Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Quickie..

Anna from the Walden Effect blog
(see my list of favorites to your right
and down a little.. yep, there it is)
brought up a point I will be covering shortly.
Comfrey rocks.
You guys saw the cut..
well, I put my comfrey salve on it
and am here to tell you that the skin
is already trying to grow back together.
I am only using it once
every 2 bandage changes
because I do
not want it to close
too quickly.
If it needs to drain,
I want it to be able to.
This winter I cut my middle finger
(same hand) on my rotary cutter.
I thought it was bad, but nothing
like this one.
Still, the finger was splayed.
Now I have to search
for the teeny, tiny scar.

I love, love, love comfrey.
It has amazing restorative properties.
It promotes cell growth.. no kidding!

Some day very soon I will harvest and
dry some of my comfrey and
extole it's many wonders..
and make a batch of comfrey salve!!

I am useless..
I am one handed.
I cannot make goat baby bottles.
I cannot chop veggies.
I cannot put on my bra.
I cannot do anything.
It is driving me nuts!
If I use my left hand for anything
at all that is more than scratching my nose
the pull of the other fingers
and the muscle contraction
pulls at the wound..
this is annoying and painful.
Thank you to Sweet Husband
for picking up ALL my slack.
I cannot do dishes.
I cannot carry something
and open the door.
I cannot open anything...
If I had broken it and had a cast
I could use it for all kinds
of things..

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weird Week...

It has been a weird week here.
Not in that cool stuff kind of weird,
but all bad weird.

We had massive rainfall
and low grade flooding.
Well, not flooding as much as
runoff. We are living on hard pack clay
and heavy rainfall runs down through
our place like it would over concrete.
If I didn't have the garden planted in raised mounds
I would have lost it all.
As it was, we still had some cleanup to do
and, truth be told,
more cleanup to do because we
really didn't do that much.

I caught a snake in the Ameracauna
nest boxes chowing down on eggs again.
I caught it and put it in a feed bag.
this time I made sure it did not
have a hole.
Did you know that snakes can work
the weave loose in a woven feed bag?

We know that now.
I figure that it just wiggles it's head
back and forth
and back and forth
until the weave loosens up
and makes a hole.
Sweet Husband had put it in the fridge
to slow it down.
It was a very feisty, read aggressive,
snake and he wanted it a bit calmer
before he rehomed it.
The first time I opened the fridge
I squeaked.
Then I laughed.
Then I went for the camera.

We had a hatch go badly.
Shame too. We had a customer waiting
for those birds. We still have some,
just not the full order.

Then I had a clumsy week.
I fell down.
That hurt.
Then I stepped lightly on a nail.
No big deal.
I walked into a few walls.
I poured milk all over the counter.
The list really does just go on..
but then.......

I did this.

Sorry if it is gross.
So there I was..
butchering a chicken..

Now, as you may know
when I butcher I prefer to
break the neck of the bird,
then hang it and cut it's throat.

Well, Sweet Husband wanted to slit
the throat of the birds before the
neck breaking activity.

I had spent a long time honing my knives.
I mean a long time.
And they were very sharp.
I wanted to make sure the
bird died quickly..
So with ALL my might
I drew the knife across the
bird's neck and right through
my finger.
Oh sweet Mary of Mercantilism!!
I screamed. I really, really did.
Sweet Husband came flying out of the barn
and I headed for the house with my finger
clamped together.
I knew it was bad.
I felt it.. the slicing feeling
that is almost a sound.
I think I got bone.

I couldn't look after my first glance
and turned it all over to Sweet Husband.
I did not know I had that level of trust in him.
I put me head on the counter while he tried to
stop some of the horrific blood flow.
We wrapped it tight with gauze and electrical tape,
very tightly applied, to staunch the blood.
And I paced the house until the
FIRE in my finger and whole hand lessened
enough for me to sit still.

Later we took off the bandages and took a look.
(before the bandage removal,
I wrapped my arms around Sweet Husband's
neck and had a good cry.)
Wow.. if I was fortunate enough to have
insurance I would have needed stitches.
Some of the skin slides around in
ways it is not supposed to.

