Things that have been making me happy

1. These stories and photos from the Yukon flats. I am interviewing with a somewhat (ha!) nearby school for a position that would start in January. More on that later, if it comes to pass.

2. This package from the incomparable Becky of Westwick Dreaming who will soon be receiving something in return. Probably something strange.

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Note the marvelous lady swineherd card

3. On a related note, reading in French has made me happy. I’m finishing up with Harry Potter the first and getting ready to tackle the second.

4. Pancetta. Especially on pizza. Thank you Sean. You’re an everloving wonder.

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5. Friday ‘s sushi party at Pearl Street. Marianna doesn’t see a lot of sushi parties.

Scallop sashimi

Scallop sashimi

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6. Swift and efficient butchery of chickens that left us time to spare for laughing at this not-rubber chickenDSC010797. Trapped in the Closet chapters 1-12, which makes an appearance in my life about every five years, go figure. Maybe it can sense when I need to split my sides guffawing. Thank you for this inspiring and delightful film, R. Kelly.

8. Daydreaming about our “Holiday Residency” at the farm with Jesse and Chelsea. I’m planning to focus on video projects and eating.

9. My wonderful, comfortable kitchen in the sunshineDSC0109010. No school this week. Time to enjoy the sun and the quiet and maybe even to start on one of the thousand projects I have waiting in the wings.

this morning on the screen porch
a bird trapped in still cool shadows
impossibly whipping her insubstantial body
failing against the breathing wall.

her lover fluttered outside crying
and there were two silhouettes slamming wretched
and pointless

do I wish now for a bird’s eye view?
I wonder, could they see the screen?

I raised my arms and skirted behind her
she flew the long way round and out the door

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Labor Day Week Photo Explosion!

According to Levi and Sizzy (who escaped today, to no one's surprise and everyone's exasperation) you haven't known true happiness until you've done this.

According to Levi and Sizzy (who escaped today, to no one’s surprise and everyone’s exasperation) you haven’t known true happiness until you’ve done this.

Mud is bliss.

Mud is bliss.

We spent the weekend in Texas with Sean's family.

We spent the weekend in Texas with Sean’s family.

Sean taught his nephews some porcine wisdom about the joy of getting dirty

Sean taught his nephews some porcine wisdom about the joy of getting dirty

We came home and had a Wednesday cookout at the lake.

We came home and had a Wednesday cookout at the lake.

There was even some paddling, (not the kind we have in schools), and a swim and float with eyes full of the cottonball sky.

There was even some paddling, (not the kind we have in schools), and a swim and float with eyes full of the cottonball sky.

Our meat chicks arrived today, and, after spending the afternoon at school with Mr. P, immediately soaked themselves in their water and began to shiver. We don't have a hair dryer (they're not environmentally friendly or useful to people with little hair) so we toweled them off as best we could and stuck them under the lamp.

Our meat chicks arrived today, and, after spending the day at school with Mr. P, immediately soaked themselves in their water and began to shiver. We don’t have a hair dryer (they’re not environmentally friendly or useful to people with little hair) so we toweled them off as best we could and stuck them under the lamp.

They're all fluffy again, and adorable. No sign of spraddle or gunkybutts yet.

They’re all fluffy again, and adorable. No sign of spraddle or gunkybutts yet. These birds are destined for plates all over the scintillating metropolis of Marianna, AR. We ordered extras so we could sell to our friends, and people seem into it!

Boople and I adored them from afar. Neither of our cats has ever posed a threat to our chicks, but we'll leave the little critters in the spare room with the door shut, just in case.

Boople and I adored them from afar. Neither of our cats has ever posed a threat to our chicks, but we’ll leave the little critters in the spare room with the door shut, just in case.

Who could believe this cutie is a skilled killer?

Really though, who could believe this cutie is a seasoned killer?

In case you were wondering…

Breakfast Bunny was surprisingly tasty

Breakfast Bunny was surprisingly tasty. A little weird, but very edible.

We had a blast visiting our Ohio family. We got a chance or two to be helpful, and we learned a lot from their systems, dreams and schemes.
Here’s a photo version of a day at the farm, beginning with morning chores.

The cows provide milk, cream and butter for the family, but my understanding is that most of the milk goes to the pigs, providing them with a great source of (relatively inexpensive) protein.

The cows provide milk, cream and butter for the family, but my understanding is that most of the milk goes to the pigs, providing them with a great source of (relatively inexpensive) protein.

The golf cart pulls the chicken tractors! It's a whole lot easier to move their three than it is to move our single tractor by hand.

The golf cart pulls the chicken tractors! It’s a whole lot easier to move their three than it is to move our single tractor by hand. The chicken tractors are moved every day to provide the Cornish Cross broilers with fresh grass and a new supply of bugs to eat.

The draft

The draft horses graze ahead of the chicken tractors to clear a path in the tall pasture. Genius!

Sean is the pig whisperer

Sean is the pig whisperer

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Pumping water is one of the big electrical draws at the farm, and patching hoses is a big draw on manpower. These pigs are helping to create a pond that will provide livestock water with no hoses and no electricity!

Pumping water is one of the big electrical draws at the farm, and patching hoses is a big draw on manpower. These pigs are helping to create a pond that will provide livestock water with no hoses and no electricity!

Behold! The pond-makers in action!

Behold! The pond-makers in action!

They are the prettiest, happiest, muddiest snurflepigs I've ever seen!

They are the prettiest, happiest, muddiest snurflepigs I’ve ever seen!

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We went out looking for a group of lambs that had an appointment with the butcher. These appointments are made months in advance.

After chores, we went out looking for a group of lambs that had an appointment with the butcher. These appointments are made months in advance.

The pastures at the farm are gorgeously in bloom this time of year. Where are those sheep?

