Sunday, December 06, 2009

The view from the North Pole

just got obscured by letters.

Dear Santa,

This year, I have been very good. I am nice to my sisters most of the time. I try to help around the house when Mama needs it. I take naps most days. Sometimes I don't hit. Sometimes I don't scream. I think that's all.

This year I would like a space suit, a helmet, a firetruck man, a clown car, and a clown suit. I think that I want a police suit, a police car. I would like new games new clothes, please. I mean not new clothes, just new game a helmet for a space man, a space suit, firetruck man, and a police things and a space ship helmet, space suit, firetruck man and police. And a, uh, space ship to go with the space suit and the helmet. And I think that's all.


Dear Santa,

Cleaning my room, and sleeping in my room for two nights, and helping cleaning the dishes. And another thing helpful is staying in my room unles we have to go to the bathroom and always going potty before I go to bed, this is at Grammy's, too. Also, sometimes going to sleep, going to school, that's my favorite part. Playing with my friends inside and outside, being quiet while my teacher talks.

I was doing well and I liked getting for me the food for me and Dude, the toy food.
I liked getting Sprinkles the bear for my brother.

I would like pom-poms and a cheerleader costume [ed. - we're watching the football as I type this]. I want a (before I do another one, can I please tell you if Santa lives in the North Pole? Does he? I always wanted to go there!) king merman. I remember last time when I saw the elves. That's it.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Lucky cluckers

I've read over and over again that broad-breast turkeys can't naturally reproduce because they are just too big. I wish I had a video to contradict that theory, but I didn't have my camera on me. Nevertheless, I stood in the field Sunday afternoon while the butcher slaughtered the pigs, and I watched a pair of turkeys getting it on. I have no idea if he was successful in fertilizing any eggs, but he sure had the motions down. I'm almost tempted to keep a pair.

PS, why are they breeding NOW? Isn't this a little late in the year for nesting? Gosh, they really are dumb.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Happiest Drunk on the Block

Yay for conscious sedation during dental work!

Monday, August 17, 2009

So, um.


I honestly don't know which angle to go with here. Birth control? Waxing? The American Anti-Speculum League?

And on a totally unrelated note, the trailers filmed for the start of Tropic Thunder are HIlarious. If I ever make a movie, I want it shown at the Beijing Movie Festival and to be nominated for the coveted Crying Monkey Award.

That is all.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Mind like a steel trap

P's playing with a jelly treat and drops it.
Me: Better grab it before it runs away.
P: Food doesn't move.
Me: Piggies move.
Whining child: Not when they're cooked.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I've been running around ALL DAY with my shirt inside out. I can only assume no one else noticed it, because I sure as hell didn't have it pointed out to me at any time in the last 13 hours.

On the plus side: Cinnamon Rice Chex. Dangerous.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Peaceable kingdom

Thanksgiving dinner takes a break from pooping in my car. Time for a nap!

Marley is a Lincoln/Wensleydale ram, about 5 years old. He's pretty wild but took some sheep treats out of my hand today. I feel like a winnah!

Rosencrantz rules the roost.

Guildenstern is without question second banana in this production.

Unnamed ewe. She's the mother in this pair. Given her Siamese-like color points, I'm tempted to call her Anna (that may be a somewhat obscure Hollywood musical reference unless you're my age or older but I really hope not). Husband would like to call her Eff. Eff ewe! You can see her (also unnamed) daughter behind Marley in the first shot.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Farm update

Well. So things here at Moot Pointe aren't going quite they way we'd planned, but there are changes.

A friend of mine came over a couple of weeks ago and helped me build my raised beds. Husband and I had ordered three pallets of concrete blocks which were sitting and sitting and sitting out by the pond. Every time I walked past them I thought about how it was going to take me all summer to build these beds and what was I thinking, why not just use the damn treated wood and get it over with, the usual self recrimination refrain.

But! In one day we got three beds built and chipped wood mulch put all the way around two of them. AND two beds filled with soil, two more with chicken litter. Hot dog!

Bed 1 has tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, bed 2 has squash and cantaloupes. We'll see, but so far the kids in Bed 1 are going ganbusters. It also rained off and on since last night, including a lovely shower just this morning.

Tomorrow I go to examine some sheep. Yeah. We're expanding. We don't have any pigs as of yet, and it's looking like we probably won't, so that time can be well spent learning ruminant theory. I'm looking at a ram, two or three ewes, and a couple of wethers, one for the freezer and one to keep the ram company when he's beign separated from the girls.

To help prepare for the sheep, I went on my first pasture walk on Saturday. What a revelation! I found out about several fabulous extension programs (free grazing plan! fencing grants!), and met a few people I may be able to learn from. I have a grazing planner coming on Wednesday; I'm all 'splody with excitement.

