Saturday, April 30, 2016

Welcome to a Quiet Saturday

It is rare for us. We usually keep very busy with projects. It is both of our nature, mine and Tractor Man's, to stay busy. Even on the weekends we rarely sleep past 7, referring to 7:00 as "sleeping in". I once slept till 9:00 and Tractor Man let me, assuming that if I was sleeping so late I must be dreadfully ill. I was just tired. We live in a house that we love, but was not well loved by any of it's previous inhabitants. This house has been in his family for generations, but was always a rental. The FARM is is great shape, the house, not so much. So it needs a great deal of flooring, and there is something strange with the ceilings. I'm not sure there is any insulation. The porches are a mess. The eaves need paint. And so on, the joys of an old farmhouse are endless.

Today is quiet for us though. We got up at 7, of course. Went on in to town to get breakfast at one of our two breakfast spots. Had the waitress I don't like. (She is nice she just never brings me the right jelly/honey flavors, but she does know how to get the kitchen to burn my bacon, so I really should like her more.) Spoke with our favorite cashier. (We really need to invite him to the house or something, we like him so well.) Then to the home improvement store. I was a bit annoyed with this, as I work at the home improvement store and spend most of my money there and wanted a break. Alas my 100ft hose broke (kids) and my chickens needed watering.

Of course I didn't just buy a hose. I didn't accumulate all this junk by buying one thing. At the store I enter eight times a week. I had to also get a lemon balm plant and some dill because I'm growing cucumbers for pickling so I'm gonna need to have fresh dill. You know, back to basics and all. I also needed four cans of wasp spray. I'm all about living clean until wasps come around. I would soak every inch of my home in wasp spray if Tractor Man would let me. Bathe the children in it, I don't care! I am at war with those jerks. Don't care about the bees, carpenter bees, spiders, barely care about snakes, but I get all sort of bent about wasps. I'm claiming allergic too. I'm not allergic, but they hurt a LOT and that one time I swelled up and felt a little icky and feverish. Probably from screaming so much, but I'm claiming allergic anyhow. So, as I'm allergic to wasps I needed four more cans. I use a combo of the foaming kind and the long reaching kind. I'm prepared for whatever wasps I need to kill.

Then we went home. I messed with my garden some. Looked for wasps to kill but couldn't find any. (Perhaps I'm winning??) Cleaned up my chicken coop and fluffed their hay and wash and refilled their drinkers. (That's what chicken water thingies are called, "drinkers" I'd have put money on "waterers" but I'd have been wrong.)

Tractor Man picked up some trash. There is a stranger phenomenon here where trash ends up in our yard. Not our trash, just random trash. Part of it is our dogs who absolutely love trash. Part is just a mystery. So every weekend Tractor Man picks up trash. He did that and some weed eating. (weed eatering? weed wacking? what's the verb here?)

Then nothing. It raind for a while, which was pretty fun. Good for my garden. I watched birds at my feeder. We have, what we think is, an Indigo Bunting, and he's my favorite. I made some tea and we drank that on the porch with the pets sleeping under our feet. I read an entire book about medicinal herb gardening.

We don't have TV service here. I could go for an afternoon of HGTV, but it's not to be. I should probably work on my Anatomy course some, but I did a ton of that yesterday. It's relaxing, but also weird to do so little on a Saturday. It is also so incredibly beautiful here.

There is a thing on facebook that shows you your memories of stuff that happened on this day in other years. I do love this feature. It reminds me of how far I have come. Last year at this time I was making my final preparations for my move here. A new, fresh start. It both feels like I have been here with Tractor Man forever, and like I'm still in the fresh start phase. Like my life is both settled and just starting to get to where it's going. I used to feel like I was leaping off a cliff, but now I guess I'm on a very lovely country drive. I'm not entirely sure where I'll end up, but there is direction. I have goals, plans. And no matter what I'm going to sleep in the arms of a man who loves more more than anyone else on this earth tonight. And I get to give him all of my heart.

Today I'm grateful for Quiet Saturdays. My birthday is next weekend, I bet it will be significantly less quiet.

Because blog posts are better with photos, chickens get to free range a few hours a day now and look at this lovely iris that just happened to live near the pecan tree.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Welcome to Short Stories Vol. 1

Bubba Joe and the Lawman orBiscuits are Important

This is part of a series of very short stories. Most of them will be inspired by real people. After the initial inspiration I deviate wildly from the truth. Basically interesting stuff happened, but it wasn't quite interesting enough as it really happened so I changed it a bit and wrote it down. 

