Monday, October 30, 2006


Okay, since I seem a little stressed out, I've stolen this meme from this person and I liked it and it will take my mind of all the things piling up in my mind. Inhale....exhale.....ahem.

10 Things that make me happy

My dogs
My chickens
Fires in the woodstove
Seed catalogs
Dansko shoes
Going on vacation to the beach
Fun new hair products
Cooking for people that appreciate it

10 Famous people that make me happy

John Corbett (so. totally. hot.)
Patti Griffin
Harry Connick Jr. (also. totally. hot.)
Oprah (dunno. she just seems cool)
Martha Stewart (also a source of anxiety)
Annie Potts (?)
John Stewart
Stephen Colbert
Allison Krausse
Nigella Lawson

10 Foods that make me happy

Homegrown strawberries
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
A perfectly grilled steak
Meatloaf with my homemade tomato preserves slathered on the top
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Deep Fried Pickles
Homemade Turkey Stuffing
My chicken's eggs
Black Raspberries

10 Smells that make me happy

roasting garlic
tidal marsh
new baby smell
homegrown strawberries
bread baking
baked apples
Chessie's paws
that smell right before it rains

Still Behind

Lately I've not been looking forward to weekends. It seems like I have so much to do and I'm just feeling overwhelmed because I can't get it all done. Saturday I went to the local orchard to buy deer apples (poor quality, but $1.50 for 20 pounds!) for the chickens. Chickens love apples. Then on to Home Depot for more ceiling paint. Then on to Target for the semi-annual haul of petfood/paper products/cleaning products/personal hygiene products. Then the grocery store. Then home. To clean downstairs and do laundry. Make lasagna. Put another coat on guest room ceiling. Turn clocks back and make it into bed and lay awake thinking about the dirt in the kitchen sink (which did not get cleaned) and listen to the 40 mph winds knocking myriad branches into the yard that will need to be picked up. Sunday! Up at 7 because of blazing daylight which is most welcome! Read paper. Walk dogs. Clean bathrooms. Fertilize and wrap fruit trees. Fertilize and mulch rose bushes. Plant garlic. Sterilize and fill all bird feeders. Empty pots and all containers on front porch and back patio. Turn compost pile. Clean out chicken coop. Give dogs flea stuff. Pick up sticks and tons of limbs in yard. Move inside. Clean kitchen. Finish laundry. Talk briefly to friend who admits she didn't get out of bed until 11 a.m. Feel bitter. Think about painting and realize its after 7pm and I'm just tired. Eat leftover lasagna and read remainder of newspaper for an hour and go to bed. Feeling guilty about all the things on the to-do list that didn't get done.

I guess I need to do more on the weeknights but it just seems like I don't have the time after I get home from work and get settled and feed everybody. I'm messing up or something in terms of time management. I see people I work with and they go on fun little trips on weekends and do nifty fall things or spend the day at parks or hayrides. And I just don't understand. How do they have clean clothes, a clean home, a tidy yard, and still have time to do these things. And most of the time they have kids. Maybe they aren't sleeping. I sleep for 7 hours a night. Maybe I need to cut back. How do you have time to get all you need to get done and work a full time job? And I don't even have kids! I don't get it! I'm tired and I'm bitter and I'm sick of being on the verge of a panic attack every weekend. And it just makes it worse that the holidays are coming and there will be that much more to do.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I am in favor of year round schooling. You know why? I would like to spare future generations the restlessness that develops in the fall after being conditioned for 18 years to START something new in September. I feel restless now as I do every fall. I feel like I should be doing something big and important and am not. This is my biggest baby angst time....or maybe I need to leave my husband and pack up and start all over someplace thats not it either. Go back to school! Get a Masters! Change Jobs! No, No, No. A new dog or cat? Paint a room? Learn to sew?No, For sure, a possibility. It's not that there aren't a million things around for me to FINISH. It's just that it's not the same as BEGINNING something. New. And I think I"m really anxious about the election too. So Restless and Anxious. Anybody else?

Friday, October 20, 2006

So catchy!

I love this. Wish I could vote for her.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

3 random things

Someone googled "small monsters wearing fleece jackets with bad mouths running through the sewers at night" and got my post about Thanksgiving last year. I am not making this up. And really, when you boil it down, hosting Thanksgiving really is like small monsters with bad mouths running through the sewers. Maybe without the fleece jackets. So was it a parent googling it to prove to a child that they don't exist? Or someone on drugs? Hmmmmm....

Every day for the last two weeks I have eaten a wedge of iceberg lettuce with chopped tomato and really good bleu cheese dressing. It has not worn out for me yet. I feel I could eat this every day for the rest of my life. WTF?

I have a sneaky chicken. It keeps hiding eggs in the very small shed and I don't find them for awhile and then they pile up and I have to do the water test to see if they are still good or not. It sucks to be outwitted by a bird with a brain the size of a pencil eraser.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The last of the corn came down on Friday night. The picture is of the combine with it's headlight on, across the street from us. Its nice to have our view back, but the wind whipping across the fields now is an unwelcome reminder of seasons before us. The only thing left is a field of soybeans behind us. And then things will be bare for a few months. Our neighborhood barn party was on Sunday evening. We are supposed to bring two dishes (one hot and one cold) to share. I brought an apple crisp and a potato dish. We sat on hay bales and drank tea made from mint and other herbs that the maker calls "Meadow Tea". We caught up with neighbors that live nearby but that we rarely ever see. We watched little kids squeal with delight as they sped around the farm in a little train made out of 55-gallon drums pulled by a 4-wheeler. There is a huge hay bale maze with tunnels that they scramble in and out of, emerging covered in bits of hay. Almost makes you wish you were 5 again. It must be something to grow up on a farm. I am a little envious of these kids. The people that farm behind us own a huge amount of and out west in Texas and Oklahoma. There are three separate farm steads making up the family farm behind us, two brothers and a cousin. In addition to corn, soybeans, and barley, they raise chickens and cattle, have horses, raise sheep and goats as 4H projects, and all have gardens. I thought as I watched these kids, that they have no idea how unique they are now. How few children grow up like this anymore. I wondered what it would be like to have a child now and know that he/she would grow up with these children as friends and would likely have no fear of creeping around dusty barns or handling all sorts of animals. That would be nice.

Anyway, the sun went down on this evening too soon. And we had to go home. To our very cold house. We had a long ago made appointment with the furnace man scheduled for this Tuesday for routine maintenance. On Friday, the furnace decided it didn't feel like heating the second floor and only felt like heating the first floor in a half-assed manner. We didn't want to pay for an emergency call over the weekend, feeling sure we could tough it out til Tuesday. Luckily we had just stacked a cord of wood and were able to fire up the woodstove, which helped the first floor, but didn't do much on the second floor. It was 54 degrees in my bedroom last night. That is kind of cold. My Chessie girl (who also does not appreciate cold) was under the covers with us this morning. Emmett was blissfully stretched out on the cold wood floor (he could sleep on ice I believe). Thank God for down comforters and thick flannel sheets is all I can say. I feel like I will be cold now until spring. That is a sad feeling.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

September Fund: Bush ad

This is priceless.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On the way to work

I am a blue highway kind of girl. If I can avoid an interstate or other high speed road in favor of a back road, I will do it every time. The road I take to work runs almost parallel to a 4 lane highway, but you never get to see things like this on that route.

