Papaya, Papaya, Paya

This is an iPhone photo, taken very late at night to ensure maximum graininess.

I am sincerely nervous about showing the inside of our refrigerator. I really have no idea why, it’s not like there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just…private? I’m telling you, I possess some weirdness.

Moving on…

I am not a big snacker. I have never felt a desire to eat much between meals. However, I’m trying to remember to snack more, as a method of helping to keep my portion sizes down. The problem is, I’m lazy. I love strawberries, but if I’m feeling a little hungry after lunch, the idea of preparing them will often keep me from grabbing any. Preparing them means washing them, popping the leaves off, and all that strenuous effort that would require I take a nap afterward. So, I decided to order some of these adorable ceramic berry baskets, to organize our refrigerator a bit more, and make grabbing a handful of fruit a little easier.

Those perfectly over-exposed orbs in the white baskets are grapes, by the way. Also in the baskets are cherries, strawberries, and grape tomatoes. It’s been really nice to open the door, grab a handful of something healthy, and have it already washed and ready to eat. We even bought a set of grapefruit spoons, because peeling grapefruits makes me sticky and the only thing I hate more than being sticky is being stickier. It’s all about making the fruits more convenient, which is why we’ve shoved the dried fruits waaaaay in the back, where you can reach in and knock all the berries and grapes out of their baskets, as you drag the bulky bags over top. Can I interrupt myself to say how annoying I find the position of that one apricot? Speaking of apricots, I do not like them. I love them dried, but we’ve had two fresh varieties now, and both taste like nothing at all.

Even though we eat homemade meals six out of every seven days of the week, and almost all our stuff is organic, non-GMO, and fairly healthy, I feel like I could do better. I’m leaning toward going one week mostly raw vegetarian. I can’t do vegan, or completely raw, because I like milk. Could you tell? I don’t want to do it as a cleanse or a lifestyle change, I just think it might be interesting to see the effects a raw diet would have on my body.

We’ll see. The last time we tried to eliminate meat from our diet, it lasted one long, disappointing, grumpy day. I’m not sure no meat or heat is going to go much better.

Note: I did not turn the brand name side away on purpose and now that I see they’re almost all like that, I’m going to have to go rearrange things. More weirdness.

Title From:
The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane*
by Dean Martin

* I do not know if the ladies actually say “papaya,” but that’s what I hear when I listen to the song.

It’s Only Just a Bitter Form of Rain

A few weeks ago I ordered two herbal apothecary books. Of course, you can’t concoct anything without herbals, so I ordered some of those too. Now I’m completely out of room to store anything.

I mentioned before that our kitchen table is an old pianoforte, converted into a desk/table. One of these days I’ll take a picture. (Update: I found a terrible photo from the day we brought it home. You’ve probably already seen it, since it’s at the top of the post, unless you like to close your eyes and scroll down immediately when opening a webpage, which I do too, don’t feel weird.) Anyway, the innards of the pianoforte were removed and the front was sealed up, making one big open storage area, perfect for cookbooks, dish rags, extra mason jars, and tea. I’m a little bit addicted to tea. It’s the only thing I regularly drink other than milk, water, seltzer water, and mineral water. Why didn’t I just leave it at water? It’s all water.

Today I counted at least twenty boxes and tins. I say “at least,” as though twenty is too many for me to count properly, because it is. Actually, Phyllis and her seventy pound pot are housed on the back half of the table, so only the front half opens. It’s possible there are a couple boxes that have made it to the dark side. In addition to the twenty or so boxes in the table, the herbs I purchased for my first attempt at herbal treatments are for, can you guess it? That’s right! Unless you said something other than tea…then that’s not right. Specifically, it’s a tea to treat the obnoxious heartburn that tomatoes and onions seem to now bring on. It’s a blend of chamomile flowers, marshmallow root, licorice root, slippery elm bark, and ginger root. If you’re interested, it works, but more as a preventative.

I need to figure out where to put new things coming in, because next up is a tea for headaches, and that’s a whole new set of herbals.

Title From:
The Beer Song Medley
by Darby O’Gill

Where’d You Go Love?

This is the longest Muggabee has ever stayed away. I honestly don’t know how long it’s been. I estimated two weeks the last time I wrote, but I’m not certain. It definitely wasn’t more recent.

He would usually show up around 4-5pm. I’d wait to put any food out until I actually saw him so I knew he was the one eating. The last day I remember seeing him, he hadn’t come by during his normal hours. I figured he’d visit a little later, which he did. Around 7pm, I realized he was outside when I heard hissing and whatever that growling thing is that cats do that sounds like a deep, guttural rumbling, emanating from their souls. He’s the only one of the cats to growl at the others, so I knew he was there, and so was someone else.

When I opened the door, I saw the long grey hair of the cat with the bald spot on his side. He was off the porch but still close enough to enrage Muggabee, who was sitting by his bowl, hissing and channeling demons. The other cat is terrified of me, so he quickly ran away when he realized I wasn’t going to be staying inside. Muggabee continued to hiss, albeit a little less frequently. Normally, when I scooped the wet food from the tin, he would lose a bit of his apprehension. That time he didn’t. Instead, he sat in the same place, still rumbling, still hissing, showing no interest in the food. I talked to him a bit, reassured him that everything was okay, and the other cat was gone. As I talked to him, I noticed he looked even more disheveled than usual; his fur was a little thin and unkempt, his eyes were a little watery. Sometimes he looked a bit rough, so I didn’t think too much of it at the time. As much as I wanted to be friends with Muggabee, I knew my presence was only making him uncomfortable, so I gathered everything and went inside, deciding to let him calm down and eat in peace.

