Friday, November 20, 2015

housework can be sort of fun

One of the benefits of cleaning out and defrosting the chest freezer, is knowing that eight gallon jugs of cider will soon create a perfect new bottom layer.

Another benefit is the fun challenge of using up what's left in the freezer. Like baking and roasting and stewing the last of the organic chicken purchased when it was on sale. And those crazy frozen "pumpkin" waffles which I will never - ever - buy again, but which will be eaten this time and not wasted.

And this morning, the cranberries.

Question: how many cranberries can be added to one cake?

Answer: not sure yet!

Will let you know when the cake has cooled. If it turns out to be a mass of cranberries lightly held together with fragments of cake, I will know I have gone a bit too far.

Fun to experiment, anyway! And I wish you could walk through my kitchen right now - the aroma is wonderful. Like taffy? Fudge? Hard to say exactly, I can't identify it. Maybe it's just been too long since I used sugar in a recipe!


I rarely do this, but I'm coming back with an update.
Less than an hour after posting.

The cranberry ratio is Just Right!
What a lucky, happy bake :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

evening chores

Evening chores now begin at about 3:30 PM.
But today I had an appointment, and didn't get home til 4:30.
So I finished up by moonlight.

Handheld, one-second exposures.

Just for fun.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

a bit of progress

We are having a second day of this:

Drizzling, mizzling, very cold rain and gloom. I may declare a Day of No Chores. Apart from, you know, the minimal actual chores, which take place outside, every day, morning, noon and evening, no exceptions, period.
Morning chores were delayed a while, though...
the goats were sleeping in.
Hooray for barncams!

In the past few weeks,There have been several small but challenging projects of the "Before Winter!" variety going on here. In one example, I've hired help to move a short section of the 6-foot perimeter fence. There are two reasons for this task. First, tightening up some of the sag created by the goats reaching for something especially delicious on the other side. Mostly Betula, who is quite a big fellow and can do this:

The second reason to move the fence is to expand the upper edge of my perennial border by the driveway, to provide a safe haven for the heroic Chelone obliqua. I fully intended to get this done "Before Winter!" last year, but failed. To my deep regret, the remnant Chelone population that struggled to recover after the Snowplow Incident of 2013 got ferociously decimated by the snowplow again in 2014. I swore that if any survived, they would be transplanted in 2015.

In early Spring, a leaf appeared here and there, poking gamely up between the unheaval of gravel and old macadam chunks pushed several feet into the garden by the plow. Every day I checked and saw another and another, until there was a little hopeful patch. I thought it would be safest to let them grow and bloom before moving them in the Autumn, but hedged my bets by experimentally moving a few plants in the Spring. They struggled a bit in their new location by the goat barns, so for the big move in Autumn, I picked a spot more like their original, if troubled, home along the drive.

Moving the fence just a few feet into the paddock made room for a wide row of Chelone on the other side. You can see the original fenceline on the left in the above picture, and the new line with the unattached fence sort of festooned along it, waiting to be stretched and reattached. The distance between the two lines is only about four feet. But it's an important four feet. I hope there will be enough sun for the plants; a constant concern here. But at least the plow cannot touch them.

Most of the transplanting was done before this rain began. There are a few plants I've offered to friends, to give the original population an opportunity to thrive and bring joy in more places. But if the friends don't come for them, I'll transplant the remaining few when this rain stops.

Which brings us back to today.

I'm feeling a bit like this leaf.
Tattered at the edges, worn thin in places.
Still hanging on, though.

I think I will strive to feel a little more like this:

Very similar features, but very different effect.

And look here: