Sunday, November 05, 2006

Excuses, Excuses

I know. I suck. Used to post about 2-3 times a week, now it's maybe weekly. What gives?

I think it's a combination of the end of the year busies and some end of the year lethies. (My friend D's word. When you are overcome with lethargy. The Lethies.)

I really have been busy, though. And I think of you all. Often. As I am busy being busy.

Work is suddenly much busier, which is all to the good if you are wanting to continue to be employed, although not so good if you are one of the 'huddled masses yearning to breathe free'. Much of the infectious diseases 'round these parts.

Yes. Of course I've gotten my flu shot. November 1st. 9 more days until it kicks in full force, may the force be with me. I've also started to get that dry hand syndrome thingy that I hate 6 months out of the year, where you have to slather the greasy hand ointment over your poor cracking and itching manos as you remove every last bit of moisture from them with the frequent hand decontaminating, at least what moisture the cold, wind, and humidity of 2 have left them.

So. What the hell else have I been up to?

Made some pies. One apple and one completely-from-scratch pumpkin, from the pumpkin that Colin brought home from the annual school trip to yet another pumpkin patch.

Pictures for you

I loved the fresh pumpkin so much that I'm making it that way for Thanksgiving, provided that I can keep the one remaining pumpkin from rotting away. See prior post, dammit. 5/6 pumpkins bit the dust and are happily rotting (or freezing, awaiting rotting in April, in the composter). The trick? Sieve the pulp. Creamy smooth. Sighhhhh.

The apple one was quite good, as I added about 1/4 cup of brandy to the shebang.

I've been tackling the by-the-stable mess and the raised beds from hell. Sort of a joint project. I schlepped the floor of the stable:

Pictures for you

(basically compacted and well rotted horse manure, with assorted fungi, which I will probably curse in 5 months as my veggie garden sprouts giant man-eating toadstools that lay siege to the house and demand their own dwelling place) to the top of the veggie bed:

Pictures for you

And then Me, myself and I waged war on the 10'Lx20'Wx5'H ft area directly to the left of the stable, where my pal Deb and I had dumped about 1000 wheelbarrows of horse shit 3 years previously and then just left. It got colonized by all sorts of weeds, (yes, even the damn thistles) and it took a couple of years to get the timing right, but this year, I descended upon it as soon as the plants died back, but yet before the snows, and pulled up every mother-hating bit of it, including the pile of fence posts, horse gates, large wooden posts, miles of 1/2" fence wire, and such that we'd just piled there in our zeal to get the stable and pasture usable. Funny, we haven't used it for anything except to store an old push mower that, given the 8 acres of pasture we call 'heaven', we won't likely use, and the old table the previous owners left in the basement. But NOW it holds old fence posts, chicken wire and many rotting boards 10-15' long.

Bonfire time.

Actually, Charles has had 2 bonfires during the month of October. I could hear the souls of the ripped up weeds and such that I'd thrown in the fire pit screaming.

I laughed.

Next spring I'm planning to plant 3-4 apple trees.

Currently, I'm mulling over apple varieties. It was pointed out to me that the presence of apples will really attract the deer. I figure that some of the apples will ferment on the ground, providing the deer with a Calvados meal and me with more blog fodder.

We had 5 young deer traipse through our yard, today, and put on a macho show. None of them had antlers, and I swear they had zits, so we figured they were the human equivalent of 14 or 15 years old. 3 of the 5 strutted out to the middle of the east pasture and started this prolonged display of head-butting and giving wedgies. The other 2, obviously girls and embarrassed by the whole display, headed off into the trees, ditching the dweebs. So sad. They'll be getting their driver's licenses by next spring and then they'll be attempting to buy cheap crappo beer.

It's snowed:

Pictures for you


Pictures for you

Actually, it's snowed more than that, if you count the white flakes coming down, but only twice has it stuck on the ground.

Sara found a toad, which she didn't step on, thank goodness, Colleen.

Pictures for you

We just prodded it with a stick:

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And then let it flee to a crack by the garage:

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I found a walking stick bug and managed not to scream like a girl, but to pick it up with a large stick and put it on top of the porch railing and run for the camera:

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It then, sensing that it's soul was about to be sold to the internet, tried to flee by dropping to the cement and slooooooly run away:

Pictures for you

Oh, so slooooooowly:

Pictures for you

So, those are my excuses.

Forgive me? Nah. Didn't think so.



Blogger Teri said...

You sound like you need a visitor to spice up your life.

And, we ARE still holding your coffee mug hostage.

(of course I forgive you. pish. I'm just glad you came back.)

