‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

the edging of the green

For those of you who are blissfully unaware, edging a new garden is hard work.

"Hey Chris," I said. "This is hard. Is there a rototiller that does edges, kind of like that floor sander with the edge attachment you had?"

He looked up and said "I need to get my own blog."

He said that because quite often when he says something ridiculous I ask him to repeat it so I can get the wording right. As long as I am married to Chris, I will never, ever run out of things to write about. Today, for instance, he was having a bit of buyers' remorse about the glossy paint he bought for the coop. "But then," he said, "nothing is too glossy for our chickens."

And speaking of chickens (me? speak of chickens?), I was interviewed today by a real live newspaper person who's thinking about getting chickens. She asked me lots of questions. I will be famous.

And still speaking of the chickens, we had another Live! at Trout Towers! event last night. The Lindsays came by and played for us. What does this have to do with the chickens? Apparently the babies are fond of Irish jigs. They were crowding into the corner, and would have climbed right into Susan's lap if I had let them out. Wish I had thought of that last night.

They are friends of friends, and new to Trout Towers. We cannot believe we limped along this long without knowing them. We are hoping they'll be our new best friends. Such good people, and a blast to hear. You can see them when they open for the Bridgewater State College World Music Festival on April 27th.

I will go if I am out of my edging-induced epsom salt bath in time. Hopefully they'll do the one about chickens.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

inspired by paint fumes

Our front yard looks like a crime scene.

Now don't panic. The chickens are fine. Since I haven't been writing lately and the last post was about my chickens being threatened by hawks, you may have surmised that the air defenses were breached and a chicken was lost. You may have pictured me dressed in black, with a tissue tucked up my sleeve. That last part would be pretty accurate, as black is slimming and I generally have a tissue so I can wipe a kid's nose before the nose is wiped on me. The rest of it is not true. The chickens are fine, the hawks have been dining elsewhere, and I've just been lazy.

The very first part is also not true because although I always call it the front yard, it is actually the side yard. The front yard is the place no one notices because no one uses the front door. If there is any Feng Shui in our house, it's purely coincidental. I keep wondering about beefing up different areas, but always end up puzzling over which front door is front. Is my Helpful People corner in the livingroom? Or in my MiL's bathroom? Maybe I should look at both places and see which one seems like it's better shui-ed and make that the starting point. We have many helpful people in our lives, so we've obviously put the right thing in that corner.

At any rate, the Yard That Is Not The Front looks like a crime scene because Landscaper To The Stars came by yesterday with a can of orange spray paint. Although she is Landscaper To The Stars, she was a very good sport and designed a new garden for us. I think it was cathartic for her, like when the Pink Ladies finally got to do something about Olivia Newton John's wardrobe.

Except instead of tight leather pants we will have garden paths! And vegetable patches! And cute little dwarf pines! And chicken topiary!

We might not actually have chicken topiary.

Landscaper To The Stars also showed us where we could put blueberries and raspberries. Trout Towers is going to be the land of milk and honey, my friends.

It continues to be a work in progress around here, and now I see that I really wouldn't want it any other way. Yes, there are a few things that could be completed without disturbing the fragile balance of the universe (I am looking at the HOLES STILL IN THE BATHROOM WALL, CHRIS), but there are other things that evolve in their own time.

A few years ago, when my nephew came to stay with us for the first time, he asked if I wouldn't want to get all of our projects done all at once. And yes, part of me wants things done. But the other part of me appreciates the process. We didn't even know Landscaper To The Stars then, so we would have ended up with something distinctly less fabulous.

And Less Fabulous simply is not our way.



In her defense, Landscaper To The Stars only drew on our grass with spray paint to show us where the beds should go. The rest is up to us. If things go desperately wrong, it is not her fault.
But, what could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Speaking of silent death descending from the sky, Chris had to admit yesterday that I was completely right. Not about being suffocated by volcanic ash. About something I didn't tell you of, which is hard to imagine since it's been busying out all my brain cells.

About a week ago, I got a call from the upstairs neighbor telling me that a hawk had its eye on my chickens. Just think, a few short years ago, this would have been a euphemism for getting checked out in a bar. "Don't look now, but there's a hawk at 2 o'clock whose got his eye on your chickens...."

