December 31, 2011

Dream World

I'm pretty darn sure I felt the baby move for the first time last night.  I'm not sure if I was just falling asleep, or woken up from sleep, but I distinctly remember it. However, this morning, I couldn't be sure whether or not it was a dream. I've been anxiously awaiting those first little thumps and bumps in there, and I'm a little bummed now that I'm not sure if I've actually felt them or imagined them. For now I'm going to continue to assume it wasn't a dream, and I'm looking forward to more conclusive, preferably daytime, proof in the near future.

Speaking of dreams, though, I did have what was definitely a dream last night, and it was so vivid and semi-amusing, I just thought I'd share.

So, Joe, Lisa and I were all at a very fancy wedding reception, which just happened to be held in a swanky banquet hall located inside a very average American shopping mall. The wedding was for an old college acquaintance of mine, not a very close friend, and I wasn't even really sure who's wedding it was. I'd apparently responded to the invitation without paying much attention and was waiting for the moment when they announce the wedding party to clarify who's wedding reception we were at (apparently we'd skipped the whole ceremony). Meanwhile, we were looking over menus to pick what we wanted to eat, and the three of us were sharing a table with a half-dozen or so other people, all strangers to me. It wasn't like any wedding I'd ever been to as we were paying for our food, and boy was the menu expensive! I was starting to regret coming to this wedding! The menu listed a "gourmet entree" for $30.00, but at the bottom they had a "6 gourmet entrees for $60.00" option. I pointed this out to the rest of the people at the table as it seemed the obvious way to go for 6 of us to pool our order and get an entree for only $10.00! However, no one else was interested and considered it too big of a hassle. Even Joe and Lisa weren't interested and were happy to pay $30.00 for a basic salad, the only vegetarian option on the menu.

I was pretty disgusted with the whole group for their complete lack of logic, so I left the reception entirely. I ended the dream wandering the mall looking for a food court where I could get some french fries.

Okay, I guess the dream isn't that funny, it was actually pretty frustrating. But I woke up so amused with my inner psyche for creating such a vividly realistic and mathematical world. I've always believed that dreams mean something, though I've rarely had a clue what. This one was especially real and precise, and I really want to make some sense of it. Alas, all interpretations elude me at the moment, although I do fancy some french fries right about now.

December 23, 2011

Finally, at the ripe old age of seven months, Elvis the Salmon Favorelle rooster has decided to test out his pipes! His new crow isn't much to crow about at this point (haha, pun intended), it's very screechy in fact, but I'm sure he'll have a voice that'll live up to his namesake in no time. Speaking of which, I'm thinking I picked a good name for him, don't ya think? Doesn't he just look like he could have a career in Vegas? Besides his fancy looks and his new-founding crowing abilities, he's not very rooster-ish overall. He's at the bottom of the pecking order and is terrified of even the youngest of the guineas. If there was ever to be an assault on the hens, I'm pretty sure he'd grab the nearest one and use her as a living shield rather than risk himself to protect her. After our last rooster, Reynaldo, went all Rambo on us and attacked our niece, I'm pretty relieved to have a timid rooster though. I'll serve as protector of the flock, his job is just to look and sing pretty.

Actually, my whole flock of chickens has me pretty happy these days. We've gotten two eggs a day for the past two days in a row!! There's been a couple of smaller eggs lately that make me wonder if the young hens are starting to lay. They're seven months old now, and should be old enough to be laying, but I wasn't really expecting anything out of them until spring. Of course, maybe they're as confused about the seasons as I am. Yesterday's 'first day of winter' felt pretty darn spring-y to me! Maybe the older hens are just feeling rejuvenated after the long break they've taken. Maybe it's their version of a Christmas present. Who knows, but if they keep this up, they'll be upgraded from "pet" status to "pets with benefits" status again in no time! (No offense to Wilson and Foxy, of course.)

December 18, 2011

We wish you a....

Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukah
Joyful Kwanzaa
Wondrous Winter Solstice
Blissful Boxing Day (for our Canadian neighbors)
maybe just a Peaceful Weekend

and of course, a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

December 14, 2011

It's that time of year....

Yes, while this does want to make me start singing Christmas songs (not that it's hard to get me going on some Christmas carols!), I'm really meaning that time of year when the woods are littered with the chopped up remains of deer left behind by hunters. Not quite as delightful an image as chestnuts roasting by an open fire.Well, Wilson may disagree with me. I don't know where he finds them, but every other day he comes trotting through the yard proudly caring a whole leg or some other body part. Even if he doesn't bring parts back, he will disappear for an hour or so and come back looking like a walrus, feasting on something too big to bring home and enjoy in the comfort of his own yard.

This may all seem well and good, but I don't think this carnivorous orgy he goes on this time of year sets very well with him, digestively. Like most of us, he probably has eyes that are bigger than his stomach, and doesn't know when to say when. He then spends the rest of his day lying around looking lethargic and well, just plain icky... exactly like I do when I've overeaten or indulged in something I know my mouth likes better than my gut does. I've also noticed a definite connection between his hunting season feasts and an increase in seizures during that time. Plus, now that Joe and I have switched sides of the bed, my nose is now directly above Wilson's fireside sleeping spot. Let's just say it's like sleeping next to one of those air fresheners that sends off blasts of aroma every few minutes...except one that's gone horribly, horribly wrong.  The other day I had to hurry Wilson out the door because he had this look on his face that I could only interpret as "I'm about to barf a steaming pile of semi-digested, rotten deer carcass on this rug." It's a good thing for Wilson that this has been a fairly balmy winter, because he's going to be spending most of his time outside until he gets all this feasting out of his system!

December 09, 2011

Tri/Se-mester Success!

