Turns out Bossy P isn’t a rooster but she is having an eggdentity crisis (those egg jokes are horrible but really hard to resist, no?). She is supposed to lay turquoise blue to army green eggs and she pops out brown like the other hens. It wasn’t eggsactly what I had in mind but they are delicious anyway.
We are getting three to five eggs a day. When it’s chilly at night, it is a bit slower. I can’t believe how easy chickens are. And friendly and so fun for a nine month-old. They like to have their butts scratched. They get all riled up and clucky when they see me tromping across the yard with an arm full of beet greens or apple peels.
For months the girls have refused to lay in their cute little apple box box turned nesting box. They instead laid in the dirt outside and then buried the eggs in the far corner of the run. Andy devised a tactic to retreive the eggs that included an old piece of trim, careful balance and a nutty amount of patience. But, if there was a contest that involved balancing an egg on a stick, he’d win for sure. He is quite good at it.
But now they lay in their box. I placed some smooth, egg-shaped rocks in there and perhaps that worked. Or, perhaps they are evolving. Or, perhaps the dirt is cold now. Whichever way, they have matured into eggsquisite hens. Clem is the most prolific for sure. She is a faithful nest-rester-uponer and yearns to hatch eggs.
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I loved my wedding so much. It all began with a soggy Willie Nelson concert and dozens of our pals flying/driving/skipping into western Montana seven days beforehand. The week got progressively better until we found ourselves in a wet pasture with everyone we love and rain-soaked vows.
Read more on in the process of living happily ever after…
I have always liked to make bread. It is very grounding and satisfying and relatively easy. And I have always been a bit of a snob about bread machines because they turn out this uniform, uninspiring loaf that looks like, well, it looks like a machine made it, with the standard indents, instead of a human. So, that’s accurate I suppose. Also, I am not a fan of kitchen appliances that I don’t need like rice makers, coffee grinders with different settings, those rabbit wine openers…I don’t mind making rice in a pot, pressing the grinder button for an extra 12 seconds or exercising my bicep with the yank of a cork. Bread machines take up room and make easy a task I don’t mind.
I said “yes” to Andy’s grandma’s bread machine months ago. I said “yes” because in my busy business as of late, I haven’t been making bread at all and I thought I just might get over my snobiness and go for it.
For the last four weeks, I have been ‘making bread’ every Sunday by tossing carefully measured ingredients into a contraption and pressing several buttons. I am inspired to make our daily bread by my friend, Jenn, who always makes bread with her daughters (and ironically just wrote about not using a bread machine
) and by Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
where Steven Hopp (author Kingsolver’s man) motivates folks to dust of the bread machine and turn out fresh, wholesome loaves for about 50 cents a pop.
So while, yes, a bread machine loaf is to shoes from Target as a handmade loaf is to these beauties
, in the end they both satiate a need. Or maybe Wonder Bread is like the Target shoes and bread machine bread is like these beauties
and handmade bread is like these beauties
with a pedicure. Or maybe those are all bad metaphors and it is more like greeting cards…bread machine bread is like a greeting card carefully picked out that says it all and handmade bread is like a blank card with a personal, handwritten note that says it all. Both carry the same nourishment but the vehicle for sustenance differs.
Anyway, the bread is good.
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I prefer the quiet, lazy Tuesday evening farmer’s market to Saturday morning. The is partially true due to my man despising the market all together not because of what one can purchase and support but because of the who’s who scene of the chacos and the double lattes in hands and the dogs tied to telephone poles with hemp leashes and the bro-bra. It is inefficient. It makes him visibly twitch.
So I have to go alone and I choose Tuesday nights. Just bug in her sling and me in my heels on the old cobblestone street.
Last Tuesday I went and happened upon the peach people. My heart was pounding and I was plotting at how I might take out the pushy lady next to me so that I could score a giant box of local, unsprayed peaches. And if you don’t care about odd shapes and earwigs, then the price is $22 for a 20 pound box. If you do care about such things, the price is $40 which is still a screaming deal. But I don’t care about hideous bugs hiding in the pits of my peaches.
We arrived at 5:25 and the farmers aren’t allowed to start selling until the bell rings or they get fined. It is this outrageous and annoying process (I have worked the other side of it for the farm I used to manage
and it is even more annoying on that side). Anyway. I stood there teetering in my cute pumps, pitting out, waiting for the bell, hoping to get a box.
And, I got a box and made a mountain of peach butter. Bug helped me can and I thought about a year ago when I was canning with her.
Peach Butter Recipe :: Makes 30-36 half-pints
I prefer the natural sweetness of fruit to the sugary sweetness most recipes call for. I usually cut the sugar in half or omit all together. I did this recipe in two batches.
20 lbs. peaches5-6 cups sugar
Blanch peaches and peel or just peel–depends ripeness and how easy that is. Anyway, put peeled peaches in a giant bowl of cool water with a teaspoon or so of ascorbic acid to preserve color. Or don’t. You can see in the picture below that half had the ascorbic acid and half didn’t. Without it, your butter will be a bit more brown but will taste the same. Set half aside because a normal largish pot will only hold about 10 pounds of peaches.
Place half in large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add 2-3 cups of sugar (to taste) and simmer. After like 10 minutes, puree with the magic utensil
or a food processor. Don’t liquefy! Leave chunks.
Cook down on low until kind of thickish and will mound a bit on a spoon. About an hour.
Ladle hot butter into hot jars and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes or 20 if you live in Montana (above 3000 feet). Repeat with other half.
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As if it is something you can lose but today it is buried somewhere under my brain thinking too much about fundraising for a museum and my body feeling too much like a tired mom.
I dance. I have always danced. I love dancing. I grew up taking tap, ballet and jazz but that isn’t what I am talking about. I am talking about music thumping in blood and body thumping on earth. I did an impromptu solo to Lime in the Coconut
at my wedding. I dance around the house with my bug every day
When I dance, I feel unlimited and uninhibited and unleashed, whether in a wedding gown or in a birthday suit. Often, I look like a dork. While I am very Irish I am nothing like the straight hipped, straight haired folk
who stand in a straight line and only move below their knees. I have curly hair and curvy hips and pretty much the only that is straight about me is my sexuality.
So, when my great friend, Gillian
, a Dancer, was teaching an African-Brazilian class on Wednesdays nights, I was all over it. Not even cautious with my softer, less-flexible self and ready to get to the place I love when I dance. Plus it is super cool to see your friend in their element and she, wow, is a sight to behold. The first class rocked and I felt primal. And I haven’t been that sore in years. There is something about women’s insecurities post-birth–we have been to the most raw, open, painful, impossible place and well, other stuff that used to bring insecurity just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. I loved it.
Tonight was my second class and I totally sucked. I was clumsy and self-conscious. I begged myself not to be but it was there. I promised not to be hard on myself when I looked in the mirror but I was. I rooted myself and opened to the grounded moves but I fell right out of it.
So in my first months juggling this whole new thing called Parenthood, I have been running or dancing or what-have-you along one steep-ass learning curve. And the centripetal force is threatening to spin me straight off my path. Today, I learned that I officially do not have time to do everything I want to do in a given day. Tonight, I learned that there is uncomfortable beauty in the painful moments; that even when off beat, I can shake and rock out and stumble and come out trotting back along my curve. Whew.
Also, coming home to a cute, sleeping bug and a big glass of red wine and a super charming husband and hilarious animals helps. Even lame-o Sarah Palin chirping away on NPR can’t sour my new found confidence in Tomorrow.
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