We ran outside and I herded the girls back into their hawk-proof coop. Chris helped by taking pictures.

He did not take pictures of me wringing my hands and shooing chickens.

On Monday the hawk was back, so I left the girls in the coop for the day. On Tuesday, despite gale force winds and a snowstorm, I went out and tied fishnet over the garden. Real fishnet, from the real fisherman who lives down the street - not rows and rows of fishnet stockings (although that would probably help, too). Given the weather, it was not unlike a scene from that show about crab fishermen. I gave up all thoughts of being a fisherman, as well as all thoughts of being an actual farmer. Dang, being responsible for little live things is cold.

The net looks like the airport in Denver. It points up in the middle where it's draped over abandoned tomato cages and is pulled into points that tie to the fence on the sides. I did a terrible job. And then I gave up, promising to come back and do a better job when the weather cleared.

Lucky for the chickens, Denver International Airport is (at least for now) hawk-proof. Chris reported seeing a hawk flying THROUGH OUR VEGETABLE GARDEN yesterday. And then it buzzed the house. It did not look amused. The chickens were paralytic with fear and huddled in a corner. Poor little things.

We are beefing up our air defense system.

Monday, March 23, 2009

ring around the rosie

My MiL's ride just showed up and I came out to say goodbye. I had been in the back of the house getting ready for work - which is an all-absorbing task. So when I looked out the big front windows I said something clever like, "oh! It's snowing." And my MiL said that yes she had heard it was going to do that. And she left.

As they made their way to the car, the driver said "it's not snowing..." I didn't hear the rest of it because they were walking away from me so the end of the sentence may have been "it is RUINING OUR LIVES."

If that was not the end of his statement, this proclamation presents two problems.

1) My MiL thinks I'm a liar. Since she gets a great deal of information from me (yes, all your pills are in the bowl. Yes, your socks match. No, the children are not killing each other), I need to at least appear to be trustworthy.

2) If it is not snowing, we are living in the town directly adjacent to Pompeii. I haven't bothered to go out and see for myself, but if it is not snow falling from the sky then it must be ash. From a volcano. And if we aren't ajacent to Pompeii, then we ARE Pompeii, except it all happens more slowly than we've been led to believe. Ash will suffocate us at the rate of 1/16th of an inch/hour. When archaeologists find a box of baby chickens, lovingly placed on top of our refrigerator, they will think "aha, she had time to prepare for this great tragedy!"

Suffocation by volcanic ash that falls at 1/16th of an inch per hour is diabolically sneaky. It's all soft and fluffy and you keep sweeping it aside and blowing it off your sunglasses until one morning you wake up and.... well actually, you don't wake up.

This is not, by the way, a metaphor for our economy.

Besides, I think a leaf blower would keep us safe for quite some time. From the ash, I mean. I haven't figured out how leaf blowers will help the economy. Except there will probably be a run on them once people figure out how potentially life-saving they could be.

There. It's your Trout Towers investment tip of the day. Use it wisely.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

WOMR birthday bash

WOMR, our community radio station, is having a birthday. Since they threw themselves a party, there was no need for us to sit home eating cake. In fact, we were asked NOT to sit home eating cake. Interestingly, we were not invited based on my charm and wit. We were invited because Chris is indispensable and can be counted on to not eat the roast beef sandwiches.

I know a few people at WOMR and a whole lot more look familiar. I probably look familiar to them, too. They look at me and say to themselves, "hmmm, where have we seen her before? Oh right, we saw her the last time we offered free food."

It's not always free, but I do usually show up at the things they do which involve food. Boogie on the Bay, for example.

Today there was a huge line-up of musicians, including Jerry Nelson. You may THINK you don't know who Jerry Nelson is, but you do. He is the voice of the Count on Sesame Street. See? We listen to Really Famous People. We left during his set.

We didn't leave because of him. We left because Studley was starting to be a bit of a menace and I felt like we should get a move on before catastrophe struck. Also, there were so many people showing up, I was afraid if we didn't leave soon we'd have to exit out the back window. We didn't miss the show, though. They were broadcasting live and we were able to listen in the car on the way home. A live broadcast is the way to go if you always leave a party and wonder if they talk about you when you've gone (they didn't).

Speaking of Studley, someone addressed Sugarplum as Sugarplum and made her Entire Day. Which is saying something, considering we were in the same room as the voice of the Count.