So, today I did the buttefly bandage
to try to pull the two parts closer together.
I have some nerve damage..
as in I cannot feel a good
portion of my finger anymore.
That may heal up a bit.
I am not getting microsurgery
on my hand. Not happening.
And there are no gurantees it would even work.

The main goal is to get it to heal
and to keep it clean and infection free.

Pictures just cannot do justice
to the severity of this wound
and how very, very deep it goes down.

I know it is a cut on a finger,
but today I am feeling the after effects
of adrenaline and pain. I am weak
and shaky and muzzy headed.
I am hoping tomorrow is better.
I do have a badge of honor though..
Sweet Husband, who has had some major league
boo boos in his life.. shit that makes me cringe,
says that I have bested him!! Woot!!

Slow down.
Keep very sharp knives.
Pay attention.
And don't ever try anything new.
Be careful.
Take care.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


This is just a little side note
on my love/hate relationship with our
arachnid.. um.. not friends, so let's just say
'my love/hate relationship with arachnids'.

I never had a problem with them
until I reached adulthood.
A bite from a Brown Recluse
and another horrible bite from a mystery spider
squashed my ability to cope reasonably.
Then there was an apartment I had where
some type of wolf spider/recluse
looking spiders would crawl on me at night.
That really did it.
For years I have had a strict policy
and have wanted to make a sign to hang by the
front and back doors informing all spiders that
they are making a concious choice to cross
the threshold with the understanding that if I see them,
they will die.
But spiders don't read.

But in the past few years I have mellowed,
at least towards some types of spiders.

I like garden spiders, the yellow and black writing spiders,
and protect and encourage them.

I like my porch spiders, the ones that hang
in the corners and eat the bugs and moths
that circle the porchlight.

I like wolf spiders that hang on the edges
of the porch and also eat bugs and moths..
the ones that have circled one too many times
and crash and burn in a dizzy plummet.
I feed my porch spiders. If I can catch a moth,
then I will toss it into their webs.
This brings me joy.

I like the fat red and brown
garden spiders that build their webs
on the OUTSIDE of my kitchen windows.
I leave the light burning in the kitchen
in the evening to draw bugs to them.
They get huge by late fall.. Bigger than quarters.
And they understand that they are
best only seen in the evenings.
I do not know where they go during daylight hours,
but they are not where I can see them.

And this year I am allowing
the furry black and white jumping spiders
to inhabit my kitchen.
I even swept around one the other day.
I have a particularily large one
that hangs out by the compost bucket on the counter.
He hunts fruit flies and I am ok with that.

So I have come to realize that I like
black and white, furry, friendly
looking jumping spiders.
And I like garden and porch spiders.
And I like wolf spiders that live outside.
And when I lived in the mountains
I could even goggle in awe at the fishing spiders
(think wolf spider about the size of a taratula)
The darn things take your breath
away when you see them.
And they are big enough that you can feel
their presence.. their sentience.. shudder.
They look back at you.

What I do NOT like are the skinny
looking wolf spider/recluse looking
things that inhabit the house from time to time.
You know them.
They are the ones in your bathtub
in the morning and the ones that
you see zipping across the bedroom
floor just before you reach to turn out the light.
Those are the ones that I do not like.
I don't know what they are.
Are they harmless wolfs
or are they the dreaded recluses?
Who's to know without picking one up
and looking closely.. and that ain't happening.

And I do not like the grey ,alien looking,
long legged, blobular body,
spin around in circles so fast
you can't see them spiders
that get in the upper corners.
I hate those things.. yuck.
They don't look right.
But I don't mind the little corner spiders
in the house that are round bodied and small and boring.

Now I am a strong, capable woman that is
not phased by much in life.
I drove a cab - nightshift,
I lived in very seedy neighbors
in a dangerous city (rent was sooo cheap)
I went head to head with crazy,
whacked out street bums with no problem
and I managed lions
and tigers and rhinos and angry apes.

