde would attack a neighbor child. He’s a bit of a worrier.

“If someone approaches that rooster, they deserve it,” I said. “And it’s not like the neighbors don’t know we have a friggin’ rooster, what with all the racket he makes.”

I figured Clyde would eventually come back to roost, if not before. We discussed what to do when he did, and decided it was probably time for Clyde to go. He’d gotten mean, he was prone to escaping, and he eats a lot of food without producing eggs.

I had mixed feelings about it.

Pretty soon our neighbor came to the door to let us know Clyde was in his yard. And so began a rousing round of Catch the Chicken, wherein the three of us chased Clyde all over the neighborhood with a fishing net ready to throw over him. After several near catches, Clyde was cornered in a cellar staircase. Greg cast the net over him and that was all she wrote.

I carried Clyde back to our house in my arms, and doing so made me really sad because he was so calm – scared to death, I’m sure – and his weight and warmth reminded me of a baby. It’s as if he knew we were making The Decision.

Greg and I stood on the back patio for a few minutes debating whether we could really go through with the planned execution. After all, slaughtering a chicken is by nature a very hands-on procedure. I knew I wasn’t going to do it. Greg thought he probably could if he had to but I don’t think he relished the prospect.

Reluctantly, I made the call to go forward with it.

I didn’t really want to watch it, but told myself I had to. After all, I was the one who wanted the chickens and knew at the time this might be part of it. Greg did the deed. I am not ashamed to admit that as Clyde lost his life for no other sin than being a rooster, I cried. I had a soft spot for Clyde, even if he did wake us at all hours of the morning and fight us when we messed with his home.

Then we had to decide whether to eat him.

By the time we got to that point I wasn’t in such bad shape. Now I was feeling more adventurous – I’d never slaughtered a chicken before, and now the hardest part was over. At this point it was more a matter of, “Hey, here’s something we’ve never done before, now if we go ahead and do it, we can say we’ve done it.” So we sallied forth with our knife and the book I call the “Chicken Bible” telling us just how to proceed. The Chicken Bible led us step by step through the process, and Clyde is now sitting in the refrigerator downstairs, skinless (we don’t usually eat the skin), his meat ageing for better flavor. I imagine that on Thursday or Friday he’ll be roasted up or made into chicken and noodles, with a likely casserole to follow.

This morning it was awfully quiet out in the chicken pen. I do sort of miss Clyde. I feel a twinge of regret, but I’m sure that will pass. After all, one reason I got the chickens to begin with was so the kids would know something about how their food arrives. Witnessing this ordeal, they certainly learned a lot about that. They also learned about respect for the dead. When Ethan wanted to chuck rocks at poor dead Clyde, Greg put a stern stop to it with a warning to have respect for the animal who died so you could eat.

Which is more than most kids know.

Photos:

poor Clyde

plucking

more plucking

beginning evisceration

skinned and ready to stew

Quilt #2.

For our friends Brian and Erin, who are expecting their little girl in just a few short months. We had the pleasure of delivering it this weekend at Erin’s baby shower in Columbia. The whole family went along and we made a family trip of it. It was awesome, and Erin looks gorgeous.

babyquiltfront

babyquiltback

Clearing a Name; or, I Could Just Scream.

So, regarding this post about our stalker:

It wasn’t my friend after all. It was a couple of nutty les/bi broads who live in a fucking RV out there in Vegas. He’d gotten involved with one of them, and when she found out about his ‘feelings’ for me she went ballistic, and so did her girlfriend.

You can’t make this shit up, folks.

We have 266 hits to our blog from the girlfriend’s place of employment logged. That was in one month. On one DAY she hit the blog 112 times. We’re even missing a few days in there so I’m sure it’s more than that. They were blocked but started using proxy servers. After she made a Twitter account and followed me around on that (suggesting that I’m a whore, copying my followers in on posts, releasing my full name to the public, etc.) I’d had enough. Still under the impression that my friend had gone off the deep end, Greg let my friend know that if this shit didn’t stop we were releasing the server logs to his employer, and let the chips fall where they may.

My friend called, we talked, found out what was REALLY going on (turns out he knew nothing about the harassment) and he promised he’d put a stop to it.

Well, he did, but…

…now he’s BACK WITH THEM. Making APOLOGIES for their behavior. Telling me that yeah, they may be loopy but they mean no harm.

Are you fucking kidding me?!

I could just scream.

I am so disappointed that he is going to let a couple of destructive women control his life. They want to move into his new house with him (of course they do! They can’t get one themselves, why not latch onto someone who can?). They STOLE from him.

Well.

This time there will be no warnings. If I even get a whiff of these knuckle-dragging broads trying to interfere with my life – if I even have a suspicion of it – those logs go straight to Clark County’s IT Department.

He might be willing to let The Krazy into his life, but I’ve had enough of it in mine and will not abide any more.

I guess I’m going to go to that handgun training after all.

GAH!

Quilting.

A few years back, I burned up a sewing machine. I was mostly interested in sewing garments, and made several for Laurel and even a couple for myself. When I purchased a new machine, I went for a nice one. I bought a quilting machine.

I figured I’d learn to quilt. It’s a tradition in my family, I guess you could say.

That, as I said, was a few years ago. I finally decided to take a class this past fall when Ethan went to Kindergarten.

Then the class was canceled.

So I got a couple of books and got my nerve worked up, and began. I didn’t follow a pattern. I saw a windmill quilting block and liked it, so I went through the entire rigmarole of designing the quilt top myself, measuring, figuring how much fabric I needed, the whole nine yards.

And I’m awfully proud because I only messed up once, the result of which was a trip back to the fabric store for more material. It could have been much worse.

Well, I guess I should say I actually messed up twice. When it came time for the actual quilting, I got a little too ambitious in my design and it just was more than my skills can handle right now. So I picked hundreds of stitches out and tried again.

It’s not a great quilt. It’s got errors in the stitching. It’s puckered in a couple of places. But it’s pretty good for a first try.

I learned a lot doing it.

And it’s mine. Even if it is going on Ethan’s bed.

quilt