Showing posts from November, 2009

In which I spend a lot of time with my dear Minerva Louises

The chickens' Winter Palace is mostly finished now. We erected this amazingly ugly orange net (uh, it was free) over the roof-parts of the garden to keep chickens IN and predatory birds OUT. So far, so good... however, the hens have shown a preference for roosting in the net at night rather than in the henhouse. I go out in the evenings and shoo them into the house to sleep--it's warmer there, ladies, and winter is coming!

They have also shown a decided reluctance to lay eggs in the beautiful nesting boxes that Jim built inside the coop. In fact, despite brightly-colored "helper" eggs in the nest boxes, the hens sleep in the boxes and lay eggs in a little corner of the coop, near the back door. I must say: it's certainly more convenient to collect them there!

Some of the hens are quite friendly, and will follow me around the enclosure while I take pictures. They even like to be scratched on the shoulder blades, between the wings. Huh. I never would have guessed th…

In which I have been writing for thirty long days and now it's bed-time

For a whole month I frantically wrote this thing: Fifty thousand words!

In which the Minervas move to the Winter Palace, and I write more

Jim added the finishing touches to the chickens' Winter Palace today: nice, soft, fresh shavings!
And then...time to move (again).
Willy snagged ML Twelve, and carried her to the new Chicken Digs. Twelve has had many adventures since coming here as a chick. I hope that she is able to integrate back into the flock after all this time in St Hens. Last night, she got out again, and spent the night in a tree. I found an egg in the strawberry bushes this morning as evidence of her wildness.

Eleven approves of the new nesting boxes. These are very strange eggs, though.

Minervas One through Ten took the Chicken Bus to their new quarters. It works a lot like Fred Flintstone's car: Jim moves the outside of the Bus, and the Minervas walk along underneath.

We parked the Bus at the entrance to the Winter Palace...but most of the Minervas were reluctant to get out and explore. Sigh. Since I'm the smallest of stature, crawling into the bus to retrieve shy hens became my task.
Artistic phot…

In which we gather for the holiday and eat some really good food

Come in! Come in! Take off your coats, and make yourself comfortable by the fire! The table is set and ready for the holiday.

Jim has been brining the turkey since Tuesday, and he's kept it in the well-house wrapped up in a fermentation bucket and a gigantic ziplock bag.

The brine is just stuffed with wonderful ingredients: apple juice (from our own apples!) and oranges and cloves and garlic and bay leaves and ginger.

The chickens got all the oranges and ginger when we took the turkey out. These chickens are opportunistic omnivores. I wonder if the ginger flavor will show up in the eggs, the way garlic supposedly does?

The turkey is dressed in cheesecloth, and covered with traditional herbs (somebody sing the Simon and Garfunkel song with me!): parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

The parsley came from the market, but the other herbs grew in the garden right outside the kitchen window.

After an hour of roasting, he basted it every ten minutes or so for another three hours.

Ooooh, look how …

In which there is a holiday, and we are truly thankful for it

Thankful for so much... and many of them will be here for Thanksgiving!

In which we rehearse food in preparation for the Upcoming Feast

Here's the thing about cooking at Haiku Farm:

I make pretty good soups. The horses and dogs are also impressed with my mashes, especially the mashes that have lots of apples in them.

Jim is the King of Outdoor Cooking, and is also our chief Breakfast Maker and Bread Baker.

Willy is the the family member who makes the most amazing Korean food.

Although we won't be cooking the Thanksgiving turkey out-of-doors, Jim has claimed the project as his own anyhow. He has also brewed a special batch of beer for the occasion, and is concocting some amazing ingredients (apples from the orchard) for a turkey brine. Go crazy, sez I.

I'll be, uhm, mashing the potatoes. I also have a butternut squash-and-apple dish specialty.

Willy will be making SanJack. That's the best 'Murken translation of the name of the Korean harvest dish he made for our dinner tonight, as a rehearsal for Thanksgiving. Since he'd never made it by himself before, he wanted to practice it before making a bunch f…

In which we inquire about readers' gravitational preferences

Please answer the following question in the COMMENTS section below. Haiku Farm and scientific inquiry worldwide appreciates your contribution to this survey.

As regards an involuntary dismount (also called a "dirt check" or a "gravity verification") I prefer to fall off my horse in the: a. summer b. winter c. arena d. mud e. nude f. presence of qualified medical personnel g. other (please specify): __________________
because the: a. ground is more hospitable b. seasonally-appropriate clothes I'm wearing offer more protection c. accompanying sound effects are so gratifying d. story is sure to get me free beers for at least a week e. audience makes everything so worthwhile f. news crew will be sure to play the whole thing over again in slo-mo so everyone can appreciate my airborn acrobatic skills g. other (please specify): ____________________

In which I emulate the grasshopper, which is maybe a good choice

I'm having one of those weeks that seems to be full of the word "should.

I should be writing more words on my NaNoWriMo novel (25,068 so far, but not a single word for the past two days!)

I should rake the leaves before they blow all over the yard again.

I should tidy the kitchen before I leave for work.

And yet...