These dahlias are spectacular. I couldn't capture the entire area, but there is literally a five-level terraced stone dahlia garden at what is actually the caretakers house of an estate outside of Elizabethtown. I think it is called Stone Gables. And they sell mason jars full of cut Dahlias for $3.00 to benefit a charity called Brittany's Hope. There are just so many flowers it is hard to appreciate them all. I think the beds are heated in some way, because there is no way they dig all those tubers up every fall.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoy driving past these flowers twice a day and thought you would enjoy seeing them also. Get off the highway every now and then. You might be suprised what you find.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Cosmos and the Tithonia were planted late, put into a bed at the corner of the driveway that I didn't get around to renovating until the middle of summer. There was a ton of stuff to take out of there including several mulberry trees. I have learned that as soon as I see a mulberry tree seedling I have to yank it. Because if I leave it for later, I will come back to a sapling as big around as my wrist with a taproot taller than me and I will bust a gut trying to dig the damn thing out. This has happened in the span of a week. And I never fully get all of the root and will watch it for months waiting for any sign of the mulberry tree sending up new little mulberry trees. But apparently I don't watch close enough, because next thing you know, there they are, back in force, and nearly impossible to eradicate. I am not a fan of mulberry trees.

Anyway, the tithonia and cosmos were planted late and took awhile to really get going. Now they are blooming like crazy and I'm wishing the frost would hold back for a little longer. Next year I will have to get them started really early. With two more months of growth, I can't even imagine how much fuller they will be.

Over the weekend, I got about 30 bulbs planted but there are 50 more in the garage and 150 on their way from Brent and Becky's Bulbs. I ordered 50 orange tulips, 50 grape hyacinth, and 50 more winter aconite. Still in the garage are about 20 red tulips and 30 more poet's daffodils. The orange tulips and grape hyacinth will go in a huge swath in the bed at the end of the driveway, which currently holds no bulbs. The winter aconite will be scattered under the silver maples in the front and side yard. The red tulips will be used to fill in where I already have many red tulips and the poet's daffodils will go here and there. I've written about these before (also called Pheasant's eye daffodils) and if you can get your hands on them you will not be disappointed. They are extremely fragrant and make a cut flower. They are a late bloomer but are really worth adding to your landscape.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Frolicking Dogs

I know, lame post, but I did promise awhile back to have pictures of frolicking dogs and I was over at Pocket Farm and Liz has a picture of her new "brother" and it reminded me that I never posted the doggie shots.

Most of these are actually from last year. We didn't take many doggie picture this year. After all, how many picture of dogs do you need?

Such patient foofies though. They have such a good time.

Anyway, the guy I gave the rooster to called me a few days ago. He just wanted to let me know that Roo is the best rooster ever and to please come by so he can give me a big jar of honey as a thank you. He said he is friendly and likes being picked up and is just the nicest rooster they've ever had. He has turned into a lovely large rooster with a unique soprano crow. How nice is that?

Not much else is new. Today is chilly and gray and I have the overwhelming desire to make a casserole or something.

This weekend will be spent attending a housewarming, distributing campaign material for Rendell/Casey/Herr campaigns, having one of my friends over for dinner, planting a ton of bulbs, planting the rest of the trees and shrubs I have sitting around, laundry, cleaning, grocery store and starting to paint the upstairs guest room. HA! fat chance all this will get done. But I'll give it my best.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I haven't turned on the TV much since yesterday. I hear the news reports on the radio about what is going on regarding the school shooting. It is so very sad. In the past, anything that happens regarding the Amish makes me uncomfortable.......or rather, sad. Our local stations do a pretty good job of not turning things into a spectacle, but once the bigger metro stations come and the cable news stations....well then it just turns into this huge media circus. Its just constant leering at the strange people in the horse and buggies. Hopefully through this situation, the Amish community is being treated with some respect, but I doubt it.

Last Thursday I was on my way to southern Chester County and decided to go via Route 896 to get there. Having no pumpkins, I knew that there were multiple Amish farms along there that just might have the pumpkins that I wanted. I stopped at a farm in Georgetown. Nickel Mines is less than a quarter mile to the north and the school is just outside of Georgetown. I picked a few pumpkins and looked around for someone to pay as I needed change and there was only an honor box. Laundry was hanging on long lines strung from the second floor porch and one of the barns. There were lots of little childrens clothes, and purple and blue dresses fluttered in the wind. Finally the farmer came out and I complimented him on his pumpkins and we had a short conversation about different varieties and the best way to combat squash bugs (he suggested a fermented tobacco mixture, since he also grew tobacco) and I thanked him and went on my way. His children would have gone to that school. I feel sorrow for the people involved and also shame, that something from our community so grossly infringed on their community.

