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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fruit Flies in My Wine...

The last day of summer. The eve of the autumnal equinox- Mabon. Seems like a fitting evening to have a class of le vin rouge. I am, however, being assaulted with the wee fruit flies that have invaded our home for the past few weeks. They know that all those ripe goodies from the garden and orchards are coming into homes where they have lain dormant for the better part of a year and so have strategized and lain seige upon anything vaguely fruit like. Including my wine (the fine box vintage that it is). It only takes one fly to get in there and turn the stuff from barely drinkable to pickle juice.

Speaking of pickles...we have a plethora of cucumbers (like everyone else I'm sure) and so today used about 12 of the bigger beasts to make sweet pickle relish. The kids like it on hot dogs so i figured what the heck. I found the recipe online and it is very similar to my grandmothers funnily enough! I now feel inspired to do something with the rest of the forty odd zepplins and am considering my grandmothers 9 day pickle recipe. I always loved those as a kid- they are so sugary sweet and sour you can make yourself sick on them pretty quick. I think it was the pearl onions that so fascinated me. I wonder if I can find pearl onions in Newberry??? Pretty exotic.
If August was all about vacation, then September has been all about work! Not the government job either, but more about that later. Will has leveled the barn site and poured the footings- today was spent splitting wood, stacking wood, throwing wood into the basement. It will be neck and neck- barn and fuel wood this fall. He spent part of the day sketching out and planning the sill and posts...the next steps. We harvested Dave and Sabras potatoes and onions...our friend (the one with the milk cow) Dorothy sent off a box of them to Colorado for them to enjoy. We have eaten a couple of meals of potatoes and some of the onions went into the relish. Will has harvested some of our potatoes as well, the garlic is in, some beans have been frozen, we've spoken already about the cukes, and are getting a few tomatoes. Kristie will be loaning us her dehydrator to try out drying the roma's. I'm enamored with the idea of sun-dried tomatoes on our traditional Friday night pizza all winter!

The BIG news is...we bought half a pig. Before you ask, though I know it has already formed as a question in your mind, it is a lateral half. Don't know if it was the right or left. BUT, we have mucho packages of ground pork, roasts, ribs and chops in the freezer right now. The ham and the side of bacon (13 pounds!!!) are being smoked right now. Pasture raised pork not more than twenty miles away. Our local librarian and her husband have grass fed beef too...we are looking into purchasing perhaps a quarter....

The chickens are laying eggs too! We get between 4-7 a day at this point. The adult auracanas aren't producing much- don't know if they are sneaking off somewhere or if they are in the midst of molting. It is hard to tell, because Rosy (the rooster) is particularly fond of them and their back feathers are always a mess from being trod on. I need GPS collars to track the bloody things. Next year we will either have to fence the chickens in, or the gardens out...they have taken to eating the hens and chicks ironically...and they don't so much eat the other plants and smash them down on the ground and walk on them with their dinosaur feet.

Lila and I went down to Gaylord Saturday morning to pick up a rabbit cage I ordered. The fella that makes them lives five hours away, but was at a rabbit show in Gaylord a mere 2.5 hours in one direction. so we left early, hit the holiday gas station for hot chocolate and Thai tea (from a machine- really!) and headed south. Having never been to a rabbit show before I was completely unprepared for the sheer biomass of rabbits that would be there. Breeds I have never ever heard of before. beautiful most of them....and we saw a tiny breed (the chihauhau of rabbits) with these HUGE eyes...they reminded us of fiver the prophetic rabbit from Watership Down...left us a bit uneasy! Of course, at this point Lila is BEGGING me for a rabbit OR a guinea pig. First thing we saw in the door was a cage of two guinea pigs (brothers) so we had to stop and poke our fingers in the cages. They were priced at $10.00 each or $15.00 for two, but clearly the mistress of the booth eyed a sucker with a child like appendage hanging on her showing all big eyes and saying "oh please Mummy- they can live in my room and i'll take care of them...", so the price dropped down to two for $10.00. I made a hasty retreat muttering something about the fact that I only came for a cage... Two hours later (and much wheedling from Lila about how she could have both a rabbit and a guinea pig in her room) Fred and George were riding in the cab on the way home with us. I did actually get the cage too. It is a three stacker! We also had to buy a guinea pig cage. AND I ALMOST bought another english angora buck. Except he was $75.00, four months old and had never been plucked. He had gotten loose in the fellas garage and smelled a bit oily too. Some mats on his face- but he was very sweet. I barely got out of there, and twenty miles north realized I hadn't actually gotten the legs to the cage so I had every reason in the world to turn around and get those legs except I thought I wouldnt' be able to resist the bunny, and get home to my boys even later. I'm hoping the cage legs will come in the mail.

Turns out the boys didn't miss us much- Aunt Alis had sent a volcano kit in the mail and they put that together and had fun with baking soda and vinegar. They gave us a demo when we got home.

So it was a bit of a tiring though eventful weekend! Groomed some bunnies, worked on some fiber batts and we made some jam too. Work again tomorrow...yuck. We received our temporary lay off notices in the event that the State budget isn't in place for October doesn't look good at this point. October first is also a pay day- except the folks who would be doleing out the checks via electrons might not be working so you can't even get paid for the two weeks you worked prior to the layoff! It is a real paycheck this time too- no furlough days for the first time in three months. Always an adventure. We can always eat eggs and pig until the politicians get it figured out!

Ten week old Clover, kicking back after grooming.

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