But there was no cake. So now, even though I'm supposed to be doing things like laundry and excavating the livingroom, I have to make brownies. You can't celebrate a birthday with no baked goods, no matter how delicious the portobellos are.

I ate a lot of portobellos.

If you'd like to offset the expense of my presence at the WOMR party, would you consider making a donation? There's a field at the bottom of the form where you could maybe say that you hope they keep inviting Susan at Trout Towers to their shindigs.

We'd sure thank you. I'll even send you a Cape Cod Beer bumper sticker if you want (I don't think they'll mind having their stickers splashed all over your bumpers. Email me your address).

Thursday, March 19, 2009

birthday wishes before the sugar rush prevents me from typing clearly

I am seriously underappreciated around here.

Tonight at dinner my MiL asked what the date was and announced that tomorrow is my sister-in-law's birthday. Discussion ensued about what on earth to do for her. I suggested we get her a cake. Since she doesn't live nearby, the likelihood of her coming to our house, even for cake, is small. So we'd have to eat it ourselves. We could have hats and noisemakers. There would be singing. We could put a video on YouTube of us eating cake, for authenticity. We'd need a banner behind us that says "Happy Birthday ______*," again for authenticity.

And while we're at it, we should have banners printed up with all our friends' names on them. And get several cakes. And eat them. While videotaping ourselves. We could archive the videos and send them out when each friend's birthday came around. It's like buying cards at Hallmark.

If people sent me links to videos of themselves eating cake on my birthday**, with a big banner over their heads that said "Happy Birthday Susan! You are totally THE BEST!!!" I would be quite pleased. And then I'd start looking for my presents. But not everyone is like me and most would probably stop at the quite pleased part. And if they didn't, well phooey on them.

You will be surprised to know that not only was I outvoted on this as a proper SiL celebration, the rest of the family did not even act as though it was worthy of a vote. Nor did they like my idea of a Singing Chickengram. I am completely wasted on these people.

So let it be known that if my SiL's birthday is a flop, it is not my fault. Oh yes, she might get cards and flowers and those exploding fruit kebabs. But will she get cake videos? No.

Just between you and me, I plan on sneaking off to a bakery and eating a cake in her honor. I am sure she will feel the love.

(happy birthday)

* Insert code name for SiL. I haven't come up with one and am open to suggestions.
** August 8th

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

it's raining awards, hallelujah

For some reason, whenever I read the name of Lesha's blog, I see "The Lost Brioche." And then I'm sad for whoever lost their brioche. No one should lose a brioche.

The real name is "The Lost Burp Clothe," which is much more reasonable. While I personally have never misplaced any kind of baked good, I have lost a good number of burp cloths. I don't know why I turn it into a brioche. It's obviously Freudian.

Today she awarded me the "When Life Hands You Lemons" award. It's nice when the blogs you like also seem to like you. Thanks, Lesha!

Here are the rules:
  1. Post the logo on your blog.
  2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
  3. Link to the nominees within your blog post.
  4. Notify the recipients of the award by commenting on their blog.
  5. Share the love and link back to the person from whom you received your award.
The problem is, I like people with a snarky sense of humor. I'm not especially drawn to the Pollyanna Happypants blogs. Yes, I realize I have a Pollyanna Happypants blog. I try not to read it.

So ten is out of the question. How's three? These are the first three that come to mind:

Tiny Dancer is a no-brainer.
Lessons from the Sandbox richly deserves a Great Attitude & Gratitude award. Love you, Bella.
From the Frontlines makes me stop and get over myself pretty much every time I read it.
oh and also Ms. Picket. Especially for this post.

The rest of you get the My Life Wouldn't Be The Same Without You award. The thingy you post in the sidebar looks very much like the Emperor's New Clothes. Wear it well.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the poultry pile

I had to rush out and check the chickens' collective pulse just now. They were were lying in a heap, perfectly still except for the occasional stretching of a wing. From time to time one looked like she would get up, but then flomped over again. Very disconcerting. It's a darn good thing I work from home so I can be on Chicken High Alert in the middle of the day. People think I might go back to work once the kids are in school for real, but obviously, this chicken thing is an issue. Do you hear me, Audrey? I am bringing the chickens to work with me.

