Tuesday, February 26, 2008

of scraping and framing

This month's Sunset is great. It does have a few too many articles about self-righteous hippies (hey--like me!), but it has tons of useful information--I loved their plan for an herb and veggie garden that can be grown in a 16' x 16' space. There are some good recipes, too, and a cool vertical planter (in their Idea House) that uses rainwater. Like, the plants are sideways. That is CRAZY, y'all.

I've been debating what to do about my kitchen floor. It's coming along, but I'm having second thoughts about whether or not to paint the big cream and green squares on it. John's never liked the idea, but I was damn-the-torpedoes-full-speed-ahead about it until, oh, probably last summer, when I saw it in at least two magazines, then again on "Pushing Daisies." Suddenly it seemed way less cute to me--even though it was super cute in all those contexts. I do love being a maverick. Well, the good news is that I don't have to decide for some time, since I still have a hard job of work ahead just getting the floor ready to be sanded.

Here's what's going on in the bathroom:

lift tank with pipes attached

up through the pipes and into the septic tank

framed shower

All the Pretty Horses is a great book, but be warned that there are sweary cowboys.

The Giver
I had never read before, I'm not sure why. It was terrifying and heartbreaking, and I have such an ambivalent reaction to depictions of dystopian futures, because any one of the many horrible scenarios seems equally plausible to me. I can't really talk about this book.

Monday, February 25, 2008

think of them as giant toenails covered in excrement

We need to trim our goats' hooves. They've gotten all long and nasty over the winter. These are the trimmers we use: orange-handled hoof trimmers. They also have another pair that look like they might be easier for John to use with his big, meaty paws: green-handled hoof trimmers.

Friday, February 22, 2008

goat cheese

Here's an article on how to make traditional goat cheese. I don't use this method, but I may try it in the spring.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

in which bread is baked and converted

The plumber is here today, busting into the pipe that feeds into the septic tank so he can hook up the lift tank. So we can't really use the turlet or shower or any sinks for a while, for obvious gross reasons.

I was feeling very bready yesterday, so I made rolls and French bread--I tell you, it is so easy and fast! I started the bread at about 2:30 in the afternoon, before my piano students started arriving, and it was ready for dinner. No mixer required, and it's got flour, salt, yeast and water in it. That's it. I like the Joy of Cooking recipe better than the BHG one.

They're all lumpy because of the oatmeal. It makes me feel better about using white flour.

Moments after taking them from the oven. My family is a bunch of bread-eating fools.

Making French bread is so easy that I don't know if I'll buy it anymore except in emergencies.

gDiaper update: we've gone three-plus days now with no leaks. I think I'm getting better at it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

it is true that goats are insubordinate

There is an essay on Slate about goats that I loved. While not identical to my experience, it is similar in many ways. Read it here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

feel that? that's the feeling of stagnant air

Our windows came today! Not all of them are in, but the installers said they should be able to finish tomorrow at around 2:00. Our house is already noticeably warmer--I can tell because I'm sitting on the couch in the parlor, and I can't feel any air whatsoever blowing past me. Also it only took the gas fireplace about half an hour to reach 72 degrees, instead of 2 hours like it usually does. The installers are way less skeevy than the measuring guy, which is a relief. After the measuring guy came I told John that we needed either a dog or a gun. Instead he opted to work from home today. Hmmph. I thought for sure I'd finally get my face-chewing dog.

My kitchen window opens now, so instead of banging on the window and gesticulating wildly I can simply open the window and shout "GET OFF THE CAR!"

We have our salt supply for throughout the rapture and beyond, cleverly disguised as objets d'art in our living room. It's genuine Redmond salt, which I am supposed to be giving to our goats, but I am selfish and I like how they look in my house.

I licked it, and it's real-no-foolin' salt.

