Saturday, February 27, 2010

Moo.

I just gotta tell y'all how much I am LOVING being in a milk coop. I love, love, love knowing that the cows are treated humanely, that I'm supporting a small farm, that these people really care about my health and the health of their animals, but mostly, mostly I like being smug as hell about being in a coop. HAHAHA. Isn't that just naughty as all get out? I'm being silly, but honestly, it's a teensy bit true. I was a vegetarian off and on for years. I've been unvegetarian for several years now, but I've never stopped wanting to go back. (Sometimes it takes me years to do stuff, what can I say?) Anyway, I had a sort of, oh, awakening while we were in Australia. Not that it's the land of vegetarians or anything, quite the opposite, but just that I had 5 weeks of living outside with the natural world and it helped me tap into some stuff that had been dormant for awhile. You know what I mean? I won't freak you out with talk of spiritual things, but I came home wanting to be healthier. (Nothing more "spiritual" than turning 47 and being surrounded day and night by Australian beach bodies.) So, one of the things I did when I got home was read some books to get me good and horrified into vegetarianism again. I also got on the bandwagon and found a place to buy milk and cheese from folks running a small dairy who treat their animals humanely. FinnigantheCurious and I head out every other Friday to Green Gate Farms to pick up our goods. The dairy stash comes from Shulenberg, TX. then they deliver to Green Gate and we pick up there. Dude, that is the cutest place in the world. Picture Boggy Creek Farms on acid. Well, on mushrooms, let's say, since we're talking natural and all. They've got it all...dogs and kids and pigs and chikkins and guinea hens and really cute volunteer boys (not that I'm looking or anything) and the sweetest yellow farmhouse you ever did see. I just love to go out there and pretend like I'm all into it. I am into it, of course, but I would not make a good farm girl at all. I am way, way too lazy for that, but I love to pretend like I'm all farm girl and stuff when I'm there. I can talk nutrition and modern food production and slow food and fast food with the best of 'em, but I am talker and a consumer, not a doer. I'm just soooo glad there are people out there doing it. Bless every one of 'em up and down from here to eternity.
Can I just say one more thing? Eggs. The eggs. My god, the eggs are so good. I buy farm eggs at the farmer's market and I have friend here and there who front me some, but the eggs from Green Gate are sooooo good. I won't tell you how much they cost, but they're worth it and that's how much they
should cost, you know? My mama, who, as you know, lives in the country, gets farm eggs for like a dollar or some crazy shit like that. Sigh. There are pluses and minuses to city living. I harp on the pluses, but I'd like farm eggs for a buck.
Here's my mama's funny chikkin story which came in response to my Cry Fowl post. So...I grew up in the country. We had the best house in the world and it was situated right on the Pine Island Bayou, across the bayou from The Big Thicket forest, and at the end of a mileish long dirt road. It was the perfect road to dump animals on and we always had a yard full of dumped dogs and cats living with us. My mama was a softie back then and she would feed them all (she's gotten over that somewhat these days). She can't remember what dog it was, but one of them went down to the neighbors house and ate some chickens. The lady called mama and told her that our dog had eaten some of her chickens and that mama needed to come pay for them. Mama said that she'd be happy to, but that since she was buying them, she wanted the damn things and she wanted them delivered. Mrs. Bruno (who is long gone by now, I'm sure) got so mad she just hung up the phone and never mentioned it again. My mama...what a hoot. Her position was that it's the country...dogs eat chikkins and if you end up having to buy some, you'd better get to eat them.
PS Like my cool new water bottle? Milk jug.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cry fowl.

