Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Good Day for Chickens

The chickens have been spending a lot of time in the northeast corner of the field lately. That's technically unused space, but I encourage Rick and Isaac to keep any project cars not in current work along the fence row there, as well as other cars which we aren't using right this second. (For example, I parked the truck there today because I don't expect to use it again until farmer's market next week.) And there is a rectangle in the soil where a vehicle was previously parked, baking away the vegetation below it to leave just a few dead wisps of grass and some dust.

As I pulled in, I found several chickens laying in the dust twitching. Don't worry - they were happy and healthy. It's a hot sticky day, and they were taking dust baths, flipping cool freshly scratched soil over themselves and their buddies. If someone didn't know what was going on, it might look worrisome; but as they lay there and contort and twitch and shake, I assure you they're having a wonderful time. To sweeten the deal even more, the mulberry tree above this spot is getting ready to start dropping fruit. I've never cared for mulberries myself, and pretty much ignore this tree. But the birds just love them, and will be gorging themselves over the next few weeks. For a chicken, it really just doesn't get much better than this.

Meanwhile, I took another new baby hat to the market today.

I didn't bother blogging it ahead of time, because y'all have GOT to be getting tired of me and my colorwork baby hats. (Standard recipe, with colorwork lifted from a skull & crossbones shrug featured on the Anticraft website.) But people went nuts over this. I have a request to bring back 4 more cotton ones in adult sizes, and yet another in a toddler size with matching mittens in a more winter-appropriate yarn. (Superwash wool would be my choice, but I'll have to weigh the cost implications.) I knew the skull & crossbones symbol was fashionable, but I didn't expect anything like this.

Okay, trivia question: do you know why the skull & crossbones became a symbol of death? Because in medieval times, it was believed that the soul resided in the large bones of the body - the thigh bones and skull. So it started out as a symbol for the soul. (Yes, I am a geek; thank you for asking.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Bit Bummed

On grey days after a stressful week when Rick's been away too long, I have to be careful of the Big Black Dog. It's easy to sink into kind of a weepy apathy that is not productive or conducive to a positive life outlook.

I loaded Springsteen's Red Headed Woman and Golden Earring's Radar Love on my mp3 player and sang out loud with them this morning during my workout. It scared the bejesus out of a wild rabbit I passed by, but it seems to help.

Well I don't know how many girls you've dated, man
But you ain't lived til you've had your tires rotated
By a red headed woman
A red headed woman
It takes a red headed woman
To get a dirty job done

Okay, so I'm only red-headed by broad interpretation and a little chemical assistance - but I'll take it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Well, That Was Exciting

The forecast yesterday (and today, and tomorrow, and Saturday) was for afternoon thunderstorms. So we weren't to surprised when it got grey and cloudy early on Wednesday afternoon. Then it got dim. Then it got DARK. Then the wind kicked up, with chairs from the restaurant patio skidding across the parking lot and into the pond. And the light post was bending so far in the wind that we were taking bets on whether it would hit a car.

The word came through that we should take cover. I guess they put everyone at the courthouse down in the bomb shelter, and Sargento and a few other businesses evacuated their employees into the basement. Luc says they tried to clear out Wal-Mart, but some of the customers wouldn't leave. We mostly just stood around and watched the storm through the big picture window in our reception area, since our little office building has no basement and there were too many of us to fit into the bathroom (the only room without windows). And it was clearly not safe to go outside for any reason or to drive anywhere. It was actually very cool, in an "end of the world" kind of way.

I got all the computers and phones unplugged just before we lost power. We were trying to get some news, so I called the local radio station - and ended up giving them an interview of what the conditions were near me. But here's the report from later on:
The wind and rain were so heavy that we had a waterfall coming in over the top of our back door, so once things calmed down again I spent 45 minutes on mop duty. (Good thing I happened to be wearing platform sandals and officewear which was relatively flexible to move in.) But in the end, we don't seem to have any damage at work or at home. The chickens were left out for the day as usual, and were looking a little freaked out when I got home. But all is well.
By the way, I confirmed when I sat down this morning that the sunroof in Tasha's car leaks. Ugh - wet rayon on my butt. Still, I suppose a storm like that is a pretty good excuse. I mean, if our whole building leaked, an old Celica ought to be excused for a little indiscretion.
Disclaimer: Usually I use my own photography, but I can't lay claim to the shots in this post. I don't want my camera (or my body) out in that kind of weather!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First Fruits

Last night Tammy and I went over to the church garden and picked a huge basket of Swiss Chard, as well as a couple of zucchini.

This morning I took it over to the food pantry just before they opened for business. There were about a dozen people (including some elderly and a child) sitting out front waiting for the window to open, and they called out some friendly jokes when I drove up. But they were really excited to see the produce I pulled out, and both they and the volunteers asked me to pass thanks back to all the garden volunteers at church.

In two weeks, the next time the food pantry is open for distribution, we should have a LOT more squash and some snap peas. I'm thinking I should bring along some spare eggs from home, too. I'm really starting to wish we'd planted more.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A dog! A dog! A dog!

It's been over a year since we laid Mindy to rest, and every time I take a walk by myself, or every time a reddish blond dog (or any other variety) passes by me at market, or every time I hear about puppies being available, I think of her and wish for another dog. But, I work full time and couldn't give a puppy the training it would need. And the carpet (and Rick) are still recovering from when Mindy lost her sense of discretion in her last few months. And it wouldn't be fair to stress out the cats with a dog who might not get along with them. And a whole lot of other good, logical reasons.
So, meet Nora:

She's a 3 year old spayed blue heeler / beagle mix whose owner suffered brain damage in a motorcycle accident and can't care for her any more. She's got a blue heeler's philosophy about only warming up to her "own" people and being a little protective of them; but she's not desperate for a job like most working breeds, and is happy to be a couch potato after her morning walk. And she loves, absolutely adores cats.
She's coming to meet us and check out our home on Sunday afternoon. I can't wait!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

84" x 2

That's how long the top and bottom edges of the Tree of Life shawl are, so that's how long each length of edge lace should be. (Long, I know. But it's intended to wrap around two people, neither of whom is particularly small.) The rest of the shawl is fully assembled, and Tammy brought it to me at church on Sunday.

And now I have no more excuses to finish that lace and be done with it.