8/18/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday

Maxie asked yesterday whether those of you not in Alabama can sign the petitions I linked to, since they’re an Alabama thing. The answer is that I don’t know if your signatures will count, but they certainly won’t hurt! You can sign the petitions to stop the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners from … Continue reading “8/18/11 – Crooked Acres Thursday”

Maxie asked yesterday whether those of you not in Alabama can sign the petitions I linked to, since they’re an Alabama thing. The answer is that I don’t know if your signatures will count, but they certainly won’t hurt!

You can sign the petitions to stop the Alabama State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners from shutting down spay/neuter clinics here and here.

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Sights from around Crooked Acres.

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I finally got around to putting feed bags (empty feed bags that once held chicken and pig feed) around the butternut and acorn squash, and putting dried grass clippings around each plant (to block weeds). I only got a little more than half the row done before I ran out of grass, though. When Fred got home yesterday, he went around the lawn with the sweeper and got me another big pile of grass clippings, so I should be able to finish up the row.

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Wee Acorn or Butternut squash-to-be.

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Look at all the blossoms getting ready to burst forth!

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This volunteer tomato plant grew on the fenceline to the back forty. It keeps trying to die, but then it rains, and the plant comes back to life. Note that there are no tomatoes at all on the side of the fence the chickens can get to!

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The Autumn Clematis are super happy.

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We’re really getting a lot of blooms on the Rose of Sharon bush in the back yard. In past years, we’ve gotten maybe one or two.

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Four years ago, all this foliage (except for the tree branches hanging down) was completely gone. Every summer I cut less and less of it back, and this summer I haven’t cut any of it back. The cats really like hanging out in there – though I guess it would behoove me to cut it back a bit so that when Tommy’s being difficult and doesn’t want to come in at night, we can reach him. You’ll note that the purple blooms in the middle of the picture are the Rose of Sharon flowers. That thing’s over six feet tall now.

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I finally got enough tomatoes (thank you, Katherine!) to peel and (mostly) deseed, chop, and slow-roast them with onion and garlic for three hours. I used the pastry cutter to chop the whole mess up, and then used it as a base for spaghetti sauce. It was DIVINE.

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Left to right, cayenne powder made from our own peppers, tomato powder made from our own tomatoes, and dehydrated bell peppers. (I use the tomato powder to make tomato paste – basically, add water to tomato powder until you have as much paste as you need.)

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That green tomato, with just a blush of red on it, is how I harvest my tomatoes. Then I leave them on the counter and let them ripen (if I have a lot of tomatoes that need to ripen, I put them all in a box. They ripen faster that way, and don’t clutter up my counter). If I try to let them ripen on the vine, the STUPID birds and squirrels take a single bite and leave the tomato there for me to find and gnash my teeth over.

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New growth on the grapevine.

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Bhut Jolokia (Ghost) Peppers, starting to ripen. “What are you going to do with the Ghost peppers?” I said to Fred. Apparently what Fred was planning to do with them was expect me to make jams with them. Who on earth is going to buy Ghost Pepper jam? Only a sucker for punishment, I think. (He’s also planning to make a hot sauce. I’m letting him handle that one all on his own.)

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After the heavy rain we had the week before last, we had about a million cracked cherry tomatoes. Grrr. (The chickens got them, and were very happy about it!)

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I continue to think that okra flowers are the prettiest flowers on earth.

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Ready to be picked so it can ripen on my counter!

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Teeny watermelon-to-be.

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Watermelon flowers.

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Not a great picture, but I’ve been making a lot of blueberry cake lately (I’ll post the recipe if I remember). The recipe comes from a Marjorie Standish cook book my mother gave me 20+ years ago. If I could only pick one cook book to carry out of a burning building, that would be the one. (Oh wait, this is the recipe right here. DO NOT cook it for 50 – 60 minutes, or you’ll end up with an overcooked cake. Start checking it with a toothpick at 40 minutes, but 45 minutes is what works for me.)

