Friday, May 31, 2013

Getting Logs for Hay Storage and Beyond.

Today we gathered logs. I needed four to make the uprights for my hay storage shed and also we needed to start getting logs for the house. You know, that house thing that I mentioned we would be building and then never mentioned again? You know, the one that you have had exactly zero updates on? Yeah that house. We are still intending on building it. So today, in the hot as shit motherfucking weather we went out into the back acres to get ourselves some trees.

Some heavy ass trees.

Of course Scott was all like didn't you pick the trees you wanted in advance? And I'm all like ha ha no, that would have required planning. Luckily there was a downed pine we were planning on using for the house that had taken a smaller pine with it when it fell because trees can be dicks like that. Of course it had fallen in the middle of a rock bar, which for those of you that don't know, is an area that is filled with rocks. All the rocks. In this case rocks covered with a thin layer of forest duff. So pretty much it was an adventure of not twisting our ankles. So we cut them bitches up, getting four logs for the house and two for the hay rack and then had to find two more trees. Which of course was fun.

I also should point out that I hate killing healthy live trees because deep inside me lives a tree hugging hippy. But then again I also hate digging through a foot of snow to get to my hay pile, so I thought downing a few maples was probably the lesser of two evils. Also Scott wanted the rest of the maple for the house. Because we like to use every part of the tree. Like the buffalo. Except less edible.

Anywho so we cut down the trees and then we realize that it's way, way too goddamned hot. Like August hot because the weather just likes to fuck with us for no reason. So we decide to move the giant ass house logs the next day, and get my hay logs into the truck and up to the farm yard so I can debark them.

Unfortunately we had to drag the logs out by wrapping ratchet straps around them because the rock bar was filled with treachery. So at one point Scott was on the front pulling the log with the ratchet and I was in the back heaving the ass end of the log over rocks and the other downed trees while every fly ever buzzed around my head and I began to realize why America lost the majority of it's farm generation. Cause that shit sucked. Also Scott had interpreted my desire to build a hay storage unit that would last forever as I must cut down only the biggest trees for her. Which was probably an attempt to prove his manliness but which meant it took two people to lift one end of the giant ass trees into the pickup.

Did I mention that the trees were between 12 and 14 feet tall?


So we fought them bitches into the truck and then drove them up to the farm yard and stacked them on boards to keep them off the ground. Now all I have to do is debark them. Which I have no idea how to do. So I am going to watch every Youtube video ever. Which will probably max out my internet and then I won't be able to get to my blog at all but whatever.

I mean how hard can it be?

I know, I know, it's going to be terrible. And you are going to get to read about it. I think you have the better end of the deal, really.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Building a Hay Storage Structure- the Digging.

After last winter, aka the snowiest winter on record, I decided that this summer I was going to build a tiny barn like thing to keep the hay dry. Because using the tarp-it-over-in-the-middle-of-the-field-so-that-every-time-it-snows-you-have-to-clean-it-off method was really getting old.

Really old.

Also the idea struck me that it was kind of silly to build the thing after the snowiest winter of all time, but then I rationalized it by thinking that it was a lot like a video game where you have to get through the level with all the monsters and all you have is a crowbar just to prove you really didn't need the gun before you get rewarded with that pistol.

You know, like that, but in real life.

Now, seeing as though all this structure had to be was four supports, a floor and a roof I decided we didn't need to make a foundation. Instead we are making a pole barn. Basically, you put poles in the ground, just like if you were placing in fence posts, then use those as your foundation. Since the floor is also going to be raised off the ground we certainly didn't need to go all stone foundation crazy with it.

This all sounded like a good plan. On paper.

In reality I had to clear a large amount of barn debris off the site, since where I needed to put this thing was pretty much where we had torn down the barn. Which meant my mornings were spent heaving half rotted centipede filled boards out of the area and trying not to get surprised by any rats or snakes. Oh and I couldn't get cut by any of the rusty metal roofing and braces and spare farm parts and nails that were there either because I haven't had a tennis shot in like, fucking forever.

It was a motherfucking adventure is what I am saying.

