Monday, January 31, 2011

The 4 W's - Waiting, Watching, Wondering and Worrying

My tiny Daisy Mae will be having a baby any time now.  I gave her a due date of January 30th.  That is 145 days from the day she slipped through the fence to be with the boys.  She's only 7 1/2 months old, way too young to be having a baby even if she wasn't so tiny for her age.  One of my friends told me I'm a terrible mother and he's right.  I should have blocked the fence up after the first time I saw her walk through the 8 by 6 inch squares.  I still haven't completed the job of placing more fencing over that fencing but I've gotten some of it done.  It will be completed in the next week though.  You can see in this picture how I've wired 2X4 welded wire fencing over the lower part of the cattle panels where a tiny goat could squeeze through.
For the past month or more I have worried about this birth.  I considered aborting it but the vet talked me out of it.  We discussed a C section but then decided we'd let things progress as I do with others and hope for the best.  So now I wait.  I've been checking on her every hour or so during the day and I've gotten nothing done today because I keep watching her out my window.  This afternoon it appears her ligaments around her tail have softened so that means it should be in the next 24 hours or so.  We'll see.  Here's a picture of her tiny little udder.  I hope she has enough milk for the baby.  Other goat owners will understand why I took this picture.  The rest of you can now be sure I'm just a crazy person.  If you followed the goat forum I do you'd see stranger (and grosser) pictures than this. 
I'm sure I won't sleep tonight because I'll be wondering if she needs me.  I can't see her out my window now so I need to go check on her.

To be continued.......

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Second annual Julie and Julia dinner

A year ago this month my friends and I had our first Julie and Julia dinner after having seen the movie 3 months previous.  Last night we did it again only at a different house.  The dinner was tasty but making it an event is what made it fun.  Preparing a meal with friends is very different than doing it alone.  It's a lot more fun with friends but it takes wayyyyy longer because we get sidetracked so easily by singing at the piano (Rebecca!!!), our titillating conversation and the wine (or grappa or hard cider) is flowing so you can imagine how we get off track.

My part of the meal was the entree, Chevon Bourguignon, which turns out to be a glorified meat and wine stew.  When Julie cooked her boef bourguinon (as I type that I can hear Julia saying it) from Julia Child's, Mastering The Art of French Cooking, she fell asleep and the dish burned.  I remember how she made such a big deal about this dish and that it took a long time to prepare.  It most certainly did.  I had to make this dish at home instead of at my friend's house because I started it at 9 AM.  I probably could have waited till 11 or so but I didn't know how long it would take.  So many of the things seemed pointless and I wish I could have asked Julia Child why it mattered if I did it.  The first thing you do is simmer thick sliced bacon in water for something like 10 minutes.  Then you remove it from the water, dry it and then place it in olive oil and cook it on the stove till lightly browned.  Any chef reading this, could you tell me why I would first simmer it then put it in olive oil?
Next I browned the goat meat (chevon) in the fat and oil and then later added a bunch of other things, including 1 1/2 bottles of chianti.  I won't tell you the whole recipe but here's a link to the one I used, replacing the beef with goat.  I almost doubled it.  I also used onions from our garden instead of pearl onions since I couldn't find them at our local Kroger.  I increased the garlic too because it only called for 2 cloves.  Who uses only 2 cloves of garlic in any dish?  I guess Julia Child.

The next question I'd like to ask Julia is why I would cook a carrot and an onion with the stew for 3 or 4 hours and then discard them when removing it from the oven?  I left them in there.  I didn't get it.
I also made homemade pasta.  Again, I'm not sure it's worth the extra effort except I know James likes it (therefore it's worth it).  I'm not sure other people care if their pasta is homemade or from a bag but I did it anyway since it was a special occasion.  I made way more than I needed.  I hadn't made it in so long I didn't know how much one recipe made.
The stew was served with hummus and pita as an appetizer, which you can see James dipping into.  Lee, on the left, is licking the chocolate from the bowl from the dessert being made.