The weather is devilish cold, and the wind blows ever so, and today there was a snowdrift completely covering the goats' water bucket. Stupid wind. When I have a windmill, then you may offer your services.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

why I shouldn't read

This week in You Stay Classy, World:

Forbes: Child Labor
Not only does Monsanto create frankenseeds about which they will successfully sue you if your normal seed is cross-pollinated by theirs, but they also, oh, let's say hire, children to do the work , because they "have small fingers, and so they can remove the buds very quickly." Additionally, says this man with no self-awareness, "They worked fast, much faster than the adults, and put in longer hours and didn't demand long breaks. Plus, I could shout at them and beat or threaten them if need be to get more work out of them." Read the rest of the article here.

I may have more to nag about later, once I've read the rest of our periodicals. I will update if necessary.

Monday, February 11, 2008

new decor

The silver chair. Unlike that of Prince Rilian, it will not keep the user captive. There is an omelet on the table, because that's what we ate for dinner. How 'bout eggs?

The lamp I whittled out of a same-sized lamp we already had, only this one is red instead of brown. Also it has a way better lampshade.

Friday, February 8, 2008

sharp tie you've got there, Dennis

Warning: this picture is gross, grosser than an animal born with only three legs, but probably not as gross as that frog that lets its eggs grow in its back--you know what I'm talking about, Aleece and Claire. But I thought you'd all like to see it anyway, especially if you are regular viewers of 30 Rock.

Rat King

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I wonder if it works with the Kroger brand pen?

As a frequent laundry-doer, and a parent of a gibbering 7-year-old, I loved this commercial:

Tide to Go Interview

It's Grant in stain form.

we eat and shovel

Some recent happenings at our house include a meal that filled me with an undue amount of pride because of its deliciousness and command of the color spectrum. Behold:

3 food groups represented

There were carrots in "coin" shape, because they actually do taste better that way, globs of spinach for John and Ike and me to eat, rolls with oatmeal in them (remember my addiction?), and a shoulder roast from one of our goats that was tender and juicy. Grant's way of coping with the moral gray area of eating his pet is channeling his sorrow into lip-smacking gluttony. It's nice knowing that we don't have to try to decide which babies to keep this year, and we can just tell ourselves from the get-go that they aren't pets (even though they will be and we will still be sad when we take them to Premium Meat to get turned into white packages). And it is a good feeling to know that the goats are treated well and fed a proper, healthy diet.

We have a couple of black Windsor chairs I bought from a certain local home furnishings company a couple of years ago, which I have had to glue at least 5 times because they kept coming apart. They're okay as long as you don't try to use them for the purpose for which they were intended, so that means they get to be side tables now. I'm very excited about replacing them, because I have had my eye on these chairs for a while now:
Aren't they cute? I need a little more metal in my dining room, and I think these will be perfect. I also painted one of our lamps Case IH red and am waiting for its black and white damask lampshade to arrive. I like when I can make something less horrible out of something and use it for a while longer. I will post pictures when I get it put together.

We have gotten more snow this winter than we have in probably 25 years or so.
You can see the deer tracks criss-crossing the field where they have run towards the road in an attempt to catch the cars.

It's so great, except that I bet Mr. Pigeon Racer will be a sad man this spring, since he failed his perc test three times before he built his house, and that was after a hard drought of multiple years. I bet our basement will flood. My mom says she would never put carpet in a basement, even if it has never flooded, but that's probably because we practically have gills from the number of times our basement flooded while I was growing up. It flooded every week when we irrigated all summer long, and we just sloshed around in it until they rigged up some sort of pump system that sent the water elsewhere. Ahh, the country life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

almost done, I promise

I just wanted to say that it's frustrating to live in a state that doesn't matter, "where Mormons live and news stories go to die." But that's the price you pay for living in a place where everybody's not all up in each other's business. And I'd rather live where I can spread out a bit and have some autonomy. All8's comment on my last post made me think about how we as a nation seem to want the government to babysit us. It reminds me of nothing more than that classic--dare I say prophetic?--Simpsons episode where Homer runs for Sanitation Commissioner on the platform of "Can't Somebody Else Do It?", wins handily, and proceeds to turn the entire town into a festering heap of garbage. This is what happens when people abdicate their responsibilities and give government powers it should never have, because they're either too confused, too lazy, or too stupid to do the job themselves.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I have a problem