So. I approached the lump of chickens and no one bothered to look up. On closer inspection, they were sort of writhing. In the dirt. Which looks as dirty as it sounds.

They had made a big hole for themselves and were lying in a patch of sun. It turns out they were having a dirt bath and doing a bit of sunbathing. I think that is the chicken equivalent of a deep tissue massage followed by a seaweed wrap. They looked vaguely euphoric.

It is surprisingly easy to recognize chicken euphoria.

Although I never noticed any symptoms of SAD, the flock is clearly glad it's spring. They are literally wallowing in spring. They are living in my old vegetable garden, so their lives will just keep getting better as last year's plants start to reappear. Those plants have no idea what's about to hit them (beaks, mostly).

It is good to be a chicken in the spring. Not particularly elegant, but good nonetheless. They are relaxed, comfortable, unperturbed and spectacularly filthy.

Maybe I am a spring chicken after all.

Monday, March 16, 2009

in the beginning

Chris was chatting with his mom this morning over breakfast. That makes it sound civilized, right? Like we all sit down and eat breakfast together, instead of running around looking for missing shoes and lunchboxes.

He told her about his bike ride to the beach yesterday. "I was thinking about how you came here to see a play, and decided to buy a house," he said. "Thank you."

It's good to be grateful for where you end up, no?

After he left with the maelstrom that is our offspring, I sat down and took my turn chatting with my MiL. She was still thinking about seeing that play and buying the house.

"I was standing on the corner in the middle of town, thinking how I wished I didn't have to go. And it was just like someone was standing next to me. There was no one there, but I heard someone tell me to just go inside. I was standing next to a real estate office, so I did."

She said she had never thought she'd leave Connecticut. And suddenly, she had found a new home. She described how a woman took her around to several lovely properties, but none fit the bill. The real estate agent did not show her this house because she didn't think it was suitable for a fine lady like my MiL. There were lots of children. It was very busy. IT WAS NOT TIDY. Someone in the office suggested it and after much disagreement, the agent reluctantly brought my MiL to see Trout Towers (which was not yet Trout Towers).

Of course, it was perfect. My MiL describes it as being clean and sturdy and exactly what she was looking for. And so she moved. And Chris moved (which is good because I haven't spent much time in Connecticut and would have missed him entirely).

Thank you. It's perfect.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

name change

Well, this isn't at all what I expected. I always figured when the kids became aware of their online personas, the boy child (aka Studley) would initiate a lawsuit.

Instead, the girl child (aka Lucy) has asked if she could have a turn being Studley.

This is impossible because not only do we already have a Studley, we also have Studley's girlfriend, Studleigh. We wouldn't want things to get confusing by adding yet a third.

We have compromised, and Lucy will hereafter be referred to as Sugarplum.

Please make a note of it.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

this is a public service announcement

I know, you don't like opera.

Still, you only have two and a half more chances to see one of the Met broadcasts in High Def this season.

To help all you opera neophites along, I have created an opera website Just For You. You'll find the synopses of the remaining operas, as well as the ones of what you missed. Think how smart you'll be!

"But opera is boring," you say. Hahahaha! Have you no faith? Would I write something boring for you? You may not come away from the site with a new love for opera, but I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy reading about it.

Behold, Opera Betty. Where pop culture meets opera.

(It doesn't have the home page with falling Gorey characters yet, but I couldn't wait for Mr. Fancy Pants to finish. Opera season's a-wasting, people.)

(Also, if you know anyone in the opera world and can make an introduction, I'll make you cookies.)

(And mom, you might not want to click the link. Sometimes I swear. I couldn't figure out how to write about opera without swearing.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

well it's about darn time

I got my first award thingamathingie! I have no idea what that means! But it's cute and I think I'm allowed to post it in my sidebar. So I did.

Thanks heaps, Dana's Brain! (She called me "hilarious." I think I love her.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here?

I'm not sure how to break this to you.

Those of you who knew me Before the Blog are maybe already realizing that something is desperately wrong. Or desperately right. Or just desperate. For you, the last two years have been one long Chicken Little moment if ever there was one. You've probably started building a bunker or something. The rest of you? You've taken all this in stride and are blissfully unaware that the world as we know it is ending.

There, I've said it.