Then I had Scott come out and help me measure the site so that I wouldn't end up with the corners being all weird. Mainly because I never measure anything like that and always end up with trapezoidal structures. Which is why I am not allowed to build anything alone anymore. Of course once we had everything marked out and flagged it was time for me to, you know, actually dig the holes.

Which was fun.

And by fun I mean it sucked. First off nature was all like, oh your trying to dig in the unforgiving earth? Here are some 80 degree temperatures motherfucker! Of course the first hole went well as it always does, to lure me into a false sense of security. The second hole was a bit of a challenge, mainly because it was in full sun and sunlight and heat saps my strength because I am apparently a vampire somehow. Also it was a little damp. Meaning that the dirt was heavier and harder to remove, but nothing major. Because that was all in store for me on the third hole. The third hole was wet in the same way that lakes are. Once I got past the top soil, and into the shit fuck clay layer, the hole began to fill with water. It's okay, I thought it'll stop here in a second.

It didn't stop.

So I was scooping blindly, hoping that ramming it with the digging bar was taking the rocks out, because I sure as shit couldn't see them. Using the post hole digger was like playing the worst claw game ever. When I did manage to bring up a load of half liquid clay, water would shoot out the sides of the digger and slop all over me like the very earth itself had caught that stomach flu I had.

Ha ha fun.

The forth hole was surprisingly dry. Because it was filled with all the rocks ever. Also during all this is was occasionally sprinkling just to fuck with me. But at least I got it done. I suppose that I could claim that I had dug an entire foundation by myself, but I actually already did that when we built the chicken coup. Of course then I went to show Scott what I had done this morning to find all the holes had filled up with water and the cats were drinking out of them.

Which was kind of defeating.

But it's goddamned done. So now all we have to do is get the poles and treat them and then bail water out of the holes with a cup set them in in the ground and add a roof and a whole mess of slats and a floor and okay we still have a shit more to do.

But that's okay because I am no longer crawling around with a bad back or throwing up all the time or trapped in the bathroom by a combination of those things.

It's the little things really.

It's the little things.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries in 11 Easy Steps.


1.Chocolate baking squares and only one square of the chocolate you are supposed to dip fruit in because it's that microwaveable kind that won't burn but you don't have any more because you are lazy.

2. Strawberries.

You Will Need:

1. A plate. No two plates.

2. Something to melt the chocolate in. I used a glass measuring cup. Must be microwave safe.

3. A fork.

Step 1: Take your chocolate and put it in the measuring cup. Just eyeball the amount you will need because measuring things is for suckers. Get your significant other, roommate or friend to heat up and stir the chocolate for you because every time you have done it, the chocolate burned in the microwave and the house smelled like ass for most of the day.

Step 2: Spear your strawberries on your fork and dip them in the chocolate, trying to get that cool artful look to your food. Have strawberry slide off fork and become mired in the chocolate. Call it a whore. Pretend you are establishing dominance over the strawberry. Pull out something that looks like a dog turd with leaves sticking out of it. Place carefully onto plate.

Step 3: Find a giant lump of unmelted chocolate. Try to work around it. Try to get the hang of dipping. Give up on using fork, use fingers instead. Get chocolate all over fingers and every other utensil you are using. Find out that look of strawberries does not improve despite new method. Go back to using the fork. Lose another strawberry to the chocolate. Call the chocolate a bastard. Pretend you are establishing dominance over the chocolate.

Step 4: Realize that you failed to put down wax paper and now you have just glued a bunch of strawberries to the plate. Realize you don't own any wax paper. Eat chocolate off fingers. Feel better about self.

Step 5: Drop a strawberry onto the counter and or cutting board. Try to catch it. Fail miserably. Get chocolate on shirt. Try to suck it off. Realize that sounds dirty. Get out second plate because there are way more strawberries in this damn box then you thought. Get chocolate all over the cabinet in the process.

Step 6: Reheat chocolate to get rid of the solid unheated lump. Dip rest of strawberries with fingers you haven't washed because fuck it. Find out the hard way that chocolate just out of the microwave is hot as shit. Dance around the kitchen like a loony. Run fingers under a cold tap.

Step 7: Eat the last fucking strawberry. Realize that you have made too much chocolate. Way too much. Start to look for things to dip into it. Tell yourself that you are saving the earth by not throwing it away. Dip cookies in melted chocolate. Have a moment of pure sweet bliss.