Three classes down, one to go!! Joe has only one final exam left to take, next Wednesday, and then he gets a 4-5 week break until the next semester. He'll be gone for about two of those weeks sitting a 10-day meditation course somewhere in Georgia, but it will be great to have him around more the other weeks. He'll be taking another four classes in spring, and it is looking like he will have that all packed into three long days a week, and two weekends during the semester.

I have officially made it through my first trimester and am now 14 weeks pregnant. I'm wearing maternity pants for the first time today, and my bladder no longer has room to go a full night without emptying. My energy is returning a little bit, and I no longer feel quite as sluggish.

In honor of these major accomplishments, I'm proposing a "Mester Success" celebration next week. Not sure what that will entail, maybe dinner and a movie??

December 06, 2011

We're down to nine guineas. We haven't suffered any massacres yet, but something about the cooler weather does seem to bring the predators creeping out again. It seems that after each death lately, the guineas all decide to roost in the chicken house for a few nights, but this pattern hasn't stuck for the long term. After a few nights of safety, they regain their confidence and head for the trees again. I feel a little guilty because I heard one of them getting snatched the other night, and I didn't bother to get out of bed and do anything about it. In my defense, I have leapt out of bed countless times, heart pounding, running around in the dark and the cold with a dim flashlight responding to guinea alarm calls, only to find nothing apparently wrong. The two times I have actually encountered a predator (an owl and a raccoon), my presence seemed hardly to faze them. I may have temporarily put a hitch in their plans, but I could tell they were just waiting for me to tire and go back to bed so they could resume their business. In the end, I've decided that I have done my duty by providing a pen and a house for protection, but it is the guineas who must decide to take advantage of it, or take their chances.

Speaking of predators, we had a weird encounter with some local wildlife the other night. After eating dinner, Joe and I were sitting in bed watching a movie when we heard some strange noises from the front porch. I've mostly been desensitized to outdoor noises as lately they invariably turn out to be our neighbors' dog come for his nightly visit, but this noise was less gallumphing and more subtle. I turned on the porch light and  shone the flashlight around the yard, but all I saw was Wilson in the garden, looking off towards the chicken pen. I called him inside, which he happily came, but after getting his seizure drugs and subsequent treats, he wanted to go outside again. Moments later, we heard more noises, as if someone was trying to reorganize the junk under our house. Joe investigated this time and came a minute later to tell me "There's a dead opossum under the house, and Wilson is trying to get to it."

By the time I'd put my robe on and we'd stepped back on the porch again, Wilson had gotten the opossum and pulled him out into the yard. Wilson was standing back away from the opossum, looking confused. The opossum did appear to be dead, but after watching him for a second we could see him breathing. Wilson had apparently only been interested in a dead opossum and wanted no part of a live one, so he left the scene. The opossum was sporting a wound in its side, presumably incurred by being drug around by a hound dog's mouth, although I'm no judge as to whether or not it was a fatal wound.

After debating for a minute or two what the best course of action would be, Joe managed to scoot the beast into a bucket. The opossum put up no fight, maintaining his illusion of deadness to the end (although maybe he was near to dying for all I know), although Joe said he did turn his head to look at him as he was being scooted into the bucket. Luckily, it was a bucket with a lid, so we put him in the car and drove him a mile or so away to a large area of woods by some roadside dumpsters. When Joe released him from the bucket, he did get up and slowly walk/wobble off into the woods. When we got back home, I went straight to he chicken pen to close everyone up. All was quiet the rest of the night, and I slept like a baby.

December 01, 2011

Only one more month to go in 2011! I should probably go ahead and start practicing writing 2012; that always trips me up when a new year comes along. Up until now, it's been a fairly balmy fall. We've had a couple of cold days, and even some flurries, but they'll be followed by a week of sunshine and temperatures in the 70's. Thanksgiving week was especially warm. I usually like to decorate my Christmas/winter window just after Thanksgiving, but the warm weather had me thinking I should be working in the garden instead. I waited 'til we had a gray, rainy day, which made it seem more wintery, and forged ahead with the window dressing. That gray rain turned out to be quite a nor'easter! (I've labeled it a nor'easter because the eastern window on our house was covered with raindrops, blown with great force almost completely horizontally, while the western windows were completely clear - quite the opposite of our normal pattern of storms/fronts.) When the rainclouds cleared away, they left behind them much colder temperatures. Looks like I decked my halls at the perfect time!

Okay, now for a total change of subject. Several weeks ago, Joe and I had serious pressure cooker incident. Joe put some black beans on to cook, and then we both went outside and completely forgot all about them. I think they were supposed to cook for 15-20 minutes, but it was over an hour before Joe suddenly remembered them. By that point, our entire compound smelled like burnt beans (we'd been hanging out in the yurt, and the smell hadn't quite penetrated that far yet), and Joe ran back to the house, only to find it full of black smoke. The good news is, our house was not burnt down. The bad news is, we did not have beans for dinner, and a VERY strong burnt bean odor had permeated every square inch of our house. Thankfully, Joe tackled the pressure cooker clean up, a task that is ongoing as every time we have used it since, it still gives off a burnt bean smell and dark black juices come oozing out of hidden crevices. Whenever weather permitted, we opened windows and doors to air out the house, but weeks later, it still smelled like we were a household of smokers. Then, yesterday, I accidentally stumbled upon an antidote! It did indeed involve stumbling, of sorts, as I clumsily knocked over a bottle of tea tree oil, which broke and spilled all over the floor. With tea tree oil, a little goes a long way! Even after mopping it up, the house still exudes a delightfully mild essence of tea tree oil - MUCH nicer than stale burnt bean smoke.