Soup, Soup, Soup

I think this particular title comes from a Maurice Syndac book I read when I was little. I recall the book also being fairly small, and in it is a little boy with a very large wooden mixing spoon. I've always wanted a spoon like that. I always figured, The bigger the spoon, the better the soup! I love making soup.

This evening, I walked into the house to find that my housemate is watching a musical on the TV in her bedroom. Loudly. Which is just down the hall from mine. And her door is open for air, since today was actually rather warm. I think summer might still be summering for a few more weeks here after all. sigh...

So anyway, I'm at home, going to my room, and I've gotten to the top of the stairs. In fact, I'm just rounding the end of the banister, not listening particularly closely to the actor in my housemate's musical, who is listing a bunch of specific ingredients as he mixes them all together...

The man in the musical intones: ...A bit of this, a dab of that, a cup of this, another ingredient or two, and a pinch of cohones.

I stopped with one hand still on the banister railing, and blinked bemusedly at her bedroom door.

...What are cohones? another TV personality asks.
...Don't ask. He says, and the music swells with magic potion billowyness.

"I see breasts. And foam. Of Course the magic potion is foaming." My housemate says this the same way that one might say "I don't believe you. This is ridiculous. Of course I have a cavity, because this is a dream, and you are an evil dentist." Dryly, with total disbelief at the predictability of the situation.

"Hi, Housemate," I say, and open the door to my room. Just another night here in wonderland. With breasts and cohones and foaming magic potion thrown in for fun. What the heck kind of musical was that, anyway??


Delighted. Really.

Have I mentioned the upcoming family reunion yet? It's worthy of mention.

The good news is that my secret plan to shanghai my favorite cousins from the airport, and deliver them to the reunion location several hours later has been officialized by the committee in charge of officializing things.

The bad news is that in those several hours between airport and reunion location, I have now got to cris-cross a major city in search of passengers, find parking at the airport at rush hour on a Friday afternoon, drive a full car load of cousins and baggage to another town an hour or more away, in serious rush hour traffic, on a Friday, in order to celebrate another incoming family member's birthday with the WHOLE FRIGGEN CROWD at our usual celebratory restaurant. And then we drive to the reunion.

I hope they give us a private room at the restaurant. One with padded walls. We're going to be loud, crazy, totally disorganized, loud, and insanely hungry. All twenty or thirty of us. Just think-- my mom, and four of her siblings, and like seven mostly-adult female cousins who GREW UP IN THIS FAMILY TRADITION-- plus kids, boyfriends, husbands, and well, whoever else we accidentally sweep along in our rambunctious and way-too-friendly wake.

I'm sure I'll be keeping you posted on the reunion. OH, and did I mention that my mom's broken hand is healing okay? It is. Really.


Shoveling it

Today, I mucked out a barn.

Back a few months ago when I dreamed of myself doing this, I woke in utter disbelief that such could EVER be true. I mean, this is ME we're talking about. But today, it was. I actually volunteered.

See, through one of the random blogs that I follow-- maybe it was one about urban homesteading, or no-- maybe that one about sustainability and farms or, well, maybe one of my "tiny house" blogs-- anyway, I found a link to this one Family Farm. And discovered that they need volunteers, and they give you a whole talk-and-tour to get you familiar with the farm and the jobs that need doing.

And I thought-- Hey. I want to create a mini homestead/garden/farm someday when I've paid off my debts and have enough money to buy a bit of south-slope land... Maybe I should get a better idea of what I'm getting into. Maybe I should find out what it's REALLY like to have an organic garden and some goats and chickens and sheep, etc.

So today was Orientation Day for volunteers at the Family Farm. I love it out there. It really reaffirmed that what I want is attainable, and that I'd be happy having it. It also reaffirmed something I already knew-- Goats like me. I mean, these were just generally friendly goats and all, but... seriously. Goats like me.

It took two hours to meet all the creatures and see all the watering buckets/troughs/etc that need regular cleaning and filling (one of the four approved jobs for volunteers on the farm-- mucking out the three barns, the chicken coops, and the mini barn that houses Waldo is another). Then, since I did drive a whole hour to GET there, I decided I had time to muck out one of the barns. And I did have time. What I didn't have was stamina.

So the biggest, stinkiest, most-in-need-of-mucking barn has three sections. I did the biggest one. And I couldn't do any more. In fact, I'm really glad my blister didn't get a blister. I'm even MORE glad I thought to bring my work gloves. And I'm glad I didn't fall asleep on the drive home from the farm. Since I was the one driving. But seriously, I was that worn out. Muck is heavy.

And did you know that fresh farm eggs that are unwashed last longer, and don't need refrigeration? If you wash them, you have to pay attention to which is warmer-- the water or the egg. Because the egg shell is actually really porous, and bad bacteria go toward the warmest thing-- so you want a cold egg and warm water to wash it in. I have a whole yummy dozen washed farm-fresh eggs in my fridge right now. They're making me very happy. Because every time I remember I've got these awesome fresh Family Farm eggs to cook with, I also remember how awesome my day was today while I was AT the Family Farm. Happy-Happy.

I've got some researching to do for the Family Farm from home, and I think I'll try to make it out there again in a couple three weeks to do something slightly less intense like watering the chickens or something. I'm definitely going back. I want more eggs, for one thing. And I'm definitely sleeping well tonight. Just as soon as I rinse out my nose with something that doesn't smell like the month-old backside of a male goat. Apparently, the male goats stink more than the females. Made perfect sense to me.

And when I get my own land, I'm starting with vegetables. And herbs. And a couple of fruit trees. And maybe a few chickens. But nothing that requires mucking. Or castrating. And I learned that I need to add an "egg-cleaning station" to my dream home design. And probably a small barn to store all my gardening equipment, my spare bales of hay, my chickens, my wheelbarrows, and the muck I buy from my neighbors once or twice a year.

sigh... Who knew bliss would smell like THAT?!