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Sunday, July 31, 2011

and great shall be your joy

It would be nice if you guys could check out this beauty and make a comment opposing it.

What can I say, I have Libertarian leanings. I have strong opposition to anything that makes the job of farming more expensive and more difficult. For industrial agriculture this will not be a problem, but for, say, all the independent, small-scale farmers I know and buy my food from, this is a killer.

And you guys know how I feel about centralized agriculture, right? HINT: hates it, precious. Thinks it's dangerous and short-sighted, precious.

Please grow a garden.

make him pay fifty dollars every day

Yesterday was my birthday. Thank you, thank you. You're too kind. I am thirty-five now, which seems like kind of a boring age. It's not young anymore, and not old yet--right? We'll see how it goes. So far it's pretty rad.

I am a simple creature, with simple pleasures. I like eating and watching stuff, so yesterday was perfect. We went out to dinner with some friends at a terrific, pricey but not extravagant restaurant, where they make their own practically everything; then we went to a tenth anniversary party at a spa, where I got a free massage; then John and I went to Cowboys & Aliens, where I learned that for reals, you do not mess with Daniel Craig, and that Olivia Wilde may be the new Megan Fox, a development I welcome and embrace. Those toe-thumbs are so unsettling . . . but as I was saying, Cowboys & Aliens. I liked it. I think it's better than Super 8, even though the aliens have a severe physiological design flaw that you'd think they would have evolved past if they're so great.

Grant's birthday card said:
"Dear Mom,
You are the best mom I have ever had, my other moms have been mean, that is why I never wished them a happy birthday. I love you."

Is he the coolest son of all time? I think so.

Plus, I almost forgot: Thurl Bailey was at the same restaurant we were last night, and he can probably eat whatever kind of food he wants! So we must have good taste.

Friday, July 29, 2011

it's why I like the smell of cow poop

By the way, I think everyone, everyone, should read this editorial. Bless Christopher Kimball.

you fool! this medicine is for a different illness from this one!

I think I might start being one of those people who dries fruit. I've dabbled with it in the past, but have never committed to buying my own dehydrator. I've got an old dehydrator that belonged to my mom, and my grandma before her, but now I've got all these apricots I bought from Sumida's yesterday, and they don't fit, plus it's the 97th anniversary sale at R & R Hardware . . . what choice do I have, really?

I put the kids to work washing and pitting the apricots while I went outside to clip goat hooves, so obviously when I came back in they had thrown a good thirty or so of them away, claiming they were rotten, where "rotten" actually means "ripe."

I try to defend truck people. Trucks are very useful, and we couldn't get by without our old beater (1982 Chevy, jealous much?). But it would be so much easier for me if there weren't so many truck people driving around in monster trucks with skinhead insignia and naked mudflap girls and wolves in crosshairs and badly drawn Calvins peeing on stuff. Bleck. When we were on our way back from the Manti pageant we saw a grody perv with a mudflap girl in his back window, and one of the girls in my car exclaimed, "What a durf!" with the soul-crushing derision that is the true medium of the teenage girl. I was so proud of her.

Would you like your kids to get more magnesium in their diet, but are not sure how to do it? Just keep an open bar of dark chocolate in your cupboard on top of a stack of plates, and your children will sneak it and feel like they're getting away with something. Ha! You are a smart mom. Or dad! I don't want to be sexist.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

now, tell dad what happened to your hair

Would you like to know how my goat training is progressing? Okay, I'll tell you.


Long Tall Sally is calm, docile and affectionate. She walks with her head held high to the milking parlor, hops onto the stand with no fuss, and placidly eats her grain while I pet her and trim her hooves and get her used to somebody fiddling with her udder. She walks back to the pen with a little grazing stop on the way, and goes through the gate without a fight.

Lovely Rita holds her head as low to the ground as she can, and holds her front legs stiff and in the air, so I essentially have to drag her, gasping and choking, into the milking parlor. She gets onto the stand and eats with no problems, and lets me handle her without freaking out, unless I try to trim her hooves. If I lift her leg to trim the hoof she has a tantrum. Then I have to drag her gasping and choking back to the pen.