In the same way that other people listen to "inner messages" via their recurring dreams, my inner messenger often communicates through stories that get stuck in my head. For example:When I was job hunting years ago, I couldn't stop telling the story of Cinderella, especially the part about how the stepsisters were urged to mutilate their own feet in order to make the shoe fit. When I accepted a really great job (which I still hold), I abruptly stopped needing to tell Cinderella's story.Another time when my neighbors were making me crazy, I kept finding myself telling the story of the Old Woman who lived in a Vinager Bottle--she who kept wishing for a b…

In which I tell a story that I didn't anticipate telling

I went to the radio station this morning, although it isn't technically "my turn" in the tall chair.

Mary Marguerite and I take turns hosting the program, with Jim filling in for us as-needed. We aren't normally as elegant in the studio as we are in our publicity photo, by the way. I often wear my jammies when I'm on the air. Hey, it's radio. Who can know what we look like?
So anyhow, it wasn't my turn this week. But I went in anyhow, because I had a story to tell and I wanted to tell it and I didn't want to wait a whole week. This is typical for me.
Mary had the guest mike and headphones all set up for me, and we were almost ready to go...when the phone rang.

When the phone rings at a commercial radio station, a paid employee picks up the line and speaks in a professional manner with the caller. At a public radio station, especially a teeny-tiny public radio station like KSER, the phone is answered by a volunteer. On the weekends at KSER, the phone is of…

In which I keep writing, and I get a little LUCK in the mailbox

Today is Friday the 13th, and look what showed up in the mailbox today:

His name isLUCK, and he's a gift fromBootsandSaddles4Mel. I stopped at the mailbox on the way out to run errands this morning, and there he was, waiting to go with me!

Isn't he just about the cutest little thing? I swear I must have kissed that sweet nose every time I was stuck at a stoplight. Then I brought him home and wrote him even further into my NaNoWriMo novel (21,319 words so far)!

Here's today's excerpt. A few days ago the novel was starting to stagnate, and it desperately needed a crisis so I pushed a supporting character down the stairs. Today, the main character tried to figure out the significance of the little sheep toy. Good luck, lady.

Or should I say, "GoodLUCK" because that is, of course, our little toy himself in his very first cameo appearance in a novel?

“It's just really intense” she told Isabelle that evening as they chatted by phone. "Here’s this big, perfectly…

In which I heed a friend's very good advice, and I Shut Up and Ride

Sometimes, even in the rainy season, it's better to ride than it is to talk about riding. So that's what I did yesterday!

I've included three short videos of some trails through the Pilchuck Tree Farm, one of the best local places to ride: lots of trails, lots of logging roads, and lots of wildlife. The film quality is not always the best, but it will give you a little taste of our terrain.

Let me take you with me on a few of our trails:

In which we salute the person who had to work on Veteran's Day

A bit ironic?
Jim, a veteran, doesn't
get a holiday.

In which I continue writing like a madwoman, and ponder gifts

NaNoWriMo continues to dominate my social calendar this month (word count: 18,170). I had a breakthrough this morning and pushed a supporting character down the stairs, thereby gaining myself more than 1,000 words once I got the granddaughter on the scene, the volunteer medics on the scene, and the stuffed animal back where it belongs. Whew. Here's an excerpt from the story (before grandma's encouter with gravity):
Her dad was down in the kitchen, making waffles. “Hey, kiddo,” he greeted his daughter by lifting up the hat and plunking a kiss on her forehead, “you are just in time for the best waffles in the whole world!”

“You say that every Saturday,” she told him solemnly.

“I do say that every Saturday,” he agreed with her. “And every Saturday it is even more true than it was the Saturday prior. Isn’t that an amazing coincidence? Maybe we should call the record books or something.”

“Yeah, Dad. Sure,” she said, trying to sound sarcastic, but smiling at him shyly instead. She had a…

In which I learn important farming skills by telling an old folktale

On alternate Sundays mornings, I spend several hours at the radio station, broadcasting an eclectic mix of storytelling and world music as a host of the program Global Griot. (A "griot" is a storyteller).

Some days, I base my show on a theme. Other days, like today, I just share stories that get stuck in my head (like an earworm...but much longer and harder to explain to non-storytellers)
I learned the story "Sleeping While the Wind Blows" late last year, when Jim and I were looking at farmland and realizing that we might actually be able to buy the farm of our dreams...which, obviously, we did!
I told the story a lot last winter while we were waiting for the banks to do whatever it is that banks do. I wrote it down and sent it to people.
And then...I forgot about it.
Last week, when the rain was pelting down and the wind was gusting hugely, I remembered the story, and haven't been able to stop telling it. So, I told it on the radio this morning!
Now it'…

In which the Minerva Louises do not enjoy the rain at all

The tarp manufacturers must love us. I figure we're probably on their corporate Xmas gift list this year, because we've supported them so strongly since buying Haiku Farm. Jim is on the last stages of finishing the chicken's Winter Palace...unfortunately, the part that isn't in place yet is the roof, so they can't move in early and must make do for now with the hastily-winterized Chicken Tractors.
Apparently, not all of them are satisfied with this arrangement.
Dear Farmer People We want boots, jackets and hats Sinceerlee, chickens