Thursday, August 17, 2006

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Putting it by

It's harvest time all right, and today since it was cool I decided to do my first canning session of the season. I made 9 1/2 pints of apricot jam today out of the apricots that Chris froze while I was on my trip. I also made 6 cups of pesto and an apple pie! Somehow that amounted to an entire day in the kitchen. Poor Eliza fell asleep at the table waiting for me to bring her some more yogurt while I was stirring the jam to keep it from burning.

I've also figured out how to use the solar oven to dry tomatoes. I put them on three racks and then prop the door open about 2 inches or so with a rock. Even with the door open the temp inside still gets above 200F. I've been drying the Supersweet 100's and the Yellow Pears in addition to the Romas. It takes about 8 hours. They turn out really well but I have to watch it because the ones on the top rack will burn before the bottom ones are done. A bit of shade for the top rack is probably in order. No drying today though because we had another full day of clouds and rain. It's really unbelievable weather.

Chris played a fun gig last week

Chris sat in with his old group Bayou Seco for a few tunes on the lawn of the BioPark last week. There was a big crowd--several hundred or so--and we had so much fun dancing and seeing old friends. The kids had a ball too. Both of them went up to the front and danced with the other little kids and were quite independent of me which was cool. Maybe it was because they could see their daddy up on the stage.

The best thing is that Chris had such a good time playing that he's thinking about getting back into playing more often. The first thing he wants to do is learn some more Flamenco so he can accompany me while I dance.

Oh, and I had my first dance recital over the weekend. No pictures yet, but when Mom gets her prints developed I'll post one.

Here are the photos that appeared in the newspaper article

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Our 15 minutes

Today an article appeared in the Sunday paper about our home! It is a big color spread on the front page of the Homes section. The article is very well done and it touches on all of the important points we wanted to make about the construction of the home, from the initial kick in the butt we got from 9/11 to the fact that the home was built by the loving hands of our family and friends. The sustainable home aspect is highly emphasized, which is great because we want to inspire others to incorporate these ideas in their homes. And despite the fact that it's not nearly finished, the photographer did an amazing job of making the house look just beautiful!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sad boy

Well, tonight came the night that we had to start talking seriously with Scotty about culling the chickens. They are getting big and boisterous and starting to overcrowd their night time roost. Because we ordered chicks straight run we have at least 60% roosters which means we need to cull around 20 of them. Unfortunatley again, it seems that the chickens with the most personality and therefore the most appeal to the kids are the roosters. This evening Chris and I picked out 5 of them to put in a grow-out cage to get ready for butchering (they are otherwise free range). Scotty was very upset about this, understandably. Already one of the 5 we picked has been pardoned because it is one of the named Ameracaunas, "Hooters". I didn't know the kids had named him. I think they have named all of the Ameracaunas actually. So Hooters lives, along with Big Eyes, Fluff Dump, Grandma, Brown Butt, and Small Eyes.

Scotty and I had a long and tearful discussion about it tonight and we decided together that he would feel more comfortable if we just gave the roosters away. I told him that there is no way we can keep over 20 roosters (this is not new information for him--we've been up front about this the whole time). I also told him that even if we give them away they will probably still be used for meat. He said that it's better that way because then he won't know about it. I asked him how he would feel if we butchered one of the cows to eat and he said he'd be fine with that because the cows were not his friends. I suppose we made a mistake having the chickens here starting as chicks such that they became Scotty's friends. He really does love his birds. You probably know that I'm not the type to tell him to toughen up, that's life on the farm, get over it. I don't know what to do exactly--I don't want to lie to him and tell him that we've given them away only to secretly put them in the freezer, but I also don't think I can find homes for 20 roosters! Please, add your advice to the comments section because I'm at a loss.