 Stuffed onions were also on the menu.  I don't know the real name because I didn't look at the cookbook but they were delicious.  I didn't get a good picture of them stuffed and cooked.

One thing I'll make another time is the thin sliced zucchini.  It was shaved with a carrot/potato peeler and then served steamed with a dressing.  Some complained it wasn't hot enough when we served it but I liked the idea.
Here are my friends, Rebecca and Laura.  True to Julia, we all wore our pearls.

Their daughters, Leila and Addie, made an awesome dessert, chocolate, date and almond torte, of which I had 2 pieces.

Finally stuffed, we finished the evening playing The Newlywed Game.  The teenagers were our judges and read the questions, there were 8.  I was pretty proud of me and James for getting half of them right but we came in second.  Our hosts, Rebecca and Lee, won.  They were kind enough to have consolation gifts for us.

I can't believe we waited a whole year to do this again.  If we don't do it before, I need to write it on my calendar for next January, The 3rd Annual Julie and Julia dinner.

Tonight we're having leftovers for dinner.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Why wouldn't I be happy?

This may sound like a self-serving blog, and maybe it is, but I have lots of people to thank for my happiness and I can hardly resist blogging about them. 

Let's see, where do I begin?  When we went to PA this Christmas to visit my family we went to my parent's church, (the church I grew up in) for the Christmas Eve. service.  One of my cousins there said to me and James, "you guys are always smiling. I want a page out of your book".  I'd never heard that expression but I liked it.  I like that people think we smile a lot.  And why not?  We're pretty blessed people with every reason to smile.  Below are  my 2 biggest reasons for smiling.  Thanks to Jerry Tovo for taking this picture of James.  This is my desktop wallpaper.  It makes me smile every day.
Our son, Adam, wrote us a letter for Christmas - a letter any parent would love to get from their child.  It made me cry (a happy cry).   It also made me feel bad that I never wrote a letter like that to my parents.  Sorry Mom and Dad.  It's not that I don't love you (I do), it's that I guess I was never that thoughtful.  I'll do better. 

Today three of my friends mentioned me in their blogs.  Wow!  I feel famous....and loved.  Thanks you guys.  I'm super lucky to have the friends I do. Tomorrow night I'm getting together with some more great friends for another of our Julie and Julia (Child) dinners.  I'm making Chevon Bourguignon, my interpretation of Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon, only using goat meat.  I know we'll laugh a lot, and not just because my entree has lots of wine in it. 

Here are several more reasons I smile a lot.
Life is good, isn't it?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Litterbugs - the environmentally challenged

Today while I was walking one of our neighbors drove up alongside me and we talked about how neither of us was crazy about the recent snow.  We both agreed we'd rather have warm weather but at least the snow covers up the litter along the side of the road.  He actually apologized to me (not because he litters) because he recognized that we seem to get more litter in front of our house than just about anywhere else in our neighborhood.  Our property abuts a country store and I guess people grab something to eat or drink and don't want to carry their trash in their car longer than 1/20th of a mile so they toss it out their window into our lawn.  It astounds me how much litter gathers in a day.  James often returns from a run with a bag full of trash he collected before walking up our driveway.  The next day you'd never know he picked anything up.  It really is that bad.

Who are these litterbugs?  Is it something they started doing as an adult or have they been doing it their whole lives?  I really thought that all parents taught their kids not to litter.  I guess I was wrong.   I have followed people in cars and trucks who have thrown something out their window and I'm sure they new I was behind them.  I've also seen someone throw trash in our yard when I was out there but I'm not sure they saw me.  I'm pretty sure those people who throw their baby's dirty diaper in our yard aren't teaching their children not to litter.

If we put a camera up at the end of our lane and took pictures of the license plates of the people littering and took it to the police, I wonder if they would fine those folks.  Would it make a difference if we put a big sign out that said Please Don't Litter?  Doubtful.  Maybe if we put a huge trashcan out there with a very wide opening people would at least shoot for it with their trash like shooting a basketball. 