Tractor Man knows everyone. Everywhere we go he has to "speak" with at least five people. I know "speak" is already a verb, but it means something a little different. It means the whole act of getting up and heading over to say things like, "How's your mamma?" or "Where is your brother, can't get his lazy bones out of bed yet?". It's super important. Fail to "speak" to someone and it will get around. "I saw Janice at the Piggly Wiggly and she didn't even bother to speak." Shocking. 

I'm getting off track. Tractor Man knows everyone. We are sitting at a local breakfast joint. Enjoying some biscuits and coffee. I am putting all sorts of stuff on mine, two kinds of jelly, butter and honey. Tractor Man puts his usual honey and butter and nothing else. There is also country ham. Country ham is as opposed to city ham. City ham is sweet. Country ham is my heart's true love. We are chatting when he see's a man he knows. He doesn't "speak" though, as they are not really friends. Just does the nod thing. He tells me, "That's Bubba Joe, he is very nice. Used to own a used car lot. I'm not sure what he's doing now." I nod sagely, as if I am going to remember this, only vaguely sure I know which one is Bubba Joe. I assume the big buy. You never meet skinny "Bubba's" ya know? I realize it is definitely Bubba Joe when I notice he has a "Bubba Joe's Used Cars... Trust Bubba" T-shirt on. I am very observant. 
Things get interesting when Billy Westmore comes in. I don't know him, of course, Tractor Man quietly points him out. He is dressed pretty nice. Slacks and a button up. Breakfast runs the gambit on dress. Tension rises slightly in the room. Even Tractor Man pauses for a split second while holding his coffee mug. Mr. Westmore nods to us and we nod back, murmuring our "good mornings". He also nods at Bubba Joe before sitting in the next room. 
Under his breath, Tractor Man tells me the story. Bubba Joe is a small time drug dealer. Now I know, this is the idyllic country, why are people doing drugs? I don't know, probably the same reason they do them in the rest of the world. He only deals with "small stuff", I assume that means pot, because the other main drug around here is meth and I've never heard that called "small". Bubba's side business is sort of a given. Everyone knows. But he's a super swell guy. Mr. Westmore is actually with the State Narcotics Agency. He is working on Billy's case. He has been for a while, trying to catch him in something shady. 
I asked if there was going to be a bust right here at breakfast? I noticed Mr. Westmore on his phone and speculate if he is calling the office to see if they have enough to make an arrest. Tractor man chuckles. "I'm sure not." 
Breakfast ends without incident. Bubba Joe left before us. Mr. Westmore didn't get up and follow him or anything interesting. Everyone just ate their biscuits. Because biscuits are important. And Southern civility halts hunts, temporarily, for biscuits and country ham. 

For more on how important biscuits are please read THIS post. 

Welcome to biscuits

Biscuits are important y'all. If you are not living south of the Mason Dixon Line, east of the Mississippi you might not know this. You might think they come from a can. For almost a year Tractor Man let me make biscuits from a can. He, adorably, called them "whomping biscuits" because you can get the can open by whomping it on the edge of the counter. I have never seen anyone do this, and when I tried I chipped the laminate edge on his/our counter. After a year he suggested I make "scratch biscuits."
Actually backtrack. I made my "drop biscuits" once. I never thought about biscuits having much flavor, more of them being a delivery system for yummy things like gravy. (Which I, alarmingly, made from a packet as opposed to making from some magic that happens in a skillet after you cook sausage, but that's a whole other post.) The point is "My Biscuits" were swiftly rejected and whomping continued for a while.
On to scratch biscuits. Besides Tractor Man, who does know how to cook, I had another source. I work with a man who used to own a restaurant. We will call him Billy. And Billy can cook! So I ask him for his "biscuit recipe" and he laughs. "You take some self rising flour, some Crisco and some buttermilk. Mix them until it feels just right. Don't overwork. The time and temperature will vary based on your oven. Just make them hot enough and cook them until they start to gold." Um... I need measurements! Nope. You don't make good ole southern biscuits with measurements. You take those three things and mix them just right.
So I decide this will have to be a hands on lesson with Tractor Man. He's a really good teacher and my first batch was the best biscuits I had ever made. They didn't rise super well and they didn't have enough tang, but they were good. Second batch was better. Third was hardly edible. Biscuits are hard. And easy. I can now make exactly how many I need, consistently. In my oven the correct temp is 425 by the way. There is still some quality variation, but it's always good. They go great with my homemade jelly and jam. Which is, again, a whole other story.
You need to remember how important biscuits are when I tell you a short story in my next post. Very important. LINK
But for now, blog posts are better with photos so:

Welcome to my severely overcrowded veggie boxes.