Friday, July 16, 2010

How can I Blog without any Pictures?

I can't. So I went and took some just for you.
Summer is in full swing here, which means things are insane. The Armageddon hive bees have filled three supers, or nearly filled three supers, so there will be a mid-summer honey harvest very soon. Meanwhile, the baby chickens aren't so much "baby" any more, and some of them will soon find their way into the Featherman Special and others will be laying soon. The Fayoumi and Lakenvelders who are the smallest of the batch were the first to crow and the first to run out the door to the fresh grass once I opened it. They are tiny and indomitable. The bigger birds hang back. I love this about chickens, their personalities and tastes and attitudes. And yes, I will still eat them. Some of them are jerks, which makes it simpler. A tiny cockerel who's flying at your legs and attacking your boots at 6 weeks or age is asking for it, and I can oblige.
This was a couple of weeks ago, their first box of veggie trimmings from the kitchen of New Fortune (my current favorite is the Greenfield Roll - light and perfect for summer!), which they attacked with great relish and vigor, as did their olders and betters
The hens still are a mess. Although two roosters for 32 hens should be within a range that might make life good for the hens, it is apparently not a good ratio for these two particular roosters. They spend a lot of time fighting over hens, and even more time on hens. But the hens put up with it and even encourage it at times, so if nothing else I am respecting the natural behavior of the animal. Chickens reproduce. It's not a glamorous act, but they have a job to do. Candles and wine have no place in the barnyard, unless the farmer and her husband are having dinner on the deck.
The garden is ridiculous, with garlic already in the mudroom waiting to be laid out to cure tonight, green beans already in the freezer and more to come.
We've had more than a few dinners culled from our own garden, which makes me very happy. I lost all berries to chipmunks, moles, and either a fox or a bear, I am not sure which. Whoever it is, they sneak in the night after I say "Tomorrow those will be ready for picking!" The currents and gooseberries just never had fruit, which stunned me. They were so prolific last year. It's an odd year. Not odd and moldy like last year, but odd in new ways. My Bee Balm is tiny, and the roses just never had flowers. But the peach tree wants to topple under the weight of it's offerings and we had our first cherries (4) and first apricots (2). We were very excited. We also have our first hazelberts, maybe 4 or 5 of them. These trees are all young, so any productivity is a shock.
Last night I rode to Northfield's farmers market, since I'd missed my own for a Natalie Merchant concert (a worthwhile event to be certain). I saw Kristin and Julia with their freezer full of lamb (yum!) and the folks from Coyote Hill Farm and Chase Hill Farm and a lady sitting under an umbrella selling raspberries for $3 a pint, and a few other vendors scattered around. I bought a pint of berries, of course. I would have bought them all but that seemed excessive.The Northfield market also has live music and they open the church kitchen and cook up burgers and dogs, or salads, or ice cream by request. It's a longer ride, but a more entertaining experience than the market in my own town. I miss living in Northfield, and I think I would go back in a heartbeat if we could arrange it. I grew up there, I reared my kids there, and I miss it most of the time, in spite of their abject stupidity in removing the last remaining gas station from town.
And I am writing a book. No sweat. Did I mention the part where I neglected to look closely at my calender and managed to not realize I had a deadline in July? Oops. One sneak peek. This is a scarf that will be in the book; the yarn is Lorna's Laces Pearl which I am unbelievably in love with. Love love love. The drape is amazing, it runs through your fingers like butter.
In other news, or in the interim while you want for more scintillating sneak peeks into the new book, I knit a sock for someone else. The pattern is written Toe-Up 2-at-a-Time.
The yarn is Black Bunny Stella, which is sparkly with silver (mmmm) and very, very ballet pink. Super-girlie sock, perfect for farm chores I think.
The yarn came from Dye Dreams for me use to design for their Four Seasons sock club. October shall be my month. I had to choose a color from one of these.
I did, but I am not telling you which yet. You can guess or wonder, as is your wont. More will be revealed.
I bought Very Expensive Firewood.
This is a mushroom log; an oak log that's been drilled in spots and filled with shiitake spore. It has so far produced 3 mushrooms. It's not in it's final home yet, so really I am not expecting a lot. And it was so bloody hot the last couple of weeks I am surprised it's even trying. 98 degrees and mushroom culture are not compatible.It's in a shady spot, but really should be further into the woods I think.
Mostly my life revolves right now around this:
Two bins stuffed full of yarn, stacks of reference books (apparently I was Knitting in the Old Way recently? Or just scrounging sources for percentages on which to base a sweater design, more like) and stitch dictionaries, every circular needle I own and...a wooden hand. Not really sure why that's there. And my remotes, so I can watch things like Shakespeare plays over and over and over while I write and draw and swatch.
There are moments in the process of composing a book that I come to despise it, question my sanity, ponder my future, contemplate a return to nursing and wonder if I just gave back the advance could I be done now? This has happened every time, just as it generally does with patterns. I have adjusted to it and make allowance for it now. In the beginning it scared me. Once the patterns are written and put to bed I can relax again for a while. Until the next book, or next flood of produce or honey or eggs, or the next chicken or human canine crisis.
For now it is errand day, and there are eggs to deliver and dog and cat food to be obtained and chinese food veggie scraps to be retrieved for my starving chickens (not really, but like the dogs they regularly think they are).