Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tisk Tisk.

Dear self,
You must avert your eyes when passing those groups of teen boys, least you see the geeky one in the trench coat and bow tie... because there's always one, and falling in love with teenaged boys is pervy.
With love and concern,
A wiser version of me.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

dream land babies

Every dream I've had for years and years and years has happened in the same location. Sure, it looks a little different each time, but I KNOW that it's on the Ranch property. The Ranch being my place of employment for 9 years between the ages of 14 and 23. Those are pretty formative years... but it's still weird that every dream is set there.

Last night I had a stress filled dream. I was with a dear friend who is pregnant (also pregnant in real life and due in like 3 weeks)... And it was winter... and I took her horseback riding... and the horse fell, and she fell... and I spent the rest of the dream trying to figure out if she was ok, if the baby was ok... and trying to convince her that she was fine and that she didn't really fall... she um... went down with the horse.

Today 2 of my friends had babies.

Not my friend from the dream.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

unfinished thoughts

So- that happened. 
The thing with the skunk.

Which ment The Dog and I have been showering... a lot. Which means the bathroom has been too humid to paint. So, let's just scratch that off the to-do list.

And the thing with the coons happened.
I rebuilt the coop so the coons couldn't get in. It's actually really nice now- and I don't think the chicken's aid will take my poorly homed hens away. But I rebuilt the coop so I could tear down what remained of the rotted wall in the shed (the coons tore most of it down after I plugged up their original access) without fear of an invasion.

This is what I discovered.... (note: this is the wall that is adjacent to the neighbour's fence, at the front of the shed it's a foot and a half away from the fence, and at the back it's half a foot from the fence... because in the 80's and 90's... the 1880's 1890's- the townspeople didn't bother to check where property lines were before they put in their drive sheds/stables and then in the 60's and 70's... 1960's and 1970's people rebuilt on top of the old foundations using the worst methods they could come up with. This is a fairly shitty design flaw when it comes to trying to renovate.)

The wall was rotted.

The wall was rotted because the gutter was rusted.

The gutter was rusted because it was full of debris.

The debris came from the completely rotted shingles  (um, I'd never noticed how bad they were- the side of the shed that faces my yard has great shingles. The other side faces the fence. I didn't notice the shingles till I retrieved the broom) (the broom that I used as a javelin the night the coons came for a visit)

And because the gutter and shingles and wall were all rotted... the frame/support beams of the shed were rotted.

Let me just say, I've never been so glad of the hours and hours and hours of "this old house" I watched in the 80's and 90's. (the 1980's and 1990's).

The shed is no longer in danger of falling on that side.

Let's not talk about the state of the other three sides of the shed.

everyone likes an update

Back to that time I lost my shit.

I took a vacation this week- There were a few things I needed to do around the paint the bathroom, build the fence, coon-proof the coop, and rebuild the rotted wall of the shed.

I've got three days left of my vacation... and it's raining.

Truth is, one of the projects ended up being so much bigger than I thought it would be, and without a vehicle... I spent a lot of my week in "hurry up and wait" mode.

Last sunday night the dog and I found a skunk sitting on my back step.

 It's been living under my neighbour's shed all summer, and hanging out down the street at the construction site for weeks. Sunday night, it decided to cut through my yard on it's way home just as we were headed out for Rueben's last walk. I didn't turn on the light. I was walking with my eyes nearly shut- I cracked the back door open, and Rueben SHOT OUT OF IT and ripped the leash right out of my hand. So I stumbled down the stairs yelling at him... in time to see him PIN a skunk to the ground... in time to watch him let it go... get sprayed, chase it under the trailer... and, as any good herding dog would do... HERD THE SKUNK BACK AT ME. I opened my umbrella to use as a shield. Rue then chased it under the trailer... then back to me.. then under the trailer... then back to me. At one point I went into the house to escape it all... but the stupid dog was barking and pinning the skunk to the ground over and over, I knew I needed to pull him off the skunk if it was ever going to end.

The thing about skunk spray? It doesn't smell like skunk.

