I just finished the book, Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover. I was completely blown away by this story.
As a child, Westover was not permitted to go to school by her father, who would prefer her to work in his junkyard instead. Her parents did not believe in education or in modern medicine, but they believed strongly in the power of God. As a result, Westover and her six (I think?) siblings were were constantly exposed to terribly dangerous situations (God would protect them), and when they got injured, they were not taken to a doctor.
On top of all of that, one of Tara’s siblings became more and more violent towards her as they grew up. And her dad was constantly convinced that the end of the world was very, very near. They lived on a mountain in Idaho, where he probably still has stashes of food and gasoline underground.
I guess it’s not really a spoiler alert to say that Tara escaped all of this and became highly educated, eventually earning a PhD. But the story of how she got to that point is amazing. I recommend this book without reservation to everyone.
It’s time for another Birds in Beards Coloring Book! Weird Beards: Beards as Birds shows you what happens when every bird you see in your daily life turns into a bearded man. Kinda creepy, kinda pretty, always fun, this book was the brainchild of Patreon member Marilyn Reading. Thank you, Marilyn, for your wonderful ideas!
As you may or may not know, if you subscribe to my Patreon at the $25/ month level, you have the opportunity to contribute your ideas as to which book I should create next. So far, the ideas from the first three patrons have been extraordinary! The first, by patron Professor Batty, was Postcards from Joshua Tree, a book I would never have even considered writing. The second patron was Marilyn, who came up with every drawing in this new book, Weird Beards: Beards as Birds. She really has some crazy ideas! You should look! And the third patron, Heather, suggested the next book, which has yet to be written, but it will involve the inner emotional workings of Krampus, that famous Christmas Anti-Santa. I can’t wait to get started on it.
Do you have ideas that have lingered? Sign up for the Patreon. It’s a good thing.
We’ve had some weather here lately. Worried about the sheep last week, especially the ram lambs, who had no shelter, I tried to get them to go into the barn. But they would not go! I put treats in. I tried everything. So, that was frustrating.
So I drove the truck up the hill and go some straw bales from Gary, (“You think they might nibble on it?” he asked. “They might,” I said. “Yep. They might nibble on it some,” he said.) I trudged out into the ram pasture with my straw bales and my tarps (they don’t co-ed anymore, not after last year’s big surprises!) and I set up a quick shelter for our little rams, out of tarps and straw bales. It was already sub-zero when I did it, so the quality left something to be desired. But, it was good enough. It worked! Everyone survived the 2-3 days of -30 degrees. Huzzah!
(Incidentally, the temperature went up fifty degrees on Friday, and it was still below freezing! I thought that was funny.)
Afterwards, the shelter I had built looked pretty shabby. The sheep had started to eat the straw supports in the center of the lean-to. I climbed in and adjusted things. I added some ropes and tie downs. Yesterday, though, I deemed it unsuitable and decided that today I would dismantle it.
a snow storm.
I went out to see the sheep today. Many of them had not bothered to take shelter from the snowstorm, as was evident by their snowy fleeces.
I counted five dumb little rams, which made my heart pound quickly, as I’m supposed to have nine dumb little rams.
I thought perhaps the ram shelter had collapsed on some of them.
I ran (sort of, as best I could) down to the shelter that had been looking iffy, and sure enough, it was collapsed. Were the missing sheep inside, trapped?
I could see, through a little window in the shelter, something move. I couldn’t make out what. Kind of looked like a horn, though.
I dug and dug and pulled tarp away. It was covered with three inches of ice and a foot of snow on top of that. When I finally got it dug out- and cut away some ropes that were supposed to hold things up, but ended up getting in the way- I pulled the tarp back and discovered four healthy, annoyed little ram lambs.
That little wood wall on the left, which was supposed to make a good wind block, also served to completely trap the four little sheep inside when the roof partially collapsed. But they did have a “window,” a.k.a. a hole in the wall- so suffocation was never a danger. Look in the upper right part of the photo, and you can see the tarp caving in because it’s so full of snow. It was a soft cave-in. I just had ropes and straw bales holding things up. Part of the problem, I think, was that those silly lambs were munching on the supports (which were made of straw)(Gary warned me).
I know. I should have read The Three Little Pigs. Never make houses out of straw, right? But my options were limited. The ground was frozen.
I fixed it all up so this won’t happen again. Tomorrow, a different adventure will come, I’m sure.
I’ve been acting strangely after going to sleep at night. Twice now, it’s happened. I went to bed, fell asleep, and then about half an hour later, I woke up with a start, thinking I FORGOT TO TAKE CARE OF THE DOG!
I then get up and go downstairs, looking everywhere for the dog. I can’t find the dog! Where is the dog? I haven’t fed it or taken it out or anything! The poor dog!
Last night, my husband informed me that we don’t have a dog.