Step 8: Run out of cookies. Start eating chocolate off your finger. Be unable to get all the way to the bottom of the cup with above method. Throw dignity to the winds and stick your whole hand in the damn measuring cup. Lick chocolate off fingers.

Step 9: Look up to realize that significant other/roommate/friend is watching. Come to conclusion that you have chocolate all over you. Especially your face. Tell them that they do not get to judge you. Watch them judge you. Eat rest of chocolate anyway.

Step 10: Find space in refrigerator for both plates of chocolates. Drop cheese on your own foot. Shove all the condiments into the door and then wedge it shut. Debate throwing out all that healthy food you bought to get the second plate in. Feel kinda bad about direction life has taken you. Eat another strawberry. Have chocolate flake off and fall on the floor. Prevent dog from eating fallen chocolate.

Step 11: Wait for chocolate to cool completely and make decision these are too ugly to be shared. Enjoy.

Friday, May 17, 2013

And Then I Caught the Stomach Flu.

Yeah I know. I am cursed. Like, really really cursed. I had just gotten over throwing my back out. Meaning that I no longer had to make a 'bending over plan' and didn't have to sleep in weird ass positions designed to keep my spine straight. So to celebrate, my immune system apparently decided it was taking a vacation.

And it didn't tell the rest of my body about it.

So the night before my internal apocalypse I noticed my stomach was upset. However, having had stomach problems before in my life, I chalked it up to the usual stress/caffeine/painkillers/witches and went to bed. Except that when I woke up in the morning, I still felt queasy. Of course this is when we were staying at Scott's parents house so we could commute to our jobs which were taking place in downtown DC that weekend. So when I was faced with the choice of not going to work and losing that money that I really, really freaking needed I opted to chew some Pepto and get on with my day. Which worked great.

Until we reached the parking lot at the Metro.

At that point my body was all, “oh you thought you were going to work, ha ha well you're not sucker!” Which was followed by vomiting. Lot's of vomiting. At that point I told Scott to go on without me, and to make the money for both of us now, which you know he totally hadn't been doing already because my back was fucked up, while I called Scott's dad and told him to come get me. Which took him an hour because traffic was super fuck all god awful. Then on the trip back I looked around his car and noticed a distinct lack of things to throw up into.

Which is how I ended up hyperventilating into a cooler for an hour and a half.

Well, Scott's dad was wonderful, making jokes and trying to take my mind off it, and reassuring me that no, really it was not that big of a deal that I called him to come get me in DC weekend traffic. While I kept apologizing and whining about how all of a sudden all my joints hurt and I was cold.

In case you were wondering, that is the moment I realized I was in some deep shit.

I also at some point when we were awash in a sea of brake lights, told him a lovely monologue about everything I had ever loved about his guest bathroom. I also saw a license plate with the word POOP4 spelled out on it. I considered it an omen.

When we returned I made a nest of towels on the bathroom floor, grabbed some water, and shut myself into the bathroom. Where I pretty much remained for the rest of the day. And when I said that it was an apocalypse in my intestinal track, I meant it. So I made a deal with myself, if I could keep water down, then I would not have to go to the expensive ass ER. Unfortunately that was harder then it seemed. Every forth of a bottle I drank would come straight back up, as though my stomach was some sort of drive through. “I'll just take some stomach virus and some hydrochloric acid to go thanks!” I could imagine the water shouting at my stomach lining before turning back the way it had come.

Needless to say I was pretty fucked the shit up.

Luckily I learned that right after vomiting I found I had a 'magic window' of about five minutes where what I put down there stayed down there. As long as I didn't move my head. Or stand up. Or think too loudly. By that night I was able to drink Gatorade and my fever had broke, but operation Eating Some Motherfucking Crackers was doomed to a spectacular 4am failure.

The next day we went home. Luckily, I seemed to be past the evacuate entire intestinal track like it's a goddamned fire drill part, but instead I had moved on to the the worst stomach cramps ever.


The first thing we did when I got home was crawl into bed in the fetal position and wait for them to go away. Which of course they didn't. Also Scott became quite alarmed by my yelling stuff like, “why won't it stop hurting!?” and the fact that my total food intake for the past 48 hours was 6 crackers, so he made me a doctors appointment.

