Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It Was the Best of Times...and so on.

Soooo...after a reasonably uncomfortable union meeting (I won't go into details as per my personal rules), I was enroute to the local fresh market for some fresh protein and a much needed adult beverage (next door to the fresh market), when I spied a police car in my rear view mirror.  Lights ablaze.  For me.  ME????  I pulled over, no idea of what was going on; it was about 4:20 PM, on my way home from a day of gainful employment, finally in the clear of the gazillion things I've been juggling in my head, and BAMMMMM...it's the MAN.

Long story short, I spaced out on my registration and inspection.  Now, a few years ago, I used to receive registration renewal notices in the mail.  I counted on them to remind me to prepare for the whole process.  They don't come anymore for some reason.  That was the first strike.  On April 27th, just THREE DAYS BEFORE MY INSPECTION RAN OUT, my brakes started grinding, and I had them replaced.  At my dealer.  Who charged me big bucks.  $650 of them.   Do you THINK they'd mention the soon to be due inspection?  JUST MAYBE?  That's strike 2.  Strike 3 is my own complacency.  I've been contemplating the meaning of life and stuff.  Planting a garden.  Milking goats. Teaching kids (both human and goat).  Making and matting house tour drawings.  Writing papers. Taking care of maternal visits. Working full time. Something had to give.  Sheesh.  I even forgot to RSVP to an impromptu dinner invitation until the night-of.  Sorry El, once again, and I hope you call me back one day when the dust settles.  I'm overloaded. Expensively overloaded.

In his defense, the officer could have been MUCH more vindictive.  He was kind, and professional, and I could have owed much more.  But still...it was a pricey lesson.  So what will I do next year?  Well, the cell phone is now programmed to go off weekly starting April 1, reminding me to deal with it.  My husband's is too.  And any other bells and whistles I can locate will soon be employed likewise. 

Of course none of the service stations are open at this hour to make an inspection appointment.  So what's a girl to do? 

Make aebleskiver. 

What's that, you ask?  Only the best alternative to gut-wrenching stomach anchoring pancakes in the history of Scandinavian cookery.  Why now, you might ask?  Because I picked up a cast iron aebleskiver pan at the thrift store two days ago, and am currently housebound due to my illegal truck.  I'm making lemons into lemonade...or traffic fines into pastry.  So to speak.

Is is an Egg Poacher?  A Biscuit Pan?  No, it's an Aebleskiver Maker!
I had everything I needed.  The recipe is easy; I found a simple one that didn't require "stiff eggwhites" online here at my.recipes.  I don't do stiff eggwhites.  But I DO do aebleskivers from now on!  All you need is regular pantry items, some sort of filling (I used some awesome raspberry jam, given to me by Kate, over at Living the Frugal Life.).  You make the batter per the directions, spoon a little bit into the buttered concavity, let it rise a bit, spoon in a little filling, top it off with more batter, turn it with a chop stick (or other pointy object), and let it brown.  Holy cow.  It made those tickets seem so much less important.

There they are, filled and turned once.
Browning off the sides.
What you don't see is me, popping one in my mouth as soon as it's finished, and burning the heck out of my tongue on the jam.  It was just that kind of a day.  I'm not a big fan of baked goods.  But I was vulnerable tonight...and oh, so willing to be self-pampered.  And that was darn good jam, Kate!  Thank you!

So, the moral of the story is this:  If you foul up in an expensive and embarrassing way, and get confined to quarters, raid your pantry and try a new culinary experiment, preferably involving starch, butter, and fruit preserves. This is a good example. Then, you can take it camping, impress your friends, and potentially regain your self-esteem!  Hey!  Hopefully your truck will be registered and inspected if you do, though.  You know mine will be. 

Sheesh, what a day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sandy the Goatherd

Cover Art: Heidi
You know, I've been thinking about Gene Logsdon's post, over at The Contrary Farmer, all afternoon.  In it, he discusses the connection communication relationships between our livestock / friends and ourselves.  I actually had this conversation over a glass or three of wine with friends a week or so ago.  I, being a little quite left of center, contend that all is not as we imagine it: that it's quite possible for animals other than ourselves to experience the world through a sixth sense, and communicate psychically.  I find it awfully shortsighted and speciest to imagine that everyone is equipped with the same tools we are, and that our sensory organs are the end-all measure to reality. My engineer friend, however (you know who you are!) contends that animals simply pick up our non-verbal clues, and are much better than we are at understanding body language.  I'm not quite so stuck on empirical data; I believe there's more.  That's just me. 