I read a story of a woman who saw a cop throw the wrapper from his burger out his window in a parking lot.  She approached him, picked up the wrapper, handed it to him and said, "I know you didn't mean to drop this or have my children see you do this from inside the store".  He stared at her for a few seconds and then very quietly said, "thank you ma'am".  I bet he didn't litter again. 

What can we do to make people more respectful of our earth?  Of their own neighborhoods?  Remember this commercial from the 70's?  Apparently it didn't make a difference.

Maybe I should start a campaign in our neighborhood.  Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stepping out of my comfort zone

I didn't mention what I was going to do today to many people because I was so nervous about it.  A good friend of mine, Pat Foreman, co-hosts a blogtalk radio show called The Chicken Whisperer with Andy Schneider.  Pat is the author of many books on raising backyard poultry.  She called to ask if I would be a guest on The Chicken Whisperer and speak about homesteading.  I gave her an immediate "NO".  I'm terrible at speaking in front of people and the thought of broadcasting live nationwide didn't appeal to me even though I could do it from the comfort of my own home with no one watching.  I thought more about it and finally decided I should step out of my comfort zone and do it.  I rarely put myself in uncomfortable situations but this time I decided to suck it up and be a good sport. I told Pat I would do it.  She sent me the details in an email.  I would be on from 12:30 to 1:10.  WHAT?!!!  I was thinking maybe 10 minutes, not 40.  I had 6 days to worry about it.  She reassured me it would be like having a conversation with her on the phone and that I'd do fine.   I asked James not to listen in while it was live.  Still, my heart was beating so fast today when I called in to the show waiting for them to announce me. 

There's a live chat room going on during the show but I didn't look at it while I was talking because I was afraid I'd get distracted or someone would say something I didn't want to see.  There were a few questions from the chat room that Pat or Andy passed along to me during the show.

Guess what, time flew by and before I knew it it was over.  It was actually kind of fun.  I don't feel like I screwed up or anything.  I even went back and listened to a recording of it when it was over and wasn't too embarrassed.  I'm glad I did it.  Pat called to thank me and said if I want to do it again in the future on a different subject she could arrange that.  Uhhhh, no, I don't think so.  Not this year anyway.   Thank you though, Pat. 

If you want to listen to the show here's a link to it.  Today's segment, January 26th.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Online friending

We've met a handful of couples who have met online, some of them through dating services.  I'm always fascinated by their stories of how it worked out.  Several years ago I would have scoffed at it, thinking what a crazy way to meet someone.  Here it is 2011 and I don't think it's crazy at all.  I can see how people can get to know each other pretty well over the internet and then after meeting could develop a relationship.

I've had several instances where this has happened to me.  Yes, James knows all about it and no, not through dating services.  I'm just talking friendships.  Most of the people I've met through the internet are through ads I've answered on Craigslist so it's not like I really got to know much about them over the internet.  I contacted them, purchased something from them, then when I went to pick up my new animal, hit it off with them and then  continued the friendship through emails and further visits with each other.

The way today's connection was made was a little different.  It was through a raw milk forum.  About a month ago a woman from New Zealand asked a question on the forum and I emailed her to say hello and tell her how much we loved visiting her country.  Another woman from VA also posted that she had been to NZ and loved it.  I emailed her and I guess I asked her where in VA she lived.  I can't even remember how this went.  We discovered we live 20 minutes from each other so today we finally got to meet in person after having exchanged several emails.  I went to her house and she and her daughter gave me a tour of their farm.  She and I both laughed about meeting online.  I don't think there was a moment of silence my entire visit.  We had much in common and one topic of conversation led to another.  Like us, they have goats, chickens, ducks, dogs and gardens.  Like James, her husband also writes poetry (he's a college professor).  It was a fun visit and I hope to get to know them better in the near future and not just online. 

