Sunday, September 27, 2009

Large things from the garden

With the sad failure of our tomatoes this year, we placed all our garden hope in winter squash. We harvested today and weren't disappointed. We've got enough acorns, carnival and butternuts to keep us in squash soup or squash risotto though the winter.
We've also got enough pumpkins to bury ourselves in pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin gruyere gratin, pumpkin jam, pumpkin pie and pumpkin shrimp (?) until.....forever.
This is the haul after we gave away 5 large pumpkins!

Our coreopsis did really well too.

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little things from the garden

I mean, how cute are these...!?!


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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

and you thought I was kidding...

...about the OCD. The ball jars were getting out of control and spilling into our laundry baskets. Something had to be done.
So, we emptied the panty and let all jams, jellies and canned fruits mingle. All the colors! All the flavors!!
(Pictured above: pear jam, blueberry jam and two types of peach butter)
Ta da! Our pantry at the end of the adventure. Bill counted 18 types of canned spreadable items. Plus some whole fruits and even two cans of beans:

Whole fruits are in the middle. Jams and jellies on the bottom. And the top...well, those are a Christmas surprise. 
We did have some sad jam fail. :(  Bill said the Bel Air peach butter was his favorite. And then we realized that two of the four jars of this treasure had bulging lids. They hissed when we opened them and smell like alcohol. Our guess is not enough sugar.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chicken pen

It has been a while since we provided a chicken update! Earlier this summer we gave away two roosters on Craigslist to a very nice lady who somehow ended up with all hens. UNR (ooooo-ner or UnNamed Rooster) was our Barred Rock insurance. We ordered two males in case one of them didn't make it to maturity. 
As they got older, it became pretty obvious which Rooster we'd be keeping. Alby (like, "white" and the dude from Big Love, and sometimes Albus) was a terror to UNR and Fuzzy Longbottoms (who was a boy) so we figured he'd be the best protection for his hens. He is a great rooster with firm control over all situations.
A few weeks ago an immature Red Tailed Hawk hit one of the hens and killed her. We had been letting the chickens roam in their fenced in area without incident and were very impressed with Alby's ability to get all the hens in the coop when a large bird was in the area. The Red Tail, however, had been planning for a very long time and was extremely patient. He hit the hen when she was near the fence and, when she ran back into the coop to get away, he the hawk followed her right in. When we got home the hawk, the dead hen, and two others (who were seriously freaking out) were inside the coop. Alby had the rest of the ladies huddled near a fence corner as far from the coop as they could be.
So Bill built the chickens a little pen with a roof. They have a lot less space, but, you know, they aren't dead. 
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Animal cuteness

We spent much of today splitting and stacking the wood we had delivered a few weeks ago. Sugar spend much of today trying to dig through the wood pile. We thought a red squirrel was the cause of her single-minded pursuit.
Turns out it was this guy:

See him in the middle? You may remember Pablo "The Baby Opossum" Stinky Pants from our garbage can a few nights ago. On garbage night Bill took the cans down to the road and Pablo took the ride. He kept scurrying to the top of the bags and then running back down. We were a little worried he would end up a flat opossum at the garbage dump, but he apparently found a new, (though still temporary) home.

And this is all of our mammals begging for turkey. Bill smoked a yummo bird last weekend and we made some plum chutney that was awesome with it. The cats just cared about the turkey.

Stackin some wood.



There is still gobs of wood to stack, but this is not a bad thing.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baby Opossum

Sugar has been very interested in our garbage cans since last evening. Turns out there was a little reason for that. How cute is this:
 A little baby opossum was snacking on our refuse. 
Bill put a stick near its cute little baby opossum tail and it instinctually grabbed on. He also used his tiny opposable digits to cling to the garbage bag. Eventually he let go and Bill lowered him to the ground, at which time the little marsupial ran under (and likely into) our car. But that rescue mission is for tomorrow. 

Sugar watched the circus from the kitchen.


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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Goldenrod, I have found your purpose

Yesterday I cut the tops off of about 15 goldenrod stems with full open flowers. They sat overnight in a pot of water and this evening, I boiled the flower stew for about 30 minutes. The result was a very bright, vivid dye bath.

The used flowers:

I simmered alum-mordanted yarn in the strained dye bath for about 15 minutes and got this beautiful color. The yarn really is this golden and I love it!


This weekend's activities revolved around wood. We're preparing our bedroom for the addition of a wood stove. The first step involved the unprovoked torture of some very old wood. We had to remove the baseboard around the chimney and it was unwilling to be separated from the wall due to the massive number of square head nails holding it into the masonry.
Why, yes, that is an electrical wire we found under the molding.
This is is the current state of our new hearth. The cement board has been applied and is awaiting our slate tiles. Also, yes, I know our floor is not painted in the middle. Our bedroom was our first project when we moved in and I felt guilty about painting the unpainted wood. I enjoyed pulling up the old carpet and discovering the 3 different colors of brown paint that had been applied over the years and wanted to preserve the experience for the next inhabitants of the house.
To assist in keeping our house warm this winter, we purchased (gasp!) 2 cords of wood. A very nice man from Craigslist delivered it and regaled us with stories of lumber jacking. Would it be that we had enough time to chop all our own wood. Alas...

Upon doing the calculations, purchasing wood is a more efficient use of our time than chopping it. This pile quadrupled our supply of fuel. And it makes us very happy.

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