The world as we know it is ending because if people like me are canning tomatoes and raising chickens, well... I don't know what.

People like me go on ski vacations and subscribe to the opera and have cake and coffee at four promptly and have a fondness for music festivals that are not at a county fair. We listen to techno (sorry, Sarah, it's true). We shop at Whole Foods because it looks and sounds more delicious than the painfully pedestrian Giant. We buy organic food because it is prettier and more expensive. We buy smaller cars because they are sportier, easier to park and less likely to draw the attention of someone who needs help moving. We did not buy them because they use less gas, although that's really paying off.

What I'm trying to say here is that if The Growing of One's Own Food and the Avoidance of Stuff Accumulation is appealing to someone like me, it's obviously become a popular mindset. Like knitting.

Our chickens are two years old. The vegetable garden is going into its fourth season. How long has this mentality been shifting, anyway? And why?

Chris and I were driving through town the other day and noticed a parking lot full of unsold Christmas trees. It made us kind of sad. And then it made us kind of not sad. It made us feel like things are swinging a little more into balance.

People like me are not particularly comfortable with the idea of Doing Without. We don't like the idea of living in a yurt (although we would summer in one if it were nicely appointed and had Egyptian Cotton sheets). We don't like the idea of living off rice and beans hidden away in our basements. We do like the idea of creatively incorporating rice and beans into our meal plans, if it's our idea.

Yes, we are shallow. But we are part of something bigger. And if that something bigger involves a shiny new pressure canner and an ornamental chicken or two, so be it.

Subsistance farming. It's the new knitting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

still life with stick figure

Today I got all jealous of a mini van that had one of those family bumper stickers on it - the kind that shows all the family members as stick figures. According to the sticker, the family had two girls, three boys and a dog. Plus the mom and dad. It was quite a sticker.

I just googled "I want a family bumper sticker, too" and found the website where I could order one.

As usual, there are problems.

It took me a few passes to find the pet decals. And wouldn't you know, they don't have chickens. They have COWS, for crying out loud, but not chickens. I would have to substitute a duck or a bird, which is just insulting.

Also, my sticker would be wider than my rear window. Maybe we could put it the length of the truck? Trout Towers is home to a mom, a dad, a grandmother, a boy and a girl, an aunt, an uncle, three cats and seven chickens. Have I forgotten anyone/anything?

Maybe I should have googled "does anyone make a COMMUNE bumper sticker?" Oh, and if it could be less than the $80.75 plus shipping I'd spend on the family one, that would be awesome. At $4.75 each, the stickers representing the chickens cost more than the chickens themselves. And they're ducks, not chickens. I might as well get cows.

Hmmmm, cows.

Meanwhile, in other totally unrelated family news, I just discovered that someone to whom I thought I was a good friend went through a divorce LAST YEAR. So if you're looking for a friend who actually calls you once in awhile, I may not be that friend. Really, if you want me to pay attention to you, you have to either read my blog or live with me. We are currently out of rooms at the Towers, so you'll have to keep reading. Sorry.

But seriously, how does something like that happen? I have lost my radar entirely.

We have become such a commune that the world is going on without us and we are not looking up from our turnip patch to watch. And honestly? There's never been a better time to be oblivious.

Except when it comes to friends.

I guess even communes need radar.

Monday, March 9, 2009

techno chirping

Chris is recording the chickens. I know this because he said, "don't say anything embarrassing. I'm recording the chickens."

I'm trying really hard to oblige, but it's not easy.

You see, I've been working on this website (my secret love child) and he's doing some sort of weird thing to my home page. I designed something nice and simple, and asked him to make it do a little of this and a little of that. He has not gotten to what I asked him to do yet, because he is busy making it do backflips and turn different colors in three languages. Sometimes he gets a little carried away.

So I'm sitting here trying to be quiet while he is making me motion sick with all the fancy pantsy stuff he's doing to my precious home page. And the more I watch what he's doing, the more I want to redesign the whole thing and have Edward Gorey people falling from the sky. No really, it makes sense.

Meanwhile, the chickens are asleep. So at the end of the evening, we'll have a recording of us, being geeks.