Future generations will laugh at how we used to meet the old fashioned way - in person.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sharing some Schickele

Here's just a little piece (my favorite piece) of the Arrowhead Trio's concert at Kendal (a retirement community) starring James Pannabecker on piano, Winston Davis on Violin and John McClenon on Clarinet. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Pessa (real name Principessa) is one of my sweet big girls.  She doesn't ask for much attention and is such an easy girl to have around.  Like all my other does, she's pregnant, but not due to kid until mid-March.  You wouldn't believe it to see and hear her though.  She looks like she should have delivered last week but that's just the way she's built.  Also, she moans a lot.  Last year she moaned all through the last month of pregnancy.  She's started early this year.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My friend Geraldine

James and I went to NC last weekend to stay with friends and see the musical, Billy Elliot, with some other friends in Charlotte.  The musical was awesome and if you get the chance you should go see it.  It was a great weekend all around.  It was also our second time to leave our animals in the care of -I'll call her Geraldine (since I haven't asked her permission to blog about her).  I'm not sure how or when we met Geraldine but she's become a good friend in the past few years.  She and I worked the polls together so I guess that's one way I've gotten to know her better.  One of the things I like best about her is she cracks me up, probably without even trying to. 

One day at the polls I asked her what she was eating.  She said, "you probably don't want to know".  It was something like raccoon or groundhog.  I forget what it was, but it was something I'd never eaten.  It didn't shock me though because it was Geraldine.  Did I mention she's full of energy and adventurous?  She's also a recycler like no recycler you've ever met.  I'll bet nothing goes to waste at her house.  One day I got an email from her with a picture of a vase with a beautiful arrangement in it.  With closer inspection I saw it was full of yellow chicken feet.  Seriously, it was pretty and funny and oh, so Geraldine.  I thought she found the picture on the internet or something because it was around Halloween.  I asked her where she found it.  Silly me, they were her chicken's feet.  Of course they were. 

Yeah, she cracks me up but what I like best about her is she's a sincerely kind and trustworthy person that's why I trust her with our home and animals.  While we were gone at Christmas she sent me at least 3 emails telling me everything was fine on the homestead and what the animals were doing.  She did it again this weekend.  When we got home she told us the goats got out of their barn and she found them wandering in the lawn because she must not have latched the door right.  They followed her back in when she coaxed them.  Many people wouldn't tell you things like that.  They'd figure we didn't need to know since all turned out ok.  I appreciated her honesty.  Besides it could happen to anyone.  Goats don't usually roam far anyway. 

Two weeks after we returned from our trip to PA for Christmas I opened our basement refrigerator and smelled something not so sweet smelling.  There was a garbage bag on the bottom shelf.  I peeked in but didn't know what I was looking at.  It was big, white and flat.  Did I leave a turkey in the fridge?  No, it was too flat. 

"Hello Geraldine?  Did you leave your bear fat in our refrigerator?" 
"Oh, did I leave that there?"
Marilyn wants me to be sure to tell you she wasn't the one who killed the bear.  Oops, I mean Geraldine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When the sun comes out

The sun came out this afternoon and it was 50 degrees.  I went out to give the animals some hay but first decided to spend some time with the donkeys.  I gave them some treats and Chy was probably the most affectionate I've ever seen her.  She stood and let me scratch her for a long time and when I'd stop she'd nuzzle me or chew the buttons on my jacket.  I decided it might be time to try the lead on her again.  She didn't pull away when I clipped it on her halter.  Of course I had treats in my hand but that doesn't usually matter.  She wasn't all that excited about it but she didn't try to run away either.  We didn't really go anywhere but I wanted her to see there was nothing to be afraid of.  After I removed it (which she also patiently allowed) I gave her more treats.  This was a huge step for us.  I wonder if she'll let me do it again tomorrow. 

Next I filled the duck's water bowl.  They've been holed up inside their pen every day, all day, since Gilligan was attacked.  The only time they come out during the daylight is when I fill their bowl and stand there with them.  They come out again at nighttime which isn't very smart, so I chase them back inside and lock them up.  Since the hoses had thawed I turned one on and the instant they heard it they came running out of their house.  I filled their bowl then let the hose run.  They love a running hose.  Their canoe has been frozen solid all winter so they've had no water to splash in for a few months. 
I hated to turn the hose off, they were having so much fun.

