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Christmas Parade, 2010

O’er the river and through the woods to town we went!  Maybe not so much of the river and woods part but we went to town anyway, off to see the Christmas parade!

We ran into friends there.  Yay for friends who are also crazy enough to stand out in the freezing cold to watch a small-town parade!

Um.  No comment.

We saw Santa and the Mrs.

And my nighttime photography skills went downhill from there.

Back home we went, to munch on parade candy, hot chocolate, and watch a feel-good Christmas movie:  Red Dawn.

Good Stuff

Snow!  We got snow!!  There were flurries for several hours and, of course, the kids had to run around outside in it for a while.

We didn’t end up with anything but scattered dustings but it was still exciting.

More progress on the new chicken house.  We should be able to move them in by this weekend and then start working on the beginnings of their pen.  (Oh, the grand plans I have!)

Susan gave us four pumpkins she’d been using for decoration.  After baking & mushing, I got seven quarts put in the freezer.  Nice!

We scored several bags of mulched leaves from Freecycle this past week and then we found out that our local town has a place for people to take their yard waste — and they said we were more than welcome to take whatever we want.  Yay!  Steve got several bags of leaves today, along with a bit of firewood and a partial bale of straw.  I put a few bags on the front sidewalk garden beds to mulch what I’ve planted so far.

For future reference, here’s what I’ve planted in the front sidewalk beds.  Most are just temporary homes, a safe place to do their thing over winter and early spring until we get the larger gardens set up for their permanent homes.  In the bed below, nearest the front porch, are walking onions from Ilene to the left and persimmon seeds to the right.

Below, near the driveway, are garlic to the left and George’s sunchokes (also from Iene) to the right.  Today, I also planted a line of elderberry seeds along the border of the sunchokes.  They’re older seeds and I’ve no clue if they’ll still germinate but they’re the only elderberry seeds that made the move.  I didn’t remember to bring any starts so hope this works!

Saying “I like hard ‘poo!” makes me giggle.

Wonderland Bath was kind enough to send me a couple of samples from her haircare line:  Wonderland Coconut Solid Shampoo and Juicy GreenPear Solid Conditioner.

I’d never tried any solid shampoo or conditioner for a few reasons.  The number one reason most likely being:  it’s weird.

If it ain’t on the shelf at WalMart, chances are it’s not on my shelf at home.  I know, how pathetic, right?  I have just never given the hair care thing much thought.

Then there’s that whole thing about how to use it.  Turns out, it’s not rocket science.  Darn good thing, considering the amount of available brain cells I have to work with.  I have butt-length hair and I managed fine.  There is a bit of a learning curve but I had the shampoo down the second day.  The conditioner took a couple more times since it’s more difficult to work it all of the way to the ends of very long hair.  At least for me but I’m a dunce.  I think my problem with the conditioner was that I kept expecting to need it on as thick as liquid conditioner goes, you know?  But, no, it’s a light conditioner.  It works wonderfully but it feels lighter going on so took me a while to get the feel of it.

And what about the ooky, gooey, messy wastage running down the drain as with bar soap?  Turns out, it’s about the same hardness as body soap (I thought it would be softer and, therefore, a lot more would be wasted) so, as long as you’re not holding it under running water for three weeks, it’s cool.  Luci also turned me on to these soap holders that would completely avoid the gooey mess with all of your solid soaps.  How cool!  If there is a Santa, I want a few of those!

All in all, I’m sold!  It left my hair feeling really good but not heavy as can happen with my cheapo WalMart shampoos and conditioners.  And the smell!  Oh, man, I could spend all day just sniffing my hair!  But I wouldn’t do that.  People would think I was weird and we can’t have that, can we?

So there ya go.  If you’ve never tried solid hair care, you now have my go-ahead to try it.  I promise it’s yummy!  If you’re not the type to jump in with both feet, start with some sample sizes.  They last for a week or two, depending on how Sasquatchy you are.  (Mine lasted about a week.  I wonder how long the big ones last?  I’m thinking forever.  I plan on buying some of the full-size ones once the money fairy whacks the budget with the magical money wand.  I’ll get back to you with how long they last my stupidly long hair.)  The sample sizes would also make for great stocking stuffers.  Ooh, and gifts for frequent travelers trying to get through airport security with that whole liquid restriction thing.

FYI:  I was baking potatoes for lunch while writing this.  I opened the oven to take them out a few minutes ago without letting the first blast of heat out.  I stuck my face right there and now I think my contacts have melted to my eyeballs.  I can almost guarantee typos.  Nice.

Invaded!

By insane in-laws!

Who wear far too many shoes.

(I can safely post this now because Sheila is now several hours away.  Whew.)

In an awkward attempt to change the subject…

Our holiday season begins each year with traditional things like prepping for Thanksgiving dinner, setting up the Christmas tree, and playing cheery holiday music.

Once the spirit of the holidays begins to descend upon us, we unpack and set out the smaller decorations around the house.  The Frosty family seems to be enjoying the hot tub, even as Uncle Roy apprehends a creepy intruder (who he claims is one of the masterminds of the Illuminati).