But hey - if we speed it up? We sound just like chickens.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


First of all, baby chickens are complete maniacs. It's really hard to sit on the couch with them and watch tv. Maybe they get more snuggly with age? Like labrador retrievers? I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

We also recently discovered that when you are at the Wang you can take your drink into the theater with you. We discovered this when our friend bought a bottle of water. He was in the process of stuffing it into his pants when an usher said, "it's okay, sir. You can take that in with you." You nearly always learn something new when you take boys to the ballet with you.

Yes, we went to a musical one night and the ballet the next. We are sooooo cultured.

The next bit is something I am sure will fascinate you.

When I listen to opera, I like the ones where someone dies at the end. I like them nice and tragic. When I listen to other kinds of music, it cannot be melancholy. Except for Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, which is three shades of awesome. One year I deep-sixed Tori Amos until spring. It was just too much. Too bittersweet. Too close to what I was leaning toward anyway. I needed something to lift me up, not push me over the edge. So, when I am not listening to Mussorgsky, I like me some Shiny Toy Guns, Beastie Boys, Fleet Foxes, and Belle & Sebastian. I am a music twit.

Meanwhile, I recently introduced a friend to opera. She likes it when they have happy endings. And when she is not listening to opera with happy endings? She likes to wallow in some Lucinda Williams. Her Tori Amos cd stayed in her car stereo for 2 years. Mine stayed in the trunk for 2 years.

What do you make of that?

And am I playing the wrong music for the chickens?

Friday, March 6, 2009

If you are a huge fan of musicals, you might want to stop reading here.

A few months ago, I was asked if I'd like to attend a musical - with the hopes that I'd review it. I declined.

I have conflicting personal policies in cases like this. Policy #1: I will go to anything for which I've been given free tickets. Policy #2: I try to accentuate the positive eliminate the negative latch on to the affirmative when it comes to the arts. Musicals are a conundrum because let's face it, there are no affirmatives. I avoid them like the plague, no matter how free the tickets are.

You can imagine my surprise when a friend of mine invited me to go see a musical with her. Invited is perhaps not the right word. She begged. She bribed. She offered scones. And in some sort of weak moment, I agreed to go.

It became evident to both of us early on that it was a mistake. "I owe you A LOT of scones," she whispered.

Maybe if she had gone with a fan of the genre, she would have had a better Musical Experience. She wouldn't have noticed that the band inevitably sounds honky and plinky - no matter how talented the musicians are. I think the music is just written that way. Or the person who arranged the music for all the musicals I've ever seen (in 6 states and two countries) has a deranged sense of humor and is going for "that plinky, honky sound."

Maybe if she had gone with a fan, she would have heard the intentional comedy and let the missed notes slide by unnoticed. Maybe she also would have found the incongruous nature of the songs endearing. Maybe she could have really enjoyed the dance numbers (which I found myself enjoying, in spite of myself).

I think it's safe to say that going to something with someone who hates that something will very likely ruin it for you. I am thinking of art films and old boyfriends. You just sit there and see it through their eyes. And it's not good.

And what is it about the musical genre that lends itself so easily to spoofing? I felt like I was watching either an episode of the Simpsons or a Christopher Guest movie. Except I love the Simpsons and Christopher Guest.

This one really nailed the musicalness of musicals: the distinct sound of the band; the relentless bursting into song; the sporadic shining moments of real comedy or memorable harmonies; the addictive melodies that are really best left at the theater.

Given my childhood, the sound of those melodies should fill me with waves of unicorn-and-soap-bubble-colored nostalgia.

It doesn't.

But the scones? Made it all worth while.

(Marilee - I have never seen a musical Berke has played in. I am sure I would loathe it less than usual.)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

all along the watchtower

I don't know what it's actually going to look like because Chris likes to keep these things tippity top secret, but judging from the pieces I've seen in the basement, our new chicken coop will look something like this:

Which is good because Trout Towers needs a tower. And a life saving station. There are only a few left on Cape Cod and we could really use one in our vegetable garden.

Also, from the looks of things, this may be its actual size. Chris has a tendency to get carried away. I keep waiting for him to come tell me we need to buy a bigger yard.

But think of the money we'll save on eggs!

We will save almost as much as we've saved on sleds.

Today Lucy came in and asked if they could sled. I said yes, because I'm nice. And then I said no, because the hill shoots right down onto the road. And then I said no again because we have no sleds.

She said we did.

I said we didn't.