Next one of my Scrabble friends (she's 89 years old) came by with visiting friends of hers.  Because of our animals, our house is often on the driving tour of the neighborhood.  She was hoping some of the goats had babies for them to see.  During good weather people show up here a lot. 

62 more days till spring.  Today's little taste of spring was a real treat.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Found Money

I'm stealing this title from my sister-in-law's blog Life From A Slightly Skewed Perspective 
You should read Mary's blog first.   It reminded me of something I did a few years ago and I probably shouldn't admit it.  Maybe Laura O. will remember this.  I was in the middle of rehabbing our house and looking for tile for our bathroom.  We went to a tile place I'd never been to.  When we got out of our car in the parking lot and were headed toward the store I saw a penny on the ground.  I picked it up.  I'm not too proud to pick up a penny. 

"Oh, wait, there's another, and another".  I continued to pick up pennies all over the parking lot.  I know a lot of people think pennies are worthless but it's hard for me to ignore change on the ground.  And Mary, I don't care either if they're heads up or tails.  I have no idea how many I picked up and I don't know if Laura just just stood back and observed this crazy woman or assisted in the penny pickup. 

With heavy pockets I entered the store and did my browsing.  On the way out I told the proprietor about how I found all these pennies and he said, "oh, we put them out there because we get a group of handicapped children who come here and they get so excited when they find the pennies".  Uhhhhhhhhhhhh, I hope I turned all shades of red and I KNOW I felt about the size of a penny but, to be honest, I can't remember if I threw all the pennies back in the parking lot on my way back to the car.

Please, Laura, tell me I did.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pot Rack

I get side-tracked so easily.   I get very excited about something new but that may be short-lived when I find something else I find even more interesting.  This was the case in building my cheese room in the basement.  I began by ripping out the old water-damaged cupboards.  Demolition is almost always fun, at least when it goes well, and this time it did.  After taking off the doors of the cupboards I removed all the shelves except the lowest ones.  I looked at it and thought what a great workbench it would make.  Here's where I became side-tracked.

I looked at the doors I had removed and remembered I wanted to build a shelf for our kitchen to put my new pots on that James gave me for Christmas.  Our kitchen is small and every cabinet and shelf is overloaded so I had no place to put these lovely new enameled pots.  I decided these doors might be worthy of a kitchen shelf.  You can see how I thought that, can't you?

I put one up on my "workbench", cut off the rotted sections, removed hinges and cut it down to shelf size.  I won't go into what I did to build it because it's not very fascinating.  I painted it red to match our kitchen cabinets and I'm pretty pleased with how it came out.  We did have to buy the hooks to hang pots and pans from.  That was the only expense in building it. The rest of the stuff we already had. 

It's not fancy but it suits a farm house kitchen, I think.
I don't think the cheese room is going to be a cheese room afterall.  Now that I've ripped it apart I'm thinking we could make better use of it - maybe add another bathroom.  Who knows what will happen with it.  For now it's a disaster area that has a real nice workbench.  Makes me want to build something else.

Cheese anyone?

Most of my cheeses have now been sealed in plastic by my Food Saver but I still had a few covered in wax.  I recently noticed that 2 of the wax-coated cheeses had some black showing through.  Uh oh, mold.  I removed the wax from the Darby cheese and was surprised to find such a colorful display of mold.  Okay, maybe I wasn't pleased but still it was pretty.  Very appetizing, don't you think?

I cut the mold off and gave some of it to the chickens and saved some for treats for the dogs.  The cheese underneath was surprisingly very tasty.  I'll let it air dry for a day or two then seal it in plastic.  I may cut a chunk off for eating now.  The other cheese, a Monterey Jack, didn't have this much mold.  It was also delicious.

Still learning.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When do I get the baby goat catalog?

Here's something else I want.
Unfortunately she's not for sale and she lives in Florida.  Someone on the goat forum I read got 2 adorable doelings this weekend and this is a picture of Polka Spot.  That's the same name as the llama on The Fabulous Beekman Boys.  I wonder if that's where she got it.

I'm counting down the days till my babies arrive.  It's January11th, 31 degrees out and I have spring fever.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Poultry Catalog Is Here!!!!!

