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“Ooh, we picked out a really GOOD place to live!”

Direct quote from one of the kids today, as he bit into some cookies yet another neighbor dropped off.

Of course, I didn’t take the picture until after we’d eaten half of the goodies.  (I can blame the blurry photograph on the sugar rush I was experiencing.)  And no photographic evidence of the previous neighbor contributions to our caloric excess.  Yum.  Yum.  *slurp*  Yum!  We did manage to keep our grubby paws off of one of the neighbor gifts — it’s wrapped and we’re waiting until Christmas to open it.  Very, very difficult since we’re all about as mature as toddlers.  Oh, and one wonderful book, written by a neighbor!  I’ll have to tell you about that later.

There’s still more last-minute sewing to do!

Chips? We don’t need no steenkin’ chips!

We eat our salsa with a spoon.  Some of us with a straw.  Our babies are born with hair on their chests (and lead-lined intestines).

(Pretend you don’t see her bruised & dirty legs & feet.)

Women’s Work

Step 1:  Give neighbors something to talk about by crawling through roadside ditches with scissors and laundry basket, gathering tall, dried grasses.

Step 2:  Fuel with pie(s).

Step 3:  Teach children new vocabulary while trying to make grass behave enough to tie it into circle.

Step 4:  Consult great Great Shelf O’ Fabric for inspiration.

Step 5:  Rip festive fabric into strips to wrap wreath after deciding that a “rustic” look is the only way  this will get done before next Christmas.

Step 6:  Give up all hope of keeping floor even halfway clean.

Step 7:  Find incredibly round and frighteningly large head against which to check your work.

Step 8:  Give in to checking work against whiny, camera-hammy sister’s head in order to avoid girly drama and, whatever you do, do NOT inform her that she has rabbit ears or you will have to repeat this step.

Step 9:  End the day with more vocabulary for the children when you realize you’ve forgotten all about the bread in the oven and rush to save them.

Do. Not. Touch. My. NOODLES!

Josie has a thing for dough.  Bread dough, noodle dough, any kind of raw dough.  Today I made a batch of noodles for chicken soup but made the mistake of leaving them to dry unattended.  Silly me.  Then I further erred by telling her to put them back.  Bad, bad, horribly evil me.

One man’s trash…

Before Steve crunched his truck yesterday morning…  I’m such a tease!  You’re going to have to wait until I get pics of the truck for me to tell you about that.  ;-)

Before Steve crunched his truck yesterday morning, he went back to the yard waste dump in town again.  This time, he got the entire truck bed filled with cornstalks and leaves for mulch and compost.  Woot!

And pumpkins and firewood.

And more pumpkins (not all pictured here).  The intact ones, I took inside and baked & pulped, getting another 15.5 quarts of pumpkin puree in the freezer, along with a bunch of seeds for roasting.  The pumpkins with freeze damage or that were not intact are being fed to the chickens.

These two plants were also there for the taking.  I have no idea what the one on the left is.  Nor do I know what the one on the right is but I do know that it looks familiar.  Anyone know what they are?  I’m not sure if they can overwinter outdoors or need to be potted up (or if I even want to keep them).

Now the dump runs are done until the truck gets fixed.  *pout*

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!

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!!!

Glenda’s bread!

I’ve been using my take on the Amish white bread recipe floating around the internet for the past few years.  Then I saw Glenda post a French bread recipe on her blog, followed by Ilene giving it a try on her blog.  Of course, I had to try it and, man, is it good!  Since I made that first batch, I’ve not made any of the Amish white.  I’ve made regular loaves, dinner rolls, hamburger and hot dog buns, hoagie buns, all sorts of thing!  It’s the perfect, all-around white bread with enough strength for soup-dipping and sandwich duty yet still soft enough for the kids to approve.

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