I kept wondering if maybe it was a young skunk who hadn't figured out how to spray right yet... because all I could smell was this terrible petrol-like smell... not gas, like heavy oil products.

The thing about skunk spray? It smells like skunk AFTER you start washing it off.

I dumped the dog and myself in the tub... Rueben's first bath since I got him... (note: he hates baths)
And started rinsing us off with baking soda and peroxide. My hands were covered in the stink (from grabbing the dog- and his saturated leash), my feet were covered in the stink (from running around trying to grab the dog in freshly sprayed grass and gravel)... and my nose was full of it. Meanwhile, the dog looked like a cartoon rabies victim with all the foaming at the mouth and drooling he was doing (his reaction to the skunk spray in his mouth) and kept trying to wipe his face on everything.

I'm so thankful I locked him in the back room of the house after that first bath... it's now just the bathroom and back room that have a skunky after smell to them.

Best thing I learned from this experience- have baking soda, peroxide, and a mild dish soap on hand. These are your friends. The dog only smells of skunk right around his mouth and eyes where I couldn't get too close with my cleaning mixture. The rest of him just smells like normal dog. I'm sure there are measurements that you can use, google it ... I just dumped the bottle of peroxide, half a box of baking soda, and a squirt of dish soap into a cup and mixed it together.
As a plus, it's a great exfoliant for yourself.

It took me two showers to pass the sniff test by friends.
Sniff tests took place inside closed vehicles to ensure the results would be true.

That's what friends are for.

(remind me not to wear those flip flops in your car though)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sometimes they write themselves.

Three things:
 1) I have a great friend named Kevin who can always make me laugh. He's 
happily married to his partner of 12million years, but if he ever decides to try the straight side- I know I get first dibs.

2) I have a ukulele student who likes to "spontaneously song". She opens her mouth and she's written a new song. This week's gems included chickens learning to swim, "the flippers helped them greatly" was one fantastic line. And yes, it all rhymed. But the best line hands down was from a song about a quilting otter, "cross stitch isn't a skill you often use"... I nearly fell off my chair.

3) My friends often make fun of the fact that I remember so much random (mostly) useless information from the articles I read. They also make fun of the fact that I read articles about these things at all.
The following is what happens on facebook when Kevin and I are online. 

Status update:
I will NOT read the article on tanning deer hides using natural materials. There is no reason for me to learn this.

L.Bo- especially since I already read the article on using soldier fly larva to consume waste and create animal feed protein.. Why do I read and retain this stuff? Why can't I remember my seven times tables?

Kevin- Seven times seven equals an awesome pair of fringed suede buckskin boots. Eight times seven makes them thigh-high.

Nine times seven? I'm not even going there.

L.Bo- chaps... a matched set.

The worst part of this is... next time I'm trying to remember 8x7 .. I'm going to start laughing uncontrollably.

Kevin-No, the worst part is that I'm going to be awake all night envisioning variations of unmatched chaps.

And that won't be the worst way I've spent a night. 

This week

L.Bo-I love you.

Kevin- That's only because you bring out the worst in me. I was a contender for Pope before I met you.Assuming pink smoke would be recognized for the miracle it would be.

L.Bo- So. um. I was just trying to picture the pope in chaps and then realized how very wrong that was.

Kevin- Totally cackled. Totally love you. Totally blamed you for waking up the dog and making him bark, which woke up Jer, who was "watching a movie".

If any one of them was wearing unmatched pink suede chaps, I'd simply die of joy.

L.Bo-  " I simply died of joy" I want that on my gravestone.

Kevin- Cross-stitched. In granite.

L.Bo- Obviously

"cross stitching isn't a skill you often use" ... said by a quilting otter.

Kevin- Cross stitching is no more a skill than ballroom dancing, or making venison jerky. It's an art you're born with. Or buy at church bazaars.

L.Bo- I was born with

Kevin- And I was born with silk floss, patent leather shoes and deer meat. I complete you.

L.Bo- See? I just died of too much joy.

