Archive for February, 2017

Judgement Day

My husband, not usually known to be a social butterfly, has always said that he is happy when we are getting company because he knows the house will be clean. Very funny. Now, before you get your knickers in a knot about equality and such, HE and I have a deal: He does the outside chores (not including the chicken coop) and I do the inside. This works out quite well and I am usually pleased with the system except for two exceptions: 1) If it is not a freezing cold/icy/snowy winter, I draw the short straw, at least according to my logic, and 2) I hate to clean. Oh, I like a clean house, and I do clean it, but there are usually about a dozen things that I would rather be doing. On my day off this week, I stayed in my pajamas, which consist of faded yoga pants and an even more faded oversized T-shirt. Too much information, I know, but it is all part of the story. It was 10:30 in he morning, and so far I had managed to unload the clothes from the dryer, catch up on email and Facebook and watch an old Doris Day movie that I had recorded. I was halfheartedly sweeping the kitchen floor when the dog started barking and I saw an unfamiliar pickup truck in the driveway. Eek. I quickly ran to the mirror and ran a comb through my hair. I knew I wouldn’t have time to change, but luckily I had already brushed my teeth. I swept the week’s mail and papers into a pile and got everything out of sight. Whew! The unfolded laundry was scooped off the couch and tossed on my unmade bed behind a tightly closed door. Looking outside, I could see that the visitor was a neighbor who owns the property behind ours, and he was walking his dog out by the woodpile. I ran to the bathroom, wiped everything down, and hung fresh towels, just in case. Rushing over to look out the window, I noticed that the truck was no longer there. He probably thought that nobody was home. Well, the house was clean, anyhow. In a backhanded, kinda sorta way. Today, HE decided that the hardwood floors looked a little dull. I don’t get my bustle in a bristle over this one, either. He’ll do it, and I’ll be thankful for it. After all, I am busy cooking, writing and watching an old Hitchcock movie. I will have to say, though, if you want to come over for a visit, now would be a good time, because the house is nice and clean.

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“Although I cannot lay an egg, I am a very good judge of omelets.” ~ George Bernard Shaw  

You have often heard me whine about the lack of cooperation from my chickens when it comes to their egg production. This little farm is certainly not a big egg producing corporation, and even calling it a farm is a stretch of the imagination. I’ve suffered lean days and lean weeks in the egg department around here.  Don’t let the word get out, but I have even been known to buy eggs at the grocery store, always hiding them beneath the jumbo-sized package of toilet paper or the bread. My reputation as a Farm Woman is at stake, after all. The number of eggs a chicken lays depends on circumstances such as the age and breed of the hen, food and water, and time of year. Around here, it gets dark very early in the wintertime, and with the lack of light, there are fewer eggs. Some folks have lights in their coops to keep the egg production up, but I give the girls a break and turn on the lights only to prevent me from tripping over a chicken and falling. I have to do that because HE, who insists that he is not getting hard of hearing, keeps the volume on the TV so loud that he would never hear me screaming that I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. I will say that after an hour or two and if it were during a commercial break, he might start to wonder where I was. When the thermometer starts dipping toward 10 degrees above zero, I set the timer for the heat lamps to come on. These days, that is most of the time, so they are off and on throughout the day and night. This creates the perfect storm: My mostly young flock, well-fed and content in their coop with lots of water (I use a heated dog dish so it will not freeze), and plenty of light,  are giving me as many as a dozen eggs a day. Unfortunately, my homeowner’s insurance frowns upon me selling the eggs. The IRS thinks that bartering or trading the eggs is the same as selling and wants it documented.  Since I have always been a rule-follower,  I won’t admit to either of those, but I am happy to report that my friends and family are pleased with the gifts they receive. We eat a lot of eggs, too. Scrambled, omelets, fried, boiled, shirred, and devilled. If a recipe calls for two eggs, I add four. I might even attempt an angel food cake since I have never used my pan and was going to move it to the “donate” box. Yes, I know this windfall will stop before long. In the meantime, I need to make some egg salad while the sun…or the heat lamp…shines. 

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Let them eat cake

Parents were put on this earth to embarrass their children, and I know I did my share. My darling daughter will be 32 this month, and hasn’t rolled her eyes at me for a long while. That will come again in time, perhaps as I get older and lose that “filter” that makes one think before opening one’s mouth, or perhaps it will be today. Teenagers don’t have much sense of humor when it comes to their parents. She didn’t appreciate it when I would snatch the phone off the hook if the time was even one minute after 10 p.m. to tell her friends that she wasn’t allowed phone calls after 10 p.m. She appreciated it even less when I wore rubber hillbilly teeth to pick her up from middle school and gave a big smile and a wave to everyone in the parent pick-up area. She refused to get in the car one morning when I was wearing my sweat pants and slippers to drive her to school. Sheesh, you would think we were going to visit the queen or something! She hasn’t heard the story about the cake, which happened exactly 32 years ago this week. I was near the end of my pregnancy when my coworkers invited me to a surprise bachelorette party for one of our friends. I lived just down the street from a wonderful little neighborhood bakery which was known for delicious cakes as well as the best cheese danish this side of New York City and sausage biscuits that could bring tears of joy to a pregnant woman’s eyes. I was in there a lot. They made special order cakes, too, for bachelorette parties. They baked and decoated them fresh to order, and stored them in the back room until they were picked up, because they were….er…let’s just say they were anatomically correct. We all signed up for a dish to bring, and since I lived the closest to the bakery, I told everyone about the special cake and said it would be my treat for the bride-to-be’s party. They tried to tell me it would be too much trouble for someone in my delicate condition, but I insisted. I made arrangements with the bakery to pick it up the morning of the party, never thinking that the doughnut and sausage biscuit crowd would be lined up that time of the day. There were a lot of smiles that morning and probably talk around the office water coolers about a hugely pregnant woman who picked up a large cake box with a peek-a-boo window showing what was inside. I mistakenly thought it would come wrapped in plain brown paper. I barely made it out of the door with the large belly, that cake box and a bag of assorted goodies for my breakfast. After all, I was eating for two. Even more embarrasing was when I got to the “bachelorette party”only to find out that it was actually a surprise baby shower for me. The table looked lovely with pink and blue streamers and that cake in all his glory. There are pictures, but you’ll never see them. She wasn’t actually around to see it, but when my daughter reads this story, she might laugh, she might roll her eyes, or she just might tell you that this is not half as bad as the time I made her boyfriend drive me for miles (so I could make sure he was a safe driver) before I let her get into a car with him. Believe me, I made sure the brakes and seat belts were in working order, too.

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