The pastures at the farm are gorgeously in bloom this time of year. They’re also very tall and easy to hide in. Where are those sheep?

Sean is sad because there's a lot of work ahead of him. The lambs we were looking for escaped and got mixed in with the flock!

Sean is sad because there’s a lot of work ahead of him. The lambs we were looking for escaped and got mixed in with the flock!

Baaa! We had to herd the entire flock through a narrow gate. They walked in circles for a while before they noticed the opening.

Baaa! We had to herd the entire flock through a narrow gate. They walked in circles for a while before they noticed the opening.

Once the sheep got going, it was mostly a matter of keeping up.

Once the sheep got going, it was mostly a matter of keeping up.

Jesse, Sean and Dante are separating the desired animals from the rest of the flock and sending them down a chute to the trailer.

Jesse, Sean and Dante are separating the desired animals from the rest of the flock and sending them down a chute to the trailer.

Get in there!

Get in there!

It was a beautiful day for a lot of work.

It was a beautiful day for a lot of work.

After a long day, Jesse, Fezzik and Sean teamed up for evening chores

After a long day, Jesse, Fezzik and Sean teamed up for evening chores

The pigs and chickens graze together. Pigs make good predator protection for the chickens.

The pigs and chickens graze together. Pigs make good predator protection for the chickens.

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Allergies to bees, lead and sweat

Sean has been in a creative mood all week. He’s done some drawing and painting, but, most wonderfully, he leaped up last night and declared “I’m feeling inspired!”
“Inspired how?” I inquired of the grinning fellow, posing like a superhero before me.
“Inspired to cook!” He proclaimed, and sprang to work in the kitchen. These are the best days.

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Practical projects make my heart flutter. Anything that simplifies or brightens daily tasks is worthwhile to me. My superhero name is The Obviator. Though it doesn’t really improve the functionality, refurbishing this coffee table was my great accomplishment of the week:

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Materials:

  • Crappy old coffee table
  • Unwanted maps
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Polyurethane to seal the top

Paint the coffee table, water down the glue a tiny bit, affix the maps making sure to minimize air bubbles, add a few coats of watered down glue to the top, allow to dry, seal with polyurethane. Don’t let your cats jump up there during any of the drying phases.

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On Wednesday, we totally pigged out on nori rolls and watched Frozen with Ian. We talked big talk that day about key lime pie and key lime pie ice cream. Since Freckles is our only layer right now, we’ve had to wait a while to accumulate the necessary eggs for these projects. I made the pie a few days ago, and we’ve had to employ great self-control to keep from finishing it off before it can be added to the ice cream (which takes four eggs). Thank goodness we picked up some pullets this week. We are not getting enough eggs.

We were chasing the pullets out of their sequestration in the henhouse one evening (Cappy and Freckles wouldn’t let them out) when a wasp stung Sean right in the nose. His cheeks and top lip swelled up so much that he looked like Hermione’d jinxed him to hide his identity from Snatchers. We drove down to the neighbors’ and Nancy took one look at Sean and sent us on to the doctor. The folks at the doctor’s office giggled over the comparison between his swollen visage and the photo on his license, gave him a steroid shot in the butt and a prescription for an epi-pen and sent us on our way. Sean wore sunglasses in public for a day and a half like a starlet trying to fool the paparazzi.

Yesterday, our neighbors took us for a ride in their party barge on Moon Lake. While we were floating on foam noodles in the muddy oxbow lake, succumbing to our first sunburns of the year and talking about allergies (Sean was still looking vaguely rodentine), Nancy told us the story of her grandfather’s death.

The year was 1921 and my grandfather had just acquired a divorce, a rare thing in those days. He was a bit of a lady’s man, and he’d been fooling around with the secretary in his office at the county courthouse. She was under the impression that he planned to marry her, though he had no such intentions. When she realized that he wasn’t serious, she came to work with a gun to shoot him right there in the courthouse. He didn’t want to get shot, so he tried to take the gun away from her. While they were struggling, her daddy came in, and, remembering that my grandfather kept a gun in the desk drawer, reached in, took out that gun and shot him in the gut. Shot her, too, on accident, but didn’t hurt her. My grandfather, it turns out, was allergic to lead. He died a week later.

In other news, we’re getting ready to teach summer school at Lee. I’ll be teaching Algebra 1 to two groups of kids each day in 90 minute blocks. I’m so excited! I’ve always wanted to teach 90 minute blocks, and I love teaching Algebra. Bonus points: the money is really good and we’re working only until about 12:30, so we still get to work in the garden and get outside in the afternoons. I’m going to try something new where I don’t have rules exactly, but instead I have a poster that reads something like this (shoulda taken a picture: whoops)

In this classroom you will…

Challenge Yourself

Respect, Honor and Support Everyone

Follow Directions

Ask Why

Learn from your mistakes

Act like and be treated like a young adult

I like it because it sets positive expectations for the kids and for me. These are better than rules: These are facts. You will do these things. I can give both positive and negative consequences based on these statements. I’m really super-stoked.

Canoeing Montage!

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As for me, I’m not really allergic to anything, but working out(side) in Arkansas in the summer makes me sweat, and sweat makes me itch and go all bumpy from eczema and before you know it I’m a mess. It’s a great excuse to come in and take frequent, cool showers.

Cappy Returns

Cappy Returns

As I was driving home from school today, I saw a ratchet looking rooster on the side of the dirt road about a quarter mile from our house: the long lost Cappy, who had been MIA for over 48 hours. Keely last saw him through the window at midnight running through the illumination of our bug attractant light. He was squanking, and we assumed there were raccoons in hot pursuit. He has returned from the dead, again. I cornered him in our neighbors corral and carried him home.