The Day Fairly Was Born
Today, after teaching, I arrived at the farm to find that all of the yearling goats had escaped their pen and were busy grazing with the milkers. The kids did it last week; this week, the yearlings decided to jump ship. Just like that. This could have been an issue, had we panicked, but Kathy and the others calmly waited for me to arrive, and I separated milkers from doelings by opening a gate and inviting the "mommas" in.  I said, "Come on, Mommas". The yearlings, appropriately waited outside.  Then I opened the outer gate, and asked them to follow me.  My favorite phrase for the 18 young does has always been "hurry, hurry!" when I brought them in from the fields, so I said, "Come on, kids!  Hurry, Hurry!"  They'd follow me anywhere. And they very sweetly followed me back up to the stall area, where I directed them into a waiting area. Was it my body language?  Why didn't they follow anyone else?  Do they know I expect it of them?  Did they expect food?  Maybe...all I know is that I know the ways of these goats; and they know the ways of this human. 

Sleepy Kids After Last Week's Mutiny
When I was a little girl, one of my favorite books was "Heidi".  Maybe it was because my mother is German, and she delighted in the story.  Maybe it was the way I could see the story as it unfolded before me.  But MAYBE (and by this I mean probably) it was because I loved Peter the Goatherd.  I wasn't IN love with Peter the Goatherd.  I was too young for that.  I wanted to BE Peter the Goatherd.  It's true.  So now, I have a husband named Peter.  But I'm the goatherd.  Go figure.

Peter the Goatherd and Frankie the Goat
Gene Logsdon wrote about the interpersonal interactions between himself and his animals: the treats, the scratching, the conversations.  He wrote that on a small scale, a small farm, your animals "almost" become friends and interacting with them isn't work, but visiting.  I feel more like that in the summer, when I'm not so rushed; but I do understand the emotion, and I do feel the affection these animals bestow upon me.  I know their moods, and their temperaments, and those blessed moments when they welcome you into their world are indescribably magical.  There's nothing empirical about it.  There are times when we connect on a purely emotional level.  Just ask any goatherd.  Or any lover of animals.  They'll tell you the same.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fauni Dell Attends Her First Opening

I know I don't usually blog about my school functions, but I'm going to bend my rules just a bit today.  Today was the opening of our annual school art show, which is a community and school event held at a local historical site, the Heller Homestead.  I've drawn the homestead; my notecards serve as a fundraiser for framing our students' work.  If I can locate a scan of the art, I'll insert it later.

There were several other events going on today; there was a craft show, a flower/plant sale, food, and a Civil War encampment.  I thought that a little goatie girl would be a perfectly fine addition to the hoo-ha, so I bundled her into the S-10, and away we went.

Fauni and a Friend

Miss Fauni Dell was a debutante. Everyone loved her, from the moment we arrived.  Students were happy to hold her, and she climbed on several of them.  One little boy said he just LOVED goats (I know how he feels!).  Several adults shared stories, and spent time stroking her.  Between grass sampling sessions and snuzzles, Miss Fauni Dell sat calmly in my lap and chewed her little baby cud happily, ever the lady. We even found a woman who had a little herd who came from Fauni's parents' herd!  Small world! Cousins!

The local digital press was there.  If we become overnight sensations, I'll update; but if not, all I can say is that today, I "let my freak flag fly" so to speak.  And it made me so happy.

:::::::::::::NEWS FLASH:::::::::::

Fauni Dell Made the News!  Hellertown Patch: Read All
About It!

I'm not a fancy dresser; I don't use makeup, or wear heels, or color my hair.  I don't care if you do...I just don't understand why people do it, so I don't.  My colleagues do.  I'm an island.  I'm OK with that.

I let the guilt go today, and dressed my way, and brought my goat.  I feel whole.  Good day. I'll sleep soundly tonight.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring Dinner!

Although I spent the majority of the day writing (with a brief goaty interlude and a quick morel run), our dinner tonight was appropriate for today's earthy holiday!  May Day, aka Beltane, a traditional celebration of spring is my favorite time of year!

Breaded morels and dryad's saddles, roasted asparagus with Parmesan/Romano cheese, and home fried sweet potato chips with mineral salt.  Local onion-horseradish sauce for dipping.  And fresh goat milk. Yum!
Unfortunately, I'm all out of words today, and almost out of eyes as well, so I'll just leave you with this thought: we are blessed by our tenure on this planet; we have a sacred responsibility to know that, and to respond respectfully.  We are stewards.  We need to remember that.