Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fun Travels

A wedding, a homestead and Reiki, oh my! Mississippi River, St. Croix River and Lake Superior. Friends, family and now some faintly furious fluffy beings greet us here at home. It's been a fun, full 4-day weekend on the road. We're back; more soon!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Greens = Gorgeous

I love having a good variety of greens in a garden. I think even the color and texture of humble chard is stunning! I usually just steam it and eat it plain; we’re simple foodies around here. We’re getting a few good kale plants to add to the steamed mix, plus a bit of tatsoi, arugula and some mustard greens. Why is it that hot, spicy things grow best and fastest in my gardens?

The new raised bed garden is doing very well. Remember when I got excited about this? It’s much more impressive now. I am no good at thinning, but I am trying to strike a balance between pinching out leaf lettuce from crowded plants and letting a few make big heads.

I wonder what it is about thinning that bugs me? I think I’m fairly conservative in the garden; ie don’t want to take something before it’s time, don’t want to cut all of a certain plant; want to save some for later. Then it may get eaten by critters or go bitter, but gosh darnit, I still have some left! Maybe it’s a fear of scarcity and pruning back too severely. I dunno... but it probably applies to my house clutter, too. Hmmm. Maybe even my head- too much stuff in here, things I should just let go so there's more room for the good stuff to grow. Ah, lessons from the garden.

(Lutsen considers becoming an herbivore)

But for now, I’m doing my best to keep up with this patch of abundant greens and enjoying the lush salads and nutritious steamed greens. I can FEEL those nutrients working!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Big Dude

In the town of the Woodtick Jamboree, they also have a REALLY BIG lumberjack (Paul Bunyan, for you out-of-staters)! Hey, maybe the tick in the last post had been around him?

Anyway, he was friendly and patient and helped us pose...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


We went on a little journey last weekend, an actual overnight adventure that required chicken-sitters (Of course our life revolves around chickens; doesn’t yours?!).

We went to the Woodtick Musical Jamboree! (You know if it’s endorsed by a smiling woodtick, it’s got to be good, eh? I appreciated the anatomical correctness, at least in regards to legs.)

Inside, there were even MORE woodticks! (Think repurposed toilet seat for scale. Again, correct number of legs! It’s always bugged (ha!) me when spider decorations have 6 legs or 10 legs or whatever. They’re arachnids, people. 8 LEGS!)

We were not there to see giant woodtick renderings, however. Nope. We were there to see the miracle reunion performance of a fun Mostly Irish band!

They had a really great, witty banjo player. He also happens to be my Dad. Great job to all, and may you continue to make music for a long time!

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Furry Wake-Up

A short play in 3 acts:

This short play stars small, dainty runt-of-the litter Schroeder-Cat. Having been raised mostly indoors in the house she was born in, she shows off the amazing power of instinct and redeems her earlier human-annoying behavior.

Act 1,
A darkened bedroom, 4:00 AM
Schroeder the Cat, perched by window screen next to bed: (Bat bat bat, claw, claw, swat!)

WF, groggily: Schroeder, STOP IT! Leave the moths alone!

Schroeder the Cat: (Ignores request, continues swatting)

WF (really annoyed now, stands up to remove Schroeder from window): That’s it! Get down! OHMYGOSH!

GTR, also groggily: What? What!?!

WF: A Mouse! On the screen! Get a jar!

(GTR notes mouse clinging to screen, groggily gets up to search for a jar. Mouse exits stage right, hides under bed. Halfhearted search ensues, ends with mouse running around corner under fridge. Schroeder hides from surprising early-morning human activity. Lusten and Bill-cat doze on. WF writes note for self: “Set mousetrap”. WF and GTR unsqueamishly go back to bed, hoping for more sleep.)

*Lights Out*

Act 2:
Same Bedroom, 5:25 AM

(From off stage right): CRASH! Squeaksqueaksqueak!
Stage right falls quiet again.
GTR: Uhhhnn. It’s not time to get up quite yet. (flops back into bed).
WF: Wha? (dozes).

