Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I know Nic and Hannah left forever ago, but I just had to post these pictures! Hannah wanted to have a spa day and all it took was a cucumber, two duck egg yolks, some nail polish and Mandolin Orange. We couldn't figure out a way for everyone to get pampered so after they put a mask on me (pic NOT posted), I went around painting finger nails. The whole game only lasted about half an hour, but what a time it was! And, yes, that is Ohso kitty licking her chops at an egg marinated Nicali, mmmm. They were so much fun to have around and I loved the way my skin felt when we rinsed. Try it sometime.

It's been drizzly and cooler here the last little while, a reminder that fall is, indeed, coming. It's the kind of wheather that makes me want to drink milky tea and think about where the time goes... one o'clock already? Really?

I started P90X EXTREME home fitness today. Every time it comes up with Tim, one or both of us must say EXTREME!! mocking the punks from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Why? No idea, maybe it's fast food that has left me in need of extreme exercise? Pop references define us all. Having SEEN a very funny movie must mean that WE are very funny, obviously. I just know that I HAVE TO get stronger to stay on top of this place, the goats don't lift themselves, lazy jerks. I've never made it through a finess program before, but this is only twelve weeks (read: finishline). November seventeenth. Yes I can.

Farm news:
Gypsy cut her leg nicely last Friday, so I got to play with needles. Tetanus shots all around! No one died.
We're finally ready to put our garden beds together and still have a shot at some fall veggies.
Oh, and ducks LOVE watermelon.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

animal shuffle

We are two bolts away from a new goat pen. Tim built a beautiful gate, but in our numerous trips to Home DESPOT we forgot to get the megabolts to hang it. The fence didn't pull very tight and it's not much to look at, but it should keep them IN (read:
OUT of Frank's hedge).

Menagerie Update: The kitten moved next door to live with Chase's Granny and is named Lily. Cash the rat and Appalachia the rabbit lovingly cohabitate in the hutch. The turtles are heading for the Blueridge Mountains and freedom this weekend. And since Nicali and Hannah left to go back to their silly old family in VA, no one comes over to play. Guess I'm just not as much fun.

I received the Seed Savers Exchange newsletter today and there was an alert to help save Pavlovsk Station, a century old seed bank in Russia. Apparently a court ruled that a luxury housing development is more valuable than some crumby old biodiversity in the form of seeds, fruit trees, berry bushes and other plants, ninety percent of which are found NOWHERE else. Am I getting my Russian seedbank stories confused or is this the same one that a bunch of scientist locked themselves inside and STARVED TO DEATH in order to protect it during WWII? This truly is the age of stupid.

(so i just wiki'd it and only one person starved TO DEATH surrounded by edible seeds, but the rest came close. there are over 5000 impossibly rare seeds and the plants in the ground are ones that don't "breed true" from seed. it's like torching the ark.)

Please sign:

Sunday, August 15, 2010

hold tight and let go

I know nothing about goats. I am a beehaver not a beekeeper. There is nothing in the garden. I eat GMO potato chips. The walls of my house may owe their structural integrity to the piles of clutter stacked against them. The pond... oh, the pond. Why do I feel so overwhelmed today? If I could just spend a couple weeks really organizing all our CRAP, do a couple yard sales and freecycle the rest, it would make everything else easier. It just seems like after working all morning to make things not dead, then doing enough housework to make things not stink... I don't know.

Alright, enough whining. This little farm (as corny as it sounds) in my mind is a great big art project. The art of living simply, living well, by hand. It's going to be absolutely beautiful! Flowers & herbs in the front, vegetables at the side, fruit trees, nut trees, berry bushes EVERYWHERE! The pond will be full of fish and lilies and very happy ducks. Healthy goats will frolic in their huge pen all while filling my life with fresh, sweet milk. The house! Organized and decorated.

Someday. I will know it because I will be serving lasagna made with duck egg noodles, goatmilk ricotta, garden vegetable and rabbit sausage on our new deck with a glass of mullberry wine (oh, and of course i'll be wearing a very smart 40's vintage dress of some kind, did i really have to say?). And on that day I will also eat all my leafy greens and have exercised. Soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010


What a week! Somehow having Nic and Hannah Ban here has opened the house as a haven for neglected neighborhood pets (and children). At role call this morning, present were: Nicali, Hannah, Chase, Ramon, 4 cats + new kitten (from Ramon), rat we named Cash (from Ramon), 2 box turtles (from Ramon), a beagle (with Chase) along with the usual 4 goats, 12 ducks, 2 geese, bunny and beehive.

