Category Archives: General

Checking in

Good Lord. Did I really just go almost three months between posts? Ridiculous. I promise I’ll try to do better.

Since my last post, I have:

* Spent a week in October painting murals in Tucumcari — one on the side of Tee Pee Curios and one in a garage at the Blue Swallow. It was a great vacation and a wonderful way to relax without slacking. I also established some good habits while we were out there — namely, walking a lot more and getting up a little earlier — which seem to be paying some health benefits I’ll discuss at length in a future post. I’ll try to put some pictures up soon, too.

* Swapped my chickens for another flock of quail. I swore I wouldn’t mess with quail again, because last year’s flock was a pain in the arse, but some ratfink snitched to the city, the very week our chickens FINALLY started laying, so Hazel (whose parents live in the country, and whose mommy wanted to start raising chooks again anyway) now has her very own flock of buff Orpingtons. Rather than give up fresh eggs altogether, which would be letting the terrorists win, I dragged the quail pen out from under the deck and exploited that loophole in the city code, with the help of a couple of small tools that proved to be a giant help. I plan to have a post later this week on everything you need to know to make quail as easy and fun to deal with as chickens.

* Held my first book signing. I sold 31 copies and raised about $350 for my hometown library’s history room, which was cool. I also got to see my sixth-grade English teacher, who is one of my favorites, and whom I hadn’t seen in the better end of 30 years, which was even cooler.

* Created a detailed plan for paying off debt, reducing our environmental footprint, and prepping for an eventual move to a tiny house somewhere in or near Tucumcari (which, for the record, doesn’t have any ridiculous anti-chicken ordinances in its city code). I’ll be sharing some of that over the next few weeks.

* Lost 19 pounds, mostly by eating at home more as part of the aforementioned debt-reduction plan.

I know I’ve scoffed at New Year’s resolutions in the past, but the one I made two years ago (to blog recipes and eco-friendly projects every week) resulted in a lot of good, useful content, some of which has been shared pretty extensively on Pinterest, and the one I made at the start of 2015 (to develop a taste for hops) resulted in drinking a lot of high-quality craft beer and making friends with some really interesting local business owners, so I think I’m going to unveil a few goals/resolutions/projects for 2016 in the next couple of weeks. At least one of them will involve posting here more regularly, because I miss it. 🙂


Catching up

I posted the other day about my family’s visit to Tulsa, but a WordPress glitch ate the post and accompanying pictures and kept my blog out of commission for a couple of days.

I’ll redo the earlier post and add an update on the garden when I get a hand free, but at the moment, I’m running on about four hours’ sleep, and I spent all day digging and hoeing and planting and installing fences and doing all the other things it takes to get the garden in the ground … then went to the office at 9 p.m. and spent about three hours working on some pages … and I promised Suzanne I’d meet her at the gym tomorrow at 6 a.m. … so I think it’s time to have a snack and head to bed.


Productive day

I wish I’d thought to take before-and-after pictures of the garage this afternoon. We scheduled a large-item pickup for Tuesday, so we spent a big chunk of our Sunday afternoon cleaning. Ron helped me move some heavy stuff out of the garage, and then he went out to the garden to rip out some old fencing and last year’s tomato stakes while I sorted boxes, assembled shelves, put things away, and swept up enough leaves, sawdust, and wood shavings to make a small tree. I know where the sawdust and shavings came from, but I don’t know how that many dead leaves ended up on the floor of my garage.

Anyway, I now have all my storage containers and shelves lined up neatly along one wall; my Wave bag is in a corner, waiting to be filled with water so I can take out my frustrations on it; and as soon as we move my workbench, I will have a workshop on one side of the room and an open space in the middle where I can roller skate, assuming my skates — which I found on the floor under some tools — are not infested with spiders. (I have to figure out how to check them without risking a brown recluse bite. I expect this project will involve our bee suit….)

We have a huge flock of sparrows that like to play in the tree beside the garage. They were just chirping and jumping around up there the whole time we were working. Very cute.

According to my Waterman and Hill-Traveller’s Companion, bluebirds should be arriving in Southern Illinois, woodchucks and tiger salamanders are mating, and we’re about two weeks away from spring peeper and chorus frog season. (Note to self: Find excuse to go home for a weekend when the frogs start singing in Giant City.)

Oh, and the Cubbies’ pitchers and catchers report to spring training a week from Thursday. I’ve got to find a Baskin-Robbins somewhere and have a scoop of rainbow sherbet in a sugar cone — my favorite pretending-it’s-summer treat — to celebrate. 🙂

My worms have good taste.

I looked in the worm bin a minute ago. The worms are going after the cucumbers and more or less ignoring the lettuce.

I feel their pain. When I go to a salad bar, I don’t even get lettuce. I’d rather eat sprouts or spinach drowned in ranch dressing, with lots of mushrooms and cucumbers and tomatoes and olives on top, and maybe some Bac-O’s or homemade croutons or sunflower seeds to make it nice and crunchy.

The worms I had in my first bin, a few years ago, loved mushroom stems … which gives me a primo excuse to buy some portabellas next time I go to the grocery store.

Speaking of mushrooms, I miss the Soulard Farmers’ Market. You could get terrific produce there for next to nothing. We’d buy mushrooms and Indian eggplant just about every time we went. It was great.

We don’t have anything like that here. If I had a kazillion dollars, I’d buy the old Crystal City shopping center west of downtown Red Fork and turn it into Tulsa’s own answer to the Soulard Farmers’ Market.


P.S.: My friend Sandy has a toddler, a scathing sense of humor, and — luckily for you — a new blog called Fear and Loathing in the Diaper Pail. I suggested she start blogging after reading yet another of her hilarious e-mails. Sandy’s e-mails read like the work of a woman possessed by the spirits of Erma Bombeck and Dorothy Parker. Bookmark her blog; even if you don’t have kids, her observations on motherhood will crack you up. And her kid is ridiculously cute.