Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm Doing Great. Why Do You Ask?

See? Doin' great!: Been a little harried and stressed the past week and a half. So what else is new. But seriously, we were way short-handed at work and I was pretty wacked out.

Which made me forget to post about our super fun bike ride/jog on the Montour Trail. Sam and I jogged while the girls rode their bikes. More specifically, Aggie rode my bike after she hosed a quarter inch of barn dust and cobwebs off of it, and Lily rode her goonie farm bike. It's like Mark's farm truck: raggedy and outdated, but it gets the job done.

I didn't have the bike rack because I loaned it to my sister and I was desperate to go play outside after being trapped in the cellar all afternoon pre-cleaning for the Fall honey extraction, so, don't tell, but I loaded up the kids and the bikes into the back of the cargo van and headed for the trail. I did make them wear helmets. So I was halfway parenting at least.

I didn't take the camera because the sun, she was setting, and I just left it behind. I could've taken pictures of deer, bunnies, Fall foliage, and a wonderfully surprising section of the trail where there were no houses, just rolling hills of grass. Lily claims she saw a skunk, but I'll never know if that was true.

We logged close to 6 miles by the time we made it back to the van with our cheeks cold and rosy. Lily informed me that it was the first time "in her entire life" that she'd taken a real bike ride like that. Meaning that she rode a bike instead of the pull behind bike trailer we hauled her in back in the good 'ole days. I think they were all proud of how far they went.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Mark and a friend (because I bailed on Mark and took the kids on a bike ride instead of helping) extracted honey using Mark's fancy new honey extracting equipment. I must say, it is quite an upgrade from our tried and true but very used and/or homemade stuff. Really makes the whole process much faster and less messy.

Photography courtesy of Lily.
This is the new uncapping tank. The wax caps are removed with the hot blade uncapper thingy and fall into a rough strainer in the tank. Any honey that drips to the bottom of the tank can be collected later. The old one was secondhand, homemade, and had no legs, among other things. This is way High Class for us. (Note the High Class furnace, crumbly stone foundation walls and water softener tank in the background. Fancy facilities! Might explain why there is so much pre-cleaning to do.)
You can't really see it that well but in the background there Mark is loading the new extractor. It holds 20 frames, pulls the honey from both sides of the frame at once versus flipping the frames halfway through, and required bolting to the basement floor. Just where ever. Throw some bolts into the floor. No big deal.

There's no photo of the new hot water-jacketed bottling tank, but trust me, it is a beloved item, too.

We got 3 new cows. They are real beauties and one sounds like a bugling bull Elk when she moos.The pigs are delightful. Sometimes I forget how lovely they are.Fall is somewhat noncommittal this year, if you ask me. But it's getting here I guess.We did some crafting. Puppet making, even.

My sister and I had a cheap little blue rabbit puppet named Presley when we were kids. He barely even looked like a rabbit and I'm pretty sure when you turned him inside out, (why you would do that to him, I don't know.) the material used to give some firmness to the inside of his mouth so you could make him talk was part of a Little Debbie Snack Cake box.

So for whatever reason, it was a favorite toy of ours growing up and as we got older we took to hiding it in each others bed or luggage or what have you. Moving away from home? Look out for Presley. Headed off to college? Beware The Monkeys Arm: the arm of a white plush monkey toy we once had. (And the fake turd, which I believe one of my mother's coworkers might have gifted to her? Mom? Do you remember where the fake turd came from ?)

But eventually all the original hiding items were lost & we had to make new (sorry turd, they broke the mold. Only memories remain.) and I constructed a new Presley. Not as good as the original but still functional. So my Presley was inspiration to Aggie and she decided to construct her own rabbit puppet. We already had ears from a half-assed Halloween costume I made when she was a toddler. She wore her black faux fur Winter jacket, I made fun fur ears which I pinned to her hood, and gave her a black eyeliner nose and whiskers. Viola! Puppy! Or bunny! Or mutant humanpuppy creature!

So we had the ears. A scrap of fun fur. And no sewing machine. (I know! For shame! What kind of pioneer woman am I?) Here's what we've got so far:

I am especially pleased with the double button eyes we went with. Aggie is doing most of the work herself. Fun times!

And lastly, living and working in a semi-rural/rural area, it is not unusual for your clients to walk into your office with this:

And also not unusual for someone like me to get excited about it, fuss over it, take a photo of you with it, and overlook the dead deer smell on it. Because we love it..........don't we?


Analisa said...

Wow you have been a busy bee haven't you. Great full post. :)

honeypiehorse said...

Your animals are just so beautiful!

Emily said...

Sorry bout that, dude!!! Hopefully, back to our regular schedule of me not being there less. Or more. Whatev. Still continues to be frustrating on my part. GGRRR!! Them are some good lookin' pigs?

Emily said...

Yes, they are good lookin' pigs. To answer my question. Which should have been a statement.

Sara said...

Busy busy busy!!! The honey sounds really good. I lived in a house with a cellar like that. It had rickety stairs and the door was in the floor of the laundry room. I couldn't open it by myself...I did once when my cat got stuck. The momma adrenaline must have been flowing. The cows look gorgeous and of course the pigs are cute too. Your work sounds interesting. ;) And the first picture is SCARY!

Annette said...

I remember making puppets when I was a kid! None of them ever looked as good as that one, though.

Amy said...

Nice headshot... but it might be time to lay off the WhiteStrips for a while, hmmm?

I love your all-encompassing catch-us-up posts. And I especially love your family tradition of the hidey items... I want to tuck that away to fold into our lives in years to come -- such a great concept.

OsageBluffquilter said...

Honey you look Marvelous!

Amy said...

Those pigs ARE rather cute! Thanks for the catch-up! The bike ride sounds really fun! I can't imagine getting my kids to ride that far--it's neat that you did that with them. I'll bet it's one of those things they'll remember for a long time.

Becky said...

I thought I commented on this like DAYS ago, but apparently I didn't, so I wanted to officially say:

Some pig.

There, the pigs are gorgeous, especially the one with dirt on his snout. And the new honey apparatus looks cool! You know I love the honey detail posts. Rock on.