Wife, writer, tinkerer, grower of food. I'm happiest outside our rambling farmhouse with a basket looped on my arm, picking dinner from the garden. That's joy right there. Please follow along; I'm so glad you're here!
You didn't think I hadn't started yet, had you? Oh no. I've begun. Somehow, in the midst of Etsying and entertaining and spackling the laundry room ceiling and making a packing list for our trip, I've managed to sew two lap quilts, a handbag, and put together materials for felt ornaments to be sewn in-car. Last year I made little owls out of felt, with button eyes, and those were great fun. This year, I found a simple round felt ornament decorated with little embroidered-on feather-shaped scraps of fabric, and fell in love with that. Wanted to show you that, but wouldn't you know, I can't find the idea now. But I remember. I filled a little tea tin with feather-shapes, drew some circles on the sleeve of a shrunken sweater that I cut off, and loaded up my embroidery hoop and spool of ribbon.
Between sewing those and doing the hand-finished binding on the two quilts, I should be set for... 28 total hours in the car, yes? I hope so. What's the first thing to get crossed on your holiday list?
Hello! You might notice an Etsy shop applet on the right hand side. Please do not be alarmed.
Yesterday was launch day. Er, make that Launch Day. I made stuff, I packaged stuff, I did keyword research, I ordered packaging materials... I wrote item descriptions, cackling merrily... and then I bit the bullet and and launched. Skeery.
I spent all day on pins and needles, checking my pageviews, googling my shop, doing a miniature happy dance whenever I got a new favoriter. Around about 4pm, I got an ORDER (!!!) from a friend (still an order. still counts!) That felt really good.
Please check it out, if salty language and organic skin care are things that interest you. If not, no worries. I wish I could sell you all flavored salts and infused vinegars direct from Sweetfern Acres, but alas, NYS has this pesky law that makes it illegal for me to sell foodstuffs over the internet.
Anyway, moving on.
In other news, Nashville is happening in ONE WEEK. Oh my goodness. I am trying really really hard not to be insufferable, not to go on Facebook like leaving in SEVEN DAYS!!!!! (because it's horrible, I know, when you have friends going on vacation and you are staying home. I mean, even if you love your life, not going on vacation is tough. So I am mainly just squealing to Patrick. And, er, you guys. SEVEN DAYS!!!)
We had such a good time last time. Really, we just walked into Robert's Western World, the one authentic honky tonk, and stayed most of the week. It was excellent. This time we want to see more of the city. This time, we have six days, where last time we had only four.
We have reservations at Husk, we have tickets to see Jason Isbell and chef Sean Brock (from Husk) talk about Southern food at a bookstore on Wednesday night, we are going to get tickets to see a show at the Mercy Lounge and at the Bluebird... and none of this probably means anything to you, because Nashville is not your happy place. But nevertheless, I must get it out. I must crow, just a little. What a long year this has been, and how hard we have worked, and how much we have gotten done. And what an AWESOME freaking time we are going to have in our favoritest of cities.
We had our dinner. I suggested Thanksgiving for a theme, and someone brought a G-D turkey. There was green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and gravy and butternut squash soup and a whole chicken wrapped in bacon and baked in salt dough. And wine, and side-splitting laughter, and songs from Oklahoma, and time by the fire. It was the best.
Yesterday, I was in Binghamton running errands. When Patrick and I got home, after cooking dinner in a flurry, we cleaned. We are having one of those wonderful Tuesday night gatherings tonight, so cleaning was important. And then, wouldn't you know, we woke up to a gorgeous incredibly cold snowy morning, and the light was streaming in onto those CLEAN floors, and I thought, well, this calls for documentation!
It's been awhile since I showed any big indoor shots, I guess. Such is the way of the warm season. Now it's cold, and it's snowed, and we have no choice but to pretty-up the inside as best we can and hunker down. The upstairs is still a complete wreck, but downstairs, the crown molding is done and the tools are put away, and Patrick's dad came last week and found an ingenious way to steady those wobbly kitchen shelves. Now they are rock-solid. As in, maybe you could do a chin-up on them. (Not trying that.) He used pieces of thin metal rod which screw into the ceiling, which you can just see in the top photo. They work perfectly with the industrial thing I've got going, and installation was fairly simple, and Tom got to play with his tap and die set, so I'd say that's win-win-win. I love having a tinkerer for a father-in law. His middle name oughta be Edison, tellin' ya.
