Monday, Monday, Monday

I feel sure I am in a dream and I’m really not sitting here at 6:11 AM with the whole day ahead of me, a whole day without real, paying work that is.

A few jobs for which I am qualified have come up recently.  Lowes has a real estate paralegal position open.  Another title examiner position came up.  Both of which I applied for.  Last week I took and passed the management tests at WalMart.  On Saturday I spoke to the Manager of the store and let him know my background and that I was interested in entering the management program.  We’ll see what comes of that.

It’s hard to think about throwing away 25+ years of paralegal training to do something so completely different like becoming an Assistant Manager at WalMart.  I’ve never considered myself to be a people person, but I’ve surprised myself while I’ve been at WalMart.  It’s pretty much set in stone: you do what you have to do to keep the customer happy.  That’s the only way a company is going to stay in business these days.

Yesterday afternoon, Wally and I went Goodwill Crawling.  I frequently shop at Goodwill.  In fact, I buy almost all of my clothes either at Goodwill or on e-Bay.  Wally has never shopped at Goodwill.  He’s lost a lot of weight and I suggested that he try to find some jeans in a smaller size.  He found two pairs.  I found several pairs of shorts, some shirts and two dresses.  I thought long and hard about buying the dresses.  I don’t have a lot of call to wear dresses these days, but they were from excellent designers and quite beautiful.  For $7.50 a piece I figured I could put them in my closet and see what happens in the future.  They won’t go out of style and they won’t go bad.  For $30 I got three or four pairs of shorts, one of which still had the tags on them, four or five shirts ranging from summer dress shirts (again, they’ll go in my closet), one blue shirt to wear at WalMart, two casual cotton short sleeve shirts and one spaghetti strap shirt with a built in bra, the two dresses and a stainless steel pan with a handle to use with my one-handed milking.  Not too bad, huh?

Use and re-use, that’s my motto these days.  Why buy new when you can get new or almost new for less than half the price?  Wash the clothes and no one will ever know where they came from and because they are from good makers, they’ll last a long time.

Because it was so cool yesterday I had decided to make chicken Parmesan and to bake some bread for supper.  There is a recipe from my bread machine cookbook for Parmesan, ricotta and garlic bread.  I modify it a bit and instead of ricotta, I use goat cheese.  I used the dough cycle in the bread machine to knead the dough and when it was done, formed it into baguettes and baked them in the oven.  It was one of those meals where you say, “damn this is good.”

It is cool this morning and forecast to be cool for the whole week.  That’s good.  Laura’s comment on pests in the garden reminded me that I needed to get some of those companion plants into my garden.  I have a bunch of basil, rosemary, parsley and cilantro to get planted as well as a flat of marigolds.  Mostly what I have planted in my big garden is tomatoes, most of which are heirloom varieties.  This really is a no-no in organic gardening and I need to get more variety in there.  I can see a couple of the heirloom seedlings that I traded for goat cheese may not make it so I’ll replace them with another variety.  As I opened up two cans of crushed tomatoes to make the chicken Parmesan I reminded myself that I need to learn to can this year.  From what I’ve read, canning tomatoes is relatively easy because of their acidity.  I don’t know that I care to can much of anything else.  I am going to make it a point to use the basil this year.  I’ll run it through the food processor either plain or make pesto with it and freeze it in ice cube trays.  Once it is frozen, I can snap it out of the ice cube trays and store it in zip lock bags to use throughout the year.  Last year I let most of the basil go to waste. I’ll do the same with the cilantro.

Nothing will go to waste this year, especially now that I have goats.  They love basil, parsley and cilantro.  Sunday morning I washed and cut the tops off two gallons of strawberries.  I intended to give the heads to the chickens, but I all but got attacked by Luna as I headed out to the chicken pasture.  It seems the goats love strawberries!  They are doing really well with going out into the side pasture and eating brush for hours.  That’s how goats should eat.  Most people do not know that goats are not by nature grazing animals: like deer they are browsers.  I need to bring Rose up one day this week and leave her with the goats for a good stretch so Champagne can become accustomed to her.  Champagne has been around a guard dog, but Rose is new to her.  I don’t want Rose running her through the ElectroNet; she doesn’t chase her, she is only trying to meet her, but the few times she’s been with Champagne, she was nervous about her.  Right now the sheep are fenced around the larger thicket in the back pasture and I’d like to get the goats out there a few days this week.  I only work two-four hour shifts during the week.  Saturday I work 2:30 to 11:30.  Lovely …

Wally talked to Marcus on Saturday and he said he has not forgotten getting the dirt moved.  This is a busy time of year for him and the weather has not been too cooperative.  I really can’t wait for him to get over here and get that area leveled so I can get all my agility equipment in one place.  It’s too late to plant grass seed so I plan to move several loads of used straw and goat and sheep manure and spread that over the dirt.  Because the matter has not been composted, it should still sprout some grass and will keep the dirt from becoming too much of a muddy mess.  Once the area is leveled, there shouldn’t be much run-off if it does rain.  If need be, I can spread several bales of straw over the entire area until the fall when I’ll spread some grass seed.

Maybe I can spend some time training Fern this week.  Little rat that she is, she’s happy as a clam to work the chicks and if I get after her for working them on her own, she doesn’t turn into a wilting daisy.  Quite the contrary, she stops for a minute, then goes right back in there.  That is a good indication that she’s following in Gel’s earlier footsteps.  No, it’s not a good trait, but Gel worked through it and I feel sure Fern will as well.  I’ve all but lost training area in the back because of the grass, but I can surely drag out some jumps and do some agility training.

The chicks are doing quite well.  We probably lost about a third of them, which isn’t too bad.  Last week I start to let them out of their enclosure to run with the big chickens.  They follow me around begging for food.  On Saturday when I went out to put them up, they were in a pile behind their enclosure.  They are pretty funny when they lay in a pile like that because they sing to each other.  Of course I couldn’t leave them there so I called Wally and asked him to bring a plastic tub and he helped me scoop them up and put them in the chicken house.

So how do you put up your chicks at night?  We scoop them into a plastic tub and carry them to the chicken house.  Fern was quite happy to help round up the escapees.

On Sunday, we put their light in the chicken house and constructed a low perch for them to use.  Last night Wally and Gel were able to get them all up in the chicken house.  In a day or two, they should go up on their own.

There is a hen setting in the chicken coop.  It will be interesting to see what hatches out and if she is able to protect the chicks (and ducklings?) from the cats.

Time to go and milk.  Until later …