Julia is somewhere between Sally and Rita in comportment. Not as much of a basket case as Rita, but nowhere near as compliant as Sally. But she lets me trim her hooves without fighting, and that goes a long way toward redemption.

Behavior:
1. Sally
2. Julia
3. Rita

Appearance:
1. Sally
2. Rita
3. Julia

How can it be that Sally is both the prettiest and the best-behaved? I feel very lucky.

A segment of the Daily Show got me to thinking, and here's my theory: Ann Coulter has a giant Boggle cube which contains sentences instead of letters. Every time she wants to write a book she gives the cube a shake, dumps all the sentences out, and there's her book. Then when sales slow down and she needs another book she shakes the cube again, and out come the sentences in a whole new order for the next book.

Monday, July 25, 2011

like the lazy ocean hugs the shore

Yesterday to church I wore my weird shoes that remind me of hooves. They're not cloven or anything, but they still seem animalesque. I asked John how I looked, because I always do (it keeps me from dressing too crazy for church), and he kind of looked sadly at the shoes and then said, "Good." He hates those shoes! He hates them even more than my boots. He says I look like a refugee from the eighties.

Our children are operating under such a severe sleep debt that they can barely function, and last night Ike came upstairs and woke us up to tell us that he had thrown up in his bed, which is a cool thing our kids do when they get really, really tired. Talk about an understatement--he had barfed on his shirt, the sheets, the down comforter, the mattress, and the carpet. I was only partially awake when he made his announcement, and through the fog of sleep I thought, "I'll just lie here for a minute or two, and then I'll get up and help John clean it up." I suppose you know what really happened. John has earned sainthood many times over for the amount of night barf and other effluent that he has cleaned up, and most of it I have only known about afterwards. He calls last night's episode Fibber McGee's Fabulous One-Acre Barf Closet.

I used to like only small-holed waffles and thought that the expensive flippy Belgian wafflers were a waste of money, but now I'm pretty sure I need one. This is how you can see that I am maturing: because my tastes are changing. I'm not so arrogant as to think I have all the answers!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

well I've tried, and I've tried, but I haven't yet

So, I sat in a great big chicken turd this morning.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Oh, come off it, Layne. Poop is no big deal to someone like you. You sit in poop all the time, and you probably like how it smells. Else you wouldn't have so many animals."

Well, you're wrong. It was gross. The door to the milking shed was left open by one of the children, and the filthy chickens went in there and pooped on the floor and also evidently on my milking stool, a fact that escaped my notice until I sat on it to milk Hazel this morning. If you were wondering, the smell lingers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

they knew all the right people, they took all the right pills

Here's what I see going on in the debt ceiling "discussion," we'll call it, rather than "group tantrum."

The Republicans are typically the people who want fewer entitlements and social programs, they say. But then President Obama threatens to not send out the Social Security checks and the Republicans are all HOW DARE HE PEOPLE COUNT ON THAT MONEY HE WANTS TO THROW GRANDMA DOWN THE STAIRS BY THE WAY CAN WE START ANOTHER WAR YET?

President Obama is caught in the unenviable position of having made a threat that he can't follow through on without losing credibility. It's like a few weeks ago when I said we couldn't leave for Cherry Hill until everybody had eaten their oatmeal, and of course Emmett chose to die on that sword. So then I said everybody could go swimming but Emmett, and I made him change out of his suit so I wouldn't be tempted to rescind my punishment, but then everybody told me what a horrible mom I was being, and John said that it seemed pretty harsh, so we told Emmett that like Jean Valjean he deserved to go to prison, but not for nineteen years, and I bought him a swimsuit at the water park. He needed a swimsuit anyway, and he did miss out on half of the day of swimming, but the chief result of the whole shebang was that I looked like a giant idiot, because I had made a ridiculous threat. Good luck with that, Mr. President.

People are sobbing about how other countries won't trust us if we default. Well, why should they? We are being big old deadbeats.

And I am confused, not being a comprehender of fiscal matters, but if we don't have enough money to pay our bills unless we raise the debt ceiling . . . doesn't that mean that we just use more borrowed money to pay the bills if we do raise the debt ceiling? Doesn't that put us further in debt?

