January 2012

This, my friends, oh lovers of the Patch, is going to be an embarrassing admission. With that little teaser, settle info for a little Winter story that all started with a dead cell phone.

<Cue memory sequence>

<Cue fog machine> (C’mon, let me have  little fog.)

A few hours ago (I didn’t say it was a distant memory), while at the DJ (day job if you’re new here), I glanced over at my cell phone, a fine, fine Apple product, and watched it kind of flicker, then turn off. For good. Like, no onny. Just offy. Um.

So, like any good spouse, I use the office phone (it was toll free, I swear!) to call my significant other to let him know that my cell was dead and I would be home at THIS approximate time. I got his voicemail. I covered all the covering my ass bases and left a message at the house too. There. He’d know my approximate time of arrival and would know my route, should say, a tornado decide to descend upon southern New Hampshire during my evening commute and I didn’t make it home 42 minutes from that message.

I commenced my commute. 42 minutes later, no more no less, I pull into the driveway. No hubby. Shoes off (house freshly cleaned, this floor has to last 2 weeks!), coat off, mauled by the dog, post-commute-pee, contacts out, jammies on. No hubby.

I make my way to the kitchen phone and here is where I must share a bit of irony. It was dead. Not charged. I found the phone from our spare bedroom sitting right next to it on the counter. Also no worky. The ironic part is, we JUST had a conversation about getting rid of the landlines. WHO NEEDS ‘EM? Yeah, apparently I do right about now, dammit. I popped them both on their respective chargers and started searching the internet from the laptop for reasons why my cell was dead. Hooray, I figured it out and got that baby working again.

Clock ticks. Charge ‘er up while I hunt for grub. Fridge, freezer, pantry, cabinet, back to freezer. I went deep. Real deep. Black hole deep. Here’s what I found.

This, in case it isn’t recognizable, is frozen, shredded zucchini. You know, for bread or something. Here is the problem with that. We  didn’t grow zucchini last year.

Or the year before.

Yeah. I left another message for hubby. Here’s a idea, “Hi. It’s me. I’m home. Haven’t heard from you, but my cell died. And the house phones died. Things are charging back up, but I can’t be on the phone long. So, there is nothing for dinner unless you want salad and hard boiled eggs or soup from the other night. Oh, I had it for lunch and you probably did too. Oh, and I had it for dinner last night and lunch yesterday too. Ok, eggs it is. Bye.”

I’ll be cleaning the freezer this weekend.

In shame. Because you know about my hoarding tendencies.

With all the warmth this Winter has seen up until last week, we’ve been wondering about the upcoming sugaring season, expecting it to suck. We still have about a gallon of last year’s syrup left so I know we’ll be fine, but still. I like making it every year.

Ok, here’s where I pause, look back at what I wrote and feel guilty about any stretches of the truth. Seeing that last statement, “I like making it every year,” I need to admit to, not only a stretching of the truth, but the fact that I big, fat lied. I mean, I didn’t lie about the, “I like” part, but I lied about insinuating that I am the one making it. You see…usually, Keith taps the trees, and boils it down. Sometimes I carry the buckets. That is all.

So how is it, then, that I can say, “We make maple syrup?” (emphasis on the “We.” Hence the italics.) I’m sort of taking credit for all his efforts, aren’t I? I don’t know. Keith also says, “We made dinner” when he cooks the chicken and the rice and I do the salad. Why doesn’t he just take account for just his part by saying, “I made 2/3 of dinner?”

Team work, baby. It is our cozy house, our crazy dog, our cuddly cats (except for Betty. She is just a psycho bitch-cat who is possessed by the devil and is hell bent on making sure we do not sleep.) I’ve commented before in here, and in edible South Shore that we seem to be growing closer as a couple as we start this little homestead. Chores aren’t necessarily a bad thing. (DO NOT tell my mother I said that.) Doing them with someone you love makes the work go by that much faster. Enjoying the sweet spoils (over belgian waffles!) makes it all worthwhile.

I’ll carry all the sap buckets this year, honey. I promise.

The “I haven’t haikued in a while” haiku. (I recognize that “haiku” is not a verb, but I just made it one. Deal.)

Writing a haiku

Doesn’t take much work at all

Count on your fingers

Let’s face the facts. It’s freaking Winter, there are no flowers or plants growing of any sort. (Now that is a blatant lie. I have arugula and other greens growing under a frost blanket outside – just trying to get  a jump on the Spring. Also, we have lemon, lime and kumquat trees growing inside and the lemon is flowering right now, but I can’t put it all in one blog post. Sheesh, I have to save my topics to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the Winter. Be patient young one.) So, with the lack of greenery, it’s story time. Get your Snuggies (or better, yet, your Forever Lazy with, “But-Wait-There’s-More” hospital socks) and gather ’round.

