Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Car Curmudgeons

First, an update: Young Rooster (oops, there I go again with the naming thing) has been found and is OK. Apparently he and his sister headed for the weeds during the hawk incident and were too scared to show themselves for a while. WF left the chicken tractor door open and they found their way “home” sometime in the evening while we were gone. Smart chickens!

Second update: We are the proud owners of a “new” car! The ’91 Toyota is still running, but the rust issue is getting serious. A few, ah, structural problems have developed. But WF and I are both car curmudgeons, and didn’t to get anything too extravagant. I would have bought another small, efficient, sometimes-4WD wagon in a minute, but companies just don’t make them anymore. The car salesmen would just laugh at me; sales levels were too low on those models, apparently, so car companies stopped making them. Are they telling me I’m not a target demographic for the car companies? Harrumph.

So, after long discussions, dedicated online shopping by WF and a gas mileage compromise (WF still considers this as rather extravagant, but it apparently gets nearly 30 on the hwy), we have settled on this ’99 Subaru Forester. It has only 44K miles, and really was owned by a little old lady. The mechanic who inspected it kept telling me what a great car it is (I think he wanted it for himself). Ta da!

(Salty already; tsk!)

It possesses such extravagant features as:

*An overhead dome light that works
*One cup holder
*A back tailgate that locks and opens on request
*Intact wheelwells and still-attached mudflaps

Wow. We’ve been living without all that for years now; The Toyota is “pre-cupholder” and has crank windows. (It’s amazing what you just get used to. An overhead light that turns on when you open the door? Bah, that’s unnecessary!)

This car does have some crazy other luxuries like automatic windows and locks, keyless entry, and even an altimeter, thermometer and barometer (?!?!).

Our curmudgeon status is somewhat intact, however: it came with a lovely radio and tape deck (no CD player). And we’re not going to get it changed. Still stuck in the ‘90s, but I don’t care! (I’ll admit that it accepts Ipod broadcasts just as well as the ’91, our little nod to modernity.)

One more thing checked off the before-baby list, and I’m happy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Project Progress

Hope everyone had a good holiday... we enjoyed the time off work, traveled to see relatives a bit, and actually got a bit done at the house! It feels great to finally start checking things off the list, small though they are (and long is the list).

Behold, the first use of the splendid laundry line:

I've actually lived for 3 years in this house with no dryer and no laundry line; sheer madness, I tell you. I've been using stand-up wooden racks and the deck railing. I'm excited to have a function line now, even if the only poles we could find at the "dump" were these smaller modern models, not the big old sturdy welded variety. But I'm definitely to the point of saying "good enough" about a few long-delayed projects, and I think these are wonderful. Of course, it was about 30 degrees yesterday, and stuff didn't dry until I brought it into the house in front of the woodstove. Ah, well, the main reason I needed them before ground freeze/next spring is diaper duty in the spring. Eeeep!

We are also close to selecting our final flooring material, tile for the living room. The Marmoleum is actually arriving sooner than expected; a quick process of clearing out rooms will soon commence. But very good motivation.

Lutsen thinks this color choice goes best with her fur; what do you think?

We even got to see some sun yesterday and had a visitor on the deck (off limits to chickens, but they sneak up the steps). This is the young rooster, who went missing today after a visit by a hawk. We are not sure of his fate yet; keep your fingers crossed!

Up next; some good car and knitting news...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Update numbers

So, just to catch up on a few things, I present a list:

1. We shared the first young rooster (as dinner) with friends the other night, and it was quite amazing. Like a mini-turkey, WF said. Up till now, we've only eaten old roosters or old laying hens, which are OK in a pressure cooker. But this younger bird was really good. Makes me understand why people raise meat birds. I'm still not sure if I want to butcher more chickens, but I did certainly enjoy eating this one!

2. I am finally starting to pull out some knitting needles again, with ideas of baby knitting (!). Anyone got any favorite quick and easy patterns? I'm somewhat confounded on how to make my stashed odds and ends of yarn match up with gauges and certain yarns called for in patterns. I like to say that I showed great promise as a new knitter, but have not following it through with action. Now is the window for some good practice, if I can keep it up.

