Yet another Apriori Farm vehicle was suffering from a severe case of Dangly Bits. For the second week running, I’ve had to replace a muffler. Last week, it was the Frankenhonda that’s not pretty but was nearly free and generally gets from point A to point B with its own funky style. This week, it was the truck and the truck was already loaded with the trappings of my daughter’s life awaiting transport to her new home when I noticed the muffler was no longer properly attached.
My daughter took it to the mechanic for a quick replacement and I tried to prepare the farm for a brief but intense cold spell. All accomplished before noon. Then my daughter and I spent the next 9 and a half hours moving her stuff to Raleigh. It took us 9 hours to run out of conversation. We both had a lot to say. It was a great outing, and I learned many things.
- My daughter’s generation seems more obsessed with race than mine is.
- They are generally less prepared to deal with adult life (financial management, changing a tire, cooking, laundry, etc.) Not my daughter, mind you. She can cook, clean, manage her books and knows how to do minor car repair and maintenance.
- I’m still searching for a restaurant that can serve up a decent chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. At this point in my quest, I’d be happy to find a restaurant that actually cooks and salts their green beans.
- Deep fried black-eyed peas, billed as the new pop-corn, just don’t quite live up to expectations.
The next couple of days were really cold and marked the first time this winter I’ve had to haul warm water from the house down to the animals.
The roofers did an outstanding job of removing, repairing, and replacing the roof on the house on Wednesday. They also did an outstanding job of annoying the cat, who couldn’t find a single quiet place to nap for the entire day. He expressed his displeasure and contempt in most in appropriate ways.
On Thursday, it was all about relocating some newly finished compost into a bed in the riding ring, and . . . tilling it in. Don’t like to till, but the riding ring growing disaster of 2015 has sort of driven me to mix in the compost instead of layering due to moisture retention issues. Once mixed in, I finally put down the last of the garlic – the late maturing stuff. Some hardneck and some soft. Lesson learned the hard way: Plant all the hardneck varieties first as many of them don’t last into January. Second lesson learned: get all the garlic planted before Thanksgiving. Third, life being what it is in November, getting all the garlic planted before Thanksgiving is a pipe dream.
On Friday, I was still relocating things. Namely chicks and hay. I used the hay bales that have formed the west wall of the duck house to mulch the newly planted garlic. These bales have been weathering for months and most had already begun to really decompose. It makes decent mulch, and I don’t have to worry about any Round-Up residues. Then I had to put new bales down to make a new west wall for the ducks.
The chicks arrived at the post office first thing in the morning and I had to go fetch them and install them into some sort of housing. They went into my normal brooding tub which I use in emergencies to house small numbers of chicks. The trouble is I ordered 25 chicks and received 30 from Mt. Healthy Hatcheries. The brood tub is only going to be practical for a few days. Chicks grow very quickly. So I bought a second 100 gallon water trough. The chicks, numbering 29 now, got relocated into that this morning. Hopefully, this will contain them until they’re fully feathered. At that point, I plan to cordon off a portion of the new hoop house and winter them in there whilst I build a new mobile coop that doesn’t have delusions of flight.
Aside from the one lost chick, the biggest trouble has been figuring out which heat source keeps them warm enough without cooking them. The weather is very changeable at the moment, quite warm today, but come tomorrow, we’ll have highs in the 30s and 40s for the foreseeable future. The chicks are down in the barn, in the white room. I’ve got the heat mat running on the sand bed and once that sand warms up, that should keep the chill out of the room. A 250 watt heat lamp will do the rest. I hope. So much more efficient to have a mother hen.
Yesterday, was also our first market of the year in Farmville. With all the relocations of the week, I didn’t have time to pick anything, but I showed up anyway with eggs and pork. Wasn’t a great day in terms of sales, but the reluctance I felt to go disappeared as soon as customers started showing up. I really like these people and I’ve missed them.
Other things happening this week:
Bookkeeping. I hate bookkeeping and I can’t quite seem to close out 2015 and get 2016 started. I’m really not far from finishing off for 2015, and I’ve promised myself to really keep on top of it in 2016. So far, total fail, but there’s not much going into the books this time of year. The next week will be really cold and therefore conducive to indoor pursuits. Yeah. Right.
I checked up on the bees after many months of benign neglect. Both my hives are heavy and the girls were out foraging today, bringing back bright orange and yellow pollen. In January. Thank you, El Nino!
We also got to spend an evening with friends from the old neighborhood. We used to have monthly parties with all the families, playing Bunco and imbibing in good food, drink and friendship. Sometimes we’d dress up in ridiculous costumes and eat strange and unusual things by candlelight and call it Twelfth Night. I love these people. Smart and witty and willing to laugh at themselves.
Our kids are mostly grown now and making their way with confidence in the wider world. We don’t drink so much anymore nor do we eat as much. And last night, we didn’t play Bunco or perform silly plays. We chatted, snacked and watched the football game and it was a perfect evening except for thugs engaging in thuggery that passes for football these days.
Our favorite new recipe of the week was Black-Eyed Pea Sweet Potato Cornbread Pot Pie.
This is from a wonderful blog I discovered this week called Vanilla and Bean. Traci from Whidbey, Washington, has put together some seriously good vegetarian recipes and taken the most lovely photographs of them. If you want to learn how to eat more beans, whole grains and leafy greens, Traci has some awesome ideas and she writes out her instructions very well.