Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Autumn Sunday

It was warm enough today to hang the sheets on the line, but I didn't get into that. We had some kids swing by Saturday night and bash our mailbox in, along with a couple dozen others in the neighborhood, but other than that it was a pleasant Sunday. So what did I do, well, a few things. I finished painting the chicken pen, as it is framed up now. Andrew still has some framing to do, then some special features that will make this pen a cut above the rest, and of course there is still the chicken wire to put up but here is where we are at now.
The goldies ranged about in the grapes, bathing in the dirt and scratching around for bugs. I caught a giant grasshopper and fed it to them. That smartie Goldie, whenever I crouch down and call the hens, she always races over. I think she remembers the cutworm treats of earlier. Here are some goldie pictures, they are still molting. You can see here around pretty goldie's neck, where there are gaps in the feathers, that is where she is molting.
Molt is important because is allows chickens to grow new, fluffy feathers that help keep them warm for the winter. Here you can see where some of the wing feathers are patchy on Goldie.
I finished cleaning out the vegetable beds today, pulling out the last of the peppers and tomatillos, and as soon as I put them on the compost, the Goldies came over to investigate, plucking at the pepper plant leaves and scratching around for bugs.
And here is smartie goldie, looking for another grasshopper.
Speaking of cleaning out the garden, here are the last of the peppers.
And here is the herb garden in fall:
From left to right we have rosemary, lavender, parsley, and oregano. The parsley is doing especially well, and will need cut and dried soon. Below are the blooms from the garlic chives. The bees have been paying more attention to these than the lavender.
Overseeing my work in the garden were Molly and Maxwell, taking turns sunning themselves in the late afternoon sun. Maxwell
And Molly here, lounging.
Once the gardening was done, I went out and about to look for some deer, and I found some!
I'll keep you updated on the chicken pen and when I get back into the cookies. See answers to submitted questions below and you can always ask a question in the comments.

You're Q and A answered...all two of 'em

Time, time, time. Yeah, everyone asks me that all the time. There are a lot of factors. 1) longer days mean more daylight = more energy and feeling like I have time. I think I'm pretty much solar powered. I can already feel myself slowing down, watching a little more tv, and delegating things to do over a couple/three days. It's good, we all need to rest, but don't worry I'll still post my baking experiments, news on the chicken front, and of course maybe some photos from the archives this winter. 2) I don't watch a lot of tv. I think I've watched more tv (the presidential debates) in the last three weeks than I have since April. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and I listen to NPR and music of course, but with the exception of the Amazing Race on Sunday nights and watching dvds when I am sick, that's pretty much it. 3) I do what I am in the mood for. Honest to God, I think I've only made one batch of basic chocolate chip cookies in the last month. When I get in a mood to do something, I do a lot of it, until something else comes around. It makes for some variety. Speaking of cookies, I just got the best cookie book ever at the library so stay tuned. 4) Andrew does a lot of stuff too. All of the canning this summer was done by Andrew, I just post it. A big home project by Andrew is coming may have to do with the chickens. 5) This is the biggie. We don't have kids. No games to go to, to parent's nights to schlep in at 7 p.m. no dinner for three or four to cook and way less to do in the way of, well everything when you have little folks in the house. It also means peace and quiet to putter about and a flexible schedule. 6) Even though I have a pretty flexible routine at home, it is still a routine so when I come home from work, my night is set up basically by three factors: the weather and my blood sugar and is Andrew home and what is he doing? Do I need to eat dinner now or can it wait an hour or two hours? Do I still need to take care of chickens for the day? Does the weather dictate I stay inside or would I be a fool not to be outside when it's so beautiful out? I mean, if it's 98 degrees outside, why not stay inside and make a lemon bundt cake right? Sometimes when Andrew is home he has a delicious food network recipe'd dinner waiting for me, sometimes he's chin deep in his own projects. It just depends. And you know, there's things I want to do that I haven't gotten to. I have two refinishing projects in the garage that will have to wait till spring. I still haven't tried out my jam maker I got for my birthday and that's high on my list. But that's okay, having things like that don't overwhelm me, they give me something to look forward too. That's the upside of being hyper, I am rarely ever bored!

Favorite Herb?