11:36 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

It's Slim!! It's Slim!! Where's Francis, dammit?!?!

{I watched that movie too many times, clearly}

Also!! Horse shit!! No wait--I told that story already.

Flu shot?? I'm still contemplating getting one. I've never had one before but looking at my recent Luck Medicular, well, dunno. I may close my eyes and let the bastards stab me with a needlefull of Enza Repellent this time.

And of course you're forgiven!!

And you can be EXTRA forgiven should a pumpkin pie to suddenly appear on my doorstep in the next ten minutes.

They can do it on Star Trek, y'know. That's why they invented the transporter thingies to begin with.


11:50 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

Diana, you never disappoint, and I'm not just saying that because you linked to ME (and made sure no toads were killed). The tale of the teenage deer was cracking me up. Your posts are always worth the wait! No apologies are necessary.

11:58 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

You know, you go a week without posting and then - Wow! Loved the pictures and the stories. The deer prancing through the yard, as teenagers, completely made me giggle and I'm just amazed you didn't scream at the walking stick bug. I would have.

You are awesome. Just so you know.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Cagey said...

I am totally stealing the word Lethies. Awesome.

I love, LOVE the nature pictures - the most I get around here in the 'burbs are tree rats (aka squirrels). They only become Blog Worthy Fodder when they manage to chew their way into your house.

Frankly, I'd prefer to just have the Lethies.

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

God, I love your blog. When are we getting together again? We're away for Thanksgiving, but have no plans with anyone until that time.

I suggest getting some kind of crabapple tree, if you like to make jellies. It's so tart and good, and plus they work very well at attracting birds to your yard (if you like them). Otherwise, it's hard to get fruit trees to actually fruit edible fruit (I'd like to use that word once more in this sentence: fruit), either because of pests or because the birds eat it before you do.

Love the toad. We finally found out where the mice are coming into our house, so I guess the cats are going to have to find another hobby.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Everybody- See, why don't I post every day when I get all this love? Stoopid, I tell you.

Teri- I DO need a visit from you and yours (although we should do the treking to you next month). I'm never taking that mug back so it can ever remain an excuse.

Babs- Gah. Were I your pill pusher, I'm not sure if I'd be brave enough to dare the fates and give you something as innocuous as a flu shot. You'd not die but get purple nose warts and grow 6th toes, both with bunions. We won't discuss what the bunion surgery would lead to... Willy Wonka also developed a food transporter but the food got small on transmission. Maybe I did send one and it's under that bit of leaf?

Colleen- All I could think of was that Sara Must Not Step On The Toad. Which is silly. Of course I'm the one who prodded him (gently, gently) with the stick.

Beth- It was touch and go with the screaming, I tell you. I must be finally growing up. Plus, Sara was there, too, and I'm trying ever-so-hard not to pass my hang-ups onto the kids. So far, I'm 0/2. Both are rather bug phobic. Damn and blast.

Cagey- Steal away. I shall look for it evermore in your posts. I remember the tree rat invasion. (shudder)

Ariella- This week is looking lovely, isn't it? I'm thinking perhaps a trip to the zoo and Indian lunch with Sara when Colin is in school. I'll e-mail you unless you get me first. Fruit. I figure 3-4 trees should give me enough for a few pounds of apples. Nature can have the rest. Fruit. We've mice in the damn garage but they haven't penetrated to the house yet. Matter of time. Do Mia and Maggie actually do their catly duty and chase them? Catch them?

10:40 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Stupid blogger. I couldn't comment on your pumpkin post which was really cute.

Anyway, I love your posts. It doesn't matter how long there is between them as long as you never leave us for good. I would cry. A lot.

The barely-teen deer? Brilliant, as always. And the photo essay of the toad and the walking stick? Loved it.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

Hahahaha. Well, there have been approximately (I say "approximately" because there is no way to know for sure) five mice in our home, all of which have been either killed or maimed by ONE of the cats. It's really quite impossible to know which one is doing its "catly duty," but I'd put my money on Maggie since she has always been sitting either on or near them when they've been discovered.

I still think you ought to get a crabapple tree so I can make you delicious crabapple jelly. You will LOVE it.

I can only do lunch with you and Sara on Friday, so if that's the day you're going, let's make a date. I love Indian food.

Also: we have a wolf spider that has made webs all over our the exterior of our house (mostly on the deck) and it SKEEVES ME OUT.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You're too funny! Evidently you bank your wit until it's time to blog and we get to be the recipients!
I didn't know you had so much land to take care of and "farmy" things to do. Such a busy life you lead...and you reminded me to get my flu Dr. wasn't getting the serum until Nov. so I guess it's time..but I'll wait till my cold's gone.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Kate W. said...