Kevin- Let's make a pact: No dying until the pope wears unmatched pink suede chaps. (Which, in light of recent comments, isn't as far-fetched as one might first presume.) My guess is that it could happen in celebration of the first anniversary of Saint Liberace Day.

Or did you mean "la petite mort", which would cause me to avert my eyes, shuffle my feet and blush.

It was at this point my computer had a temper-tantrum and started acting like I was leaning on the enter key... after some rather embarrassing/ odd posts, I decided it was time to take my leave.... but not before my computer tried to link each line I wrote to "what the poo dude" . So random!

Kevin- sleep well and fully chapped

L.Bo- half chapped= 7x3

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Turn on the lights

Then there was that time that the dog and I got sprayed by a skunk.
Yeah, that happened.

I think I'm almost at the point where I can write about it without KILLING the dog.

I mean, I'm at the point now where I can be in the house without gagging... so that's something..


Monday, September 09, 2013

adventures in urban homesteading. (or) the time I lost my shit.

(apologies for my language...I drop the f-bomb a lot when I'm mad)

I'm going into my 3rd winter with Chickens in town.
I could go on and on about ideas around building the perfect chicken coop- VENTILATION, basic chicken care, and about how frickin' fantastic watching those bumbling featherbutts can be... but I won't... come and ask me questions some time.
My coop is the most hobo-built-redneck creation out there. It's built out of spare pieces of wood and parts off an old rabbit cage (Norty's old cage). It's been great- located inside my shed it's been mostly preditor proof- last fall a set of raccoon prints appeared on the lower side of the coop inside the shed, but the little guy never returned.
And there was the run-in with the fox this summer that made off with 2 of my meat birds, but that was a small run out in the yard, not the coop...

Last night I went to bed early- I've done a string of day shifts, and I find that getting things done and out the door before 7am is hard work... I fell asleep by 9:30 and was sound asleep in my own bed by 10.... at midnight I heard the chickens screaming.

I fumbled around and found a house coat in the dark (because I still haven't bothered to plug the lamp back in under my bed!) and went running out... three of the girls were in the run... Darlene was screaming bloody murder...The girls are never in the run at night- unless the coop door has blown shut and locked them out. So I run into the shed... and come face to face with 4 young raccoons! one took off right away and I never saw it again... one was in the coop eating an egg, and two others climbed up ontop of the coop.

I did what any chicken farmer would do.

I grabbed my broom and started playing raccoon baseball. I whacked the heck outta them- I shoved them, I hissed at them. I yelled (several times) "you mother fuckers get out of my fucking chicken coop!'

What did they do? They took it! One just sort of rolled his eyes at me while I swung at him. Oh, I made contact- once or twice the broom was bitten. Eventually I chased them out of the shed- they ended up on the roof. I could hear them pacing above me, so I went outside and started beating them again- one climbed into the run- where the girls started pecking at him.

This is likely where someone might have called the SPCA on me, because I grabbed the wooden pole that I use to prop open the run door and took a few swings at the beastie. In frustration (because I couldn't reach the jerks on the roof) I had thrown the broom at the coons while I spat out every swear word I've ever learned, so the pole made a great replacement.

It's still on the roof (the broom I mean).

The wooden pole was heavy- I couldn't swing it at the coons on the roof, and it was only 3 feet long. So I switched to the bamboo poles from the garden, at 5 feet long they make an amazing switch... and I could reach the peak of shed roof from the ground.

For the next half hour I ran from one side to the other of the shed, whipping raccoons. I was not gentle... but they seemed to think it was a joke.... till I climbed on the roof of the run and got on the roof of the shed and tried to play raccoon golf.

Finally I'd hit them in the head often enough that the decided to (slowly) leave.
They climbed down onto the fence... where I hit them some more.
Then they climbed over the side of the fence into the neighbour's side- still hanging onto the lattice of the fence.  I spent some time jabbing them in the stomach with my bamboo pole. That pissed them off and they fell off the fence- one fell off the fence and got stuck, that was pretty much the best moment of the night... I may have been laughing manicly at that point. I only stopped when I heard myself loudly say "take that mother fuckers!"