Okay Wendy, thanks for writing in. I'm pretty sure you mean, "what's your favorite herb other than lavender? And I would say...rosemary of course. I love the smell, I love the shape, I love how potentially you can topiary a little rosemary plant into a tree. I love rosemary in shampoo and soap products. Rosemary is especially great for sore muscles and I always keep some rosemary salt scrub in the fridge. I love all the little rosemary plants M gave me this year for the garden. And I am trying, with very mixed results, to keep some of them over the winter. It seems like I'm always over watering one and under watering the other at best.
I'm hoping next year I can get an adorable white windowed built cold frame from Andrew's handy skills. Rosemary when protected (or in a warmer climate) can grow well over 5 feet tall and what a delight they are. A short hedge of Rosemary would be a lot of fun, but not doable here. Rosemary is like lavender, another strongly scented herb. Whenever I try rosemary in something (like rosemary peach lemonade) I'm never disappointed whereas lavender, and you know how much I love lavender, does nothing for my in the edible department.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's a Country Q & A

Hi, while I gather some more material (lots going on, just need a chance to get it together) I thought if any of you out there had some questions, about chickens, foxes, lavender, herbs, gardening, or country life in general, please drop me line through the comments. If I don't know the answer, I'll make something up, you won't know the difference anyway right? More news next week, Jules PS Someone delivered egg cartons to my place at work. Whoever it was, thanks, they are great!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Rules for the Country Living Fair

Rule Number 1 Do not wear a pink tutu over your jeans. You are not whimsical. You just look crazy. Rule Number 2 Do not wear thigh high, thousand dollar english leather riding boots. You are not in England, you are not riding, you are not Martha Stewart, and you at the County Living Ohio. Rule Number 3 If you are over 40 and you break either rule number 1 or rule number two, you should be banned from the country living fair. Rule Number 3 Do not haggle at the Country Living Fair on Friday morning. If it is 3 o clock on Sunday, haggle away, the vendor does not want to lug unsold item back home. But on Friday morning? Look, these vendors come from all over the country, they have highly reputable stores and galleries. They have paid a hefty, hefty fee to get in, and there are people from all over the country here to buy, buy buy. You want to haggle, do it at your local antique shop/auction. Okay, now, on with the fun report with pictures! So this year Andrew was off and he went to the Country Living Fair with me and my friend M. Andrew loves crowds and is continually baffled by how at this one event crowds and the heat do not bother me. He sees a hardiness in me that cannot be replicated at the state fair, the columbus arts festival, the yellow springs street fair. So what's the difference? A purpose! It's not just that I'm shopping, it's that I'm shopping for my favorite kinds of things. AND I know where all the vendors are that I like AND I know what I am looking for and it's all very targeted. The weather was breezy and cool this year, and I think it was more crowded than I have ever seen it. My big find was a couple very reasonable priced galvanized tubs. Remember the spring project where I spray painted tubs for herbs (see May, Spring Project Number One in the sidebar?) Well I found a square one (don't know if I will paint it as square ones are kinda rare) and a nice big round one that I can plant more herbs in next year. I also bought something else along those lines, but you will have to wait to see it when it's in action for this idea I have. Anyway... Andrew made two notable finds...carboys for his wine making.
The one on the right is especially interesting as it holds 8 gallons, has a slight aqua color. I've never bought a lot of big stuff at the Country Living Fair, stuff I couldn't carry around in our little two wheeled grocery cart (like the use in the city) but we used the bag/check porter service a lot this year. M and I found those garden tripods we liked so much last year and picked up one each and then I found the usual smattering of smaller objects I like.
From left to right: A large, clear wiretop jar without marking that I'm going to make into a special gift-giving project this holiday season, so you'll have to see. The brown milk bottle with stopper is in impeccable condition. It has a detailed relief of a dairy cow being milked and it says "absolutely pure milk, Thatcher's Dairy Bottle Patent 1884." Then on the bottom it says, "Crawford China Company 1965 Bottle made in Italy." It is just so cool, I can't wait to use it. On the far right is some skin toner bottles in a little carrier, easy to take to work and share. The tablecloth was another find.
Collecting ironstone can be addicting, but I was a sucker for the delicate pink lines of these set of 4 Homer Laughlin cups. I've been using them for fruit cups at home.
And here is Maxwell modeling a tablecloth. And it wouldn't be the Country Living Fair without stopping at the 200 Acres Homestead Bakery from Arthur Illinois. My God that bread is good. A loaf of honey wheat and a loaf of dill went home with us and both got eaten pretty quickly. Lazy Bee Studio (excellent, excellent soap) made and appearance this year and I stocked up. Pictured below is two baskets I bought at the Rural Society show in May. Another M friend, made the linings for me out of a French ticking style stripe. One is a the oval one is a laundry basket, we can never seem to have enough around here, and the one with handles holds my yoga props in the family room. I'm so lucky to know some good sewing folks. The book is Randy Florke's "Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle." This is only his second book which is a shame, every page is a delight to look at. We need less Shabby Chic books (Sorry Rachel Ashwell, but really, they are all the same.) And more Randy Florke.
I hope to have a chicken update soon, and I've got some new recipes lined up and I may have some fun fox pictures so stay tuned...!