Act 3:
Same bedroom, getting lighter now, 5:35 AM:
Schroeder the Cat, enters stage right, jumps onto bed: “Meow! Maow! Maow. Mea-ow!”
GTR (still under covers): Hi, Schroeder. I know you want food. Uhhhn. Almost time…
(looks over at cat, notes very dead mouse next to pillow). ARRGGHH!!!

Schroeder the Cat, sweetly, proudly: Meow! (bats mouse gently).

*Lights come down*

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fun with Keywords

A quick lunch-time post here: it's been a busy week as usual, and the fun visit posts have had to wait. I was away from the house for 16.5 hours on Wednesday: I think that's a record for a regular, mid-week work day. No labor laws broken, just outside commitments and commuting filling the extra time.

And now I'm in town without my camera or memory stick; phooey! Some people apologize for posts with too many picture; I apologize for no pictures! The greens garden really IS quite impressive; we've transitioned into eating BIG salads every day. Yay!

So, with no pictures and short of time, it's time to resort to "Fun with Keywords!" Indeed. I love Statcounter, and today it yielded this list. (Background to those new to this odd world: these are the Google or other searches people entered in the last week that yielded this blog). I thought I'd share the list in it's entirety, since it about summarizes our lives and blog stories lately. It could almost be a poem, or a source of fun band names or something else like that!

My favorites are the last two:

to dehorn
indoor running vine plants
raising roosters
whole sweet
my earlobe turned black
healing torn acl vitamins minerals herbs
rooster dishcloth
pipping for sewing
petrochemical polarfleece
herbal remedy cats roadtrip
dewberries bwca
celebrity cat people
raising a house
hen rooster raising
chicken coop perch poop
how long does it take fertilized eggs to clear the tracks of a chicken

The internet is amazing, eh?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Chick Check-in

Yep, we’re all still here, and there is much more peeping around here than before! Things are going well, and the nieces from Boston and other family got a good show and small lesson in the cycles of life. WF set 10 eggs under this determined broody hen, and found that 9 were fertilized (after careful candling). He left her the nine, and 8 hatched out well. One was very slow, and eventually didn’t make it… sad, but who can be too sad when there are 8 adorable little fluff-balls running around?

This hen is a first-time mom, but a second-year hen (ie not a hen from last year’s first hatch). She’s doing well, but seems a little more haphazard in her counting, and when she wants to scratch for bugs, watch out! The chicks fend for themselves a bit; I picked one up without her noticing. Peep!

See for yourself: adorable hens, relaxed mother hen (except for the ending; watch out!).

More posts soon; we had a great 4th, with lots of “iconic” summer in MN moments.

Monday, July 02, 2007

First peep peek!

There has been a very busy bird around here... "flying" a bit under the blog radar lately. WF has been accomodating her with his good chicken-tending skills and expectations. So today... with careful listening... the first peeps were heard!

And seen! She's sitting on 9 eggs, all of which should be viable. Likely two hatched so far. Just in time for a visit from the Boston-area nieces tomorrow! She's been the only really broody hen so far this year, and likely the only brood we'll get.

Very fun...the circle of life continues...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Gifts from the Ground

We have some early-July abundance here:

The greens bed today. Groundsquirrel attacks have tapered off, at least in this bed. I planted it very densely to see what would grow well there in this first year. The peas WERE happy; they're struggling back after being nibbled. I'm trying to do some "in-place" succesion planting (harvest of early-season greens "releases" other crowded plants that can mature later, ideally). Chard is a clear winner right now. Blushed Butter Cos and Forrellenschluss are the most sucessful lettuces. Thanks to WF for starting some of these heads as plugs indoors a while back.

Irises rising above their chicken-protection fence. This does not protect them from the deer, who have enjoyed some tasty iris entrees lately. But these are hardy irises that keep blooming; bulbs given to me by MIL Donna. Thanks, Donna!

An unexpected gift: wild strawberries! We discovered them in full ripeness yesterday during a hike around the old pasture/field. I've never seen them set fruit like this before; not sure if we were just missing the peak or if this is an especially good year. It's a very ground-based picking experience: you have to sit down and just start looking carefully. I even "met" an anthill a bit more closely than I (or the ants!) would have liked, but it was worth it. I woke up dreaming about this breakfast, and by noon and some careful picking, I had it! Mmmm..... very grateful for such bounty hiding in the wilds of the place!