Quilting, Farming, Variety

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The End of an Era

Ok, maybe that's a little overly dramatic! For several years -- I can't even remember how many -- we've had fresh eggs. A couple of days ago, I used the last of them. We have only two hens now, and they are getting old, I guess. They've been laying only one egg between them for several weeks (and as you know from the earlier post, we've had trouble getting that one before a skunk does). Gradually the supply in the refrigerator kept getting lower and lower, and finally I used the last one on an upside-down blueberry pancake recipe (which turned out to be a disaster, but that's another story).

Our daughter says she wants to take part in the 4-H poultry chain project this summer, so we'll get some new hens in the fall. But for now, I'll have to do without those nice brown eggs. I'll miss them.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Our House Guests

The weather for the next few days is supposed to be unusually cold for Arkansas, in the single digits for lows with wind chills below zero. Last night, my son said one of his teachers said that's the kind of weather that can kill animals that have to stay outside, like cats and dogs. So we made the decision to bring the kittens in from the big shed and let them stay inside until the coldest weather has passed. (Poor dogs! They get the garage.)

I bought some kitty litter today and brought the cats in when I was making the rounds of feeding everyone and breaking the ice on the water troughs. So far, the guests have been pretty shy. The female kitten, Nacho, hides any time I enter the room, but the male one, Midnight, while he's not exactly friendly, seems a little more at home. At one point, he was sitting on the footstool in the living room, waiting in ambush for his mother to walk by. He's really cute. I don't care for cats, but he could change my mind!

There are two things I hope: that they understand about the litter box, and that no one gets lost in the middle of the night and starts yowling (which they have been doing whenever they can't find each other).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What a Nerd

My daughter is a fifth-grader. Today her homework in language arts class was to make a list of 30 prepositions and to write sentences with them. So of course she wanted help. We were brainstorming for prepositions (we came up with 20 before we had to go online for a list), and I was scanning through some sentences in a book, searching for prepositions we didn't already have. Suddenly, I was reminded again of how much I really love language.

I've said before that I love words and the shades of meaning different words convey. I relish the distinction between "walk" and "stalk" and "strut" and "sashay" and "stagger." But what sort of surprised me tonight was that I love the way the words go together, too. As an English major in college, one of the courses I had to take was Advanced Grammar. We used to diagram sentences in that class (anybody else remember doing that?), and I thought it was fun to strip a sentence down to its most basic elements of subject/verb/(object) and then to see how all the modifying elements like prepositional phrases winged off from that kernel of meaning. It was sort of like putting together a puzzle, or maybe more like taking a puzzle apart and seeing how all the unique pieces did their job to create the whole. I had the urge to diagram some sentences tonight...though it's been so long I'm not sure I could put everything in the right place.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sabbatical, Day 1 - Postscript

In the interest of keeping the fire going, I went to get some small sticks from the shed that the hens share with the woodpile. When I stepped in, I saw the hens were roosting, their feathers all puffed out against the cold. I checked to see that their water wasn't frozen, then that they had food, then looked in the nest box -- where a skunk was helping him/herself to the eggs! With a muttered "oh, boy," I backed out, shut the door, and came to announce the visitor to Jeff. Long story short, he shot the skunk and threw it over the fence into the pasture.

What we can't figure is why the skunk hadn't bothered the hens. Maybe this was a philosophical skunk who thought, "Eat a hen tonight, I eat once. Let a hen live, I have an egg dinner every night."

Sabbatical, Day 1 - SNOW!!!!

This is not meant to be a slam against my family, but my biggest fear is that we are going to have one of those winters in which we get a lot of snow. Normally, that would be just fine - except this winter I'm supposed to be working on learning web design and design software. Which is excessively difficult to do with other people in the house, playing Wii and watching movies with the surround sound on and expecting an actual meal at lunchtime instead of a bowl of cereal or whatever leftovers are in the fridge.

Today was supposed to be the first day back to school for everybody, and I was excited to start something. Except....there was "freezing fog" that turned all the roads into ice sheets. I thought I would at least work on setting up my goals and objectives; so far, I've listed four general goals (the very same ones I've had listed for months) and one objective....bleah. But...I've also done quite a bit of the ironing, and cleaned the bathroom, and kept the fire going. (That doesn't sound like much, suddenly, lol.)

If it is one of those really unusual winters - and Arkansas is due to have one after 32 years - I better learn to find a quiet spot or to do some selective ignoring! I don't want to waste my only chance!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Let's try this again.....

New Year's Day - a time for resolutions and new beginnings. I figure this is a good opportunity to get started on something I've been intending to do for a while - resurrect this blog.

It's going to come back, but not in quite the same format. I think one reason I had problems keeping the blog going was that I had narrowed the focus so much that I couldn't always come up with things to write about. I did the same thing with another blog in which I was going to focus on my writing. At the time, I thought it would be better to keep my ideas compartmentalized and my blogs specialized. I realize now that it would be better to have a blog that covers a variety of subjects but is updated frequently than to have two or three "special interest" blogs that are neglected.

So EMZ-Piney Post is going to go from focusing on "old ways" to whatever comes to mind. I may not update it every day, but I am committed to writing at least a couple of times a week. Since I'm on sabbatical this semester to learn some things about web design, maybe I'll give the blog a new look, too!