Chase and Ramon stayed late last night and we all watched The Last Mimzy (love that show!). Both the girls and Tim crashed out before the end so I was left to walk the boys home. It's a good thing, because upon returning I heard weird sounds coming from the duck pen. I already had the flashlight so went immediately to check it out. Raccoon!! A scrawny, wicked, mean looking thing that was making these nashing and hissing sounds, freaky! Raccoons are known to behead fowl for fun so I chased it up a tree and shut the birds in the barn. The poor goats were on their own, but everyone survived the night. Frank lent us a trap and we'll hopefully be taking another trip to Falls Lake soon.

The girls looked up "pet rat toys" online and decided to make Cash a hammock out of old socks. For a rat who's been kept as boa food his whole life, I think he's doing pretty well. He is really very sweet, doesn't nip and loves jiffypop. Nic wants to take him home with her, but knowing my brother... I think he's staying here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

summer visitors

My Brother and Family finally came down to see the new homestead. It was a great day playing games, chasing goats, holding bunny, making dinner... then ordering pizza. Really fun, so fun that when Philip and Ashli forgot to take the girls home with them we didn't mind too much.

They might come back for them on toward the end of the week. We try to remember to feed and hose them down once in a while. Hannah has been very handy as the morning egg finder (six this morning) while Nicali runs wild with the neighborhood kids.

We all loaded up the turtle and took it out to Falls Lake. He didn't hang around long. We sent him off with well wishes like "live long, but lay off the geese!" and " Watch out for alligators!"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

under pressure

My mother called a few weeks ago to announce that I would be receiving a package. She had seen an ad for the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Cooker and decided it was the perfect cure to my ovenless condition. I love to cook. I love to cook almost more than I love to eat... almost. So when we moved in and the stovetop but not the oven worked it was kind of a dilemma. Do we just go get something that will fit? Or do we deal with it, wait for the remodel and get our DREAM range? The decision just kind of made itself because between the crockpot, a wonderful bread maker and twenty other appliances that had been dustcatchers in my last kitchen, I was keeping us more than fed. Okay, so a pressure cooker? My only experience with the pressure cooker was as thriftstore shwag and scary flan explosion stories from the olden days.

I LOVE pressure cooker! How did it ever get usurped by the microwave?!? Let's see... did you wan't that six minute chicken fall off the bone, melt in your face fantastic or rubber? I've made perfect beans, tender goose (pic) and a rabbit fricassee that... well, no words. I'm still learning to adjust my spices, less is more, but it seems one could put a dirty gym sock in there and end up with something at least not bad. Thanks Mom, sorry I ever refudiated [sic] you!

We called in reinforcements from the neighborhood to our spapper battle. This is Chase and Ramon and after seeing the size of the turtle that got our goose they did what every boy should. They went to the dollar store, got nets and have been stalking around the pond for two straight days. Nothing yet, but if was a snapper I'd make myself scarce.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

savage nature

Yesterday was not the best day here at Urban Turtle. Our little farm lived up to it's name when our goose caught a snapping turlte... with her foot. It was a sight. We ran outside the moment we heard her unmistakably panicked cry. The goose was struggling, half flying from the other side of pond and came right to us. It was as if to say "Excuse me, but there is an EXTREMELY LARGE turtle biting my foot, little help?". This was no dinner plate turtle either, we're talking full on turkey platter. Tim did the only logical thing given the situation and after a couple kicks the turtle let go then HISSED!!

I wanted to stop and count goose toes, but apparently wanted that thing out of my pond more. Tim had gone to get an oar from the boat, not sure why, so I was left to either grab the tail or not grab the tail. Just as it righted itself and was about to disappear into the murk... I grabbed the tail. If you've never seen a large snapping turtle (and until this moment I had not) let me tell you, they are not exactly cute. And this one is a monster. I dragged it out and yelled at Tim to DO SOMETHING! so he went inside and got the camera. Longest two minutes of my life. After which we finally got it (why does "it" seem like too small a word to describe this THING?) in the recycle bin. Done right? Oh no. I hadn't taken two steps toward the goose before thing tipped the bin and made a beeline for the water. For something so ancient looking, thing can move! Just as thing hit the pond I grabbed the tail AGAIN. We found a bin with a lid, transferred thing and could finally tend to poor goose.

MIRACULOUSLY! no broken bones, but she has a pretty nasty flesh wound. We cleaned her off as best we could and doused the foot in witch hazel, she should be fine in a few days. Bunny is now back in the pet taxi, enjoying the AC while goose is convalescing in the hutch. The other goose has been staying close by, even napping up on the carport which is eye level with the hutch. So sweet.

So now, what to do with THING? Soup anyone?