Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 

Preserving

That is what I have been doing. Picking arm loads of tomatoes and finding ways to eat them in the future. I have made two tomato sauces fro the freezer - one with only yellow tomatoes. I also made a green tomato chutney with apples, onions, green peppers, vinegar and lots of sugar. Hours and hours of cutting and stirring and I started to wonder if it was all worth it. But the taste, the taste. It is simply not true that you can buy something off the shelf that tastes the same. I have put up two kinds of pickled beets. My cupboard is starting to look full, my freezer still has space. My plants still are full of tomatoes. Must find a new and interesting recipe. I still have two zucinnis on the vine so I think I will make zucinni marmelade. I found a neat recipe.

I met with the insurance adjuster at Maria Street yesterday. What a mess. He is going to send a building inspector and a contractor to analyse and give an estimate. I think he wants to know if part of the problem is old; that the toilet was leaking for a long time before it let go. If that is the case it is partly our problem for not having fixed it before it failed. I wish Warren had met with him. He knows so much more and could have answered questions better than I did. We will see what happens.

We have been cutting trees and throwing them in for the goats. Lennie has developped his own way of stripping the leaves. He starts near the stem, clamps down and moves toward the branch tip, leaving a bare branch behind him. Yesterday we cleared just inside the field. Took down four trees, all birch. We will leave any healthy maple and clear out 90% of the birch by next spring. The field will be cleaner, clearer, with less flies and mosquitos by next summer.

My chickens are caged until harvest is over. I cleaned the pen and added a wheelbarrel of sand the other day. Oscar the pig has a blanket that he wraps up in every night. I wonder if the guinea pigs would do the same if given the chance? When the harvest is done I am going to try letting Oscar loose. Bill & Ethels pigs run loose and they say that the pigs stay within a reasonable territory. They get along peacably with stray cats, chickens, ducks, etc...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

 

Last couple of weeks

I spent two days with Eowyn and Pierce. We moved the goldfish across the street to our neighbours large pool for the winter: splashing in our goldfish pond, catching goldfish with a butterfly net, carrying the heavy bucket across the street, catching goldfish in one's hands and letting them go. We also moved the guinea pigs out to the new rabbit hutch that I bought. Eowyn held them while I clipped their toe nails and Pierce carried them out to the hutch. We sampled everything from the garden and picked fresh vegetables for supper. The first night we cooked saurkraut and pork loin in the slow cooker. Because we substituted green apple pop for the water called for in the recipe, the kids were keen to try it. Served with perogis and sour cream it was a great supper. The second day we prepared a layered meal in the slow cooker: tomatoes, onions, hamburger, cheese, and eggplant. For the sauce we used the food processor: 1 zuccini, onion, tomato, and 1 halipeno pepper. After a day of exploring Upper Canada Village it filled the bill. They were pleasant, cheerful, a joy to be around; two very happy days for all three of us.

Monday of Labour Day weekend found WB working and Heather and I cutting goat toe nails with Bill and Ethel. We worked hard and enjoyed it immensly. I resisted bringing home any more goats. On arriving home we had a call from Francine, our neighbour in Montreal. There was a big problem with Maria Street! The toilet on the second floor had leaked, the ceiling on the first floor and the floor are ruined, the water continued through to the basement, pulling the ceiling down there too. With the help of Francine and Howie we did some clean up, installed two dehumidifiers, and drank some wine. What a day: five hours driving, six hours physical labour wrestling goats, two hours carrying wet plaster and mopping.

Wednesday and Thursday I started harvesting and preserving some of the garden. I made tomato sauce with forty tomatoes and lots of other good things. I made a pickled beets and onions recipe that I can't wait to taste. Heather and I went to the War Museum in Ottawa. I worked Tuesday and Friday. Quite a full week.

Both Heather and WB are working this weekend. There is a raft of things that I want to do. Must get started and above all I must avoid iwin.com.