When I was little I loved when the Sears Christmas catalog would come in the mail.  I think it was Sears anyway.  It was at least an inch thick and I would go through it page by page, dog-earing all the ones with things I wanted.  I think my sisters and I made lists with page numbers so our parents could find what we wanted in the catalog. I have no idea if Mom and Dad ever bought us any of the things we marked.  It didn't really matter because the fun was going through the catalog and dreaming.  At least that's how I remember it. 

Today my 2011 Murray McMurray Hatchery catalog came.  I ordered our turkeys through them last year so that's why I got it.  This year I want to get more chickens but I don't know what I want to get.  I'm not really sure what my plans are so I haven't decided whether to buy meat chickens, productive egg layers, chickens just for pretty, or a combination of all three.  I do know I want to get some Welsummers.  They're a beautiful bird and lay very pretty dark brown, sometimes speckled  eggs.  I didn't see them in the McMurray catalog so I did a search on the internet to see if any other hatcheries had them. The one I went to first was sold out.  I hope I can find them somewhere.  I'll keep searching.  Another breed that lays a chocolate egg is the Maran.  They don't lay as many as the Welsummer but they may be even darker.  Of course I'd love some more blue and green egg layers too.

Welsummer Rooster and eggs

 Maran eggs

Easter Eggers (Araucana and Ameraucana eggs).  Can be blue, green, pink and other variations.

 Since I don't think I want to get turkeys this year (way too much work) I think I might buy some meat birds like the Jumbo Cornish X Rocks or Cornish Roasters.  They mature very quickly (8 to 10 weeks) so I couldn't get too attached to them before I put them in our freezer. 

And then there are the chickens that make nice lawn ornaments, like the Polish breeds.
 Or this Polish breed. Oh wait, that's David Bowie.
 The Top Hat Chicken

 And then the Cochin which comes in many colors and look like they're wearing pantaloons.

There are so many pretty birds I'd love to post pictures of but it would take me all night. 

I don't know how I'll choose.  This is just as much fun as the Sears Christmas catalog, for sure. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Undecorated Christmas Tree

They're still working on it but by tomorrow I'm sure it will just look like sticks.  I may just keep this tree and decorate it next year with lots of colored eggs.  Maybe I'll spray paint it first.  The goats have even chewed most of the bark off.  It won't drop needles and won't need watering. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

When the cat's away..............

Today I drove into town and didn't return for 5 hours.  One of my errands was to pick up a to-be-discarded Christmas tree from Susan.  It was a special treat I wanted to surprise the goats with.  We didn't have a big Christmas tree but I wanted them to have one.  This is what they thought of it.

This is how they thanked me for going to Tractor Supply and buying more food for them and getting them their surprise.
Witty has been showing lots of interest in this small medicine cabinet I keep in the barn.  This afternoon it was ripped off the wall and its contents were scattered from one side of the barn to the other.  The plastic you see in the picture is a bunch of very large plastic gloves another friend, Gail, gave me in case I need to help deliver a baby.  I've only had to "go in" once and hope I don't have to do that again this kidding season.  Apparently the gloves were a huge hit because most of them were missing fingers.  The one thing I wasn't able to find in the straw were the little rubber bands I use to remove the manliness from the little bucklings.  I'm pretty sure one of the boys must have eaten them.  Little do they know, they're safe from these very, very tiny bands, if you know what I mean.

Edit:  I just went back to look at this video and noticed that all the black goats are next to each other, all the white and the 2 browns also.

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Hometown - one of America's Coolest Small Towns

 If any of you in my family haven't seen this you might find this article below surprising and interesting.  I grew up in Newtown, PA.  I never thought it was all that interesting or special when I was a kid.  It was just where I grew up, where my friends were.  I return there every Christmas to visit my family but rarely go downtown because it's packed at Christmastime.   I still think it's a pretty town.  The main street (State Street) is lined with old stone buildings and houses, some of which have become quaint shops or restaurants.  It's a very wealthy town.  I Googled it today after reading that it was in the running for America's coolest small town.  The median household income is $81,000.00.  The average household income in the US is around $50,000.00. 