Man, I really want chikkins. (I love to spell it like that, not sure why, but I do.) I've wanted them forever and I think the chikkin set-up is pretty high on the list for spring, but you never know what else might come up.
You know who else really wants chikkins? This guy - Angus:

You know who really, really wants chikkins? This gal - Luna:

Here's my funny as hell chikkin story. So...we have dear friends who live in Hutto. They have chikkins. Well, I should say, she has chikkins. He ended up a farm boy by default because he loves her and she is a farm girl (via Connecticut, via Colorado). She moved to Texas for him and so he bought a ranchette with her. Anyhoo, one day we were out there, FinnigantheCurious and I, and her ladies were running around, as always, when I noticed Luna was missing. Sigh. Lots of feathers later, we realized that one of her chikkins had been murdered by my lovely girl who was just doing what dogs do. My friend, ever, ever the nicest person in the world, and a dog-lover in her own right, was gracious and forgiving.
A few days later I send Jackdaddy to the feed store to buy them some chicks to replace the one Luna ate. Jack called 'em up and said that he was on his way out. My girlfriend was not home at the time, but her man was there and he was quite excited that Jack was bringing chikkins. Well, um, seems that when Jack gets there, the man is quite disappointed to learn that Jack has brought live chikkins. All this time he's thinking Jackdaddy is bringing dinner...in the form of fried chikkin...as an apology for the death of the live chikkin. Turns out the man is wishing the whole chikkin-keeping thing would just disappear so he won't have to deal with it anymore ... him not being a farm boy and all. He's all worked up and ready for some hot dinner and all he gets is more damn chicks to deal with.

That's my hilarious chikkin story.
So...I have to dog-proof the chikkin area and design my coop (cuz I want a bitchin' cool coop with a green roof) and then we'll get some ladies. La la la. I'm going to name them all after my mama's friends who have passed (in Texas this is how we say someone has died). There will be a Margie Ann, a Mary Davis, a Lynell, a Jo Ellen and a Shirley. They were fine ladies in real life and I know my chikkins will live up to their namesakes. " God willin' and the creek don't rise," I'll be showing y'all some pics of them sooner than later, taters. The chikkins, that is. Oh, well, maybe the namesakes too now that I think of it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The *%&$^# Uglies.

My yard is so *%&$(# ugly right now that I think I'm gonna freak out.
I barely had any garden due to all the building and hammering and painting and pouring of cement we had to do, and now all that little bit is dead damn frozen or brown and stiff or the dogs dug it up while we were in Australia or blah, blah, blah, whine, whine, whine, dammit. This gardening thing is hard sometimes. I mean, my yard just looks so ugly; there's green stuff growing everywhere after I spent a year digging it all out; an ugly tree finally died and now it looks uglier; the pond filter crapped out and the pond is full of leaves and sludge; the big, bad-ass agave is all frostbitten and there are leaves EVERYWHERE.
*%&$^#@*&!

The last of the garden, dug up by the dogs, waylaid by freeze.


The dead tree, looking really dead. Jackdaddy's beautiful new carport, looking beautiful.


Poor baby.


I dug and dug and dug this area out, covered it with cardboard, smothered that with leaves and still...STILL it lives.

Here's how 1/2 of my backyard looks. Add to this some piles of dog poop, mounds of leaves, 47 ugly plastic toys, etc., etc.

Esperanza...will she return? Is there hope? (I couldn't resist.)


But look who hung in there! My sweet little Jerusalem Sage that I love. I really, really love this plant for some reason. Reminds me of a Dr. Seuss plant when it's in full bloom.

Anyway, I'm feeling soooo grouchy about my yard. I just want to rip it all out and bulldoze. I won't though. I'll get out there and purge and clean and plant and dream...as always.
How about you? You hanging in there?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Birthday...

to the most wonderful, beautiful, amazing, witty, wise, clever, kind, generous, invincible mama in the whole wide world. My mama...she is my everything. Happy Birthday, mama. I love you more than words could ever convey. Not a day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that we chose each other. Here's to many, many, many more.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Little Mary Sunshine and Suzy Homemaker.