I watched from the window as he nervously started taking small bites, constantly looking in the direction where the bald spot cat had gone. When it looked like he was relaxing a little, I walked away. I plopped the cat food jar on the kitchen table, threw away the tin, and washed my hands. By the time I got back to the window, Muggabee was gone. He had left a little wet food, which was not like him.

As upset as he had been by the other cat, I figured perhaps he was too nervous to eat and would show up again the following day, but he’s not been back.

I’m writing this now because I’m starting to lose hope that I’ll ever again look outside and see his warm grey fur rippling in the breeze as he sleeps on our steps, waiting for his food. I’m also writing this now because the moment I say something like this, more often than not, the opposite tends to happens. It seems to work for everything but the lottery.

Title From:
Last Night
by Miner

Hoo Yip Hoo Yip Hoo

It’s late afternoon, I’m sitting in our office, the portable air conditioner is blowing a moderately warm breeze into the tiny room. It’s difficult for our portable air conditioners to counter the second half of the day, when the sun beats down on the back of our home, which is lined with windows. Fortunately, we purchased another a/c unit this year, so instead of it remaining as hot inside as outside, we are able to stay pretty comfortable. Not necessarily cool, but not, “Did you know you could sweat there?” either. It would likely be even more comfortable if I’d take my hoodie off and stop drinking hot chocolate.

Not long ago I went outside to check for Muggabee, which is what we decided to name the little grey cat. He hasn’t been around for the last two weeks. Before that, he was looking a bit rough. I hope he’s okay. Occasionally he disappears for a while so let’s hope that he’s just adventuring. He hates the other cats who come around, so it’s possible he’s just avoiding them.

There are a lot of cats now. There is a black tortoiseshell with a fat, stubby tail, a black one with a long bushy tail, a grey one with long fur and a bald patch on his side, a short-haired grey one with a white face, and two giant cats we’ve named The Little Raccoon and The Big Raccoon. I’m done naming them. To name them is to adopt them emotionally and I don’t want to have six cats in my heart. I don’t even like cats.

Pickwick, on the other hand, is here every day again. He’s a little skinnier than when he emerged from wherever he was holed up over the winter. He’s growing on me a bit but his moodiness is absurd. A few days ago he bit me, swiped at my arm, then proceeded to rub against my legs as though he hadn’t just morphed into a fluffy feral monster. Let’s hope he doesn’t have rabies.

The sun is finally dropping behind the hills. The warmth of the day is fading. The weather in Montana is amazing. While it’s occasionally blazing hot, the heat is dry, and the evenings are cool. Tonight, for example, we should drop to 52°F. How can you not love a summer where you can open your windows in the evening and listen to the coyotes howl?

Title From:
Coyotes
by Don Edwards

Returning to the Wilderness

I am never going to be a regular blogger, I might as well just admit it and be done.

Now that’s out of the way…

A lot of people like to say they’ve been busy when they’ve been absent from something for a while, and maybe they have been, I don’t know their lives. I do know that usually when I say, “I’ve been so busy,” it means I’ve been binge-watching Grace and Frankie, avoiding anything that might require me to put on pants, and staring off into space while I contemplate what the color blue might taste like. However, recently… Okay, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Not gonna lie.

There are so many things that need to be done, but I haven’t felt motivated.

Fitbits are really great for monitoring your activities. We bought one for my sister two Christmases ago and had to get a couple for ourselves soon after. I thought it would be motivational to track my steps and meet the default daily goal of 10,000. Instead, I’ve lowered the daily goal, which I still regularly fail to reach, and almost exclusively use it to depress myself with monitoring my sleep.

The picture at the top of this post is a cropping of my sleep report screen. If you don’t own a Fitbit: dark blue is sleeping, light blue is restless, hot pink is awake. This is how almost all my sleep reports look. It’s a miracle I have the stamina to get out of bed to pee. Anything beyond that is just icing on the cake. I actually don’t like icing on cake, so that’s incorrect, but I can’t expect anyone to know what “anything else is just chips on the ice cream” means.

Anywhat!

What’s Done

  • The shed has been cleared of all rubbish, a new floor has been put down to make cleaning up a little easier, and new half walls have been installed. No roosts or nesting boxes yet. The outside run hasn’t even been started. At this rate we’ll have chickens three years from now.
  • A riding lawn mower has been purchased, and used, which cut yard work down from three days to one. It also cut Brian’s steps down from 30,000+ to a beatable number.

What’s Not Done

  • So much:  Painting, chopping, planting, constructing.

At the end of this month we’ll be taking our planned annual vacation. Rather than spend a week camping down in Ten Sleep, we’ve decided to tromp around Montana, exploring ghost towns. I even purchased a map of them, assembled by Jolene Ewert-Hintz, which I am excited about. So serious are we about this exploration trip that I’ve scheduled us both for a tetanus booster. That’s commitment there, folks, because I’m definitely going to have to wear pants to CVS.

Remaining in Montana might also give us a chance to complete some of the tasks on the list, assuming I’ve run out of Grace and Frankie episodes by then.

Title From
Running With The Wolves
by Miner