Well, geez! It's a blog post!

The time for putting up drapes and cursing over floating shelf installations has finally come to an end. We're in. We're settled. Now's it's the time for remembering to vacuum the drapes and getting nit picky about what all gets to stay on those shelves. Debating the wonders of portable dishwashers (but how does the water drain out?) has long since been interesting (so we've been using it as kitchen storage, hah), and killing errant spiders on a case by case basis, playing judge jury and executioner, has also, thankfully, slowed down.

Professor The Holbs has been flourishing at his position at WSU. Huck has learned to count to 100 by tens and singles and can point out a hard C whenever he meets one. Earl the Squirrel has put on two pounds since last week at least, and I'm about to can the bajeebus out of a twenty pound box of granny smith apples.

We are all doing our best to survive the Clomid. (It's a group effort.)

Our chickens! Oh those stupid chickens. I love our stupid chickens. Some afternoons, before the big 'usher-the-girls-up-the-hill' bedtime routine (they follow me now! well . . . most of them . . .),  I'll stop to watch miss TootsieFootsie in her daily weirdo bath time activities. First she'll fluff up her feathers till she's twice her usual size, then she'll wiggle her butt down into her favorite hole in our yard, then she'll vibrate all over in the dirt, scratching and wiggling and twisting in place while Linda looks on with a confused look on her face. All the ladies love their dirt baths but Toots likes to take her sweet time. She'll bathe and fluff until she is completely and fully comfortable and content, and filthy, and then sit there. And then sometimes Linda sits on her face.

That is how I feel out here, too, Tootsie.

I fluff out, I get all my feathers just so, I hole up in my house and I positively vibrate. Dust flings everywhere, dishes fly from one cupboard to the next, momentary pauses to push down the French press or bark orders at the kid . . . chairs moving all around the kitchen because I still haven't found my happy place with this tiny dining table . . . Me and dear Toots The Other One, we are happiest when we are fluffing. 

(I should probably invite her in one of these days. I get the feeling she'd know exactly where I should store my cookie sheets so they'd stop clanging + falling around when all I wanted was the loaf pan.)

Earlier in October the weather promised a few stray showers, so when one blew in we opened all the doors and let the smell of dust kicking up from the concrete mix into the house and breeze through the drapes. It was everything. Outside all was quiet but for the sound of the wind whooshing through the trees, a car engine starting up down the street, a chicken's satisfied clucking at the farmhouse next door, and a dog's bark mingling with a goat somewhere to the southwest of here or there . . . and Huck occasionally shouting at the cartoon he was watching upstairs.

But today, we have snow. 

Winter is already knocking at the door. As are my chickens.

Just now I found my girls, huddled together in a clump of feathers at the back door, pecking away at the glass until they had my attention. Obviously I was delighted to see them, and what do you need, ladies? And I swear to you Linda looked at me and chicken-messaged me, Um, can we come in?

So this might turn into a blog about my chickens from here on out?

I'm trying to enjoy the last of the breezes while they aren't too harsh, and to notice the earth while she's still the color of fire, not steel.

I'm also making pear butter.

(The zest + juice of one orange plus two teaspoons of cinnamon + one teaspoon of nutmeg per every four pounds of pears; cook, smoosh, simmer to thickness, preserve.)

I've also been practicing my Meg Ryan . . .

"She could curl an apple in one long, curly strip."

And enjoying the end results.

(Friends swear by ginger as the secret ingredient.)

Our creaky pre-1900 farmhouse with the janky 1950s updates has got gaps in all the door jambs and really lousy double-paned windows, plus a super efficient but highly terrifying gas heater that I'm certain is going to blow us up this winter. So I guess we're pretty set.

I'm also going to get hella good at making borscht!!!! I feel like borscht doesn't get enough credit in this world. 

The view out the kitchen window where I "work" (aka try to answer emails but get distracted). :)

And the view from my basement.


  1. I loved this! The chickens...they tug at your heart strings. We only raise chickens for meat in the spring now, but when we first moved into our house we inherited 10+ ladies and raised 6 buff orpingtons from chicks. It all got a little too real when we came home from work and found the remnants of an attack. EVERYTHING wants to kill chickens, seriously...everything! A large rat will kill a chicken if it's hungry enough. It's absurd and so so so sad when you love them like you love your dog. Anyway, no more laying hens for us until I have the money to build an electrified fortress. I love reading your blog and knowing that someone else out there is as crazy about fall and chickens as I am!

  2. My Grandma has a portable dishwasher. I believe there are two hoses. They both connect to the spout but the drain hose is below the fill hose.

  3. I love all your chicken photos! -Hanna Lei

  4. are you putting some insulating plastic wrap on your windows once it gets colder? it works miracles in old houses with big windows, even though it looks like saran wrap.

  5. I for one would be perfectly happy if this turned into a chicken blog. You, my dear, are living a dream of mine--a dream I'm too scared and financially disincentivized to follow. But your scattered instagram posts of "Moscow fall status report, over and out" and chicken mama updates have been like a psychological haven to me when I get too bummed out over the constant Brooklyn noise and light and hustle and seriously just take a breath everybody already! So thank you.

  6. I wanna hear this Borscht recipe!

  7. portable washers aren't so bad. we had one for a few years in a basement apartment that didn't have a drain for it. It has a hose that hooks up to your sink faucet.

  8. CHICKEN BLOG! CHICKEN BLOG! (I'm all for this. Obvs.)

  9. Your pie looks incredible! Also, it warmed my heart today to see you speaking up for the LGBTQ community. You go!

  10. The picture of the bicycle against the fence and the red house through the trees are my favourite. Love them!
    Such a lovely warm blog. It makes me happy.

  11. I think this was my favorite post of yours in the history of posts. Or at least within recent memory.

  12. I second the previous comment! My favorite post in the history of posts. :) Made me happy.


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