Saturday, September 16, 2017

Daily Writing Challenge: Day 2: The Treehouse

I've challenged myself to sit down and write EVERY DAY...it won't all end up here as I'm old school and using a journal for the daily writing, but I do think that I need to make myself publicly accountable even though no one is likely to read this. (This is a second draft of my second day's writing)


I’ve been daydreaming about treehouses lately—though treehouse might be inaccurate as I don’t want to hurt a free with anchors, impose myself on the tree’s space, or get in its way. Perhaps I could call it an elevated shack or a sky lodge or some other silly thing—I just want to be as tall as a tree and while away the time.
This morning as I walked the dog in the forest I envisioned a stilted house (or should that be a house on stilts?) all wood and windows with a tin roof and a tiny balcony, the better for being in the trees. My little house on legs would blend right in, the trees would accept us as one of their own. There would be a swing under it, on rough hemp rope and hopefully it will develop a squeak because all the best swings have squeaks in my memory. 
Inside I will have soft rugs and a stuffed chair and my childhood wrought iron bed layered with quilts and pillows perfect for nesting. There would of course be a teapot and books. Many, many books. There would be an old-fashioned mailbox by the front door to put your phone in and a welcome mat on which to leave your shoes. 
I would hang the walls with paintings of owls and birds and starry nights. There would be shelves for the books and the collections of things the forest gives me like feathers and special rocks, all my hagstones would hang in the windows with stars made of stained glass and wispy curtain made of dreams. There would be no chores or lists of things to do there…it would be a place to read, or write, or draw, or think. A quiet place away…just away. Away from chores, and phones, and screens, and lists.
It’s the lists that keep me down, that bind me to the burden. I cannot say that the list is always on actual paper because it is more of a continuous awareness that everywhere my eyes rest there is work to be done. One thing is no sooner done  (or fixed) than something else insists it needs attention. This farm cries for attention, the house needs TLC, the dogs, the goats, the chickens, the garden; something is always demanded of me and somewhere along the way I forgot that I need attention, and TLC, and time, and space, too.
If I neglect the goats or the garden the consequences are dire—that’s how I think of it—something or someone will die. But I need to remember that the consequences of neglecting myself are dire too. I forget to eat. I forget how to sleep. I forget to dream. I forget to live.

So my little daydream shack in the sky is a form of self-care—maybe someday I’ll build it, but for now I go there in my mind.

Monday, May 22, 2017

On Selling Eggs and Eating Seasonally (with a bonus recipe).

I carefully chose these pictures of eggs and began formulating a post...after months and months my writing skills are rusty...once the pictures appeared here, my head was empty. The whole post I'd formulated in my head just evaporated. I guess that is what happens when you don't practice what you preach (write, write, write...every. damn. day.)

Carol's egg...

I have a vague sense of wanting to articulate something about the ways in which the seasons dictate our actions...as they should I think. I also just did a mini-vent on Facebook regarding the whole "I suck at selling shit even when it is good shit" and "I'm really fucking tired of trying to convince people to buy local and support a real person instead of a multi-gazillion dollar egg factory."

So, this was either going to be a lovely, philosophical post about eating seasonally and living seasonally OR it was going to be diatribe against all.the.people who just don't get it. Let's just go with diatribe and get on with it.

I work really hard on this farm and you never even make your feed money back on eggs. Never.

My little brother, back when he was nine or so, crunched the numbers on egg farming. Even at nine (and his plan included like no overhead because he was planning on living in a tent!??!) he figured out that you could not make any money selling eggs.

That is totally the truth...so, a $5.00 dozen of eggs doesn't even buy feed and that assumes that you actually SELL some of the eggs. What mostly happens is that I can't convince folks to pay $5.00 (because factory eggs are super cheap) and they don't fucking care that we are ethical and humane and feed them good feed, and fresh veggies from the garden. No one gives a shit about organic or sustainable. No one cares that they will die of old age here where they are loved and talked to, where they have access to fresh air and sunshine.

This isn't actually about making money or breaking even for me. It is about supporting local agriculture, about supporting your neighbors, about saying no to factory farming and cruelty,  about seeing this one woman who works hard and supporting her. Supporting me. And even though I threw myself in at the end, it really isn't about me.

I believe that this would be a much better world to live in if we supported our neighbors and their efforts, if we looked to the smallest businesses instead the largest to feed us, if we learned to eat seasonally (yea, I worked that part in too).

I've just handled 19+ dozen eggs and we are just entering the abundance of Summer. In the winter we got excited when we got 1 or 2 eggs in a day. Last time I advertised eggs for sale no one wanted/needed any...it was all crickets. I get it. Sort of...