The chickens and turkeys are going well, and the first appointment at the slaughterhouse is on the 30th. I'll be taking about a dozen birds in, far fewer than I'd scheduled (and purchased). Second date is the end of next month, then the turkeys go mid-November. We primarily planned to send them because we can't manage that many birds on our own in a day or two, which is how much time we have to work with since Husband has a full-time job. But then we discovered the Whizbang Chicken Plucker (also on the pasture walk). That sucker can pluck a bird in 15 seconds! I ordered the plans yesterday so I expect they'll come this week. Youtube had some fabulous videos, including one plucker made from a washing machine. Chaka like. We really could do a large number of birds in a day if we didn't have to pluck them by hand. It's the worst part, imo. I totally don't mind gutting.

According to state regulations, we can sell up to 1000 birds a year directly to customers with no USDA inspection. With a plucker, it doesn't even sound crazy. I think, though, that if we were to start selling, I'd move to a slower-growing bird, like a poulet rouge or a heritage breed. Don't get me wrong, I like the Cornish X we've been raising just fine, but if we're going to do this for money, I'm going to pull out all the stops and raise for the market, which is for heritage birds. They only take a couple of weeks longer than Cornish X, but they can reproduce on their own and many are better at utilizing pasture. Might as well do what brings in the most money. The farm we went to for the pasture walk only raises Americauna chickens because they get a premium for the blue/green eggs. Crazy but true.

We haven't decided on how to handle the pig situation yet. We could buy feeders from someone else, but I'm kind of tempted to leave it alone this year. I'd love to have the meat, but to only have to deal with one large animal type at a time is immensely appealing. In the meantime, I'm rendering lard from last year's batch. It looks like it's going well. It doesn't smell bad at all, which seems to go against everything I've read so far, but I still have to get cheesecloth to strain it.

I've decided to start keeping records of what goes on, farm-wise. I think it will be interesting to go back and see what we spent and did from year to year. Then, when I get crazy and try things like grafting and incubating eggs in the basement (which I hope to start tomorrow).

So, that's my quick farm update. Oh, we also got a pair of Muscovy ducks from a friend and they're doing really well. I think they may be gearing up to set up a nest. Throw a whizbang plucker into that mix and you'll find a very happy me.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Exactly what demographic is Noggin attempting to draw with these Jumparounds videos? The all-important "Desperately longing for youth so we'll take a role we're 20 years too old for" group? Perhaps those "I really wanted to be in Scooby Doo as a kid" folks you hear rumors about? Seriously. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

No, really. I don't get it. These people are all at least 30, pretending to be teens. Nothing new here, I know, but it still boggles the mind. They do lameass dance moves that Perp is trying to copy. I find this both amusing and horrifying. Yes, I love that she wants to get her groove on, but dude. Can't we put on Code Monkey* or something instead?

Also: I don't care what anyone says, I love Yo Gabba Gabba. Biz Markie! There's a party in my tummy! It reminds me a bit of the Sid and Marty Krofft acid trip extravaganzas of my youth. I honestly thought I'd come up with H. R. Pufnstuf during a febrile nightmare one night. Seriously. What. the. fuck.

Oh, and using periods for dramatic effect has officially jumped the shark. I saw it on the cover of some gossip rag at the grocery store yesterday. Shit.

In other news, Jabba is nearly sitting up on her own. She does crunches when she lies down (uber cute), and today went from propping herself up with her hands to fully sitting. On her own. Awww, crap.

She cut two teeth on the bottom and is busy trying to gnaw my fingers off whenever she has the opportunity. She has tried bananas and avocados and loves them both, but I don't think she's getting much down her gullet. I just park her in the high chair and give her a slice of either (long ways) and let her go to town. I have to say, I don't miss the purees at all and I don't think she does either. Since we waited to introduce solids until she was 6 months old, it seemed reasonable to just skip that whole stage. Whee!

I ate cheese today. I suspect I'll be posting tomorrow about the hideous night she (we) had. But maybe we'll luck out. She still does not approve of coffee or wheat but I'm just not ready to give up the latter, given that dairy and joe are out.

Holy shit, ya'll, it went from 47 to 87 today in about 20 minutes. The wind started to shift around noon, with a HUGE wind storm, then it calmed down just a few minutes ago and no shit, it's 90 at our house. In town? fifty-nine. That's crazy, yo.

Dude is still cute and has oddly adult mannerisms, none of which I can bring to mind at the moment. Thanks, lactation lobotomy! He and Perp start summer school mid-June and we're all v excited about it. It gives Perp the perfect opportunity to get familiar with the school layout, introduce Dude to new kids and possibly neighbors (playdates!), and give Jabba a few hours a day of pure, unadulterated Mama time. I think this will be a good thing.

Perp is in an ... interesting ... stage. She's 5. I think that's probably all you need to know. It pretty much says it all:
"Oh, yeah, sorry about X, Y, Z that Perp did. She's 5."
"Ohhhhh, gotcha. Sorry!"

