talkin’ turkey

our birds are getting big. the jam was great, except for that one bit. we got lots done. even the books. and then today hit me.

this often happens: when i don’t post on Monday, by the time i sit down to do so on Tuesday or Wednesday, too much has happened since the weekend for me to attack the narrative coherently.

so, today first. today has been broken since last night. my phone delivered a text message 7 hours late last night, causing it to arrive about 30 seconds after i had fallen fully asleep. so of course then it took forever to get back to sleep. then first thing this morning i managed to dump salt water all over my nice office clothes while soaking my piercings, then inadverdently pinched one of said piercings hard enough that to hurt it badly (argh!) while attempting to clean it, then strained my neck somehow. i got new clothes on and got in the car to go, and didn’t even make it into Albuquerque, let alone Santa Fe—just after Rio Bravo, the accellerator pedal just decided not to move anymore.

i managed to get the car off the freeway and onto the side of the road on Sunport, after a semi-hysterical meltdown that included calling Alan and having him call College of Santa Fe to cancel my talk for Susan’s class (my day’s original plan included driving to Santa Fe, delivering a talk on MFA programs and how to apply for grad school to a BFA Professional Practices class for Susan York at College of Santa Fe, then lunching with Alan & Jaime, and THEN having the rest of the day to relax. the moment the car broke down, that whole plan was out the window, and i knew it; i had no real wiggle-room in the timing on my arrival for Susan’s class.) while i was on the side of the road weeping and cursing because i had left my AAA card with Rev the other night when his van broke down, and therefore did not have my member number on me, and therefore was convinced that AAA would not help me, a police officer pulled up.

Historic Moment here, and possibly the point at which the day started to turn around: he offered to help. i have actually never had a cop do that, in all the thousands of times i’ve been broken down in an old broken down car on the side of a road, in the city and out of it. though plenty of cops have driven right on past. it was pretty remarkable. he couldn’t do much, but he was very friendly, and he talked soothingly and sensibly until i settled down, and then he said why didn’t i just go ahead and call AAA anyway, just to see, and he had to go respond to a call now, but he’d come back in fifteen minutes and see if i needed any more help. wow.

So i got myself together and called AAA. not only were they totally fine with me not knowing my member number, they also arrived *extremely* fast! the nice boy driving the tow truck, who couldn’t have been more than 21, asked if he could take a look at the problem, and found & fixed it in thirty seconds. naturally. :) he was very nice about it. the accelerator cable passes along the line of the transmission and all that (the raised lump through the base of the car), and then passes through a short tube and connects with the carbeurator. this tube has a flared, flattened end-piece about the size of a quarter, and rather thinner. this flange at the end of the tube had come loose, and floated down along the cable to the carbeurator, where it lodged between two other pieces of metal. having located the problem, the boy simply poked it back into place, and then i could drive to Foriegn Aide, which i did after thanking him profusely. he waited by the exit until i got on the road again, just to make sure.

Foreign Aide put it back together and put a clamp on it while i waited, for a half-hour labor charge, $32. by then it was 11, and long since too late to go to Santa Fe. so i ran some errands, including getting the Much Needed new mattress heater for the yurt, and an alarm clock to solve the problem of the phone pulling stunts like last night’s. now the phone is banished! then i came home by way of a root beer float, let the chickens out, and put myself in a hot bubble bath.

saturday was enormously productive, particularly for a day that had a full moon jam at the end of it. we tried not to overdo it before the jam, but mostly overdid it anyway. accomplishments in photos:

Alan and Tristan dug out the old greywater system and installed a new one:

they installed an irrigation box at the outflow point for the sink greywater.

the white tube is the outflow into the pipe; the black pipe is the inflow from the sink. invisible on both sides are openings that let into the pumice wick to the old garden system, which was functional but overloaded. i am going to move the rue & sage, as they will not get enough sun there anyhow with the new fence so close, and Tristan moved the Jerusalem artichokes.

Tristan designed a removable, cleanable mesh filter inside the irrigation box, to separate particulate matter. this will be regularly emptied into the compost, creating much less bacterial Yuck in the system.

then the water goes in a pipe under the driveway to the incipient hedge along the east fence–the bamboo, maximillians, and all that, that we are growing to screen us from the street. the greywater should give that living-fence project a significant boost, since regular watering is about 98% of what’s wrong with it out there.

more trenching will happen soon out there, to pull the water along in both directions in a pumice wick.