P.S. The new baby goats name is Ramble.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

 

Having fun with the animals

Yesterday I spent a quiet day at home. I did my regular dishwasher filling and two clothes washes which I dried in the dryer because it was cool out. I cleaned all the food bowls and fed everyone with extra treats all round. I had bought two 50 lb. bags of carrots on Tuesday in Lachute - the goats and horse got about 20 lbs. mixed with their hay. I had also bought cheap corn in bulk and everyone got one or two cobs, from chickens to horse. I cleaned out the guinea pigs cages. I need a holster for my spray disinfectant soap and companion sponge. A clamp on the other side for the hose would leave my hands free for the food bowls.

As I word I daydream about the utility room that I want to have in my barn (when I finally get a barn). I want:

I am using the bedding from the guinea pigs, as well as used bedding from the animal shed, to fill hollow spots in the acre that the goats and horse live in. When I took the wheelbarrow in they all had to check out if I was bringing in food. When I dump the bedding Lena always has a good roll in it. Mr. Tumnus loves the wheelbarrow. He jumps in. I move it an inch or two. He jumps out. If I don't make off with it he jumps back in. We played this game for ten minutes or so. Noah knew we were playing. He did not want to jump into the wheelbarrow, but each time that Mr. T did, Noah did a bounce, bounce, bounce run ending off in a high twisting leap. He has really filled out, his horns are growing, he looks magnificant.

I put a 1/2 bag of bedding in the corral for Oscar. It was the second time that I gave him wood shaving for bedding. The first time he approached slowly and checked it out. This time he surprised me. He ran at the pile and threw himself into it and rolled. He did this over and over with his little tail turning round and round like a wind up handle.

About eleven at night a storm blew in. We brought the animals into the shed for the first time in a month. I leave them out if it drizzles all day, but Lennie does not like lightening and thunder, and the goats hate being soaked. They crossed the yard and went right to their places as though they had been coming in every night. The first drops started as we left the field, and by the time we had them settled it was coming down in buckets. Only WB and I got really wet.

Tomatoes and eggplant are ripe. Cucumbers and squash are ripe. I don't like the type of turnip I grew. I mowed part of my lawn and took care of things yesterday. Life is good.


Friday, August 19, 2005

 

Burning my ass

Hot coffee on a car seat as I turned out of the Tim Horton's parking lot - that is what burned my ass. An emergency when you are driving is like nothing else; you know you have to keep driving. I stopped on the edge of the road but I could not get out of the car immediately because there were ten bicyclists about to pass me. Luckily I was wearing a cotton dress and while that spread the wetness and cooled it off more quickly. I returned to the store and put cold water on the part of the burn which hurt the worst. I then decided that it was not so bad and that I should continue into Montreal. Ten kilometers later I realized that I was speeding and not paying attention to the traffic. I was in shock. I returned home, driving more slowly and carefully. Kriste and Steve were visiting and Heather was off work. They took care of me: cold compress, antibiotic spray, bacon and tomatoe sandwich, chips and chipdip, application of aloe every hour, advil for pain and a bottle of vodka for the evening. The skin bubbled up and I kept asking others to look at it. Three days later I have a swatch about 1/2" long and 2"-3" long in the crease where my ass joins my leg. It does not hurt all that much, but the feeling of shock and readiness to overreact are slow to subside.

I stopped at the Tim Hortons yesterday to let someone know what had happened. I wanted to make sure that, if someone asked for a cardboard tray as a replacement for the cup holder that their care did not have (as I had), the staff could tell them that it was not a good substitute - not stable and not safe. It was hard even to enter that store, talk about instant conditioning. The staff was not concerned. No one even wanted to talk to me. So later I wrote an email to customer service at corporate headquarters. I asked about training of employees and accident reports. It seems to me that if they want to take advantage of brand recognition and the smearing of a good reputation among the various franchises that they have to keep track of product safety. They cannot improve the safety of a product and help customers avoid accidents if they don't keep track of how frequent they are and how they occur.