Which I drug myself to and got a some anti-nausea pills. So now I am happy to report that I can eat bland foods and have been steadily gaining energy, even though I still kinda feel like life has been taking baseball bats to my knee caps for two months.

So hopefully I've used up all my sickness and or injury cards for the whole year and it will only get better from here.

Either that or I am going to die soon.*

One or the other.

Keep your fingers crossed for me will you? Cause I think I need it.

*My tombstone will read “Here lies Holly- killed by a long string of bad luck. Also, diarrhea.”

Monday, May 13, 2013

Things I have Learned About Myself: Back Injury Addition.

Over the course of having this injury I have learned several keys things.

One is that prescription strength topical muscle relaxant, the kind that comes in a cream that you rub on to your back, will make me stoned. Like, I can't read text because the words don't make sense to my eye balls stoned. Of course at the time I found myself wandering around the house going this doesn't make sense, why is this happening? This shit was topical.

I don't know exactly how much of the medication was on me, but I do know that the relief from the endless grinding pain and the sudden influx of localized medication was enough to drive me to spending a considerable amount of my day watching GIFs of cats falling into fish tanks or off desks, or dogs jumping into swimming pools. I was however very grateful that I had not attempted to put his shit on and then go to work.

Or course this was until the meds wore off. Then we came to lesson number two.

Lesson number two is what I would like to call my Bastardization of Murphy's Law. Murphy's Law -for those of you who somehow missed this- states: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. My version reads a little something like this:

Holly's Law: When a negative event occurs, another negative event will occur in correlation that will compound the original problem. Often the outcome will be greater (more negative) then the sum of it's original parts.

I realize that this should be impossible, or at least impossible from a physics stand point unless we finally find a better working alternative to string theory, but I assure you it's true.

Because while I was in throws of back injury fun time, which I would also like to point out is also sit carefully and no sleep for you time, the dog got sick.

And when I say 'sick' I mean 'have diarrhea all over everything forever.' Which meant of course that I was being woken out of a unsound sleep to the sound of the dog needed to go out, which was followed by the sound of the husband not reacting in time, which was followed by the sound of me sitting bolt upright in bed and my back screaming in pain as the dog pooped on the floor.

Or course all of this would happen when I was attempting to go to work during the day. Meaning that I would get home, asses the damage, clean it up, get the husband to take the dog who is deadly afraid of him outside, go to bed, and repeat from beginning at about two am to six am.

Which brings me back to the bit about the outcome being worse then the sum of it's parts.

Of course this folds all into lesson number three.

Which was that when you take all of life's normal irritations, and combine them with nagging lingering pain that I was not sure would ever go away at that point, I turned into a raving bitch. It took all of my giving a damn to go to work, so all of my giving a damn for anything else was just motherfucking gone.

Let me put it this way.

You know all those things that you think in the back of your mind, but never say?

I said them.

Okay, like in the back of your head still lives teenage you and that person is still a whiny, short sighted, know it all kid? You know the voice that is always like life is not fair, and wants the world to revolve around you, and dreams of being treated like royalty no matter what? But as you get older you learn to shut her ass up and be grateful for what you have because that is what life is about.

Yeah. Just imagine letting her run the show for a week.

Of course once I was on that runaway train there was no turning back. I rode that irrationally angry train all the way to the last stop- we-are-all-sick-of-your-shits-ville.

Hopefully now though I am on the bus to making-this-whole-thing-a-bad-memory-ington.

So lets just say I am on the road to recovery.

It sounds a lot better then saying how I lost my shit over a bagel this morning.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Story Contest and Some Back Pain

Well since my back was all like, ha ha I'm fucked up, I found I had some extra time to finally clean up my files instead of saving everything to the desktop and then being all I'll come back to this later. And by 'later' I meant 'never.' Which is when I discovered this.

So like, a long time ago, NPR had a Three Minute Fiction Contest looking for a story, under 600 words that was in the form of a voice mail. They said something about wanting the 'texture of voice' and 'spontaneity and intensity' or some shit. So I entered thinking “I write shit for the internet all the time! How hard could this be? I'll slap on a little drama, a little pathos, a little of that special Holly brand insanity and then BAM! This contest will be in the motherfucking bag.”