All of these things I can take on with nary a tremor.

But OMG!! Camel Crickets
make me scream like a 50's housewife.
You know them, but perhaps by another name
.. cave crickets, maybe.
They are huge and pale with those long pointy legs
that jut up from their bulbous bodies.. eeeeeeep!
Mostly one would find them in basements or garages
or other dark, damp places.
But sometimes.. sometimes...
they come inside and up to where the people dwell.
And if you try to stomp on them...
they jump AT you and if they land ON you
they STICK to you. EEEEEEEPPPP!!
If I try to stomp one and it comes towards me
I squeal. I shriek.
Not a womanly strong scream,
but a high pitched
squeal, a shrill squeak of ultimate terror.
I couldn't make that noise
if I tried at any other time,
but it pours forth
from my stress tightened throat
the minute that it charges at me.
I swear I would climb on a chair
if it were quicker than running away.
I feel helpless. I feel beaten and less of a woman
in the face of a camel cricket.

But I like spiders...
sort of.

Blog and Sniff..

Don't you wish that it was Blog and Sniff..
Does anything smell better than magnolia?
Crisp and lemony, but heady and deep.

Ok.. so I posted this and saw it up on the page.
You truly can almost smell it.. I swear you can.
I love my magnolia tree,
except it is too close to the road to enjoy.
And it is too big to enjoy.
This one blossom and one other are the only
two that I can enjoy all year. How sad is that?
The rest are 10, 20, 30, 40 up in the air.
I can see them and when the sun hits the tree
in the morning I can get a little whiff,
but that is all.
I have to admire from afar and below.
So enjoy my once a year,
brief treat with me, won't you?

This is the first rose I ever bought.

It has just started it's bloom.
By next week it should be a cacophony of roses.
I dug and moved this rose 4 times.
I will not - I can not leave it behind.
It was my first....

And this morning's haul.
I wish you could smell and taste them.
The collander is no longer quite so full.
Between Simon and I it has been greatly diminished.
But, I grow them to be devoured.
Last year I limited the fresh eating and froze them.
It was nice to have them over winter, but this
year I am trying to be more lenient.

That ends the pleasantly aromatic section....

A hard working garden helper!
Go get 'em, Toadie!
Did you know that a well tended
and protected (read captive)toad can live
40 years!! Holy cow!
The joys of homeschooling. I learn something
new and amazing everyday.
But your average garden toad
can live up to 15 years.
That is a lot of bugs gone.

New little ones at the little homestead.
I love colony raising.
The buns get to groom and interact
and be as natural as possible.
See the hole under the old door?
That is the entrance to the burrow where
the little ones were born.
I saw them for the first time
just the other day.
I had no idea that they were even in there.
And no, I have no idea at a glance whose
they are. They know and that is all that matters.
Though I do desperately need to butcher
some of the adults. I will have to be very careful
as I choose who goes to freezer camp.

And these are the goats.
Damn near impossible to photograph.
They are always underfoot.
This pic was gotten by giving up,
leaving the pen and running, whirling around
and catching them as they headed for me.
But I am impressed with their
weedeating abilities so far.
They are really knocking it down.
I don't like where I have them
right now and will probably move them
deeper into the woods tomorrow morning
before it gets so blisteringly hot out!

We need rain and a break from the 90+ temperatures.
The funny/sad thing is that just days ago
I had to build a small fire in the woodstove.
It was very chilly out with a cold rain.
And here I am now sweltering and sweating.
It is truly miserable.
I will NOT turn on the AC. No, No, NO!
I refuse to do it before at least June.
I finally broke down and agreed to run it in the car.

Things move along. The garden needs water
and cooler temps
and I need to put in my cucumbers,
squashes and plant my beans.
I think the soil is warm enough now...
I think.
Yeah!!!! Spring!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

I Am So Tired...