LOOK! I got nominated for a Sunshine Award from Fits and Starts. Thank you ever so much! I can't tell you how fun it is to know that someone (anyone) is reading my blog, much less liking it. I am just sooo thrilled to get the award, but also to have found her blog which is really, really great. I had no idea you could get free Christmas tree mulch at Zilker park! You know me and free...I'll be there next year. So, thank you, thank you, thank you ... I feel like Little Mary Sunshine indeed!

Speaking of Miss Mary, I am also claiming the Suzy Homemaker title today because last night....drum roll, please...we made homemade pasta! Have you ever done this? SO easy. I mean, really, really easy.

One of my favorite blogs is soulemama. The other day she was talking about making pasta and it got me thinking I could too. Now, this is a woman who makes her own bread dailyish, homeschools 4 children, sews and knits the most beautiful things in the world, writes books, has an uber-popular blog, grows her own food, and lord knows what else. I'm under no illusion that her claiming something is easy to make, makes it so. In fact, half the time I don't even know what the hell she's talking about what with patterns and knitspeak and canning bruhaha. I don't need to understand what the hell someone is talking about to appreciate what they're saying...you know what I mean? I'm clever like that.
I look up recipes on the Internet all the time and most of them claim to be easy. Like bread recipes. It seems that everyone who posts a bread recipe claims that it is SO easy. Then I make it and 47 hours later I end up pulling an inedible brick of terracotta out of the oven. This has happened more than once, I'm afraid to say. So, it was with great trepidation that I decided to try making pasta. I felt more confident because Jackdaddy was on hand to give me support (he is a helluva good kneader/roller) in case things went south. I'll be damned if it didn't turn out just DELICIOUS!

It was so yummy we just put some good olive oil on it, added a dash of salt and some lemon juice. Girl, girl, girl! Finn had some little friends over and fortunately they did not like theirs. Jack and I are not ones to waste food so we took it upon ourselves to eat both their bowls too. At some point I added some pesto just to shake things (like my rapidly expanding ass) up a bit. Poor Jackdaddy and I were forced to split a bottle of wine too. We wouldn't want to eat all that pasta without having a little sumpin' to aid the digestion.
Here's the recipe I used:
Homemade Pasta. Try it! I know you can do it. I also think if you are any kind of friend at all, you will eat at least 3 bowls and drink a bottle of wine as a show of solidarity to me (and my arse).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Just a wee dram, lassie.

Actually, it's a Dramm, and I'm so in looooove with it. I didn't even know they made orange hoses! I saw it at The Great Outdoors and I thought I was going to have apoplexy. (Jackdaddy thought he was going to have apoplexy when I told him how much it was.) Sometimes my friends, you just have to splurge and call it a day. I mean, it's an orange hose! Not green, not black, but wabi-sabi orange. Having said that, I have to sheepishly admit that I bought it on Amazon. Sigh. I do buy from TGO, I do, but the hose was significantly more there and well, you know, sometimes that's the way it goes. Even though I do so strongly believe in buying local. Of course I do. I love them and I hope they still love me...I'm sure they know that all of us cheat on them every now and then. It's the nature of the affair, oui? My hose love started when I saw, at my favorite house in the whole world times a million (you can read about it here), The Blue Hose. I have envied The Blue Hose in a big way. Of course, everything they have is perfect and I just live in a suspended state of envy of them. So, when I saw the orange hose, it being the answer to The Blue Hose, I was just consumed with hose love. I love it there with the dog bucket and that industrial hose turner-oner thingee that Jackdaddy made. What makes one woman love her Manolos and another love her orange hose?
Ain't life grand, y'all?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Well I'll be.

I had THE funniest damn thing ever happen yesterday. There's a little old lady who lives down the street from me. We "Hidee" each other every now and then. She's not the friendliest thing, but after four years of me hounding her, she's kinda just given up and now she's almost, almost chatty with me. I was out in the front yard finally distributing the last of the mulch (that's been sitting there for two seasons now) when she walks by. I said hello and she slowed down to peer in at me.
"You got a big job there, don'tcha?" she says
"Oh, I sure do." I say.
"What are you doing?" she says.