While they were doing that, Jenny and I dug out the compost. Historic Moment! Our Own Compost! we were a little concerned, since it is humanure compost, and this was the proof-of-theory day: was it going to work? would it be yucky? would it be good dirt? would there be things living in it?

it is awesome dirt. we made good compost! and it does not smell or feel or look yucky. see?

in fact, it smells, feels, and looks like fabulous compost. crumbles in the hand, if a bit dry. the only thing yucky was the sheer volume of multi-leggeds living in there. but we also uncovered a skink! the third skink we’ve seen on our land. he was grey-blue. he got away before i could get his photo; they’re fast. i am delighted to know we have a healthy lizard population! they do wonders with the six-leggeds.

we spread it on the garden, and let the birds out to sort through it and eat all the multi-leggeds.

Today’s Gratuitous Puppy Pic, guarding her poultry:

and the complementary gratuitous kitty pic, Tattersall.

okay, well, two of those. he’s so photogenic.

here’s a portrait of our new rooster, Clem. Clem is what you might call reproductively successful. which means he’s a complete jerk to the hens. but he’s also a good protector, up to and including protecting the hens from us and from Thistle, if not from himself and his depraved desires. the girls mostly stay out of his way. except his girlfriend, who loves him. or the chicken equivalent.

nothing quite like a nice dust-bath on a sunny fall afternoon:

Parked Trailer birds:

Who knew turkeys grew on trees?

it’s a fad, everybody’s doing it!

a tree full of turkey:

the white wyandotte hens like to disguise themselves as turkeys for extra-barnyard priveleges. see her white butt sticking out of the compost?

as if digging and spreading all the compost and completely redoing the front greywater weren’t enough, we also got all the row-irrigation pulled in from the garden, and some general weeding & clean-up done out there. and Joe, Robin, and Amber came out to help, and they moved the fire circle, dug a new firepit, and did a ton of weeding out back to make the fire circle a danceable space in time for that night’s jam. we then rebuilt the strawbale sound-absorbing wall back there, such as it is (garden & barnyard having eaten half the bales this summer). i don’t have a photo yet, but the space looks great.

end of the day excitement included chasing six or seven turkeys off the barn roof. i can’t believe how much trouble 17 of the dumbest birds in creation can get up to. tristan threw dog toys over the roof from the west side, while i climbed up the shed roof and onto the barn roof and then onto the turkey coop roof, chasing them around. then he poked at the feet and butts of the ones who landed on the netting over their own coop, chasing them back into the barnyard. dingbats.

and yes, these geniuses are heritage birds, also known as “wild” turkeys. they are not the ones you hear about drowning in rainstorms, and they can and do reproduce without human intervention. and those two facts appear to be the full extent of how much smarter than their overbred cousins they are. someone recently told me a story about going hunting for wild turkey, and turning around to find the flock following him! and those ones were wholly wild.

as Lina said, isn’t it a good thing stupid doesn’t taste bad? these guys are looking really tasty. here’s a tom:

and all five toms together, only one of them with his formal fluff on.

that night, in the livingroom:

there was some Tired.

but we dressed up and hosted a drum jam anyway. :)

you may have noticed back in one of those turkey-on-a-cold-tin-roof photos up there, it looked as though the barnyard had exploded with stuff. that’s because, in that moment, it had. it went through a whole transformation and rebirth process this weekend, in Rev’s capable hands. we’re doing a work-trade with Rev for the winter, and have asked him to do a bunch of building projects while he’s here. so the first thing he tackled was the major problem of organizing the barn.

and wow did he ever win. that barn hardly knew what hit it. it’s been one long explosion in there since we moved in, though we have whipped it into shape once or twice, each time achieving better levels of fundamental organization, after which the surface organization went to hell in a handbasket again. i think Rev might actually have solved for it. all we have to do now, is put the tools away, every single freaking time we use them, every one of us and all our interns and friends. ha. the labeller is going to come over here and make that easier, and we’re interested in raising group consciousness around the issue, particularly at work parties and with interns, but also with ourselves.

check this out:

if you’ve ever been in our barn, you’ll recognize the level of achievement here.

especially here:

next project: vertical storage racks for handle tools. labelled.

Overhead storage racks, above the feed, beside the workshop and accessible from the workshop:

the part we haven’t dealt with yet (i.e., Future Shelving Project):

i love the light on the cottonwood leaves, before the first fall rain softens them all to brown. if anybody likes these images enough to want desktop-background size copies, just let me know and i’ll email them to you.

Little House in the Leaves:

that’s where the patio is going. starting with sand on sunday! we hope to alleviate the mud problem just in time for the next rainstorm.

the yurt, with leaves, seen through the Gate of Possibility

fall in the herb garden: gaillardia.

and then on sunday, Alan and I reorganized all the books in the livingroom. all the garden books are in one place, and the animal books, and herb books, and field guides, and literature, and magic & mythology books, and everything else, too. and wow do those shelves look nice. i think it may even be possible to reliably find things now. in the library and in the barn!