Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

This is the front of a card I made to send to the "away" kids, along with a bag of Halloween candy. The inside said "Stealin' UR Halloween treats..."

I love sending CARE packages. It cost more to send the silly little boxes than it did to buy the candy, but I bet there are some happy smiles in far away places today.

Our cupboards here don't have doors and it makes me crazy. Dust gets in there like you wouldn't believe. We have plans to gut and re-do the kitchen "one day".

The cat, Meconia, likes to crawl in there and that's okay with me. Better her than the mice or rats we fought before she came to live with us.

Google says "meconia" is an anhydride of an acid derived from opium but that has nothing to do with our Meconia. We named her after meconium, the first dark sticky tar-like poop that a newborn baby produces. My husband named her because, as he says, she is a little black turd. Nice, eh?

Happy Halloween!


Monday, October 29, 2007

First Frost

We had our first frost last night. This morning, the zinnias in my garden looked like a marzipan delicacy.

The marigolds were awfully pretty, but difficult to photograph because the greens were so dark and the frost on the blossoms was so pale.

Because I knew a frost was predicted, I picked the squash from my three sisters garden. A light frost won't hurt winter squash but I didn't know how accurate the forecast was. What if we got a hard freeze?

I grew butternut, acorn, and hubbard squash. This isn't a great harvest but considering all I did was plant them and ignore them (no watering, no weeding) in a drought year it's a fair return.

One more zinnia pic because they are just so pretty.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rabbits in the Colony

Blogger has the capability to show videos now. This is a video of the rabbits in the colony last fall, before we put up bird netting.

The buck is a Californian; he has dark ears.
The does are New Zealand Whites; they have white ears.
The kits in this video were probably about 3 weeks old.

The video is about two minutes long.
The original file was a .mpeg, 13.5 MB. I think it's a bit long/large for including in a blog, but it's what I had available.

I'd love feedback on if you could view it easily and quickly or if it took forever to play, etc. I'd like to put videos on here from time to time but not if it makes the blog painful to view.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Abundance of Peppers

We're having such an extended warm fall that my pepper plants are going gangbusters. Last year we had frost after I picked a couple of peppers off of each bush, it seems.

From the bottom right corner of the photo, you can see red sheepnose pimiento (sweet), green bell peppers (sweet), dark green ancho (very mild heat), red and green italian peppers (sweet), and purple bell (sweet).

I also grew jalapenos and habaneros which are hot and very hot, but on the day I took this photo I was dealing with sweet peppers.

I froze the red ones for use in stir fry this winter. I love red peppers in stir fry, it adds such a great splash of color. The green and purple peppers were diced and dehydrated for use in chili, spaghetti sauce, etc. I just hate paying $3 for a pepper in the middle of winter... IF I can find one that's in good shape.

I have chopped up red peppers before, and yellow peppers. On the inside they are red or yellow, just like on the outside. I grew purple peppers just for something fun and different. Imagine my surprise when I cut one open and learned that they are green inside!

Red and Yellow peppers start off green, then turn color when they ripen. These purple peppers were purple from the time they formed.

I thought this was pretty, the purple peppers all diced up and ready to spread out on the dehydrating tray. Once dried they looked pretty much like the green ones, but they were pretty like this. No telling what they'll look like in chili. Probably like dark mushrooms or something else equally inaccurate.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Meet Postal

Postal is the newest addition to our menagerie. In these photos, taken almost three weeks ago, I estimate her to be three and a half weeks old.

A woman that I don't know opened a box of parts at work that she received via UPS or the USPS or some similar delivery service. I don't know what kind of parts, the story just goes "She opened a box of parts..." Inside the box there were two kittens with their eyes still closed. The woman fed them kitten formula and cared for them.

Then the woman had a stroke and couldn't care for the kittens. The woman's daughter knows one of our kids, so that is how Postal came to live at our house ("Hey, Mom? Dad? Y'all want a kitten?").

We named her Postal in honor of her origins.

Newborn kittens are supposed to be kept warm, and they are supposed to eat every two hours. I have no idea how Postal and her sibling managed to survive being shipped in that box. She's turning into a gregarious and sturdy kitten.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Harnessed to the Whole Shebang

No posts recently and no pic today; my computer is down. I have a laptop with a broken keyboard, which I'm using now, but I lack the ability to read my camera card or get to my photographs.

Thus far, my patient, diligent, talented, and much appreciated husband has replaced the power supply and the CPU, and this weekend he's disassembling it all so he can replace the motherboard. This involves re-hosting to a new case, too, because the new motherboard won't fit in the old case. He is a saint.

I'm re-reading Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath". It's been a long time since I read it. I enjoyed it before, but this time it is really striking a chord with me. Steinbeck totally "gets" what it means to live connected to the land. I never really "got" it until we moved here to WV. I probably still don't completely "get" it but having a big garden and a few animals does put one in touch with nature and the cyle of things.

The weather becomes critical: Will the garden get enough water? Can I wash clothes today -- will they dry on the line or stay damp and smell funky?

Little things get noticed more: Bugs become "good bugs" and "bad bugs" and are squashed or celebrated. Likewise with snakes. No longer is there one homogenous group called "bug" or "snake". Heck, until last year I hadn't really looked at bugs since I was a kid.

One thing feeds into another: Garden refuse and kitchen scraps go to the compost, or the rabbits or chickens. The droppings and compost go back into the garden. Round and round it all goes. Very little organic mass is ever thrown away here, and it's somehow comforting to see it all playing together.

Here is a passage from Steinbeck's book that really hit me in the gut. This is what living in the country is to me. I wish I had his gift for portraying it.

I got thinkin' how we was holy when we was one thing, an' mankin' was holy when it was one thing. An' it on'y got unholy when one mis'able little fella got the bit in his teeth an' run off his own way, kickin' an' draggin' and' fightin'. Fella like that bust the holiness. But when they're all workin' together, not one fella for another fella, but one fella kind of harnessed to the whole shebang -- that's right, that's holy.

Yesterday when I was shovelling straw and rabbit poop out of the rabbit colony and taking wheelbarrows full to dump on the blackberries and raspberries, then spreading out fresh straw for the rabbits, I felt kind of harnessed to the whole shebang. It felt good.

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