The Goats Of Wrath Revisited
The other day I was with a friend when our conversation came around to my 8 years from He** living on a farm. I shared a few nightmare experiences. I must confess this current heat wave has muddled my brain, so I thought why not reshare one of those episodes. Here it is:
It was the most terrible, horrible, no good, very bad, very forgettable farm folly.
It all began when I was informed there was a goat on the hill behind our house. Said goat, named Hermione Gingold, would need to have a bucket of water hauled up to her daily. Guess who was the designated water hauler? You are right. Not long after Hermione’s arrival a metaphysical phenomenon occurred. Before you could say feta cheese, that lonely goat turned into 21 of the bearded, cloven-hoofed critters. These goats didn’t just mill about, grazing and occasionally bleating. Nope. They were prolific milk producers. Thank goodness I never had to milk them.
Nevertheless, something had to be done with a seemingly endless supply of goat milk. As if I had nothing better to do than take care of a toddler, can all manner of fruits and vegetables and, oh yes, hold down a teaching job, I became the designated disposer of the milk. Some of it went to families whose children were allergic to cow’s milk. The pigs were given as much milk as possible before it crossed the line of cruelty to animals. . The rest filled up our bath tub.
Drastic action had to be taken PDQ.
Predictably, I was the one assigned to make - wait for it – goat cheese! My initial response was *^#>%*!!! While continually muttering under my breath, I gathered up the necessary equipment, which included a book on how to make goat cheese, a large kettle, a thermometer, rennet, cheese cloth and a bottle of banana brandy. Banana brandy? So glad you asked.
Truth be told, I was never much of an imbiber, except for an occasional glass of wine with dinner. Banana brandy materialized when I was charged with the task of planting 8 rows of potatoes on a plot of land the size of an NBA basketball court. No exaggeration. That insane story is for another day.
What I discovered from the great potato caper was banana brandy had mystical powers. Consequently, I kept some around for potential crisis management. Making goat cheese was definitely a crisis in need of management. The brandy doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome. (Would have been great if it did.) It gets you through the process which is what matters.
At the end of the day there was cheese. Lots of cheese. Sadly, it was unfit for human, or inhuman consumption even for those with the least discerning palates or the fewest possible number of functioning taste buds.
The aftermath of this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad experience was that for more years then I care to specify, I have not been able to get within 10 feet of anything that comes from a goat.
Comments are welcomed.
It is the middle of July, yet there is already talk of a glut of zucchini. Is there not always a glut of zucchini? You know there is, especially when you spy people sneaking zucchini onto neighbors' porches in the dark of night. I have written a couple of times about my nightmare encounters with zucchini in the past, but I just can’t help myself. I have to add my 2 cents yet again.
There is a surprising lot of info on the problems and best growing conditions. Really? I am convinced these squashes gone skinny do very well left to their own devices. In fact, if left to their own devices they could likely envelop the entire planet. Despite my disrelish for , zucchini, I did find a couple of interesting items I will share.
First, zucchini doesn’t even come from the homeland of all other squashes, that homeland being the Americas. Instead, it is a hybrid, created by Italians near Milan in the late 19th century. They named their new squash ‘little squash’ (zucca squash, ino little) and its syntax has been corrupted so that the plural form, zucchini, is now singular in our countries.
Second, you are going to love this, especially if you are running out of ideas for use or disposal. Most people harvest zucchini when they are about eight inches long, but if you leave them alone you can grow a formidable weapon of about three feet long and of a baseball bat’s circumference. In Montana a few years ago, a woman actually fought off a bear with a foot-long zucchini, giving it a hefty wallop on the nose which sent the bear howling. Who needs bear spray when you have zucchini !
In case you wondered about the caveat to beware of the 8th of August, here is the reason. August 8 is National Zucchini Day. You now have 3 weeks to barricade your property or take whatever precautions you deem necessary to fend off forays from generous zucchini growers. Good luck.
Comments are welcomed.
In the wee hours of the morning all of the cell service, internet, phone and some cable service went out. This massive outage affected customers across all of Canada and even those overseas with roaming service. Businesses, ATM’s and air travellers were affected as well. How does this happen with Rogers, one of the largest tech companies and digital providers with tentacles reaching into other businesses and continual price hikes? Over 12 hours later most of the services were restored, but they still don’t know the cause. I can hardly wait to hear what they come up with. Should be interesting. Maybe even scary.
I must say I intentionally divvied up my internet, TV, cable and phone services among 3 different providers in case of such a possibility. Extremely grateful to have done so as it was all systems go for me.
What this brings to mind is life in the pre-digital age. Perhaps you may recall that era, too. Makes one wonder how we managed so beautifully with only one land line per household. I was most fortunate to be allowed to have an extension phone in my room during my teen years. It got me through some hard times. The one downside was having a bratty younger brother who would occasionally pick up the main phone and try to listen to my conversations.
Of course, there are upsides and downsides to both eras. What I miss most is the more face to face communication and connection from pre-digital times. While we can cherish the memories of and appreciate what was good for us in the past, life is still all about change; how adaptable and flexible we are, how we can embrace the upsides and move away from the downsides when they come along. Perhaps the next time technology tanks, we might find a friend, go for a coffee, take a walk together, etc. and simply enjoy connecting.
Above all, hold tight to your sense of humor. After all, a sense of humor gives us the ability to shift perspective and be flexible. Flexibility is the ability to not get bent out of shape.
Comments are welcome.
Tis The Other Season
What is the “other season? Tis the season of the bugs. How can we avoid them short of wearing a HAZMAT suit? There was an article in a recent Farmers Almanac newsletter offering recipes for homemade bug repellents. Without further ado, here is a reprint I hope you will find useful. Or at least interesting.
Know Thy Enemy
As soon as we step outside, bugs have a way of finding us. Some use the carbon dioxide that we exhale to locate us, others go by scent, body heat, vibrations, or even the colors we wear. For example, deerflies are attracted to CO2, warmth, motion, and dark colors. One way to make yourself less attractive to insects is to avoid using fragrant soaps, lotions, perfume, hairspray, or aftershave. Instead, use scents that block their receptors, making you harder to find.
Here are four simple homemade bug sprays you can make using essential oils, based on your scent preference:
No essential oils on-hand? Use dried or fresh herbs instead. If you can make tea, you can make these concoctions. Keep them in the fridge for a cooling spray.
Here are two herbal recipes:
Note: If you ever think you are too small to make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room.
Comments are welcome.