Mary Poppins will be coming to our house for the summer again. She'll be splitting her hours between us and some friends in town with a toddler, so I won't have her daily, but I am so sublimely blissed out by this that I don't even mind it much when Dude tries to headbutt me on the way to naptime. Much, I said. I'm not stoned.

Random mix of news that I'm not even trying to tie together in a coherent post:

I got Husband a Kindle for his birthday and he's in the trial phase, trying to determine if he'll use it enough to keep it or if he should trade it in for blowjob coupons. I suppose I chould just give him both.

We got three pallets of concrete blocks delivered so I can make raised beds where the fenced gardens used to be. The wood was rotting and I decided that a few raised beds made more sense than 55' of mostly unattended garden. Also, I can reorient them so they run N/S instead of E/W. A friend's rockstar husband came over and tilled the spot for the first bed last week, so I just need to level the edges and place the bricks. She said, casually, as if it were just that easy. I think a friend is coming later this or next week to ride herd on the kids while I work.

We have our second batch of meat birds in the garage. I moved the first batch of chickens and turkeys out to the bird yard, and they're all doing really well. We lost one chick to spraddle leg/trampling, and I think two each to general failure. I found the remains of one turkey outside the fence. Since the pigs trashed it last year, the birds have been just ducking underneath a section and going on walkabout. Not so much with the safety, there.

The first batch of chickens is due to go to the slaughterhouse at the end of next month and I honestly don't know if they're going to be big enough. Since they're actually free range, they don't sit and eat crazy high-protein all day long, which means that while they are gaining faster than the layers, say, they're still not going to be mondo birds by 6 weeks, like the ones you see in the grocery store. You read that right. Six. Six weeks. How sad is that? But at least mine are running around, eating bugs, taking dust baths, and doing crazy chicken things, instead of living inside a building loaded with their own shit and devoid of sunshine and grass. Also, I think this first batch will be more like 8 weeks.

If we can get our shit together this weekend, we'll put the electric in the temporary pig yard and get the first two of four. We can't get any until we're ready to build the main yard, though, and I realized that we might need to change our method of building after I saw the fence a friend put up. Seriously, it's a thing of beauty. We could use it for pigs, sheep, AND cows if we wanted, and I suspect we could put birds in there and keep them safe.

Said friend also has Muscovy ducks and I'm going to bring a few home. They are very good setters and mothers and I suspect that the only thing that will keep ducks safe is starting with wily adults.

I got a few dozen minnows for the pond and released them yesterday. I think the pond freezes enough to kill all the fish off, since we NEVER see any feeding dimples in the water, but I don't mind getting a few dozen a year to keep the mosquitoes down. Maybe we'll even see some predator birds.

My mom wants me to take a Master Canner class. Should I? I do a little bit most years, but I'm kind of afraid it would raise my interest in an unhealthy way. That is to say: I'll go apeshit and try to can everything I bring home and we'll never get the kitchen back.

*Known as "Code Monkey love you" chez Smacky.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Anyone need some eggs?

That's two eggs short of eight and a half dozen. I'm sure there's some kind of crazy joke to be made in there, and I wouldn't begrudge you one little bit. I really wouldn't. Husband found the motherlode today, almost three dozen in a tipped over cardboard box out in the pole barn. I've seen that box I don't know how many times, but it never occured to me it would present itself as the Ideal Nestbox. Silly me.

Yeah, so hi! Hello, how are you! Um, I guess I don't have a good reason for not posting. Post partum derangement, perhaps? Yes! Why not? We've had two birthdays, not including Jabba's, a couple days where I sat for a friend's kids and had something crazy like eight preschoolers, toddlers, and babies in the house with just me in attendance*. If that ain't crazy, I don't know what is.

So, a roundup of our activities over the last few months (shameful!):
I flew with all three kids to my dad's place on the East Coast. By. my. self. And we were all unmedicated! I KNOW!

Actually, when it comes to flying, my kids are rock. stars. They kind of suck in the airport itself, but really, where would you rather have the good behavior? In a relatively small, exceptionally contained space, or a hundreds of thousands of square-feet facility with room to run? Yes, exactly.

We spent two weeks out east, with Husband coming out for the second half, which is when we turned it up a notch and dispatched 500 clams. Dude didn't have a chance to repeat his astonishing oysterfest, but he made do. We took a couple dozen out on the dock and tossed them in, hoping they might take a liking to the place and settle in for a stay. Who knows, it could work.

My folks and I took the kids to the beach for a foot-dip, but it was pretty windy and cold, and really too early in the season for a beach day. Perp was ecstatic about being able to stick her toes in the ocean, though. Dude managed to handle the wind pretty well; he HATES it when it blows in his ears, always has. Even as an infant, he'd burrow his face into my chest at the least sign of a breeze. Freak.

