Friday, December 31, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Inside / Outside September #1



Still Here

Well, the summer has passed by, and I have neglected this blog the whole while. We are still here, working with the garden and animals, but the fire repair has taken up most of our time and attention. While we were busy, the quail grew up! They live outdoors in a tractor made for them by Mr. UrbanSuburban. If we keep a few quail in the pen, several others can wander about outside. They prefer to be together at all times, and especially at night. As evening approaches, the birds in the pen call the adventurers back home.

The birds enter the pen through this mesh funnel. Earlier in the season an adolescent opossum fit its way through, so now we cover the entrance after night fall.

This is our first year with quail, and we have found them to be entirely charming. No eggs yet though. -Polly

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The quail are growing but they are still quite little. Now they have wing feathers and sweet tiny voices. They are so very very nervous. They are nervous of any sound, any movement, any adjustment of their light. They are terrified of all water and food changes. I expect that they will feel nervous about training with our dog.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Up From the Ashes

On Tuesday evening, I rolled these quail eggs and closed the incubator. They needed to remain warm and still for their last three days before hatching.

On Wednesday afternoon, our kitchen caught on fire and power was cut off from the house. The incubator was unharmed, but the temperature inside dropped much too low. We moved it from sunny spot to sunny spot, and then to Grandma's house to get it plugged in again. Thursday hatch day came and went. Friday came and went.

Today, Saturday the quail have survived and are hatching. Now we have all made it through.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My New Set of Rings!

Last year at about this time, my good husband brought home a new ring for me. This year it is two! I don't know about you, but when I look at these rings I think potatoes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Step forward, Step back

Over several days, my younger boy and I dug around in what we call "the brick mine"in our yard. Many years ago my grandfather or perhaps great grandfather made a pile of bricks in an out of the way place. I don't think they were intentionally buried at the time, but they are now. Whenever I have needed some bricks for a project, I've been able to prod at the ground and unearth just enough. In order to make paths around my garden beds, I dug up as many bricks as I could find. The pile seems to be depleted now, but I think that we have determined who it was that left the brick treasure. This bottle was buried alongside the bricks, and came up from the ground looking new. I believe it is my Grandpa that I have to thank for the brick mine. Everywhere I look around me there are little reminders of the family that was here before me. Examining old things that come out of the ground makes the past seem so much realer to our boys.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Our animal friends

This past week we have spent some time thinking about rabbits. Our well trained hunting dog found a baby rabbit in a nest under a shed in our yard. She did what she knew was expected and carried it with a soft mouth to her master. Her master aka Mr. Urban Suburban gave me the tiny bunny to care for. I held it gently and tried to feed it with an eyedropper. I did not have high hopes for its survival because it was so young. Knowing full well that a growing bunny would eat my lettuce, I still felt responsible for it's trouble and wanted the creature to pull through. In the end, the bunny did perish. The next day a rabbit relative ate my broccoli. That is how these things are.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Inside / Outside April #4

Inside Outside
This is our Kerria Japonica that we call "the buttercup bush". Two weeks ago I cut a few
stems to force inside. The outside blooms have caught up now. The month of April is often
when our family settles into a state of inside / outside equilibrium, so it seems fitting.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Why Didn't I think of This? #2

We use a homemade cloth bag for our bread. I stitched the letters onto a piece of cloth cut from a hand me down shirt. A plastic bread bag served as the pattern to sew up the rectangle. There have been some really nice cloth bread bags on two of my favorite blogs recently. See them here and here. This is a very easy and good idea. It makes me happy to handle this bag. Before our bag was put into use, I was using a reused plastic bread bag with a wrinkled wax paper layer around the bread. This is better. -Polly

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why didn't I think of this? #1

There are so many people sharing their ideas online that I daily learn something new. Here is my own idea to start with. My most used recipes are taped onto the inside of a cupboard for quick reference. They don't look fancy, but then the door is usually closed. -Polly

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I made homemade marshmallows. No, maybe I made nougat. I made a mess for sure. I carefully followed this Martha Stewart recipe along with some good advice and tips from a good friend. What I ended up with is a pile of delicious misshapen marshmallows. Next time I will let the goop triple in volume as directed. I got excited when it had doubled and poured it out too soon. The Hungry Mouse site nicely shows the steps needed to make marshmallows. I took pictures of the process also, but my pictures feature multiple dogs and kids and showers of spilled ingredients in the background. We do not need to eat marshmallows, and I am not sure why I did this, but now I know how. -Polly

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sometimes the World Does not Inspire Confidence

Food Security, or I don't delegate well, or Eat locally, or The End is Near. Not sure what to call this post. Here is the thing. I went to the market today and again returned home quite discouraged. I want to be able to produce all of the food that my family eats, but even if it is possible, we just are not there yet. I am comfortable with some compromise in this area. I am not comfortable though with not knowing where the purchased parts of our diet come from.

I know that most people are good and well meaning. I know that most of the people who work to make and grow food are good and well meaning. I worry though about the people that are not especially bad but that fall just short of well intentioned. When I go to the market I encounter many folks who seem to be making less than considerate choices. Little things I mean. Does the individual who spits gum on the ground not realize that it will stick to someone's shoe? Consider the gentleman who parks nearby to clean his car. He carefully buffs the car with a soft cloth and then tidies the interior by tossing all of his trash onto the ground. I see shoppers change their minds about the foods in their carts, so the items gets stuffed in the rack wherever they happen to be at the time. I notice that people are unwilling to walk their shopping carts to the corral that has been provided for them. Little bits of effort that are not worth the trouble. These things worry me. Our family term for these people is zombies because they seem to be operating without any thought processes. I think that most of us are guilty of behaving this way from time to time.

I have spent enough time working in restaurants and food preparation jobs that I know how much care needs to go into the production of clean and healthful food. If I can see examples of careless behavior in my community, I think that I can assume it also occurs in the unseen parts of food production. I also know that no one should be expected to care more about my families health than I do. Zombies can't be expected to. I don't expect the government to keep an eye on it for me either. I think for us, the answer is to keep working to produce more of our own food, but also to find real people to buy food from. Local food is wonderful, but really what is important to me is to be able to look a farmer in the eye and see that there is a real person there. -Polly

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010