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Friday, April 30, 2010

has anybody seen my dumpling?

We bought a new goat last night. She won't be coming here until after she's bred in October/November, but we're very excited. Her name is Hazel, she's very pretty, and milking her is dreamy. Her udder is so great. I have champagne taste and a moonshine budget with goats as well as with large kitchen appliances, so it's nice to get a goat with such a lovely udder for a very reasonable price. John and I like to look at pictures like this and this and say to each other, "Look at the butt on that!" Welcome, everyone, to my classy blog.

The prolapsing chicken is not prolapsing after all. I was suspicious that it was just one of those soft-shell snake eggs they sometimes lay, and thank goodness that was the case. Man, maybe I could have made a basilisk! Or a cockatrice. . . which one is the snake egg hatched under a chicken? Pretty sure it's a basilisk.

Okay, I just checked it, and here's the deal (according to the dubiously-sourced Wik): the basilisk comes from a serpent's or toad's egg hatched under a cockerel (young rooster). A cockatrice comes from a cockerel's egg (whaaaa?) hatched by a serpent or toad. It looks like the basilisk, but has wings. The basilisk can be killed with the smell of a weasel's urine, which I think you'll agree with me is not a surprise. Mythology, wheee!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

crostata vitamins!

I must have this book.

and always with the dysentery

The BusinessWeek article about the Donner Party has me thinking about playing Oregon Trail with my roommates in college, and how mad it made me when we couldn't leave someone behind who had broken a leg, or cannibalize them. I'm not saying I would do it in real life, but the game didn't even give us the option! Nanny state.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

scenes from home depot

HOME DEPOT, INTERIOR, DAY:

Stoned Fiftyish Home Depot Employee: "Hey, can I help you, ma'am?"
Layne: "Yeah, I was wondering if you have any more rolls of this?" (gesturing to the roll of fencing in her arms)
SFHDE: "Huh?"
Layne: "Do you have any more rolls of this?" (more pointing)
SFHDE: "Rolls of that?"
Layne: "Yeah, of this stuff here. Because I see you have two rolls right here, but do you have any more?"
SFHDE: "We have two rolls."
Layne: "Yes, but do you have any more?"
SFHDE: "Any more?"
Layne: "Yes."
SFHDE: "Of that?"
Layne: "Yes, do you have any more rolls of this fencing?"
SFHDE: "What?"
Layne: (seeing four more rolls on a higher shelf) "Oh, those look like the same stuff. Are they the same as this?" (pointing)
SFHDE: "What?"
Layne: "Are those rolls (more pointing) of fencing the same as this stuff I already have?"
SFHDE: "What?"
Layne: "Can we get them down and look at them?"
SFHDE: "Huh?
Layne: "Can you reach those? Because they're too high for me. Can you get them down?"
SFHDE: (half-heartedly waving his hand up at the higher shelf) "I'll have to get something to stand on."
Layne: "Okay."
SFHDE: "I'll go see if I can find something to get them down."
Layne: "Okay."
SFHDE: (walks away)
Layne: (waiting)
SFHDE: (returns after a couple of minutes) "Uh, I'm going to go get some steps to get up there."
Layne: "Okay."
SFHDE: (walks away)

time passes . . .

Layne: (finally just grabs a U-post and fishhooks the other rolls down from the higher shelf)
Layne: (walks down the aisle and gets eleven U-posts)
Layne: (starts wandering around, looking for the rebar that must be nearby)
SFHDE: (caught off-guard walking away from the fencing area and doesn't have the slightest idea what's going on) "Hey. Can I help you?"
Layne: "Uh, I got the other rolls down. Can you tell me where the rebar is?"
SFHDE: "What?"
Layne: "The rebar."
SFHDE: "What?"
Layne: (walks away)

FIN

in which we learn a little bit about bloody egg chutes, lumpy udders, and herd dominance

Bad times in the animal kingdom.