The way this article defines "Coolest Town" is this:
How do we define 'Coolest Small Town'?
The town must have a population under 10,000—we're talking small towns, not big cities. It's also got to be on the upswing, a place that's beginning to draw attention—and new residents—because of the quality of life, arts and restaurant scene, or proximity to nature. And cool doesn't mean quaint. We want towns with an edge, so think avant-garde galleries, not country stores.

I don't know who researches or writes these articles.  While I think Newtown is a pretty cool town, I don't think the author who wrote this has spent much time there because of some of the things he wrote.  He says that Amish horse and buggies frequent the town.  Hmmm, I don't remember that in my childhood or on any recent visit to Newtown.  He also says it hasn't changed much.  Maybe the main street hasn't changed much but there sure are a lot of chain stores and fast food places around that didn't used to be there when I was growing up.  It is much more developed and very busy.  I remember when I worked as a hairdresser back in the 80's my boss and I were walking to get lunch.  He said to me, "can you walk down the street without knowing anyone?", because there were several people who I made conversation with (whom I knew) on our 3 or 4 block walk.  I doubt that happens with my parents anymore.  Maybe I'm wrong. 

Next year when I go back for Christmas I'm going to go downtown and walk the main Street and hopefully go to the Japanese restaurant that is mentioned.  I think I'm probably missing out on something that I've been taking for granted all these years. 

I once was reading a magazine in my dentist's office and saw that Bucks County (where Newtown is) is a very popular place for New York City residents to buy vacation homes.  A place to get away.  I felt proud for some reason, like I had anything to do with it being such a beautiful place. 

You can vote for your favorite cool town of the 20 nominees so I may just have to place mine for Newtown since I've never been to any of the other towns they named.  Maybe one of the others listed is your hometown.

The Nominees for America's Coolestbr/Small Towns - Budget Travel

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Not so many holes in my jeans lately

Cold weather sure puts a damper in my activity level.  I don't go outside as much, therefore I don't seem to get as much accomplished as usual.  I haven't had any good projects going lately either.  Because I haven't been as active I'm not wearing jeans as often because I'm a bit pudgier and wearing elastic waste pants.  Ahhhh, don't you love the excuse for wearing sweat pants in the winter?

Today was near 60 degrees though so I had no excuse not to be outdoors.  I cleaned both barns and added the 4 big wagon loads of manure to the greenhouse compost, ie, heater.  Because of my lack of conditioning I have a heating pad on my lower back right now.  Sheesh, am I getting old or just out of shape?  Never mind, I don't need comments on this.  I already know the answer.

I started a project this week in our basement.  We have a small room that houses 2 giant safes, our on-demand water heater, shelves that held many cans of paint and some other random crap we don't know what to do with.  I've ripped out those shelves and piled all the paint cans, "stuff" and the wood shelving all over the basement. It's a real mess.
I want to make this a room to store my cheeses in when I get back to making cheese again in April.  The safe/cheese cave didn't work out like I had planned so my cheeses are back to the basement shelves.  I'm still not sure how I want to store them and did some searches today to find the best wood to store them on.  It appears birch is the favorite wood for shelves.  I don't know how I'll cool the room or keep the humidity where I want it either but I love ripping rooms apart so I did that without a real plan, as I'm wont to do.  Here are the shelves before.

 And here they are after I've torn out most of the shelves.
The shelves were too deep before to be able to work with the cheeses.  I don't want them to be more than 2 wheels deep. Stay tuned for further development of the cheese room

Here's another picture I thought I'd include which has nothing to do with cheese or my lack of activity.  A friend came by with some quail eggs that I thought were really cool.  I'd never seen any before.  In this picture there are 2 dozen eggs in a carton much smaller than a regular egg carton.  They look like Easter candy.
We traded some of her quail eggs for my green eggs.  I don't know what I'm going to do with mine yet.  Aren't they cool looking?  Maybe I should get some quail (quails?)