Little known fact:  Traditions are a leading cause of mental illness.

NO!!

Rather than replying to three gazillion people individually, NO! No, we are not pregnant again. Sheesh. It’s a hand-me-down shirt from Nellie.

No.
No.
No.
NO!
Nooooooooooooooooooo!

(It is kind of funny in a horror movie kind of way, though, isn’t it??)

Silent Sunday

(Since I always miss out on Wordless Wednesdays…)

(Oh, wait.  I talked.  That means it’s not silent any longer.)

(But wait again.  I didn’t talk, I just typed.  And it’s Silent Sunday, not Wordless Wednesday, so it still qualifies.)

(Wow, I think maybe I’m not cut out for the Wordless or Silent thing.)

EDITING TO ADD:  No freaking way!  The shirt is just a hand-me-down.  The pic is just of Josie working on her hammy “say cheese!” camera smile, just in time for the holidays.  Ignore the shirt, people!

Mmm, mmm, Bambi!

Friends of ours, Susan & Bob, gave us three deer last weekend.  Three. Not only did they give us three wonderful does but they spent an entire day with me (& the kids) at their place, teaching me how to properly butcher them so as not to taste gamey.  Think that’s crazy cool enough?  To add to it, Susan then came and spent another day up here helping me do some more of the final butchering.  There was even pizza involved and, if you know me, that just makes for a perfect day!

By the end of the day at Bob & Susan’s, all three deer fit into the large, white cooler.  The skins also came with us, along with the brains, so the kids and I can try our hand at braining/tanning the hides — they’re crammed into the green cooler below but have since moved to the deep freeze until we’re ready to deal with them.  (I wonder what percentage of Americans have brains and hides stashed in their freezers??)

So that’s where I’ve been spending my time the past week:  up to my elbows in butchering.  Steve jumped in to help today and will be joining me over the weekend to push to the finish.  Only the fine, detailed work remains. (And we need to be able to get the blood & gooey bits cleaned out of the kitchen before the relatives get here for Thanksgiving.  Don’t look, Sheila!)  Then it’s nuthin’ but yummy!!

We brought the backbones and assorted “ickies” home for Kong and Rocko to eat, thinking it would be a great treat.  Rocko thinks so.  Kong, on the other hand is a sensitive fella.  Remember the chicken butchering a few months ago?  He’s not outgrown it and remains traumatized, I guess.  If he even smells blood on you or sees something remotely resembling a recognizable corpse part, he freaks out.  I took a nice, clean section of backbone out to him and he commenced to shaking violently, refusing to come near me.  Even after setting down the backbone in a separate section of the yard, I had to beg him to come to me.  He flattened himself on the ground and reluctantly belly-scootched to me until I gave him permission to run away.  Sheesh.  When Susan was here, she tried taking him a small, clean piece of meat as a treat.  Nope, nothing doing.

Rocko thinks Kong has issues but he’s cool with it because that’s more for him.

We finally fired up the grill and smoked the Kong parts while Steve was doing some ribs.  He still wouldn’t eat it at first but, after some encouragement and several hours (and lots of begging), he started nibbling a bit.

(See that gas grill there?  I just got it off of Freecycle.  Yay!!  One of the legs is bent wonky but that’s easily fixed.  Now we have his & hers grills!)

A HUGE thanks to Susan and Bob, for both the meat and the teachings!!!

The new, fresh-air chicken coop

It’s a different world up here.  So a different coop is needed.  In Oklahoma, we had pretty heavy pressures from predators and the heat was more the issue than cold.  Now that we’re in the frozen tundra of the Arctic, we need to worry about the winters and not as many predators.  We’ve decided to go with the fresh-air concept, basically a three-sided building.  The open air design keeps it drier.  Chickens can handle the cold.  Cold & moisture?  Not so much.

Corner posts were set and concreted in over the weekend.  Now we just build the rest as the time is available, hopefully completing it by the time the real cold arrives.

That’s the lagoon you see behind it.  We’re looking west in this photo.  The creek and its trees are beyond the lagoon.  The house is to the left and cornfield/soon-to-be garden to the right.  If, and I do emphasize the “if”, my grand plans are realized, the back property lines (off the right side, out of the photo) will be fenced.  Inside that fence will be a line of trees/shrubs to screen from the neighbors and whatever they spray on the cornfield throughout the year.  The dogs will have run of that perimeter area to keep out critters and (I hope!  I hope!  I hope!) moles.  Inside of that perimeter dog area will be a chicken run from the back of the coop to the front:  The Chicken Moat, if you will.  Within that will be the veggie garden.

Are you with me?  We’ll have a big garden, surrounded by fence, then chicken run, then more fence, then dogs, then trees, and the final property fence.  Sound slightly insane, anal, and Fort Knox-ish?  Ah, so you do know me well.   Deer are a big problem here and they will not get to my garden.  Dang it.

Toilet Seat + Hot Glue Gun + Nuts = ??

Happiness!

I have plans.

Let your mind begin to meander…