Then Scott pointed out that you can't curse on the radio. Not even a little bit.

Well fuck.

Anyway, I wrote down my story and submitted it. And NPR refused to acknowledge my greatness didn't pick my story. So I decided at this point, that they don't get to keep it anymore and I am free to put it up on my blog.

So here goes. This is my story, in 600 words or less in the form of a voice mail message:

Jen, unrequited.

Hey Jen, it's me. I was just calling to say congratulations. He sounds like a lot of fun. I guess I didn't think about what time it would be there. I was just hoping you were happy and I called to tell you that even though we don't talk much well, I'm still your friend. You know that right?




Do you remember the time that we found out the mall was unlocked and snuck inside and stole a can of whipped cream from the coffee island and then had to hide under the counter where the trash can was until the janitor came past and then we ran outside and ate it down by the water while watching the lights of the city? Do you?

Or the time that you left all your projects until the last week and then stayed up for almost two days straight and then you thought the masks on your wall were talking to you? And I had to take the last bus to your house and I wasn't allowed to leave or go to sleep because the masks, it turns out, weren't exactly your friends.

You know, I'll never understand why you kept those things.

Do you remember the time that we stayed up all night watching Star Trek and then at dawn you turned to me and told me that you thought Captain Kirk was the hottest Star Fleet captain in the whole world and then I dressed up as him for Halloween that year? Then you got really drunk and we left the party with a bottle and sat under that big oak tree at the end of the street in front of the church and watched the stars fade away and I was so close to kissing you then?

Do you?


Okay, this is just like the time I snorted that sugar packet up my nose. Stupid and impulsive and useless and abrasive and it burned for like, two hours and I tasted sugar for two straight days. What I'm trying to say, is that maybe I shouldn't have called you.

I guess, I don't know, I guess what I really wanted to say was- is- goodbye.



Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Place and a Conversation with Grandma.

So a few days ago, when I was still hepped up on painkillers due to injuring my back, my family came to visit me and bring me pizza and make sure I wasn't laying in a field somewhere since Scott was at work that day. So they showed up and we shoved the mediocre fast food pizza of love and family into our faces and then had some of Grandmas home made cake that tasted like the breath of angels. Then we gathered up everyone and went outside because Grandma really wanted to see my chickens.

Considering the last time they had been to my place was way back when my dad was alive, there was a lot of changes. She was really super impressed with our stone walls, and seemed delighted with her great grand chickens. As we were wrapping up our tour I showed her the retaining wall. As she was gazing at the many tons of fucking rocks we had moved, she looked back the way we had come over the fields and into the sunset and said “you know what, after he died we never thought that you would stay.”

And then I said. “Of course I stayed, I love it here.”

Then we had to turn around and walk back because Granddad was tired from a long day and then I never got to say what I really meant.

Because when I said, 'I love it here', what I really meant that everyday is a new story in that anything could happen and that just yesterday the frogs that live in the small stream had stopped leaping away in fear from me and the dog because they know us now and that when I see the sunlight hot on the meadows contrasting the forests dark, and the shadows of the clouds rolling across the mountains that I feel so happy it's like my heart might burst and that the little patter of chicken feet behind me in the grass is the sweetest sound in the whole wide world and that this was the very thing I had dreamed of my entire childhood and it was what I always wanted and never thought that I would have, and that sometimes I feel like I can see the whole universe on a cold winters night and when I stand in that special spot in the meadow I can see the rolling mountains and it feels like the whole world is falling away from me and that if I closed my eyes and then opened them again I might be flying, and how I have learned where all the little birds keep their nests and watch them become the parents I know they have always wanted to be, and when I see the creek running cold and clear in the dappled sunlight on a hot day and then I peel off my socks and farm boots and put my feet in to the rushing coolness I feel just like Calvin and Hobbes must have felt had they been real people and or tigers and how every morning I wake up and see my own trees and know that whatever else happens in life this is my land and no one can take that from me.

Although, after looking at all we had done and all we had been through, maybe I didn't need to say it.

Maybe my land said it for me.