Now, we get about 6 or 8 a day...I don't even count anymore. I take for granted that it is more than enough, more than we need. Even though I take the abundance for granted you have to do something with all those eggs...and since I clearly suck at selling these eggs...the best eggs in the world, then I have to get creative.

Going into the freezer for Future Frittatas (that is totally a thing now)

Today, I had more than a lot...19.5 dozen to be exact.

So what does one do with that many eggs? (when you suck at selling stuff)

4 dozen went to family members
4 dozen were offered up for sale
4 dozen were frozen (to be made into quiches and frittatas in the middle of the Winter)
2 dozen were boiled to be fed back to the chickens (and before you get all squeamish let me remind you that some humans eat their own placentas....so, yea....not weird)
10 singles were boiled for humans and dogs to eat
and there are still 4.5 dozen in the fridge from last week...

Diatribe over....and it was a pretty mild one actually. Thanks for noticing. 

BONUS: If you have excess eggs to freeze.
Break 10-12 eggs in a bowl.
Lightly stir to incorporate the yolks and white (do not beat or whip)
Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt.

Thaw in the fridge (this will look like your worst fridge nightmare...marvel in the total weirdness of thawing eggs...so gross!)

Basic Frittata
10-12 eggs
1 cup of cheese (grated or chèvre or whatever)
vegetables of choice (you can also add bacon or ham)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix it together and put it in a skillet
cook on the stovetop for 10 minutes 
cook in the oven for 20 minutes
 OR
Preheat to 375 degrees
Layer everything in a pie plate, pour eggs over the top
Bakes 45 minutes, until all is set.
***this is my preference because 45 minutes is enough time to put goats to bed. So you pop dinner in the oven then hustle like mad to get back before it burns!!!


Monday, January 2, 2017

Purpose and Projects...20 days without News or Facebook (and 11 days without a Netflix binge).

I cannot believe how much I am getting done...below is a project that I mentioned in my last post. My greenhouse was built two years ago as a birthday present and has stood unfinished since then. Although I've been using it, it was truly unfinished. I spent a day and a half putting up this wall on the north side (the other walls are windows). Thanks to my news fast my mind was empty of distressing things and I was about to let it wander at will. 

As I worked alone, I thought back to when I first learned how to work with wood. It was after my Dad died and Mom and I (out of necessity) had to start learning how to do things for ourselves. Fifteen years ago (or so) she and I tackled replacing some of the siding that was rotting. We learned as we went...we figured it out as we went along. We made lots of mistakes. We figured out how to cut angles...we figured out how to fix PVC spigots when we broke them while we worked...and we worked side by side; which is how it has been ever since.

Salvaged siding (and new scraps before paint).

As I let my mind drift past the significance of my using this siding...the siding from my childhood home, the siding that taught us how to work with wood....my thoughts settled on the siding itself. With a gulping sob, I realized that much of this siding was likely the same siding my Dad put up in 1978. My dad was a gardener extraordinaire, so it was all the more poignant that I was using this salvaged siding to build a wall in MY greenhouse. My heart was just a tiny bit broken that afternoon...there are so many things I would like to ask my Dad about gardening...so. many. things.

Part of my childhood home.
 The greenhouse is still not finished, but I have a plan drawn out. It is solitary work and I will get back to it soon. I stopped work on it to work side by side with my husband on an inside project. For ages and ages I wanted to build a Murphy bed. While my dream studio would be one large room with a vaulted ceiling and lots of natural light, I know I'm never going to get that. Instead I'm culling out lots of small spaces to create and daydream and work. I have the greenhouse, the barn, a sewing room, and now I will be able to paint and draw and glue and mess in the guest room and the Murphy bed will allow me more space.

Murphy Bed
We have guests so very rarely and I've had to work around this bed for years. It has been a struggle. This is the room where I cure all my soap and where I make the price tags for bags and animals and such. It has pissed me off over and over that stupid bed, so now I can make it go away!! We finished the bed together and then I took over the building of the shelves on my own (though I will admit to having MANY issues getting started and I asked for help a lot).

Murphy Bed and customized storage.
I struggled and fought with the shelves today, but finally I have finished. In a fit of frustration (when I literally cut something a inch too short AND at a weird angle???) I almost crashed on the couch and turned on Netflix. Almost.

The last 20 days have been very interesting and I'm learning a lot about myself. It seems like when I am bored, anxious, angry, frustrated, etc. I will, instead of just riding out the feelings, seek to erase them with surfing or watching TV. After 20 days, I realize that I just have to feel the feelings and get past it. After 20 days, I realize that I do better when I have an agenda when I get up in the morning.

Aimless doesn't work for me and it makes me anxious...ugly circle, huh?