10/28/10 – Crooked Acres Thursday

Between Tuesday and yesterday, I got the 19 remaining chickens from the freezer in the garage (I originally thought there were 18, but found one hiding under a turkey) boiled and deboned. This house was like a motherfucking SAUNA with two pots on the stove boiling away merrily all day, two days in a row. … Continue reading “10/28/10 – Crooked Acres Thursday”

Between Tuesday and yesterday, I got the 19 remaining chickens from the freezer in the garage (I originally thought there were 18, but found one hiding under a turkey) boiled and deboned. This house was like a motherfucking SAUNA with two pots on the stove boiling away merrily all day, two days in a row. The whole house was warmer than usual, but you really felt the temperature difference when you walked into the kitchen. It must have been 20+ degrees warmer in the kitchen, even though I had the exhaust fan running and the ceiling fan in the kitchen going the entire time.

By the time I got to deboning chicken #19, I had it down to a very quick science. I’ll be able to do two batches of chicken in the pressure canner today and another two batches tomorrow, which should take care of it. I swear to god, I’ll never get this behind on canning chicken again!

(Except that I think we all know I WILL.)

I was going out to the garage to get the last two chickens from the freezer, took one step down from the stoop, and fucking SLIPPED AND FELL. This makes the second time I’ve fallen on those goddamn steps in three months. Last time I was wearing Crocs and blamed my fall on those. This time, I was wearing boots, meant for slippery conditions, and fell anyway. Needless to say, we’ll be visiting Lowe’s this weekend to find a way to make those steps less slippery. Next time, I could very easily break something and I’d really rather not.

Last time, I fell in a way that caused me to hit the edge of the steps with my ribs – luckily, I didn’t break any – but at least this time I fell straight onto the steps. I got a little scrape on my left ankle, thought I’d sprained my wrist a little (today, it’s fine), and I should end up with a spectacular couple of bruises on my ass. I got lucky, and I don’t want to press my luck again.

In between boiling, cooling, and deboning chicken, I used the vacuum cleaner to suck up at least 10 yellow jackets and hornets. Yep, it’s that time of year again. I’m trying to convince Fred that replacing the windows throughout the house would result in less sting-y buzzing insects coming inside, but he doesn’t seem too into the idea. I’ve reached the point now where I can be in the kitchen, the exhaust fan going on high, two pots of water boiling merrily, listening to Keith and the Girl on my mp3 player, and still hear the buzzy/crinkly-paper sound of a hornet hitting the window. If I see more than one of them, I grab the vacuum cleaner. If it’s just the one, I grab a piece of paper towel, grab it, and squeeze ’til I feel a popping sound.

You know you want my life.

I’m bracing for the yearly onslaught of asian lady beetles. Last night I saw one in the upstairs bathroom and told Fred I’d seen the shot across the bow. I expect to see a few more every day until one day they’ll start swarming in around the windows.

Goddamn I hate those things.

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The Crooked Acres Tour continues! Today you’ll be admiring (or staring in horror at) the dining room and computer room. Click on any picture for the much larger version.

Standing in the doorway between the end of the hallway and the dining room, looking toward the computer room (the kitchen is on the right side). On the wall straight ahead is a washstand that belonged to (I think) Fred’s great-grandmother. Hanging over that is a sampler made by my grandmother. The doors of the washstand are open because that’s where we keep extra towels, and the cats like to sneak in there for a snooze.

Standing in the kitchen doorway, looking toward the hallway. Note that my wasp-sucking vacuum cleaner is ready to go, there on the left. The desk next to the hallway doorway belonged to Fred’s mother (and possibly her mother before that). Next to that is the canning cabinet that holds any number of canned stuff.

From the kitchen doorway looking straight ahead at the fireplace. Another year goes by where we didn’t get a wood-burning stove to put there. Note the cat beds on the dining room table (what? We never eat there!). That blue cabinet hanging on the right is the medicine cabinet Fred made at my request.

Another shot looking in the direction of the computer room. Please note that I finally painted the base of the scratching post we made from a cedar post (next to the wash stand).

I got this little cabinet at a thrift store a couple of years ago. I like it quite a bit. (It’s hanging pretty much over where I was standing when I snapped the previous picture.)

Standing in the doorway of the computer room, looking in the general direction of the side door.

Standing by the side door, looking in the direction of the dining room. Straight ahead, the bookcase that holds our shoes, boxes of pictures, and canning jars. I’d like to get something different for that spot – something that will hide our shoes but will still have a shelf (the cats like to hang out on top of that bookcase). To the right, the hook where I hang my purse. One of the cats peed in my purse once, and that was the last time that happened – at least until they can figure out how to get their asses high enough to pee in it at that height.