I also realized at that point that my housecoat wasn't done up, and that I was still wearing my mouth guard.

Awesome. Thank goodness I live on a quiet street.

epilogue: I chased the coons again around 3am. No chickens were (seriously) harmed. Tonight I built a cage inside the coop to house the girls till I can do some serious repairs to the side of my delapitated old shed. Vacation/shed repairs start next Monday if anyone would care to join me.

Friday, September 06, 2013


Peanuts are fricken' fantastic.

Like, not in the "I've got to eat them by the bottle load" (which I do), but in the "seriously? what the what now?" kinda way.

This year's garden challenge has been a little different than last. Last year it was all about the idea of intensive urban farming in a small plot. I was able to average 1lb of produce per square foot growing mostly leafy greens- This year, while my yeild is nearly half that again in weight (1.5lbs and growing season isn't over)- I've gone with more variety. This year's challenge was to try growing some produce that my zone isn't known to support well.

The two biggest garden weirdos this year are the quinoa and peanuts.
I'm not going to attempt pictures. Both cameras are shot and the camera in my phone is nearing the end of it's life too (honestly doesn't anything last anymore?! ug.).
Let me tell you about the peanuts.
They had a rough start. They like the soil to be well draining, not too packed- so the raised beds were the way to go- They started in one bed and ended up moving- which I think has slowed the way down... It's easy to see why they're a legume when they're in flower- the tiny yellow petals look like mini pea flowers, and aside from the way the leaves are grouped, the leaf shape is similar.... but here's where it gets weird... the flower gets pollinated above the ground, then... it grows this crazy "peg" down into the ground... buries itself and then develops the peanuts underground.
No. really... it's weird.. and weird looking.

So, that got me to thinking.
And looking.
When you leave a pea on the plant too long, the pod started to dry up and gets all veiny looking... somewhat similar to the peanut shell... what then would happen if I started roasting peas? Like, in the same way I'm roasting my ground nuts?
I don't have any peas to try this with at this point... hopefully I remember next season.

Adventures in quinoa coming up later....
weirdo plants.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

there and back again

What a perfect festival.
My fears about not putting myself fully into the prep of the festival being a threat to my full enjoyment of the festival were put aside.

I'm probably in the best shape emotionally coming out of this festival. I didn't overdo it before or during, so I'm not a wasted lump crying my face off grieving the passing of another festival. But, I'm still pretty sadfaced- I don't like it when it ends.
I hate going from true community and constant togetherness  back to my single gal life in my single gal house. On one hand I'm so glad to be away from people- I just want to stare at the wall for a few days and not talk to anyone- and on the other hand, I just need someone to hang onto me.

I don't really have a way to pull together all my thoughts from the festival... so this might be a little rambley.

Sure the weather was weird and rainy at first, but pardon the pun, it didn't put a damper on it.

I went out to the site on Thursday and helped with some kitchen prep- I didn't realize how much I missed the pre-festival kitchen till I was in the middle of creating a VAT of hummus surrounded by other cheery cooks chopping carrots and grilling ground chicken.  Happy people, singing and cooking and visiting.

I went home Thursday night- which was hard, Thursday and Sunday night are generally my favorite campfires- but I knew the pooch needed some attention before I dragged him off to the doggie daycare. (Doggie daycare is a whole other story)

Friday arrived. Artists arrived, set up happened without a hitch. People created pretty things, looked at pretty things. The village worked really well. I feel a little bad that after Saturday lunch I pretty much abandoned the village- each time I was there, there was nothing for me to do- so eventually I stopped checking in. oops.

The music all weekend was fantastic.
Camping in the trailer with Manda was lovely.
Campfires were... healing to the soul.

I did discover something though- I'm not really there for the music. I'm there for the community. I'm there for the conversations. I'm there for the intimacy between friends and loves. I'm there for the special moments. I'm there for the teamwork overcoming challenges.

The shared.
That's what I'm there for.