It's a weird situation here. A large portion of Lancaster County is Amish and our second biggest industry, after agriculture, is tourism. People come because of the Amish. Yet they are many times treated like second class citizens and much is allowed to happen that is essentially driving them out of the county. Property values have skyrocketed and young Amish cannot afford to buy farms when competing with developers. They are frequently hit on the roads, yet speed limits are not decreased and any talk of a small lane to the sideof the road for their travel is met with fierce opposition. Just last week, in an area near the school shooting, a small boy on a scooter was hit and killed and the driver left the scene. Even on the radio this morning, two morning peronalities that I have heard complain about the Amish and their ways were simply gushing with sympathy, naming every Amish person they've ever had contact with. Strange.

So it's really sad. And I hope the coverage that I'm not watching is focusing on them just as people. People that have experienced a terrible tragedy and lost too many innocents from their community. Not coverage where they are being pestered to go on camera, not having their entire way of life splayed out for the country to get a good look at, just not being made spectacles. Of all the communities in which this could happen, they have the most tight knit and will deal with this their way, and they really don't need the rest of the country driving by and staring.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Some unrelated musings

So any day now this guy is gonna 'disappear'. He is Gil Smart, and he writes a righteous liberal column in my local paper called Smart Remarks. It was a great column on Sunday, all about our slide into tyranny. He mentions a letter to the editor from the previous week by a woman who wishes for a dictatorship for about 20 years to teach unappreciative Americans a lesson. I read that line about 20 times. How can there be a person in my community that is WISHING for a dictatorship? I think about the movie Hotel Rwanda and remember the people that looked the other way as their neighbors were dragged off into the night for simply belonging to another ethnic group and I can easily imagine this woman looking the other way. Or simply reporting friends and neighbors for speaking out about the government.

We are living in some strange times. I keep wanting to believe that common sense will rule. Cooler heads will prevail. This will all be realized very shortly as the giant mistake it is. Suspend Habeas corpus? Sanction torture? How could we have been so wrong? That isn't the American Way. But I'm not so sure. Anyway, I'm tired of thinking about it.

Sunday was a gorgeous day. After reading the morning papers and fuming for several hours, I decided to throw myself into more useful tasks. The chickens were grateful to be out in the sun and were feeling extra social, following me around everywhere. Except when they were just lazing around, soaking up the sun. They ate many tomatoes yesterday, in addition to two overripe peaches and some aging sweet corn. It was a good day for them.

It was nice and breezy so I washed some curtains that I had purchased and hung them outside. They were dry in about 20 minutes. They are sort of a swiss dot fabric and look cute in my pretty much entirely white bedroom. Gives it kind of a lightly filtered glow.

Earlier in the day I made a little omelet with some fresh eggs and some of my homemade jam on an English muffin. For dinner I made ham and green beans with a baked apple for dessert. The only non-local things were the raisins in the apple and the English muffin. I've got to do more bread baking. How hard could an English muffin be?

In the evening, after dinner, I picked up Maragaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale", a book I had just gotten at the library. I've read it multiple times and used to own it (I sold it at a garage sale I think). But hadn't read it in awhile and thought that it seems kind of relevant in these times. If you've never read it, it's about a democratic society that has been taken over by a fundamental religious dictatorship. All freedoms are cutailed, women pretty much have no rights (are not even allowed to read), and the people are governed using fear. Can you imagine? Early on in the book there is a great line between a woman lamenting all the freedoms she has lost and her 'minder', who wonders why she isn't more happy about having no crime and never having to worry about rape (because women are severely limited as to where they can go and must always be with another woman). They are all being kept so SAFE by their government. Keeping them safe from those that want to kill them. The line is "There are two kinds of freedom; freedom to and freedom from. You are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it." So that's great people! We're being given freedom from! I guess we're just not thankful enough.