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I love this spoon rest; I used a plate hanger to hang it between the windows over the sink. I keep hoping to find something else to hang there with it, but haven’t found anything that’s the right size yet.

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Sweet pickled jalapenos.

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These okra pods were too long to use (if they get too long, they get tough and woody), so I dehydrated them for the cats. Cats think okra pods are THE BOMB, and once they’re dry enough, the seeds rattle around in the pod. I think I still have pods floating around the house from two summers ago.

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I think this hen is particularly pretty.

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Gracie’s keeping an eye on things from under the coop, where it’s cool.

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All our chickens except for two or three who were behind me.

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Little rooster.

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“You haz a snack for me?”

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“Dat was a good snack.”

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Happy George.

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The chickens sure do love their tomatoes.

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Smilin’ girlie pig.

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Napping in the waller.

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Pig #2 comes over to see if a snack was given, and if so WHERE IS HERS.

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“No cookies here.”
“You’re lying, I smell chocolate on your snout.”

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Across the way, there’s a perfectly good waller located in the shade. The last two sets of pigs have refused to set hoof in that one, and I have no idea why. Maybe the Loch Ness monster has relocated to the Crooked Acres Waller.

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After I wrote about Sally Peppers being such a scaredy cat, yesterday I went into the guest bedroom to hang out with the kittens, who were all snoozing on the cat tree. Sally Peppers immediately jumped from the cat tree to the bed where I was laying, and snuggled with me with not the slightest hint of cringing or cowering. Harlan’s still a bit cringe-y, and none of them like it if you’re standing up and reach down to pick them up, but they’re a million times less scared than they were two weeks ago, for sure.

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Lucy Peppers, hanging out.

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Snoozin’ Molly.

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Harlan, Molly, and Everett like to squeeze onto the same platform.

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Sally and Everett apparently see a crazed serial killer over my shoulder. Or nothing. They’re not sure what the difference is.

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You can’t see them all, but Molly Peppers actually has hold of three toys. She wants ALL the toys.

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Harlan and Lucy came to investigate, and Molly let out a fearsome growl. She’s a growler when she thinks anyone’s trying to take anything away from her.

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Smilin’ Molly.

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Serious Molly.

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Lucy (left) and Sally, annoyed at having their conversation interrupted.

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“Who, ME?”

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I love it when they lay froggy-style.

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“Who loves me enough to come scrape this eye booger out of my eye?”

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I kiss Ciara 10,000 times a day, especially when she gives me this look.

Last night, after we’d put Ciara, Clove, Cori and Cilantro in the foster room, one of them (I suspect Cilantro) began meowing sadly at the door. Instead of ignoring it as we usually do, we decided to let them back out and see how it went.

I did not sleep well, is how it went. If I wasn’t woken up by Cilantro vigorously licking my feet, I was awakened by Clove chasing her tail or Cori attacking my feet. I haven’t decided if we’ll give it a try again tonight, or just ignore the sad meowing. Mama needs her sleep, you know.

Edited to add: I just got the word – there’s room at Petsmart for Ciara and the Spice Girls. They’ll be going Friday morning!

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“Hey! You’re not allowed outside the back yard! Get back in here where Sheriff Mama can adequately protect you!”

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::giving me the I’m-not-kidding look::

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“I SAID, get back in here!”

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2010: When I see this picture, I can absolutely understand why Fred initially thought that Martin was a baby possum when he saw him sitting under the bush at the side of the house.
2009: They’re blue. They’re brothers. They’re Jake and Elwood.
2007: No entry.
2006: He truly amazes me.
2005: If I insert a brillo pad into my ear, will it eventually get to my brain and scrub that song out, or is that an urban myth?
2004: You know, I’m getting PRETTY FRICKIN’ TIRED of finding cricket legs all over the damn place.
2003: “Mother,” said the spud, “That is an excellent idea, for I am going to melt into a motherfucking puddle of goo in about 10 seconds.”
2002: No entry.
2001: No entry.
2000: In the future, the spud will be cleaning her own bedroom, since I took one look at her room and said “Fuck THIS.”