Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday is for Homebrew

Here's what it looks like around here today.

We're brewing our first all grain beer.

And, you can't make home brew unless you are also drinking home brew. We're tasting our latest batches....the dark is a spruce ale, which I think is DELICIOUS (Bill says "meh") and the light is a Tripple which Bill quite likes and I think could use a few more weeks of bottle conditioning. There is also popcorn and cards.

Sugar Pie is here too. Moving too quickly to be caught on digital film, but still adorable.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

If you give a girl a crowbar...

I'm starting work on our front room / former nighttime kitty jail / future crafty room of awesome. Much of the work has been really, organizing, floor scrubbing.

But today, I started attacking with a crowbar! There is a bookshelf in our living room that was previously a door between the living room and the front room. We're reopening it!

The first step is to attack it with a crowbar. Bill hopes we're going to find some buried gold. So far, I've found a mirror.

I hope to report more exciting finds soon.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The 90% first frost date in our area is early October. But, of course, this is an exceptional year and our first frost was on September 22.

We have gobs of green tomatoes and lots of Thai hot peppers that aren't ripe yet, so we covered most of important stuff in plastic.

Bill also built me a cold frame for the top of a couple of raised beds. I started broccoli and beets in here a few weeks ago and recently added some lettuce and radishes. We'll see how it works! Hopefully we'll have some homegrown lettuce for tacos throughout the winter.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New blog...philosphy and stuff

This blog, with its knitting and chickens, doesn't really feel like a place when I can write paragraphs at a time on philosophical issues or share nuanced or not completely formed opinions about...stuff. Whenever I do, I feel guilty. I imagine you all coming here looking for Sugar Pie and finding a rant about eggs.

So, today I give you some knitting and chickens and a link to a new blog. JoAnna's Walden (I'm not entirely sure about the title, but it's the URL now, so we're going to have to get used to it together). Right now, you'll find summaries of the prologue of the book Collapse, which I am reading publicly as promised. I intend to update it at least weekly with similar posts, along with some ramblings about why Bill and I live the weirdo life that we do.

I might remind you on occasion that it exists, but will leave the soapbox over there.

Here, it will remain chickens and fiber. Promise.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Raindrops and Chickens

The rain droplets on our locust leaves this morning inspired me to dig out the macro and telephoto lenses we have for our camera. Please to enjoy some country life up close...

Elvis has been enjoying the grass seed this morning.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

My head exploded

Warning - this post is overtly political...something I don't typically do here, but I am feeling a particularly overwhelming rage at the moment and want to speak up.

When we moved to DC in 2002, I went as a believer in the system. I moved there to "change the world, man," and thought the political process was the way do to it. Five years working with advocacy organizations changed my mind and I left DC thinking most people involved with the national system were worthless and just playing a game to amuse themselves and gain individual power.

As a result, I haven't voted for a major party candidate for a national office in many years. I have consistently made use of the write-in option - even when I knew my vote could actually count. Both Virginia and Indiana have been battleground states in years that I've lived in them and cast votes for Gandalf and The Doctor. I believed that the "lesser of two evils" was still evil and I didn't want to endorse it.

In two sentences, Mitt Romney guaranteed my vote this year for Barack Obama. Sorry, Atticus Finch, you don't get my vote this time.

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY to help you and your family.

This sentiment is so blatantly stupid, I can't even stand it. When I heard Romney utter it, I couldn't do anything but scream. Loudly. For two full minutes. I believe I now understand how people feel when they say their heads have exploded. 

And he said it in a year when vast sections of the midwest are experiencing record drought, costing states, farmers AND FAMILIES billions of dollars.

To not understand that environmental issues are economic issues displays a serious, willful misunderstanding of how life works.

I know that drought is not always caused by climate change. I know that the dust bowls of nearly 100 years ago can't be blamed on our current use of oil. Sometimes drought is just a naturally occuring event that is not influenced by human action. And, THIS is exactly why we should be addressing environmental concerns within our control. There are going to be times that Mother Nature screws us over. We can recover and thrive in those years if we aren't screwing ourselves over in all the other years.

I've been meaning to reread Jared Diamond's Collapse and Romney's ignorance (and the ignorance of the people who would believe him) has prompted me to do it publicly. For the next few weeks, I'll share summaries of the chapters as I read them. Despite its title, Collapse is a very hopeful book. Jared Diamond - winner of a MacArthur genius award - describes why advanced societies have failed throughout history (spoiler alert: it's usually an environmental reason) and how we can learn from them to avoid their fates. He also shares examples of how good environmental policy enhances economic conditions and the health and stability of "you and your family."

Environmental issues have nothing - NOTHING - to do with saving whales and pandas. It's about saving people. It always has been.