It is the honey in my veins that makes my blood thicker

By on Jun 8, 2015 in Big Dummy | 2 comments

We expanded the farm by about 20,000 members a couple of days ago, figuring there’s no use in growing our own vegetables and raising our own livestock if we can’t sweeten the deal ourselves as well.  The idea of helping to save honeybee populations appeals to me almost as much as the idea of helping to germinate my massive garden.  Which appeals to me nearly as much as the eventual sweet stuff. That said, I hemmed over the decision for honeybees no small amount, as I have a long and moribund family history involving allergies and stinging insects, but when I expressed my concerns to my doctor, she prescribed me an epi pen and essentially told me to live a little, and given that her very job is not to kill me, I figured with her blessing I’d be golden.  A visit to friends with a hive sealed the deal: beekeepers are enthusiastic about their hobby. I bought a nuc from a local apiary,...


By on May 30, 2015 in Hyperbolics | 1 comment

Our efforts to breed the goat were somewhat more successful than our attempt to impregnate the sow, as evidenced by the two insensate little white lumps on the floor of the goat hutch early last Thursday morning.  I’d been checking her for days – she was a first-time mother, and I wanted to be around to perform any required acts of caprine midwifery, remind her to breathe, feed her ice chips, or maybe just faint.  But elas, very early on a seasonably arctic morning, I skirted down to her hutch and there they were. My first instinct was to let them care for things their way— this is what all the books say, after all, that 90% of the time, human intervention isn’t needed, that they know what to do, instinctively, that We the People are quite adept at getting in the way more than anything.  But a little more reading suggested that these kids should have been up and eating, that first-time...

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.