Basically I see a lot of bravado and political theatre going on, and very little attention to the actual problem, which is that we buy stuff we can't afford. We can't afford wars and social programs and endless government expansion without raising taxes. So all these nincompoops need to sit down and hold hands for a while until they can say "I love you," and then they need to do some actual work, instead of standing around peeing on each other. They might want to work on differentiating between wants and needs, and then they can try making necessary but unpopular changes, even when it's an election year.

But that's just me, and Orrin Hatch has already told me in a patronizing form letter that I am not smart enough to make decisions about governance.

Monday, July 18, 2011

now he's poorly from too much electric

Sometimes I worry that I'm not well informed because the only news I get is from NPR. It's eclectic and intriguing, and they don't yell at me. But then I don't hear about people murdering their girlfriends or cougars attacking people in their yards. Are these things I should know? I wonder. I already think most people are dangerous scumbags, and I am already afraid of mountain lions, so maybe the local news is redundant affirmation of this. Mountain lions are very pretty, though. Their tails are the best ones among the big cats, and I'll go to my death saying it.

I would like to see the Forks Over Knives movie, but already I can see some potential disagreements I'm going to have with their premise. I wonder if they mean no meat at all in the diet. Less meat, meat sparingly, that I can get behind. But no meat? Hmm. We'll see what they say.

One of the previews at Harry Potter was for Cowboys & Aliens, which seems like it was made specifically for me. Maybe I should read the book?

Friday, July 15, 2011

in which I am a goober

I am in mourning a little bit, even though I knew the end was coming, and the real end came the day I finished reading book seven, not last night.

I am feeling very navel-gazey about the whole thing, and have written a sloppy, indulgent post on the cultural and spiritual importance of the Harry Potter series, which I daren't post because it is so totally goobery.

Just know that all those years ago, when the first two books had been released and everybody was throwing babies and fainting about how awesome they were (except for those nuts who were afraid of the books spawning a generation of Satanists), and I was dismissive and suspicious, and said to my coworker that they couldn't possibly be worth the amount of hype they were generating, and she convinced me to read them . . . boy, was I wrong. They were worth every bit of the hype, and so much more.

I wish I could have my memory wiped and read them for the first time again.

I give fair warning to my real-life associates that for the next few weeks this is probably all I'm going to talk about.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

with the bad-a boys, always shoot-a pool

John and I went to our city council meeting last night. We had another farcical discussion about biodiesel, that consisted mainly of the city council putting their collective fingers in their collective ears and shouting "blah blah blah I can't hear you blah blah."

I kid. They were sort of like that, but I don't think they're actively trying to make us miserable. They really do think this is the best thing for our city. I am puzzled, but it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round, I guess, including old people who wash their driveways and people who like factories by houses.

John, under duress, registered to run for city council this fall. He would really rather that I do it, but he's a lot more likeable than I am. Plus he is fair and open-minded, and will do a good job. He's a Hufflepuff for sure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

there's always one who screams and wakes everybody up

I watched Secretariat yesterday. It was a very standard movie of its sort, but it turns out that I am easily charmed by the sight of a running horse, and can be persuaded to pardon heavy use of twee and disregard for facts.

I was instantly made very uncomfortable by his groom, who got the Magical Negro treatment, but then, Eddie Sweat was a real guy who was tremendously talented in his handling of the horses. I know people like that, who just get animals, and it does seem a little magical. So maybe Disney is not being lazy and racist? It was a fine movie, and I liked it, but I do wish there had been more horse stuff.

I've been trying out cell salts. So far I can tell you that they seem to have no effect on vomiting.

Harry Potter tomorrow night. I can't talk about it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame

We're having teff for breakfast. I'll tell you straight up: as a breakfast porridge, for my timid Western palate, teff is pretty sucky. It's too savory, and tastes weird when you try to sweeten it. So I'm going to try it in a grits-type application, with an egg on top. Whining projection: moderate to extreme. Right now it smells kind of like barf.

I bought some beets from the fruit stand last week. I think I might try to be really brave and make some kvass. I tried it a month or so ago, and was sure I'd hate it, because I hate beets so much, but it was actually kind of yummy. Much more easily acclimated to than straight beets. I've gotten to where sufficient amounts of butter and salt make beets kind of tasty, but that was years in the making. Being a grown up and a good example to my children is a lot of hard work.