The Gold Laced Wyandotte has thrown her egg bed, which is a colloquial way of saying she's prolapsed, which is a fancy way of saying her insides (the egg-making ones) want to be on her outside. I blame Morganna the Kissing Bandit (the beheaded rooster, not the buxom human female). I have no reason to suspect him, but he grossed me out and he's not here to defend himself. Maybe he romanced her too vigorously and broke her inside. I'll have his head for this! Oh, wait . . .

In other news, Traci has a raging case of mastitis. She's prone to it, and when she kidded this year it flared right up. I think she remembered the pain of past years and that's why she's been so skittish about letting her babies nurse, which just aggravated it. I hoped they would be determined enough to get the job done anyway, but yesterday I decided I had to take matters into my own hands. After trying by myself and being constantly kicked for ten minutes I had to get John to come help me. We knew she had to be in extreme pain, because she doesn't misbehave in the milk stand, and never kicks. So John held her leg while I milked what felt like a fully inflated basketball for about a half hour. She actually screamed in pain a couple of times, and, as a woman who had mastitis with three of my children, I empathize. She has a lump about the size of a pecan right where her teat joins to her udder--no wonder she tried to bite and kick me.
I got almost a full gallon of undrinkable milk, so I'm going to freeze it and use it for soap. This has increased my interest in getting another doe, because I don't feel good about breeding Traci again. We'll retire her and let her live out her golden years here, I guess, because her personality is so important for the conduct of the herd as a whole. She is so calm and mellow that she tends to help everyone else relax and behave better. As much of a noisy dingbat as Edna ordinarily is, she's ten times worse when Traci's not around. Edna would be a terrible herd queen for this exact reason. She will bawl herself hoarse just for the fun of it, and a jumpy, nervous dominant doe heightens everyone else's agita. Then you've got yourself a pasture full of irritation.

Monday, April 26, 2010

can you imagine if my skirt had gotten wound up in the chain?

Sorry to the people I flashed yesterday on my way to church. I should have known better than to ride a bike in a skirt. You're still perverts for looking.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I am afraid of scary bats

I got to wear my rain boots today and yesterday, and I stepped right in a puddle on purpose. John said it like this: "In yours, puddle!"

We have a picture of Noah's ark, and both of the horses look like mares. Also the giraffes have no spots. I wish Darwin would address that.

I ate my feelings tonight: pasta with meat sauce, salad with a bug in it, cookie dough, hot chocolate, yogurt, scrambled egg.

My contact keeps wrinkling in my eye and making me feel like I'm looking through a spiderweb.

That spider in The Lord of the Rings is gross. I think she's grosser in the book than the movie.

Sometimes I want to say to Samwise and Frodo, "Get a room already!" You can tell Rosie Cotton is totally a beard.

The scariest Gollum is the one in the cartoon. You can watch it on Youtube.

Have I told you that one of my celebrity boyfriends is Leonard Nimoy? He's a fox. I love his nose.

You guys. I was just doing stream-of-consciousness typing, and I didn't realize that Leonard Nimoy and The Hobbit are cosmically connected, but then when I was searching for a good picture of Leonard Nimoy to show you so you'd know I wasn't crazy for loving him--this one:I found this song:

Rock on, nerds.

I think I'll be Joan Jett for Halloween. Don't copy me.

more of the same

John put it this way, "I don't think there's anything worse you can teach your kids than to have them run around for a couple of minutes and then reward them with candy and pop."

Obviously there are worse things you could teach them, like that they should counterfeit money, or poach elephants for their tusks, but you get the point. I don't think my kids are going to become morbidly obese or develop the sugar or heart disease from having snacks after one soccer game. I think treats are great, and I have an eighteen-inch log of cookie dough in my freezer to prove it. But last week it was root beer and Twinkies, and the week before was lurid blue "fruit" punch and radioactive orange cheez crackers, and after six games still nothing found in nature. Whatever happened to fruit, Nature's Candy (tm)? A nice, cold orange slice after striking out or missing the pop fly hit right to you in deep right field, as far away from the infield as you can get because you're really bad at softball? Yum. Do we have to have junk food for everything? Do we want every memorable occasion in our lives encased in a witch's gingerbread house? Heaven forbid that they expend some calories that aren't immediately replaced by corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil.