I'm reading all the political coverage I can find, because I like when the TV tells me things that it can't possibly know yet. Stupid West Virginia. I will have a myocardial infarction if McCain names Huckabee as his running mate. As much as I dislike the idea of Hillary Clinton being back in the White House, I think I would vote for an Obama/Hillary or Hillary/Obama ticket over that pair of scoundrels. I'm "unaffiliated," and Utah has a semi-closed primary (you have to register as a Republican to vote for one), so I voted for Obama, for various reasons. He seems to love his wife and family, and he's familiar enough with normalcy to say things like, "we can disagree without being disagreeable." I'm sure it's a lie, just like everything that everyone else has said, because when do politicians ever tell the truth, but at least he's making an effort to not talk crazy.

but the TV told me to . . .

John said the other day that he thinks Huckabee will be a lot more relevant after Super Tuesday. I hope not, but I'm afraid he might be right. As John described it, all the backwater states are voting today, like Tennessee and Arkansas, and they're sure to vote for him. It's mean of us to think of them that way, but people think of Utah as full of bizarre polygamists with horns, so I guess none of us are the cool kids. As a conspiracy theorist, I wonder what the constant predictions and updates from the media will do to the election. How much information is too much? Does it affect the outcome?

Monday, February 4, 2008

scattershot political rant

It's Super Tuesday Eve! Everyone, think very carefully today about your choices, then go out tomorrow and have your say. I have a lot of thoughts jiggeting about in my brain right now, including:

  • why is everyone a Socialist?
  • why do people want to give more power to a government that already does a crap job at almost everything it does?
  • what is people's problem with Mitt Romney? I'm not crazy about him, but I guess if an adulterous megalomaniac, a duplicitous robber baron and a diabolical hayseed all hate you . . .
  • mandated health care is a monstrously stupid idea
  • but there's got to be a better way than health care tied to your employment
  • why do we deal with health in such a reactive way?
  • why aren't people rewarded for taking care of themselves, instead of killing themselves?
  • why am I supposed to be so thankful for tax cuts, when IT'S MY MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE, JERK
  • why is it the government's job to take care of everything?
  • I don't know how I would even begin to deal with illegal immigration--we are a country of immigrants (and frankly, I believe it's given us hybrid vigor), but things are a right mess.
  • why are we so wasteful?
There's more where that came from, but my main concern is that we sift through all the goobers running for president and attempt to find the least goobery.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

fixing a hole where the rain doesn't get in because it's in the basement

Work continues apace on our house, and by "apace" I mean "not apace." I had to get some emotional distance from the floor for a few days, but I'm ready to go again. You can see from this picture that I've been able to exercise my will upon a tiny part of the floorboards, despite the slivers. Concerning the basement bathroom, we found a kitchen island at Ikea that I think--I hope--we can use to mount the sink, if we just assemble it without the top. For the toilet John has his heart set on the "900 grams per flush" toilet, as he calls it. Now, here comes the poo talk, so any of you who think you might giggle can wait out in the hall until we're done. John's parents have a toilet in their basement dubbed "The Banshee." This is the favorite toilet of John and all his brothers, because they are really big boys, and The Banshee is equal to the task--in fact, were one to remain seated during the flush, one might be turned inside out. A toilet with the same skill set as The Banshee is required at our house, and the upstairs toilet is a lazy thing which has to be plunged daily.

Here is the lift tank, all installed. It has to stay uncovered so maintenance can be done when necessary.

Here is the channel they carved into the cement--all the pipes are covered up now. Nearest is the shower drain, then the sink, then the toilet.

The pile of dirt is way bigger now.

Hopefully this next week we'll get the shower drain glued, the cement done, the shower framed and the estimate for the cultured marble in the shower. Then we'll buy the toilet and sink table. Then I think it will be sort of a bathroom!