Our first cutting of hay is essentially garbage, totally full of June grass. The goats won't have anything to do with it, understandably. After all, Traci did get a big old goiter from a piece of June grass working its way down her throat, so she is probably a little gun-shy. This situation is irritating to me, and I'm trying to figure out what crops to overseed with, and I'm scared to talk to an extension agent, because I'm afraid he'll just think I'm being weird to not plant it all in alfalfa. I like alfalfa fine, but shouldn't they be eating something else, too? I hope the internet has the answer.

It looked for a minute like maybe the biodiesel plant was dead in the water, but it has made a small, lurching step forward. I feel quite confident in saying that even the fact that the guy was totally incommunicado for almost two months will not give our city council any qualms. They are past the point where facts are going to affect them. I'm pretty sure that we're going to get a big metal building behind our house, then the guy is going to go bankrupt because his business plan is SHEER IDIOCY, and Honeyville will be left holding the bag. However: even with the biodiesel plant, I don't want to move. I like it here. I like the people, except for the crappy ones who are putting a biodiesel plant behind my house (I hate those guys), and I would be bereft without my collective of weirdos. Where else am I going to find people with such an eclectic collection of interests and abilities? Magic Wendy saved Rita's life, you guys.

Update: the teff was great. For me. The kids hated it because they are crazy, and because they are neophobes unless it's layered restaurant food. I put a sunny side egg on top of it, and it made it very much like grits, which I love. I just love porridgey things. I think that means I'm a peasant.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I was a chubby lady hiding in the bushes

You guys. I am being the best goat husband this year. I have a little trouble with that terminology--the "animal husband" stuff--because it makes me feel butch, which I already sort of am, so it makes me feel self-conscious. I would like to say goat wife instead, but I think it might not be accurate. Are the animals always the wives and the farmers are always the husbands? That brings in some farmers are to livestock as husbands are to wives overtones, which is highly unsavory to me, being a Liberated Woman (like I said, butch). What is the protocol?

But as I was saying, I am so good at my job right now. I have been taking the babies up to the the milking stand and feeding them grain while I pet them, thereby helping them to associate the milking stand with food and affection. They are giant freaks about it still, but they're coming along.

I am trying to look objectively at my overwhelming desire to buy the apple orchard. Is it merely greed, or are there other factors at play? I know that part of my yearning is to keep the orchard from being cut down and developed, but is there also in the mix a longing for food security, and a desire to be part of the solution when the year-round buffet of out-of-season food comes to an end? Are these sensible thoughts? Do I truly understand the magnitude of the responsibility I would assume if we buy this land? Just how dirty can I allow our house to become in my quest for more and more arable land?

Well, it may not be an issue. We can't get the realtor to give us a straight answer about anything, and the comparative pittance we'd pay for the 2-something acres we're looking at is not winning any friends.

The stupid bees have left. There were quite a few stragglers at first, but now they're all gone, too. I don't know why. Maybe they got too hot on the south side of the garage. What a nightmare. But unless we find a swarm we're going to have to wait until next spring to get more.

Monday, July 4, 2011

but he can't can-can like the sardine can

We went to a parade today in delightfully cool weather. BUT THERE WERE NO BANDS! What is happening to our country that there is an Independence Day parade which contains no stomping high-schoolers tootling Sousa? Disgraceful.

We made sure to keep all of our candy wrappers in our pockets until we got to a garbage can, because we are decent human beings. Such was not the case with the people across the street from us, who left a miniature ocean of wrappers in the gutter where they sat. On the way back to the car their group was walking in front of us, and they were just dropping things as they walked--candy wrappers, ice cream wrappers, empty water bottles. It was really something to see. We picked up after them, because as I told you, we are decent human beings. What kind of person just brazenly drops garbage wherever they are? Being a literate person, and a consumer of periodicals, I understand that there are people like this in the world, just as there are people who torture animals or children, or think that processing oil shale is a good way to produce energy, or earn a seven-figure salary running a non-profit homeless shelter. But it's always upsetting to witness such behavior first-hand.

Now I think I'll go invent something to celebrate America's birthday. I already invented Magic Shell, so that's a no-go. Maybe a sandwich that's on fire? Seems pretty patriotic.