Nothin’ but the dog in me

By on May 9, 2015 in Big Dummy | 1 comment

I wasn’t in the market for a new dog, not yet.  Mud Season was high upon us, and I wasn’t quite finished being sad for my dearly departed sheepdog.  But the Squirrel hadn’t stopped talking about the dog, and definitely hadn’t stopped loving up any and every dog we happened upon, nor had she stopped pretending to be a dog at every other minute. So, a dog in need came up, and we, innkeepers of strays and house of crazy, brought him into our fray.  He’s older than a new puppy (read: he knows where to do his business), but too young to be of much use (read: in the way of everything, chewing anything in his path, flopping in gardens, terrorizing cats).  But the Squirrel loves him in the devoted and unconditional way of hers.  My last month’s days have gone like this: — Squirrel goes to Dog, throws her arms around his head to give him a hug. –...

You can shine all the buttons on your green shirt

By on Apr 21, 2015 in Look at My Big Garden | 1 comment

I caved and bought a hoop house, and not a modest one.  I could live inside it.  I have, in fact, lived in smaller spaces, as has been well documented on this very web site.  Here’s a general schedule of our first few days with it: Friday:  assemble hoop house. Saturday morning:  eagerly move scrawny, desperately sun-searching seedlings into hoop house.  Install thermometer and hose.  Watch hourly and document temperature change as the seedling soil ruptures and the new leaves pop open in time-lapse fashion.  Watch the temperature reach triple digits and high-five melon seedlings.  This will be our year. Saturday night:  haul everything back in, because of course in my excitement I might also have planted a hundred or so new seeds, and because it still gets down around freezing at night, even in the hoop house. Sunday morning:  move newly invigorated seedlings back into hoop...

Dirt in my toes, dirt up my nose, I’m a perfect curse to pest control

By on Mar 27, 2015 in Hyperbolics | 1 comment

When we last left off, we’d sent our Sweetie Pig to go visit the boar up the hill for some good grownup fun, only to discover that she hadn’t quite let down her hair enough to get comfortable with the idea. The ensuing slapstick is already well-documented. We got a call some weeks ago:  The Boar Had Died, leaving Sweetie Pig a virgin still.  The story of the boar’s death is for another medium, perhaps, or a more bourbon-soaked post at a later date, but the point was: Sweetie Pig had not even been immaculately conceived, it was a little late in the year to consider a backup plan, so she’s going to hang out with us for some time, and we’ll have sleepovers, and braid each others’ hairs, and talk about boys and what to do with them.  Maybe we’ll practice on pillows together, now that we have time. Of course, now that she’s not happily...

There’s a party up there all the time, and they’ll party until they drop.

By on Jan 30, 2015 in Hyperbolics | 1 comment

This year’s Pig Slaughter came and went, and was something less of a redneck riot than last time.    Notably, though, in the interest of slowly extricating ourselves from the hallowed land of cash capital, we kept alive a breeding sow, and sent her up the hill to the lady farmer neighbor with a passel of stiffied boars. We’d kept this particular sow because she was so wonderfully even-tempered; The Native had christened her Sweetie, and she was the one of the bunch of seven who could be pat, and who wouldn’t try and eat you on sight. But maybe seeing your friends murdered, plucked one by one over the course of two days, then being spirited away up a country road in a four-wheeler’s trailer and dropped in a muddy pen with a boar several times your size who immediately smells your heat and responds accordingly… maybe this is more than the porcine mind can...

We live in the soap commercial

By on Jan 1, 2015 in Big Dummy, Hyperbolics | 1 comment

For people as dirty as we think we are, we go through no small amount of the foamy stuff, and the latent chemist in me was curious enough to take a plunge into soapmaking.  I mean, if you screw it up, it can explode in a glorious toxic flume!  You can inhale lye and poison yourself!  Or the little squirrel (now fully 2-and-a-half-where-has-time-gone?!).  And even if you do manage to successfully get your ingredients in the pot and have it everything go right, you can still not let the lye saponify just so, and burn the everloving shit out of your skin when using the stuff!  Very exciting, and very exclamatory.  ! I made several batches, way more than even we’re capable of using, and varying the recipe each time.  The secret, for us, is a hard bar, and with a good abrasive.  I tried coffee grounds (new and used), corn meal, the crushed bones of fairies, and hand-cut oatmeal....

Watch where you straying, my friend

By on Oct 21, 2014 in Hyperbolics | 1 comment

  We took in a stray, a sweet little tabby with its tail chomped off, and set her up all nice and cozy as a barn cat in our shop teeming with mice and chipmunks, both of which she’s done a fine job dispatching and snacking.  The one breed of critter she didn’t banish from the bins of grain, though, is the goat itself.  They’ve become fast friends and she’s proven herself a bit of a sap.  Like all of us.

I’m Going Back to New York City I Do Believe I’ve Had Enough

By on Oct 17, 2014 in Big Dummy | 3 comments

  Have I mentioned we’re raising pigs again?  This time doing it our way, rotating their pasture and letting them till up vast swaths of our new and erstwhile untouched, unkempt land?  Have I mentioned this results in lean, fast, noisy fuckers, who pile mud atop the fence when out of space, and use that vulnerability to bust free and free range on the property?  Have I mentioned that this is what I saw when I opened the door to dash out for an errand this morning? I don’t eat pork, but it will be so satisfying to start with them.

I like these torture devices from my old best friend

By on Oct 8, 2014 in Hyperbolics | 0 comments

We never set out to be goat farmers, never really.  They were more or less dropped at our feet, or on our land, through a series of negotiations and musical-goat-swapping with neighbors up the hill. We’ve been rotationally grazing them through a tangle of net fencing, and recently, with the garden on the wane and new pasture going with it, have been letting them free range, for the most part.  First they cut back our perennials, then they did a great job pulling the carrots, whose fruits they left to dry uprooted and detached from the greens they preferred.  Then they wandered inside the shop, in search of their anise treats and other sundries.  But they abused the privilege when nipping my sunflowers, and are now banished back to their pen. Looking outside to find wandering, munching goats hanging out in my front garden seemed odd, but is, in fact, not too different from looking...