"I'm spreading the last of this mulch."
"What about all the grass?"
"Oh, well, I'm trying to get rid of all the grass and just have mulch."
"WHY?"
"Uh, well, mostly for environmental reasons, but also because it's almost impossible to keep any grass or plants with these big dogs and the two live oaks with all the shade."
"Well that's real nice about RETIREMENT, but what about the way it LOOKS?" (OMG could you DIE? Environment = retirement)
(Trying not to fall over laughing) "Well, I actually
like the way it looks."
"Well I'll be."
And she walks off.

Isn't that just the most hilarious thing ever ?
This has prompted me to admit something that I've been mulling over in my head for some time. I have decided to admit, once and for all, that I am
not a gardener. I am a yardener. That's my new moniker for myself. I like to putz in the yard; I like my yard to look interesting and different; I like it to be somewhat neat and tidy; I really, really like it to be environmentally sound; I do not really like to fuss and fawn over plants. I'm OK with this. There is much to be said for yardening. Now, I do have some plants and I really like them. I do plan to have more, but I'm feeling good about letting go of the pressure to be a "real" gardener. From now on I'm not going to make any more excuses about the lack of plants in my landscape. I'm just gonna keep on mulching and making paths and hauling rocks from Hancock and feeding the wildlife and making yard art and sticking free stuff in the ground and hoping it lives. (I'm being a tad facetious here in case you couldn't tell.) Honestly, I like plants that are invasive so I get lots of bang for my buck. I like beds with the same plants over and over so they look full and tidy without me having to think too much about it. I like stuff that doesn't need any babying (other than my "baby", of course). I don't really like a lot of variety in my yard. I already have a variety of 586,988,485,999 pieces of plastic toy crap in it that I pick up almost daily...that's all the "variety" I need. Here's an example of my yardening:

Look at this crazy thing in my yard? I think it's a Photenia. Who can tell at this point? I was going to cut it down when I first moved in, but then I realized that it's a squirrel and bird haven and it provides shade for 1/2 of the east side of my house. Now, this is Austin. I'm not cutting down big shade just for style. Any self-respecting gardener would have hacked it down asap, but a yardener, like myself, will just look the other way and appreciate it for what it is - ugly shade.
I know just what you're thinking - Well I'll be.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Best Trash Can in the World

Is this not the best trash can you've ever seen? Truly, truly one would be hard-pressed to find a better can than this. This can came into our family when I was a tween. One of my mama's best friends, Carol Jean, gave it to her and I swear I have been coveting it ever since. Seriously. After seeing it, don't you just think all trash cans should make you happy? We have the ubiquitous Simplehuman can in the house because it has one of those fancy foot things that one cannot live without because we open the trash can 568,900 times a day. I really, really wanted the happy can in the house, but I just can't bear to lift that big ole lid 568,900 times a day. And I do love the Simplehuman, but I would not say that it makes me happy, per say. I don't know why my sweet wabi-sabi mommy finally relinquished the happy can, other than because she knows how much I adore it and she is the best and most generous mama in the world, but she brought it to me and I. am. beside. myself! I have it outside on the patio and I put it in a spot where I can see it from my computer. Happy Happy. Doesn't it just scream SPRING? Doesn't it just scream SMILE? Oh, it does, believe me. Just come by, you'll be screaming, I guarantee it. Thank you, mama! Thank you, Carol Jean!

*My mama informed me (see the comments section) that the happy can was actually a housewarming present to her back in 1968 so I was actually only 5. See, my love of lovely things started waaaay back when. Mama said that Carol Jean came out to our new house and was horrified that my mama had some ugly ole trash can in the middle of the house (we had an open floor plan long before it was fashionable) so she went right out and bought it for mama. 1968...that is so cool.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Technical Trouble

HAL is misbehaving.
The humans are working on the problem.
Bear with us.