There are a bunch of thoughts I have been saving up, nothing big enough for its own post, but ideas I wanted to share.
The barn is…smelly. In a good way – we clean it pretty regularly, but goats and chickens and cats have…aromas. Aromas I do not necessarily want to be wearing to work. Furthermore, chores involve a variety of filth – every morning and evening, we scoop the chicken crap out of the waterers, dole out several kinds of food to the various critters, pet and groom said critters, and milk – my aim is improving, but I still don’t always hit the bucket. If I were to wear a fresh pair of jeans every day, we would be doing a lot of laundry…and I am pretty sure I’ve made it clear on this blog how we feel about laundry around here. Therefore, Hubby and I have designated Barn Clothes, that hang in the entryway, ranging from somewhat soiled to totally filthy, and only get washed when it rains and the water is free. For winter, we will be getting some coveralls, but for summertime, the designated clothing system seems to be working. Just one more small way to conserve water…
We have had a lot of storms here, lately, causing several power outages. No power here means no water (cistern pump is electric) no sewer (ditto the septic pump-out), no lights (for obvious reasons), and no stove (until I get a wood stove, that is). We have back-up plans for dealing with these things – we keep a couple of jugs of water on hand, for instance, and I have my trusty kerosene lamps. Back up plans or no, though, these power outages are getting darn inconvenient. The other night, we came in from chores just in time for a huge crash of lightning and thunder to kill the electricity…again. We were cold, wet, tired, and hungry. I had planned to make a quick meal of pasta and white sauce, and a cup of tea. We waited around for half an hour to see if the power would come back on, but it did not. We wound up snacking on cheese and crackers, but I was quite put out about it. I really wanted a hot meal, but I could not justify wasting the time and fuel to dig out the camping stove and put a two- or three- pot meal together, and I was too cold and tired to think up anything easier.
Last summer, Hubby and I planned to do a long (week – plus) kayaking trip. We taste-tested a bunch of freeze-dried / dehydrated camping food, but found most of it over-priced and / or inferior. So, we bought a bunch of freeze dried and dehydrated ingredients, with the intent of creating our own meals for the trip. I remembered those ingredients the next day (after the power had come back on, of course), and put together a couple of meals in quart jars – freeze dried green beans and celery, dehydrated carrots and onions, parsley, pepper, and minute rice – all we have to do is add some no-MSG bullion (I can’t tolerate MSG), and some boiling water – voila, instant vegetable soup! I taste-tested a batch, and it was quite nice. The next time I want a hot meal during a power outage, all I have to be able to do is boil a pot of water – just one pot, and no thinking necessary. At the rate the power has been flickering here, though, I may need to come up with a couple more recipes, just for variety. We are at the end of the road, and not a priority for repairs, I suspect, and it has been a bad year for thunderstorms already…
The Wayward Cat:
Earlier this week, we opened up all of the barn doors, and finally let the three new cats roam free. We had been putting it off, due to inclement weather, plus various construction projects we were still completing – Stevie is a bit…tightly wound…and we were afraid the pounding and sawing would scare him off. Sure enough, even without the pounding and sawing, Stevie immediately disappeared, and did not turn up for supper. Bobby did not want to come back into the barn to be locked up for the night, but at least she put in an appearance. We really want to keep everyone in the barn at night, as there are so many predators here – owls, foxes, coyotes, and apparently even bears and wolves, though we’ve never seen either here. Today was about day four with no sign of Stevie, and we were beginning to give up hope. We were feeling pretty bad about it, as he was a nice cat, even if he was a little sketchy. Lo and behold, though, at supper chores tonight, who turned up but Stevie, hungry and a little ragged-looking, but otherwise unharmed. Sighs of relief all around!