3. I do believe I am feeling the baby kick these days. Just little taps, almost feeling like an eyelid twitch kind of "bump". I always thought feeling the first movement would be a big, momentous event, but I realize now that it sneaks up on you before you really realize what it is... "Was that really it, or just bubbles?" But I think i can confidently say there's movement now! Wow! Because it's snuck up on me a bit, it doesn't feel as weird as I expected. I know in a few months I will be feeling quite enough of the kicking, thank you, but it IS comforting and exciting now. I feel really quite good, no more losing my meals and even a bit more energy this trimester. Now to put that energy to good use...

4. House projects are moving slowly, but we finally put a deposit down on some Marmoleum (real, true linoleum made of linseed oil and non-toxic stuff) for the kitch and bedrooms. We debated this purchase for YEARS, but it's really time to get the icky OSB floor covered. Marmoleum isn't cheap, but it is the best choice for us. We're looking at stone tile for the living room and dining room. We need non-toxic, durable, non-allergy/cat-absorbing kind of stuff. I will feel SO MUCH BETTER about this place once we have a "real" floor that I can properly clean. But I'm overwhelmed by the idea of moving EVERYTHING in our main level for this project; expect some whining here, perhaps!

OK, that's it for now. My paper journal languishes a bit; brain dump had to happen somewhere, I guess. More creativity next time, perhaps!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Food Reality

So, is it strange to be saving bits of carrot and celery ("chicken treats") for the living chickens OUTSIDE while preparing the veggies to be cooked with a "processed" former member of the flock, now INSIDE the pressure cooker?

Hmmm... cycles one does not experience with store-bought chicken.

We are finally DONE with butchering for the year, thank goodness. WF did most of it; I claim queasiness of pregnancy as a "get out of butchering free" card. Some good eating now, giving thanks for the young roosters who became dinner.

We had a bad ratio this year; 7 of the 8 cute spring chicks were roosters. One remains as a back-up to "New Rooster", who has proven to be fairly skittish and not all that interested in the "ladies" yet. The hens probably appreciate the break, but this won't give us more chicks in the spring! We'll see...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

First Snow!

I sense the time for deck furniture is coming to an end for this year. This is our first snow, one that lasted all night and stayed on grass. Quite a bit later than last year... wonder what the season will hold for us this year!? Check out the "weather" category on the sidebar for a review of last year's winter craziness.

Driving in to work today, it was actually light out. It truly feels like winter now with the cold and early evening dark, but I appreciate the lighter mornings. SUN!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Still here and green

A fall harvest; love those sturdy greens!

Ack, sorry for the delay! We are still here, just rather busy per usual. I spent a few 12-hour days at this event this week, and am a bit wiped out. But feeling good, all things considered, even if this morning I did have my first true "green-face" moment and lost my breakfast. That's NOT supposed to happen in the second trimester! Ah, well, all part of the adventure, right?

The chicken butchering event went fine, but I still feel a bit sad about the two older roosters. They are no longer, just filling up quite an amazing bit of space in the tiny freezer. We even had to get some neighbors to help store a couple birds for us, due to off-grid freezer limitations. We've only eaten hens so far, so I can't say if the roosters will be edible or not. Pressure cookers can really help a tough old bird, though.

We had a couple friends come to help, including one very enthusiastic 6 year old girl; she wanted to see everything! Until it came time to butcher some young roosters that she'd known as cute chicks; then it wasn't quite so interesting. But her vegetarian mom stayed with it and even helped pluck; she now feels she's earned the right to eat meat again if she ever wants to.

Not much else is new; the house still needs much work on MANY MANY projects, I still need to figure out my schedule so that I'm actually HOME a few hours a week, and the 3 small fluffy beings we share the house with say purrrrr...

They had very convincing cat costumes the other night, and were our only trick-or-treat-ers (our driveway is very long and dark). With them I really DO believe the trick or treat threat, especially at 4:30 am. Give me food now, or I'll walk on your head! Purrrrr.