I will forgive you if you send that! That my dear is a gorgeous pumpkin pie! Just reading about all of your back breaking work has left me exhausted and I must go to bed. I have heard knocked up girls can get flu shots... I have never-gotten a flu shot that is. Or the girls... Are you a big flu shot person?

8:49 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Nice job on the fluting of that pie crust! Mine never look nice like that.

Laughing my ass off about the teenaged deer getting driver's licenses and trying to buy crappo beer.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Babs said...

Bah. Forget it then. I look HORRID in purple.

5:28 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dana- Stupid blogger, indeed. Leave you? NEVER. Just didn't want you to think something was up because I'd been rather quiet for a while.

Ariella- Yeeks! We had a cat that used to sit on the mice she was supposed to be catching. They'd wiggle away and then she'd catch and sit on them, again. They'd usually finally meet their end, which must have been something of a mercy. I'm thinking I planted a couple of crabapples this spring, but now I'm not sure, plus, they might have died. We lost about 20% of those we planted. Friday looks good. You can show me your killer wolf spider.

Ruth- You are waaaay too nice. Yes, terribly gentlewomanly farmy. I often blink and wonder how a nice city girl got here.

Kate- I guess the easiest way to answer that is: is getting the flu something that would be devastating if you came down with it or are you or those you care for at high risk to get or be at high risk for complications should you get the flu. For me, it's easy. I hate getting sick. The flu (influenza, we are talking about, not that thing people call 'flu' when they are barfing and trotting to the can) is a misery. I got it when I was pregnant with Sara, in September, before the shots were ready. Tylenol and tea does NOTHING for the flu. When you're preggo, you can't take anything of worth, like boatloads of advil and Nyquil and the bit of medicinal brandy in your tea to try to get that damn cough to calm down at 3am so you can just get some sleep. So, up to you. It's recommended that 'those in a delicate situation' as the Victorians would say, should get it. As for the kiddos, my kids don't get one. They both got the flu year before last. It was awful (I probably blogged it in 1/05, too lazy to look it up), but there's a certain amount of illness I'm fine with. The immunity with a flu shot is fleeting but the immunity you build with the infection is much longer lasting. Sadly, they are both allergic to Tamiflu, the drug that is marginally effective for flu. That's my take on it.

Oh, and finally (all together, now): YOU CAN'T GET THE FLU FROM THE FLU SHOT! (It's made of pieces of dead virus coating. No infectious material in it, which is why the immunity is fleeting.)

Rozanne- It's a Star Trek Woman photo, all fuzzy to make it more attractive.

Babs- Orange. Pumpkin.

9:15 AM  
Blogger listmaker said...

Diana, no one else makes me laugh so hard over the tales of their chores. But, did I miss something? Do you have a pony under that pile of horse manure?

8:32 PM  
Anonymous christie said...

Who knew lethies were contagious???? Can I just say you are wonderwoman? How do you have time to cure the world of disease and pestulance, raise 2 amazing kids, and be Martha Stewart (well, at least her good qualities) all at the same time????

9:43 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Ah, Listie, you're a sweetheart. Nope, no pony. The previous owners had 2 or 3. This causes my folks no end of mirth as until the age of 19 or 20 I included 'a pony' on my Christmas list. When a young lass, I hatched all sorts of schemes to get one and now it's the last thing I'd want.

Christie- (Waves delightedly! Hi!!!) I'm not a wonderwoman, I just share her name. No way you'd catch me in that outfit. Those boobs would put someone's eye out. And was there an invisible seatbelt on that invisible plane she flew? This is what life brings you when you only work 1/2 time, babe. It's puuure heaven.

10:17 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

My apple vote? Cortlands.

1:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Lord, I have a problem!"
"What's the problem, Eve?"
"Lord, I know you've created me and have provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals and that hilarious comedy snake, but I'm just not happy."
"Why is that, Eve?" came the reply from above.
"Lord, I am lonely. And I'm sick to death of apples." "Well, Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."
"What's a 'man,' Lord?"
"This man will be a flawed creature, with aggressive tendencies, an enormous ego and an inability to empathize or listen to you properly, he'll basically give you a hard time. He'll be bigger, faster, and more muscular than you. He'll be really good at fighting and kicking a ball about and hunting fleet-footed ruminants, But, he'll be pretty good in the sack."
"I can put up with that," says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow.
"Yeah well, he's better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick. But, there is one condition."
"What's that, Lord?"
"You'll have to let him believe that I made him first."
:D :D :D

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9:06 AM  

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