I love my Mother-in-Law. I do. She’s just difficult to buy for. I do pretty well with clothes, but it has taken me the entire 14 years of our relationship to figure out what she likes. So, in the beginning, she basically got things that I thought were, well, “Safe.” And for me, “Safe” means, “Plants.”

So, for Mother’s Day she would get a gift certificate to her favorite nursery so she could buy her marigolds and vegetable flats for the garden. For her birthday, I suggested to Keith that we buy her an Azalea. A few years of this went by, and her garden grew. Hosta, bleeding heart, tulip bulbs, you name it. One Christmas, maybe our third year together, I picked up a few Christmas gifts for Keith’s side of the family. One of them was an Amaryllis bulb kit. You know of that which I speak (write, type, whatever). Those boxes at the grocery store, mega-store, drug store for like $10 or $12. They come in red, pink, red with pink stripes. Put the bulb in the pot, pour in the peat (included!), put in the sun and then water it. A green stalk grows for about a month and then big, gorgeous blooms pop at the top. Lovely.

So, fast forward to Christmas Eve. We were opening presents under the tree at the in-laws and the wrapped, square package was handed to my MIL. As the paper unwrapped and it became obvious what was being hidden by the bow and red and green paper, I wasn’t paying much attention. And then, I heard it. “Another fucking plant.”

Yes, I wrote it and she said it. Well, we were stunned, and then we laughed our asses off. She didn’t mean it cruelly, she had a smile on her face. It truly was funny.

Since that fateful holiday, that phrase has become one of our favorites. We often find ourselves buying “f’ing plants” or moving “f’ing plants” or weeding out unwanted “f’ing plants.” And each year, I buy an Amaryllis in honor of the original. So, without further ado, here’s another “F’ing plant.” It just started to bloom this past week. There are a total of four blooms. Enjoy.

One year ago, I posted the picture of the ChickenHawk Keith saw in our back yard. At the time, I called it a, “bird-chicken-hawk-foghorn-leghorn-falcony-owl thing.” It was a Coopers Hawk. Well, here he is. Keith took a video of him in the Fall. I thought I’d share it now cuz, well, I just remembered it. He swooped in and landed on our husk cherries. He’s cool. I like his fuzzy legs.




I haven’t blogged in a while. Why? Cuz I been bizzy. Not regular busy with a “u” and an “s” but crazy “did-I-put-on-pants-today?” bizzy. In the months of October and November, normally reserved for reading and knitting, typical “getting ready for hibernation” stuff, I found myself interviewing for jobs. 8 jobs. In 2 months. Add that to the fact that my DJ (day job) at the time was super busy and we decided to host Thanksgiving and were looking at hosting 16, well, I look back now and am surprised I didn’t have that heart attack which, on some days, felt very close.

I accepted one of the job offers with what feels to be an excellent firm, and, after (1.5 months shy of) 14 years at my DJ, I gave notice on 12/8, with the new job planned to start on 1/3. Gentle reader, if you didn’t realize the implications of that-go read it again. I had close to 1 month off. Granted, it was around the holidays, so I filled my days up quickly, but let me tell you, I liked it. I got rid of that, “Will the heart attack be today? Gosh, I hope it doesn’t happen when I’m driving” mania.

What, you ask, does this have to do with homesteading and “Learning to fend for yourself?” Well, it is all about quality of life. This new company is closer to home. Do you even realize what this means? I will get home and it will still be daylight. On a weekday. That leaves time for so many things…

Ready for a small peek into my soul? (You might not be.) The absolute first thing that came to mind when I wrote that was, “Weeding.” As you know if you are a fan of the Patch, weeding is my stress reliever. I call it Dirt Therapy. (Not dirty therapy, that was the second thing that came to mind.)

I plan to write more. edible South Shore asked for more articles. I started a book. DaisyPatchFarm.com will get more love. Maybe I will find other venues, magazines or otherwise, that want to subject themselves to my innermost thoughts.

I plan to take good care of the chickens we are getting.

I plan to experiment in the garden more, try new veggies, try more organic techniques.

I plan to eat more of what we grow. (Which makes me want to amend that previous statement, because I am not going too crazy here. No, like, okra or anything.)

I plan to spend more time with the people I love. WAIT! This is not a resolutions list!

Back to the garden. With the new door on the greenhouse, we will be using it this year and I most definitely will have it up and running in order to grow in it next Winter.  Which is sort of the purpose of it.

So, you heard it here first, gentle readers. Less weeds! More writing! Cluckers! New foods! Better health! More love! World peace! Well, maybe not quite that, but a gardener can dream big, can’t she?