And after a bit of conversation, in which he asked me what the dog looked like and I couldn’t tell him, I realized he was right. We don’t have a dog.
So, I went back to bed.
The first time if happened, no one else was up, and I just suddenly realized on my own that we have no dog.
But why do I believe so completely that we have a dog that I’ve neglected? Am I dreaming? Am I hallucinating? Is it a sleep disorder? Is it a puppy disorder? It’s a really strong compulsion to find the dog and take care of it. While it is happening, I 100% believe we have a dog whom I have neglected.
It’s ruff. It’s sort of impawsable to diagnose. I’m apawled.
This is a recipe for when your chickens’ eggs all freeze before you get to them. Just rinse them off and stick them in the freezer. Once you have ten or so, make this recipe.
If you live in a warmer region, you aren’t allowed to make this. Joking! You can make this by just putting your raw eggs in the freezer overnight (put them in shells and all. The eggs will expand and the shells will crack.)
10 eggs, frozen in shells
one pre-made pie crust
4 oz feta cheese
4 oz cream cheese
8 oz broccoli and carrot chopped frozen veggie mix
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Newman’s own mango salsa
Set out eggs to thaw two hours before you want to eat.
One hour before you want to eat, preheat oven to 425.
Put you veggies in a covered dish with a cup of water and microwave for five minutes.
Take out pie crust. Coat the bottom with feta cheese.
Peal your eggs. Arrange them in the crust on top of the feta.
Take your veggies out of the microwave and drain them. Pour the veggies over the raw frozen eggs, arranging them so they fit in the grooves between eggs.
Add the garlic and onion powder over everything.
Put little chunks of cream cheese all around the top. The crust should be pretty full right now.
We’ve known for awhile that we had a possum. Zanimal named him “Scruffy.” This year has been an insane year for mice- we’ve caught about eighty in mouse traps in our house and garage. Every day, I toss the dead mice from the traps outside, and they immediately disappear, because Scruffy eats them. He’s a little cutie. Sorry- no pictures (yet).
When we aren’t watching possums eat mice, we Marohn’s peruse the Murray-McMurray chicken catalogue, where Zanimal discovered they sell miniature chickens! Oh my glob! Must have!!!! We ordered fifteen, and they come in April.
Zanimal stayed out after dark in the barn, assembling a little chicken coop for the little April chickens. (She maintains that her chickens could never live with my chickens, because hers will be small, innocent angels and mine are monstrous cannibals. She is technically correct: my chickens have killed and eaten each other, at least twice.)
She heard a rustling. Looking over, she expected to see one or two of the four barn kittens looking back at her through the chicken coop doors.
Instead, she saw a possum! And it wasn’t Scruffy, either. It was a different possum! Looking right back at her, boldly.
She ran into the house,
”THERE’s A POSSUM IN THE BARN!!”
I didn’t know what to do about that, exactly. But Zanimal and I went back out to make sure she closed everything up correctly- to make sure the possum stayed in the barn, I guess.
We went out and I heard a lot of crunching. The possum was eating the cat food! I always feed the cats in a big animal carrier, so I just slammed the door on that possum! I hurt his tail, slamming it in the door. Other than that, he was fine. It wS just a cut. So Zanimal and I just dragged that container outside. We had to shut the barn door from the inside to latch it. I went around front and down the side of the building to let him out of the container.
I was surprised to find that Scruffy was there, waiting outside the cage. Friends, I guess? Or relatives? Scruffy reminded me of a mom bailing her kid out of jail. Or perhaps a partner in crime. Did Scruffy have a possum getaway car waiting? I don’t know. Probably. Scruffy is a Fast and Furious type, for sure.
I opened the door of the cage to let the possum out, and it just sat there. Scruffy sat outside the cage. Neither of them moved. So, I went to get my phone to get a picture, but when I got back, Scruffy and friend were gone.
This year, I don’t have a resolution so much as a little project: a temperature blanket. A temperature blanket is a blanket where the colors are based on the temperature each day where you live. I got the idea from a friend who did it last year. She did it based on where she lives, in San Francisco, so it’s basically four colors. It’s really pretty. I thought basing it on the temperature where I live would be even more colorful, though, because the temperature varies so much more here in Wisconsin. These are the colors I chose:
Temperature quilt for 2019
Take the high temperature where you live and choose color accordingly. Each day, knit one row, 365 rows make a blanket.
100+ yellow “aged brass”
90-99 maroon “redwood”
80-89 pink “peony pink”
70-79 purple “fig”
60-69 light grey
50-59 teal “natural blend denim”
30-39 orange “pumpkin”
20-29 dark gray
10-19 winter white
0-9 marine blue
Below 0 black
I’m thinking it might look like this field of tulips in Lisse, Netherlands when I’m done.
It was 24 degrees today, so I did my first row in dark grey.
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