Looking toward Fred’s desk, and beyond that the rarely-used bathroom.

Turning more to the left, you can see my desk and the bookcase that holds all the jams, jellies, and hot sauces I sell.

My desk area, where all the magic happens.

That’s it for the tour this week. Next week: the kitchen and laundry room.

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Scenes from around Crooked Acres.

Fall has… fallen?

Something’s gotten George and Gracie in a dither (I think they saw one of the cats).

End of October, and we’re still harvesting cherry tomatoes, thank you very much. That’ll likely come to a halt after tonight (last I heard, it’s supposed to get down below freezing tonight), but I still think that getting cherry tomatoes this late in the season is AWESOME.

Still getting full-sized green tomatoes, too. We’ve been eating a lot of oven-fried green tomatoes – and letting some of them ripen, too.

The raised beds. Those are carrots growing on the right.

Radishes. They desperately need to be thinned, but I had no idea the damn things would grow so quickly – I put a piece of chicken wire over the beds when I planted the carrots and radishes to stop the cats from using them as litter boxes (and the chickens from taking dust baths), and the radishes grew through the wire. If I pull the wire up, I’ll pull up all the radishes – and it’s a pain in the ass to reach through the wire to thin the radishes. I may very well do nothing and see what happens.

Rogue baby rooster. When they’re this little, they can still get through the fence at the gates. We don’t worry about them too much, they seem to stay pretty close to home.

We had volunteer squash plants pop up in mid-August. We left them alone to see what would happen, and what happened is that they gave us squash. One of the plants is a spaghetti squash plant, and a couple are summer squash plants. Next year we may very well plant a row of squash in mid-August, because it’s nice to get squash so late in the season, and what’s even cooler is that they’re not infested with bugs.

Happy squash.

The Satsuma tree – we harvested our first citrus this week!

Satsumas are super easy to peel – as easy as Clementines – and they’re super sweet. We are definitely fans!

We picked our key limes. I do not know what the hell to do with these. Not really enough of them to make lime curd, as I’d hoped to do.


The first time we had bacon, I must have opened the pack they forgot to cut (length-wise), because these were some seriously long pieces of bacon! (Tasty, though. We don’t have our bacon cured or smoked and it’s better than any bacon I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve never been a bacon fan, but this stuff is fantastic.)

George, please. Can’t you TRY to look happy? We don’t want these nice people to know about the daily beatings!

George! You’re a Pyr, not a Pointer!

Am I sensing some attitude?

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We call this “Corbie’s party box”, because he keeps putting stuff in it. The first day the box was there (in the middle of the computer room), Corbie ran in and dropped a pecan in the box, then sat there and looked very proud of himself. The second day, another pecan from the back yard. Day three, a dead cave cricket. I don’t know what he’s planning, but it looks like a partaaaaaaaaaay super party!

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See that green blanket? Starsky and Hutch ADORE that blanket. Hutch, especially, snuggles up to it and sucks on it. It’s sad (because they were taken from their momma too soon), but it is so very sweet that I have a hard time not smushing them to bits when they do it.

Starsky, scheming.

Hutch, trying to look innocent. We’re not fooled, little man!

“I lub you THIS MUCH!” (Or, “Paws up, y’all!”)

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Buster, I am pleased to report, has reverted to his sweet, laid-back ways. I mean, he’s still a hissy little drama queen when the mood strikes him, but he’s not NEARLY as growly or hissy as he was over the weekend. THANK GOD. He loves to get up on top of the kitchen cabinets and roll around happily, causing me to have a heart attack in fear that he’ll go sailing over the side and to the floor, smashing into a billion Buster shards.

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Pardon the fact that I shot this picture through the window. I was sitting at my computer when this squirrel came down the limb of the tree and seemed to be considering jumping to the ground. Of the back yard. Where there were a large number of cats hanging out. Tommy and Kara ran over in hopes that he’d do it, but he rethought his brilliant idea, and eventually ran back up the limb to the tree which is on the other side of the fence.

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2009: No entry.
2008: I’d like to stop with the anxiety dreams, thank you.
2007: I have no idea on earth how we’d ever tell if a chicken was insane, since they seem to lean toward The Crazy even when they’re (we assume) perfectly normal.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: In case you were wondering, we are officially Crazy Cat People.
2003: I always look like a fucking lunatic when I take my own picture.
2002: (Is it just me who always thinks of Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally saying “I would be pleased to partake of your pecan piiiiiiiiiiiiie” when I hear, say, or read the word “partake”?)
2001: (For the record, her verdict was that the real-life prostitutes were “creepy”.)
2000: No entry.
1999: And going blind would just suck.