So, tonight, potluck with friends (that will invariably result in staying up too late for a school night and drinking too much wine); Saturday night, "feastival" with family. the new pre-Thanksgiving gathering I've decided should be an annual tradition. Both sets of parents, my aunt, and all the autumn feasty foods I so love to cook. I did it last year, with stuffed mushrooms and pear pie, and I'm doing it again with chicken thighs, biscuit-topped stew, and pumpkin pie.
I do love this time. I'm getting less of it this year, because we'll be gone the week after Thanksgiving (Naaaashville!) so I'm soaking it up while it's here.
So, I think I've figured it out. The cottage industry is going to be two-pronged. A sweet and homey local line of garden-inspired infused salts, vinegars, and the like. And an online, trucker-mouthed line of beauty products. I'm calling it Badgerface Beauty Supply, and I've spent a lot of time this past week designing labels, writing blurbs, arm wrestling with my printer to get it to print things...
Wednesday, I worked five hours mixing salts, filling jars, making some lotion bars, pouring vinegars (mostly for the Sweetfern local line, which a friend wants for her gallery's holiday gift shop in a few weeks). I did hand-stamped and hand-printed labels for those, something simple but still nice, I think. It was a good day.
Yesterday was better, because after finally getting my printer to cooperate, I was able to package the first of the Badgerface things-- those lotion bars above. Squee! I'm so happy with how they look! I need to get a bunch more labels printed (professionally, because I got the wrong size and my printer's margins are too wide... long story) and then I can label up the jars of sugar scrub and milk bath I've made, photograph those bad boys, and then LAUNCH! I am so excited for that.
The chickens haven't slowed down their laying yet, which has me cheering. I've gotten into a happy groove of dealing with our eggs over the years, mostly by eating one for breakfast every single morning and working at least one egg dinner (like this tart, or this zucchini-crusted pizza, or rice and beans with a fried egg) into our weeks. I have two ceramic egg-holders in the fridge-- the front one is for fresh eggs, and in the back one, I "age" eggs in order to use them for hard-boiled applications. Because nothing, nothing is harder to peel than a fresh-from-the-chicken egg. They need a week at least, maybe two. Then it's egg salad wraps, deviled eggs, kale and potatoes with chopped hard-boiled egg (tonight!). But my favorite way to deal with extra eggs is to make pasta.
I've had a pasta-maker attachment for my stand mixer for... probably five years, and I think I only used it three times in its first three years. But lately it has been making infrequent but regular appearances on the counter, for those times when I need to kill a handful of eggs and I have the time to roll the pasta. Really it doesn't take much time. With a savvy eye for when the dough is not too dry and not too wet, kneading it, letting it rest, and rolling it out before slicing it and running it through the rollers takes not much time at all. And lasagna is an absolute snap.
Our eggs make meals where the only purchased ingredients are olive oil and salt. I like that a lot.
We got our first killing freeze last night. My row of arugula very muchly resembles a pile of green rags. Sigh. I've been in denial about winter, partly because we're going south for that week after Thanksgiving. It will definitely be winter when we get back, but until then I can pretend it's still fall, right?
Today it is going to be 60. This will be the last time it is 60 until April at least. I am going to rake one last time, and put the heater in the chicken coop, and work on my Etsy shop.
Thanks to those who chimed in with feedback on Monday's post. I really appreciate it. I spent all yesterday designing labels, and I have to say, I feel this momentum behind the vulgar approach. It makes me cackle. Those who told me I was beautiful and talented and don't need to swear, well-- thank you so much, first of all, but most of the time I feel like the farthest thing from beautiful and talented, as I haul in muddy buckets of parsnips and struggle to patch together enough income as a writer to buy Christmas presents. This life is beautiful, but it's also really incredibly hard, and part of me just needs an outlet. Can you all who think this is a lousy, ugly idea put your reservations aside and still visit this space? I hope so. And I do thank you for being kind, and polite, in your comments.
And rest assured, this blog isn't going to be changing. The beauty needs an outlet, too, and this is where it goes.