Unfortunately, we had a minor tragedy. Let me just say that a four-pound box of shortbread cookies and I cannot coexist in the same house together. Good thing I got the stomach flu yesterday and managed to unload a few pounds in the space of 16 hours. My pants almost fit again.

We all flew home togther and managed to survive the cancelled flight, reroute to Chicago (go see the dinosaur!) and late-night drive from Big City airport to our little burg. Instead of arriving home in time for a late-ish bedtime for the kids, we got home at about 2 am. But we still got home, so okay.

We got our first batches of birds last week, 25 turkeys (bronzes) and 25 meat birds. I have them all together in a wading pool, but they announced their displeasure with this setup by starting to pick at each other. I had to put three bandaids on the butt of one of the chickens. I'll try to get a shot of that, it's actually kinda cute.

So tomorrow, I'll move them out to the new old chicken coop, set up the lights, and let them have more room to roam. I think it'll do them a world of good and I bet the picking stops right away.

And! One of our hens hatched a chick! And she's raising it! For those of you what don't have chickens, this is a Big Deal. Most birds have had the setting/brooding instinct bred out of them, so the only way to increase your flock is to buy chicks or use an incubator/brooder setup. But I managed to score an excellent mama hen, who is doing a bang-up job, and I hope she'll hatch out a full clutch this summer. I suspect that any chicks she raises that have the least natural inclination to motherhood be more likely to get the job done. The other birds we've had who managed to set long enough to hatch eggs out were suckass mothers and smothered the hicks or abandoned them. This is too cool. Me, I'm remarkably easy to please. Cheap date!

So far, no indication that I'll get into school early --holy crap, it's POURING just now-- and frankly that's good since we have no childcare leads. Helps to look for some, I suppose..

And now, cute kid pics!

*I don't mean eight of each, of course. That would be insane.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brush with flame

So a friend of mine is in the running for Extreme Home Makeover. Color me jealous. But it sounds like they get into your shit enough that I'm glad it's not me. Sure, I could pass a background check, but is it worth it to have to hang around Paige Hemmis? I don't know. If they get picked, I guess I'll find out, 'cause you KNOW I'll be lurking around the site. Especially if Ed is on the crew.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Three months

Hey! Hi! Hello, there! Um, I have no excuse. Other than having three children under the age of 5. Jabba the Baby is 3 months old today and I can't for the life of me figure out how that happened. While the days sometimes seem e n d l e s s, the weeks and months just fly by.

She's figuring out how to suck on her hands, oh happy day!, and is still a fantastic sleeper. Except when we put her down for the night in the cosleeper. Then, not so much. I have to say, I do love sleeping with my babies, but it means that the sleeping part of the night is fragmented and not so great. So I'm always looking for a chance to catch a cat nap. Or a sloth nap, that appeals even more. I know it'll come, I mean, she hasn't even organized her daytime sleep very well yet, so expecting her to get it at night may be asking a lot. But I'm looking forward to it, oh yes I am.

She's a champion puker. Like, if she were a cat, she'd have the horking down pat.

I've cut myself down to eating chicken, sweet and white potatoes, rice, tea (no caffeine, alas), 7-up (don't ask me why), and a few fruits. Still with the puking. And lest anyone think I'm being dramatic here, this is NOT spitting up a lot. This is dry-heaving, projectile, pyloric vomiting. Several times a day. Sometimes I can see it coming and get her to the sink, but generally it just comes out of nowhere. Could it be HFCS from the soda? I know she doesn't like dairy because she screams like we're pulling her spleen out her nose. Wheat seems to be a problem too, and given Dude's adventures in gluten-free land, I guess I'm not surprised.

There is a stomach bug going around, and I am allowing for the possibility that her continuing to vomit is related to that, but I don't know. If it hasn't cleared up by the end of the week, I shall freak.

Last month, I took her to visit her Auntie 6 in San Diego and we had a marvelous time. We ate hole-in-the-wall Mexican, fantastic Thai (like, I'm still fantasizing about that soup), and a lovely prix fixe meal at a spot on the harbor during restaurant week. And while we ate, we talked about what we were going to eat next. I brought out a couple of shoulder roasts from our pigs and she and Latrell Soulpatch had one for dinner after I left. I hear it was good. 6 was even willing to touch a baby. It's the end of times, I'm telling you.

I'm taking all three (three!) kids to VA in April to visit my famdamily, and I can't decide if I'm crazy or outrageously brave. Maybe both? I have to call the airline and see what kind of services they can provide to keep me from killing one or all of them. I hear that TSA will sometimes allow someone to accompany groups like mine to the gate. Gopod, I hope so. Just getting all three car seats to the gate puts the fear of I-don't-know-what in me. Husband is coming out for the last half of the trip and we'll all go back home together.

Yeah. So. Um, that's all I've got.