It's the constant barrage of crap from all directions that gets to me.

Vilda would be disappointed by how often I say "crap."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

five days? but I'm mad now!

I'm sorry I'm so upset about everything today, you guys.

I'm not going to get into why treats after soccer games are so bizarro right now (orange slices, sure, but king-size candy bars? Big Gulps? really?), but I will tell you about how tonight after The Hulk's soccer game the parents in charge of the treat this time passed out chocolate Zingers and Dr. Pepper.

Remind me why America is dying, again?

Also I want to say that one of the benefits of having deprived children is that they view playing soccer as a recreational activity that they enjoy, and we don't even have to bribe them with money for every goal scored.

You should see the white-hot waves of self-righteousness billowing off of me right now. You could sear a roast on my face.

interest in your bold rejection of social norms as evidenced by your quirky child-naming paradigm

Freaking hipsters. My daughter's name is now in the top 100 most popular names--in the top 50, in fact--which I was dreading, because everyone who hears it remarks how beautiful and unusual it is, like DUH, THAT'S WHY I CHOSE IT and now all those jerks have copied me and you don't even know how many names I disqualified because they were too popular, and it didn't work! I hate everyone so much. I HATE EVERYONE! HAAAAAAAAAATE!

And now I'm reminded that I freak out about insignificant things and it's made me mad all over again about cinnamon roll frosting. I'm still seething about it . . .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

attempting rhubarb for the fifth time--I think I might try watering it

This is what my dining room looks like right now. By the time I can plant them they're going to be about four feet tall, I'm afraid. If choosing between housing young plants and young poultry, go for the plants. Quieter and not so much poop, if you're doing it right.

Speaking of poop, one of the chickens has a big growth on his chest--he's our unrealized rooster. He only recently tried making advances to one of the hens, but he unwisely chose Toupee for the object of his desires, and she walloped him but good because she's crazy. Anyway, this rooster looks like Morganna the Kissing Bandit, and since we bought an ax yesterday, he will be passing from this life on Wednesday night, for any mourners who wish to come pay their respects. That's because Thursday is trash day. Life on the farm! Jealous? I mean, I guess I could turn him, growth and all, into chicken nuggets and give them to my elementary school-aged children, but I guess I just like wasting stuff.

I tried my Gouda and it tastes like aspirin. I'm telling myself that it's okay to not have done it right the first time, and I'm certain that my aging cave was too warm, but it's still a disappointment to wait four months to eat something, and then it's gross, and that instead of sticking it to Big Gouda you're sticking it to Big Pain Relief. That is nice, but I would still like yummy cheese. Stupid bacteria.

Yesterday we disbudded, and found out that Tenacious G's horns were too big already because we are sucky animal husbands. Then we did a crap job on Cotton Ball and Catherinenotcate, and they were both bleeding. It was not a good day in Goat.

This rotational grazing is giving me fits! I don't know how to do it in a place with four seasons and limited water. I'm really sad and frustrated about it and I think I'll console myself by pulling up some grass in the front yard and planting strawberries.

Update: I think I has the answer! At least some of the answer.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

we have a fire pit now

I made a great pun today. I will tell it to you now. The chickens were starting to collect in their pen after grazing in the yard, and I told John, "They're headed home after a long day. Time to cluck out." Ha! Get it? Like "clock out?" Not everything was great about the chickens, though. We had to kick the rooster again and hit him with the shovel, because he attacked Pinga and made her cry. Next time he's a goner (makes throat-slitting motion).