She said we did. And I said "fine, sled then."

I watched as she grabbed a snow shovel, sat in it, held onto the handle, and went sledding down the hill. She did not shoot out into the street. Her friends grabbed the other quadrillion shovels we have lying around the yard and zipped down the hill after her. And then they found the top to the (still empty) sandbox, and used it as a saucer. And then our upstairs neighbor came home, saw what they were doing, and proceeded to sled down our hill ON HIS COOLER. That's not a euphemism. The kids thought he was the awesomest and we are in solid agreement.

Add to the undeniable wonder of Trout Towers:
1 sledding hill
7 white trash sleds
1 X-treme Cooler Glider

(despite its obvious charms, winter can end now please.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

on wing

Chris said I should post ALL the pictures I took of the new baby chickens. That way, you would know that I need an intervention. There are a lot of pictures.

This evening we were talking about these, as well as the pictures I took of the first flock. "We should show the chickens their baby pictures when they get a little older," said Lucy.

I'm sure they would like that. Maybe we should make them a scrapbook?

The thing is, I almost missed that gem of a comment. I would have missed it, but we had a friend over at the time and she snorted Quite Audibly. Sometimes, these things come at us so fast and so often, we don't see the charm.

The same thing happened again when Studley was heard pattering down the hall after bedtime. Chris saw him around the corner and scolded, "take those wings off and go back to bed right now."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Meet the Flockers

New chicken babies! Freshly hatched and all settled in for a thrilling life at Trout Towers. They are tickled to be here and will not shut up about how tickled they are. Will Not Shut Up. They are noisy buggers.

But what's that USB device in the photo? Well, Chris likes to make sure I have plenty to write about, so when I said "do we have a thermometer?" he said, "sure, honey!" And then he plugged this thing in and ran yet another cable across our livingroom floor and now we can monitor the exact temperature of the chickens' luxury cardboard accommodations without ever getting off the couch. Hallelujah, amen.

So. Because life is like this, Life is banging me over the head today with LIFE. "This," it says, "is Life. That over there? What you've been looking at all day? Is not."

It is good to have all this life making a racket in my livingroom.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

holes in the evidence

Chris found a puddle in the basement a week or so ago, so he checked on all the usual, leaky, suspects - specifically the pipes behind the washing machine. Those pipes are to be thanked for the stellar education afforded to the children of our plumber. Also, the plumber's dog will now be able to go to college. Praises be.

Those pipes were not leaking. So Chris checked a few other things, which were also not leaking. But he was getting close, by golly, so he did some investigative drilling in our bathroom wall....

It seems Chris is getting a skosh cavalier with the drywall.

I was going to take more pictures of our bathroom for you, but that would have required that I do some cleaning and quite frankly I'm not in the mood.

I was going to show you how great parts of it look. And how not great other parts of it look.

Like the rest of the first floor, the bathroom has been semi-renovated (I just typed "removated," which is totally Freudian wishful thinking). Chris stripped the walls, took out the Design By Crack House medicine cabinet, removed the lights from where THEY WERE THUMBTACKED to the wall, and replaced some circa 1950's accessories, e.g. this toilet paper roll holder, that were more suited to a warehouse bathroom.

I have more pictures from before the renovations, but will spare you. You're welcome.

Chris put up new sheet rock over the bathtub, before the upstairs neighbors had a chance to drop their toothbrushes through the floor and onto our heads while we showered. He also filled in the hole where the crack house mirror was. And he did a few other things but I don't remember what.

Then we skipped merrily to Ikea and spent about $40 on new everything. Like this lovely towel rack. And so now - aside from the hole in the wall - we have the most beautiful bathroom in the house.

(If you don't look down.)

If you look down, you see linoleum that's stained and curling up at the edges. You see waterproofing glop that was applied willy-nilly a very long time ago. You see pipes for our forced hot water heat, which no longer have a cover (you know, the pipes with the dust-collecting fins encircling them).

If you use our bathroom, I suggest you not look down.

It's really very much like this blog, our bathroom. I get to pick the things I look at, and if YOU don't look down, it all looks pretty great.

In other words, Jane Austin has her eye on our walnut mirror, while Joyce Carol Oates cannot stop staring at the linoleum.

And Chris? Cannot be trusted with power tools.