For the record: hot coffee and driving do not mix. I will not go back to that particular Tim Hortons, but I will still frequent the one on Main Street in Hawkesbury. Some stores are cleaner than others, some have more competant, caring staff. I will walk out of any store that pays more attention to the drive through clients than to the clients who enter the store.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

 

Quiet birthday

I enjoyed my birthday by quietly doing the things that I love best. I had picked up my birthday "Slow Cooking Crock Pot" the day before. I had painted and re-finished my bedroom with Heather's help to match the sheets and bedspread that were Heather's gifts to me for my birthday. So on Thursday, I fed the animals, did some washes, mowed my lawn. When the mower spurtered to a stop I filled the gas tank and restarted it. Picked up Heather, letting her drive home. We took the dogs for a swim on the way home. Warren arrived with some googly eyed salt and pepper shakers for me. He took me out to the local tavern for the Thursday night spaghetti supper and some beer. I slept well and woke up in my bright sunny room for more of the same.

Tonight we are going to Morrisburg to help Bill Britton celebrate his 60th birthday. On our way we will pay a visit to Upper Canada Village and walk around together. There are many parts of it that WB has not yet seen. WB and Heather are both working on Saturday, so I am not sure what I will do.

Must get on the search for hay in quantity. Bill was kind enough to sell and deliver a large square bale of hay, but I would like to get ten round bales delivered and find a supply of small bales that I can go and get five-ten at a time. The round bales I can roll into the field and it helps keep the animals from getting too bored. I also need to get a shelter built before winter comes. I must move Oscar's pig pen into the larger field so that he and Lennie have a chance to get used to each other safely. Lisa, Lena, and Mr. Tumnus have very poor coats this summer. I will not get any wool from them. Noah, on the other hand is majestic, covered with long silky locks. His personality is changing too, he is getting pushier and more sure of himself as time goes on. He is quiet enough and so used to being patted that I can rub the sleep from his eyes, but if I am struggling with the bag of hay I have to watch him and be ready to shout and push him away. My hens are finally laying eggs again after the shock of having their pen moved. My fishpond is clear and there are two frogs among the golden fish. The grubs that ate holes in my cabbage have produced the prettiest white butterflys. My eggplant plants are 3" high with surreal light purple flowers and deep purple fruits.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

 

Ceiling orange, walls green, & floor red

These are the colours in my bedroom now. After two & a half days of work by Heather and myself the bed is back in. My new bedspread of yellow, orange, tan, beige, red, and burgandy stripes (horizontal broken patchwork) stripes with matching pillow cases, my deep pumpkin sheets and pillow cases, and my umber accent pillow cases are all in place. It looks wonderful. Heather gave me the bed set for my birthday. The powder blue walls, wood ceiling, and red oriental carpet did not set it off well. Heather choose the colours to match. We emptied the room. We plastered all the holes and the gaps between the wooden siding on the walls. It now looks like a finished wall with texture, rather than a bunch of loosely nailed on piecies of wood. It is no longer obvious that the ceiling is wood paneling.

The orange of the ceiling is slightly yellower than caramel. The walls are a yellowy apple green, very bright. The floor is slightly darker than a deep 1940's lipstick colour. The wooden airplane propellor is, so far, the only touch of wood in the room. This is restful as the rest of the house is a wood panel and ripped linoleum palace. Oh well, a room with only one piece of furniture in it - that will not last long. But, it is beautiful.

Friday, August 05, 2005

 

Cleaning up

I putter all the time and my house is never clean. I have enough "stuff" for two or three houses. Things lie in piles. The two dogs and the cat shed. My housemates are alergic to housework most of the time. Heather cleans only if she is alone with her music blaring. She does a great job on the bathroom - cleans it until it sparkles. But, she leaves everything she took out of the bathroom in piles in the hall. Warren's method of cleaning is to pack all the piles in boxes and put them out of sight. Of course, the things he needs are not really part of the pile, just everyone else's things. I tend to pick an area, clear and clean it and put half the stuff back. If only I could throw out or get rid of the stuff I don't want to display things would be cleaner. There are several things I do on a daily basis: dishes, washing clothes (usually), feeding animals, cleaning the filters on my fish tank and on the pump in the goldfish pond. I cut the grass on a regular basis, I tend my garden. I buy food for all the inhabitants, human and animal. I take care of my car. I pay bills. I am a good girl. The house should be cleaner, for me and for all of us. I will try harder and be bitchier to get the others off their asses. Wish me luck.

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