The kids are on spring break, so we're trying to divide our time together as a family into equal parts working/playing/fighting. We've already got our fighting third taken care of, so there's just the other two to do now. Today we built a fire pit, and everybody played outside and got sunburned, and it was great. It's so empowering to start a fire in your backyard! We killed two grody grub-looking things while we were digging. They were green and we cut them in half and smeared them on rocks.

Last night John and I and Captain America and The Hulk went to the symphony because we are way highbrow and can buy and sell you clowns. They were doing Pictures at an Exhibition (the Ravel version), which is our all-time favorite symphonic work. For any of you who buy into that classical-music-makes-you-smarter business, this is a great one for kids. It's very visual and descriptive. When we were going into the lobby for intermission there was an older man walking next to us just farting and farting as loudly and merrily as could be. He was unperturbed and unashamed. Good for him? I guess?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

some folks are born silver spoon in hand

You guys, Smith and Edwards is like a cave of wonders. I was there today and found and bought the rain boots I would have gotten in the first place if I had just known they existed, instead of those black and white ones that, although cute, are screaming tight on my toes. Anybody want to buy some black and white rain boots that say they are size 8 but are really meant to fit a size 7 lady foot?

On my way to the checkstand I got teased by an Ariat rep who had noticed my thorough examination of how my legs looked in my Northerner boots, and he told me they weren't a fashion statement. I told him oh, but they were, and I intended to wear them with my skinny jeans in public and all. It's not my fault he's so hamstrung by convention that he can't imagine wearing irrigating boots to a fancy-dress dinner party. Then I told him how my two pairs of Ariat boots are my favorite shoes and I am a missionary for their boots because they are so comfortable, and I have converted two people that I know of. He didn't give me any free boots, though. Jerk. Maybe if I had him call Patty and Jenny, and they could tell him what a convincing saleswoman I am? Maybe he could tell that I was lying, because how could I really say I have a favorite pair of boots? They are like my childrens! I love them all!

One of my character flaws is that every time I do something good I feel prideful about what a nice person I am, which proves that I'm not a nice person at all! Today Pinga and I were in town and I thought we'd go visit our across the street neighbor who is in an assisted living facility now. So right away I started thinking about what a great person I am. So thoughtful. So concerned about easing the journey for my fellow man. I am an example!

I'm not certain, but I bet if the nice things you do are enough out of the ordinary routine of your life that you have a separate thought process about them, you're probably not an example. Dangit!

I have no idea if the guitar hook in "Up Around the Bend" is difficult or impressive, but I know that it is my kryptonite. I can't not listen to that bawm-ba-deed-oo-wadda thing.

Also the weather is beautiful. I was so caught up in enjoying the process that I accidentally planted 45 feet of Bull's Blood beets. I don't know what I'm going to do with all of them, as there's only so much beet kvass a person can drink. Which in my case is likely none.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

pardon me, do you have any misdirection?

All the square radio stations near me are making a big fuss about how lovely it is that the Vatican has finally pardoned, or forgiven, or made amends with, or whatever, John Lennon for his "more popular than Jesus" remark. Groan. It's so cute when clueless old guys try to be relevant, especially when they totally miss the mark. Yes, the Beatles are probably the greatest band of all time, but they're not super current, since they stopped performing live a few years back. And no one really cares what the Vatican said all those years ago, and if anything it probably increased record sales in the long run (Beatles: "Thanks, Pope, says I!"). And as a final stab in my dismissal of this non-item, I'm sure the dead and living Beatles are very gratified to be in company with pedophiles and rapists as people with whom the Vatican has no quarrel.

My apologies to the lovely observant and lapsed Catholics in my life for raspberrying the Vatican.

Monday, April 12, 2010

funny how I'm by myself

I was in Old Navy today and saw those jelly shoes that are popular again, only they're for babies this time. Why? Why would someone do that to a baby? I always got jelly shoes when I was growing up, remember how I said kids are stupid, and they always shredded my heels. There was an article in National Geographic once about fleas and the plague and it had a picture of some guy who had a flea that had chewed on his heel and infected him with some disease or other, and there was like a crater in the back of his foot, all bloody and messy. That's what my feet looked like every year until huaraches happened, and those broke in faster and weren't so hard on my feet.