I am really so tired.
I have no business trying to blog at this moment
and I will probably come back tomorrow,
read it and find it to be gibberish.
It already took me several tries
to put the pictures on
and I was interrupted to go out
and bottle feed the goats, fluff their
bedding straw and do a few last
minute pick up stuffs
trying to beat the rain.
As it is, the pics are a jumbled mess
and do not tell a coherent story.
Oh well.

This awesome pic was supposed to
be at the bottom,
but we'll lead with it instead.
Can I get an 'awwwww. How cute."?
Ain't it just?
I love my boy.

I spent my day in the garden.
I laid in more beds and transplanted
some flowers from the old garden.
Here are the peppers and they are looking great.

The garden is coming along.
I am still waiting for the permanent
trellises to be built
for my tomatoes.
I had to put the tomatoes in though.
They really couldn't wait anymore.
This Year's Tomato List :
-Amana Orange - My favorite tomato!
-Paquebot Roma - my favorite roma
-Abe Lincoln - this is a first
-Stiletz - another first
-Cherokee Purple - not my favorite, but I had the seeds
-Green Zebra - not in the garden yet.
I have some wee seedlings that will go in as soon as they are big enough
I think that is all,
but I swear I am so tired I can't think.

And here is the garden itself
in all it's glory.
It really is looking much better.
I still have work to do,
but a lot of that cannot happen until the trellises are done.
But I am enjoying the weed-free nature
of this new space.
The last garden was in the lawn itself
and that was an uphill battle.
This I can take care of with the hoe.

And here you can see my flower ring
and my squash graves (in the foreground)
I have some spinach, 4 O'Clocks, zinnias, cosmos..etc
in the ring around the tree.
And I have a 'pond' to offer water
to my beneficial friends
like toads and wasps etc.
I have a bottle hanging that drips water
into the bowl as dripping water
attracts good critters to the water.
And I have a hunk of concrete in the
bowl for a landing perch for butterflies
and dragons to take a safe drink.
Beneficials are a great bonus to the garden.
All of the flowers that I plant are for them too.

And I found the perfect spot to keep my whet stone.
And why would I have a whet stone in the garden?
A sharp hoe is an efficient hoe.
It makes a huge difference to have a freshly sharpened hoe.
I have been using nothing but the hoe
on the whole garden. I sharpen it often.
And I make it sharp too. I give it a fine edge.
Weeds don't stand a chance and the soil
moves around like butter.

Edited to add...
Do you see the little red tripod stool?
I love that thing!
I got it at Dollar General for $5
and that may be the best $5 I ever spent.
It is the right height to sit on and pull honeysuckle.
I have patches that are large and thick.
I put the stool down and work until I can't reach anymore
and them I move on.
It is also perfect for contemplation and rest
in the garden. It may not look comfy, but it really is.
Beats the hell out of sitting on a 5 gallon bucket.

And I think the verdict is in...
Because there is no fuzz and the little fruits are a dark red!
Best weed I ever found growing in a yard.
Okay.. that's not true, but I can't talk about the best ever.

Dianthus is blooming and the costmary looks
and smells wonderful.

The comfrey is looking huge.
After this bout of rainy, stormy
weather I will do my first harvest
of the year. It will probably all
go for garden supplementation
in the form of comfrey teas...

I am going to have so many strawberries!
I went looking and I cannot believe
how heavily loaded my little plants are!

The snowball bush is blooming.
It was the only thing on this farm
that bloomed when we bought it.
How can a farm be
a farm for over 80 years and have
I am fixing that as quickly as I can.
And all of the weeds and vetches and clovers that we
let grow to monstrous heights each spring
is our way of feeding the soil.
It was obvious that every single leaf
and blade was cut to within
an inch of it's life the minute
it was tall enough to reach the
mower's blades.
That is not a good way to grow good healthy soil.
So, in the spring when the super nutritious things
grow, we let them.
We pull them to feed to the rabbits and chickens.
We let them go to seed and then we cut them.
As a result, each year we have more and more
good healthy weeds on our place.
Yeah! Weeds!!
(and that is my story as to why
you cannot walk through my yard
and I am sticking to it..
sounds really good, doesn't it?)