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On being heat wimps

I have to remember that warm weather has an upside

The mercury in the non-greenhouse thermometer reached 86 degrees F. yesterday.  You’d think it hit 106 the way we were carrying on around here.

I will readily, easily admit I prefer cool weather.  We didn’t get to 90 all last summer and that was quite fine by me:  canning was still a sticky endeavor (and considering I was canning food for 135 schoolchildren as well as our own needs perhaps “endeavor” is an apt term) but otherwise it was an enjoyable year.  And now, well, now our blood is still thick and our entire aspect is crabby.

Case in point:  Five hens are sitting on eggs and, when they come out for their daily water, food, dustbath and, er, bowel clearing session they create QUITE the ruckus in the yard.  They cluck mightily and pick fights (!!) with everyone, and it appears to be catching.  When not molested by broody hens, our other chickens stand droopily with heads lowered and wings out, trying to take advantage of any breeze.  But once one gets a-squawking the others remember past grudges and the feathers then fly.  This heat and humidity has caught them off guard too.

T-bell the goat stomps her feet on the milkstand.  We got actual tears yesterday when our daughter realized her kiddie pool (six year old kiddie pool) had a hole, and her mood was only lifted when I told her she could spray ME with the hose.  The dog keeps losing fur and I saw one cat wrapped around the base of a toilet at one point in the afternoon.  And who wants to cook in this kind of weather, much less garden?

I suppose if we’d been eased into it instead of thrown in the boiling pot we’d have been less upset by how hot it was.  Go ahead and laugh:  we’re complete hot-weather wimps!

On literally being stuck

img_9534The turkeys’ and geese’s view

I am watching snow fly upward.   We are staying home today under a blizzard watch, and I’m watching my own little blizzard right now while everyone else sleeps.

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments yesterday.  I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to me to learn there are so many other people out there with an itch to dig!  Dig, and maybe blog about it!  When I started this blog endeavor, indeed, when I started this grow-most-of-what-we-eat thing, it was a rather solitary pursuit.  It still is a solitary pursuit, come to think of it; it’s my muscle, my rather like-it-or-lump-it decisions as far as what is grown and what is cooked and what gets preserved for later.  But to know that I am part of a community, at least a virtual one, is good for me on a cold day like today.

So thank you, kind readers.

img_9518Little Edie is not happy

On fruit

Because we live in the bounteous Fruit Belt I suppose I am a bit jaded about what the average person pays for fruit.  (One of the final straws of our moving from Minnesota was the $48 pricetag on a peck (half bushel) of Macintosh apples.)  I’m even more jaded now that I get much of my fruit for free.

Did you know that Michigan, after California, has the most diverse acreage for growing things in the U.S.? It’s true.  Agricultural commodities, from elk to ginseng to cranberries to wheat to apples and our famous cherries, we do grow a lot of stuff here. Considering most folks associate Michigan with our top-of-the-bottom lists (unemployment, home mortgage failures, etc.), I think folks should also know what we do right.

Child labor: a good thing

So Saturday we actually “went retail” and visited a local U-Pick apple orchard.  (U-Pick:  isn’t that the oddest term ever.)  Of course, most places can’t *just* let you pick apples.  Nope.  You can fish, run through a corn maze, get your face painted, listen to live music or tumble in one of those moonwalk things (that is, you can if you are small), and of course go on a hayride.  Eat cinnamon donuts, or a caramel apple, or a hotdog, and of course drink lots of fresh cider.  It was all a bit much for me, including the price for picking three pecks of apples ($24).  Then I realized that was a sixth of what the Minnesota farm wanted for the same apples, so I bucked up and paid them.  The girls sure had fun picking them though.

Wednesday photo

Very busy today. Just thought I would show you something pretty.

What is your favorite time of day?

Playing with one’s food: turkey poult

The reason I ask is I do not think I have one. I do enjoy sitting down and eating dinner, though. And right now it’s a very fine evening of complete stillness and long shadows as the sun tips away from us for the night. If anything, I think I am biased toward evening.

All the critters are out: the ducks with their insistent noises (they are ENTIRELY noisy and nervous when they leave their pen), the goslings and turkeys cutely pecking the rocks of the driveway, and all the egg chickens are at my feet here on the back deck, giving themselves and each other a preen. The slow-growing meat birds are flapping around in the chickens’ pen and venturing outside furtively: they actually like to fly, and their favorite game is to play King of the Mountain atop the feeder. This is a perfect summer evening.

I will say this about country living: You can develop feet of lead. (Or maybe, in my case, clay.) I don’t ever want to leave, so…we don’t ever really go anywhere. Surely it is wonderful having people over, entertaining and feeding friends and relations. But to get me actually off the farm and, you know, go out for an evening? It’s hard! And I blame the creatures.

My inlaws came over for dinner recently. My FIL was laughing heartily at all the critters as he couldn’t turn his head without seeing some avian drama or another, or see the new kitty Little Edie do something amazing like show up with ANOTHER huge mouse in her mouth (thanks, kitty!). My FIL is a whiz with all things electrical (he’s an electrical engineer) and dang he’s cheap: feed him, and ye shall get your electric work done! (I should here mention that I can do the electrical work too but I have a much lower threshold for wiring than he. Let’s just say to each his strenghts. I would rather weed and cook.) So I laughed when I read the news recently that there was an uptick in durable goods in the US (goods sold that last longer than 3 years) because I guess we just helped that number. The inlaws were over so my FIL could add a dedicated circuit and new outlet in the basement for our brand-spanking-new second chest freezer. They were on sale at Sears, and all our meat birds (plus the half pig and quarter beeve this fall from Providence Farm) mean we need more freezer space, for at least half the year. (The other half it will be off, a nice surface for me to, I don’t know, start my seeds or fold our laundry.)

So maybe it’s evening with me. Maybe it’s the stillness, the chance to observe, the chance to sit back and reflect. And you?

Until I feel up to a real post, here’s a few Wyoming wildflowers Tom snapped for me on one of his hikes. Enjoy.

Where are you, El?

I’m going to take a few days off.  Have a great weekend, everyone.