Don't do this to your babies, or I will call DCFS on you.

wooden shoe, wooden shoe, like to wear my wooden shoe

I finished editing that long businessy, sciencey paper finally. It was long! It was interesting! It made my brain hurt! I had to make an executive decision about usage of the singular "they!" I don't want to spoil it for you, but Garner says that it's a shame that American English users are so resistant to the singular "they," because it promises to be the best solution to the problem. I like that Garner fellow. He's a good mix of the prescriptive and descriptive approaches to usage.

A long time ago it was Easter and we dyed some eggs. They were way dark because we used our brown and green eggs. I took special care to cook them the right way so they would be worth eating, because I'll be jiggered if I'm going to have a green yolk in my house.

Saturday morning Magic Wendy and I practiced being communists. We helped with the sorting at our Bountiful Baskets pick-up site, and I got to take a couple of artichokes home for my trouble. Plus we got our baskets first, so we're always doing that from now on. It's not like I'm busy at seven in the morning, anyway. There was an old man there who kept trying to grab some of the boxes of produce and take off with them. He was weird and possibly senile. But senile people have to obey the laws of the land just like the rest of us, so I don't know what his problem was!

Traci's babies are skinny, but eating fine from what we can see. I also wonder if they just look skinny compared to Edna's babies, which are fat as ticks.
They're pretty cute. Captain America got his pick of the litter, and once he wrapped his mind around the fact that no way, no how are we keeping the buck, he picked the white girl and named her Cotton Ball.

Saturday night I made some pies for a Boy Scout fundraiser. They didn't have time to set up, but my uncle Kenny told me yesterday that my pies were almost as good as my grandma's. I probably don't need to tell you what a huge compliment that was, because my grandma's cream pies are famous. I owe it all to lard and Sue Watanabe's cream pie filling, which is transcendent. I never knew Sue Watanabe personally, but I do know this: she does not mess around. I used some strawberries from the basket, and the peaches I froze last summer. It makes me laugh when I try to be a food stylist.

Sue Watanabe Cream Pie
makes 2 pies
2/3 C sugar
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1 1/2 t flour
1 1/2 C milk + 3 T
2 eggs, beaten
1 T gelatin
1/2 t vanilla
1 1/2 C whipping cream

Combine sugar, salt, cornstarch and flour in a saucepan. Add milk gradually until blended. Cook until thick, stirring constantly.

Dissolve gelatin in the 3 T of milk. Once it has softened, add the beaten eggs. Add to the milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Cook a little longer to thicken it some more, then add vanilla. Let it cool until firm with plastic wrap on the surface to prevent the dreaded pudding skin. Ugh, the memories I have of chocolate pudding in my Grandpa Max's fridge that had skin up to a half inch thick. Also once there was a casserole that my uncle said was rattlesnake, and it sure looked like it, but Wilkers can't be trusted. They regularly lie in service of entertainment. Rings of Saturn, my eye.

Once the pudding is cool, whip the cream until stiff (you don't sweeten it), then fold into the pudding. Use for any cream pie. For chocolate, add chocolate to taste just before removing from stove.

One of these days I'm going to figure out a recipe for putting coconut and banana flavor into the cream itself, instead of just stirred in afterward. I'll keep you posted, and I'm sure you're very anxious about it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

oh, no, not for me, thanks

I'm pretty swamped right now with things that are sort of important, but I want you to watch the pilot episode of The Incredible Hulk and see if you feel like it's weirdly misogynist in parts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Traci kidded this afternoon and because of those frakking huge teats of hers we can't get her babies to nurse, and they've been crying all afternoon and evening and as soon as John gets home from Scouting for Money we've got to go out there and see if we can finally make some progress.

resenting feeling like my buttons are being pushed

My problem with MUSE, based solely on partial exposure to "Uprising" (But those are the best kind of belief systems, right? Unexamined, unstudied, and arrived at hurriedly with limited data?):

One would think that "Uprising" would be directly in my wheelhouse. It has a thumping beat, heavy guitar, revolution-lite lyrics. But as yet I've been unable to listen to it all the way through. And I finally figured out why that is. It's because it sounds focus-grouped. It sounds like they grabbed a bunch of disaffected teenagers as they were coming out of Hot Topic, sat them down in a room, and asked them questions like:
1. Would you like a song with a loud, thumping beat, or minimal percussion?
2. Would you like a song with loud, thumping electric guitar, or gentle, folksy acoustic guitar?
3. Do you want to appear mainstream rebellious, or mainstream compliant?
4. How do you feel about The Man?
5. Do you want to be under The Man's thumb? Or would you instead like to stick it to The Man, at least in word, if not action?

Then they got the results, fed them into the Song Generater 2000 and bleep-bloop, it spit out Privileged Teenager Call to Arms, Version 859-a. It's the warlike descendant of "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "One Tin Soldier Rides Away."

I'm reserving final judgment for now, but I hope MUSE has something a little more creative to offer. People who know them: are they worth our time?

today in goatery

Traci will probably have her babies right away, because she's got a bunch of gook coming out of her hoo-ha. The beautiful miracle of life! I just thought you'd like to know.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

leave my girls no faster

I changed my mind about the topic I had brewing. I had a lovely post in which I pondered the role of women and their treatment by society and certain religions. There was a reference to the tricksiness of being a woman, contrasted with the tricksiness of being a man with a bunch of external genitalia flopping around all over the place. There was indictment of women in general for making each other feel bad about all of their choices and blaming men for it.

But it's one of those topics that needs to be covered verbally, with a healthy dialogue going. So I'll wait until some poor fool gives me a conversational in, and then WHAM! It's going to be great.

Instead, I will tell you that John says I talked in my sleep last night, but more clearly than usual, and I referred to going somewhere and there were bodies. I wonder if I visited a morgue in my dreams? Or a mass grave? I do watch Bones a lot, so that might be affecting my REM sleep. I just really like it when Angel is happy!

Did you hear the kookoopantses on Diane Rehm today talking about manipulating the climate by, among other methods, blocking the sun? Like, have they lost their minds, man? (Said in Shaggy voice.) Aside from the fact that Smithers almost shot Mr. Burns for such skullduggery, somebody hurry and give me an example of a case in which futzing with Mother Nature has not had horrible unforeseen consequences.

I think the Sargasso Sea is fascinating. I like pulp science. You should read The Loch, which is schlock (rhymey!), but very good for making paranoid people (me!) even more afraid of the ocean. Oh, I'll go in, but not very far. I'm no dummy. I told you about how I check swimming pools for sharks.

I need a vacation.

Monday, April 5, 2010

gonna look well smart

I've got something brewing, but I can't figure out how to say it yet, so until then here's something trivial to worry about instead:

WHICH BOOTS?

No, actually, I don't have enough boots. I know this because I was out in the rain today and was wishing I had a pair of rain boots. I have irrigating boots, but they're no good for running errands, unless it's to the feed store, where I have to lug my own fifty-pound bags of laying pellets and sweet mix.

John hates least the black and white plaid, and I would get the brown and black plaid, except for the fact that they sort of look like Burberry, which is gross. So then I lean toward the houndstooth ones, but feel like they're kind of blah. The turquoisey ones are my least favorite.

It's a way huge decision, because it's almost two whole weeks' worth of piano money. Opinions?

And coming soon: how women are their own worst enemies. Or something.

Also, I think that people would enjoy history classes more if Kurt Vonnegut wrote the textbooks. I think he should be required reading.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

our foolish dessert

I'm afraid that a good part of why Superman and I are making peepshi for dessert tonight is how much the word "peepshi" sounds vaguely naughty.